WHICH ROAD ARE YOU ON?

5 Jan

road

 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7.13-14).

According to a recent survey, 70% of adult American Christians believe there are no moral or ethical absolutes that apply to everyone. In other words most Christian adults have been poisoned by the drug of moral relativism. Most Christians have joined the non-Christian culture and believe we set our own standards. In essence this survey reveals that 70% of Adult American Christians have decided that God is not capable or worthy of establishing guidelines for living.

In a similar survey only 20 % of Adult American Christians said that living a life according to God’s will is the single most important thing in their lives. So, the flip side is that 80% of Adult American Christians are telling God to take a number. I’m not really surprised by these facts. These facts are lived out before our eyes everyday. As a matter of fact they are more than likely lived out to some degree by the man or woman we see in the mirror every morning.

The people of what scripture first referred to as “the Way” have strayed off course. The people of the Book have relegated it to a spot on the coffee table or mantle and it is rarely opened. Those who call themselves Christians no longer seem to understand the nature of the call. We have lost sight of the fact that it a narrow path we are supposed to be travelling. We are quickly becoming that which we despise most in the New Testament World – Pharisees. We are becoming the blind leaders of the blind.

It is high time that we return to the nature of the Narrow Way. It is high time we learn again the cost of Christianity. Let us look at the principles of the Narrow Way.

First, it is a narrow way.

We are quickly becoming a society of acceptance. We have accepted the old adage that “all roads lead to Rome”. Yet, we have transformed it to read, “all roads lead to Heaven.” No longer is it acceptable to suggest that there is only one truth, especially if that truth comes from the Bible. However, if we call ourselves Christians then we are suggesting that we espouse the beliefs of Jesus Christ, and if we espouse the beliefs of Jesus then we must accept the truth of God’s Word. It is a sad day when those who claim to be followers of “The Way” run contrary to that “Way”. Close minded though it may be, the Bible is the final authority for life and faith. Taking the chance of being criticized by the masses, I must inform you today that there are many paths in this world, but only one “way” leads to God and eternal life.

The Bible says, “Enter in at the straight gate … Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life (Matthew 7.13-14)”. The way to Christ and eternal life is a narrow one. Jesus said, “I am the door of the sheep (John 10.7).” Suggesting that if one wants to enter into the fold of Christianity one must come through the door way of Jesus Christ. This fact becomes clear when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me (John 14.6 ).” In other words, all roads do not lead to the Kingdom of God, rather only one road leads to God and that is the road that passes through the person of Jesus Christ.

If you want to be a Christian you must come through Jesus Christ. If you want to have an eternal home in heaven you must come through Jesus Christ. He is the “way”. The “way” is straight and narrow. So, enter in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it,

Today you have been shown the “way”. Will you take it?  But be aware.

It is also a confined way.

Do not be confused by the term “confined”. I do not mean that the way of Christ is confined in a legalistic sense. I believe very much that we have freedom in the person of Jesus Christ. In fact we are freed from the Law. We are not free in the sense that we are free to live contrary to the principles of the Law, because Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law. In fact, God said, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts (Hebrews 8.10).” No, we are not free from the practice of the principles of God’s Law, but in Christ Jesus we are free from the legal condemnation of the Law as it relates to our sin. Thank God that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8.1 ).” “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Galatians 3.10 ).” Therefore, as Christians we are free from the curse of the Law.

Not only are we free from the curse of the Law, but we are also free from the bondage of sin. In order to understand our freedom we must first understand our bondage. Each of us apart from Christ is in the same situation, for “the scripture has concluded all are under sin (Galatians 3.22).” We are all lost in our sin and under the bondage of sin. God’s Word makes this very clear through the writings of the Apostle Paul who says, “we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; … For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3.9-12; 23).” Clearly all of humanity apart from the saving grace of God is lost in and under the weighty bondage of sin. The one who sins is “the servant of sin (John 8.34 ).”Yet, there is hope for the one who would come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Just as through Adam we have all inherited the nature of, come under the bondage of, and are in danger of the judgment of sin, through Jesus we can find freedom from that same nature, bondage, and judgment. As we have learned Jesus says that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” This is important because for those who find the truth a wonderful transformation takes place both internally and eternally. When you find the truth the “truth will make you free (John 8.32).” The question is what does He set your free from. He sets us free from sin. How? He sets us free through our salvation experience. Those who have accepted Christ as savior have identified themselves with Christ through the ordinance of baptism.

All who “were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death (Romans 6.3).” When we observe the ordinance of baptism “we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6.4).” Baptism is the picture of the wonderful transformation to freedom that takes place in the Christian’s life. When we accept Christ as Savior and Lord we are “born again (John 3.3).” To be born again is to be recreated from the inside out. This new creation is expressed through ordinance of baptism which is a symbolic expression of our joining ourselves with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. It is through the experience of salvation that the power of sin over us is broken, because “our old man is crucified with him [that is Jesus], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin (Romans 6.6-7).” This marvelous transformation takes place because God the Father “made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5.21).” This sinless, perfect, Son of God became every evil, disgusting, and vile thing that we have ever or will ever do and in exchange He offers to us the opportunity to become His righteousness. What a wonderful exchange for us. You are free if you are in Christ, because when the Son sets you free you are free indeed (John 8.36). However, always remember “when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Romans 6.20 & 22 ).”

