Friday, May 29, 2020

Heaven or Hell? The Choice is Yours!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Matthew 7:13

What comes to mind when you hear “Nearer My God to Thee”? You probably think of the sinking of the Titanic. Many eyewitnesses who survived the sinking of the Titanic reported that “Nearer My God to Thee” was the last song that the band played as the Titanic sank. Although 705 passengers and crew members survived, on that fateful night over 1,500 men, women and children drowned or died of hypothermia. And as each of them drew their final breath, their final destinations were sealed.

The Bible teaches us that every person who has ever lived will spend eternity in one of two places: with God in heaven, or with the devil and his demons in hell. So, as the Titanic disappeared beneath the surface just over 108 years ago, each person who died either entered God’s presence in heaven or was cast aside to spend eternity in hell. We don’t know how many of them entered either place—but tragically, “Nearer My God” was not the final destination of every person who perished that night.

It’s a sobering thought. And it’s a question that plagues many people, Christians and nonChristians alike: What are heaven and hell really like?

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Although we don’t find the words “heaven” or “hell” in these verses, Jesus uses two common synonyms for them: “life” and “destruction.” And in these verses, Jesus points out two truths about heaven and two truths about hell. Let’s start with heaven.

Heaven Truth #1: Heaven is the eternal place of life. It’s a place where death and decay do not exist. Try to wrap your mind around that concept: In heaven our bodies never grow old or wear out. Imagine: 20/20 vision—forever. Perfect hearing—without the Miracle Ear. No lower back pain. No diabetes. No false teeth. No prescription meds. And that’s not even the best part. Since Heaven is the eternal place of life, in heaven there is no war, no depression or hopelessness, no grief or heartache or sadness. So, in heaven we will finally experience perfect peace … perfect hope ... and perfect joy.

Heaven Truth #2: The way into heaven is very narrow, and only a few find it. What does that mean? Sadly, it means that most people won’t make it to heaven. So, what is the narrow road that leads to heaven? What is the small gate that leads to eternal life? God tells us in the Bible that the narrow road, and the small gate, leading to heaven are both Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us plainly: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Many people these days believe that all roads lead to heaven. But that’s not true. The truth is, all roads lead to hell … except for one. And that one road is Jesus himself.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus also tells us two things about Hell:

Hell Truth #1: Hell is the eternal place of destruction. Both heaven and hell are eternal—they last forever. Try to wrap your mind around this truth: Hell is continuous, never-ending destruction. That means in hell our bodies burn, but never burn up. Our bodies feel searing pain, but there’s never the relief of death. The physical pain of hell will be horrendous. But it won’t compare to the emotional and spiritual pain. Since Hell is the eternal place of destruction, there is no peace. There is no hope. There is no joy. There is no reprieve, no time out, no light at the end of the tunnel. And one of the most heart-breaking descriptions of hell is given in 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Hell is the place where sinners will be “shut out from the presence of the Lord.”

Hell Truth #2: The way into hell is very wide, and most people take it. What a tragedy that most people alive today are on a path to hell. That’s not a very popular statement, but it’s true. Most people in our world today are cruising down the wide road to destruction. But I hope and pray that you’re not one of them.

According to Matthew 25:41, the eternal fire of hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” So think about it: Hell was not made for you. It was custom-made for the devil and his demons. You don’t belong there! You belong in heaven. So, please choose eternal life in heaven over eternal punishment in hell. And once again, the only way to choose heaven is to choose Jesus Christ. You have to choose to trust and serve Jesus Christ during this life.  

