Implements an image recognition captcha.

"; break; case 'admin/modules#description': case 'admin/modules/textimage': case 'admin/textimage': $output = t('Implements an image recognition captcha.'); break; } return $output; } function textimage_captchachallenge(&$form) { $form['captcha_response'] = array ( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Captcha Validation'), '#default_value' => '', '#required' => TRUE, '#validate' => array('_captcha_validate' => array()), '#description' => t('Please type in the letters/numbers that are shown in the image above.'), '#prefix' => 'Captcha Image: you will need to recognize the text in it.', ); return $form; } function textimage_captchavalidate(&$captcha_word, &$correct) { $captcha_word = drupal_strtolower($captcha_word); if (($_SESSION['captcha'] != '') && $captcha_word == $_SESSION['captcha']) { $correct = true; } else { $correct = false; form_set_error('captcha_response', t('The image verification code you entered is incorrect.')); } } /** * Implementation of hook_menu(). */ function textimage_menu($may_cache) { $items = array(); $suffix = ''; if (arg(2)!=null) $suffix='/'.arg(2); $items[] = array( 'path' => '_textimage/image'.$suffix, 'title' => t('textimage'), 'callback' => '_textimage_image', 'access' => user_access('access textimages'), 'type' => MENU_CALLBACK ); return $items; } function textimage_perm() { return array('access textimages'); } function textimage_settings() { $fonts_path = variable_get("textimage_fonts_path", ""); $images_path = variable_get("textimage_images_path", ""); //check for GD if (!function_exists(imagecreate)) drupal_set_message(t('Image library not available. Textimage needs the GD library extension to be installed. Please install GD.')); //check for TTF support elseif (!function_exists(imagettftext)) drupal_set_message(t('Your image library does not seem to have TrueType font support. Textimage will work, but will use the default inbuilt font.'),'status'); //check for valid font path elseif ($fonts_path!="" && !is_dir($fonts_path)) drupal_set_message(t('The current font path is invalid. The default font will be used.')); //check for valid image path if ($images_path!="" && !is_dir($images_path)) drupal_set_message(t('The current images path is invalid. No images will be used.')); //Fonts settings $form['fonts'] = array( '#type' => 'fieldset', '#title' => t('Fonts settings'), '#collapsible' => TRUE, '#collapsed' => FALSE ); $form['fonts']['textimage_use_only_upper'] = array( '#type' => 'checkbox', '#title' => t('Use only Uppercase'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_use_only_upper',0) ); $form['fonts']['textimage_fonts_path'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('TrueType Fonts Path'), '#default_value' => $fonts_path, '#size' => 30, '#maxlength' => 255, '#description' => t('Location of the directory where the Truetype (.ttf) fonts are stored. If you do not provide any fonts, the module will use the default font for text. Relative paths will be resolved relative to the Drupal installation directory.'), ); $form['fonts']['textimage_font_size'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Font Size'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_font_size',24), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 2, '#description' => t('Font size of Captcha text (in pixels).'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_font_size")), ); $form['fonts']['textimage_char_spacing_max'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Character Spacing'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_char_spacing_max',10), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 4, '#description' => t('Sets the kerning between letters in Captcha. Higher numbers indicate more spacing.'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_char_spacing_max")), ); $form['fonts']['textimage_char_jiggle_amount'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Character Jiggle'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_char_jiggle_amount',5), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 2, '#description' => t('Sets the amount of up and down movement in the Captcha letters. Higher numbers indicate more jiggling.'