Posts Tagged ‘R.C. Sproul’

Two ‘Choices’, One Way

26 April 20

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NOTE: There’s a couple of FANTASTIC ‘analyses’ of the Coronavirus pandemic from a biblical viewpoint at the end of the “RESOURCES” section below.

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Life is full of decisions. Some decisions are ‘either/or’ that require one to make a ‘CHOICE’ between two things, which abrogates the other—sometimes forever!

The “red pill and blue pill” is a popular meme representing a choice between an uncertain future or to remain in blissful ignorance. The term is directly derived from a scene (link below) in the 1999 film, “The Matrix.”

The main character, Neo, is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill by rebel leader Morpheus. The “red pill” would free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, but living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult. On the other hand, the “blue pill” would lead him back to ignorance, living in confined comfort without want or fear within the simulated reality of the Matrix.

As described by Morpheus: “You take the blue pill…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth—nothing more.” Neo chooses the red pill, and joins the rebellion.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE7PKRjrid4&feature=youtu.be&t=80 ].

 

MAKING AN ‘EITHER/OR’ CHOICE
An either/or choice is the act of selecting or making a decision between only two possibilities—a ‘this-or-that’ choice. Some ‘simple’ examples of this kind of choice—strictly limited between only two options—are “right or wrong,” “true or false,” “good or bad,” and the “red pill or the blue pill.” Other more ‘detailed’ examples are:

– Either a driver’s license or a birth certificate is required for identification
– Our new car warranties are either five years or 50,000 miles
– You can have either a black one or a white one, since those are the only colors this comes in

 

So then, how does one go about deciding between the two choices? Is there a right choice and a wrong choice? A better choice or a worse choice? How do you decide between good and great? Well, here are some ‘suggestions’ to help you pick between two things.

Imagine you are hiking on a very dense trail, without a map, and come to a ‘fork’ in the trail. One way looks ‘rugged’, narrow, and overgrown. The other trail looks smooth, wide, and well-traveled. Do you decide which way to go by just the ‘looks’ of the trail? Well, a poem written by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” has a suggestion:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

“Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

“And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

 

Well, others—mostly ‘Type ‘A’ people (like me)—need to take a more ‘methodical’ approach to decision making, especially when they feel that a lot ‘hangs in the balance’. Whether they are choosing a new car, a new house, a career path, or even a spouse, they might feel apprehensive about making the wrong choice. By approaching their decision mindfully and examining their options, they can contrast the positive versus the negatives and benefits versus pitfalls—determining which option suits them best.

After searching the Internet a bit, this ‘method’ seems to be the one most use:

– Approaching the decision thoughtfully; Do your objective research
– Focus on what is right for you rather than what is right for others
– Embrace any uncomfortable feelings that accompany your decision
– Comparing your options; List the ‘pros and cons’ for each option
– Tally which choice has more benefits than drawbacks
– Detail the negative consequences of each choice to avoid pitfalls
– Make a list of the potential negative consequences of choosing each option, both in the short and long term
– Create a single list of all the benefits or advantages for these two choices
– Does either choice help you accomplish a certain goal or hope (“Bucket List”)?
– If you are having difficulty making a decision, friends, family, professional acquaintances or even ‘consultants’ may be able to help (especially if the decision directly impacts someone else)
– Make the choice; Put all your effort ‘behind’ it!
[ If all this fails, flip a coin! ;^D ]

 

Decisions have consequences, and it’s wise to determine all the possible outcomes. The idea is to go with the best possible chance of overall success. John Quincy Adams said, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

If there is no need to rush your decision, then, by all means, don’t do so. The saying, “haste makes waste” may be pertinent here. When one acts in haste, it often leads to unforeseen circumstances and an entirely new set of difficulties. Proceed slowly and thoughtfully.

However, there does come a time when a decision needs to be made—you cannot walk two separate ‘paths’ at the same time. A decision MUST be made! After mulling it over, getting input from others, and seeking ‘wisdom’, as a popular advertising says, “Just Do It!” Have the courage to decide. Don’t ‘shrink’ away from the difficulty. Choose!

 

Most of us wish desperately that we could see the end of both ‘trails’ before making the decision. We want somebody, something, or even an ‘angel’ to appear and answer our ‘what if’ questions. Well, most of the time that doesn’t happen (nor does one have the “god view” like Google Maps can give you). You can only choose one ‘path’ and have the confidence that you may never be able to ‘walk’ the other path in the near future, or ever.

Choosing one path means ‘abandoning’ the other. You cannot travel both at the same time. Life is not a movie or book—where you can go back after you are shown the consequences of both choices—and be able to make the best decision (like the ‘heroes’ do).

 

The truth is, you will never know if a decision is a good or bad one until you actually commit to a choice, and ‘live it out’.

At times, absolutely, undoing the choice maybe painful. For example, after two months of living in an ‘admired’ state (such as Florida), you are ‘forced’ to move back to the state you came from and you have to buy a house that is not as good as the one you left behind (and at a higher price), or there are no houses available that meet your needs and you have to rent a creepy, moldy apartment for a time. It may be a really hard choice and it may cost you, but that’s just the ‘consequence’ of your original decision. The thing is, you won’t know until you commit all the way, and that’s what decisions are for. To usher us into the possibilities of life.

In Lewis Carroll’s book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Alice comes to a fork in the road and meets a Cheshire cat in the tree. She asks, “Which road do I take?” The cat responds, “Where do you want to go?” Alice says, “I don’t know.” The cat responds, “Then it doesn’t matter.”

Today’s culture says, “Just make a choice, you can always change your mind.” However, that is not always possible. Some decisions CAN’T BE CHANGED!

To give you an idea of how others have chosen between two ‘roads’, here are a few ‘cultural’ examples:

From Greek myth, Heracles had to choose between an easy, comfortable life (pleasure) or a harsh, glorious one (virtue). He chose the latter. Even later, Heracles made a famous choice: The allegorical figures of Pleasure (“Vice”) and Labor (“Virtue”) appeared to him to offer him a choice between a life of pleasures without achievement, and constant striving with great accomplishments. He chose Virtue.

A similar prophecy affected Achilles: He could go to war (The Trojan War), find glory but definitely die young, or he could forego going to war and most likely die old, but probably bored. He chose the war, and died.

In the book “Les Misérables,” when Jean Valjean has Javert’s life in his ‘hands’, he had to choose between being ‘lawful’ and being ‘good’. He chose ‘good’ and saved Javert’s life.

More recently, in the “Men in Black” movie, all prospective agents have the choice between remaining in their current occupations and leading their lives, or joining the agency and severing all ties to their former lives. N.Y.P.D. officer James Edwards chooses the agency, and becomes “Agent J.”

In the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movie, Iroh tells Zuko he needs to choose whether to side with either the Avatar or Azula. (The episode is even called “The Crossroads of Destiny”). He chooses Azula.

On the ‘lighter’ side, in the “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” episode “Haunted House Hang-Up,” the gang is on their way to a rock festival when they come to a fork in the road. Fred asks a creepy stranger, Asha Shanks, the way to the Interstate. The left fork is the long way, the right fork is the short way but leads past a mysterious haunted mansion with a headless specter. They take the short way (Fred: “We’re low on gas”), the van overheats, and stalls right in front of the mansion (of course).

In the recent ’gaming’ world, a ‘campaign’ in “StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm” has “evolutions” that can be applied to certain units. Once chosen, the evolution is permanent, and the unselected one cannot be used for the remainder of the campaign.

Back in ‘my day’, the “Extra Room” of “Mario Party 4” contains a single-player mini-game called “Doors of Doom.” It consists entirely of choosing between two doors—each one either lets Mario through to the next room, awarding him a point, or opens to reveal Bowser, which ends the game.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSkmJa63kw4 ].

 

Back in the real world, you may have heard of the phrase, “Cross the Rubicon.” It is a metaphor that means to take an IRREVOCABLE ‘STEP’ that commits one to a specific course.

In January 49 BC, Julius Caesar brought the 13th legion across the Rubicon River, which precipitated the Roman Civil War, and ultimately led to Caesar becoming dictator and began the rise of the imperial era of Rome. According to some authors, he is said to have uttered the phrase “Alea iacta est”—“The die has been cast”—and his army marched through the shallow river to victory. Today, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” is a metaphor that means to “pass a point of no return.”

 

If you are a history buff, you may know the story of Hernán Cortés who, in the year 1519, arrived in the New World with six hundred men. Upon arrival, he made history by destroying all of his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. [ Two years later, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire ].

 

Hopefully, I’ve shown that choice involves decision making, and that everything we do is a choice that we make—from the simplest actions right down to the life-changing ones.

Some choices like eggs or cereal for breakfast have relatively low-impact on the chooser’s life overall. However, more complex choices might involve, what profession to pursue, what house to buy, or what spouse to choose—which based on multiple influences can have larger ramifications for one’s life.

Some say that ‘life’ literally comes down to just two choices: Is what I’m going to do going to become part of a problem or is it going to become part of a solution. Is it going to make my life more difficult, more stressful, more complicated, and bring more anxiety, problems, and drama into my life OR is it going to enhance my life, move me forward, and bring me happiness and joy that will give me the rewards in life that I feel that I should be working towards. Will it make me a better ‘version’ of myself?

 

HAVING A ‘MAP’
Whether it is a ‘plan’ for one’s life, or getting to a desired destination, a ‘map’ can be a valuable tool, especially when one is out on the trail and comes up upon a ‘divide’ or a ‘fork’ in the path. If they want to go forward, they MUST make a choice, and go one way or the other.

Today, if you are in an area that the satellites can ‘see’, you just whip out your trusty Smartphone and look up where you are in an application like Google Maps, Waze, Mapquest, or others. Then you can get a “god view” (Uber’s term) of your location and determine which path will be the best (especially knowing which one will not end up in a dead-end).

 

However, there are still places—mostly in remote jungles and off-the-beaten-path trails—that are not ‘mapped out’ yet, and one still needs to be able to read an ‘old’ map.

‘OLD’ MAP (Pasadena, CA):
Map of Pasadena CA (91105)

‘GOOGLE’ MAP (Pasadena, CA):
Google Map-Pasadena CA -(Fork In The Road)

[ Google Map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1FyhK7l7ALrPA6ZuWrWxGfJo1TVs&hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&ll=34.131381273439466%2C-118.15487362377468&spn=0%2C0&source=embed&z=19 ]

“FORK IN THE ROAD” (Pasadena, CA):
Fork In The Road - Pasadena CA

 

WHICH ‘WAY’ TO HEAVEN?
In reality, every person, at one time or another, will ‘stand’ at a HUGE ‘CROSSROAD’. More significantly than what house to buy, what career to pursue, or what person to marry, there is one decision that will affect us far beyond this life!

The MOST IMPORTANT question that will ever be answered by each one of us is, “Which way to Heaven?” So, to try to answer this, one of the ‘old maps’ available to us is the Bible. It says that life here on earth, compared to eternity, is “a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away” (James 4:14). It is like steam off a cup of coffee, nothing more, compared to eternity. The Bible says that everyone will live ‘somewhere’ forever without end. I’m thinking that ‘where’ you live forever is absolutely critical. It says that there are two options: Hell and eternal punishment, or Heaven and eternal joy.

 

So, most people look to ‘religion’ to answer this question. If serious about getting the ‘right’ answer, most investigate what the major religions of the world to find out what they have to say about how to get to Heaven after they die.

The thing is, there are only two ‘kinds’ of religions in the world. One is that of “human achievement”—the religion of works—the religion that says you can be good enough, holy enough, religious enough, and spiritual enough to achieve Heaven. This describes most religions of the world—they just have different ‘rules’. The other is the religion of “divine accomplishment”—the religion of faith, grace, and mercy—’true’ Christianity which says that no one can do enough to get to Heaven. The Apostle Paul summarized this by saying, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [ Ephesians 2:8-9 ].

 

Now, the Jews of Jesus’ day were the illustration of the ‘wrong’ kind of religion. They were part of the human achievement type. They had not maintained the ‘TRUE’ religion of the really ‘old map’, the Old Testament, which was to recognize your sin and to recognize the inability for you to do anything about your sin and throw yourself on the mercy of God. They had developed a form of Judaism by which they ‘earned’ their way to Heaven, or at least they thought they did—until Jesus ‘assaulted’ them in ‘their’ Temple, calling it a “den of thieves” (that’s one of the reasons why they crucified Him).

The Jews thought they were spiritually mature, that they knew God, represented God, were moral, and were fastidious in keeping the Law. But Jesus essentially said, “You’ve got to realize that if you want to enter My Kingdom, you will have to comprehend your spiritual bankruptcy.”

 

Well, Jesus actually gave the Jews—and us—a sort of a “god view” for our lives—telling us THE ‘road’ that a one should pursue for one’s life and how to get to Heaven! It’s all contained in Jesus’ greatest ‘sermon’—the “Sermon on the Mount.”

 

SERMON ON THE MOUNT
The “Sermon on the Mount” is the ‘Magna Carta’ of the Christian faith. Revealing a divine ideal, it is the charter of the Christian life and, in my opinion, the most priceless deposit of religious insight known to man.

Many people praise it for its wonderful ‘ethical’ teaching. However, it is primarily NOT a sermon on ethics. It is primarily a sermon on ‘SALVATION’—how not to go to Hell after we die—which we ALL ‘deserve’.

The BOTTOM LINE is this: Jesus is essentially saying, “So, you want forgiveness of your sins? You want salvation? You want eternal life? You want to go to Heaven? Here’s what you need to know.”

Jesus starts with a series of revolutionary statements referred to as “The Beatitudes”—’standards’ for one who would fulfill the requirements of citizenship in the Kingdom of God. It addresses a person’s ‘condition’ and what to do about it. However, each Beatitude is an ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ challenge, and Jesus then takes the accepted standards of that day—and ours—and turning them ‘inside out’.

 

Primarily addressing the Pharisees, Jesus began to teach by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The word “poor” is the lowest possible level of poverty where you have to beg. Poor in spirit means having little or barely anything. Jesus was saying that the people who are going to be a part of His kingdom are the ones who realize that they are spiritually ‘destitute’—contrary to what all the Jews thought at that time. One must be aware of and ACCEPT their spiritual ‘bankruptcy’ before they will enter Heaven!

Secondly, because of their spiritual bankruptcy they “mourn.” They are not proud of themselves. They’re not smug or self-satisfied about their condition. They know they are spiritually bankrupt, and are horrified by it. Heartbroken and grieved over it. They sorrow profoundly in their desperation.

Then Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek.” They are humble, not proud, and are crushed under the ‘weight’ of their wretchedness.

Jesus continues by saying, “They hunger and thirst for righteousness.” They know they don’t have it, they are ‘starving’ for it, and want to know how to get it!

This is contrary to everything these people had ever heard. It was all about their pride, their “human achievement.” The Sermon on the Mount is designed to strip the self-righteous and self-deceived right down to ‘bare bones’.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is contrasting ‘true’ religion with ‘false’ religion, NOT a contrast between godliness and Christianity, and irreligious people, pagan people, openly lewd and lascivious, godless, immoral masses, on their way merrily to Hell. It is NOT that. This is looking at false religion as compared to true religion when both claim to be biblical.

Somebody might assume that with all the religions in the world and all the supposed insights into spirituality and all the ways that men and women have concocted their religious systems and their spiritual intuition there would be literally millions or more ways that people have developed to heaven that you must choose from. BUT, in fact, there are ONLY TWO: between ‘divine’ religion and ‘man-made’ religion—which was the religion that existed among the Jews at Jesus’ time. It’s not a contrast between religion and paganism, religion and no religion. This is not a comparison between Judaism and Islam, or Christianity with Hinduism. It’s a contrast between two kinds of righteousness: a righteousness that does not satisfy God, and a righteousness that does; a religion that does not satisfy God and a religion that does.

It IS a contrast in two kinds of religions, both roads marked “this is the way to Heaven.” It is a contrast between “divine righteousness” (what God demands) and “human righteousness” (what man demands), between true religion and false religion. A contrast is between Jesus and the Pharisees.

The problem the Pharisees had was that they “trusted in themselves, that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9). That was their religion. That was inadequate in God’s ‘eyes’. The choice is this: either you’re good enough on your own or through your ‘system’ to make it to Heaven, or you’re not!

The thing is, Jesus pretty much told them that their religion was so bad that, “not one stone is going to be left on another” of their great Temple that Herod had built (Matthew 24:2). That it all was going to come crashing down, and then judgment would come!

[ Note: ‘Judgment’ came in 70 AD, when the Romans came, sacked Jerusalem, and leveled their Temple. They then were ‘dispersed’ throughout the world, until ‘coming back’ in 1948, when Israel became a State. All this happened just as Jesus said would happen ].

 

So, according to Jesus, there are only two ‘religions’ in the world. There is the religion of “divine accomplishment”—God has ‘done’ it all in Jesus—and the is the religion of “human achievement”—when we ‘do’ some of it to get heavenly ‘credit’.

It comes down to this: It’s either the religion of ‘grace’ or the religion of ‘works’. The religion of ‘faith’, or the religion of the ‘flesh’. Man-made systems of religion are based upon the fact that we have the capacity to develop our own righteousness: a religious ‘environment’, a few ‘rules’, a few ‘routines’, a few ‘rituals’, and do some ‘works’. That’s the religion of human achievement, and it comes under myriads of different titles, but it’s all the same system, spawned out of the same source, Satan himself. He ‘packages’ it in under different names, but it’s the exact same ‘product’. Tragically, most of humanity is on the road of human achievement, believing they can reach the highest plane of potential destiny because of some innate capacity and capability, through their own good works and good deeds.

On the other hand, the religion of “divine accomplishment,” ‘true’ Christianity, stands alone.

That’s the contrast. Jesus is saying, “Look, there are two roads marked “To Heaven.” One is the narrow, ‘compressed’ road of “divine righteousness.” The other is the broad, ‘wide’ road of “human righteousness.” The thing is, the Jews had taught that they could make it on their own, and that’s why it was so shocking to them when the Apostle Paul said, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight” [ Romans 3:20a ]. Jesus’ whole ‘thrust’ of the Sermon on the Mount is to ‘break the back’ of that kind of system.

 

The ‘sermon’ is designed to ‘unmask’ the adulteration of the true biblical religion taught by the Pharisees—one that says people can earn their way to Heaven by their own righteousness, by their works, and by their religious activities. The Sermon is designed to show the folly of that.

Jesus systematically attacks all the aspects of the false Judaism, dismantles all of them, and crushes them under the weight of their shortcomings. Jesus essentially tells them, “Instead of being proud of your religious achievements, you need to see yourselves as poor in spirit. You need to mourn over your sins. You need to become meek and humble. You need to hunger and thirst for righteousness you don’t have. You need to be merciful. You need to be pure in heart. You need to be peacemakers” (most of the “Beatitudes”). Instead of being proud and feel like you have attained the standard that God requires to enter His kingdom, you need to be broken and crushed under the reality that you will not enter His kingdom by your works unless you’re as perfect as God is—and that’s NOT TRUE OF ANYONE!

