Our opposite neighbour told me early in the week that he and his wife were going away for the long weekend (this one). Last night when I arrived home his caravan was outside the garage and he was sorting and packing to make certain he had all the right things they would need for the weekend. If you have done caravanning or camping you would know that once at your destination, normally far from shops, you better have what you’ll need or you go without. Naturally it’s food, clothing, bedding, toiletries, table, chairs, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery, not forgetting the sharp knife, potato peeler, cheese slicer, gas, wood, braai grid, tongs, candles, matches, electrical fitting for power, etc. Is the license current; is the van insured; are the tyres pumped up … and a host of other check list items. Once there, you do without what you forgot. This afternoon they left for their long weekend get-a-way. Have you ever thought about what to pack for your journey to heaven?
Your Bible is vital and key because it is the road map for the journey so that you don’t get lost.
Salvation. Although listed after the Bible is paramount because without it you won’t understand the Bible and lose your moral compass.
Prayer shows that you just can’t make it alone. You need help from the Lord Jesus.
A healthy, Bible based Church Fellowship is necessary for teaching, being discipled, serving and fellowshipping with the beloved in Christ.
A spontaneous use of your spiritual gift mix for the benefit of the Body of Christ.
Perseverance in holiness. I am certain you can add to this list. When packing a caravan for vanning or a trailer for camping. It’s easy to pack the wrong things. For argument sake, you will take a garden spade and even a fork … possibly you’ll take the tree cutter to remove branches or the chopper … but you won’t take the lawnmower or weed eater with you. That would be taking wrong things with you. Some, packing for heaven’s journey might include the wrong things. Read through the story of the Ten Virgins
Mt 25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
What did five of them not pack? Yes, they forgot to pack oil and we not only stranded … they were left out … and by implication they were left out of heaven! What do you think they packed though? Was it possibly the fact that they were Jews … and whatever happened the Bridegroom would not forget them. Was it perhaps that because Jews were to share (Ubuntu) as part of the people of God that even if they were negligent spiritually others would drag them into the Wedding Supper? Many today pack the wrong things for their journey to heaven too … thinking they have covered their basis and will never be left out or discarded! Some of the wrong things people pack include:
Keeping the Ten Commandments. It’s good to know and understand the Ten Commandments, especially as Jesus expounds them in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. These Commands are a school master showing us what sin is … but they do not save.
Doing Good Works. Good Works are great and important … they prove salvation but they cannot save. (See Ephesians 2v10). You cannot work your way into heaven through doing good deeds to your neighbours, friends or the poor. It’s good to do this but they cannot save your soul.
Keeping the Golden Rule. People say most religions follow the Golden Rule. Some say Jesus was quoting from
Lev 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
When He taught
Mat 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
This is noble and required but it cannot save you.
Bringing your Tithes. Giving financially through tithing is Biblical. It’s like Good Works proving where you heart is and assisting the Church to keep its doors open and continue with gospel work. But it cannot save you. You cannot buy heaven irrespective how much you bring in tithes and offerings.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These sacraments are greatly misunderstood. Many think that their baptism, be it as an infant or as an adult, saves them from their sin. In a similar way many think that coming to the Lord’s Table cleanses them from their sin. Baptism is an identification with Jesus as Lord and the Lord’s Table is coming together in remembrance of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. They don’t save.
Church Membership. Where it is good to be a signed, active member of the church, membership does not and cannot save. Packing the wrong things for vanning or camping could result is a disappointing holiday. Packing the wrong things for your journey towards heaven could be so disappointing because you never reach heaven due to you trusting the wrong things to get you there! Paul and Silas said to the Philippian jailer’s crying question
Ac 16:30 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Ac 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Packing the wrong things for the journey to heaven will result in you not getting there. You will be like those five silly virgins! Dear God, thank You for showing us the way of salvation. Thank You that You accomplished such an awesome salvation that is secured through faith in what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross in our place. Help us never to trust anyone or anything else for our salvation. Help us to cherish the Old Rugged Cross to get us to heaven. Amen.