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_char_jiggle_amount")), ); $form['fonts']['textimage_char_rotate_amount'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Character Rotation'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_char_rotate_amount',5), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 2, '#description' => t('Sets the amount of rotation in the Captcha letters (in degrees, only works with non-default fonts).'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_char_rotate_amount")), ); $form['fonts']['textimage_char_size_amount'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Character Size Adjustment'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_char_size_amount',2), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 2, '#description' => t('Sets the amount of variation in size between the different letters in the Captcha (in pixels).'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_char_size_amount")), ); //Image settings $form['images'] = array( '#type' => 'fieldset', '#title' => t('Image settings'), '#collapsible' => TRUE, '#collapsed' => FALSE ); $form['images']['textimage_images_path'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Background Images Path'), '#default_value' => $images_path, '#size' => 30, '#maxlength' => 255, '#description' => t('Location of the directory where the background images are stored. If you do not provide a directory, solid colors will be used. Relative paths will be resolved relative to the Drupal installation directory.'), ); $form['images']['textimage_image_noise'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Image Noise (pixels)'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_image_noise',4), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 4, '#description' => t('Sets the amount of noise (random pixels) in the Captcha image. Higher numbers indicate more noise.'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_image_noise")), ); $form['images']['textimage_image_lines'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Image Noise (lines)'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_image_lines',4), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 4, '#description' => t('Sets the amount of noise (random lines) in the Captcha image. Higher numbers indicate more noise.'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_image_lines")), ); $form['images']['textimage_image_margin'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Image Margin'), '#default_value' => variable_get('textimage_image_margin',10), '#size' => 5, '#maxlength' => 4, '#description' => t('Set a distance between the Captcha letters and the edges of the image.'), '#validate' => array("_textimage_number_validate" => array("textimage_image_margin")), ); $form['info'] = array( '#type' => 'fieldset', '#title' => t('Image and font information'), '#collapsible' => TRUE, '#collapsed' => FALSE ); if (isset($fonts_path)) { $imagefontinfo .= t('Number of fonts found: ').count(_textimage_font_list()); } if (isset($images_path)) { $imagefontinfo .= '
'.t('Number of background images found: ').count(_textimage_image_list()); } $gdinfo = gd_info(); $imagefontinfo .= '
'.t('GD Version: ').$gdinfo["GD Version"]; $imagefontinfo .= '
'.t(' FreeType Support: '); $imagefontinfo .= ($gdinfo["FreeType Support"]==true) ? 'True' : 'False'; $imagefontinfo .= '
'; $form['info']['captcha_info'] = array ( '#type' => 'item', '#value' => $imagefontinfo, ); return $form; } function textimage_settings_form_validate ($form_id,$form) { //check for valid font path if ($form['textimage_fonts_path'] !="" && !is_dir($form['textimage_fonts_path'])) form_set_error('textimage_fonts_path', t('The entered font path is invalid')); //check for valid image path if ($form['textimage_images_path'] !