 

Let me suggest to you there is one thing you CANNOT DO with the Sermon on the Mount, that is to stand back and ‘admire’ it. Jesus is not interested in ‘bouquets’ for His ethics. He is not interested in those who want to just admire the virtues of the ethical statements. Jesus wants a DECISION about your destiny! As one writer well said, “It’s make-up-your-mind time on the mountain.”

Jesus has been moving throughout this entire Sermon to bring people to the POINT WHERE THEY RESPOND. Jesus demanded a decision then of those He was speaking to, and FROM YOU, NOW!

 

Theologian John Stott says, “Jesus cuts across our easy-going syncretism.” People tend to want to become ‘eclectic’ in developing systems of religion, but Jesus says, “Nope. Only two choices.” Some people might say, “Well, how in the world could Jesus make such a clear-cut issue about religion when there are so many religions facing man?” Well, there aren’t so many. There’s just true or false, right or wrong, human or divine. It’s Binary.

[ FYI: For more details about the ‘binary’ nature of things, read last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-only-way-v253/ ].

 

Jesus brings the whole thing to the climax of a decision, a ‘CHOICE’. Two ‘GATES’ which direct the individual unto two ‘ROADS’, which then lead to two ‘DESTINATIONS’, which are populated by two different ‘CROWDS’.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

A Tree and Its Fruit
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Build Your House on the Rock
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” [ Matthew 7:13-27 ].

 

Jesus then focuses on the INEVITABLE DECISION that has to be made regarding that which He has been saying. Someone has well said that, “All of life concentrates on man at the crossroads.” That certainly is true. Ultimately, and inevitably, there is A final choice. A choice that determines one’s eternity—the ‘ULTIMATE’ choice. Which ‘gate’ should I go through to get to Heaven?

 

PASSAGE OVERVIEW
So, this post will expound on the CHOICE one must make and the ‘RESULTS’ that will transpire. Here’s an overview of what the passage is teaching:

One starts their ‘journey’ by going through one of two ‘GATES’, either the narrow one or wide one—and one must ‘ENTER’ only one of them. They then have one of two ‘WAYS’ to go: hard or easy. These ‘paths’ have two different ‘DESTINIES’: Heaven or Hell. It so happens that there will be two ‘CROWDS’ on each one of these ‘paths’: persistent or lackadaisical, many or few.

Each one of these ‘crowds’ are characterized by one of two ‘TREES’: good or corrupt, reproducing two kinds of ‘FRUITS’: good or bad. Associated with these people are two ‘BEHAVIORS’: the doers and the sayers.

Each one of the people is described as one of two different kinds of ‘BUILDERS’: a wise one or a foolish one. They build two very similar ‘houses’ with two different ‘FOUNDATIONS’: one on the rock bed which is difficult and takes time to build on and one on the sea sand which is easy and quick to build on. However, the two ‘HOUSES’ are put to the test when the ’STORM’ comes: the one built on the rock stands, and the one built on the sand falls.

This is a simple contrast that SUMS UP all of religion. The choice that everyone has. You either choose the narrow ‘way’ or the broad ‘way’. The narrow way is difficult, agonizing, unsettling, and focused on becoming Christlike. The broad ‘way’ is easy, pleasant, tolerant, and allows for all kinds of religious viewpoints. HOWEVER, only the ‘narrow’ path is the ‘way’ to Heaven, and the broad road, though ‘marketed’ as Heaven, it is a direct ‘path’ to Hell!

 

TWO ‘GATES’
First off, there are two ‘gates’, one is narrow, constricted, and tough to get through. The other is wide, open, and easy to get through. One MUST DECIDE to ‘ENTER’ one or the other.

In the Greek, “Enter by the narrow gate” is an “aorist imperative,” which means it is a ‘COMMAND’. It is a ‘call’ for an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. It doesn’t do any good to stand on the ‘outside’ and admire the gate.

So, it is ‘imperative’ for one to choose. It’s not going to happen by accident. It’s not going to happen apart from a commitment and a decision on your part.

It is not enough to listen to ‘preaching’ about the narrow gate. It is not enough to ‘study’ the narrow gate, to admire the ‘structure’ of the narrow gate, to admire the ‘wisdom’ of Gospel means. It MUST BE ENTERED.

 

The choice is utterly CLEAR-CUT. There are ONLY TWO choices: the narrow gate (the narrow way) and the wide gate (the wide way). That’s it. There are NO OTHER alternatives! If one wants to go to Heaven, they must enter the NARROW ‘gate’.

This was also emphasized by Jesus in another way: “I am the door” [ John 10:9a ]. There is NO OTHER ‘way’. No other ‘Redeemer’. No other ‘Savior’. No other ‘sacrifice’ for sin!

 

In last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post (March 2020), I discussed that Jesus was ‘adamant’ about Him being “the way, the truth and the life,” and that “no man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is saying here that He is the ONLY ‘WAY’ to salvation, and He paints a picture of sheep that need to return to the ‘fold’ to find protection. This is a metaphor for us who want to be assured of getting to Heaven that He is the only ‘portal’ to get there. It is the only way for a sinful human being to enter into a relationship with a holy God. Only ‘forgiven’ people ‘cleansed’ of their sins—which Jesus does for us when we ‘believe’ in Him—can be in the presence of God the Father in Heaven.

[ For more details on Jesus being the only ‘way’ to God (and even), view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-only-way-v253/ ].

 

The Apostle Peter commented about this topic saying, “There is no salvation in any other name; for there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” [ Acts 4:12 ]. One choice. One ‘way’. One ‘road’.

In addition to that, the Apostle Paul said, “There is one God, one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” [ 1 Timothy 2:5 ]. Faith comes by hearing the message concerning Jesus, and that He alone is the ‘way’. In that sense, it is VERY ‘NARROW’.

 

People say, “You are very narrow-minded.” Well, I often respond by saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger. Jesus is the One that said this. Take it up with Him.”

God, as Creator, has the right to do it the way He wants it done, and says that THIS IS THE ‘WAY’. He ‘chose’ to do it THIS WAY. You must ENTER, and you must enter THE NARROW GATE!

In the Greek, the “narrow way” literally means “a pressed way,” “constricted way,” “a confining way.” Kind of like a difficult pass between two cliffs hemmed in on both sides. Very rigid, very prescribed, very limited. That’s why the Apostle Paul said, one must “must walk circumspectly, with your eyes open” [ Ephesians 5:15 ].

 

In contrast, there is the WIDE ‘gate’. This gate can be entered with no difficulty. This gate can be entered with a whole ‘crowd’. There is no self-denial, so bring all your ‘baggage’. There is no repentance necessary, no ‘surrender’ to Jesus is necessary. This is the gate of self-indulgence, so bring your pride, your self-righteousness, bring your sins, and join the large crowd going through this gate. You just become ‘religious’.

The wide gate leads to a broad way—plenty of room, no restriction, room for tolerance, room for immorality, no ‘curbs’, and no boundaries. No need for a Beatitude attitude. No need to be ‘restricted’ by the Word of God. No need to worry about internal issues of the conscience. We’re all on the happy ‘road’ to Heaven, because we’re religious, and we’re basically ‘good’. You can come with your lust, your pride, and your covetousness—it’s all okay. Everyone does it. We’re all like that.

No morality is particularly binding. There’s room for diverse theology. There’s tolerance of every conceivable sin. Just as long as you love Jesus, or as long as you’re religious. All the desires of the fallen heart are fed on that road. There’s no need for humility. There’s no need for strict, internal moral standards. You can just go along with a ‘mechanical’ religiosity that is no more than hypocrisy. It takes absolutely no character. It’s like a dead fish floating downstream with the current. It’s very easy.

 

The utter TRAGEDY of it all is that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” [ Proverbs 14:12 ]. It’s the broad way. A comfortable little ‘system’. However, “The way of the ungodly shall perish” [ Psalm 1:6 ].

HOWEVER, unlike the narrow gate, the wide gate is easy to find since it is marked “Heaven” with a big, flashing ‘sign’. It’s easy just to say a ‘prayer’, sign a ‘card’, raise your hand, and ‘join’ the religion. Follow the crowd. It’s easy—and headed for Hell!

 

Something to note: The thing is, a gate serves two purposes: it lets in, and it shuts out. Those who do not enter the narrow gate are then eternally BARRED from the Kingdom of God! Like in the parable of the wedding feast, the door was shut when the wedding begins and no one else is allowed in after that! (Matthew 25:10).

So, one must go beyond being ‘fascinated’ with who Jesus was, or even ‘admiring’ Him. You must commit to ENTER the NARROW GATE if you want to end up in Heaven after you die!

 

ONE MUST GO ‘ALONE’
Then, you must enter this gate ALONE. The narrow gate has been likened to a “turnstile”—a very constricted entrance—admitting only one person at a time. It is not a ‘group’ experience. It is ‘exclusive’. In fact, you may have to ‘break’ with friends and family!

The Jews in Jesus’ day believed that they were already ‘included’ in the Kingdom because of their Abrahamic heritage, Jewish ancestry, and having been circumcised, they were already on the ‘road’ to Heaven. NOT!

Many people today also think that they’re on the right road to Heaven. They got on the ‘right’ road when they started going to church hanging around believing people, or when they got baptized. However, it also isn’t something you inherit from your parents or your grandparents either. It isn’t something you sign up for along with another person. It requires a ‘break’ from the crowd. There are no ‘groups’ coming through the ‘turnstile’! You’re not ‘carried along’ by someone else.

 

Salvation is exclusive and intensely personal. That’s kind of hard because all our life is spent rushing around with the crowd. All of our life is spent doing whatever everybody else does, being a part of a group, and being a part of the world ‘system’ around us—being accepted. Then all of a sudden, Jesus says, “You’re going to have to come, and you’re going to have to come through this deal all by yourself.” To a Pharisee, that meant you’re going to have to say goodbye to those people and that ‘system’ and step out alone.

 

One must enter without their ‘baggage’. You must ‘drop’ everything. You can’t go through a ‘turnstile’ with all your baggage. It’s the gate of self-denial. One must ‘strip off’ all the sin and self-righteousness. You must ‘unload’ yourself.

Dropping all the baggage isn’t easy. The “rich young ruler” wouldn’t do it. He was very rich and he wasn’t about to let go of his money. He was very much in control, he wasn’t about to do what Jesus told him to do. He wasn’t going to let somebody else be sovereign over his life, so he hung onto his ‘baggage’.

So, if you’re holding on to anything that you are not willing to let go of, you WILL NOT BE ABLE to get through this ‘gate’. You ‘abandon’ yourself totally to Jesus!

English preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “You and your sins must separate, or you and your God cannot come together. No one sin may you keep; they must all be recognized for what they are. They must be brought out like the Canaanitish kings from the cave and hanged up in the sun. You must forsake them, abhor them, and ask the Lord to overcome them.” This is what the New Testament calls “turning from sin to serve the living God.”

 

Some people who espouse the idea that all you have to do to become a Christian is just know that Jesus can save you from Hell—say a little prayer, and you’re ‘in’. That’s a FAR CRY from what the New Testament teaches! Even John the Baptist came preaching repentance, repentance, repentance—readying people for Jesus coming.

 

This is what Jesus was talking about when He said that, “one must ‘hate’ their sinfulness, pride, self-righteousness, and iniquity before they can be one of His disciples. Jesus goes even further with this concept to say that, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” [ Luke 14:26 ].

This is also what Jesus meant in the parables of the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44-46). In each story, the point is very simple, a man finds a treasure, he sells EVERYTHING to but the land the treasure is buried on. In the other parable, the man finds a pearl, he sells EVERYTHING to put all his fortune in the pearl.

 

The point is this, when you come to salvation, which is the pearl and salvation which is the treasure, you LIQUIDATE EVERYTHING—all selfishness, all sin, and all self-righteousness. You come bankrupt, empty, shattered, poor, meek, mourning, hungry, thirsty. This is REPENTANCE. You come not only to confess that this is THE ONLY WAY, but with recognition of your own spiritual ‘emptiness’. (That’s what the first two Beatitudes address about being “poor in spirit” and “mourning” your sinful condition).

This is just trying to say that Jesus should be THE MOST IMPORTANT ‘thing’ in your life!

[ For more discussion on exactly what the Bible means about “hating” others, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-will-cost-you-v233/ ].

 

IT WILL BE ‘DIFFICULT’
Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow door” [ Luke 13:24a ]. In the Greek, the word “strive” is “agōnizomai,” from which we get to “agonize.” Jesus went on to say in that same verse that, “Many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” [ Luke 13:24b ]. WOW!

This is a similar thing that the Apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote about the perseverance of an athlete ‘agonizing’ to win a victory (1 Corinthians 9:25), when ‘laboring’ fervently in one’s prayers (Colossians 4:12), or when he was mentoring Timothy about ‘fighting’ the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12). In other words, Jesus says this is ‘WARFARE’!

That’s why Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” [ Matthew 11:12 ]. It’s for people who ‘seize’ it. It’s not for the weak, marginal, or the INDIFFERENT. Every person ‘presses’ into it (Luke 16:16). The thing is, many people give up and fall by the wayside—and never get through!

So, why is it so hard to get through? Well, because “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous his thoughts” [ Isaiah 55:7 ]. You MUST leave the old ‘self’ behind. All your self-will, all your sovereignty over your own life, all your sense of your own goodness, even all your own dreams and ambitions. It’s exactly what Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself” [ Luke 9:23 ].

 

Jesus tells the disciples a parable that explained this (Luke 18:18-30). A “rich young ruler” came to the ‘gate’. He really searched. Then he ‘found’ Jesus and said, “What do I need to do to enter the Kingdom? I’ve come to find out; I’ve been searching. I want to be in the Kingdom.” Jesus went right to the ‘heart’ of the problem and said, “Go take everything you have, sell it, and give it to the poor” [ Luke 18:22 ].

Why did Jesus tell him that? Well, Jesus was establishing whether or not this man was committed enough to enter the Kingdom. Whether he was ready to seize it, to agonize for it, to do the struggle that needed to be done to enter. He walked away and said, “Not on your life. I want my money. I want my self-determination. I’m not submitting to you.” He wasn’t about to deny himself. He wasn’t about to abandon everything and submit himself fully to Jesus!

The rich young ruler came, with self-righteousness in one hand and all his money in the other, and he couldn’t get through the ‘turnstile’. The Bible says, “He went away sorrowing.” He had sought, but he wasn’t willing for the selfless, self-denying, agonizing over sin, and the stripping to the bareness necessary to enter the gate. I think it’s wonderfully expressed by Jesus that, “Except you become as a little child, you can’t enter the Kingdom” [ Matthew 18:3 ].

What is it that marks a little child? It is utter dependency. As the old hymn says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” Saving faith is not just an act of the mind, it is a ‘stripping’ of one’s self—utter ‘nakedness’.

So, this gate is only entered by the serious, zealous, passionate, eager, and the DESPERATE. You see this in the Publican pounding his chest, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” [ Luke 18:13d ]. You should do the same saying, “I have no other hope. I abandoned myself—I am ‘desperate’!”

 

Multitudes make a profession and claim to be saved—but their lives give no evidence that they are “strangers and pilgrims” here on earth, or that their “treasure” is in Heaven. They are afraid of being thought narrow and exclusive, strict, and puritanical. Satan has deceived them. They imagine that they can get to Heaven by an ‘easier’ route than by denying self, taking up their ‘cross’ daily, and following Jesus! NOT!

There are multitudes of ‘religionists’ who attempt to combine the two ‘ways’, and serve two ‘masters’. Crowds of nominal Christians are ‘DELUDING’ themselves into believing that they can do so! They are terribly DECEIVED! A profession of faith that does not ‘mortify’ sin and the deeds of the body is vain (Romans 8:13). A faith that is not evidenced by complete submission to Jesus, keeping commandments, is an ‘imposition’ (John 14:23). Where there is no real yieldedness to the will of God, there is a daring ‘presumption’! The reason why so few will enter eternal life is because the multitudes are not seeking it in THE WAY of God appointed!

 

The Christian life is not merely a single decision to follow Jesus, as decisive as one’s conversion is. The Christian life is an ongoing commitment to Jesus, a daily ‘turning’ to Him in repentance and faith, as one awaits the fulfillment of their ‘citizenship’ in Heaven. Those who are truly ‘born again’, seek ‘communion’ with Jesus, pray to Him, read His Word, listen to the Word preached, partake in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and enjoy fellowship with other believers.

For those whose hearts are shattered over their sinfulness. Who mourn in meekness, who hunger and thirst to be unquenchably satisfied, God transforms their life (2 Corinthians 5:17). It’s not for the people who want Heaven without any alteration of their living. Jesus essentially said, “In order to be in My Kingdom, you must have earnest endeavor, untiring energy, utmost exertion.” It IS difficult. The implication here is that it’s hard to find. It is a ‘desperate’ search!

Even when you’ve found it, it’s still VERY HARD to go through!

It is only entered by the truly penitent willing to say, “Jesus is Lord, and I will be His slave. I will give my life to Him for the gift that He offers, which is the forgiveness of all my sins and the promise of eternal life.” That is hard for sinners to do! That is difficult for proud hearts. It is part of human ‘nature’.

This is a ‘death blow’ to what is called “easy believism” (the “Sinner’s Prayer”) and “cheap grace.” Now, I know that shocks some people, because we hear all the time that getting saved is easy. All you have to do is just believe, sign a ‘card’, walk the aisle, raise your hand, or go to the prayer room. The only thing is, when they get done with this, they aren’t on the right road, because they DIDN’T COME THROUGH the narrow gate.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQiaqtr1VGA ].

 

Christianity is NOT for ‘weaklings’, compromisers, and hesitant commitments. It’s for the strong and the ’committed’. The conflict will often be fierce!

The prophet Jeremiah said this, “You will seek me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart” [ Jeremiah 29:13 ].

The narrow door must be searched out and found, and when it’s found, it won’t be an easy path after entering! That’s why Jesus said, “You have to count the cost” (Luke 14:25-34).

 

IT MAY ‘COST’ YOU EVERYTHING
There’s a big cost involved here. You have to understand what you’re getting into. This isn’t just about raising your hand and praying a little “sinner’s prayer” and now you’re on your way to Heaven. This may cost you EVERYTHING!!! (Luke 14:25-33).

Jesus is essentially saying, “Are you willing to do that? Have you really counted the cost of what’s involved here? I’m asking for your whole life. I’m asking you to become My slave. I’m asking you to live the rest of your life doing exactly what I tell you, no matter what it cost you, even if it cost you all your hopes and dreams, and even your own life!”

Commitment is costly. It cost Jesus His life and it demands all of the believers’ life. Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would 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 Jesus will be costly because it will run contrary to the world system. Jesus continued, “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” [ Matthew 10:22 ].

Our commitment to Jesus may ‘cost’ us in this world, but Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” [ Luke 6:22 ]. Contrary to the popular “name it and claim it” or “health and wealth” messages of today, sometimes our commitment to Jesus 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 Jesus!