One final thought: After you die you will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Regardless of whether you traveled the wide road to destruction or the narrow road to life, you WILL be judged for what you said and did during your lifetime. But here’s the thing: Non-believers will be judged by their EVIL words and deeds and be justly punished in eternity. But because believers’ sin has been covered by the grace of Christ, they’ll be judged by their GOOD words and actions. So, which would you prefer—to be judged according to your moral failures or to be judged according to your moral victories? Pretty easy decision, isn’t it? So, choose grace. Choose Christ.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Can I Lose My Salvation?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”
– 2 Corinthians 13:5

Last month I had the privilege of being at the bedside of a friend during his final moments here on earth. I remember a few years earlier, Carl asked to talk with me after one of our prayer meetings. So, we sat down in the front row and had a heart-to-heart talk. Carl had a burden on his heart. As a young man he had sewn his wild oats and had done some things that he deeply regretted. So, Carl wanted to know if God could possibly forgive him—or, if God had forgiven him, could he possibly lose his salvation?

Can you relate to Carl? Many, many Christians wrestle with the same concerns. You might say, “I’ve heard a hundred times about God’s love and grace and forgiveness. But at the same time, I know the Bible says that God will punish us for our sin. So, will God take away my salvation because of what I’ve done? Can I lose my salvation?”

This is actually a two-part question. That’s because, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, there are two parties in your salvation: God and you. So, it stands to reason that if you could “lose” your salvation it’s either because God takes it away from you, or you choose to walk away from it. Let’s look quickly at the first side of the coin: “Could God take away my salvation?”

I’ve got some good news for you. The Bible’s answer to that question is an emphatic: “No!” The Bible tells us that God never drives someone away who is saved: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). And in John 10:27-29, Jesus tells his followers that no one can snatch one of God’s sheep from his Father’s hand. With these Biblical insights in mind, we can say with certainty that God will never take away someone’s salvation. God’s word guarantees it.

Isn’t that a relief? Your screw-ups will never cause you to “lose” your salvation. Like the Prodigal Son’s father, God will never give up on one of His children. But on the other hand, could you or I be saved and then walk away from God’s grace? In other words, “Could I choose to walk away from my salvation?”

That question is a lot tougher to answer. Here are some verses that might help. In 1 Corinthians 15:2, Paul writes: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” As he talks about the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ, he includes that big two-letter word: “If.” The gospel ultimately will save us in eternity—“if” we hold firmly to God’s word. If we don’t, our shallow belief in Christ won’t save us. And Hebrews 3:12-14 warns us: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God…. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Notice that important word “if” being used once again.

So, you can’t “lose” your salvation in the sense of “Oops! Where’d it go?” But there are Scriptures that seem to say you can choose to walk away from your salvation. But if that’s the case, I believe it’s very rare. What is much more common is for someone to walk away from God who was never really saved in the first place. So, if you are asking the question today: Have I lost my salvation? Let me encourage you to ask a better question: Was I ever saved in the first place? Am I really a born-again Christian?

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Apostle Paul writes: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” God’s word tells us to examine ourselves—test ourselves—to see whether or not we are truly saved, born-again Christians. So, I encourage you to humbly and honestly take the spiritual exam. Here are six ways to test yourself:
#1: Belief Test:  Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God? (1 John 2:21-23)

#2: Repentance Test:  Was there a definite point in your life when you turned from your sins, got baptized and put Jesus Christ in charge of your life? (Acts 2:38-39)

#3: Obedience Test: Do you obey God’s commands on a daily basis? (1 John 2:3-6)

#4: Love Test: Do you love God and people? (1 John 4:7-8)

#5: Hunger Test: Do you hunger for God and the things of God (for example, reading His word, prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, holiness, and serving God and others)? (Matt. 5:6)

#6: Holy Spirit Test: Is there evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life? (John 16:7-11) Do you feel convicted and unhappy when you sin? Do you have and use at least one spiritual gift? Is the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—growing in your life?

If you failed any one of these six tests, you need to make some serious decisions about putting Jesus in complete charge of your life today. Once you are saved, God will never take your salvation away from you. But you and I have a responsibility to take our faith seriously and live it out. If we’re not doing that, chances are that we were never saved in the first place. You see, Jesus’ salvation is transformational. Because I am saved, I will never be the same again. And neither will you.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, May 15, 2020

How Do I Hear God’s Voice?