="" && !is_dir($form['textimage_images_path'])) form_set_error('textimage_images_path', t('The entered image path is invalid')); } function _textimage_number_validate ($field,$fieldName) { if (!is_numeric($field['#value'])) { form_set_error($fieldName,t("The value for")." ".t($field['#title'])." ".t("must be a number")); } } /** * Prints an image containing a textimage code. */ function _textimage_image() { //if we don't have GD2 functions, we can't generate the image if (!function_exists('imagecreatetruecolor')) return; // Set headers header('Expires: Mon, 01 Jan 1997 05:00:00 GMT'); header('Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate'); header('Cache-Control: post-check=0, pre-check=0', false); header('Pragma: no-cache'); header('Content-type: image/png'); $string = _textimage_code(); // Get truetype font list $fonts = _textimage_font_list(); // Get the background images list $images = _textimage_image_list(); // Randomization amounts: $charSpacingMax = variable_get('textimage_char_spacing_max',10); // Letter spacing max (pixels) $charSpacingMin = max($charSpacingMax*.5,0); // Letter spacing minimum (pixels) $charJiggleAmount = variable_get('textimage_char_jiggle_amount',5); // Up and down randomization (pixels) $charRotateAmount = variable_get('textimage_char_rotate_amount',5); // Character rotation amount (degrees) $charSizeAmount = variable_get('textimage_char_size_amount',2); // Character size amount (pixels) $imageRotateAmount = variable_get('captcha_image_rotate_amount',12); // Image rotation amount (degrees) // Static amounts: $charInitialSize = variable_get('textimage_font_size',24); // Initial Font $imageNoise = variable_get('textimage_image_noise',4); // Amount of noise added to image $imageLines = variable_get('textimage_image_lines',4); // Amount of noise added to image $imageMargin = variable_get('textimage_image_margin',10); // Margin around image (pixels) // write text using a truetype font if (function_exists(imagettftext) && count($fonts) > 0) { // Initialize variables for the loop $characterDetails = array(); // contains the final info about each character // Build a list of character settings for the captcha string for ($i=0;$i $charSize, "angle" => $charAngle, "x" => $x, "y" => $y, "color" => $foreground, "font" => $font, "char" => $char ); // Increment the image size $imageWidth = $x + $charWidth; $imageHeight = max($imageHeight,$y+$charJiggleAmount); } // Create the image based off the string length and margin if (count($images) > 0) { // We're going to be using an image, and need a tranparent background to start with $im = _textimage_create_transparent_image($imageWidth+2*$imageMargin, $imageHeight+2*$imageMargin); $noisecolor = imagecolorallocatealpha($im, 0, 0, 0, 127); } else { // Just make a plain-jane color brackground $im = imagecreatetruecolor($imageWidth+2*$imageMargin, $imageHeight+2*$imageMargin); $background = imagecolorallocate($im, rand(180, 250), rand(180, 250), rand(180, 250)); $noisecolor = $background; imagefill($im, 0, 0, $background); } // Specify colors to be used in the image $foreground = imagecolorallocate($im, rand(0, 80), rand(0, 80), rand(0, 80)); foreach($characterDetails as $char) { // draw character imagettftext($im,$char['size'],$char['angle'],$char['x']+$imageMargin,$char['y']+$imageMargin,$foreground,$char['font'],$char['char']); } } else { // write text using a built-in font $x = 0; $y = 0; $imageWidth = 60 + drupal_strlen($string)*$charSpacingMax*.35; $imageHeight = 30 + $charJiggleAmount; // Create the image if (count($images) > 0 && function_exists(imagecolorallocatealpha)) { // We're going to be using an image, and need a tranparent background to start with $im = _textimage_create_transparent_image($imageWidth, $imageHeight); $noisecolor = imagecolorallocatealpha($im, 0, 0, 0, 127); } else { // Just make a plain-jane color brackground $im = imagecreatetruecolor($imageWidth, $imageHeight); $background = imagecolorallocate($im, rand(180, 250), rand(180, 250), rand(180, 250)); $noisecolor = $background; imagefill($im, 0, 0, $background); } // Add the text for ($i=0;$i 0) { // Prepare a larger image with a background image $im2 = _textimage_create_transparent_image($imageWidth, $imageHeight); } else { // Prepare a larger image with a solid color $im2 = imagecreatetruecolor($imageWidth, $imageHeight); imagefill($im2, 0, 0, $background); } $result = imagecopyresampled ($im2, $im, $imageMargin, $imageMargin, 0, 0, $imageWidth, $imageHeight, imagesx($im), imagesy($im)); $im = $im2; } // strikethrough imageline($im, rand(0, 120), rand(0, 120), rand(0, 120), rand(0, 