Welcome to Eternity
Dr. Lutzer and Dr. Ankerberg discuss what the Bible teaches regarding heaven and hell.
you know, people can be wrong about many things. You can be wrong about sports. You can be wrong about your career choice. You can be wrong about who you should marry and where you should live. But don’t ever be wrong about the question of how you can be certain that you will spend eternity with God john you’re right. This is the most important topic that anyone could ever consider because when you stop to think of it, time is short and eternity is very long. It’s endless. And the moment that you die, you will either be in a place where you will see nothing but beauty and holiness and be welcomed or you will be in a place of darkness and abandonment. My guest today is dr Irwin looser who is pastor emeritus of the moody church in Chicago Illinois, where he has served as the senior pastor for 36 years and has authored over 50 important books today. Most people say they believe in God, but they are not certain that they will be accepted by God for all eternity and before they die they want assurance ahead of time that they will be accepted by God today. And in the weeks ahead, Dr Luther will give you a concise biblical answer of how you can be saved and the assurance that you are saved. On this important edition of the john Achterberg show. Welcome to our program. I’m glad that you joined us because we have one of the most important topics that I think I could have ever asked you okay here it is. How can you were talking about you? How can you be certain that you will spend eternity with God? Now some of you think that you’re already certain some of you know that you’re certain some of you haven’t even got a clue because you haven’t thought about it. That’s our topic today. How you can be certain that you’ll spend eternity with God And we’re gonna be talking about it all different directions. Alright, my guest is Dr. Irwin Loser, who is pastor emeritus of the Moody Church in Chicago, where he served as the senior pastor for 36 years folks, this is Chicago downtown Chicago. He served as the pastor of a huge church For 36 years. And Irwin I want to get right to our topic today. Why is it important for people that are listening to know with certainty that they will spend eternity with God, john you’re right. This is the most important topic that anyone could ever consider. Because when you stop to think of it, time is short and eternity is very long. It’s endless. And the moment that you die, you will either be in a place where you will see nothing but beauty and holiness and be welcomed or you will be in a place of darkness and abandonment. So this is why it is so absolutely critical. You know, people can be wrong about many things. You can be wrong about politics. You can be wrong about the economy. But don’t ever be wrong about the question of how we can spend eternity with God and know ahead of time that we have that assurance. And that’s why I’m so excited about this and we welcome everyone to this program. Listen carefully because there are plenty of deceptions that are around in the world today. Yeah. Now you travel around the world speaking alright, you’re one of the most popular speakers we have in Christianity. Okay. And you go to a lot of bookstores and you buy some books and tell us why you do that. Well, what you want to do is to know where you’re going and what you can anticipate. And of course, if you’re flying to europe, you might want to be able to book a hotel ahead of time and see where you’re going. Here’s the great tragedy. There are people who never give a single thought to eternity, but they may go to a bookstore too because they’re going to travel on a vacation and they’re going to find out where they are going. And they never take the time to ask this question, Where am I traveling and where will I be for all of eternity? Absolutely critical. Yeah. A subject that we could put underneath our title today is The tragedy of Misplaced faith. I would assume that most of our people that are watching, they have some kind of faith, All right. But we’re talking about the tragedy of misplaced faith and you and your wife have a fantastic illustration that uh illustrates the point. Tell us about, well, you know back in the early eighties in Chicago, we had a Tylenol scandal. Specifically someone went into a store into a drug store and they took out the Tylenol from a bottle and they put in capsules of cyanide And people bought the bottles of course and they took them and seven people died. Now john this is absolutely critical to powerful lessons. Number one, that faith can actually destroy you. These people believed with all of their hearts that they were actually going to take Tylenol. They thought it was Tylenol But it was poison. Now here’s the thing that’s lesson number one and lesson number two is often very scary as well. Sometimes a false faith looks like a true one. I’m told that the cyanide capsules looked an awful lot like Tylenol in the very same way. There are people who have faith and it appears to be the right faith but in the end they will be disappointed. I can’t help but think of the words of jesus christ, you know, he made these very startling, sobering words and we want everyone to hear them. Not everyone who says to me, Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. But the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven on that day. Many will say to me Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name, in your name and then I will declare to them, I never knew you depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Now john the reason that those words are so critical is we’re not talking about people who go to church occasionally, who come