FIVE STEPS TO HEAVEN

MARK 1:9-15


Mark 1:9-15 New King James Version (NKJV)



John Baptizes Jesus

9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”


Satan Tempts Jesus


12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.

13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.


Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry


14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”



Dr. Gough:


Where are our steps taking us? To the right places?

--The paper had a peicture of steps, leading nowhere.

--House burned away. Only the steps, remaining.

--It reminded me of other steps - steps to heaven.


The Psalmist said, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way" (37:23).

--He prayed, "Direct my steps by Your word and let no iniquity have domination over me" (119:133).

--A great prayer for us. Take to heart all this.

--Why? "It is not in man to direct his own steps."

--Like little children, we too need direction of God.

--The longest journey begins, one step at a time.


In Mark 1:9-15, Jesus took the right steps, He came!

--Notice the headline, "Jesus came!" Why? To save!

--All the way from heaven to Bethlehem, by a virgin.

--By the Spirit of God. To fulfill many prophecies.

--Jesus is at the Jordan, baptized, begins His work.

--Note the Holy "Spirit descending on Him" (v 10)

--The Father in heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Jesus was in the water.

--Here, we see the Holy Trinity - at Jesus' baptism.

--Jesus was tempted, by Satan, yet Jesus, sinless.

--He commences His eternal mission, to "Seek..save."

--It took Him to a cross. In three days, "He arose."

--While here, on earth, Jesus spoke messages that amazed the world' and wrought miracles as God only!

--Proving He is able to be our Savior, and Lord.


Jesus gives us five steps to take anyone to heaven.


STEP ONE - REPENT OF OUR SIN - WE ALL HAVE SOME SIN.

--It is best we recognize it - "All have sinned..."

--The first great message of Jesus is, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Gospel truth. Jesus is Messiah.

--Fulfills all the requirements of the phophets.

--John the Baptist "prepared the way" for Jesus, for he also preached, "Repent" introducing the Savior.


Why repent? Because we need it to be right with God.

--It is like an apology, when we wrong another.

--We all have wronged, and disobeyed, God; therefore common courtesy requires confession, repentance.

--"Unless you repent, you shall all perish" (Luke 13:3)


What does repent mean? Being sorry for our sins.

--But seek to forsake them, and follow the Lord God.

--It is from a word meaning to "change directions."

--Such as going the wrong way, or our way - to God's

--Friend, I have to keep repenting daily. It pays.

--Tragedies, accidents, terminal ills, come any time.

--Let's be prepared. Recall your child's first steps.

--This, the first step to heaven. God says, "Repent."


STEP TWO - HAVE FAITH IN GOD BY TRUSTING JESUS.

--We don't earn heaven by works - but by faith in Jesus our Messiah. Our good works get rewards there!

--Faith is right believing - in His Word - trusting.

--Eternal life is God's gift. Revealed in a Savior!

--He loves each one. Prays. Paid for our sins.

--No other religion, or Savior, like Jesus Christ!

--You'll never regret believing, receiving, obeying, and following "in His steps" that lead to heaven!


Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." Us!

--Where? In heaven, "where I am you may be also."

--"Where I go, you know, and the way you know" (John 14:2-4). He is "the way, truth, and life" (v 6).

--Notice, Jesus says, "No one comes to the Father except through Me." Friend that's pretty plain.


Acts 20:21 puts it simply, "Repentance toward God..step one.. and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."


What do we all need most in life? Important things.

--We need a Book to live by. We have it - A Bible.

--We need a faith we can live with - that works.

--We need a Savior to live for - that is Jesus.

--We need a work, a family and home - to live with.

--We need a world fit to live in - of peace, safety.

--How do we get these? By faith, in One, True, God!


We have faith in banks, doctors, planes and people.

--Why not put our faith in an Almighty God, Jesus has revealed so perfectly..lovingly..graciously

--None lives so peacefully as he who lives by faith.

--Ask yourself, does my faith move mountains, or, do mountains move my faith? Our faith will be tested.


Things were going so well for us - at church - being honored by our Seminary .. and national denomination Convention in Detroit, I was called out, "Mom died in an auto accident. You are needed." Mother, gone!

It was my brother, Charles. Mother was only 63.

My dad, sister and nephew in a hospital in Texas.

We had to fly down with heavy hearts, that May.

Mother was in heaven, by her right steps of faith!


How we miss her prayers. Singing. Letters. Calls.

--The sunshine, love, and joy she brought to many.

--Her faith kindled ours, in the Lord God Who lives!

--Faith not in a bottle, or in drugs - but in Jesus.

--Why Jesus came. And said, "Have faith in God!"


STEP THREE - CONFESS CHRIST BEFORE ME - SHOW FAITH.

--Don't be an unbeliever.Nor a secret saint!

--Show your faith in Jesus! "Let your light shine."

--Be "not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16).

--Think what Jesus unashamedly did for us! A cross!

--He said, "Who confesses Me before men, I will confess before My Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).


How do we confess Christ? We show we trust Him!

--By coming forward in a public decision of faith.

--Perhaps a church service, during a closing hymn.

--It tells the world, you want to follow Jesus!

--That's what Billy Graham and we invite folks to do.

--We "confess Christ before men," in various ways.

--And, surely do so as we give testimony in water of baptism, following His command, and baptism, of Jesus, "before men." Best of all, by our living!


We also "confess Christ before men" attending church.

--A deaf man attended weekly with his Bible; was asked, "You can't hear much, why do you come?"

--He said, "I want people to know whose side I'm on."


Friend, show "whose side you're on!" Confess Christ.

--In a warm, winsome, winning witness for the Lord.


STEP FOUR - OBEY.. GOD'S WILL, WAY, AND WORD.

--Watch this step - it is so essential for heaven.

--Jesus "learned obedience by the things He suffered, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey" (Hebrews 5:9). Obedience must be learned.

--Little children dont like to obey - big ones too

--We want to do it "my way," instead of obey .. God.


God says, "Obey My voice .. I'll be your God" (Jeremiah 7:23). Why? "To obey is better than sacrifice."

--"We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

--When saved, we are given a new nature - Holy Spirit indwells or infills us - to make it easier to obey.

--Let the Word of God, and Spirit of God, empower us.


When Mother Theresa got the Nobel Peace Prize in Sweden she was interviewed, "What can one like me do, to bring peace to the world? It was a good question.

--Her reply, "Go home and show love to your family..and to all you meet." I say, "Show them Jesus."

--How we behave shows our belief! Study Jesus' life.

--Pray to be more like Him. Pray we may obey Him.


STEP FIVE TO HEAVEN - BE FAITHFUL TO LIFE'S END.

--Friend, it is how we finish that wins, in the Olympics or in life. So mark this last, great step.

--"He who endures to the end will be saved," the Lord Jesus promised in Matthew 10:22. Keep on with Him.

--Every day, in every way, be "walking in the Light."


My dear wife surprised me when our children out-grew their first, soft-leather baby shoes - she had each of them made into bronzed book-ends! I treasure them.

In those, they had taken their first tiny steps, to church, to worship, to hear and learn of the Lord.

Praise God, they are still walking "In His steps."


Walking with Jesus, we will not end a failure.

--We'll have ups and downs, struggles, tears, joys.

--He will never fail us, "nor forsake." Never ever.

--Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice..they follow Me; I give them eternal life" (John 10:27).

--Where are your steps leading you? Make it heaven!

--Jacob "saw a ladder whose steps led to heaven."

--Make it Jesus! - Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 103

INDEX OF SERMONS