BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Many will wish that they remain in the flesh and not die. This is evident by the way they go about their lives. They live as if death will not come to them one day. They live as if they are going to wear the mortal body forever. Their rabid pursuit of the things of this world speaks volume on how the vanity of this world has blindfolded them. Many are amassing wealth, titles, honours, etc. as if they will live forever to enjoy them. The sad reality however is that mortal man will die one day and leave behind everything that he has succeeded in accomplishing, all that he has succeeded in amassing. Then he will be faced with eternity. Heb 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV).
Since eternity is awaiting man, one would have expected that he will live his present life in light of eternity but that is not the case with a lot of people. Eccl 3:11 says God has planted eternity in the human heart but while most men will admit that they will not remain in this flesh forever, only few prepare for eternity. Shouldn’t one prepare for a place where one is going to live forever? Should one use one’s seventy, eighty or even one hundred and fifty years on earth – a limited period – to create an eternity of endless sorrow for oneself?
Two types of eternity await humanity – eternity with God and eternity with the devil. The latter is in hell fire while the former is in the Kingdom of God. Those who live their lives on earth apart from God will have hell fire as their eternal reward while those who live their lives in obedience to the Word and will of God will live with Him forever. Rev 20:15 says, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (NKJV). Ps 9:17 also says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (NKJV). If one lives on earth forgetting about God and His Word, it is only logical that one lives apart from Him in eternity. God is a righteous judge; He will give to each person according to his work. This is a constant principle of God clearly stated in the Scriptures over and over again. Rev 22:12-15 captures this succinctly: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (NKJV).
In eternity, most of what is beclouding the reasoning of many people now will not matter. It will not matter how many degrees you bagged. It will not matter how many children you had. It will not matter how many chieftaincy titles and honours you were given. It will not matter how many mansions you built. It won’t matter how many contracts you won or the millions you had in your local and foreign accounts. It won’t even matter how many elections you won and what positions you occupied. All this will not matter to heaven. In fact, it will not even matter that a minister of the Gospel performed outstanding miracles and even made it into the list of the top ten ministers in his country or in the world. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt 7:21-23, NKJV). It won’t matter that a person’s name is listed in the “Who is who in the world.” It won’t even matter that I wrote the message you’re currently reading. These won’t matter.
What will matter in the end?
What will matter in eternity? What will matter ultimately is if you gave your life to Jesus and lived your life in obedience to his teachings. Did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? Did you make his teachings the benchmark for your daily conduct on earth? “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32, NKJV). He says again in John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (NKJV).
What will also matter to heaven is if you lived a life of holiness for God is a holy God. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’”(NKJV). The writer of Ps 24 asks two vital questions and also offers the answer: “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face” (Verses 2-6, NKJV). A life of holiness lived on earth will matter in heaven as against anyone’s mind boggling achievements or pace setting records.
What will matter in eternity is not the applause one earned on earth for one’s novel achievements but whether or not one did what God sent one to the earth to do. Pursuing what God sends a man on earth to do is the true definition of success and not the parameters human beings use to rate who is a success and who is not.
Success does not have to do with result but rather with obedience to God. In our age, Prophet Isaiah would have been described as a failure. When God called him, He told him the people he was sending him to would not respond to his message; yet God sent him and Isaiah prophesied to the people who did just as God had said. “And I said, ‘Lord, I’ll go! Send me.’ And he said, ‘Yes, go. But tell my people this: You will hear my words, but you will not understand. You will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Close their ears, and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn to me for healing” (Isa 6:8-10, NLT). Because of the kind of ministry God had given him, Isaiah who was initially loved by the people soon became unpopular as he began to call the people to repentance and warn them about the impending judgment of God. His ministry lasted about sixty years, and according to tradition, he was eventually executed. But Isaiah fulfilled his ministry and remained one of the greatest prophets who ever lived.
Similarly, by human standards, Prophet Jeremiah’s forty-year ministry was not a success. He had no convert – nobody listened to him. He was poor, hated, rejected, imprisoned, etc. Jeremiah was not a popular prophet. But Jeremiah was obedient and faithful to God who called him, and therefore was a success.
Does what will matter in eternity matter to you now or you’re craving for what people today call success? Are you consciously preparing for eternity? Do a self audit of your life and evaluate your life in the light of this message. Why don’t you repent now and let what will matter ultimately in eternity begin to matter to you?
If you have not reconciled with your Maker, this is where you should start. I invite you to give your life to Jesus now.
If you are not born again, have you considered where you will spend your eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I confess my sins and repent today. Forgive me Lord. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and my Lord and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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