From Here to Forever
Pause for a minute. Think about your life—about every moment from the time you were born until today. Think of all the living you’ve done, the challenges you’ve faced, and the future still before you.
Our time on earth is full and demanding, but the truth is that it’s only a brief period in our existence. Some day it will come to a close, and much sooner than we realize. On the horizon is the larger segment of our life—eternity with God—as we step beyond the threshold of this world and into the fullness of His kingdom. But how often do we think about the glorious future that awaits those who trust in Him?
If we’re honest, there’s so much to do right now that eternity is often an afterthought. We have relationships and responsibilities—dreams and goals and desires we long to see fulfilled. All of this can dominate our thoughts and dictate our actions, yet the fact remains: Our time in this world amounts to a tiny fragment of the whole. We would be foolish to spend all our energy only on the here and now.
The Bible tells us that one day “the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). In other words, your home, job, bank account, and temporal pursuits will vanish. Only one thing from the world as we know it will last—human beings. And they will dwell in one of two places: heaven or hell.
For us as believers in Christ, the greatest investment we can make today is in the eternal destiny of family, friends, neighbors, and strangers alike. Instead of focusing all your time, effort, and money on the things of this world, why not make a difference in someone’s future by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? In fact, this is more than just an investment; it’s your God-given responsibility, and Scripture explains why.
According to 1 Timothy 2:3-4, the Lord “desires all men to be saved” from sin and death. His offer of salvation excludes no one, and He reaches out to sinners with compassion and love. However, the Lord forgives only those who repent of their sin and believe Jesus is the Son of God, accepting His atoning sacrifice on their behalf. Though many people will resist or reject our message, we still have a responsibility to proclaim the good news of salvation at every opportunity. You never know when God will open someone’s heart to receive the Savior. Aren’t you glad the person who told you about Christ didn’t give up one hour before talking to you?
Yet, we should never think that receiving the gift of salvation is all the Lord intended for us. He wants us to continually grow in the knowledge of who He is—Truth itself—by communion with Him in prayer and the reading of Scripture. That’s how He transforms our character, attitudes, and behavior so that we’ll resemble His Son and impact nonbelievers. If we remain ignorant, we have nothing to share with those who don’t know the Messiah.
A few years ago, I led a memorial service for an amazing man who understood this principle of growing and sharing. At one point in his life, he was a gangster who was familiar with lying, robbery, murder, and prison. But when the Lord got hold of his heart, he was consumed with a desire to know God’s Word. He took his newfound knowledge to the prisons and witnessed to his friends—and even his enemies. Since he had been a prisoner himself, they were willing to listen, and countless men came to know Christ as their Savior. Millions of people know nothing about Jesus, and we’re the ones God has commanded to take the message to them. Both corporately as the church and individually in our spheres of influence, we have the responsibility to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Remember these truths as you do just that:
You are the light of the world.
Jesus told His disciples that they were “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). When light enters a room, it drives out the darkness, allowing those inside to see more clearly. Your presence should have that effect on those with whom you live and work. Some of the people in the room will be glad for the truth revealed to them, but others will reject it because they prefer the darkness that allows them to deny their sins and concoct their own “truth” (John 3:19-20).
You are the salt of the earth.
The Lord also said we are “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). Salt adds flavor and pre- serves food from corruption. Some people will respond favorably to your witness; they’ll want what you have because they see the love, joy, and peace of Christ displayed in your words, attitudes, and actions. Others feel the salt of your life as a stinging irritant and will want nothing to do with Jesus. However, no matter how people respond, we cannot stop sharing the message of salvation in Christ by means of both our example and words.
You are to teach them.
When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, He also told us to teach them to observe all that He commands us (Matt. 28:20). Too often, we focus on getting people through the door of salvation but then leave them standing alone on the threshold. After accepting Christ as my Savior, I needed someone to teach me the truths of Scripture and the ways of God. Remember, the Lord’s desire is that His people grow in the knowledge of truth so they can be transformed and equipped to reach others for Him. Our goal is to become disciples who can make disciples.
You are to warn them.
The message we share with the world has two sides—the good and the bad news. Our natural preference is to woo the lost with the benefits of trusting Christ as their Savior, but we also have a responsibility to warn them about the judgment that awaits those who reject Him. To withhold this hard truth may appear to be a loving approach, but it’s actually the opposite. Their eternal destiny is at stake. If you saw a thirty-foot wave advancing toward someone facing the opposite direction on the beach, wouldn’t you try to alert him of the imminent danger? It would be the loving thing to do. I know this is a difficult assignment, but as witnesses for Christ, we must not shy away from sharing any truth that the Holy Spirit is guiding us to discuss.
Now it’s your turn. How are you going to respond to what you have just read? Will you make an investment in eternity by sharing the gospel with someone who needs the Savior?
You have no idea what God can do if you’ll start growing in Christ and sharing your faith with others. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you have lived or where you are at the present time. Start by repenting of sin, and seek to know the truths of Scripture. Then the Lord will equip you for the work He’s specifically planned for you in His kingdom (Eph. 2:10).
The reward for doing your part to fulfill the Great Commission is two-fold. Not only will the eternal destiny of a lost person be changed, but someday you’ll be rewarded in heaven for your faithful obedience in doing what the Lord commanded: Go, and make disciples!
The article was selected from In Touch magazine.
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