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"I have several Jewish friends. WIll I see them in heaven?"

I love the heart behind this question. It is right for us to long for our friends to be with us in heaven. When it comes to people we love, it is right for us to hope for their eternal future! There is in fact a heaven and a hell, and it matters that we know how to make it into heaven.

This begs the question – “How do people get into heaven anyways?”
Here’s what I’ll say, the Bible makes it clear that God deeply loves every human. However, humans have a problem…the problem of sin. The Bible says that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). This sin is a serious problem. There is a punishment for our sin. The Bible says that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God doesn’t let any sin in heaven. I like to think of it this way – what kind of a place would heaven be if God let everyone bring their sin into heaven?

This is a serious problem. How do we get into heaven if we have sin? Some people think that they can erase their sin by doing good things. But think about it – If I do or say something rude to my wife – the way to fix it is really not to go and do the dishes and buy her flowers. That’s nice to do, but to fix the problem, I need to ask her for forgiveness. Ephesians 2:8-9 says this:


  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”


So how do we get out sin problem fixed? Well, Jesus made a way for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus volunteered to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven – He died so that we don’t have to! He took the punishment that we deserved. So how do you get into heaven? Well, it all boils down to what you do with Jesus. Jesus went around preaching “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

What do we have to do to make it into heaven? 
 

First, we must repent. That just means that we are truly sorry for our sin, and that we genuinely desire to follow and obey Jesus. Second, we must believe in Jesus. This means that we believe that He is the Son of God who died and was raised again. It means that we “put all our eggs in one basket” and trust Jesus to save us and bring us heaven.

So, it all boils down to what you do with Jesus.
1 John 2:23 says:
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father

John 8:23-24 says:
And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 


So, to get to your question: Will you find your Jewish friends in heaven?
The answer is this: it depends on what they believe about Jesus. Those who deny that Jesus is the Christ will not enter into heaven.

Now that is a painful thing to think about.
This is why Paul (a Jew who was miraculously converted to Christianity) wrote this in Romans 10:1

  • “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”

Paul cared so much about his Jewish friends that he even wished that he could trade places with them – that he could be left out of heaven and that they might get in. He wrote this in Romans 9:2-3

  • “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,


Here’s the good news.
Jesus died for both the Jew and the Gentile. Jesus holds open the door of salvation to everyone who repents and believes – especially to the Jews.
Paul wrote this in Romans 1:16-17

  • "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”


Of course there is much more that could be said, but I hope that gives some insight into what the Bible teaches about this.
I’m glad you had the chance to stop by our booth at the fair! We as pastors certainly don’t know everything! But the Bible offers real answers and real hope.

Why did God make me this way?

This is a fantastic question and one that I have asked many times in my life as well! It is great that first, you have the understanding that God is the creator! We see this very clearly in the book of Genesis how God is the creator of man and woman. He uniquely created us and has set us apart from the rest of creation by creating us in the image of God. Every human being that has ever lived or will ever live bears this image. However, this image has been stained because of sin. We are sinful beings that are need of someone to save us from our sin!


Now, I wish I could have a face to face conversation to understand the context a little more with this question. You could be referring this question to why did God make me tall, have blue eyes, have a passion for art, have a physical or mental disability, or have a specific attraction. One passage of Scripture that I love going to in answering this question from the angle of why did God make me look like this is Psalm 139:13-14. This passage says, “For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” God is the one who uniquely created us! He put us together while we were in our mother’s womb. So we might not know exactly why God created you the way you are, but we know He did and that we are wonderfully made!


Another passage of Scripture that we must examine in thinking through this question in regards to someone being born with a physical or mental disability is John 9. Jesus and his disciples are walking by a man born blind. His disciples ask, “Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Back in that time, the culture believed that if you were born blind or with any type of disability that either your parents or that individual messed up big time with God. He then punished the family by making them born with a disability. However, this is not how it works. Jesus answers their question by saying, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus is saying that nobody is at fault in this man that was born blind. God was the one who created him that way so that God could be glorified through this man. Even those who struggle with disabilities are uniquely and perfectly created by God with a great purpose! A great testimony and story that you should check out is a man named Nick Vujicic.


