WHOM DO YOU WANT
TO TAKE TO HEAVEN?
INTRODUCTION: The story is told of the
church members of a well to do congregation arriving for services on a
particular Sunday. As each member arrived they saw a "bum" rummaging through
their dumpster. No one bothered to go over to invite him to services. Some
thought it was disgraceful that he was on their property. Some thought
that he would surely come around panhandling. Finally, someone went over
to the dumpster and told him that he had to leave the property immediately
because he was trespassing. Services started and the preacher was nowhere
in sight. As the song before the sermon was sung the "bum" enter through
a different door, proceeded to step into the pulpit and reveal himself
as the preacher! Not a single person had thought him "worthy" of salvation.
This seems to be the attitude of many of
us, even though we are often unwilling to admit it. There are those whom
we consider unworthy of eternal life. What did the Lord teach concerning
I. THE LORD TAUGHT THAT ALL ARE PROSPECTS
FOR THE GOSPEL.
A. Jesus told us that we are to
reach out to all with the gospel.
II. OTHER PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
WHICH SHOW US THAT GOD WANTS US TO REACH OUT TO ALL WITH THE GOSPEL.
1. Mark 16:15,16 - And He said
to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe
will be condemned."
2. Luke 14:12-14 Then He also said to him
who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends,
your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite
you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor,
the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they
cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
3. Luke 14:21-23 "So that servant
came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house,
being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and
lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame
and the blind.' "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded,
and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out
into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house
may be filled."
B. The attitude that Jesus teaches us to have
toward our enemies shows that all deserve the Gospel.
1. Matthew 5:43-48
C. Even the Lordís parable of the sower illustrates
2. If our enemies are deserving of our
love and concern, isnít everyone deserving of the gospel?
1. Luke 8:5ff
2. Notice that the sower went forth to
sow. He scattered his seed without discrimination. Anyone who has seen
seed "broadcasted" realizes that you must sow a lot of seed that will not
ever bear fruit.
A. There are no racial distinctions
in the body of Christ - all races may one in Christ.
III. LOOK AT A CROSS SECTION OF PERSONS
JESUS THOUGHT WERE WORTHY OF HIS TIME.
1. Galatians 3:26-28 "For you
are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as
were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor
Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
B. The first century church was made up of
individuals who had been among the "scum of the earth."
2. Ephesians 2:13, 14 - "But now in Christ
Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of
Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken
down the middle wall of separation,"
1. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Do you
not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,
nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers,
nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of
you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
C. God wants every person to be saved, not
just those whom we think worthy.
2. All these individuals were the kind
of persons we would consider a "poor prospect" for the gospel. They heard
the gospel and willingly gave up their sinful lives.
1. 1 Timothy 2:3,4 - "For this
is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all
men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2. Only one way to become "unworthy" of salvation
(i.e. not a fit candidate for salvation).
a. If God wants all men to be
saved, donít we have an obligation to not assume anyone cannot respond.
a. Acts 13:46 - Then Paul and
Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should
be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy
of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
b. It is when we refuse the offer of salvation
that we become disqualified to obey the gospel.
A. A Samaritan woman.
CONCLUSION: There are, of course, various
soils (conditions of sinnersí hearts). Some are more likely to obey than
others. But let us never completely write off anyone because of outward
conditions. The person we dismiss just may be another Paul or Peter.
1. She had "three strikes" that
would have disqualified her in Jesusí time.
B. Nicodemus. (John 3:1ff)
2. But Jesus saw a potential in her and reached
out to her.
a. She was a woman - most men
would not talk to women publicly.
b. She was a Samaritan - Samaritans were
of a mixed race, part Jewish and part Gentile, and were thus despised by
c. She was immoral - Jesus knew that she
had been married five times and was currently living with a man (John 4:16-18).
a. As a result she believed and
took the message into the city to others.
b. John 4:39 - And many of the Samaritans
of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified,
"He told me all that I ever did."
1. Nicodemus was a religious leader,
being a Pharisee (verse 1).
C. Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-8)
2. He had a partial knowledge of Jesus,
knowing that he must be a prophet but not fully understanding that he was
the Son of God. (Verse 2).
3. Nicodemus was on the other extreme from
the Samaritan woman. He was religious, and probably a very moral man. But
Jesus challenged him with his need to be born again.
4. We can sometimes go the opposite extreme,
thinking that those who are "good people" either donít need salvation or
wonít respond like those who are immoral.
5. All need the gospel (Ephesians 2:7-9).
1. Zacchaeus was a tax collector,
and was hated by his own people, for being allied to the Romans and as
a thief. Tax collectors in Jesusí day were allowed to exact as much money
as they could squeeze out of their subjects and keep all above what the
D. A woman caught in adultery (John 8).
2. But again, Jesus saw potential in this
little man who climbed up a tree to see him. He could sense a spiritual
hunger in the man.
3. Luke 19:5 - And when Jesus came to the
place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste
and come down, for today I must stay at your house."
4. This concern for Zacchaeusí soul paid
off. He repented and followed Jesus (verses 8-9).
1. The Law of Moses directed that
one convicted of adultery be stoned to death (John 8:5).
2. But Jesus understood that her accusers
had the wrong motive in mind when they brought her to him, hoping to trip
him up (where was the man in this situation where she was caught in the
3. Jesus did not condemn her without any
hope of restoration. His words, "go and sin no more" (verse 11) show a
savior who grants forgiveness but also challenges her to start a new life
Copyright 1999 by Grady
Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.