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Probability

by Jeff Randolph
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Introduction

  1. Our decisions are based on probability. We try to determine the probability that it will rain tomorrow, the probability of getting to work at 8 if we leave at 7:30, ...
  2. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly weighing the odds to each decision we make, but are those estimates accurate?
  3. Examples:
    1. Ask the guy broken down at the side of the road what he thought the probability was that he had found his dream car.
    2. Ask the guy who missed the big job interview what he thought the probability was of actually gettng out of bed when he decided to sleep a "few more minutes."
    3. Ask someone who is stuck in the middle of nowhere what they thought the probability was that the last turn they made would get them to their destination.
  4. We can ponder and calculate and try to predict all day long, but the fact remains that almost nothing is a sure thing. Let me ask you this...what is the probability that you will be alive tomorrow, that you will be given one more day on this earth? What do you think those who died at the World Trade Center in September 2001 would have said, before they went to work the next day?
  5. It's not really something we consciously think about, nevertheless, we are consistently calculating the odds. Let's say the probability today is your last day on this earth is 100%, what is the probability that you'll get to heaven? 50-50? 60-40? Can we even know that we're saved, that we're heaven bound? Indeed, we can.
  1. Is there a right path?

    1. This goes back to the beginning. Here are some quick facts that I urge you to examine yourselves.
      1. The odds that the universe created itself out of nothing, and living spawned from that which is non-living, is probabilistically ZERO.
      2. The odds that the universe and everything in it is the result of the design of a Creator is probabilistically 1, that is, 100%.
      3. With design comes purpose. We were created with a purpose (Eccl. 12:13).
      4. The reward for us fulfilling our purpose is eternal life (Heb. 5:9).
      5. Therefore, the right path leading to eternal life, that is heaven, is that which only our Designer, the One who has given us purpose, can guide us. We cannot direct ourselves (Pr. 14:12; Jer. 10:23).
      6. God directs us through His Word (Ps. 119:105), a book written by men but authored by God (2 Pet. 1:21), that claims its own inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16), proving so by its harmony, infallibility, scientific foreknowledge, and fulfilled prophecies, which odds of fulfillment are astronomical.
    2. The probability that there is a right path is 100%.
  2. Can we know we are on the right path?

    1. You must first know when you are on the wrong path.
      1. All have sinned - Rom. 3:23
      2. The wages of sin is death - Rom. 6:23
      3. Read Rom 5:7-9 - We have been justified by the blood of Christ, saved from the wrath to come if we believe in, love, and obey Him.
    2. Being heaven-bound is three-fold, you must believe in, love, and obey God.
      1. Believe in Him, that He exists (Heb. 11:6), believe in His Son (Jn. 3:16)
      2. Love Him (Matt. 22:37) - with all your heart, soul, and strength
      3. Obey Him (1 Jn. 5:3; Heb. 5:9)
      4. Obedience does not mean:
        1. Saying He exists and then going about your own business.
        2. Saying that you believe in Jesus and refuse to obey Him.
        3. You can go to any old church, have your ticket punched on Sunday, and live by your own rules the other 6 days.
        4. You can think you're on the path all day long, but to know is what will get you there.
      5. Obedience means to adhere to His instructions in His word, our owner's manual (operate accordingly to achieve desired results). The Word lets us know that we have eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13).
        1. It lets us know that we must repent (Acts 17:30)
        2. It lets us know that we must confess Christ (Matt. 10:32)
        3. It lets us know that we must be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38); in which we are added to His church, not any old "church" (Acts 2:47), that was purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28)
        4. Live faithfully, Read 1 Jn. 1:5-10, walk by the example and instructions of His Word.
    3. The probability that we can know if we're on the path is 100%.
  3. Reasons people are not on the path

    1. It sounds ridiculous
      1. Consider Naaman, who came to the prophet Elisha to have his leprosy healed - Read 2 Kings 5:10-14

        How ridiculous does baptism for salvation sound to some, yet it's not the water that saves us, it's the act of obedience to God that cleanses us of sin.

      2. What is really ridiculous? God's law or man's opinion? Creation with a purpose or a meaningless life? Made in the image of God or evolved from the image of a monkey?
    2. Too much to give up
      1. The world is temporary ( Read 1 Jn. 2:15-17)
      2. Consider Moses - Heb. 11:25-26
      3. Consider Christ - Matt. 4:8-9 - set on high mountain, Satan offered all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, if He would worship him. Sadly, many bow down today for far less.
      4. What will it profit, if you gain the whole world, and lose your own soul? - Matt. 16:26. What if you had everything? Would you be happy? Do you think the things of this world can get you to heaven? Certainly not. Read the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon had everthing, yet considered his life useless without God.
    3. Too difficult
      1. Matt. 7:14 - straight is the way and narrow is the gate and there are few who find it.
      2. Rom. 8:18 - "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." It is worth it. The things we go through cannot compare to the reward that awaits the faithful, nor can they compare with punishment that awaits the unfaithful.
    4. Didn't know there was a right path
      1. Job of Christians (Mk. 16:15; Matt. 28:19)
    5. The probability that you are not on the right path and fall into one of these categories is pretty close to 100%.

Conclusion

  1. The decisions you make in this life affect how you spend the next. Most people believe that there is something after this life, but they're not certain what it is. The fact is, there are two sides to the afterlife, the undescribably good, and the undescribably bad. We have been given two paths to eternity, and everyone is on one or the other. Are you on the one leading to heaven?
  2. If you believe in, love, and obey God, live a faithful life according to His word, then the probability of getting to heaven is 1. If not, then the probability is 0. There is no 50-50, 60-40, there is no probability with God. You are either in or you're out.
  3. Do you believe that God exists, though you cannot see Him, His invisible attributes are clearly seen by the things that are made, His creation (Rom. 1:20)? Do you believe that your life has meaning and purpose? Do you believe that He was able to make His will known to us by His word in a book (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:3, 21)? That He sent His only Son to sacrifice Himself for our sins (Jn. 3:16)?
  4. If so, you need to repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), confess your belief before men (Matt. 10:32), and be buried with Him in baptism (Rom. 6:4), washing away your sins (Acts 22:16). You are resurrected anew, and are heaven bound when living a faithful life (Rev. 2:10). What is the probability that you'll leave here heaven bound? That's your decision. (Joshua 24:15)
  5. The probability that you'll be around one more day is unknown.