[Willow Creek Association] 1998-10-28 - Bogus Ticket

Saturday my son Bobby and I had tickets to the Duke Football game, and then to the Duke Basketball scrimmage game following the football game. We decided that we just wanted to go to the basketball game and skip the football game. Anyway, I had both sets of tickets in my pocket when we arrived at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Now getting basketball tickets to Duke games is next to impossible. So, it's a real treat! When we came to the entrance to the stadium, I casually handed the man at the door two tickets. He had a funny look on his face and said, "Son you have the wrong tickets." My heart began to race. I thought, "oh no, I have the wrong tickets. My son will be so disappointed if we don't get inside." You see the tickets look so much alike, so very similar. They both were imprinted with Duke and October 25, 1998. Both the basketball tickets and football tickets are both white and blue, but they had one subtle difference; one said, "Duke Basketball" and the other said, "Duke Football." Luckily for me, I had placed the basketball tickets in my wallet, gave them to the attendant, and Bobby and I were in the game!

Some of us are carrying bogus tickets. And these tickets will be our worst nightmare. I am not talking about a sporting event, but an eternal event, I am talking about having a bogus ticket to heaven. My worst nightmare would be to die and find out my ticket was the wrong one. You see, there is only one ticket to heaven, but there are a lot of tickets that look very similar.

See if you recognize some of these bogus tickets: "I was baptized when I was a child." "I have always gone to church." "My granddaddy was a preacher." "Oh, I say my prayers every night." "Sure, I believe there is a God." "I treat my kids and my wife well." "Well, I am not as bad as so and so." "I went to Bible College." "I went to Seminary." "I am a Senior Pastor." "I teach Sunday School." "I write devotionals every Wednesday." The above tickets look pretty good, but when you get to the door of Heaven, those tickets will be useless and bogus, just like having the wrong tickets to a ballgame, except this time, it's for eternity. So, what's the real ticket David? Glad you asked. Let's look at God's Word for some guidance.

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NKJV)
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NKJV)

A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only real ticket to the Father and into heaven. A ticket in your heart with Jesus Christ imprinted on it. A ticket with you giving up yourself for Christ, just as Jesus gave His life for you. There is only one door into Heaven, just as there was only one door into the Ark. The flood brought judgement to those outside the door, the Ark brought mercy to those inside. The folks inside had the right ticket. Have you taken a close look at your ticket lately? If you are not a Christian and have not accepted Christ, I pray you will accept Him soon. The ticket is free; it's yours for the asking. All we need to do is admit we are sinners and in need of a Savior from our sins. We need to repent and turn away from our sins. If you have not done this, you need to believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross, and finally you need to receive Jesus Christ in your heart through prayer.

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (NIV)

Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Here is a simple prayer for salvation:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.

For those of you already saved and holding the right ticket, if you need to, I pray you will recommit your life to Christ as you read this. Of the sixty million Americans who claim to be Christians, I pray that you will be one who really makes a difference in this world for the Cause of Christ.

If you pray this prayer or recommit yourself to serving Christ after reading this, write me a note, call a friend -- just tell someone about your experience and then watch God honor your prayer.