When we enter into the narrow way we are free from sin and free to live and move with in the boundary of moral law.

Paul expresses this concept well in his letter to the Romans: “Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6.18-23).” Let those who call themselves people of the way live like people of the way. Let us put off worldliness and flesh out righteousness. Let us live according to the calling to which we have been called by God. May we truly be those who reflect the light of Christ in this world of darkness.

It is a Careful Way

By careful I mean planned out or thought out. In other words God’s plan of redemption was not a reaction to the fall of man. God was not caught off guard when Adam sinned. In fact God knew Adam was going to sin and created him anyway in spite of his sin. There was no crisis meeting of the Godhead after the fall to determine what must be done to rectify the situation. God before the world began had carefully planned the redemption of man before He ever spoke the world in to existence.
To understand this concept we must understand that our salvation has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God. I understand that we must “choose … whom [we] will serve (Joshua 21.15 KJV),” however, our choosing and our responsibility as it relates to salvation is limited to our accepting or rejecting the finished work of God. It is “by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2.8-9).” That gift is the gift of His Son. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish should have everlasting life (John 3.16 ).” This gift was “given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Timothy 1.9 ).” God’s gift of redemption was more than a plan it was a promise. It was and is a promise that God “promised before the world began (Titus 1.2 ).” In fact this plan was more than a promise it was an eternal fact in the mind of God. In the mind of God “the Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13.8 ).” The Godhead had carefully planned out the plan of redemption before the foundation of the world was laid.

Not only did God lay out the plan of salvation in eternity past, He also accomplished it here on earth. God planned every aspect of the life of Jesus in heaven and on earth.God the Father made straight the way for the Son to accomplish the will of God on earth as it was already accomplished in heaven and the Son was faithful to follow that path to the cross. God’s plan of redemption was not plan “B”. The sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sin has always been God’s plan “A”. God’s plan of salvation has been carefully laid out from the foundation of the world and He has made that plan available to anyone who will confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10.9).

It is a Committed Way

This “way” is a committed way. This is not a short term contract. This is not a loose agreement. This commitment requires you to give to the Lord 100% of who you are. Let us hear from the Lord Himself as He addresses this issue: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14.26-27).”

There are two lessons to learn from this passage. First, we must understand that Jesus is not advocating that we literally hate anyone. To do that would go against the very character and commandment of God, because “God is love (1 John 4.8 )” and He has commanded us to “love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22.40 ).” So, what is God trying to teach us from this passage? He is trying to help us understand that if we come to Christ He must be first place in our life. That is He must come before every other relationship we have in this world. That’s what it means to commit your life to Christ. The problem with Christianity today is that we have too many “confessors” but not enough committers.

Secondly, we must understand that a commitment to Christ comes with a cross. Just as Christ was called to sacrifice for the church we are called to sacrifice for Christ. Christians, like Christ, have a mission. Our mission is to “make disciples” of all nations. Christianity in not fire insurance it is faith in motion. If we are going to call ourselves Christians we must flesh out our Christianity by being completely committed to Christ. You can only be completely committed to Christ if you will not be “conformed to this world: but be … transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12.2 ).”

It is a costly Way

Christianity is not only a committed way it is also a costly way. Commitment is costly. It cost Christ His life and it demands ours. Jesus said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16.24 ).” Taking up the cross of commitment to Christ will be costly because it will run contrary to the world system. Jesus said, “And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10.22).”

Our commitment to Christ may cost us in this world, but Jesus said, “Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6.22 ).” Contrary to the popular “name it and claim it” or “Health and Wealth” messages of today sometimes our commitment to Christ may cost us worldly comforts and companionship. Just look at Job. However, no matter what it may cost in this world the cost can not compare to the eternal reward awaiting those who walk faithfully with their Lord.

It is an Uncompromising Way

God has called us to stand firm in our faith. In fact compromise makes God sick. As the country song goes, “we must stand for something or we will fall for anything.” There is no room for lukewarm Christianity.

It is a Christ Centered Way

Jesus said in John 14.6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father, but by me” Therefore, if we want to get to God we must go through Jesus the Son. If we want to be all that God intends for us to be we must, “determined not to know any thing … save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2.2).”

It’s gut check time. Are you claiming to be on the narrow way and find yourself on the broad way? Are you trying to serve two masters? You can not be in love with God and the World. You must choose today whom you will serve. Are you going to be for Him or against Him? Are you one of the 70% of American Adult Christians who have denied the authority of God and His Word by denying His standard of moral ethics? Are you among the 80% of Adult Christians in America who tell God you’ll get to Him when you can? If you fit in to either of those categories you need to examine yourself to be sure you are a Christian. Do you walk the Narrow Road?

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