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” 
- Jeremiah 29:13

I’m a big fan of nature documentaries. There have been some really good ones released in the last several years: African Cats, Dolphin Reef, Born in China (which, contrary to what you m­ight think, is not about the coronavirus … it’s about pandas and snow leopards). But my absolute favorite nature documentary is March of the Penguins. This film records the amazing story of the way Emperor Penguins migrate in order to breed. Every year, several thousand of these tenacious birds walk—or, actually, waddle—70 miles from the ocean to their breeding grounds.

When the penguins arrive, they pair up into couples, and the female lays one egg. She then passes her egg off to her hubby, who carefully places the egg on top of his feet underneath his abdominal feathers. And Dad holds that egg on his feet for two months while his Mrs. and the other ladies walk 70 miles back to the ocean to find food. During those two months, the male emperor penguin waits through temperatures as low as 70 degrees below zero, and he loses around one-third of his total body weight.

Eventually the egg hatches, and the females returns. And each male penguin calls for his mate. As over a thousand penguins call for their wives at the same time, to us it just sounds like a bunch of racket. But somehow, every female penguin is able to distinguish the call of her hubby and go to him. Isn’t that cool?

As humans, our ears aren’t nearly so fine-tuned. Every day we hear hundreds of voices vying for our attention: the voices of our spouses, our kids and our parents … our friends, neighbors, coworkers and bosses. We hear hundreds of voices on TV, on the radio and at WalMart, and sometimes it just sounds like a whole lot of noise. All these voices are fighting for our attention, and as followers of Jesus Christ we want to know: “With hundreds of different voices rattling in my ears, how can I single out the one voice I want to hear? How do I hear God’s voice?”

Let’s take a look at Elijah. In 1 Kings 19:11, the Lord tells Elijah that He is about to pass by. Right after He says that, a “great and powerful wind” rips through the mountains. But somehow, Elijah knows that God is not in the wind. Then a great earthquake rattles the mountain. But somehow, Elijah knows that God is not in the earthquake. Then a raging fire torches the mountainside. But once again, Elijah knows that God is not in the fire. Finally, at the end of verse 12, Elijah hears a “gentle whisper.” And Elijah immediately recognizes that God is in the gentle whisper. Amidst the earth-shaking noise of the wind and the earthquake and the fire, Elijah recognizes the voice of God. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do that? Let me share a few insights about how you can hear God’s voice.

Insight #1: The problem isn’t that God’s not TALKING. The problem is that you’re not LISTENING. The truth is, God speaks to us in a hundred different ways every day. He speaks to us through prayer. He speaks to us through people. He speaks to us through our triumphs, and He even speaks to us through our failures and pain. And the number one way that God speaks to us is through His Word. If you want to hear God’s voice, just start reading. You’ll hear it---for sure!! There’s a reason we call the Bible “God’s word.” Remember that the God of heaven and earth is a very personal God, and He speaks to us in a very personal way. It’s amazing how a Bible verse that you’ve read a hundred times can come alive for the first time on a certain day and you just know in your heart of hearts, “God is speaking to me right now.”

Insight #2: God speaks to us more often than we realize, but we don’t hear Him because there’s too much noise drowning Him out. We live in a very noisy world. For many of us the radio is always on in our cars and the TV is always on in our homes. In order to hear God’s whisper, you must strive to eliminate at least some of the background noise. To do this, you need to practice a little self-discipline. Turn off the TV and radio. Get out in nature if you’re able to. Wake up early and get into God’s Word before everyone else in the house wakes up and starts making noise. In order to hear God’s voice, you have to be able to HEAR God’s voice. Make sense?

Insight #3: You’ve gotta want it—really, really want it. It’s easy to say, “I want to hear God’s voice.” But do you really, really, REALLY want to hear God’s voice? In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Do you seek God with “all your heart”? Just as Mama Penguin’s heart’s desire is to hear Daddy’s voice, our heart’s desire should be to hear our Daddy’s voice. We must have hearts that love God and want to spend time with God and long to hear the voice of God. There are no shortcuts. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes practice. But you will seek God and find God and hear God, when you seek Him and listen with all your heart.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, May 8, 2020

How Can I Know God’s Will For My Life?

