- Have you ever thought what it would be
like to own a holiday cottage in the mountains?
- I've got good news for you … you've just
been left a luxury mountain retreat by a wealthy relative whom
you'd forgotten ever existed. Your 'cottage' is actually a very
large furnished house, with a thatch roof, that has only just been
completed. It stands all alone on a ridge and the view is
spectacular … you can see forever. It is the perfect place to
escape the pressures of the world.
- Can you see any snags …any dangers? [
Lightning, Fire ]
- What will you do to protect your precious
new home? [Lightning conductors, Insurance]
- Will any insurance company do? In
choosing a company, what would you be looking for? [ Good solid
reputation, a record of paying out on claims ]
- Will any policy do? In choosing a policy,
what would you be looking for? [Complete cover, clear conditions,
everything in writing, reasonable premium ]
- How careful would you be to comply with
every condition spelled out in the policy?
- How would you react if your insurance
broker told you not to bother complying with some of the more
inconvenient conditions, like regularly fire-proofing the thatch?
- Would you consider firing him?
- This is a very precious house. Would you
consider saving on the premiums and taking some or all of the risk
- Seriously, now … Is this how you would
really protect a valuable property against fire?
- As responsible people, that's how we protect ourselves against fire in this life. How are we protecting ourselves against the fire of hell, "where the fire never goes out"?
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.
1. Amos 4:13
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth-- the LORD God Almighty is his name.
Let's look at God's Fire Insurance Policy, his Terms and Premiums.
2. John 14:1-6
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Q: What does Jesus mean by 'many rooms'? A place for 'many people with different policies' or a place for 'many different people covered by the same policy'?
3. John 14:23-27
23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 "All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Q: Like all insurance policies, God is offering us the benefit of 'Peace of Mind' here on earth, but what is the premium we must pay?
A: Obedience to his teaching
4. John 15:1-10
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
Q: What is Jesus teaching here? What does he mean by 'bear much fruit'?
5. John 17:20-23
20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
This is part of the longest prayer in the Bible, prayed with his disciples after the Last Supper.
Q: What is his main theme? Does it sound like he is offering a number of different policies.. one tailor-made for every need.. whatever you feel comfortable with?
6. Matthew 7:21-23
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Q: What's Jesus warning us about here?
A: You have to 'Walk the Talk', do what he commands. Belief alone is simply not enough.
So you can't just pay your annual premiums. You also have to regularly fire-proof the thatch !
7. Galatians 1:1-10
1 Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--
2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--
7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Q: What is Paul warning us about here?
A: Don't listen to any broker telling you not to worry about the fine print in God's fire insurance policy…. Or adding a few clauses of his own. Check it out for yourself.
8. Revelation 22:18-19
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
This is John's Final Warning in the Bible…Don't add anything and don't leave anything out. Your insurance against eternal fire depends on it.
Q: So what have we learned from this discussion?
A: If we want peace of mind in this life, and confidence that we will make it to Heaven after we die, we had better get to know what the Bible really says about our salvation. Relying on what you've heard others saying, however well qualified they may sound, could be a fatal mistake, a mistake with some very unpleasant long-term consequences.