Left Behind? Why I am a Pastor
Why am I a pastor? First, because God called me to be a pastor. It was not something I sought. Second, and the part God used to call me to be a pastor, was my desire to see people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Why? Because there really is a life after this one. Everyone will spend their life after this one in either Heaven or Hell. The choice is ours to make and it is easy. All one needs to do is submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior by first admitting you are a sinner in need of a Savior and you want Him to be your Lord and Savior and to forgive you of your sins. Now when you pray that and mean it from your heart then you are saved, transported from Hell to life with Jesus. Anyone can claim to be a Christian and to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord, but I can claim to be a surgeon, but that does not make me one because I never submitted to what it takes to make me a surgeon. In the same way people can claim to be a Christian but not submit to what it takes to become a Christian, as I have already described.
In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” The word, “believe” or “believes” is not just, “I believe in God, so I’m alright”. If that were true then the devil and his demons would be saved from Hell, but we all know they are not. God tells us in James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” What makes the difference is that we submit to Jesus, who is God in the flesh. He understands our struggles and temptations, but He did not give in to them since He is God. That is why He came to become a part of His own creation so He could be the perfect sacrifice for us because of our sins. He paid the price for our sins on the cross and completed the task by coming back to life three days later. Now all we have to do is pray a prayer like I wrote above and mean it from your heart, and we have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven instead of eternal life in Hell with the devil.
Now, Jesus told us that when we are saved, not just what we think is a good person, we get to go to Him in Heaven when we die. There is one other way we can go to Heaven, other than dying. We learn in part about this from what God tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” God calls death a “sleep” because He can and does bring people’s bodies back to life. The body is dead and looks like it is the person is asleep, but our soul lives on in either Heaven or Hell, depending on if we have submitted to Jesus our not. So what these verses are talking about is that Jesus is going to bring those who have died, being saved, with Him and He is going to wait in the clouds while those people’s souls are reunited with their bodies and then we who still alive and are saved will then break the law of gravity and go shooting up through the air to meet Jesus, and we will forever be with Him.
I don’t know about you, but I am homesick for Heaven, and my big desire is to be able to have all of you with me in Heaven. That is what my desire has been before God called me to be a pastor and that desire keeps getting stronger. Jesus told us what the signs were going to be just before He comes back, and we see it all around us every day. These are things I used to think would happen after my lifetime, but it is happening now and even more so every day. This means that some day very soon, some of you reading this will be left behind because you never submitted to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You will know when that happens because many of us will suddenly be gone and all I can say is, I wish we all would have been ready for Jesus.
Pastor Merwin Rhoades
Chemult Bible Fellowship, Chemult, Oregon