“May the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ." 
- Hebrews 13:20-21

Last ­­Tuesday was a hard day for my family. Our Welsh Corgi, Molly, had been part of our home for almost 12 years. We adopted her when she was just a few months old. My oldest daughter Kayla was just 6 at the time, and my second daughter Haley had just turned 4. But one night a few weeks ago, Molly had a seizure. We took her to two vets, who gave her IV fluids and some medication, but her health declined rapidly. And then, last Tuesday morning, Molly fell over and began kicking all four of her legs frantically. She couldn’t stand up. Her breathing was rapid and labored. So, we made her as comfortable as we knew how. We fed her one last meal of chicken and a popsicle for dessert. And Haley, now 16, carried Molly one last time. She carried her to our van, and together we took her for her last trip to the vet.

Over the past 12 years we’ve had a lot of pets in our home: fish, a desert tortoise, a red crested gecko and about a half dozen hamsters. But every member of my family would agree that Molly was, hands down, the best pet we’ve ever had. And we believe that God made Molly for our family. God gave her to us to make us smile and laugh, and—every once in a while— to drive us crazy. But most importantly, God gave us Molly to love us with all of her little doggy heart. And she did. The Bible doesn’t say whether or not all dogs go to heaven, but if Molly got to meet Jesus last week, I have a hunch that Jesus said to her, “Well done, good and faithful Corgi.”

We wonder: If I know God’s will for my dog’s life, then why can’t I know God’s will for my life? Doesn’t the Bible say that I’m more important to God than a dog? Yes, it does. Doesn’t the Bible say that God creates each of us and has a plan for us? Yes, it does. Great! Then what is it? Ultimately, the answer to our question is in the Bible. How can I know God’s will for my life? I can know it by searching the pages of God’s word. After all, we call the “BIBLE” our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” for a reason. The answer to your question is right there in His word … but you have to put in some effort to find it.

However, in some important ways, God wants the same thing for all of us. Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Now, that’s a mouthful. But three very important truths are revealed in these verses.

1. God doesn’t just give you a purpose. He also equips you to carry out that purpose. You can take comfort in knowing that whatever God asks you to do, he will equip you to do. As has often been said, “Where God guides, He provides.” And “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips those He’s called.” So, you don’t have to live in fear worrying that God is going to call you to do all sorts of things that you’re completely inept at doing. If God calls you to do something, He will equip you to do it effectively.

2. Your greatest accomplishments in this life will be the result of God working in you and through you. You won’t be doing God’s work alone. He will work in you and through you to carry out His purposes. That’s great news, don’t you think?

3. Ultimately, God’s will for your life is to bring Him pleasure and glory. You might feel unable to bring God pleasure and glory with your life. But God will equip you to do that too. If you’ll let Him, God will work in you and through you to bring Himself pleasure and glory. A favorite Bible passage for many people is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Remember those words: “Trust in the LORD.”

The great theologian Jonathan Edwards spent years searching the pages of Scripture for the answer to the question: What is God’s will for my life? And he concluded that God’s will is twofold: to bring God glory with our lives, and to find our greatest pleasure and joy in Him. After years of study, he came to realize that these two purposes are one and the same. As Pastor John Piper says it: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” The bottom line is this: God’s will for your life is for you to enjoy bringing Him pleasure and glory. That’s why you were created: To enjoy bringing pleasure and glory to God.

As you open God’s word each day to get to know Him better and learn His will for your life, guess what? The very act of learning God’s word and spending time with Him IS God’s will for your life. When you spend time with God in prayer, that IS God’s will for your life. When you prioritize attending a worship service on the Lord’s day, that IS God’s will for your life. When you give of yourself to love and serve others, that IS God’s will for your life. When you trust Jesus Christ and love Jesus Christ and obey Christ’s commands, that IS God’s will for your life. And that isn’t just God’s will for your life. That is also God’s will for your marriage, and for your family, and for our church, and for our nation.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service tomorrow at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, May 1, 2020

At World’s End?