 

It may cost you every single relationship that you have! (This happens a lot in the Middle East today). Jesus said, “‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’” [ Matthew 10:34-39 ].

 

This just might involve ‘hating’ your family. Jesus says that this could be so extreme that you better calculate the ‘cost’ to yourself! Like a man who calculates whether he has enough money to build a tower before he starts, or like a man who’s going to go to war with somebody, he calculates the troops and whether he’s got enough to withstand the onslaught and win the victory. You’ve got A LOT AT STAKE here. Your eternal destiny is at stake. Just know that if you decide to “hold onto your life” (Luke 9:24) you will LOSE IT FOREVER! Salvation is never ‘marketed’ by Jesus as cheap and easy. It is NOT your “best life now.” (It will be your “best life” LATER!). It will potentially cost you everybody and everything—even your own control over your own life!

 

The cost is high and the demand is high. Jesus asks for EVERYTHING. You subject yourself to the will of God no matter what it is. It involves discipline and chastening when you disobey (Hebrews 12).

You will also suffer persecution: “All that will live godly suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), and Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” [ John 15:18 ].

Jesus essentially is saying that, “You’re going to have to step out of the crowd, you’re going to have to say goodbye to everybody you love, or you can’t even be My disciple, and then you’re going to have to pick up a cross and live a crucified life.”

God has called us to stand firm in our faith. In fact, compromise makes God “sick” (Revelation 3:15-16). It’s been well said that, “We must stand for something or we will fall for anything.” There is no room for ‘lukewarm’ Christianity!

[ For more discussion on what the Bible says about ‘costing’ you, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-will-cost-you-v233/ ].

 

TWO ‘WAYS’
There are two ‘ways’: the ‘narrow’ way (through the “small gate”) which is hard, problematic, unsettled, perilous, and one must be ‘aware’ at all times. On the other hand, the ‘broad’ way (through the “wide gate”) is easy, tolerant, unrestricted, unconfined, and no big deal.

When Jesus mentions a ‘way’, He is talking about how one lives their life: “Observe all things that I have commanded you” [ Matthew 28:20a ]. It is a life of obedience to the Word of God. You come through the narrow gate, stripped ‘bare’, and you continue to ‘walk’ this very confined, compressed, and narrow way—calling for complete obedience to the Word of God. Jesus is essentially saying, “Don’t even think about coming through the narrow gate unless your heart is ‘broken’, you are ‘crying’ out for God’s mercy, and you long to obey!

 

The New Testament ’IMPLORES’ us to seek Jesus throughout our lives, to live like Him, and to live lives according to God’s will, not our own. The Apostle Paul expounds upon the narrow path when he explains how a “narrow is the gate” mindset it fully lived out: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” [ Ephesians 4:22-24 ].

One must proclaim absolute ‘submission’ to Jesus. You come not simply by saying, “I want the salvation You give,” but by saying, “I submit myself to You as my Lord.” The Apostle Paul adds, “If anyone confesses Jesus as Lord as well as believing in his heart that God raised him from the dead, he will be saved” [ Romans 10:9 ].

 

So, what does it mean to live the ‘broad way’? Well, it’s easy to get on, you come with a crowd, and you don’t have to drop anything. There is no repentance, no submission to Christ, no call to obedience, no call to holiness, no call to sacrifice, no cross to bear, no self-denial, and you just roll on with all the crowd. Everyone thinks they are going to Heaven because they’re all religious and they all talk about how diverse their doctrine is.

In fact, doctrine shouldn’t be even an issue. They say that will just divide and they all want to be happy rolling along on the broad way. Plenty of room for tolerance, of any view. Why, after all, who really knows what the Bible says? So obscure, you can all have your own opinion of interpreting it. Plenty of tolerance for sin. No curbs, no boundaries, no fences, and no walls. All the desires of the fallen heart are tolerated, and there’s plenty of place for pride and self-righteousness and ambition. All the hypocrites and the deceived are all on the broad road.

All the desires of one’s fallen heart are tolerated (the “Prosperity Gospel” fits into this). Whatever you want, whatever your desires hunger for, this is acceptable.

The thing is, Jesus has plainly warned us that it is impossible for a man to serve two masters. Self must be repudiated, and Jesus must be received as “the Lord” (Colossians 2:6). “The way of the ungodly will perish, will perish” [ Psalm 1:6 ].

 

TWO ‘DESTINATIONS’
The two ‘gates’ and the two ‘ways’ lead to two ‘DESTINATIONS’. The ‘narrow’ way leads to “life”: The glorious state of unclouded fellowship with God, the fullness of life, eternal satisfaction, eternal life in Heaven, and unspeakable joy.

HOWEVER, the broad way leads to “destruction”: Everlasting judgment, and everlasting punishment. Destruction refers to everlasting torment, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth forever and ever and ever! (Matthew 13:42). It leads to Hell! The entrance to Hell is ‘marked’ “Heaven” on the broad road That’s Satan’s great lie!

You might say that, “It can’t be the wrong road, look how many people are on it!” That is true, there are pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11), but it just doesn’t end up in Heaven—it ends up in HELL! It just so happens that the ‘entrance’ to Hell is just ‘outside’ the gates of Heaven!

 

TWO ‘CROWDS’
There will be two ‘CROWDS’ (or ‘categories’) of people who will be easily identified. The ones on the ‘narrow’ path are ‘persistent’, ‘believe’ the Gospel, and are fully committed to Jesus. They are ‘true’ Christians.

The ones on the broad road, however, are ‘lackadaisical’ and are ‘enemies’ of the Gospel. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” [ Matthew 12:30 ]. Those who are against Jesus come in endless ‘forms’ of religion.

 

The thing is, MANY enter the broad way, and FEW enter the narrow way. That’s how it is in the world. There’s far more false religion than true. Even within Christianity, there’s far more in a false Christianity than in the true faith!

[ The Barna Research Group estimates that only about 8-9% of those who profess to be a “Christian,” believe in ALL the ‘essentials’ of the Christian faith! ].

 

So few are willing to come on the ‘terms’ that Jesus establishes. So many profess, think they’re on the way to Heaven, but they’re not. Te Apostle Paul challenges us by saying, “Examine yourselves whether you’re in the faith” [ 2 Corinthians 13:5a ]. So, do so and find out WHICH ‘ROAD’ YOU ARE ON!

There was a newspaper article many years ago in Melbourne, Australia from someone who had heard Billy Graham preach. This is what he wrote into the newspaper: “After hearing Dr. Billy Graham on the air, viewing him on television, and reading reports and letters concerning him and his mission, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul needs saving – whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost, nor do I feel that I daily wallow in the mire of sin, although repetitive preaching insists that I do. Give me a practical religion that teaches gentleness and tolerance, that acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children of goodness and not sin. If in order to save my soul I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned, thank you.” WOW!!!

That’s the choice everyone makes. You either invent a nice little religion that fits you, or you take the truth of God and accept it. One gives life, the other death—eternally!

 

Someone once said to Jesus, observing how Jesus was rejected by most of the nation, and having only a few true followers, “Are only a few being saved?” [ Luke 13:23 ]. Jesus responded, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus essentially answered, “YES, few will be chosen!” [ BE ONE OF THEM!!! ].

 

Most of the people in the world are on the broad road. Sadly, most of the people who claim some commitment to Christianity are on the broad road, too! FEW find the narrow road.

 

SO. rather than being consumed over speculation surrounding how many people embrace the “narrow is the gate” reality, might I suggest that you focus our own life to follow the narrow path. This, in reality, is the only thing you can control, and it’s what ensures your own salvation. Then when you are on the ‘narrow path’, you can ‘invite’ others to come with you! (as I am doing to you right now!).

 

TWO ‘TREES’
There are two kinds of ‘trees’, one good (conforming to the Scriptures) and one corrupt (conflicting with the Scriptures). Here Jesus is essentially talking about “false prophets.”

Jesus states that these false teachers come in “sheep’s clothing.” They do not really come honestly before us as they truly are. They present themselves as courteous, kindly, considerate, affectionate, helpful, distinguished, and learned. However, inwardly, they are “ravenous wolves” teaching bad doctrine.

The Apostle Paul essentially warned, “Do not be surprised that false prophets should abound, and do not be surprised that they should come to you transforming themselves into the ministers of righteousness, because their great leader, Satan himself, transformed himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Sadly, most of the time these false prophets are the most influential and persuasive ministers.

 

So, how shall we distinguish these false prophets who look like the true prophets on the ‘outside’! Well, Jesus answered that you can know them by their “fruit.”

These false teachers are ‘ticket’ sellers for the broad road. They sell tickets marked “Heaven,” but are ‘one-way’ to Hell! They dress up in ‘sheep’s’ clothing, but inside, they are ‘wolves’ (Matthew 7:15). The truth about them is that they are producers of bad, corrupt ‘fruit’ (Matthew 7:16-20).

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMXgauV8LrM ].

 

Satan is mighty and has a vast array of ‘helpers’, having many false prophets and ‘deceivers’ all over the world.

One of the reasons that so many people are deceived is because they don’t know their Bible! GET ‘INTO’ the Word, study the Word, meditate ‘on’ the Word, so you can discern false teachings!

 

TWO ‘FRUITS’
There are two kinds of ‘fruit’, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. This refers to the ‘type’ of theology.

Jesus wants His disciples to identify those who do not bear good fruit, especially when they claim to follow Him. What fruit did Jesus have in mind? Well, “Judge not” (Matthew 7:1); “Take the log out of your own eye” (Matthew 7:5); and treat others the same way you want them to treat you (Matthew 7:12).

 

In nature, it is the ‘goodness’ of the tree that makes the fruit good. Similarly, the goodness of a good man is shown by his good works, but his works do not make him a good man. He already was good before he performed good works, or he would never be able to do them. So a good preacher will deliver out ‘sound’ doctrine because he was good ‘inside’ already.

So, by searching the Scriptures, and examining a preacher’s doctrines, one can determine if he is a good ‘minister’ of the Gospel. However, if he is a corrupt preacher, or a man of a corrupt mind, destitute of the truth, his preaching will be such as will tend to corrupt both the principles and practices of men. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” [ Matthew 7:18 ].

 

Jesus offered this simple ‘object lesson’ to His disciples. Even though they couldn’t “judge people’s hearts,” they could “know them by their fruits.” This means that their “teachings” and their “behavior” would expose them for what they were.

Just as a “thornbush can’t produce grapes, and a thistle can’t bear figs” (Matthew 7:16), a false prophet will not speak the truth according to God’s Word nor will they produce godliness in their lives. Jesus said that they will be, one day, “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

 

TWO ‘BEHAVIORS’
The few and the many are characterized by two ‘BEHAVIORS’: ‘doers’ and ‘sayers’. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who’s in Heaven.” Essentially, this is the difference between the ‘doers’ and the ‘sayers’.

The behavior of ‘saying’ does one no good. They are empty words spoken out of empty hearts. They represent those with no true repentance, no true faith, no true love for the Lord, and no interest in obedience.

But it sounds good, “Lord, Lord.” They say it twice for effect, expressing a measure of zeal. “Lord,” in this sense is polite, and respectful. It’s orthodox and fundamental—an affirmation of deity. Then, three times they say, “In Your name,” and emphasis on the word “Your”—emphatic each time. They are saying that we’re in Your ‘group’. HOWEVER, there’s the issue. It’s not what you ‘say’, it’s what you ‘do’. IF you practice righteousness, then you give evidence of ‘belonging’ to Jesus by your actions.

 

So many people ‘claim’ to serve Jesus. So many people claiming power over demons, claiming to preach words from God, and claiming to do miracles. The charismatic movement is rife with these people, and has been for many years. However, these are only claims—and have not been verified. In my opinion, they are ‘phonies’. This is not the true power of God. He has no relationship to them. So it’s a counterfeit power. It’s all a deception—a hoax. It’s Satan’s lie.

So everybody’s eternal destiny is going to be based on not what they say, but what they do, not on what you claim, but on whether or not the claim is supported by a life of obedience and love toward God and Jesus. Hell is filled with people who claimed a relationship with Jesus!

There are a number of Scriptures we could look at, but here’s probably the primary one: “Prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” [ James 1:22 ]. If all you do is hear it, and you don’t obey it, and you don’t obey it because you love it, you are self-deceived if you think your life will stand the test of the ‘flood’ of divine judgment.

One thing marks the difference between a true believer and a false believer, and that is a pattern of loving, eager, submissive, obedience to the Word of God—hearing the Word and then doing it. That is one of the genuine, authentic ‘validators’ of true salvation.

 

The ‘sayers’ are those who ’sprout’ empty words out of empty hearts. They possess no real repentance, no real faith, no real love, no real obedience, and no real sacrifice. BUT, they are very ‘polite’. They say, “Lord” twice, expressing a ‘zeal’. These are claims only, by the way. Not that they were able to do those things in His name, because they didn’t ‘belong’ to Him.

Their eternal destiny will be based not on what they said, but on what they did. Hell will be full of people who were religious, who were ‘into’ Christianity in some form, but who were empty-hearted and spout empty words. Jesus will say that, “I have no idea who you are. I have never known you, literally. You do always work lawlessness. You have no ‘fruit’!” False profession is valueless.

Many are going to believe that they are about to be ushered into Heaven, HOWEVER, they will be sent to Hell from the very ‘portals’ of Heaven—from the ‘gates’, in a sense.

 

They have ‘respect’ for Jesus and they have a measure of orthodoxy. They may have had religious experiences, and they may have gone through ordinances and sacraments. They may have served in some capacity. But they’re nothing but ‘COUNTERFEITS’. Jesus will say, “I don’t know you. I have no relationship to you.”

 

The behaviors of each of these people emphasize the need to put Jesus’ teachings into practice, and speaks of two sorts of people whose hearts are revealed by their ‘actions’.

 

TWO ‘BUILDERS’
There are two “builders” mentioned: one wise and one foolish.

Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” [ Matthew 7:24 ].

According to the Bible, a fool is a person who “knows right from wrong, yet still chooses to do wrong.” The fool is the person who lives by their own rules, and disregards the consequences of their actions.

The wise person, on the other hand, is the one who knows right from wrong, but chooses to do what’s right. However, choosing to do what’s right in every situation is unnatural for us. Our nature is bent on doing what’s wrong. Our hearts are proud and deceitful. That means we need guidance and instruction, but most importantly, we need to revere and acknowledge God as the One who knows all things and whose divine wisdom is available to us through His Word.

 

The thing is, there are ‘PROFESSING’ Christians and ‘POSSESSING’ Christians—both look alike—doing essentially the same kinds of religious things. They might even belong to the same ‘visible’ church and attend commission meetings. They both read the Scriptures. They both may even preach. The issue is not whether they hear it or even what they ‘say’. Again, it’s WHAT THEY ‘DO’.

Jesus is ‘distinguishing’ reality. It’s a contrast between obedience and disobedience—between obedient hearers and disobedient hearers—becoming obedient doers.

 

TWO ‘HOUSES’
There are then two ‘houses’ that look the same from the outside. People looking at the ‘outside’ of the houses would not be able to see any difference. Both houses were build with the same materials. They built it in the same place—essentially right next to each other. They were even somehow built in the same way. The only distinction between the two houses are their ‘FOUNDATIONS’.

 

TWO ‘FOUNDATIONS’
Each ‘house’ has a ‘foundation’, BUT they are ‘radically’ different. One was built on a ‘rock bed’ (“petra”) and the other was built on ‘sea sand’ (“ammon”).

The meaning of this parable is quite obvious: proper ‘foundations’ are necessary. With a literal house, it is unwise to build on sand, because the foundation will be unsteady and the house will eventually suffer some kind of damage. This will waste resources, and all the time and work put into building the house will have gone for nothing. In contrast, it is wise to build one’s house on a sure foundation, anchoring to bedrock, makes a building withstand ANY ‘TEST’.

But Jesus’ sermon was not concerned with house construction or building code violations. The spiritual meaning of the parable is found in Matthew 7:24: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” We are each building a life. The proper foundation for a life is JESUS’ WORDS, His TEACHING—not just the hearing of them, but the DOING of them, too (James 1:22).

 

Both build a house in the same place (because the same storm hits them both at the same time). Both build essentially in the same way, and from somebody standing there and looking, they look like equally impressive ‘structures’. But there’s a massive difference. One house is built on the ‘rock’ of ‘SOUND’ DOCTRINE, true repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ, salvation by grace alone. The other is built on the ‘sand’ of hypocrisy, false religion, human works, and ‘religion’.

One man ‘dug’ deep—with deep repentance, and a deep and thorough understanding of the Gospel and of the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 6:47-48).

The one who builds on the rock empties himself of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency. He knows he has nothing to commend himself to God, is overwhelmed with sin, and makes the maximum effort to place the Word of God in his heart that he might not sin. He’s interested in genuine love, relationship with Jesus. He is humble. He is loving. He is obedient. He doesn’t build on visions and experiences, he builds on the Word of God. He builds for the glory of God, not for his own satisfaction.

Despite everything in the world that makes us turn away from God’s words, a wise man will follow the instructions of God despite worldly pressures—not as a way to “show off” or earn salvation, but because he trusts God. One finds one’s security in Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:11).

As we learn to trust and obey Jesus, we receive a ‘reward’: our ‘house’ is steady, solid, and unshaken by circumstances.

A life of obedience built on the Word of God is the proof of ‘real’ salvation. Knowing the Word, loving the Word, obeying the Word is the recognition of true submission to the Lordship of Jesus! (Acts 20:32?)

A life of obedience manifests true salvation. If it isn’t there, it’s deception. “If you continue in My word, then you’re My real disciple,” [ John 8:31 ].

 

Some people are very respectful of Jesus. They use His name; they claim to be connected to Him. They have a measure of orthodoxy. They’re active in Christian experiences. But the judgment is going to bring their hypocrisy to a crashing end. That’s why the hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” [ FYI: Video of this hymn in the “Articles” section below ].

 

THE ‘STORM’
The “storm” is a metaphor for the coming FINAL “Day Judgment.” When it comes, the ‘strength’ of the houses ’structures’ will be TESTED!

The Bible references the “Day of Judgment” as the time we will all be judged by Jesus for our behavior on earth. God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” [ Acts 17:31 ].

The ‘storm’ is divine judgment—and when judgment comes, only a life built on obedience to the Word of God—which begins with obeying the gospel command to enter through Jesus—will stand. One builds the easy way, one builds the hard way. One is superficial, one is deep. One is in a hurry, the other desires to build the right way by taking his time. The storm of judgment will reveal everything.

 

This day of judgment, also known as the “Final Judgment.” This is when Jesus will judge “the living and the dead” before destroying the old heaven and earth, which are corrupted of sin, and ‘create’ a new one!

Sin can be defined as anything that opposes God’s will and law. To engage in sin is to disobey or abuse His laws. Because the urge to sin resides in human nature, mankind is corrupted and somewhat driven by the immoral inclinations that live in all people. This is a consequence of the fall into sin in the garden of Eden. Before creating His new heaven and earth, God must do away with anything that could produce or bear sin into His new creation.