in late and then leave before the church service ends, we’re not talking about that kind of a person, We’re talking about people involved in christian service, we’re talking about ushers and maybe people sing in the choir every week or sunday school teachers or people that never miss or pastors, pastors or people that are making prophecies and even doing the miraculous and even some of their prophecies might come to pass, they might be lucky enough to have that happen and our authority here is not Irwin Luther and john acre berg, it is jesus christ who has a big surprise at the end for some of these people, what is it? We can’t even imagine this, but I want everyone to grasp this, you are dying and perhaps you even get a glimpse of heaven and then the door to heaven slams in your face and you know that you are lost eternally. Now, just to tease this out a little bit more jesus in this passage of scripture gives us several different warnings earlier, he said for example that the way to life is narrow and few there be that find it. Whereas the way to destruction is broad and he says many go in there at think about this, what jesus is actually saying is there are going to be fewer on the narrow road and then they’re going to be a lot more on the broad road that leads to destruction. So what we need to do is to find out what that narrow road is and we’re living in a day and age when everybody wants to make the narrow road a lot broader, we want to include other religions. We want to include other ways to the father, but only jesus qualifies as the way to the Father. And while we’re talking about that imagery visualize a long freeway with many different lanes. This is the broad way that leads to destruction. It doesn’t matter what lane you are on. The fact is that you are going to end eventually in destruction and you can switch lanes, you can go from one religion to another one guru to another. But in the end there’s destruction and the important point to make is this, these are people who expected better. They actually thought that they were going to be able to enter into the kingdom. They thought that they were saved, but they weren’t. That’s why in this series that we’re doing in this program and also in some of the other programs, we’re going to be discussing how it is possible that people who think that they are saved really aren’t because this is absolutely critical. I think we scared everybody sufficiently in the church. Okay? And there are people on the outside that don’t give a rip about what we’re talking about. But they ought to be concerned too because, you know, as far as I know, everybody’s gonna die someday. Okay. So you’re gonna have to face it. Either now you need to think about this question or you will be thinking about this question and jesus christ by his life, death and resurrection. And he’s given us a lot of evidence of who he is. He’s the son of God and he’s got power and someday you’re gonna meet him face to face. All right, and he’s got the keys to the kingdom. Okay? Now here’s here’s the thing I want to get to Irwin and that’s this is uh you had a good illustration one time that we need to throw some light on this topic. God doesn’t want us to be confused about where we’re going. He doesn’t want people to be sitting in church scared. Okay. And our whole topic behind this is that we want people to be sure that there’ll be no surprises when they get to Heaven. They can be certain that they will spend eternity with God. Now you had a great illustration one time a guy stopped at a motel and he opened the window and it was completely dark outside. So he didn’t see anything. So he just shut it and went to sleep, got up in the morning, I opened it up and there was Mount rainier in all of its beauty when the light shines on a topic. The fact is things look completely different and we want people to see is christ may be completely different, we want to see who he is and we want people to take him seriously in what he says start us off and you know john before I even expound on that particular topic, let’s remind ourselves that there are so many other ways that people are deceived and they think that they know christ but they really don’t. For example, I was speaking to a woman one time and she said I read this book and it gave my jesus back to me and it was a book that had to do with how jesus was a boy and did kind things. And she said I love jesus. I said why do you love him? Oh because he’s so kind, he’s so wonderful. I said do you also love him because he died on the cross for our sins and was raised again and she broke eye contact with me and said, I never thought of that before. Let’s just list very briefly all the ways that people are wrong. We can’t list all of them. But the broad path includes such things as the mystics who believe and of course we have that today, even in the church that everyone comes to God in their own way, everyone has God within them and they are able to be saved and connect with God. And yes, jesus is a part of it, but he’s not the person that you just described, the son of God, the one who alone is able to take us to the father. Yeah, just take popular culture today. I love your idea of the expressway and of course I grew up in Chicago with you and the fact is we had expressed ways that we used to set hours in waiting to get to where we wanted to go and a lot of cities around the world have that same problem right now. So people know what we’re talking about, but we can change lanes and popular culture says, hey, we’re all going down this road together and I’ll tell you what, whatever lane you want to choose, you can choose whatever you want to believe, it’s fine with me. You know, we’re all going the same direction, we’re gonna end up in the same