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” - Matthew 24:14

During this stay-at-home order, as we hold our online church services, I’ve launched a new message series called “You Asked For It!” For this series, our attenders have been voting on some of their top questions about God, the Bible, and our Christian faith. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest vote-getters has been this one: “Has the Great Tribulation Begun?” So, last Sunday, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled it.

Tribulation is defined as “a great trouble or cause of suffering; a hardship, an affliction, a tragedy, a trauma, a misery.” Tribulation has been in this world from the moment Adam and Eve sinned. The doorway to suffering was flung open the instant sin entered God’s perfect world. All of us deal with tribulations such as health issues, the death of loved ones, divorce, financial hardships—the list goes on.

But the GREAT Tribulation is something else again. It’s mentioned twice by name in the New Testament: once by Jesus in Matthew 24:21 and a second time in Revelation 7:14. And it’s also called by a couple other names in Scripture. In Revelation 6:17 it’s called “the great day of God’s wrath.” In Jeremiah 30:7 it’s called “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” There are dozens of references to the Great Tribulation throughout the Bible. But what is it?

Jesus gives us a short, sweet answer in Matthew 24:21-22: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” To break that down quickly, the Great Tribulation is characterized by three things: 1) the greatest suffering in human history; 2) mass casualties that far surpass body counts of previous wars, natural disasters and diseases; and 3) a fixed time frame of seven years. God will shorten its length so that some followers of Christ can survive.

So, are we there yet? Are people across the globe experiencing the greatest suffering and death in human history? Well, there are certainly a lot of wars and conflicts taking place around the world. And obviously, we’re dealing with the worst worldwide pandemic we’ve seen in many years. Over 3 million people worldwide have contracted COVID-19, and there have been almost 200,000 deaths. And worldwide, people are also dealing with famine, starvation and natural disasters. But we need to ask ourselves: Is this suffering and death of biblical proportions? Is it the greatest level of suffering and death in the history of the world? And the answer is: No.

Don’t get me wrong. The coronavirus is a really bad virus. It may end up claiming the lives of half a million people worldwide. But the Bible describes the Great Tribulation as a seven-year period of hell on earth. Revelation 6:8 says, “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Try to wrap your mind around that: over a fourth of the earth will be killed. One-fourth of the world’s population, at this time, would be about 2 billion people. That’s about six times the population of the United States—4,000 times greater than the approximate death toll of COVID-19.

No wonder Jesus says in Matthew 24:22, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive.” The suffering in our world today is bad … but not nearly as bad as it will be during the Great Tribulation. There are certain places in the world today that feel like hell on earth. But during the Great Tribulation, ALL places in the world will feel like hell on earth.

The Great Tribulation has not yet begun, but there are three signs, foretold in the Bible, to watch for. You’ll know the time is here when you see these three world events: 1) Many nations will come together and make a seven-year treaty with Israel (prophesied in Daniel 9:27). 2) God’s two witnesses will arise, prophesy and perform amazing signs and miracles like Moses in Egypt (Revelation 11:3-6). 3) God will pour out His Holy Spirit on all people, and every people group on earth will hear the gospel (Acts 2:17-21 and Matthew 24:14). 

And it seems clear that millions of people around the world will turn to Christ. When Christians discuss the coming Great Tribulation, we tend to focus on the disastrous signs of its arrival—wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and billows of smoke. But we shouldn’t overlook the positive and encouraging signs that the Great Tribulation is at hand. When Jesus’ return is close and the Great Tribulation is about to begin, we will experience the greatest revival in the history of the world. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

So, when you start fearing the worst, think of this: A worldwide revival is closer than it’s ever been. And we are closer than we’ve ever been to penetrating every nation, every tribe, and every language on planet earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service tomorrow at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.