Jesus will act as the ‘Justice’ of the last judgment: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,” (John 5:22). All skeptics will be judged by Jesus at the “Great White Throne,” and they will face punishment in accordance with the acts they have done. The Bible is very definite that the skeptics are ‘collecting up’ vengeance against themselves, and that God will “give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:5-6). At the final judgment, the destiny of the wicked and nonbelievers will be in the control of the almighty God who will assess everyone according to their soul’s status.

 

Scripture declares that Jesus will judge every person who has ever lived (Acts 10:42). Those who reject His offer of salvation face judgment—the unbelievers’ last stop before an eternity of exile from God’s presence. Believers will also stand before Jesus, at which time they’ll finally come to a full comprehension of His extravagant grace, before they spend an eternity with Him!

 

The Apostle Paul says that Jesus will disclose the motives hidden in believers’ hearts (1 Corinthians 4:5)—their true nature. Every rebellious act, wrong attitude, and cutting word will be reviewed. When the Bible says that Jesus will wipe the tears from our eyes, it is referring to this time (Isaiah 25:8). We’ll be standing in the holy Savior’s presence, grieving over how undeserving we are of His sacrifice. BUT, the sorrow will last only a moment. On its heels, comes the tremendous joy of having received forgiveness and lived a life pleasing to Him. Jesus’ judgment is not a punishment—it is a reminder that we are pardoned. At last, the believer will fully realize the depth and breadth of His grace!

Believers need not cower or hang their heads during the judgment. Nor will they need to repent—the time for that is past. They will stand before God, ‘clothed’ in Jesus’ righteousness, forgiven of every single sin. They will, at last, comprehend how great is the love of our God for them.

 

In Jesus’ words on Judgment Day, we see several important truths. It’s not a verbal claim that one follows Jesus that saves (Matthew 7:21); It’s not a demonstration of spiritual insight or power that saves (v. 22); and a person can seem like a Christian in the eyes of other people, yet still be an “evildoer” in God’s sight and sent away from His presence (v. 23). Only those who do the Father’s will and who are ‘known’ of God will enter Heaven.

 

So, how do we know the difference? How do we know who the hypocrites are? Well, you’re not going to know really until the ‘storm’ comes. “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it didn’t fall, for it had been founded on the rock. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” The FINAL JUDGMENT will reveal the true condition of a person’s ‘heart’ (Revelation 20:11-15).

[ FYI: For more details on just how you might “examine yourself,” read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ].

 

‘DEPART’ FROM ME!!!
Jesus says what has to be the MOST FRIGHTENING words He ever said to religious people: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” [ Matthew 7:21a-b ]. Jesus goes on to say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” [ Matthew 7:23b ]. OH MY!!!

The shock is that MANY who call Jesus “Lord” will be sent by God to ETERNAL HELL! This is a RIVETING passage in a day and a time when LOTS OF PEOPLE ‘call’ themselves Christians!

SADLY, there are millions of people who ‘feel’ religious who ‘associate’ with Christianity, who would proclaim their identification with Jesus, but will spend eternity in Hell, suffering everlasting punishment!

 

On the broad road, there are MASSES of people, and at the Final Judgment they are going to say, “Wait a minute. We call you Lord. We did preaching in Your name. We cast out demons in Your name. We did miracles in Your name.” HOWEVER, Jesus will say, “I NEVER ‘KNEW’ YOU! DEPART FROM ME!”

 

This ‘final closure’ is also illustrated in the parable of the “Ten Virgins.” There, Jesus pictures the foolish ones as being without the necessary “oil” (the work of the Spirit in the heart), and while they went away to buy more, the Bridegroom came, and “the door was shut” (Matthew 25:10). Stand outside, the BANG on the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, PLEASE open the door to us! We ‘know’ You! It’s us, Lord!” However, the Bridegroom answered, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you” [ Matthew 25:12 ]. In concludes by saying, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” [ Matthew 25:13 ].

 

These are not irreligious people, these are religious people, who thought they were on the right road, but were not. I can’t think of a more horrible scene than people under the illusion that they’re saved, only to find out that the door is shut in their face!

The MANY on the broad road are going to find out that that the road THEY CHOSE WAS NOT the one to Heaven! The ‘door’ will be ‘CLOSED’ TO THEM FOREVER!

 

This passage of Scripture has impacted me TREMENDOUSLY! (probably top five in the Bible for me). Despite what a ‘supposed’ believer is ‘proclaiming’, despite all of their good works, Jesus is saying that He NEVER had a ‘relationship’ with them! HORRIFIC!!! MANY will think they are going to Heaven when they die only to find that there ARE NOT! They have been DECEIVED!—and I DON’T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN TO YOU!

 

This is WARNING and an ‘INVITATION’ form an ‘AUTHORITY’. When Jesus had finished the Sermon on the Mount, the crowds were amazed,” astonished, awed, dumbfounded, and bewildered. They were, in today’s vernacular, ‘“BLOWN AWAY”! Why? Well, “because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” [ Matthew 7:29 ].

 

Just like the virgins waiting for the Bridegroom to come, and were not prepared, MANY READING THIS are NOT PREPARED to meet God either! Just as the virgins thought they were ‘safe’ and part of the ‘wedding party’ (‘selected’ to be there), MANY “Christians” on Judgment Day will experience a TERRIFYING SURPRISE—NOT BEING ALLOWED INTO HEAVEN, and ‘thrown’ into Hell, right there next to the ‘gates’ of Heaven!

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z9oMPc07Ns ].

 

SUMMARY
Millions of people around the world ‘feel’ religious. Many of them come under the title “Christianity.” BUT, the truth is, the Bible says that they have absolutely NO HOPE of entering Heaven and escaping Hell! Even the multiple millions who claim to ‘believe’ in Jesus!

Just like it was in Jesus’ time, many who said the “believed” in Him were ‘superficial’ in their belief. They lacked the character, depth, and repentant attitude of real ‘saving’ faith.

The Bible is clear that the ONLY ‘WAY’ of salvation is through Jesus. He is the ‘ONE’ MEDIATOR between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the ‘one’ Savior, the world’s ‘only’ Savior. No man comes to the Father—that is to God—except ‘through’ Him (John 14:6).

The ‘narrow gate’ and ‘difficult road’ are references to the Gospel’s demand for total self-denial and humility—in addition to all the other qualities highlighted in the Beatitudes. This not a luxurious ‘meadow’ that the believer wanders through. It’s a hard, rough ‘road’.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM1E1qgtIWE ].

 

Christianity is not a soft option for the weak-hearted and the weak-kneed. When you enter into this narrow gate and start on the narrow way, you declare a ‘war’ on all the forces of Hell. You also declare war on all the forces of your own flesh—to live the ‘Beatitude’ life—one of brokenness, humility, holiness, and righteousness. Jesus didn’t say, “Like Me, consider Me, and admire Me.” He said, “Follow Me!”

 

This choice is everyone’s decision to make. God will not ‘force’ you. You can choose to remain forever damned and have your happy religion of tolerance (the ‘blue pill’), or you can come to the truth and be forever given life (the ‘red pill’).

So, you may ask, “What should I do? You’ve shown me the narrow ‘door’. What do I need to do to get through?” Well, Jesus answers you by saying, “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” [ Matthew 7:7-9 ]. That’s it. Ask, seek, knock, and get on your face and cry out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” [ Luke 18:13d ].

Then, develop a ‘Beatitude’ attitude, where you’re constantly trying to deal with your own pride, your own desires, your own selfish will. Jesus said to Peter, “Follow Me, and by the way, Peter, it will cost you your life.” Are you coming on those terms? That’s the narrow way. It’s hard. It’s confined. And when you wander off the path, you’re going to be chastened!

You say, “Well, it sounds awful.” No, because all the hardness is picked up by Jesus, and the way becomes a way of beauty!

 

It’s so easy to choose the broad way. It’s such an easy way to go, you just go with the crowd. You can ‘add’ Jesus to it and feel religious, go to church, or belong to some kind of ‘system’ of religion that tells you that it’s the way to go. You don’t have to ever deny yourself. HOWEVER, going that way will eventually wind up in ultimate ‘DISASTER’—Hell!

 

Why do people build on ‘sand’? Well, they could be in a hurry, or want to take a ‘shortcut’ for quick results. Fools are always in a hurry: “Make haste, get it fast. Pray this prayer. Keep it moving.” No time for soul conviction. No time for deep digging. No time for profound repentance or searching one’s heart.

You build on ‘sand’ when you’re superficial—with ‘shallow’ references to Jesus. They want to get an instant pass on Hell, an instant ‘upper’ from Jesus. They want Jesus to ‘fix’ their life. No deep ‘plowing’. No real ‘spadework’ in the heart. No ‘foundation’. Never ever mourning over their sinfulness. Having no solid ‘ground’ for rejoicing over forgiveness.

However, the people who build on rock are not in a hurry. They dig deep. No quick conversion. No ‘light’ confession. They also count the cost, and ‘hate’ their own life.

The disciples, troubled, said to Jesus one day, if it is SO HARD, “Can anybody be saved?” (There was a sort of hopelessness they felt, and probably even doubting their own salvation). Jesus responded, “Strive to enter through the narrow door”—struggle, ‘deny’ yourself, take up your ‘cross’. Then, just ASK!

 

The Sermon on the Mount is a description of the truly righteous life, an outlining of “the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21). When Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you,” He is teaching one should be in ‘continual’ prayer throughout the day.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” [ Matthew 7:7-11 ].

Now, Jesus is not saying that believers always get what they ask for—wrong motives, for example, will hinder answers to prayer (James 4:3). However, the more time a Christian spends in communion with God, the more he or she will know what to ask for IN ‘ACCORDANCE’ with God’s will. Prayer, in and of itself, does not produce sanctification (an increasing holiness in a believer’s life), but it does show a dependence on God for needs that can be met no other way. God is always pleased with such displays of faith.

Jesus went on to say, “Seek, and you will find” (Matthew 7:7b). What is it believers ought to be seeking? It is God Himself! “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek’” (Psalm 27:8).

Seeking is a matter of paying attention to an engaged mind and acute awareness.

 

Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Seeking God’s Kingdom means putting God’s plan before our own, and seeking God’s righteousness means setting a priority on personal holiness and desiring to be sanctified.

Jesus then said, “Knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7c). Here, the Lord uses a metaphor for the action a desire produces. If a person needs something from someone behind a door, the most natural thing to do is knock—and keep knocking until the door is opened and the desire is met (Luke 11:5-8). In the same way, a believer should pray in faith for God’s provision and again, be persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1).

God delights in the prayer of faith, and He promises to give us what we ‘need’—PRIMARILY our salvation!

 

While the Pharisees and the Sadducees epitomized the hypocrisy and self-righteousness that Jesus was targeting with this passage of Scripture, they were by NO MEANS THE ONLY ones with whom He was ‘pleading’. He was speaking to EVERYONE on the ‘broad road’! His description of the judgment that awaits at the end of that ‘road’ is CHILLING:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” [ Matthew 7:21-27 ].

 

So, the underlying message is CHIEFLY FOR ‘DISCIPLES’, and it is a warning to them, lest they fall into the same errors that turned the Pharisees’ religion into a monstrosity that was odious to God and made them hostile to the truth!

Jesus’ words were full of love and tenderness toward the REPENTANT sinners, but equally full of ‘hard’ and ‘harsh’ saying for the SELF-RIGHTEOUS and self-satisfied. Jesus’ message is essentially the URGENT PLEA for people to REPENT of their sins—BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

It’s a scary thing to think about this It’s a frightening thing to think about, that there are going to be people cast into Hell who have spent a great portion of their life-giving testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ. But they’re only empty words. Jesus says, “Show me your ‘fruit’.”

 

There are only two possible ways to God. One involves your work, your effort, your righteousness, and your goodness—“human achievement.” The other acknowledges that you ‘have’ nothing that pleases God, and you can’t ‘do’ anything to please God—“divine accomplishment.” There is no third alternative.

There are only two possible paths to heaven. Either you contribute to your getting there or you don’t. Either you bring your righteousness to God and it counts for your salvation, or your righteousness is “filthy rags” that counts for nothing. So, there are only TWO ‘KINDS’ of religions. Either you can be good enough to contribute to your salvation, or you can’t be good enough to contribute to your salvation.

 

WHY SUCH A NARROW ‘WAY’?
This causes some to question the ‘goodness’ of God. After all, if He really wants to save everyone, why didn’t He make it easier to be saved? Why doesn’t He simply let everyone into heaven?

When we read the word “narrow,” we tend to associate it with prejudicial selection. It sounds as though God has rated us all on some ‘scale’ of acceptability—and only allows a select few to enter His presence. However, a few verses earlier, Jesus had told the same audience, “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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” [ Matthew 7:7–8 ]. Jesus made it clear: the path to eternal life is OPEN TO EVERYONE WHO ASKS!

HOWEVER, the gate to heaven is “narrow” in the sense of having a PARTICULAR ‘REQUIREMENTS’ for entrance—faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is found only in the Person of Jesus. He is the ONLY ‘WAY’ (John 14:6). The “wide” gate is non-exclusive. It allows for human effort and all other of the world’s religions.

Jesus says that the narrow ‘gate’ will take us through hardships and difficult decisions. Following Jesus requires ‘crucifying’ our flesh (Galatians 2:20; 5:24; Romans 6:2), enduring trials with Christlike patience (James 1:2–3, 12; 1 Peter 1:6), and living a lifestyle separate from the world (James 1:27; Romans 12:1–2).

When faced with the choice between a narrow, ‘rocky’ road and the wide, paved highway, most of us choose the easier road. Human nature gravitates toward comfort and pleasure. When faced with the reality of denying themselves to follow Jesus, most people turn away (John 6:66). Jesus never ‘sugar-coated’ the truth. The truth is, NOT MANY people are willing to PAY THE ‘PRICE’ to follow Him.

 

God offers salvation to everyone who accepts it (John 1:12; 3:16-18; Romans 10:9; 1 John 2:2). BUT it is on His ‘terms’—we must come the ‘way’ He has provided. We cannot create our own ‘paths’ or come to a holy God based on our own efforts. At great cost to Himself, He paid that price (Isaiah 53:5; 1 John 3:1, 16; Psalm 51:7). Without the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross ‘covering’ our sin, we stand guilty before the God we rejected (Romans 1:20).

 

Satan has paved the ‘highway’ to Hell with fleshly temptations, worldly attractions, and moral compromises. Most people allow their passions and desires to dictate the course of their lives. They choose temporary, earthly pleasure over the self-sacrifice required in following Jesus (Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:37), and the narrow gate is ignored. Most people would rather create their own religions and ‘design’ their own gods. So it was with sorrow, not discrimination, that Jesus declared that the road to eternal life is ‘narrow’, and only a FEW FIND IT.

Although many people see it and know about it, they CHOOSE not to travel it because there is an easier way. How many people are lost for taking the easy way rather than the right way?

Sometimes referred to as the “Greatest Preacher,” Charles Spurgeon once said, “The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” The narrow way is a hard way. It is a difficult path. Not many people are willing to pick up their ‘cross’ and follow Jesus (that’s why the heretical “prosperity gospel” is so popular). Very few people put their hand to the ‘plow’ and keep their eyes ahead of them (Luke 9:62). Jesus told the zealous “rich young ruler” who was looking to be a disciple to go and sell all he had and come and follow Him. Well, the man went away because he could not give up his possessions.

Why would anyone want to travel this narrow way in being a Christian if it seems to be filled with such affliction? Well, the only reason to travel any road is to GET TO ‘WHERE’ YOU WANT TO GO!

The Apostle Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” [ 1 Peter 4:12-13 ].

The term “narrow” means, in the Greek, “pressed,” or “hemmed in between walls or rocks,” like the pathway in a mountain gorge.

It requires the narrowness of obedience to the Lord. It requires godliness, purity, virtuous, and holy living. You can’t live any way you want.

When you hear people talk about being Christians and tolerating all kinds of sins and violation of Scripture, that’s the ‘broad road’ kind of Christianity which is just another form of human achievement, and it LEADS TO HELL!

 

It’s been said that, “Only dead fish swim with the current.” It is very true. Let’s face it, it is not easy to live a holy life in an unholy world, and to stand up for Jesus in a world that despises Him—and the Bible agrees with that: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” [ John 3:19 ]. (Note that this verse is just after Jesus told Nicodemus that God so loved the world that believing in His Son would allow someone not to “perish, but have eternal life”—and that “Son” was right in front of Nicodemus!)

 

The old Negro spiritual goes, “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there.” Hell is, and will be, full of people who ‘admired’ the Bible and Jesus, and attended church every Sunday. BUT, as Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

John Bunyan said, “The entrance of hell is from the portals of heaven.” What a shock it’s going to be for some people. The broad way narrows down into a terrible pit, but the narrow way ‘opens up’ into the fullness of an unspeakable, everlasting, unclouded fellowship of joy with God that we can’t even imagine right now! It isn’t so much that these are defining ‘quantities’ of life as they are defining ‘qualities’ of life. The choice is yours. Consider the destination, because you’re going to spend forever there!

In life, there are only two ways to travel. There is a right way and there is a wrong way, there is a way that leads to Heaven and there is a way that leads to Hell. You are either traveling toward eternal ‘bliss’ (Heaven) or you are traveling toward eternal ‘damnation’ (Hell). If you choose to ignore this truth, you are risking your own life! Like a fish frolicking in the water completely oblivious to the fact that the current is pulling it over the falls to its doom, Hell is filled with the majority who were ignorant to their own situation, who ‘partied’ their way to their own damnation.

Notice that there is not some ‘middle’ way. Everyone is either saved or damned, lost or found, a believer or an unbeliever. Many people choose the broad way because it is the ‘easiest’ way to travel, and it is the way that is the most agreeable to our ‘nature’. It is easy to go with the flow of the world’s ‘current’. No one goes down the broad way believing their destination is Hell. Many believed that there is not a Hell to begin with, and most believe they were headed to Heaven. Imagine their horror when they realized they were mistaken!

Although there are multitudes that are traveling down the broad road, tempting us to do the same, it doesn’t make any sense to go to Hell with others, simply because they refuse to go to Heaven with us.

There is only one way to eternal life, eternal peace, and eternal happiness. The ‘narrow’ way IS the ONLY WAY—and the ONLY WAY is through JESUS!

Jesus made this clear by saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” [ John 14:6 ].

 

Some ask, “What kind of a God would have such a narrow gate?” Well, the question implies a serious accusation—that God has NOT DONE ENOUGH to provide redemption for mankind.

So, if you are one of the people that would ask this question, let me ask you a question first: “In light of the universal rebellion against God, why is there ANY WAY at all?” (I personally know of no way of answering that question.)

 

If I have correctly interpreted this passage of Scripture, your ‘problem’ is really not with me, but with God! If this is true, then NOTHING else matters except to conform your life to what God says!

This is make-up-your-mind-time! True or False? Yes or No? Narrow or Wide?