120), $foreground); // Add Noise for ($x=0; $x<$imageWidth; $x++) { for ($row=0; $row<$imageNoise;$row++) { $y = rand(0,$imageHeight); imagesetpixel($im, $x, $y, $noisecolor); } } // Add Lines and Ellipses for ($x=0; $x<$imageLines;$x++) { imageline($im, rand(0, $imageWidth), rand(0, $imageHeight), rand(0, $imageWidth), rand(0, $imageHeight), $noisecolor); imageellipse($im, rand(0, $imageWidth), rand(0, $imageHeight), rand(0, $imageWidth), rand(0, $imageHeight), $noisecolor); } // Fill image with a random background image if available if (count($images) > 0) { $image = $images[rand(0,count($images)-1)]; _textimage_apply_background_image($im,$image); } //output to browser imagepng($im); imagedestroy($im); } /** * Returns a random string for use in a captcha */ function _textimage_code() { $consts='bcdgjxvmnprst'; $vowels='aeiou'; for ($x=0; $x < 6; $x++) { mt_srand ((double) microtime() * 1000000); $const[$x] = drupal_substr($consts,mt_rand(0,drupal_strlen($consts)-1),1); $vow[$x] = drupal_substr($vowels,mt_rand(0,drupal_strlen($vowels)-1),1); } $string = $const[0] . $vow[0] .$const[2] . $const[1] . $vow[1] . $const[3] . $vow[3] . $const[4]; $string = drupal_substr($string,0,rand(4,6)); //everytime we create a new code, we write it to session $_SESSION['captcha'] = drupal_strtolower($string); if(variable_get('textimage_use_only_upper',0)) $string = drupal_strtoupper($string); return $string; } /** * Returns an array of files with TTF extensions in the specified directory. */ function _textimage_font_list() { $fontdir = variable_get("textimage_fonts_path", ""); $filelist = array(); if (is_dir($fontdir) && $handle = opendir($fontdir)) { while ($file = readdir($handle)) { if (preg_match("/\.ttf$/i",$file) == 1) $filelist[] = $fontdir.'/'.$file; } closedir($handle); } return $filelist; } /** * Returns an array of files with jpg, png, and gif extensions in the specified directory. */ function _textimage_image_list() { $imagesdir = variable_get("textimage_images_path", ""); $filelist = array(); if (is_dir($imagesdir) && $handle = opendir($imagesdir)) { while ($file = readdir($handle)) { if (preg_match("/\.gif|\.png|\.jpg$/i",$file) == 1) $filelist[] = $imagesdir.'/'.$file; } closedir($handle); } return $filelist; } /** * Overlays an image to the supplied image resource */ function _textimage_apply_background_image (&$imageResource,$imageFile) { $backgroundResource = image_gd_open($imageFile,substr($imageFile,-3)); // Copy the text onto the background $backX = imagesx($backgroundResource); $backY = imagesy($backgroundResource); $textX = imagesx($imageResource); $textY = imagesy($imageResource); $randomBackX = rand(0,$backX-$textX); $randomBackY = rand(0,$backY-$textY); // Place the text onto a random location of the background image imagecopyresampled($backgroundResource,$imageResource,$randomBackX,$randomBackY,0,0,$textX,$textY,$textX,$textY); // Crop the background image to the original image size imagecopyresampled($imageResource,$backgroundResource,0,0,$randomBackX,$randomBackY,$textX,$textY,$textX,$textY); } /** * Creates transparent image resources for images with graphic backgrounds */ function _textimage_create_transparent_image($x, $y) { $i = imagecreatetruecolor($x, $y); $b = imagecreatefromstring(base64_decode(_text_image_blankpng())); imagealphablending($i, false); imagesavealpha($i, true); imagecopyresized($i, $b ,0 ,0 ,0 ,0 ,$x, $y, imagesx($b), imagesy($b)); return $i; } function _text_image_blankpng() { $c = "iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACgAAAAoCAYAAACM/rhtAAAABGdBTUEAAK/INwWK6QAAABl0RVh0U29m"; $c .= "dHdhcmUAQWRvYmUgSW1hZ2VSZWFkeXHJZTwAAADqSURBVHjaYvz//z/DYAYAAcTEMMgBQAANegcCBNCg"; $c .= "dyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAADXoHAgTQoHcgQAANegcCBNCgdyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAADXoHAgTQoHcgQAAN"; $c .= "egcCBNCgdyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAADXoHAgTQoHcgQAANegcCBNCgdyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAADXoHAgTQ"; $c .= "oHcgQAANegcCBNCgdyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAADXoHAgTQoHcgQAANegcCBNCgdyBAAA16BwIE0KB3IEAA"; $c .= "DXoHAgTQoHcgQAANegcCBNCgdyBAgAEAMpcDTTQWJVEAAAAASUVORK5CYII="; return $c; } ?> oellermann.com