spots of the fact is, you know, you believe what you want to believe and I believe what I believe and if it’s different, don’t worry about it, Jesus doesn’t say that. He says, I mm the way and nobody’s coming to the father, but by me, so they, they don’t like that one. Yes, john but even those who would affirm what you just said could still be misled. There are those who believe that jesus is the only way to the father. But then when you begin to ask them, they think that they receive what Jesus provided for us through the sacraments and they think that the sacraments is the way. And the problem with that is you’re never really sure whether or not you have taken all the sacraments whether or not you have taken them enough times and so you’re left in confusion or there are those who believe that jesus is perhaps the way the truth and the life. But they defined jesus as a esoteric person, not the son of God who died for our sins and was raised again. And then there are those who believe everything that we’ve just spoken about but they have never personally received christ as savior. They believe it intellectually. They believe it intellectually. They have in their minds and idea of jesus and may even believe as you emphasized that jesus christ rose from the dead that he is the son of God. But unless there has been a transfer of trust, unless they recognize that jesus is the one the only one here’s what happens. And I’ve witnessed too many people on the plane and in stores and in restaurants you asked them, What would you say if God were to say why should I let you into heaven nine out of 10 say, well, I’ve been a good person. And then when you explain to them about Jesus and why they have to trust them, what they say? Well, yeah, I trust jesus to. So jesus is added onto all the other things that they do and they hope that in the end the equation will add up to enough righteousness to make it. And they don’t understand that when God chose to redeem us, he took all of our works and put them on a shelf and said that they are unusable. What he needs to do, what God did is send jesus on a rescue mission to rescue us from our sins. And our faith must be in him alone. It doesn’t even have to be much faith. You know, it’s much better to hold the truth with a trembling hand than to hold error with a sense of confidence. And so our faith must be in him alone. All right, let me say this. The barna research group did a national survey of americans And found out that 75-78% of all Americans thought they were going to heaven. All right, now, the question is, how can you know, for certain that you will go to heaven? Let’s get down to telling some stories. You’ve got one of your mother and you we’ve got some other stories that we want to talk about here because we’re running out of time, how can people that are saying, I want to know for sure or one that I am going to heaven, you’ve you’ve got me, you know, wondering am I going and some people are saying, I never heard this before, tell me the first time, how how does jesus take somebody to heaven? Well, you know, john you referenced my mother when she was 100 years old, I said to her mother, do you know? Absolutely sure. Are you absolutely sure that when you die, you’ll go to heaven and I’ll never forget her answer. She said, I am so certain that it is as if I am already there, wow, where does that certainty come from now? Here’s the thing you and I know that there are people who believe that their religion is right? They are willing to die for their religion and so they would disagree with us. But here’s the interesting thing. If you ask them personally, do you know that you’re going to go to heaven and be with God every single time, they will say no, I’m not sure as a matter of fact, nobody really can be. Is that you right now? Come on, be honest with me, it’s just us in the tv set in Irwin talking. Okay, and I just want to note, are you certain yourself right now? If you’re not Irwin continue. So how can my mother have that assurance, is it? Because she studied all the different religions of the world, you know, there are two ways the word of God and the Spirit of God. The bible says in the Book of romans, chapter eight verse 16 that the Spirit of God bears witness with our Spirit that we are the Children of God. But it isn’t simply based on something that’s subjective, it is based on the promise of jesus, that he who believes in me has eternal life and because of her faith in christ alone, my mother is dead today. But when she died, if she was asked why she should enter heaven, she wouldn’t have said it’s because I’ve been a good mother and because I’ve done this, that or that it is based completely on the sufficiency of jesus christ and we have to say to everyone, we have to say to millennials who believe in such things, for example as the of the gospel of social justice. We need to tell them that the gospel is not what you can do for jesus. The gospel is what jesus has done for you. Now let me talk about assurance. You know, we fly quite a bit, my wife and I and sometimes we’ve flown by standby and you’ve had that experience, john and you know, you’re pacing the floor there, if you’re going to get the lounge and you’re not sure whether or not you’re going to get on? I remember bugging one woman, you know, am I gonna be on this? Well, we don’t know. And then a few moments later finally she said you know I’ll call your name. If you’re gonna be on the plane or if you’re not gonna make it uncertainty how different it is when you sit there and you have a ticket and when you have that ticket you can kick back, you can rejoice why? Because you know there’s a seat on the plane for me. It may be six f. But there it is and the Bible says that for those who believe the