Fork In The Road

 

HOW DO I KNOW THAT I’M A ‘CHRISTIAN’?
Many people have been deceived into believing that since they ‘prayed a prayer’ one time in their life (usually called the “Sinner’s Prayer,” asking Jesus into their ‘heart’), that they are going to Heaven.

The thing is, you WILL NOT find that anywhere in the “Bible! What one needs to ‘grapple with’ is authentic repentance (turning away from sin, hatred of for things that God hates, a love for the things God loves, and an intense desire to become holy and like Jesus), and then after all that, believing in Jesus alone as your Savior, and committing to being faithful to what He leads you to do/act as long as you are on this earth! (Mark 1:15). You WILL NOT be saved by some ‘magic formula’ or some words you repeated after someone else! You will ONLY BE SAVED if you have repented of your sins and put your trust in Jesus!

 

Conversion is not like a ‘flu shot’ where you can say, “Oh, I already did that.” The real question is, “Are you CONTINUING to repent of your sin?” If so, THAT’S GREAT, and, by God’s grace, He that began a “good work in you WILL finish it”! (Philippians 1:6).

HOWEVER, if you ARE NOT really sure, the Bible teaches that you should “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” [ 2 Corinthians 13:5 ]. So, TEST yourself in the ‘light’ of Scripture to determine if you are really on the right ‘path’! If you are living not much different than the other people in your life—watching things the Bible says you shouldn’t be watching, saying things the Bible says you shouldn’t be saying, and doing things the Bible says you shouldn’t be doing—then the Bible says that if these things don’t ‘grieve’ you (the second “Beatitude,” Matthew 5:4), then you should be TERRIBLY AFRAID because you most likely DO NOT ‘know’ God, and are still under His ‘wrath’ for your sins—and are HEADED FOR HELL! (Just remember that Jesus said that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” – Matthew 7:21).

 

The thing is, mere knowledge about the Bible, and no matter how ‘good’ one is, cannot lead a person to ‘life’ (Heaven). Evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” (I wonder how many people have a false sense of security based on their mere knowledge of spiritual things?)

The ‘profession’ of faith is NO PROOF that you are ‘born again’, it’s the ‘evidence’ of your faith (“fruit of the Spirit” – Galatians 5:22-23)—done for the right reasons—that gives you the confidence that you are saved (Even Satan and his demon acknowledge Jesus in Lord – James 2:19). However, if your ‘heroes’ are worldly people and you desire to look like them and act like them, then there is a GOOD CHANCE you do not ‘truly’ know God, and that you ‘belong’ to Him!

 

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 cannot be in love with God and the world at the same time). You must CHOOSE today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).

Are you going to be ‘for’ God 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 have some time”? If you fit into either of those categories you need to EXAMINE YOURSELF to be sure you are a Christian!

[ FYI: For more details about Christian “assurance,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ].

 

ARE YOU ‘DECEIVED’
Now, how do people get ‘lulled’ into this deception?

Well, first of all, a false sense of assurance because you felt emotional when somebody talked to you about Jesus, you saw a film about Jesus and you felt emotional about the way He was treated, or somebody told you, “If you just say these words, pray this prayer, ask Jesus to come into your life. After you’ve done that, you’re a believer, you’re saved. You’re ‘in’. You prayed the prayer, you made the move, and that’s all it requires.”

WELL, it does require that you repent and it does require that you believe the Gospel—believe in the true God, Christ, His death and resurrection—BUT, salvation is not based on a formula, a prayer, a creed, not even accurate theology.

 

So, as you ‘examine’ yourself, look for affections, loves, and desires. What are your motives? Are they all godly?

Another thing that lulls people into this is a fixation on religious activity. Maybe you go to church, and go to a Bible study. However, it is a good way to be deceived. They become more important than Jesus Himself.

People also assume that their good deeds outweigh their bad ones. However, God never judges anyone like that (It would only take one negative to send you to hell forever, because that sin is enough to condemn you eternally!)

‘Indifference’ to the Word of God (the Bible)—not having a ‘appetite’ for divine truth—is another problem. It results in disobedience to God.

 

Deceived people come in many ‘categories’: uncommitted, indifferent, ignorant—which can be changed—however, ’superficial’ or hypocritical, is the worst—like the Pharisees were.

So how can the deceived know they’re deceived? Well, are you a person that seeks feelings, blessings, experiences, and healings? Are you more interested in the ‘byproducts’ of the faith than Jesus? More interested in the ‘gifts’ than the Giver? Do you look at theology as some kind of an ‘academic’ interest, rather than something to increase your understanding about how to build a real relationship with Jesus? Do you lack brokenness and humility? Are you looking for God to give you something rather than ‘bow’ to God’s desires? “Yes” to any of these questions may indicate that you are deceived.

 

Jesus addressed the folly of empty words. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who’s in Heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy or preach in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” [ Matthew 7:21-23 ].

This shows the ‘folly’ of empty words. Their claims are deceitful. They say the right things, but they don’t live the right things. Their final destiny will not be based on what they say, as good as it sounds, but what they ‘do’!

 

Many claim Jesus as “Lord” with fervency, and maybe were even in public ‘ministry’. But their ‘confessions’, based on what Jesus said, were valueless—because they never SUBMITTED to His Lordship! They were self-deluded ‘hearers’ and ‘sayers’, NOT ‘doers’.

The only possible way to manifest true Christianity is to practice the Law of God: “Faith without works is dead” [ James 2:14 ]. All religious activity, no matter how fervent, no matter how orthodox that doesn’t result from obedience to the Lordship of Jesus, is lawlessness. (In the Greek it means, “not for a single moment have I acknowledged you as My own, or have I known you intimately”). Jesus said that all their works were ‘illegitimate’.

 

Just because someone speaks well of Jesus, can recite an orthodox creed, seems fervent and open and professing, or even preaching Jesus’ claims and have done works in the name of Jesus, is NO PROOF that they ‘belong’ to Jesus!

Jeff O’Hara wrote, “Why call Me Lord, and do not the things I say? You call Me the Way and walk Me not, you call Me the Life and live Me not, you call Me Master and obey Me not; if I condemn you, blame Me not. You call Me bread and eat Me not, you call Me Truth and believe Me not, you call Me Lord and serve Me not; if I condemn you, blame Me not.”

So, are you just talking ‘empty’ words and have no ‘relationship’ with Jesus? It primarily will show up in your OBEDIENCE to the Word of God.

HOWEVER, God is patient and merciful, and “If you hear My words and act on them, you’re the wise man.” It’s not just a ’profession’, it’s ‘doing’ what demonstrates the transforming power of God in your life.

 

‘EXAMINE’ YOURSELF
So the BOTTOM LINE of what Jesus is saying is, “You’d better examine yourselves whether you’re in the faith.” As English preacher Charles Spurgeon said well, “Whether your religion is true or false, it will be tried. Whether it is chaff or wheat, the great winnower will fan the grain, and the truth will be brought to light.” Spurgeon also said, “If you have dealings with God, you have to do with a consuming fire. Whether you be really or falsely a Christian, if you come near to Christ, He will test you as silver is tested. Judgment must begin at the house of God; and if you dare to come into the house of God, judgment will begin with you.”

SO, don’t be on that broad road. Find the narrow way. CRY OUT to God to give you the strength to ‘disconnect’ yourself from your sin and all that holds you back. Come through the ‘door’ of Jesus to the ‘narrow way’ which truly leads to Heaven!

 

Now, you can know if you are hungering and thirsting for righteousness by asking yourself some simple questions. First off, are you dissatisfied with your sin? Self-satisfaction is impossible if you are aware of your sin and if you grieve when you fall short of God’s holy standard.

Secondly, do ‘external’ things satisfy your longings? A hungry person is not satisfied until they eat something. As well, a thirsty person is not satisfied until they drink something. When one hungers and thirsts for righteousness, only God’s righteousness can satisfy.

Thirdly, do you have an appetite for God’s Word (the Bible)? Hungry people don’t need to be told to eat—it’s instinctive! Spiritual hunger will drive one to ‘feed’ on the Word in order to learn what God says about increasing in righteousness.

Fourthly, are you content amid difficulties (like this Coronavirus)? A hungry person is content despite the pain one goes through, because they see every trial as a means by which God is teaching greater righteousness. If you react with anger or resentment when things go wrong, you are seeking ‘superficial’ happiness.

Finally, is your hunger and thirst ‘unconditional’? The rich young ruler (Matthew 18) knew there was a void in his life, but was unwilling to give up his possessions. His hunger was ‘conditional’!

Jesus will FULLY SATISFY every longing of your ‘heart’, and yet you will also constantly desire more of His righteousness. That’s the blessed paradox of hungering and thirsting after righteousness!

 

A ‘LIFETIME’ COMMITMENT
This is not a short term ‘contract’. This is not a ‘loose’ agreement. This commitment requires you to give Jesus 100% of who you are. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” [ Luke 14.26-27 ].

Now, Jesus is not advocating that we literally ‘hate’ anyone. He is trying to help us understand that HE MUST BE ‘FIRST PLACE’ in our life. He must come BEFORE EVERY OTHER relationship we have in this world. The problem with Christianity today is that we have too many “CONFESSORS” but not enough ‘COMMITTERS’!

In addition to that, a commitment to Jesus comes with a ‘cross’ (persecution and ‘tribulation’).

Christianity is 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 Jesus. You can only be completely committed to Jesus if you will not be “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” [ Romans 12.2 ].

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs-6hjgH_1Q ].

 

DOES JESUS ‘KNOW’ YOU?
When Jesus said, “I never knew you,” to the feigned disciples, He meant that He never recognized them as His ‘true’ disciples. Jesus did not ‘dwell’ in their hearts (Ephesians 3:17), nor did they have His mind (1 Corinthians 2:16). In all these ways and more, Jesus never knew them. Note that Jesus is not breaking off the relationship here—there never was a ‘relationship’ to break off! Despite their high-sounding words and showy displays of religious fervor, they had no ‘intimacy’ with Him.

Some say that the most important thing on the face of the earth is to know Jesus. Well, precisely, the most important thing is that JESUS ‘KNOWS’ YOU. (I’m not going to get into the White House by saying that “I know the President,” but if the President comes out to the entrance ‘gate’ and says, “I know Mark,” I will get in.) See the difference? As the Apostle Paul explained, “Whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:3; also see Galatians 4:9). The Lord “tends His flock like a shepherd” (Isaiah 40:11), and He ‘KNOWS’ who are His ‘sheep’ (John 10:14).

Those somber words, “I never knew you…depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23) show that Jesus is indeed omniscient. He knew their ‘hearts’—and that they were full of iniquity! Isaiah’s condemnation of hypocrisy fits this group well: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13). The evildoers whom Jesus does not to know are ‘fake’ Christians, ‘false’ teachers, and ‘nominal’ adherents of Christianity.

Those fake Christians whom Jesus says He never knew will not produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), rather they will produce the opposite, the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21).

Jesus warns that one day He will tell a group of “religious practitioners” that, “I never knew you.” God takes no delight in sending people to Hell (2 Peter 3:9). But those who are told to depart have rejected God’s eternal purpose and plan for their lives (Luke 7:30). They have spurned the ‘light’ of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4), choosing the darkness instead, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19). At the judgment, they try to justify themselves as worthy of Heaven on the basis of their works (prophecies, exorcisms, miracles, etc.), but not one will be justified by his own works (Galatians 2:16). While claiming to do all these good works in Jesus’ name, they failed to do the only work of God that counts: “to have faith in the One He sent” (John 6:29). So Jesus, the Righteous Judge, condemns them to eternal separation from Him!

 

So, how can you get to ‘know’ Jesus more and live out the narrow path? Well, here are some suggestions and tips about developing a daily ‘walk’ with God:
https://insider.pureflix.com/lifestyle/10-ways-to-put-god-first-in-the-modern-world ].

 

YOU STILL HAVE ‘TIME’!
As long as you are alive and breathing, you have the opportunity to enter through that door—to be saved. BUT, the offer is for a LIMITED TIME only. When you die, or when Jesus returns, it will be TOO LATE!

There is no salvation after death. There is no second chance. There is no “purgatory”! “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” [ Hebrews 9:27 ].

It IS NOT enough to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” and have a religious ‘experience’. It IS NOT enough that you go to church. It IS NOT enough to be a good person and to do your best and to be moral and to do good deeds.

The ONLY ‘door’ into God’s kingdom (and ultimately Heaven), is through a personal relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

As was discussed in last month’s post, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father, but by Me” [ John 14:6 ]. Therefore, if we want to get to God we must ‘go through’ Jesus. If we want to be all that God intends for us to be we must, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” [ 1 Corinthians 2:2 ].

At some point, it will be too late. The door will be ‘closed’ to you—and you do not know when that day will come! (consider the parable of the “Ten Virgins” in Matthew 25). You may think you have all the time in the world to do your own thing and that you might ‘consider’ God at some point, when it’s convenient, when you are older and have more ‘time’.

The thing is, you do not know how long you have on this earth. You just do not know!

We ARE NOT ‘masters’ of our own destiny. We may live long lives, but contrasted with eternity, this life is a ‘breath’, a vapor, a puff of smoke (James 4:14).

 

Jesus describes the two choices and the two outcomes. There will be those in the Kingdom of God, and those who will be thrown out!

The narrow way is a challenge to us in our western, privileged culture, where we have so much, materially speaking. We in the affluent, educated West are following our own ‘enlightened’ ways. That is DANGEROUS!!!

Jesus is asking us for a SHORT-TERM ‘sacrifice’ in this life (80-100 years) to ‘walk’ the narrow road, for an ETERNITY of enjoyment! What’s unfortunate though, is that Jesus actually tells us that MOST WILL NOT make this sacrifice because most people are TOO ‘NEARSIGHTED’ to do it!

 

Jesus demands of us that we CHOOSE to follow Him. Ultimately, we have only two options. We will either follow Him wholeheartedly and end up in Heaven, or do our own ‘thing’ and end up in Hell. There can be no half-hearted commitment to Jesus. If we are not on the narrow road of discipleship, then we are on the wide road to eternal damnation! As theologian Matthew Henry wrote: “We must endure hardship, must wrestle and be in agony, must watch in all things, and walk with care and circumspection. We must go through much tribulation.” Jesus’ way is narrow and we dare not pretend otherwise. Following Jesus means we abandon our agenda for His. Following Him means a ‘reorientation’ of life, one that might make others hate us!

 

I pray that you will go through a ‘genuine’ self-examination. A deep examination of your ‘heart’. That God will ‘lead’ you to ‘see’ the truth—and yourself and about HIM! May God shine the ‘light’ of the Gospel into your ‘heart’!

[ FYI: For more details on how to ‘examine’ yourself (‘tests’) to determine if you are a Christian, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ].

 

ARE YOU A ‘CHRISTIAN’?
In light of all these things, you may confess, “I have been living a lie, and I am tired of being a ‘so-called’ Christian. I am ready to put my ‘fake’ life in the past.”

If you are ready to do this, tell your pastor or a ‘mature’ Christian—so they can lead you through the repentance process. If Jesus has genuinely ‘called’ you to Himself—given you a new ‘heart’—this ‘sensitivity’ will be palpable and endure until you finally become ‘born again’—which may continue for weeks to months [ Even if you try to ‘run away’ from it, you will not be able to (Jonah 1-4) ].

However, if it is not ‘genuine’, you will go back to your previous life—having had a lot of emotion, but that’s about it.

 

You WILL NOT go from totally sinful to totally perfect, but if the inner disposition of your heart goes from ‘bent’ toward self to ‘bent’ toward Jesus. Suddenly you will want to live for God, and eventually your life, over time, begins to match that direction. You become a new creation the old you has passed away there is a new you now that is that is living for Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Lives that are committed to doing the will of God aim to be pleasing to Him. There is NOTHING more important than to please God with your life!

 

‘SURRENDER’ NOW!
SO, for some, today just might be THE DAY to ‘surrender’ to Jesus. Give up your ‘rebellion’ and come to Him! Trust in him. Believe in Him. You will find eternal life and rest for your soul.

Becoming a Christian is waging a ‘war’ against yourself. Are you willing to deny father, mother, sister, brother? Are you willing to deny your own personal ambitions? Are you willing to turn from your sin? Are you willing to abandon the sovereignty you exercise over your own life and confess Jesus as Lord? That is the struggle of the ‘heart’!

When Jesus met the rich young ruler, the rich young ruler’s question was, “How do I get into the Kingdom?” When Jesus just put one ‘little’ obstacle in front of him and said, “Sell everything you have and give to the poor,” he turned and walked away. There was not going to be any sacrifice on his part, none whatsoever.

 

IT’S ‘MOST’ IMPORTANT!
The parable of the “Pearl of Great Price” illustrated the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the Roman empire, pearls were given great prominence as an article of commerce, which they had never had before, and probably had not had since. They, rather than emeralds and sapphires, were the typical instance of all costliest adornments (Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 2:9). The story of Cleopatra and the fact that the opening of a new pearl market was one of the alleged motives which led Emperor Claudius to invade Britain, are indications of the value that was then set on the “goodly pearls” of the parable.

The parable teaches that those who do not believe in the Kingdom of Heaven enough to stake their WHOLE FUTURE on it are unworthy of the Kingdom.

An interpretation of the parable, Swedish hymn Den Kostliga Pärlan (“O That Pearl of Great Price!”), begins by trying to explain how ‘crucial’ it is to understand the ‘value’ of Heaven:

“O that Pearl of great price! have you found it?
Is the Savior supreme in your love?
O consider it well, ere you answer,
As you hope for a welcome above.
Have you given up all for this Treasure?
Have you counted past gains as but loss?
Has your trust in yourself and your merits
Come to naught before Christ and His cross?”

 

Theologian John Calvin wrote of this parable: “The first two of these parables are intended to instruct believers to prefer the Kingdom of heaven to the whole world, and therefore to deny themselves and all the desires of the flesh, that nothing may prevent them from obtaining so valuable a possession. We are greatly in need of such a warning; for we are so captivated by the allurements of the world, that eternal life fades from our view; and in consequence of our carnality, the spiritual graces of God are far from being held by us in the estimation which they deserve.”

Heaven is the ULTIMATE ‘FIND’. Is it that important to you to GIVE UP ‘EVERYTHING’ for it? Is Jesus so valuable to you that you have ‘stripped yourself bare’? In fact, Jesus said, “You can’t come to Me unless you hate yourself” [ John 12:25 ].

 

There has to be a certain ‘violence’ in the life of a person who is being truly converted in which you’re overwhelmed by your sin, you want to be delivered from your sin and its consequence, eternal punishment. That’s why Jesus said, “Every man presses into it” (Luke 16:16). It’s hard. It’s hard because of what the prophet Isaiah said, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts” (Isaiah 55:6-7). You have to basically go against everything you are. “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Many who claim that they are Christian have no thought of what that means. They confess Jesus as Lord and don’t think that means He’s IN ‘CHARGE’. Many rush into a profession (a quick “Sinner’s Prayer”), and then later rush out again. But it’s the one who is wise and ‘digs’ deep. The ‘rock’ is plowed out of the soil. The ‘weeds’ are removed.

