Once upon a time there were a dozen people gathered in a room. There wasn’t much to the room except for the doorway at the front.
There was great speculation among the group as to what was on the other side of the door. No one knew for sure. All they knew was that they were told to prepare for their exit.
Then, one at a time, they were called to the doorway, the door was quickly opened, and they were pushed through it. As they exited, the door was closed, and no one ever saw them again.
Naturally, those left behind who were preparing for their own exit wondered what was on the other side of the door and how the men and women had fared who walked through it.
Some of them anticipated a party on the other side of the door so they spent their time getting dressed up and properly groomed.
Some thought the door led outside so they applied sunscreen and grabbed a pair of sunglasses as they prepared for their exit.
On and on the list of suspicions went. And, according to each one’s suspicion, they took the appropriate measures to prepare.
But, there was a young lady who seemed out of place. Instead of getting dressed up and ready, she simply put on a parachute and awaited her turn. She had a handbook in her hand that led her to believe that they were in an airplane and that walking through the door would lead each of them to a 15,000 foot drop.
As she wore that parachute, she was mocked. She was ridiculed. Plenty of folks told her that they were prepared for their exit and that others shared their suspicions about what was on the other side of the door. Further, it was pointed out that absolutely no one else had a parachute on. Obviously, she was out of place …
… because so many people couldn’t be wrong.
But, that young woman refused to take off her parachute. Names continued to be called and everyone, one-by-by, was pushed through the doorway.
As her name was called, she stepped to the door, it was thrown open, and she was pushed through.
Initially, she felt terror. She was falling!
But soon, she felt as free as a bird. She was falling rapidly to the ground, some 15,000 feet below, but she had prepared. Her parachute was firmly affixed to her back. She would survive the exit from that doorway.
But, then terror filled her heart.
As she pulled the ripcord and her parachute safely deployed, she thought of all of those who had exited the door before her and those who were soon to exit.
They didn’t have a parachute!
And once they were pushed through the door and realized their mistake, it was too late. They would fall to their death!
Friend, one day your name and my name will be called. We will be pushed through the door of death into eternity.
Before we walk through that door, we look around us and see all sorts of people preparing for what they anticipate is on the other side.
But, they don’t have the luxury of talking to anyone who has actually walked through the door into eternity. They don’t have the luxury of hearing if anyone got it wrong – they thought they were headed for Heaven but ended up in Hell.
The absolute worst thing we could do as we prepare for our exit is to compare ourselves to others who haven’t exited yet. The following biblical principle warns us of such a thing.
2 Corinthians 10:12 (CSB) “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.”
There is no shortage of people within Christendom who look around at their peers (who have lowered the biblical standard of the Gospel) and feel as if they are as good as them. Sure, they are no more like Jesus than one of the demons of Hell. Holiness is not something that they are pursuing … or even desire to pursue. But at least they’ve said a prayer so they must be ready for the exit – or so they think.
Hebrews 12:14 (CSB) “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.”
It is dangerous to look for our comfort in comparing ourselves to others as we determine if we are prepared for the exit. Everyone around us could be wrong!
So, how do we know we are ready for the exit?
Friend, God has graciously given us the handbook. It’s called the Bible.
It tells us about the Gospel. It tells us that we are guilty before a holy God and deserve judgment. But, God loves us so much that He sent His Only Son, Jesus, to pay our sin debt on the cross if we will only repent (turn from sin and self-rule) and transfer our trust to Him, relying upon what He did for us on the cross to forgive us and save us.
In fact, the Gospel of John was specifically written to reveal to us how we can be saved…
John 20:31 (CSB) “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
You want to prepare for the exit? You want to know how to spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord? Then read the Gospel of John and make the necessary adjustments in your life. Trust in Jesus and follow Him.
But, how can you know for sure that you are saved? Fortunately, the Bible gives us this information, too! Just read another book the Apostle John wrote that was intended to help us determine if our faith is saving faith. Read 1 John.
1 John 5:13 (CSB) “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
If you want to know if you are prepared for the jump, just read through the book of 1 John. Treat it as a mirror to help you look at your own heart and life. Realize that while you and I will continue to struggle with sin until the day we die, John presents very clear attributes and attitudes that help us to determine if Jesus really resides within our hearts.
Important Point: The attributes and attitudes mentioned in 1 John don’t save us. We are saved by trusting in Jesus. But the attributes and attitudes mentioned in 1 John reveal if our faith is genuine saving faith. Because if we have truly trusted in Jesus, He will begin the work of making us more like Him.
Philippians 1:6 (CSB) “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
But, please, please, PLEASE, don’t simply compare yourself to everyone else around you. Many people will get it wrong.
Matthew 7:21-23 (CSB) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!'”