WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 26, 2020
TOPIC: PREPARE FOR ETERNITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail. When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity” (Hebrews 10:34 New Living Translation).
God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27). The Bible tells us that God is eternal. He never dies. He told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14 New King James Version). Moses said of Him, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2 New King James Version).
God does not exist; He is! Revelation 1:4 says He is, He was, and is to come. God lives forever and ever (Revelation 15:7). God also created man to live forever. Man is eternal! Although he ceases to live on earth when God takes away his breath and he turns again to dust (Psalm 104:29), he lives forever because there is life after this life. Death is not the end for man. It is a transition to eternity.
Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. Those who give their lives to Jesus receive eternal or everlasting life (John 3:16). John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (New King James Version).
John 5:24 also says those who believe in Jesus have eternal or everlasting life. 1 John 5:11 says a similar thing: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (New King James Version). Those who have received eternal life on earth will spend eternity with God after He takes away their breath on the earth. They will live with Him forever. “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5 New King James Version).
This is not the case for those who live their lives on earth without accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Since they live their lives apart from Him on earth, they will also live apart from Him after they cease to exist on earth. Their transition to eternity is a transition to eternal punishment; they will live forever undergoing punishment in hell-fire.
Matthew 25:41 says, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (New King James Version). Anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life would be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and living for God, preparing for eternity is how to enter your name in the Book of life.
As I have said, man will die but he will still live for eternity! His body will die; He will give up the ghost, but his spirit will live forever. Are you preparing for eternity? Living comfortably here on earth is not enough. Enjoying the good things of life is not enough. What happens after you have died is much more important.
In Luke 16:19-31, the Bible tells us the story of a man who lived but didn’t prepare for eternity. He lived such a comfortable life, lived in great wealth, probably thinking it would continue like that forever. He never believed that there was life after death, and he, therefore, did not prepare for it.
That story is often called the story of the rich man and Lazarus. However, it has been rightly said that it’s also the story of two beggars. The first beggar was Lazarus – a beggar here on earth. The other beggar was the rich man – a beggar in Hades, the place of the dead. The rich man only prepared for life before death (earthly comfort and enjoyment) and lived like a king on earth; he failed to make the most important preparation – preparation for life after death. Alas, he became a beggar in the place of the dead.
He wasn’t begging for any of those sumptuous meals, special delicacies, or choice wine he was used to during his life before death. He was rather seriously begging for a drop of water (not a cup of water) to cool his tongue. That shows the intensity of the torments in Hades, and how seriously thirsty he was in anguish.
The man suddenly remembered his brothers who were still on earth. He pleaded that Lazarus should be sent to his father’s home to warn five brothers about the place of torment he was so that they wouldn’t have to come there when they died (verses 27-28). His request was turned down once more.
Don’t be deceived by whatever you’re enjoying now. Solomon said, “Everything is meaningless…utterly meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 New Living Translation). He said a similar thing again in Ecclesiastes 12:8: “All is meaningless…utterly meaningless” (New Living Translation). Solomon was talking about life without God. God has prepared for those who will spend eternity with Him something better than whatever anyone can enjoy here on earth.
It is true that Jesus taught that “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24 New King James Version). Mark 10:24-25 and Luke 18:24-25 record the same teaching. But the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 ended in torments in Hades not because he was wealthy, but because he lived without preparing for eternity.
The rich man and his five brothers didn’t believe all that the prophets preached about eternity, heaven and hell, God’s judgment on the sinner, and so forth. Anyone who is not preparing to spend eternity with God is preparing to spend eternity with Satan – there is no other place.
Poverty is not the passport to eternity with God and wealth is not a disqualification. It is possible for a rich man to make heaven; Jesus only said it is hard. Why? Because there is the tendency for the rich people to think they don’t need God and, therefore, not live for Him.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 says, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (New King James Version).
In Luke 23, the Bible tells us about a wealthy man who lived for eternity. “Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 23:50-51 New King James Version). Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, referred to as the council in this scripture.
This prominent member of the council who was waiting for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43), was a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). Joseph from Arimathea was waiting for the Kingdom of God; he did not agree with other council members on their plans and actions against Jesus (Luke 23:51). The Message says, “He lived in alert expectation of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51b). Matthew 27:57 also describes Joseph as “a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.”
After Jesus was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down. It was granted. Joseph and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin who was also a secret disciple of Jesus, gave Jesus a decent burial (John 19:38-41).
Whether you’re wealthy like the rich man or Joseph of Arimathea or you’re poor like Lazarus, prepare for eternity. Don’t let your wealth go to your head and don’t let your poverty make your only goal in life be how to break free from poverty but not concerned about eternity with God.
While it’s not wrong for anyone to seek to achieve a better life on earth, no one should, because of this, forfeit eternity with God. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37 New King James Version).
The best that life on earth offers cannot be compared to what awaits us in eternity. The early Christians knew this and lived by this understanding. The writer of Hebrews says, “You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail. When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity” (Hebrews 10:34 New Living Translation).
Prepare for eternity. Give your life to Jesus and live in obedience to His Word.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot 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 attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you 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 believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. 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 and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you 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. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not pursue the riches of this world and lose my soul. Father, deliver me from whatever can make me miss eternity with you. O Lord, help the rich and the poor to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and live for You.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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