The wise are willing by the working of the Spirit of God to take the full ‘blast’ of condemnation that comes at him for his condition. They embrace a “God be merciful to me, a sinner” attitude, like that of the Publican had when he pounded his chest in the Temple (Luke 18:9).

The wise person gives maximum effort. They ‘count’ the cost. This could cost you your family: your father, your mother, your wife, your husband, your sister, your brother, even all your friends! (it does in the Middle East today!). If it means you have to be persecuted even to death, may it be so. “But you deny yourself and all other things, and follow Me” [ Matthew 16:24 ].

The wise person wants to do it right, counts the cost, learns the right way and willingly submits. He is emptied of self-righteousness. He is emptied of self-sufficiency. They ‘dig’ way down. They are overwhelmed with their sin. They are interested in genuinely submitting to Jesus and obeying Him. They want to know the Word so they can ‘compel’ their soul into a lifetime of obedience. There’s nothing superficial about them!

However, there are so many people in Christianity today who want the quick, fast ‘track’. They want the ‘byproducts’ of a relationship with God. They want forgiveness without repentance. They want salvation without submission. They ‘fool around’ with the Bible. They have NO ‘REAL’ relationship with God!

So, Jesus says that this is how people ‘build’ on the truth, and when the Day of Judgment comes and people will say, “Lord, Lord, it’s us,” they WILL NOT hear “Depart from Me, I never knew you,” the WIIL HEAR, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” [ Matthew 25:21 ].

 

HAVE THE PROPER ‘FOUNDATION’?
You may be respectful of Christ. You may have orthodox views about Christ. You may see yourself as fervent and zealous. You may be active in some level of devotion to the church. You may make a public proclamation. You may be busy building your little religious house adjacent to all the others built by those around you. You may be deceived, only to have your house smashed to a million pieces in judgment. Go back, dear friend, and check your foundation. Go back and CHECK YOUR ‘FOUNDATION’!

So, how do you know if you don’t have a ‘foundation’? Well, for one, you have a reservation in ‘yielding’ to Jesus. You are ‘irritated’ by the commands of Scripture. It ‘bothers’ you that Jesus is so restrictive and exclusive. These are some of the ‘evidence’ that you have no ‘foundation’.

Some other questions to ask yourself might be: Do you go to church because you’re trying to make a good impression on someone? Are you trying to earn your way to Heaven? Unless you are compelled by your love for Christ and a desire for His glory, again, you may have no ‘foundation’.

“If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you” [ 1 John 2:15 ]. If you can’t let go of the evil world around you, if you’re characterized by pride, if you do what you do for self-glory, if you love pleasure more than you love forsaking pleasure for the glory of God—any of these marks would indicate that, perhaps, under your religious ‘house’ is sand. Sadly, most ‘professing’ Christians will say, “Lord, Lord,” but few will be let into Heaven! Come in by the narrow door! Examine your ‘heart’ carefully!

 

THE ONLY ‘WAY’
This brings me to the MOST IMPORTANT ‘issue’ of this post: Are you a truly ‘BORN AGAIN’ Christian that is headed for Heaven after you die?

Jesus made it very clear that He is the ONLY ‘WAY’ to get to Heaven, and that there will be MANY that He will say “Depart from Me, I never knew you” to. Something I DON’T WANT YOU TO HEAR!!!

Salvation doesn’t come through a specific denomination, or from being good enough. You can’t be born a Christian because your parents are Christians, and you can’t have salvation ‘poured’ upon your head by a pastor or a priest when you are a child. Salvation comes when you ‘DECIDE’ to give your life to Jesus, accept His ‘gift’ of salvation, and commit to living for Him.

British poet John Oxenham wrote many years ago, “To every man there opens a way, and ways, and a way. And the high soul treads the highway and the low soul gropes the low. And in between on the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro. But to every man there opens a highway and a low, and every man decides the way his soul will go.”

The Apostle Paul said this, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” [ Ephesians 2:8-9 ]. Salvation is a ‘God’ work, not an ‘us’ work. It is you accepting the Jesus’ invitation of grace, not you ‘earning’ your way in.

So then, you may ask, “How do we receive this free gift of salvation?” Well, by believing that Jesus’ work on the Cross is sufficient for your forgiveness and eternal life, and by committing to making Him the center our life. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” [ Romans 10:9-10 ]. Repentance of your sins, belief in Jesus as your Savior, and an authentic commitment to follow Jesus all the days of your life is all God requires.

When you make this commitment, your relationship with Jesus is ‘restored’. You are now ‘in’ Him, and He is ‘in’ you. It is this relationship that ensures your name is in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” The Apostle John wrote, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” [1 John 5:11-13 ].

Notice that word “know.” How powerful and comforting it is! John does not say that you will “wish” that you have eternal life, or that you “hope” to have eternal life. He says that you WILL KNOW, without a shadow of doubt, that your name is written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life,” and that you will spend eternity in the New Heaven and on the New Earth enjoying the presence of Jesus, your Savior and Lord.

 

TIME IS ’SHORT’!
The ‘day’ is appoaching when Jesus will ‘RAPTURE’ His Church from the earth to take them to Heaven with Him (after which is the Tribulation and the end of the world as we know it).

Everyone’s time on earth IS SHORT—compared to eternity. The Bible says, “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” [ James 4:14 ].

The average lifetime is about 75-80 years these days—with a few living to 100 or so. So, you still HAVE A CHANGE TO CHOOSE ‘where’ you want to spend eternity!

 

Jesus said that, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” [ John 10:27 ]. Many of Jesus’ followers didn’t recognize that He was the Son of God, the “good Shepherd.”

Jesus continued in saying that those who ‘hear His voice’ (believe Who He is and have committed to following Him), will not be “snatched out of His hand” (John 10:28)—meaning that you are ASSURED to make it to Heaven.

Jesus said to Martha, when He arrived after Lazarus had died, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” [ John 11:25 ]. Jesus was saying to her then—and to us now—the those who believe that He is the Son of God will attain eternal life. Martha confessed that Jesus was God, and that she knew that her brother Lazarus definitely would rise on the last day. Can you do the same?

[ FYI: The following previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts posts give details of the “End Times”:

“Are You ‘Blind’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/

“‘Heed The Warning!”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/heed-the-warning-v251/

“Being A ‘Watchman’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/

“Last ‘Generation’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249/

“Mankind’s ‘Destiny’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/

“‘Final’ Tribulation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/

“‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/ ]

 

The Bible is kind of like the ‘instruction manual’ for life on earth, and the Sermon on the Mount is kind of the detailed ’road map’ of how to GET ‘SAVEd’ and eventually end up in Heaven.

Question: Would you get into your car to go on a long trip and leave the map (or your Smartphone) locked in the glove compartment? Probably not. Unfortunately, that’s what MANY OF US DO with God’s Word, the Bible, even though it offers guidance and truth as we travel life’s journey.

 

Now, I know it takes courage to commit to anything, let along something that will CHANGE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. It takes COURAGE TO ‘CHOOSE’! However, let me tell you there is a “peace that transcends all understanding” when you solidify your decision!

What ‘fence’ are you riding on? What two ‘roads’ are you looking down, and not sure which one to choose? Well, the Bible says that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” [ James 1:5 ]. In addition to that, since God desires none to perish (2 Peter 3:9b), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” [ Proverbs 3:5-6 ].

 

Jesus gave His disciples an example of what He was trying to communicate throughout His entire Sermon on the Mount—the difference between “human achievement” and “divine accomplishment”:

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’”

Notice that throughout the entire ‘prayer’, he never expressed one need to God!—because he never thought he had a need. However, standing far off was the man ‘pounding’ his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” [ Luke 18:13d ].

Jesus said, “That man went home justified, not the other one.” Jesus wants to bring mankind to a point where he realizes his UTTER INCAPACITY to please God in his own flesh—and in desperation, with a broken spirit, meek and mourning we need to cry out to God for His righteousness. Again, as the hymn writer put it so well, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”

Jesus forced the Pharisees to rethink their religion, and to make a choice between theirs (human) and Jesus’ (divine).

So, it is for EVERY ON OF US! We must MAKE A ‘CHOICE’ as well!

Are you still at a ‘crossroad’? Have you ‘crossed the Rubicon’? If so, which ‘GATE’ did you CHOOSE? Have you ‘burned your ships’? Did you take the ‘red pill’? The ‘RIGHT’ ANSWER to these questions WILL DETERMINE YOUR ETERNAL ‘DESTINATION’!

 

[ Excerpts from: Colleen Swindoll Thompson; Alistair Begg; Jon Benzinger; John MacArthur; R.C. Sproul; S. Michael Houdmann; Paul Washer; Dr. William K. Quick; Arthur Pink; Ronnie Knight; Shawn Miller; Allen Parr; Dr. John Barnett; Chuck Smith; Kenneth Stewart; Todd Wagner ]

 

RELATED POSTS:

The Only ‘Way’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-only-way-v253/

Are You ‘Blind’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/

‘Heed’ The Warning!”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/heed-the-warning-v251/

Being A ‘Watchman’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/

Last ‘Generation’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249/

Mankind’s ‘Destiny’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/

‘Final’ Tribulation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/

‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/

Knowing ‘Assurance’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/

Leaving A ‘Legacy’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/leaving-a-legacy-v242/

‘Outworkings’ Of Grace”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/outworkings-of-grace-v241/

Amazing ‘Grace’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/amazing-grace-v239/

It Will ‘Cost’ You”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-will-cost-you-v233/

One’s ‘Last Words’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/ones-last-words-v232/

The Greatest ‘Gift’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-greatest-gift-v226/

A ‘Place’ To Retire”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-place-to-retire-v221/

‘Saved’ From Death”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/saved-from-death-v219/

 

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance
(Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

 

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RESOURCES:

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“Two Paths One Understanding: A True Story that Changes the Way Mankind views the World”
By: Jim Counter and Anna Counter

Have you ever said, “Is this all there is to life?” or “Why do bad things happen to me and not to others?” If you have, this book was written for you. It takes you on a sacred journey of two siblings with very different life experiences. One learns life’s truths through hard work and good fortune; the other, on the brink of suicide, realizes a bond with an entity that takes her to a new level of spiritual understanding that ultimately can change the way mankind views the world. This book is guaranteed to set you on your own journey of discovery and truth.

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“Society at the Crossroads: Choosing the Right Road”
By: Steven Cord

“This in-depth analysis of ethical relativism and its role in contemporary social problems examines the inner attitudes of society and how ethical relativism has created individuals who have no respect for the rights and safety of others. Presented is a simple case for the rational provability of the equal rights doctrine and how such a proof can alleviate or solve intractable social problems. Described is a simple, no-cost tax reform that has been endorsed by eight American winners of the Nobel Prize in economics.”

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“A Christian Road Less Traveled: Seven Key Steps to Guide You On the Narrow Path to a Successful Christian Life”
By: Buck Jacobs

How Do You Measure Success? For a Christian there are two very different definitions of success: one is earthly and the other is eternal. One is about “things,” while the other is about “fruit” … eternal fruit. Using tightly knit prose written in clear language, this book addresses the often overlooked fact of the Bema—the judgment seat of Christ—when our eternal lives will be determined by how we lived on earth as Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10). The good news is that following these steps can guide the earnest seeker through a successful life today, on his or her journey to meet Christ face-to-face. A must-read for believers old and new, A Christian Road Less Traveled sheds a fresh light on God’s highest standard for Christians as He intended.

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“Choosing the Right Way”
By: Emmanuel Asante

Evangelist Emmanuel Asante is an apologist and a Christ ambassador to all nations who has written two books: “Choosing The Right way” and “Prayer of Jabez”.

He was considered by soccer fans as “Goalking” during his soccer heydays due to his goal scoring capabilities. He was a Christian who had lived in a Muslim community for a very long time and almost got converted to become a Muslim but had to turn back to his Christian faith after he had an encounter with the Good Lord in his dream. Having reached his crossroads at this point in his life, thus, pondering over what religion to follow, one night he had a dream, and in this dream he heard a song entitled “Trust and Obey”. Suddenly, he saw a great light from the skies with someone standing beside a well. After this, experience, he shared his testimony with some believers in his community and he explained to them how the song had conveyed a message to change his life. Therefore, he empowered those people to trust Jesus Christ only because there is no other way

He then became a member of “Christomus” lead by a Muslim converted Christian, a renowned Evangelist Rockeybell Adatura to share Christ with Muslims through dialogue programs and debate forums.

In those days, he became a Sunday school teacher and an area Pastor with the Resurrection Power Evangelistic Ministries[Ghana] under the leadership of the late Evangelist, Francis Akwasi Amoako.

Currently, he is an anointed man of God with the Resurrection Power & Living Bread Ministries International[USA] under the leadership of Archbishop Akwasi Asare Bediako. He also attended Morris Cerullo School of Ministry held in Ghana.

Besides having an apostolic ministry, he is also a soccer coach and sports analyst who has developed interest in research works. In addition to his academic qualifications, he has many certificates in religious studies as well.

He is married to Gina and they are blessed with a son, Isaac, and two daughters Linda and Rita Asante. He originally comes from Ghana but currently lives in the United States of America.

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“The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between”
By: Elizabeth Billingsley

Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. Things happen that we have no control over, and circumstances seem overwhelming. I never thought I’d marry an abusive man-a man whose mental demons turned him into two different people. I never imagined being a widow at the age of thirty-eight. I never dreamed that one decision could so profoundly change my life and my viewpoint of mental illness. I didn’t know how much I still had to learn about myself. Through these circumstances, I now know more about who God is. I also know who he is not. I know more about who I am now, and I know who I will not be anymore. I have always believed in my head God could work everything out for good and that He loved me-now I know in my heart. Head knowledge and heart knowledge is completely different. I invite you to read these pages with an open mind and heart. Allow our story to shed light in dark places. Freedom is within these pages-the freedom to be yourself, to be loved for who you are, and to bring your hurts into the light of God’s love where he heals all things. Remember, love is the greatest of all things and it does conquer all. Love has already won.

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“God’s Way Is Still The Best Way”
By: Zig Ziglar

For decades, Zig Ziglar has steered millions of people toward richer, more satisfying lives. Now, in God’s Way Is Still the Best Way, this dynamic author and speaker teaches you biblical principles that will infuse your faith with action and skyrocket your impact on the world.

Ziglar shares how developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit are key to an energized, God-centered life. Each chapter is filled with stories of men and women like Tony Evans, Mary Kay Ash, and Dr. Kenneth Cooper whose love forJesus propels them to share their faith and provide relief to a hurting world.

A lively, Christ-centered book that teaches by example, God’s Way Is Still the Best Way will inspire you to experience success God’s way, which, as Ziglar says, is the only permanent way.

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“The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith?”
By: John MacArthur

The first edition of The Gospel According to Jesus won wide acclaim in confronting the “easy-believism” that has characterized some aspects of evangelical Christianity. Over the past 50 years, a handful of books have become true classics, revered world-wide for their crystal-clear presentation of the Gospel and lauded for their contribution to the Christian faith. These extraordinary books are read, re-read, and discussed in churches, Bible study groups, and homes everywhere. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus is one of those books. In The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur tackles the idea of “easy believism,” challenging Christians to re-evaluate their commitment to Christ by examining their fruits. MacArthur asks, “What does it really mean to be saved?” He urges readers to understand that their conversion was more than a mere point in time, that, by definition, it includes a lifetime of obediently walking with Jesus as Lord. This 20th anniversary edition of MacArthur’s provocative, Scripture-based book contains one new chapterand is further revised to provide Christians in the 21st century a fresh perspective on the intrinsic relationship between faith and works, clearly revealing Why Jesus is both Savior and Lord to all who believe.

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“The Gospel According to the Apostles: The Role of Works in the Life of Faith”
By: John F MacArthur

Ever since the days of the apostles Paul and James, Christians have struggled to define the proper tension between faith and works. Salvation, Paul stresses is “not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). But James argues, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18).

In his characteristic compelling style Dr. MacArthur reconciles these two seemingly divergent threads of biblical truth, taking on the difficult questions head on:

– What is cheap grace?
– Have some Christians adopted a “no-lordship” theology?
– What must a person do to be considered righteous by God?
– Do our works have any affect on our salvation?

Jesus asked his followers, “Why do you call me Lord and not do the things that I tell you to?” When John MacArthur dared in his earlier book to ask us this question, critics accused him of shelving grace. Others read the same book and heard in it the identical message preached since the founding of the Church.

“The Gospel According to the Apostles is the same gospel Jesus preached,” Dr. MacArthur says, “but it differs dramatically from the diluted message popular today. I pray you’ll find this book an encouragement as you seek to put your own faith to work.”

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“Hard To Believe”
By: John MacArthur

Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so you and I could have a nice day.

Ministers and teachers who water down the gospel of Christ in order to make it more popular and appealing may be leading their fun-loving audiences down the road to eternal punishment.

This book is John MacArthur’s unflinching, unapologetic treatise on the modern tendency to alter the true message of Christianity in order to meet the whims and desires of a culture hoping for nonconfrontational messages, easy answers, and superficial commitments.

Too many people just want a Madison Avenue Jesus to make them well, make them happy, and make them prosperous. But Jesus Christ isn’t a personal genie. He is the Savior. He died in agony to satisfy the wrath of a holy God and to forgive the sins of humankind. Faith in Him demands a willingness to make any sacrifice He asks. The hard truth about Christianity is that the cost is high, but the rewards are priceless: abundant and eternal life that comes only from faithfully follwing Christ.

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“Not All Roads Lead to Heaven”
By: Dr. Robert Jeffress

Almost 60 percent of those in American evangelical churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. But if Jesus is to be trusted when he says that no one comes to the Father except through him, the church is failing in its mission. And it’s not hard to guess why. An exclusive Jesus just isn’t popular in our inclusive world.

Dr. Robert Jeffress calls on Christians to recover the exclusive claims of the one they claim as Lord and Savior, not as a way to keep people out of heaven but as the only way to invite them in. He tackles questions like

– Can people be saved who have never heard of Christ?
– What about those who worship God by another name?
– Do children automatically go to Heaven when they die?

True compassion for non-Christians doesn’t lie in letting them go their way while we go ours, but in sharing the only true way with them.

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“The Jesus You Can’t Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ”
By: John F. MacArthur

Do you have any idea who Jesus really is?

“What you think of Jesus Christ will thoroughly color how you think about everything else,” writes John MacArthur.

This is a critical truth in the life of every believer. Our view of Jesus affects the way we view God, the world, ourselves, and every one of our decisions.

These days, Jesus is often portrayed as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. He strikes a plastic—and sometimes pathetic—pose in the minds of many. Some prefer the meek and mild Jesus who heals the sick, calms fears, and speaks of peace and goodwill. These things do represent a portion of the Messiah. But tragically, too many have never been exposed to the rest of him. They have never seen a full 360-degree view of the Savior. Until now.

