Are You In?
Do you know if you are "in" yet? Are you assured of eternal life? Who is really going to Heaven?
Those may well be the most urgent question of our earthly existence. We live in a religious world that is by and large made up of multitudes who are either unconcerned or misguided as to their eternal soul. The only guidebook to Heaven is God's Word. The only Guide is God's Son who died on a Roman Cross as a Sacrificial Substitute for sin.
Dr. Berry was one of the first of the so-called New Theology men, who preached salvation by character rather than by the atoning blood of Christ, salvation by ethical culture rather than by personal faith in the Lord Jesus, salvation by reformation rather than by regeneration. Popular, eloquent and personally pleasing, he attracted large audiences, who hung upon his words and depended upon him as their spiritual mentor.
But a great change was seen in his preaching, which resulted from a new experience with God which revolutionized his thinking. He said that late one stormy night, as he was preparing to retire, the doorbell rang. When he went down and opened the door, there stood a poorly dressed young woman who asked if he was the minister. Upon being assured that he was, she begged him to go with her at once to get her mother in.
He thought that she meant that her poor mother was out in the storm and the darkness in an intoxicated condition; so he demurred, saying he could hardly be expected to go out and get her mother in and suggested that she see a policeman who might give the help required.
The girl explained that her mother was not drunk and added, "You must come with me. My mother is dying, and she is afraid to die. She wants to go to heaven, but she doesn't know how to get in. I told her I'd get a preacher to take her in. Do come sir, and get my mother in"
He now understood that the dying woman needed someone who could show her the way of salvation, but he hesitated, thinking it was hardly a case for him. He urged the girl to go to a missionary living near the wretched locality in which she lived. But she refused. She insisted she wanted a real minister and begged him to go with her. "Do come, sir. I want you to get my mother in before it's too late. Please sir, do come with me."
At last, he consented to go, and the girl led the way to one of the worst sections of the city. In this miserable neighborhood, she took him into a tenement house and up a rickety flight of stairs to a poverty-stricken room. Down stairs many men and women were drinking and carousing, and the air resounded with horrid oaths and vile language. The minister found the poor woman lying on a miserable makeshift of a bed, evidently near to death.
"I've brought him!" exclaimed the daughter. "I've got the minister from the big church where the swells go. He'll get you in, Mother. Just do what he says."
"What can I do for you, my poor woman?" he inquired as kindly as he could.
"Why sir, I'm dying, and I want you to get me into heaven. I've been a great sinner, and I don't know how to get in."
The minister began to speak of the necessity of a good life, of building a noble character, and how goodness always paid in the end.
"You don't understand, sir!" she cried. "That won't do! I'm dying and I've lived a bad life. It's too late for me. Oh, can't you get me in?"
He tried again and gave some good advice and endeavored to comfort her by expressing the hope that all would be well if she would only seek to lead a Christian life.
"That won't do!" she exclaimed. I'm a poor sinner! I've no time to lead a Christian life. I'm dying and I want to go in. Oh, can't you tell me how I may get into heaven?"
Dr. Berry did not know what to say or how to comfort her. At last he thought, "Why not tell her what my mother used to tell me? Why not give her some of the simple texts and Gospel stories I learned as a child?"
With this in mind he began to repeat some of the precious Gospel verses telling of God's love for sinners and of the Savior who had died to redeem. The woman listened eagerly. "That's it! That ought to get me in, shouldn't it! Did he die for sinners? Then that should get me in."
Stirred to the depths of his own being, he told the story of the cross as he had not preached it for years. Like a thirsty soul, she drank in the living water. Finally, he knelt and prayed with her. She trusted Christ for herself. Her fears were allayed and she entered into peace.
"Jowett," said Dr. Berry years afterward, "I helped get her in that night, and while I was helping to get her in, I got myself in also!"
Jesus talked more about HELL than He did about Heaven for a reason, "many will say to Me in that day - LORD, LORD…and I will say DEPART FROM ME!" (Matthew 7:21). Be sure while you can that you are born again and Heavenward Bound!
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