Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
A Few Good Men:   In the movie, there is one compelling line of questioning Tom Cruise springs on Jack Nicolson.  He asks him what he brought on his trip from Cuba to the US in the form of personal items, clothing etc. He also asks him to report on the phone calls he made prior to his trip. Then he draws a parallel w/regard to Private Santiago (the subject in the movie). "You were coming to the US for one day, and you made three phone calls, and packed a suitcase. Santiago was coming to the US for the rest of his life -- yet he hadn't made a phone call, and hadn't packed a thing."  
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch. You are going to die. Kent Hivinde says he is going to make it the last thing he does, but it's gonna happen. Heb. 9:27 = And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"  The Bible is full of things like "ashes to ashes,  a time to be born and a time to die, our life is but a vapor". 
Then there is our own experience in that we have nearly all lost someone. Point is, it's going to happen -- then what?  Jesus only talks of two possibilities. The narrow way which leads to life, and the broad way which leads to everlasting destruction. Jesus Himself said in John 5:28: Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." 
So there you have it. Eternity ultimately, but where? Is heaven a literal place? The Bible says it is, as is hell. And if it is, no amount of my denial is going to change it. I would love to dedicate an article to how wonderful heaven is, and how we should all desire it at the exclusion of all else, but that's not what the Bible says about the gospel. Rather it says: "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" 2nd Cor. 5:11  So my question to you, as we approach the celebration of the God prescribed remedy for man's depravity that we call Christmas, are you looking ahead? Do you have an eternal mindset? Are you waiting till all your questions are answered satisfactorily before you make a decision? If you were vacationing in England this spring, how much research would you do? Do you even think about it? Does the subject make you smile with anticipation or do you rather cringe at the possibilities?  
Without sounding too political, a no vote is a vote no. In computer terms, hell is our default mode. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth (remains) on him." John 3:36. These are not a couple of isolated verses. This is rather the recurring theme in the New Testament.  Rather than have the knee-jerk reaction of anger toward God, why not look at the Great lengths He went to providing you an out?
This is why the Gospel is called "The Good News". Jesus died to pay for your sin. The just for (in place of) the unjust.  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2nd Cor. 5:21  Do you not see the love? Do you not see the sacrifice?  Is this not worthy of our celebration at Christmas? "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Rom. 5:8    Merry Christmas. 

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