Like an investigative journalist on a mission, best-selling author and teacher John MacArthur walks through the gospel records and shows you a remarkable and compelling picture of the Jesus you can’t ignore.

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“Fork in the Road the Road Map for Redesigning a New You”
By: Dr. Joseph Christiano

A dynamic motivational Health and Fitness Life Coaching DVD series designed to assist the individual who is ready to make healthy lifestyle changes. DVD 1 – Introduction to Series DVD 2 – Redesigning Your Attitude DVD 3 – Redesigning Your Diet Before you proceed down the road for maximizing your health, loosing weight and living a disease-free life Dr. Joe explains where to start. Good health starts from the inside and influences every area of your life. He shares alarming insights on how poor colon function is directly linked to most every disease known to man. DVD 4 – Redesigning Your Exercise This component of the series is loaded with helpful tips and strategies to consider for being better prepared before starting an exercise program. Some of the helpful tips are answers to questions like – DVD 5 – Redesigning Your Shape (Women) TDVD 6 – Redesigning Your Workout (Men) This DVD is designed for men. It teaches exercise technique by highlighting 3-4 exercises per major muscle group. Comes with Workout Charts (9) – For recording the exercises, weights, reps, set and dates. Mapping Journal · Recaps key information from DVD lessons. · Provides space for recording thoughts, feelings and experiences plus notes from Dr. Joe’s teachings. Charts for monitoring progress · Measurement Chart for recording measurements for 3 months · Body Fat % Chart for recording lean muscle weight vs. body fat. Food Cards Wallet-size cards that lists all food groups, beverages, condiments and spices that are either Beneficial, Neutral or Avoid for all 4 blood types (A, B, AB, O). These cards are helpful when eating out or going grocery shopping and make it easy to teach yourself which foods are best for your genetic individuality.

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“Only Jesus: What It Really Means to Be Saved”
By: John F. MacArthur

What does it mean to be a Christian? What did Jesus mean when He said, “Follow me”?

Based on his classic bestseller, The Gospel According to Jesus, pastor and author John MacArthur explores the gospel Jesus himself preached–the radical message his followers risked everything to live out. Only Jesus helps readers gain a thorough and proper understanding of the true way to salvation by examining questions like these:

– What does it mean to be saved?
– What is saving grace?
– Why do Christians call Jesus “Lord”?
– Why does the Cross matter?
– What does it mean to be born again?
– What did Jesus teach about eternal life?
– What do “sin” and “repentance” mean?
– What is the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation?

Only Jesus is perfect for Christians who want a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or seekers who want to know who Jesus is and what he taught. John MacArthur will guide you in discovering how Jesus’ actual words and teachings call us to salvation and new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Drastic changes will result in our hearts and lives when we truly answer Christ’s call to discipleship.

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“Why One Way?”
By: John MacArthur

A concise guide to understanding how and why the ancient Christian faith makes sense for today and a blueprint for communicating truth to a “truthless” and cynical generation.The book is centered around 6 key principles: objectivity, rationality, veracity, authority, incompatibility and integrity. In the ultimate apologetic, John MacArthur presents a case for Christianity that serves as a logical explanation as much as a solid defense.

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“Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear The Gospel To Be Saved?”
By: John Piper

Bestselling author offers a timely plea for the evangelical church to consider what is at stake in surrendering the unique, universal place of Jesus in salvation.

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“Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message”
By: Ravi Zacharias

In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?

We are living in a time when you can believe anything, as long as you do not claim it to be true. In the name of “tolerance,” our postmodern culture embraces everything from Eastern mysticism to New Age spirituality. But as Ravi Zacharias points out, such unquestioning acceptance of all things spiritual is absurd. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.

Jesus Among Other Gods provides the answers to the most fundamental claims about Christianity, such as:

Aren’t all religions fundamentally the same?
Was Jesus who He claimed to be?
Can one study the life of Christ and demonstrate conclusively that He was and is the way, the truth, and the life?

In each chapter, Zacharias considers a unique claim that Jesus made and then contrasts the truth of Jesus with the founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with compelling insight and passionate conviction. In addition to an impressive breadth of reading and study, he shares his personal journey from despair and meaninglessness to his discovery that Jesus is who He said He is.

“In Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that he is one of the most intellectually gifted as well as spiritually sensitive writers of today’s leading apologists for the Christian faith. Zacharias brings alive the unique power of the claims of Jesus about himself and the utter relevance of his message today for the human condition.”
— David Aikman, author of Great Souls

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“Only One Way: Christian Witness in an Age of Inclusion”
By: Michael L. Johnson

Sometimes even believers become uncomfortable with the exclusive claims of Christianity. But is that discomfort based on actual doubt of the truth of these claims—or do we simply feel inadequate to defend them? Here notable pastor-scholars defend our faith in one God, one Savior, and one truth. Exposing the failings of postmodernism, they remind us of our reasons for confidence—and strengthen us for the challenges ahead.

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“Only One Way?: Reaffirming the Exclusive Truth Claims of Christianity”
By: Richard D. Phillips

Centuries ago Christ made a claim that disconcerts as many today as it did then-he is the way of salvation. Ironically, he spoke these words to comfort his disciples on the night of his arrest. Richard Phillips is just one of six highly respected authors seeking to reaffirm these comforting words and other exclusive claims of Christianity for today’s reader.

Each chapter proclaims, defends, and explains the Christian truths that are most directly challenged by postmodern relativism. Our God is the God; Jesus is not merely a savior, but the only Savior; and the truth revealed in the Bible is divine truth. As readers grasp these essential ideas and their implications they will be able to witness powerfully by articulating these claims with clarity, conviction, and love.

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“Is Jesus the Only Way?”
By: Philip Graham Ryken

We’ve all heard people say it: “The problem with Christians is that they think Jesus is the only way to heaven.” Even reason says: We go to the college of our choice, watch the cable channel of our choice, and eat the food of our choice. So why can’t we pray to the god of our choice and get to heaven by any means we choose?

These are fair questions. Questions that demand an answer if Christians are going to insist that their claims are true―and that all other religions’ claims about salvation are thereby false. They are questions Philip Ryken confronts head-on in this accessible book.

Within these pages, the four essential Christian beliefs that pluralists find most troublesome are explained in clear, everyday terms. Ryken argues not only that Jesus is the only way, but also why this must be true.

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“The Biblical Jesus: The Only Way To Heaven”
By: Dr. John McElhaney

Is the Jesus you are following the Jesus of the bible? Many people today have a view of Jesus in their mind that they have created by their own imagination. It is a picture of the Jesus they want, not the biblical Jesus. The Jesus of the bible is God, has always been God and will always be God. He is creator and sustainer of all. He needs nothing to exist, but everything created can not exist without him. He died for the sin of the world, but he had no sin of his own. He came the first time as the lamb of God, he is coming back again as the lion. He is also the one who will judge everyone one day, at the judgment seat if you are a believer, or at the great white throne judgment if you are not a believer. He is going to set on David’s throne one day and rule. He is the alpha and the omega, the first and last, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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“Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”
By: James Emery White

Isn’t it awfully narrow and intolerant for Christians to believe that Jesus is the only way to God? James Emery White responds to common questions.

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“Why Jesus Said He Is The Only Way”
By: Henk Kruger

It was around 30 – 33 A.D. when a man who was known as Jesus of Nazareth made an unprecedented and highly controversial claim: He claimed that He was the only way to God, and that no one could go to heaven unless they went through Him. This statement was so preposterous that He was crucified!In March 2017, a British court convicted two street preachers for preaching the Bible in public. The prosecutor in the case told the court that preaching Jesus as the only way to God cannot be truth.Understandably, the notion that Jesus is the only way is and will always be offensive to many. Unfortunately those who believe this to be truth often fail to communicate why they believe this in an effective manner. Furthermore, those who don’t believe this often reject the statement without trying to obtain understanding first.The purpose of this book is to look at why Jesus said He is the only way to heaven. This will leave Christians equipped with a better answer as to why Jesus said this, and those who reject the statement can do so from a place of being accurately informed.

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“Is Jesus the Only Savior?”
By: Ronald H. Nash

Today many question the idea that there is only one way to heaven (or that Christianity is the only true faith) — even some people who identify themselves as Christians. In a world where we are likely to have neighbors of differing faiths, to profess Jesus as the only Savior may be viewed as arrogance and intolerance. Religious “pluralism” is gaining popularity. Ronald Nash believes that one’s position on the issue is crucial to an understanding of the Christian faith and sees pluralism as a significant threat to Christianity. He explores the divergent views of pluralism (“No”) and inclusivism (“Yes, but”) and makes a case for exclusivism (Yes, period”). In doing so, Nash especially confronts the pluralism of John Hick and the inclusivism of Clark Pinnock and John Sanders. He presents his case compellingly, in accessible terms and a readable style.

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“None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible”
By: John MacArthur

The Bible’s teaching on God’s love, holiness, and sovereignty is often met with questions about human responsibility, suffering, and evil. If God is in control of everything, can we make free choices? If God is good and all–powerful, how can we account for natural disasters and moral atrocities? Answers to these questions are often filled with technical jargon and personal assumptions that don’t take into account the full scope of biblical truth.

In None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible, Dr. John MacArthur shows that the best way to discover the one true God is not through philosophical discourse but a careful study of Scripture―the primary place where God has chosen to reveal Himself.

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“Not All Roads Lead to Heaven”
By: Dr. Robert Jeffress

Almost 60 percent of those in American evangelical churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. But if Jesus is to be trusted when He says that no one comes to the Father except through Him, the church is failing in its mission. And it’s not hard to guess why. An exclusive Jesus just isn’t popular in our inclusive world.

True compassion for non-Christians lies not in letting them go their way while we go ours but rather in sharing the only true way with them. Dr. Robert Jeffress calls on Christians to recover the exclusive claims of the One whom they trust as Lord and Savior, not as a way to keep people out of heaven but as the only way to invite them in. He tackles questions such as

· Can people be saved who have never heard of Christ?
· What about those who worship God by another name?
· Do all children go to heaven when they die?

If you want to confidently and compassionately share the one true way of salvation with those in your life, or if you simply need to restore your confidence in the gospel message, this is the book for you.

Book Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-j5GxYvj3k

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The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus”
By: Lee Strobel

A SEASONED JOURNALIST CHASES DOWN THE BIGGEST STORY IN HISTORY

Is there credible evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God?

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates who are specialists in the areas of old manuscripts, textual criticism, and biblical studies.

Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions make this bestselling book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.

What will your verdict be in the The Case for Christ?

“Lee Strobel probes with bulldog-like tenacity the evidence for the truth of biblical Christianity.”

Bruce M. Metzger, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

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“Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World”
By: Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell

The modern apologetics classic that started it all is now completely revised and updated—because the truth of the Bible doesn’t change, but its critics do. With the original Evidence That Demands a Verdict, bestselling author Josh McDowell gave Christian readers the answers they needed to defend their faith against the harshest critics and skeptics. Since that time, Evidence has remained a trusted resource for believers young and old. Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.

Features Include:
– Thoroughly revised and updated from the previous edition
– Now co-authored by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
– All-new chapters defending against the latest attacks from Christianity’s critics
– Designed to be a go-to reference for even the toughest questions
– Offers thoughtful responses to the Bible’s most difficult and extraordinary passages
– Expansive defense of Christianity’s core truths, including the resurrection of Jesus Christ

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“Pilgrim’s Progress: Journey To Heaven” (2008 Movie)

STORYLINE:
An allegory of the life of a Christian believer on a journey from the “City of Destruction” (this ‘world’) to the “Celestial City” (Heaven).

SYNOPSIS:
“Pilgrim’s Progress, Journey to Heaven” is a modern adaptation of John Bunyan’s beloved classic. It is the #1 Children’s fantasy of all time. The novel has been heralded as a literary masterpiece around the world, as it has been published in over 100 languages and is the most read book other than the Bible.

Amazing visual effects, beautiful locations, and a wonderful cast bring to life the story that has inspired each generation for hundreds of years. Follow Christian and his companions on a great Journey from the City of Destruction to the gates of Heaven as they face obstacles large and small, man-made, and demon spawned.

Beyond the gripping drama, Bunyan’s powerful allegory teaches us all the hazards and hopes of the Christian life, and it features the triumphant glory that awaits all who faithfully follow the King of kings!

————

Produced by DRC FILMS (Danny R. Carrales) in 2008.

In my opinion, this is the most ‘faithful’ movie rendition of part one of John Bunyan’s classic “Pilgrim’s Progress” book (even including the 2019 animated version by Revelation Media).

————

Movie Trailer:

Purchase:

Pilgrim’s Progress


https://www.christianbook.com/pilgrims-progress-journey-to-heaven/pd/000491

Wikipedia Page:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim%27s_Progress:_Journey_to_Heaven

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NOTE: Here’s a couple of FANTASTIC ‘analyses’ of the Coronavirus from a biblical viewpoint:

Coronavirus and Christ
By: Pastor John Piper

On January 11, 2020, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reportedly claimed its first victim in the Wuhan province of China. By March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization had declared a global pandemic. In the midst of this fear and uncertainty, it is natural to wonder what God is doing.

In Coronavirus and Christ, John Piper invites readers around the world to stand on the solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ, in whom our souls can be sustained by the sovereign God who ordains, governs, and reigns over all things to accomplish his wise and good purposes for those who trust in him. Piper offers six biblical answers to the question: “What is God doing through the coronavirus?”

1) God is giving the world in the coronavirus outbreak, as in all other calamities,
a physical picture of the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of God-belittling sin.

2) Some people will be infected with the corona- virus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions.

3) The Coronavirus is a God-given wake-up call to be ready for the second coming of Christ.

4) The coronavirus is God’s thunderclap call for all of us to repent and realign our lives with the infinite worth of Christ.

5) The Coronavirus is God’s call to his people to overcome self-pity and fear, and with courageous joy, to do the good works of love that glorify God.

6) In the Coronavirus, God is loosening the roots of settled Christians, all over the world, to make them free for something new and radical and to send them with the gospel of Christ to the unreached peoples of the world.

God is reminding us that He is ‘AT WORK’ in this moment in history!

Audiobook (Read by the author John Piper): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St8NlULiuvo

Free Downloads (MP3; Epub; Mobi; PDF): https://www.desiringgod.org/books/coronavirus-and-christ

Pastor John’s final prayer:

Father,

At our best moments, by your grace, we are not sleeping in Gethsemane. We are awake and listening to your Son’s prayer. He knows, deep down, that he must suffer. But in his perfect humanity, he cries out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.”

In the same way, we sense, deep down, that this pandemic is appointed, in your wisdom, for good and necessary purposes. We too must suffer. Your Son was innocent. We are not.

Yet with him in our less-than-perfect humanity, we too cry out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.” Do quickly, O Lord, the painful, just, and merciful work you have resolved to do. Do not linger in judgment. Do not delay your compassion. Remember the poor, O Lord, according to your mercy. Do not forget the cry of the afflicted. Grant recovery. Grant a cure. Deliver us—your poor, helpless creatures—from these sorrows, we pray.

But do not waste our misery and grief, O Lord. Purify your people from powerless preoccupation with barren materialism and Christless entertainment. Put our mouths out of taste with the bait of Satan. Cut from us the roots and remnant of pride and hate and unjust ways. Grant us capacities of outrage at our own belittling of your glory. Open the eyes of our hearts to see and savor the beauty of Christ. Incline our hearts to your word, your Son, and your way. Fill us with compassionate courage. And make a name for yourself in the way your people serve.

Stretch forth your hand in great awakening for the sake of this perishing world. Let the terrible words of Revelation not be spoken over this generation: “Yet still they did not repent.” As you have stricken bodies, strike now the slumbering souls. Forbid that they would remain asleep in the darkness of pride and unbelief. In your great mercy, say to these bones, “Live!” And bring the hearts and lives of millions into alignment with the infinite worth of Jesus.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

————————————-

Coronavirus Reflections

A number of people have asked me to share my thoughts on the Coronavirus. I have broken this video into 5 main topics:

1. A Bit of Perspective
2. Is This a Judgment of God?
3. Did God Cause This?
4. Is Coronavirus a Test?
5. Is There Hope?

[ Justin Peters ]

 

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“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further how ‘good’ one must be to qualify for Heaven, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d1_1of10.html ].

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ARTICLES:

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“THE CHOICE”
(Short Animated Movie)
This is a short animated film, about how your small everyday life choices can ultimately shape your life.

[ Project Better Self ]

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“The Yellow Brick Road and Which Way Do I Go?”

I was instructing at the local community college the other night. While I always prepare when I teach or speak, I have a tendency to go off book or as they say in the South, I let the spirit take me.

Anyhow, I ended up talking about the movie The Wizard of Oz and one specific scene that haunted me as a child. Dorothy has just come down the path and there is a split in the road. At the apex is a cornfield and there hangs the Scarecrow. Skip ahead, Scarecrow and Dorothy walk arm in arm down one of the two paths, stop, go backward and goes on the other path!

As a kid I was obsessed by the thought of what would have happened had she and Scarecrow had taken the other path. Who would they have met? What adventures would the have found? What problems would they have missed?

But don’t we all do something similar in our life? Where we question the decisions we make and wonder what our lives would have been like had we made different choices? Of course, with Quantum Physics and the Multi-verse theory, we did make the different choices and go through with all the decisions with rejected.

But would our lives really be different?

We’ve all experienced make a bad decision over and over again. We’ve lost the weight only to gain it back, went back to a bad or toxic relationship, drank too much, or did something we knew wasn’t going to end well again. We keep doing that until we’ve learned our lesson. What is to say that despite our other choices, we wouldn’t have arrived at the same crossroads over and over again to our final destination?

I don’t know if we determine our own fate or if there is a master plan somewhere. I do know now, as an adult, that Dorothy and Scarecrow would have had the same lessons to learn no matter what road they took.

[ Motivational Candy ]

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“The Wizard of Oz:WHICH WAY DO WE GO?”

Not sure which fork in the road to take, Dorothy voices her concern only to receive a reply from a nearby observer, the Scarecrow.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=yejtZgzB5Ik

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“I just wanted to ask you which way I ought to go.”

Planning where you want to go in life makes all the difference.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ISenpl1R94

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“Crossroads Are a Good Thing”

Crossroads give you an opportunity to explore your potential.

It feels like the biggest ordeal when you come to a CROSSROADS—as if you’re the only one this is happening to.

Which direction shall you take with your life? Is it time to change jobs, move to a new city, start a family, make a shift in your relationship, or finally start your own company?

The feelings can be overwhelming at times. This is all normal for being at a crossroads—that time in your life when you need to figure out your next move in some area of your life, such as career or relationships, or feel bored by your work or are ready for something new.

This feeling will happen over and over again as long as you are creating and continuing to uncover your potential.
Yes, it’s normal.

It’s ok.

And you are on the right path.

You can find yourself at a crossroads regardless of your education, title, role, or how much money you have. It happens to all of us, including CEOs, managers, moms, athletes, musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs. It’s actually a good thing because it’s your internal watchdog telling you that something needs to change. This is where the problem rises—the dreaded change factor. On one hand, you’re telling yourself that something needs to change, while, on the other hand, honoring this feeling you have to move outside your comfort zone and experience change!