  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/oellermann/modules/spam/spam.module on line 488.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /var/www/oellermann/includes/unicode.inc on line 291.

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

An Evangelical Sermon

<shout and abuse one half of congregation>

What do you think this is, some kind of picnic? Oh, I’m sure you think you know exactly what this is about, don’t you? Well, YOU’RE WRONG!! In fact, EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS WRONG!!! This is a CHURCH SERVICE about HEAVEN and HELL! What’re people like you doing here, anyway? When I think about it I get SO ANGRY!! What are you laughing at? GET OFF THAT CHAIR!! CHAIRS ARE TOO GOOD FOR THE LIKES OF YOU!!! <etc; separate the halves>

<smile pleasantly, clasp hands and mildly address the other half. Note: If you go really ballistic on the first bit, I might advise a sip of water.>

Good evening and welcome to our evening service. It is a pleasure to have you with us tonight, and I hope that you will have a pleasant and blessed time of worship. It is my privilege to be addressing your noble selves on the subject of Heaven and Hell. I apologise for the noise earlier, but it was unfortunately necessary. I trust that you are now comfortable, though, and will enjoy the remainder of the service.

Definition

In order for us to talk about heaven and hell, it is necessary for us to establish a common ground. Much has been said on the subject; there are those who believe in either heaven or hell exclusively, there are those who believe in neither. Many characterise hell as a place where people are treated badly, and heaven as a place where people are treated gently and well – much like the distinction between you that I made just now. Still others define hell as an innately bad place, which is most unpleasant by virtue of fiery lakes of sulphur and guys with horns and pitchforks. In this view, heaven is usually regarded as a paradise with lush fields and streets paved with gold, where one eats ice-cream for breakfast and one’s every want is attended to by djinns and houris.

Tonight I want to try to establish at the outset a biblical perspective of heaven and hell. Why biblical? Well, the Bible is the document which speaks most extensively on the subject. The Bible is also written by God through the agency of His servants; we may therefore accept it as a reasonable authority concerning the spiritual realms. Jesus, speaking about Heaven, says in Matt 14:2-4: "In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

Apart from describing it as really roomy, Jesus doesn’t spend much time on a description of Heaven. Rather, heaven is defined in terms of "being with Christ" and "being with the Father". Jesus seeks to assure us that there is room for us in heaven, because heaven is being with God. If God is infinite, therefore, heaven has no size limit. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1 that we each have "an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands". Although being with God is a spiritual state, therefore, it is not an amorphous "oneness with the void": for God loves us each and every one, and His hands have built for each of us an eternal home. Heaven surpasses the corruption and weakness of the body. Philippians 3:19-21 says: "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." This description of heaven speaks of stripping the tarnish of flesh from our selves, so that we may be clothed with a glorious spiritual body. Heaven, therefore, is a spiritual realm; a place where our souls may commune directly with God in his three aspects, without the hindrance of flesh. Being spiritual, heaven is described often as being eternal.

If heaven is an eternal spiritual life of glory with God, what, then, is hell? Let’s have a look once more at what the Bible has to say. In Matthew 8:12, Jesus speaks of separation: "But the subjects of the kingdom [that is, the world] will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Again, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 say "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power." Once again, hell is spiritual in nature, in that it is defined in relationship to God, a spiritual being. Hell, also, is characterised by the bible as everlasting. Hell may therefore be succinctly defined as an eternal spiritual realm, entirely separate from God.

So heaven is eternity with God and hell is eternity apart from God. So what does that mean? What are they like? Which should we choose? The first time I heard the idea that hell was a state of separation from God, it was formulated like this: "Oh, no, Hell isn’t fire and brimstone and all that; not even the guys with pitchforks. Hell is merely separation from God." My blood runs cold when I review in my mind the words "merely separation from God." Why? Well, let’s try an exercise.

<do the Balance Sheet exercise; everyone to identify about four items on each side. Debit side: things sucky about life; Credit side: things good about life>

Balance Sheet for the life of <your name here>
Debit Credit
Write about four things which really drag your life down. Write about four things which make your life sing.

I would lay good odds that if you look carefully, you can find a common thread among the Credit things, and a different thread throughout the Debit things. I would even be prepared to identify the thread. Things that make life worth living are characterised by love, which creates happiness and joy. They are also characterised by holiness, which creates rightness and perfection. The debit side things, however, are characterised by a lack of love or holiness, which expresses itself in emptiness, hatred, viciousness, evil and all of the baser emotions.

God tells us in His word that he has two main attributes: He is love, and He is holy. The credit-side things make life worthwhile because, in some way, they are imbued with love and holiness, and therefore reflect God. This is true whether you are Christian or not; God’s image is sealed on you, and you are happy when you are in accord with it. The debit side things are dark and unlovely because they are apart from God, and deny His nature.