gospel, there is a place reserved in heaven for you. Like I tell people there’s a crown that only you can wear, there’s a door that only you can enter. There’s a place reserved for you. If you meet the requirement of receiving what jesus christ did on our behalf. And it’s not even pledging your allegiance to jesus. We break our promises, it’s coming to christ and receiving the gift of eternal life. But we come in humility. We come in faith and we come with a great sense of need because we know that we are sinners and then we transfer our trust to what he did for us. I love you’re saying if you will believe and trust that jesus christ did everything that is necessary on that cross for you to go to heaven someday if you put your trust in him, he’ll take care of the rest. If you do that then you can know you’re saved and when you stand before God, it won’t be about you. It’ll be about him. And as we sometimes sing, jesus paid it all all to him. I owe sin has left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow and he’s the only one who has the credentials to do that. There’s no other teacher, There’s no other guru that has ever made. Those kinds of promises. Christ alone is able to save. Now folks, we gotta close right here and I’m gonna ask everyone to pray. But my question to you is have you ever told jesus that you’re not going to trust anything that you’ve done and you’re gonna put all of your trust in him? Even if you’re a big sinner, we’re gonna talk about big sinners. Okay, if you made a mess of your life and you say he wouldn’t accept me. No, God’s got mercy for you. All right, And you can put your faith in the Lord, jesus. Right now, Irwin, I’m gonna ask that you would pray and folks that want to invite the Lord into their life too. Two be their savior, the one that died and paid for all their sins. Would you say a prayer that they could say with you as we close this program? Alright? You join me now in prayer and if you’ve never received christ, say something like this, father, I thank you that jesus died for sinners, I am a sinner. I turned from my sin to jesus receiving what he did for me on the cross and in his resurrection my dependence is on him alone and I trust his promises and I pray this in his name believing and trusting him. Amen folks, I hope that you did that right now. If you prayed that prayer you know let us know we would love to help you and I want you to stay tuned because I have a personal word for you in just a moment now if you’d like to watch this program again or share it with a friend, you can do so for free on your phone through our app, just go to the app store on your device and search for anchor berg once you download it you can watch this series again as well as over 100 other programs anytime anywhere. Absolutely free to find these videos in your language, simply open up our app and tap on languages along with this, our app lets you read and even listen to the bible in over 1000 languages simply tap on the bible icon displayed on the main page of our app to find your own language. Once it opens you can find your language by tapping on the second box at the top. If you have never read or listened to the bible, I encourage you to find your language and check it out for yourself. The gospel accounts of Matthew, mark luke and john are a great place to start then if you can understand english, we have even more resources available for you. These include hundreds of Q and a videos where leading scholars answer your tough questions about the faith. We also have a large collection of bible studies by my friend Dr Wayne Barber. He does a great job of walking you through books of the bible verse by verse to help you better understand and apply God’s word. In addition to this, we now have over 8000 articles on our website, simply go to J A show dot org and at the top you will see a tab labeled study, click on that and then articles And we have organized our articles into over 30 categories which you can find on the right side of the page. This is a great way for you to explore almost any topic even further. And lastly be sure to follow us on facebook instagram, twitter and Youtube to stay up to date with the latest news, videos, articles and more from the john Achterberg show. Thanks again for joining us today. I hope that you will tune in this time next week for another episode of the john in Coburg show. Until then, May God bless you and I’ll see you next week. That’s, that’s the key phrase. I think we need to zero in on right here because people might believe in a little bit of God’s grace to help them out And it usually goes like this, it’s kind of a mutual fun type of grace. I’m gonna put a little good deeds in the church, I might sing in the choir, I’ll take care of the boys club and yet, you know, I’ve got sins in my life, so the rest, I’ll leave to the Grace of God. So what they’re saying is, you know, if if these things don’t work, I’m going to fall back on the Grace of God or of the Grace of God, all these things and that should get me in its grace plus, but that’s not what the bible says exactly. I remember an illustration like this, that was given to me in a restaurant by a man with whom I was having lunch because there was a woman there and I asked her what she would have to do to go to heaven and she said that she had made money in a bake sale and given it to charity. But here’s the thing, This man said, Yes, there’s a man who went to heaven and he stood before ST Peter and he said, I was baptized and Peter said that’s worth 30 points. I lived a good life, that’s worth 40 points. So now you have 70. But thank God that the grace of God is worth 30 points. So that’s your 100. Anyone who believes that John is deceived and will be in hell and not heaven