Let me address though if this question is concerning why God would give a specific attraction or desire. We are starting to hear this come up more and more within conversations. We have to understand this key truth when thinking through this question; God does not give us sinful desires. James 1:13-14 says, “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Yes, it is true that we have sinful desires, but that does not mean that God created us with those sinful desires or has given them to us. He is not the creator or author of evil. Therefore, he would not create us or tempt us to have attractions or desires that are sinful. Why do I have this desire or attraction or feeling then? The reason being is because of our sinful world and sinful nature. We are being tempted by our own sinful desires as we see in James 1 and also we are being tempted by the devil and the world. Now yes, God does allow us to be tempted by evil, but as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…” We can say no to the sinful temptations that we will face. Just because we have this attraction or desire does not mean that God created us with it.

All in all, thank you so much for your question! 

 

What does it mean to be redeemed?

The words “redeemed” or “redemption” come from Greek words meaning “to purchase out of the marketplace” and “to set free by the payment of a price.”  The words were used in Biblical times to refer to purchasing a slave in the public slave market.

 

The New Testament writers used the terms to refer to a believer’s release from the penalty and power of sin.  The price that was necessary was the blood of Christ, that is, His death on the cross. 

 

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”  (Mark 10:45).

 

“You were not redeemed with perishable things . . .  but with precious blood, as of a Lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ”  (1 Peter 1:18-19).

 

Those who trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross and personally receive Him by faith as their Savior and Lord, are set free from the bondage of sin and are empowered to live a life that is pleasing to God.

 

            “For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” 

            (1 Corinthians 6:20).

 

What a wonderful Savior Christ is to all who believe!

 

            “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the

            kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of

            sins”  (Colossians 1:13).

“If someone breaks up with someone, should said person be mad?”

Wow, great question. To the person who wrote this, I can only say that I’m sorry for the pain that you feel! When someone else disappoints us, the pain can be sharp. Here are four things I’d encourage you to think about.

First: As we walk through life, it is inevitable that people will hurt and wrong us. That’s how our world is. As you walk through life, it will happen that people will hurt you, even when you did nothing wrong. It matters that we know how to respond when we are mistreated.

Second: Jesus calls us to refrain from anger, even when we have been wronged. Jesus said this in Luke 6:28 “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” In this life, there will be people who mistreat you. How does Jesus want us to react? He calls us to pray for them. To seek their good.

Third: Anger doesn’t just lead to other crimes. Anger is itself the crime. In Matthew 5:21 Jesus said this: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court” Anger isn’t just a dangerous thing that leads to other crimes…Anger is itself the crime.

Fourth: God calls us to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 says this “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who was wronged when it wasn’t even His fault! Jesus never did anything wrong, and yet, how did He respond when he was wronged? In Luke 23:34 Jesus said this as He hung on the cross “"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."



What is the Gospel?


How does the Trinity Work? (HOw would you explain it to a kid?)

Before I get any further – here’s an article that might help. 

1. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/explaining-the-trinity-to-a-seven-year-old/

2. Here also is a great video explaining the Trinity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoTSqXY5uhc


The only things we can know about God is what He has revealed to us. And God has actually revealed to us a great deal about who He is! The Bible teaches that there is only 1 God. It teaches that God is a being who consists of three persons. I am a being that consists of one person, but God is a being that consists of three distinct persons. I think the biggest objection people have to that is “But that’s impossible! You can’t have one being with three persons!” To which I say “why not?” God claims that this is who He is. It is not logically impossible to have One being who exists as three different persons.



2 things have helped me over the years.

1. When we say that Jesus is %100 God, we are not saying that Jesus = the Godhead. We are not saying that Jesus = the Trinity. We are simply saying that Jesus is %100 divine. Jesus is not the Father, but He is %100 divine. 

2. In the Bible, God often tells us the what but not the how. God simply tells us that He exists as one being who consists of three distinct persons. But He doesn't necessarily tell us everything about how that is possible. But if God is trustworthy -  Why should we think that this is impossible?


What is baptism for?

Here is an episode of ASK LBC that might be helpful for this question!