Try and picture Hell, then. Imagine being swamped by all of the debit-side things, intensified, sharpened and worsened. Imagine being accosted by nameless horror, distilled of any trace of love or rightness. Imagine being consumed by the desolation of it, by the weight of your own sin and imperfection, weeded of any goodness or justification. Imagine not being able to escape even into a silent death of oblivion, but every moment facing an entire eternity weighed down with depression, hatred, anger, confusion, loneliness and disgust. Now imagine that it will be far, far worse than your thinking, because we are clothed in a physical body, with a finite mind, and cannot begin to comprehend the depth of a purely spiritual state. It is easy to see why the writers of the Bible, shown a vision of Hell but unable to put it into words, described it as an endless searing burning suffering miserable pain.

In Heaven, on the other hand, on is surrounded by a richness of love and perfection. All of the credit-side things will be purified of mortal taint, and you will rejoice in them all the more; even more than we can imagine. Being connected directly with God, the creator and sustainer of everything, you will be continually suffused and filled with peace, love, joy and understanding. Heaven is a state which our souls sing about, sometimes; when they are free, and when they love. Imagine sitting with the all-powerful Creator as a favoured son and heir, knowing the rightness of your place, and your eternal safeness with Him. No wonder the passages describing Heaven in the bible encompass some of the world’s most beautiful poetry.

The physical reality that we occupy – the here-and-now – is a temporary state, precariously balanced between the spiritual realms of heaven and hell. The Bible promises that the physical state will end, and it promises that end soon. When we end, we will find ourselves either in heaven, or in hell; we will find ourselves there for all eternity, with no way to cross over.

How Does One Get There?

Now that we’ve spoken about what heaven and hell are, let’s speak a little bit about how you can get to either destination.

Getting to Hell

Let’s say I asked "How do I get to hell?" The most obvious answer would be, of course, "Go out and worship Satan; sacrifice innocents, shed blood and cause mayhem. Defile temples and curse the name of God wherever you go. Be evil." This would probably suffice to get me into hell. However, because of the adverse conditions in hell, the entrance fees are quite a lot lower than that. Romans 6:23 starts off by saying "the wages of sin is death". You don’t even have to worship the devil – all you have to do is sin. So, assuming I want to get into Hell, all I have to do is go out and do some bad stuff, right?

Sure, that’ll get you into Hell. But it’s even easier than that. I don’t even have to make an effort to do bad stuff: I’m doing it already. Listen to Romans 3:10-18:

"As it is written:
There is no-one righteous, not even one;
There is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
There is no-one who does good,
Not even one.
Their throats are open graves;
Their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Ruin and misery mark their ways,
And the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes."

You see, we are all sinners; we have all lived lives which contrast starkly with God’s purity; we are therefore all worthy of judgment. It’s really easy to get into hell: just carry on in the way you know best.

Getting to Heaven

Getting into Heaven, on the other hand, is pretty tricky. If we are so tainted with sin, no good acceptable to God can come of us, and we are destined to fail to reach our objective. In fact, listen to Matthew 19:25-26: ‘When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible." ’ Our mortal reach is far too short to attain the infinite glory of heaven.

But Jesus doesn’t end there. In a glorious subjunctive clause he adds "but with God all things are possible". God, in His holiness and His love, understands are weakness and failing. He understands that we will never make it to heaven on our own, and so he reaches out to us. Savour the words of John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The wages of sin is death, and Christ did die. The penalty has been paid, and Christ rose again, so that by accepting His free gift and living our lives forever more in him, heaven is already ours.

Decision Time

Every human being is faced with a decision: heaven or hell. The decision may also be stated as for Christ, or otherwise. Denying the decision or putting it off doesn’t change the fact that it is your decision – it must be made; leaving it un-thought-of simply makes the decision by default – and time is winding down. Listen to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6:

"Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled."

The time is coming when the decision cannot be postponed any longer. There are many here who have made that decision for Christ, and all of them, I am certain, will attest with me to the joy and fulfilment that our lives have found in God. The Lord Jesus Christ is calling you home to eternity with him in glory; follow him.

Prayer:

  • For us to see the truth of God’s word, the perfection of His love, and for the blindfolds to be cast off.
  • For forgiveness for our sins, and perfection of ourselves in Christ
  • Thanks for God’s supreme gift, for Jesus’ sacrifice of glory for humility
  • For God’s blessing on all of his people.

<Invite those ready to decide or wanting to know more to talk to any of the leaders>


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