GODíS DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO GET HOME
Have you ever been lost, and didnít know where you were? It's really scary. No one likes the feeling of being lost.
Imagine that one day you are with some friends in your hometown, but you get separated, and suddenly you realize that you are lost. You ask a kind old gentleman in a candy store if he can help you. You tell him your house is on Lincoln Street, and he smiles and says, "I can give you directions. My store is on Main Street. Go out the front door, and turn to the left. Walk one block to the stop light. Turn right, and walk two more blocks until you see a sign that says ĎLincoln Street.í Turn left, and you'll see your house." So you follow his directions, and soon you are back home where you belong--because you did exactly what he told you to do.
When God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, He put them in the Garden of Eden (read Genesis 2:8-15). It was a beautiful place where they had all the food they needed, and a special friendship with God. God told them they could eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (read Genesis 2:16-17). But Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and ate fruit from that tree anyway. When we disobey God, it is called "sin," because we do not follow Godís instructions. When they sinned, Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, and they no longer had a special friendship with their heavenly Father. Sin always causes our relationship with God to be damaged. In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah told Godís people that when they sinned it caused them to be separated from God (read Isaiah 59:1-2). In other words, their sin caused them to be "lost," and as a result they couldnít find their way home to heaven.
God wants us to go to heaven, but how can we do that? Like the kind old gentleman in the candy store, God can help us find our way home, but we must follow the directions He gives us. We find those directions in the New Testament.
First, we must hear Godís instructions so that we know what to do. This is how we build our faith in God (read Romans 10:17).
Second, we must believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to become our Savior and to save us from our sins (read John 3:16 and Acts 16:31).
Third, we must repent of our sins. This means that we are sorry for the wrong we have done, and that we are willing to start doing what is right (read Luke 13:3).
Fourth, we must be willing to tell others that Jesus is Godís Son so that they, too, can be saved from their sins if they follow His instructions (read Romans 10:9-10).
Fifth, we must be baptized to wash away our sins (read Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16). Baptism is where someone puts you completely under water and raises you up. This pictures the burial and resurrection of Jesus (read Romans 6:3-4). The Bible tells about people who wanted to be forgiven of their sins. One of those people was Saul (read Acts 22:3-16), who was a Jew that hated Christians. One day while on a trip, a bright light surrounded Saul, and Jesus told him he was wrong to dislike Christians. Saul was sorry for how he had acted, and was willing to change. He wanted to know what to do to be forgiven of his sins, so he asked, "What shall I do, Lord?" Jesus told him to go to Damascus, and to wait for instructions. Saul obeyed. Then, God sent a man named Ananias with this message: "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins...." To be forgiven of his sins, Saul had to be baptized.
Sixth, after our sins have been forgiven, we must live a faithful Christian life (read Revelation 2:10) so that when we die, we can go to heaven.
One of the reasons God gave us the Bible was to provide us with directions that would lead us to heaven. But what if we do not follow those directions exactly as God gave them to us? If we had not followed the directions from the man in the candy store exactly as he gave them, would we have gotten home safely? No! If we do not follow Godís directions exactly as He gave them, can we be forgiven of our sins, and find our way home to heaven? No! We need to remember that it is important to follow all of Godís irections if we want to live with Him in heaven one day.