Appointed to Eternal Life

Dear Brethren,

In 1958, Louisiana State University’s Fighting Tigers football team won its first National Championship.  That put LSU on the map!  About 45 years ago, Billy Graham, world renowned preacher, brought his Evangelistic Crusade to Baton Rouge’s Louisiana State University Stadium.  I had graduated from LSU only a few years before – and I went to hear him. It was a time in my life when I was still searching for the Truth.  I had heard Mr. Armstrong on the radio – but I had not yet learned the truth of God’s Sabbath Day.  I had been a Roman Catholic all of my life – until as a young adult I had become disillusioned with Catholic belief and practice.  All Catholics, like Protestants are taught to believe in heaven as the reward of the saved, and an ever burning hellfire – if you did not make the cut.

It was raining and cold but not enough to discourage an audience of 50,000 people.  Many of those attendees answered Billy Graham’s invitation to “Give their heart to the Lord” in an altar call.  He spoke on Jesus Christ being our Savior and dying on the cross for us.  During his presentation, Billy Graham asked the audience if they “knew that they were going to heaven when they died?”  It seemed to me that about 49,000 people in that group of 50,000 raised their hands and replied “yes.”  Billy Graham added, “You can be sure that you are going to heaven.”

But I was dubious.  I did not know that I was going to heaven and I sure did not believe that I was going to heaven.  And that went double for a lot of the people that I knew – I sure did not think that they were going to heaven.  There is a prevailing belief among professing Christians that Jesus wants you to so great an extent – that you can come to Him “just as you are.”

I am not mocking or making fun of Billy Graham.  He is a sincere and honest man.  More than anyone else, his ministry has been the standard by which all other evangelists are measured.  That is not only true in America – but elsewhere in the world that he has traveled.

In God’s Church we do not subscribe to that yardstick – because our minds have been opened to Scriptural truth.  And the Bible makes good sense.  I remember going to funerals as a young person and the minister invariably prayed the deceased into heaven saying, “and He is looking down on us now.” Besides thinking that that minister did not know the person as well as I did – or he would not have been so sure that his eternal soul was enjoying eternal happiness in heaven, why did the minister also speak of future judgments and resurrections – as though the person would eventually have to leave those pearly gates and be on trial in a general judgment?  It just did not make any sense at all!

Billy Graham sets the bar very low for getting into heaven.  He wants everyone to be in heaven, so much so, that he reduces reconciliation and Godly relationship to a feeling of emotional need in one’s heart.  Billy Graham believes - and I quote:

“I think that everybody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ... [God] is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God.  They may not know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something they do not have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.”

So, Billy Graham “knew” that he was going to heaven - along with the great majority of the people who filled that stadium on that cold rainy night.  One Day, in his resurrection, Billy Graham will discover what Jesus meant when He … came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.”  (Mark 1:14-15)

Billy Graham will discover that Christ’s Gospel was not about the man Jesus – but about the Kingdom of God being lived and established.  He will finally understand that Salvation is believing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  Billy Graham will learn what it means that Jesus is Eternal Life.  He will find out that the Kingdom of God is Salvation and Eternal Life.

“When the Son of man shall come …and sit upon the throne of His glory: Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:31, 34)

Brethren of the Church of God, I would like to ask the question of you:  “Do you know are appointed to eternal life?  The very Plan of God, from the foundation of the world, is for the Saints to have eternal life in the Kingdom of God.  When the Gospel is heard, and upon repentance and baptism, the Spirit of God enters into the hearers whom God has appointed unto eternal life.  The way to Eternal Life is through Jesus Christ alone.  Not just words and sentiments – but living by every word that Jesus spoke.

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  (1 John 5:12-13)

Paul quoted Isaiah when he wrote:  Isaiah 49:6  “…I will also appoint Thee [the Messiah] for a light to the Gentiles, that thou may be My Salvation unto the end of the earth.”  (Isaiah 49:6) “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”  (Acts 13:48)

Sermon:  "Appointed to Eternal Life"