ROBERT >> How many will go to heaven? Some believe everybody’s going, or at least most will go there, that we’re all going to heaven, we’re just taking different roads to get there. Picture a mountain with heaven at the top and everyone climbing up different paths to get there. But the picture the Bible gives is much different.
>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Throughout the history of the Bible we see that in every age, only a remnant has been saved. Only eight of all the world were saved from the flood of Noah’s day; only a remnant was saved out of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; and only a remnant of Israel was saved from the scattering and destruction of the Jews; and Jesus plainly taught that most people will not go to heaven. I want to read to you today from Matthew 7:13-14, at the end of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount. Listen to his words here.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
That’s right. According to Jesus, not everyone is going to heaven. In fact, not even most are going to heaven, only a few. And we need to recognize that there are not many ways to heaven, but only one way; and that is the way of Christ. In John 14:6, we see the words of Jesus again where Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes unto the Father but by Me. Jesus is the only way.
In Acts the 4th chapter we notice in verse 12 where the apostle Peter said that, There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. It is only through Jesus Christ that anyone will get to heaven. And so let’s ask again the question this morning, and let’s take a close look at it.
How many will go to heaven? And I want us to look for the answers to that question in the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter 21 and chapter 22, that describes for us that wonderful, eternal state with God in heaven. And there are several answers that I want us to notice here from these chapters.
First of all, let’s look at Revelation 21:6. Here the Bible says, And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
Let’s put it like this: How many will get to heaven? As many as want it more than anything else. Thirst is one of the strongest desires of the flesh. We cannot live without water.
Imagine, if you could, being out in the desert, and you’re dying of thirst, and you’re searching for water. He says that kind of longing, that kind of thirst we must have for the fountain of life so that we might be saved, so that we might enjoy eternal life. I want you to look with me for just a moment in John the 4th chapter as Jesus used this same figure when he was talking to a woman at a well in Samaria.
In John chapter 4, let’s pick up the story in verse 5. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink. For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. And then the woman of Samaria said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Let me stop here for just a moment. And you’ll notice that when this woman came to the well, that Jesus spoke to her, and he asked her for a drink of water. And the woman here was a little set back because normally the Jews didn’t have any dealings with the Samaritans. But Jesus was interested in her soul, and Jesus wanted to teach her about eternal life, and he wanted to use water to help her to understand it. Look a little further in verse 10.
Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. And the woman said to Him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?
Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
And the woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.
This woman still had in mind the physical water that would quench her physical thirst; but Jesus here is emphasizing the same thing that we read in Revelation chapter 21, that there is a living water of eternal life that we must thirst for, that we must long for, just as this woman longed for the drink from the well of Jacob. Now, Jesus Christ is the one who gives us that living water, but we must thirst for it, we must long for it. And so I want to ask you this morning, what are you longing for? What are you thirsting for? Where is your heart at?
I remember the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:23 as he considered the work that he was doing here upon this earth, but also how much he wanted to go to heaven and to be with Christ. Let me read what he wrote here to you, Philippians 1:23, For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. Paul had a desire to stay and to help the church here, but he knew it was far better to depart and to be with Christ. And that must be our heart.
Look at it in Colossians chapter 3 beginning in verse 1. If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth; for you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Here the apostle Paul reminds the church at Colosse how they had died with Christ, been buried with him, and had now been raised with him in the waters of baptism when they became a Christian, as Paul described it in Romans the 6th chapter. And he said, remembering that, you need to set your mind on things above.
You need to set your mind on Christ, on heavenly things. In fact, look what he says in verse 4 of this chapter. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. He wants us to long for that day when Christ will come again and we’ll share in his glory in that heavenly realm. Look at 1 John 2:15-17.
John recognizes that it’s very easy for any of us to get caught up in the world and the things of the world and to set our hearts on this world rather than the heavenly world that God has for us.
Here he says, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. So then instead of following the desires of our flesh and going after the things of the world, let’s set our hearts on heaven, let’s set our hearts on the Father and to be with him for all of eternity.
What is your priority? What is your passion in life? Where is your heart at? Look with me in Philippians once again, in Philippians 3:12-14, where the apostle Paul helps us to see where we really ought to put our focus and our attention. Here in this passage beginning in verse 12, the apostle Paul writes, Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul said he had one passion, one priority, one thing he was doing, and that was to be perfect like Jesus Christ so that he might attain that heavenly calling. The apostle Paul had his mind, his heart set on heaven. Where is your heart? Where is your priority? Where is your passion? Where is your home?
In Philippians 3:20, the apostle Paul said this: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not this earth, it’s not this planet, it’s not this world. Let’s not settle down here and become so comfortable that we forget that our real home, that our true home, that our eternal home is in heaven. Do you really want to go to heaven?
Those who go to heaven are those who really want to go to heaven.
Turning back to Revelation chapter 22, let me read verse 17, the invitation of our Lord here. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Yes, heaven is there, it’s available for all who would long for it more than anything else. But now let’s notice something else from the Revelation concerning how many will go to heaven. Look at Revelation 21:7.
In Revelation 21:7 the Bible says, He who overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son. In other words, as many as will fight for it with their life, as many as will overcome in order to receive it.
