Ansell: If we want a happy ending, we need to KNOW KNOW Jesus.
John Donne told us, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
I could paraphrase Mr. Donne, “We will all die. The bell will toll for each of us.” What happens after we die depends on just one thing: Were we a follower of Jesus.
I have a friend that I grew up with and we talk on a regular basis, and sometimes I will ask him, “Do you know so and so?” His reply often is, “Yes, I know so and so” or he might say, “I know so and so but I don’t KNOW KNOW so and so.”
There is a story about a kid that wanted a dog. His parents finally said yes, and his dad took him to a pet store. In the middle of the pet store, they had a pen full of puppies. The little boy sat in the middle of that puppy pen for what seemed like forever. Finally, he picked out a puppy, and they started for home. On the way home, the father asked the little boy, “What made you choose that particular puppy out of all the ones in that pen?” The boy said, “I picked the one that looked like he had a happy ending.”
If we want a happy ending, we need to KNOW KNOW Jesus. A lot of folks will bump into Jesus and they might even have met Jesus socially, but they have not as John 6:47 says, “believed.” Here’s what Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me has real life, eternal life.” What Jesus meant was people who adhere to, trust in, rely on, have faith in Him will have a happy ending when the bell tolls for them.
To those without skin in the game, Jesus will say this one day, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter … Heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father …”. The Rabbi goes on to say some preachers, Sunday school teachers, people that did great things in the name of Jesus will be told, “I never knew (there’s that word - know) you; depart from Me, … (Matthew 7:21 - 23)." I know this is hard, but it's serious, and it's the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night concerned for people that seem far from Jesus.
Maybe “sold out” is a better phrase for the word “believe” in our modern day culture. People that live a full send (people that don’t treat Christianity like a side hustle) life for Christ are the ones that give evidence of a personal relationship with God the Father through God the Son.
Can I ask a serious question? Have you ever been to a funeral where the deceased was not a Christian? Have you ever been to a funeral where the preacher did not preach the deceased in or into Heaven? I didn’t think so. We don’t just pass onto the other side (Ghost Whisperer is fiction). We land in one of two places. Heaven is a very real place and so is Hell. When you die that’s it, its too late to make any decisions.
An old deacon I knew in Hereford, Texas had a heart attack and “died.” They resuscitated him and later he told me, “Pastor, I believe in death bed conversions. But I can tell you from experience that when death comes you don’t have time to confess and repent.”
I guess Christianity is like being pregnant - either you are or you aren’t. There’s no such thing as being a little bit pregnant. He told me to tell you that.