Not in Vain :: By Dennis Huebshman

1 Corinthians 15:58; “Therefore my beloved brothers/sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” Please note, this does not mean we are saved by works, but anything we do to honor Jesus is not a wasted or vain effort. It may be just giving a cup of water in the name of Jesus to someone in need. This would be considered being a good example of a disciple of the Savior (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41 – all emphasis mine).

Acts 16:25-34 is the story of Paul and Silas in prison, having been beaten with rods and locked in stocks. About midnight, an earthquake took place that opened all doors and stocks as well. The jailer thought everyone had escaped, and was about to take his own life. Paul yelled out that no one had left, and subsequently, the jailer and his whole family became believers in Jesus. The term “Jesus Saves” took on new meaning for this person.

In the above story, because of the harsh treatment Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners had suffered through that jailer’s actions, many people would feel it would’ve been totally justified to let him kill himself. However, just as Jesus forgave those who were crucifying Him in Luke 23:34, Paul showed grace and mercy toward that jailer, which ended up with several lost souls being brought to the Lord. Saving anyone from Hell is not done in vain.

Just because we may not like someone, we are commanded to love all our brothers and sisters. Looking at Matthew 22:37-40; “And He [Jesus] said to him [a lawyer], You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; you shall love your neighbor [everyone else] as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

These two commandments given by the Savior incorporate all Ten Commandments given to Moses by the Father. As stated, we may not like someone, just as the Savior did not “like” the pious religious leaders; however, because each and every one is a creation of the Father, we are to love people for their immortal souls. Everyone will live forever somewhere, but where that will be is totally up to a person’s choices made while in human form.

There will be many that will bypass the gift that our Savior made available for everyone at Calvary. They will be more into the things of this earth and will be led astray by Satan from thinking about eternity. The here and now, and the “Me” syndrome will prevail. There will be less that understand we are only here temporarily, not seeing the big overall picture.

Matthew 7:13-14 says it best; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The hard part about the straight and narrow is trying to live for Jesus and not be alarmed by our treatment from the world. Satan and his followers are attacking anything that has to do with Jesus and anyone trying to live righteously for Him. They see this as a threat and therefore do everything they can to shut us down. Our greatest hope is to put our total faith and trust in the Savior and be comforted by John 16:33, where He tells us He has overcome the world. The secular world wants nothing to do with hearing about their sinful ways.

We may feel we are totally outnumbered and alone in our choice to follow Jesus. One thing to remember is Elijah’s testimony to the Father that he alone was left after “all other” prophets had been killed (1 Kings 19). God’s answer to him was that there were 7,000 in Israel that had not bowed to Baal. In fact, this led him to Elisha, who followed in Elijah’s footsteps, and was present when Elijah was taken up (Raptured) to heaven (2 Kings 2).

It’s not just the secular world that turns away from righteous teachings; we have numerous “evangelical” churches that are not preaching God’s true word anymore. Sin is taboo to bring up, and don’t even mention end-times or Rapture. Just give ear-tickling sermons, supplemented by light shows and upbeat music. Keep the “one to three hour a week Christians” coming back to fill seats and collection plates. If the message upsets them, they will go elsewhere to get the “candy-coated” sermons. After all, what they do outside of church is no one else’s business. (Try telling God that!)

Oh yes, and don’t forget there are many ways to heaven without Jesus, and all religions worship the same god. Some even say God is a neutral-gender being, and some actually refer to Him as a female. There are some previously Bible-based organized religions that say all relationships are now proper and acceptable, and all previously mentioned abominations in Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 22:5; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 5:19-21 and Revelation 21:8 just don’t apply anymore. These people need a Bible written in pencil so that they can just “erase” anything they don’t particularly like.

There will be one major judgment at the end of the Savior’s millennial reign for all who disobeyed God’s will prior to Calvary, and all who would not accept Jesus from Calvary to the end of the millennium. The false prophet and antichrist of the tribulation will be the first occupants of the Lake of Fire at the end of the 7-year wrath (Revelation 19:20), followed by Satan a thousand years later (Revelation 20:10). Then, all the lost from the very beginning to the White Throne Judgment will be advised of their personal eternal degree of punishment and will join Satan in Hell. As in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, all lost souls will have started their torment at the moment of their death. It will become final at the last judgment for them as given in Revelation 20:11-15. There is no reprieve from this judgment, and everyone there will be made to understand they earned their place there. All the faithful will be at peace, just as Lazarus was.

All those who followed God’s will and all who called on Jesus to be their Savior will go through different Judgments at different times, but none of these are for punishment. Our individual judgment will be to receive or lose rewards, but no matter what, we will be with Jesus forever. Our love for Him and our worship of Him will not be in vain.

As mentioned earlier, where each and every soul will end up will have been made by the choice of each individual. There are some that are adamant about hating anything pertaining to Christianity. There are others that will be “passively” lost because they thought they were “good” and it wasn’t necessary to call out and form a relationship with the Savior. Some of them will even have sat in church services all their lives and figured they were saved just by their attendance.

Romans 10:9-12 is the procedure to follow, and John 14:6 is the absolute reason why. It all comes down to this: if you have Jesus, you have Heaven; if not, you have Hell (John 3:18; 1 John 5:12; Acts 4:12 and Romans 8:1).

You would not be wasting your time right now if you were to seriously consider whether or not you really have a relationship with Jesus. He paid for your sins (and mine) totally with His precious shed blood, and only by accepting His gift will you be saved. Any other “road” taken leads straight to Hell.

God will not force anyone to accept and receive His Son but will accept all who call on Him to be their Savior. The time for all true believers to be raptured to meet Jesus in the air is rapidly approaching (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). In fact, with all the signs in place right now, it could happen at any moment. Your decision; your choice. Jesus or Satan; Heaven or Hell. Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).

Ahava B’Shem Yeshua! (Love in the Name of Jesus!)