Today's Word for Pastors...
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:43
Today's Preaching Insight...
Teens confused about how to get to heaven
A recent LifeWay Research survey of American teens shows that most believe in heaven but have mixed views about how to get there.
According to a May 23, 2007 Baptist Press story: Results show that 69 percent of teens believe heaven exists. Also, a majority strongly agree with the traditional Christian belief in Jesus Christ's death for their sins as the reason they will go to heaven (53 percent). Yet while many teens believe they will go to heaven because of their belief in Jesus Christ, one-quarter trust in their own kindness to others (27 percent) or their religiosity (26 percent) as their means to get to heaven.
Out of the 69 percent of the teens who strongly or somewhat agree they will go to heaven because Jesus Christ died for their sins, 60 percent also agree that they will go to heaven because they are religious and 60 percent also agree they will go to heaven because they are kind to others.
That leaves approximately 28 percent of American teenagers who are trusting only in Jesus Christ as their means to get to heaven.
"This is where confusion and perhaps a bit of self-made salvation have crept in," Scott Stevens, LifeWay's director of student ministry, noted." Why would teenagers feel the need to add anything to Jesus' work on the cross? Maybe it's because so many of them are fully engulfed in a performance-based existence where they are constantly striving to earn the favor and acceptance of those around them, especially those in positions of authority. How often do these teens experience unconditional love at home, school, or even in their church?"
"The central theme of Christianity is the person and work of Jesus Christ -- His death and resurrection," said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, adding, "It is surprising that only about half the teenagers who attended a Christian church in the last month are depending solely on the grace of Jesus Christ to get to heaven." (Click here to read the full article.)
David Jeremiah points out that in the 1980s, the Smith-Barney brokerage firm made a series of commercials in which distinguished actor John Houseman spoke the famous line, "We make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it!" Sometime later, based on that commercial, a Christian cartoonist showed some Pharisees arguing with Jesus about salvation. Their punch line? "We get our salvation the old-fashioned way. We earn it!"
Those commercials were a success partly because they appealed to something in fallen human nature: the desire to work and pay our own way. The Bible commends that attitude in many respects (2 Thess. 3:10), but not when it comes to salvation. The problem with earning our salvation is that we could never do enough. Committing one sin is the same as committing them all. And once a sin is committed, it's like a spoken word -- there's no getting it back. The biggest challenge facing the early church was helping Jewish believers set aside law and tradition as a way of earning approval with God.
Don't try to be saved the old-fashioned way. Receive salvation the way God offers it through Christ: as a gift of grace through faith. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 5-29-07)