Almost everybody wants to go to heaven. In a world where the mortality rate still sits at 100 percent, most of us hope for a better place once we depart this fallen earth. Many choose to assume that their deceased loved ones are in heaven because it’s simply too painful to consider any other possibility. And nobody wants to contemplate any other kind of afterlife when it comes to their own eternal destiny.
But to stake one’s eternity on hollow optimism and wishful thinking is nothing more than random and reckless guesswork. We need the concrete truths about heaven that are found in Scripture.
Christ’s earthly ministry clearly placed a very high priority on pointing people to heaven. Nicodemus (John 3:1–16), the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16–26), and the Pharisees (Luke 10:25–28) all asked Jesus how they might inherit eternal life, and Christ gave them detailed answers.
Conversely, Jesus also spent significant time teaching about the many seductive ways to certain destruction. John MacArthur’s message “Four Ways to Miss Heaven” examines one of the most detailed of those warning passages.
The sermon expounds John 8:21–30, where Jesus lays out four specific reasons that people die in their sins. Those four paths to certain damnation—self-righteousness, worldliness, unbelief, and willful ignorance—are as rampant today as they were among the Jewish audience the apostle John writes about.
We need to examine ourselves to assess whether we are really “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). And a major part of that self-examination is to consider any possibility that our faith is misplaced or fraudulent. To that end, “Four Ways to Miss Heaven” is an invaluable litmus test for our own Christian lives, helping us know whether we really are on the way to heaven.