What Must I Do to Go to Heaven?

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Matthew 19:16-22


I.         I was asked, “What must I do to go to Heaven when I die? Please no opinions. Please use the Bible, it is all we have that is the truth.”

            A.        I am impressed that this man only wants a biblical answer. Far too many simply want confirmation that they are right and they will search high and low for someone to tell them what they want to hear.

                        1.         Much as Paul warned Timothy - II Timothy 4:2-4

                        2.         As a child of God I am restricted in how I may answer - I Peter 4:11

                        3.         Whether this man wanted a biblical answer or not, that is all he will receive.

            B.        The Bible affirms that man is unable to save himself - Jeremiah 10:23

                        1.         This is because we see ways that look good, but are not - Proverbs 14:12

                        2.         And then there is the problem of sin - Romans 3:23

II.        A desire to be saved is not enough

            A.        A young man once asked Jesus a similar question in Matthew 19:16-22

                        1.         He went away sorrowful because what was asked of him was more than what he was willing to give.

                        2.         If you want to reach heaven, you must ask yourself of how much value is it to you?

            B.        Yet another asked the same question - Luke 10:25-28

            C.        Many are willing to go to heaven if it is convenient. But if it is not on their way, well ...

III.       The difficult part of salvation, the obtaining forgiveness of sin, the part that man could not handle, was done by the Son of God

            A.        Forgiveness is not possible without the shedding of blood - Hebrews 9:22

                        1.         But the shedding of animal blood was unable to bring forgiveness - Hebrews 10:4

                        2.         We have been sanctified (made holy) by the body of Jesus - Hebrews 10:10-13

            B.        He died for us even though we did not deserve it - Romans 5:6-11

            C.        It was a gift freely offered to everyone - II Corinthians 5:14-15

            D.        God want everyone saved - II Peter 3:9

            E.        Yet Jesus warns that few will be saved - Luke 13:23-24; Matthew 7:13-14

            F.        This is because God expects men to receive His gift. Many want the gift, but they want it on their own terms. Somehow they have decided that if God, the giver of the gift, sets the terms, then it is no longer a freely given gift.

            G.        Love for Christ means obedience - John 14:15

            H.        It requires observing all that God has commanded - Matthew 28:20

IV.      Faith

            A.        Without faith, it is impossible to please God - Hebrews 11:6

            B.        Yet faith doesn’t just appear, it is based on knowing what God has taught - Romans 10:17

                        1.         This is why it is called the gospel (good news) of salvation - Romans 1:16

                        2.         Hence we see with a jailer asked Paul the same question, he was told to believe and then he was taught so he might have something to believe in - Acts 16:29-31

            C.        Faith is not just an outward statement, but a sincere conviction - Romans 6:17-18

                        1.         This is why James tells us that faith alone cannot save - James 2:14-24

                        2.         But keep in mind, that though God requires faith and effort on our part, it is not our faith or our effort that saves us, but the death of Jesus - Ephesians 2:1-10

            D.        Yet that faith cannot remain within. It must be confessed - Romans 10:8-10

                        1.         If we do not have enough faith to stand up before others, if we are ashamed of our Lord, we will not reach heaven - Matthew 10:32-33

V.        Repentance

            A.        Peter told men that they must repent, change their ways - Acts 3:19

                        1.         If you think about this, it makes sense. It is our sins which has gotten us in trouble with God. - Isaiah 59:1-2

                        2.         We cannot expect to be forgiven of our sins and continue in them - Romans 6:1-2

                        3.         Or, as Jesus warned - Luke 13:3

            B.        Repentance is more than being sorry for past wrongs - II Corinthians 7:10-11

                        1.         It means turning to God and doing things God’s way - Acts 26:20

                        2.         It means honestly attempting to correct past mistakes

            C.        When the first sermon was delivered after Jesus’ death, the question comes up again - Acts 2:36-41

VI.      Baptism

            A.        Peter had answered the question with two conditions - repentance and being baptized.

                        1.         It is no different than what Jesus commanded - Mark 16:16

                        2.         The disciples were told to make additional disciples by baptizing them - Matthew 28:18-20

            B.        Why is baptism so important? - Romans 6:3-7

                        1.         Baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus

                        2.         Baptism represents the believer’s death to sin and his resurrection to a new life

                        3.         Baptism represents the believer’s hope of being raised, like Christ, to enter heaven.

                        4.         In essence, it gives the believer contact to the blood of Christ.

                                    a.         Remember it is Christ’s death which saves and in baptism, we put on Christ - Galatians 3:26-27

                                    b.         Since baptism brings us into contact with Christ, baptism saves - I Peter 3:21

                                    c.         It isn’t the water, but the sincere obedience of the believer.

                                    d.         This is why Paul was told to wash away his sins - Acts 22:10,16

VII.     When taught about Jesus, the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t ask about getting to heaven. He wanted to know what prevented him from doing what needed to be done - Acts 8:35-39

            A.        In this one example we see much of what we discussed

                        1.         He heard the word of God explained to him by Philip

                        2.         He desired to do what he had learned from Philip

                        3.         He stated that he believed - showing both belief and a willingness to declare his belief before others

                        4.         He was baptized and had joy in his heart, knowing he obedient to the Lord God.

            B.        We could ask the same question today, what is stopping you from being baptized?

            C.        Now is the time - II Corinthians 6:2

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