Pilot Knob Lutheran How Can I Know for Certain? 4/26/2023
Over the past year or so I have visited with a man who was battling stage four cancer in three different organs. At times he was making good progress and was hopeful with chemo and surgery. However, while cancer in one area responded to treatment other areas of cancer did not. Finally, the decision was made after available treatments were exhausted to simply quit all treatment and let the cancer take its course. This is a scenario we hear of all too often.
After making that decision I visited not knowing how he was reacting to his decision. He was not angry, bitter, or whining; “Why me?” He assumed it would probably come to this when he was first diagnosed. I was not sure how I was going to approach the question of what he thought would happen at death, I would just see how our conversation would go.
No worry, God truly stepped in. Without my prompting he asked: “How can I be sure I’m going to heaven?” It could not have been clearer and more direct. It is interesting that when we see the end of life approaching all our earthly accomplishments, wealth, and possessions take back seat to what happens when we breath our last. Nothing is more important than that. It is also interesting and perhaps sad that someone can regularly attend church and not have assurance.
Well, you may be wondering how I responded. I do not recall the exact order of everything but, I shared with him the fact that we are all sinners: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and cannot enter heaven with unforgiven sin. He acknowledged he was a sinner like all of us. I then explained that we can never get to heaven by being the best person we can be or being religious or any other accomplishment. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. We talked about grace and how much God loves him. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. If eternal life is not by us doing something then what is needed? John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Eternal life is in a person, Jesus Christ whom we receive into our lives. Faith is not an intellectual understanding of facts, theology or of the bible. Faith is a surrender; it is placing our complete trust in Jesus to forgive and save.
After more discussion I asked if he and his wife would like to have that assurance to which they said yes. We prayed together confessing sin, and asking Jesus to come into their life as savior and to forgive their sin. Also, to give them assurance they are heaven bound. Upon sincerely praying the ‘sinner’s prayer’ their names were entered into the Lamb’s book of life. Isn’t God amazing?!
He is as of this writing (4/23) now in the church triumphant (heaven). My recent visit (4/20) found him in total peace with confidence he is was going to heaven, soon.
This is what truly matters in life. How important it is to be ready at any moment. Are you?
Pr. Bob Snitzer
By the Way:
Today 4:30 Confirmation class.
April 30, 9:00 AM Morning worship service. Sermon: Be Strong.
10:15 Sunday school.
2:00 3:30 GriefShare meeting.
May 7, 9:00 Confirmation Sunday
Sermons may be heard on KIOW 107.3 FM Sunday mornings at 7:00. Spread the word. If you would like to support this outreach with a contribution, it costs $55 each week.
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