No, Not Everyone Will Go To Heaven
Preachers are asked lots of questions. Some questions are hard to understand and answer, while others have a straightforward Bible answer that is hard to hear.
These are a few of the questions (and their follow-ups) that seem to come up year after year.
1.Is everyone going to Heaven?
No. According to Jesus in Matthew 7:21, the only ones who will go to heaven are those who, “do the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
2.Oh, so only Christians will go to heaven?
No. Only Christians who “do the will of My Father who is in Heaven” will go to heaven.
3.Wait, you mean some Christians, or believers, will go to hell?
Yes, that’s what He said. Right before Jesus made that “will of My Father” statement, He discussed the broad and narrow gates. Remember, “… the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Only a few will make it, and that is because only a few will “do the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”
Verse 22 indicates that many believers will have done many things in the name of Jesus, but those things are categorized by Him as “lawlessness” because they we not the “will of My Father.” So these verses make Heaven a matter of doing the will of God.
4.Isn’t that legalistic?
No. It’s Biblical. We should not be surprised when the Creator demands our obedience to His will. According to the Apostle Paul, we are “saved by grace through faith.” His grace, our faith.
Faith in Him and His promises can only be expressed by the doing of His will. There is no other way to be “faithful.” That is precisely why James said, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17).
5.Do “Church of Christ people” think they are the only ones going to Heaven?
I don’t know what other folks think, but I think Jesus was right when He said “he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.” I’ve been asked that question a thousand times, and my answer is the same: Jesus told us who is and who is not going to make it. It’s not about affiliation or names on a sign, it’s simply about doing what God said do.
6.Why don’t you like to be called “Pastor?”
In the New Testament the word “pastor” is linked up with words like shepherd, elder and overseer (1 Timothy 3:1-7). So it speaks of the “office” or function of a person. My function for the Northside Church of Christ is primarily that of evangelist and teacher (Ephesians 4:11). We have pastors, elders, shepherds at Northside, and they do their work as I do mine.
7.Why don’t you like to be called “Reverend?”
That’s God’s name, not mine (Psalm 111:9). Please don’t call me that. Stop it.
8.Why don’t you folks use instruments in worship?
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 indicate to us that we should sing. So we sing.
9.Well, they used instruments in the Old Testament, didn’t they?
Yes. God commanded it, and they did it. There is no such command in the New Testament. We are told to sing, so we sing.
10.But the New Testament doesn’t say we can’t use instruments, does it?
No. Wait, yes. When God issues a specific command, we must follow that specific command if we intend to “do the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”
For instance, God told Noah to use gopher wood. Could he have also used red oak? God didn’t say not to use red oak, did He? We understand the positive, specific nature of “singing and make melody with your heart to the Lord.” Sing. That’s what He said, so that’s what we do.
11.But we like the way our band sounds.
I know. See #1 above.
What if I said I would like to add coffee and donuts as an option for unleavened bread and fruit of the vine as we observe the Lord’s Supper. You ok with that? He said sing. So we sing.
12.Why don’t you tell people to say the sinner’s prayer in order to be saved?
Because it’s not in the Bible. Stop doing that.
No one was ever told to do that in order to be saved. Saul (Paul) was told by Ananias, after he had prayed and fasted three days, to “… Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins…” (Acts 22:16). That’s what the Bible says, so that’s what we teach.
14.Are you sure?
Yes. Yes, I am. In Acts 2, when the crowd realized they had conspired to kill Jesus, they asked, “What shall we do.” Peter’s response had nothing to do with a “sinner’s prayer.” He told them to repent and be baptized so their sins could be forgiven. It’s that simple.
Also, this “sinner’s prayer” business is a recent invention. Go back to #1 and ask, “What is the will of the Father regarding the salvation process?” The answer is clearly shown in the whole book of Acts. Conversion after conversion, and all you have is hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of your sins, confess Him as Lord, and be baptized to wash your sins away. There is no sinner’s prayer in the New Testament. Stop it.
15.Are you mad about the “sinner’s prayer?” You sound mad.
Yes. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practiced lawlessness.’”
It riles me up that so many good hearted believers have been told to say a prayer to effect salvation, when the Bible clearly teaches faith in God leads to repentance and baptism in order to bring about salvation. That’s exactly why Peter said, “baptism now saves you,” because that is the only proper response to the sinner’s plight. Once again, Acts 22:16, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”
16.So, baptism is important?
Only if you want to be saved. Baptism is the thing commanded to bring about or effect salvation. In the Acts of the Apostles, baptism is presented to us as the final act of initial obedience to the Gospel. When you hear the Truth and decide to obey it, as 3,000 did on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, you are baptized for the remission of your sins. It’s the culminating act of the salvation process. Baptism is absolutely essential to salvation.
17.But I thought it was merely and outward response to an inward conviction.
No. Stop saying that. Baptism is that which “saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).
Consider this: In Romans 6:4, the act of baptism is compared to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. So, listen carefully: Being buried in baptism and raised up out of the water is only as important as is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus had to be killed on the cross, buried, and resurrected in order to save us, then we must be baptized to be saved. Romans 6:4 is a powerful Text.
18.Which denominations are the right ones?
Denominations aren’t in the Bible. Just Christians. Be a Christian.
19.What do you mean?
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
There is one body, and that means one church, or one collection of saints, and that’s because there is one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith and one God. There is nothing in the Text to indication “we’re all going to the same place, just taking different roads.” That’s made up stuff. Stop it, and go back to #1 and be a Christian.