Those in the Revelation, they suffered severely for their faith. They were threatened, they were beaten and tortured. They were imprisoned, even persecuted to death. So at the end of each of the letters to the churches that Jesus wrote here in the book of Revelation, guess what he promises? He promises the rewards of heaven to those who overcome.
Johnny Ramsey, gospel preacher, once said, Those who overcome get to come over. You see, getting to heaven, being able to go to heaven is a fight. It’s a fight for your very life. It’s a fight of faith.
Look with me in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, where the apostle Paul speaks of this fight that we’re involved in as Christians. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainly. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
It’s like running a race. It’s like fighting a fight. It’s giving your all, disciplining yourself so that you can obtain the heavenly home that God has prepared for us.
In 1 Timothy 6:12, this is what the apostle Paul told the young evangelist Timothy. In chapter 6 verse 12, Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. It would not be easy. It would be a struggle. But if we fight that good fight, we’re able to lay hold on eternal life for us in heaven. Look in 2 Timothy chapter 4, where the apostle Paul speaks of the end of his life, of his desire for heaven, and of the fight that he fought in order that he might obtain it.
Here in 2 Timothy 4 beginning in verse 6 he says, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
You see, heaven is promised for those who will struggle, who will strive, who will fight to get there.
1 John 5:4, the Bible tells us, This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. And Jesus himself promised in Revelation 2:10, at the end of that verse to these suffering martyrs of Christ, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Will you fight to the very end? In the very face of death, in the very hour of death, will you fight to the end for heaven?
But thirdly, let’s notice another passage from Revelation chapter 21 that helps us to understand how many will go to heaven. In verse 24, And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Yes, those who will go to heaven are as many as depend upon the savior for it. We cannot get to heaven on our own. As Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
We could never earn our salvation. And certainly we don’t deserve our salvation. It’s God’s gift through Jesus Christ. As Paul stated in Romans 6:23, The wages of sin is death. That’s what we’ve earned for ourselves. That’s what we deserve. But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. We’ve got to hear it and we’ve got to believe it and we’ve got to call on him for salvation. That’s what we do in the waters of baptism. As the preacher said in Acts 22:16, Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Are you trusting the savior to get to heaven? That’s the only way.
But then let’s also notice in Revelation 21:27, here the Bible says, But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
How many will go to heaven? As many as have their names written there in the Lamb’s book of life. These are those who belong to Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, John 1:29.
This is the church, those who labor in the gospel, the workers of God’s kingdom, like those mentioned in Philippians 4:3. Our names are registered in heaven according to Hebrews 12:23.
You can be blotted out of that book, like Psalm 69:28 warns us, Let them be blotted out of the book of life and not be written with the righteous. But those who overcome, those who are faithful to the end will not be blotted out. That’s the promise of Revelation 3:5. And so the book of life will be opened at judgment day, and if you’re not in that book, you’ll be cast into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.
If you’re in that book, you’ll be delivered and you’ll be raised to everlasting life.
Is your name written in the heaven?
I know when I first started preaching, I used to save everything that had my name on it. I liked to see my name on the list of speakers on a gospel meeting, an ad with my picture in a lectureship book. And once an article with my picture was put in the local paper about me and the meeting I was preaching. Seeing your name and your face in the paper, that was pretty cool. And then I made a hole in one out on the golf course, and it too went in the paper. I cut out the notice. I saved it.
But folks, that really doesn’t mean anything. More than anything else, I want to see my name in the book of life. If my name never gets mentioned in a paper ever again, that’s all right, just as long as my name gets mentioned in heaven.
If they’ll let me, when I get to heaven, I’m going to look over the shoulder of the angel who’s reading off the names in the book of life just to make sure. We all want to make sure that our names are found there.
Let me ask you this: How many of you want to hear your name when that roll is called up yonder? How many of you want to hear Jesus say, Well done, good and faithful servant; enter in to the joy of the Lord? Well, then look at Revelation 22:14.
Here’s what the Bible says: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through into the gates of the city.
How many will go to heaven? As many as follow the instructions to get there.
The commandments of God, remember, are for our good always, Deuteronomy 6:24. But we all try to go on our own without following his instructions, and we get lost every time. Yes, there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death, Proverbs 14:12.
We all need God’s guidance, his direction, his instructions. Maybe you’re like me, and you try to follow your GPS. You thought you knew better, maybe, and you quit following those instructions. I’ve tried that before, but I never get there. And if you don’t follow the instructions that God has given us to get to heaven, it’s not going to work. You’ll never make it.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Are you just going on through life without paying attention to what God says, or are you following his commandments?
How many will go to heaven? A lot of folks won’t go to heaven. But it’s not because God doesn’t want them to or that he’s not made a way for them to go to heaven. No, God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Folks, what matters most is whether or not you’ll go to heaven.
>> All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give. I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. Lord, I give myself to thee. Fill me with thy love and power, let thy blessing fall on me. I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
>> Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified, knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary. Mercy there was great, and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan; oh, the grace that brought it down to man; oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary. Mercy there was great, and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you, so let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, your comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at email@example.com. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.
And remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace. From the toils that bind me it will bring release. Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all. Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.