Why would we want to do this when we know that change leads to feelings of uncertainty, and, with uncertainty, there can be fear? Because it’s part of the process of growth, and there can also be excitement, learning, success, and fulfillment. Please note, you may experience some dips along the way—this is normal too!

The theme of crossroads/transitions continues to emerge with my coaching clients regardless of industry, background, specific role, money, or age. Some are considering their next move, such as starting their own company, redefining success and what the ideal environment looks like, launching a new product, deciding between two jobs, moving to a new city, and starting or ending a relationship. It’s scary, but it’s also possible. It’s challenging to leave something that is known, even if it’s not particularly fulfilling or the best role for you. It takes courage, listening to your truth, and stepping into the unknown to create something new.

Being at a crossroads is part of the process as you uncover your potential. Sometimes, the feelings are overwhelming and frustrating, but trust this is the way forward. Consider your options, do the research and learn as much as you can, define what’s important to you, and take a small step when you are ready (or not).

One piece of advice: move away from what you or others think you “should” do and honor your truth.
Do not let circumstances that you see as fixed (such as a mortgage) define what is possible as you create your ideal. And finally, move in the direction that resonates with you, not someone else.

Crossroads occur time and time again and give you the opportunity to explore your next level. Accept and embrace them!

Have you successfully moved through a recent crossroads? We’d love to hear about it.

[ Alissa Finerman ]

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“10 Useful Ways to Choose the Right Direction in Life (Without Wasting a Bunch of Time)”

Here are some ideas and exercises to help you fine tune your success compass and start heading in the direction of your dreams.

After finishing this post you’ll be five minutes closer to your death. Hopefully what you read is worth your time.

Time stands at the center of your life. You never feel like you have enough of it. You want to make the right choices for your future but you’re worried about wasting it. You want to find the right direction before time runs out.

You’re motivated and ambitious. You want to find the right path and make the right decisions when it comes to your future, but there’s the possibility that you’ll spend months or years pursuing something you that might not be worth your time and effort.

So how do you narrow down your decisions and start taking action in a world with endless possibilities?

There is no clear cut answer to that question, but there are some ways to get you pointed in the right direction.

Today I’m going to share some ideas and exercises to help you fine tune your success compass and start heading in the direction of your dreams.

Start With What You Hate
Your friendly neighborhood success guru will tell you to find something you love to do and pursue your passion. How about using the process of elimination instead? What do you hate? What type of life or career path do you definitely not want go down? You’d think people would consider this before choosing a career but it doesn’t always work out that way. If you hate structure and discipline, don’t work at a company with strict guidelines. If you hate sitting behind a cubicle find a way to work from home.

Figure out if you’re an A, B, or C player
Social media and marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk believes we need to ruthlessly self-audit and stop kidding ourselves about who we are. Some people aren’t meant to be entrepreneurs or startup founders. Some people are better suited at lower positions within an organization. It’s common for companies to promote people to the point of incompetence. It takes humility to have a high level of self-awareness and realize that certain avenues just aren’t for you.

Go Outside and Look At The Stars At Night
Drive out to the country at night and spend an hour looking at the stars. While you’re looking at them, think about the vastness of the universe. It will make you feel small and insignificant. Sometimes we’re so worried about making the wrong choices because they seem so important. But the reality is that nothing you do here really “matters,” and the universe doesn’t care about you anyways.

Use 90 Day Sprints
Business guru and management expert Peter Drucker planned his life out in 18 month increments. He would write down his vision for where he wanted to be 18 months from now and then he would compare what actually happened with his plans to gain feedback. If you’re worried about wasting too much time you can break it down even further and use 90 day sprints for goal setting. This time frame gives you enough room to explore without wasting too much time.

Interview Ten People Who Are Already Doing What You Want To Do
To see what it’s really like. Sometimes what you imagine and what’s real are completely different. You may have a conversation with one of these people and realize you actually don’t want to pursue that path. Ask them the right questions. Ask them about the struggles associated with following that path. Ask them how they knew this path was right for them. Ask them what they would do if they were you.

Create A Worldview Statement
I learned this exercise from successful writer Jeff Goins. A worldview statement helps you shape your perception on the world and can provide guidance on the direction you should head towards. Your worldview statement goes as follows “All __________ should ________.”

My world view statement is “All people should build a life around their natural talents and strengths.” It helped guide me in the direction of sharing my knowledge of personal development with other people to help them.

Think
You think all of the time, but it’s distracted, unfocused thinking. Blocking out time to do nothing else but think can lead to some serious discoveries. Bill Gates goes on a two week retreat every year just to think. Maybe you can start with 30 minutes — to be alone with your thoughts and work through the choices you want to make for your future.

The Regret Test
You can use regret to determine if you should heard in a certain direction. Look to the end of your life. If you don’t pursue what you’re thinking about, will you ultimately regret it when it’s all said and done? There’s a second part to this test. Again, look to the end of your life. If you tried and things didn’t work out, would you feel at peace knowing you gave it a shot? If you can answer yes both questions, you’re probably on the right track.

The Airport Test
I learned about this technique while listening to a podcast interview with Pat Flynn. Here’s how the airport test works. Imagine it’s five years from now and you run into an old friend. Your friend asks you how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. Given that you’ve spent the past 5 years building your dream life, what would your response be? The airport test takes the boring “5 year plan” and makes it sexier.

Move Directly In The Direction Of Fear And Self-Doubt
Fear and self-doubt get a bad rap. If you’re pursuing something that doesn’t scare you it’s not worth your time. The more you feel like an impostor, the more you feel terrified, and the more you doubt yourself, the more likely you’re on the right track.

You don’t need to conquer fear. You can build a symbiotic relationship with it. Your fear will fuel you. The action you take will create even larger challenges in the future that you’ll be more terrified of. The cycle will continue and over time you and fear will become friends.

You’ll realize you need each other. Fear is there to remind you to stretch — that diving into the thrill of uncertainty makes you feel more alive. You’ll be fear’s sparring partner and try to kick his butt every chance you get.

Being comfortable, stable, certain, and boring might feel good for a while. But at a certain point a gigantic wave of regret will coming washing down on you. You’ll drown in it and sink deeper each day until you’re unable to make it back to the surface.

Truthfully most of you will end up this way. But a few of you will learn to move in tandem with fear. You’re the type of person who’s on the fence. Who reads posts like these because you’re itching to make your move. It’s the reason why I write to inspire you over and over and over again until you finally take the leap.

If you can’t do it for yourself do it for me. Because I need you to. Because adding one more member to the cause and subtracting one from the masses of quietly desperate human beings is what makes me feel alive.

Maybe you’ll make your move now. Maybe next week. Maybe never. I’ll always be here waiting for you.

But if you’re ready now, then let’s go.

Take Action
If this post connected with you, please subscribe to my blog. You’ll receive the first chapter of my best selling book and you’ll also get weekly tips, tools, and resources to help you live your dream life.

[ Ayodeji Awosika ]

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“How to Choose Between Two Paths in Life”

“How do I know which path to choose when there are two (or more) paths that I want to take in life?”

Imagine you are hiking without a map and come to a fork in the trail. How do you decide which way to go?

In his poem ‘The Road Not Taken‘, Robert Frost suggests you should take the one less travelled:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

He was almost right. But not quite.

What if I want to go BOTH ways?
How do you decide which way to go when both directions seem equally appealing? What do you do when both life paths are equally desired? Here is an answer that may seem obvious, but evades most people:

Walk straight between the two paths, creating a third path.

When you want to do two (or more) different things in life, the solution is simple: combine them.

One coaching client wanted to be a painter and a hypnotherapist. Together we created the idea of Art-Hypnotherapy.

Another client wanted to remain a lawyer and own an eco-village. We created the idea of being an attorney who owns an eco-village where important negotiations are made.

I wanted to coach powerful leaders AND travel AND take people on adventures AND make a difference in the world. It was by combining these things that I created the idea for Hero Journeys.

How do I combine my different paths?
If there were an answer out there already, then it wouldn’t be a unique path – it wouldn’t be your path.

Combining is a process of creation.

The only tool you need is imagination. Or to use Walt Disney’s term: Imagineering

This is how both the iPhone and the Great Pyramids got made. They each started in someone’s imagination.

Your unique life can be created in this same way.

What if combining my paths is difficult?
“But what if when I get to the fork, there is a mountain in between the two paths?”

Then climb the freaking mountain!

Creating your own path is simple, but it won’t be easy.

How you will accomplish the task of climbing the mountain is unknown. This is how creation works; you cross a threshold into the unknown and go on a journey of discovery and manifestation.

The only thing you can be certain of about your path is that it will be riddled with uncertainty.

When you create the third path, you will create the life that is most true, and unique, to you.

What if I don’t succeed?
In the end, it won’t matter how far you made it up the mountain. You won’t care where you got to.

What you will care about is which way you chose to travel. What will truly matter is whether you followed a path or whether you went straight ahead, lead by your heart, climbed the mountain and created your own way.

The path less travelled is still someone else’s path.

Don’t be Robert Frost. Be who YOU are.

[ J.P. Morgan ]

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“Two Roads Before You”

The Hero is confronted with a choice between two mutually exclusive paths. Sometimes it’s the choice between good and evil, law or chaos, or even just choosing between fire magic and ice magic. The point is, only one path can be taken, and there’s no way back.

The point of this trope isn’t the choice; it’s the act of presentation. As long as someone is presenting the choice as if the options are mutually exclusive and important to the character’s life from then on, it doesn’t matter what the choices are or who is presenting them.

Shows up in video games quite often, even in games without a Karma Meter.

See also Sadistic Choice and Take a Third Option. Has some symbolic relation to At the Crossroads, though don’t confuse this trope with that one as this one is about metaphorical forks in the road of the plot. Super-Trope of Red Pill, Blue Pill.

Note that this trope can apply to events with more than two choices, so long as they are all still mutually exclusive.

Article: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TwoRoadsBeforeYou

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“You Have Two Choice Everyday”

Joe Loesch explains how through the power of choice, you can either make your life creative or you can destroy it. You can choose to be successful or choose to be a failure. History swings on small hinges. Similarly, human life develops according to small decisions. We determine our future by using our immense power of choice.

[ Joe Loesch ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-IFYK_iNAg

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“Burn The Ships!” – A Leadership Lesson From Cortés”

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz to begin his great conquest. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. As I imagine it, someone then laughed and Cortés promptly thrust his sword into the man’s chest. After which, the rest proceeded to get hammered on rum by the glow of the blaze. Almost like a bloodier version of The Pirates of the Caribbean with Cortés played by Johnny Depp.

[ Travis Robertson ]

Article: https://travisrobertson.com/leadership/burn-ships-succeed-die/

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“Burn Your Ships: A History Lesson About How to Be a Great Leader”

If you are a history buff, you may know the story of Cortés and the burning of his ships. In the year 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived in the New World with six hundred men and, upon arrival, made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back.

Two years later, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire.

As leaders taking our people into new territories as unknown and potentially hazardous as did Cortés, we need to ensure those we are leading that there is no turning back. He knew how to be a great leader. We need to be certain there is no off-ramp our people can use to avoid the challenges of our own new business worlds. We need to burn the ships.

What Does Burning the Ships Mean Today?
We’re long past the days of conquistadors, but the story of burning the ships is as relevant as ever. I bet you’re already thinking of some aspect of your company that needs attention right now, that needs your leadership. If you leave the ships in the harbor, your people will see that you’re not fully committing to the transition needed. If you’re not fully committed, why should they be? By burning the ships, by removing any available path back to the previous way, your team will become as fully committed as you obviously are.

Here are some examples from the organizations we work with:
Commit to a New Sales Structure. When you commit to a new sales structure, commit to it in every way and make sure everyone on your team can see that you are.

Update Sales Talent. If you need to upgrade your sales talent, select the right tool, use it fully and consistently, and don’t waver in your use of it.
Eliminate Dead Weight. Remove people who are standing in the way of the organization moving forward.

Embrace New Training. If your team is adopting a new training program, be sure they’re fully immersed in it and they are implementing the practices.
Burning your ships doesn’t mean you can’t ever change course or decide that a current pursuit is not working. But no change process has a chance of working if your team has an off-ramp.

Where can you burn ships in your business? In your life? Look inside yourself and see where you’re having a hard time committing. Is it because the ships are still in the harbor? Burn ’em. Force commitment. And see what happens.

[ By: John Henley ]

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“Two Roads”
(A Short Film by Kelton Davis)

This film is based on a possible interpretation of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. There are varying opinions on the meaning of the poem, but I chose to take it from a moral angle. When looking back on our lives, the decision between two paths that appear to be equally traveled can truly make “all the difference.”

Short Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsK6DyYfCc8

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“Standing Tall: The Story Behind Skyscraper Foundations”

Staring up from the foot of mega-tall skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa, the buildings seem like an impossible feat. Stretching to the clouds, millions of tourists flock to the observatories of landmark buildings every year to take in the stunning views. But while snapping selfies in the sky, most people are unaware that the beautiful scenery is rooted deep below the earth in the building’s foundations.

Though they may seem to sit on a normal foundation just like any other building, skyscrapers require a well-planned structure to anchor them to the ground. To prevent natural forces from toppling them over, mega-tall structures need a low center of gravity, achieved by digging deep into the ground to find a soil sturdy enough to hold the weight of the building. For some of the world’s tallest buildings, that means digging as deep as 85 meters. It all starts with the search for bedrock. [more…]

Article: http://news.samsungcnt.com/standing-tall-story-behind-skyscraper-foundations/

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“Burj Khalifa Burj Dubai Construction Animation”

Animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvMjlBHuwXg&feature=youtu.be&t=83

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“Salesforce Tower: Construction Animation”

An animation of the construction of San Francisco’s 1,070-ft-tall Salesforce Tower.

Animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_6MOu_sdUw

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“Life, You Have Two Choices Guys!”

Maybe you are familiar with Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled”. Maybe you are not. Regardless, the last couple of lines say, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” How often do we find ourselves vacillating between two roads, two opinions, or two choices? How often do we feel like a boat on rough waters being tossed to and fro from the power of the waves?

I made a life altering decision a few weeks ago. In the moment I made it, I knew that I knew that I knew it was the right decision. But in the days immediately following my decision, I began to question my decision. It was as though I chose a path to walk down only to take a few steps forward and turn around. I would walk a few steps and turn around again. If you were observing me walking this path, it would appear I was pacing back and forth. What I was really doing is questioning my decision.

I started to play the “What If” game. I’m sure you know it well too. What if the consequences of my choice cost me more than I want to pay? What if my relationships are never the same? What if I was WRONG? Sigh. As I sat on my hassock in my living room allowing my mind to race around the track as if it were running a full marathon, I heard the Spirit of Lord whisper to my heart: “A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:8.) You made a choice. Now, you have to stick with it whether the consequences are good or bad.”

Our God is so merciful. It was the exact verse I needed to hear. There is nothing quite like a gentle nudge from the book of James to realign my thoughts. I believe that God desires for us to live a life of no regrets. We will never move forward if we never commit to our choices. God does not want us to live under a cloud of shame, fear, and doubt. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes. Are we going to miss it on occasion? Yes. In those moments, we have to ask ourselves, how big is our God? I heard the founder of Women’s Empowerment University (http://www.womensempowermentuniversity.com), Donna Partow say the other day, “If we think that our mistakes are too big for God than our God is too small.” Do we really believe that God forgives our sin? Do we really believe that He can make all things work together for our good? Do we really believe that He is for us, not against us?

There is one road to get to Heaven, only one way to eternal life, and that is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, there may be multiple roads that we can travel to reach our personal destiny. How many different ways can you travel to get to work, the grocery store, or the nearest coffee shop? I’m going to step out on a limb and guess that at the very least there are two different ways to reach your destination. Imagine if you started out toward your job in the morning, stopped, and began to take a different route. Halfway to work, you decide that wasn’t the right decision, so you turn around and go another way. A quarter of the way to work, you decide that you don’t like this road either and turn around. If we keep living life in this fashion, we’ll never reach our destination.

It takes courage to commit. It takes faith to choose. Peace comes when we solidify our decision. Friend, what are you riding the fence on? What two roads are you looking down, not sure which way to go? Make a choice. Take the step of faith – regardless of whether the consequences are good or bad. Right decisions do not equate with easy roads. Sometimes, other people won’t like or agree with our choices. But seek God, and He will give us wisdom. And when we receive that wisdom, we have to follow through with the choices that we make based upon that wisdom. Stop living to please everyone else. Start living to please God.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:8).

[ Kristin Reeg ]

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“The Road Less Travelled”

Property of Fred Bruner Photography, 2013

My dad has always been a gifted photographer. My mom recently showed me one of his latest which displays some of the fall colors here in Arizona. Yes, contrary to critics, we do have fall colors in Arizona!

This photo reminded me of my favorite Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Whenever I have the opportunity to teach this poem, I compare what Jesus said about two roads. “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 is the road that leads to life and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Robert Frost found two roads and “took the one less traveled by…” I’m unsure if Robert Frost was a true believer, but he hit on something that has resonated with me through the years.

The road we walk as Christians is rough – we stumble, we fall, we encounter bumps, and even great mountains stand in our path. It can also seem lonely as we walk with only a few who have found it. But Robert Frost says it best….”I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference.” We can’t travel both roads. Frost says he looks down one path and sees as far as he can see and then decides to take the other one. We must make the choice. Although the road is long and rough, I would not want to walk on any other path. Because it is only on this narrow road that I can walk with the only One who makes all the difference.

[ Jennie Smith ]

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“Finding the Narrow Way to Heaven”

Open your Bible to Matthew 7, Matthew 7, and I will read for you a very familiar and very important portion of Scripture. Matthew 7:13 down through 27. Matthew 7:13 to 27.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. [more…]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV_FTsieQw8

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“The Road less Traveled”
(Luke 13:22-30)

In college I read a book called The Road Less Traveled. The first sentence in that book is a simple and direct statement: “Life is difficult.” For some, that’s an understatement. For everyone who’s alive and aware of their surroundings, it’s the truth. Life is difficult and Jesus would agree. Listen to Him in verse 24 from our scripture lesson: Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.

A long time before that book, back in 1930, Robert Frost, I want to read the last few lines of his poem the words:

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I―

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Jesus is always calling us to decide to choose our way, and that way is always the road less traveled. Here in Luke’s Gospel, it’s in a kind of cryptic sentence. Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.

Matthew (7:13-14) writes a slightly different version, as part of His sermon on the mount: Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

That’s quite a lot for a very short scripture lesson, whether we speak about our text or Matthew’s version, so let’s try to figure it out with our hearts and our minds what it all means.

Let’s begin with that simple but profound and provocative statement: Life is difficult. For example, a certain pastor had a terrible day on the golf course. On the last hole, he actually went into a tantrum, cursing and beating the ground with his club. Finally composing himself, he looked at his playing partner, and said, I guess I’ll have to give it up. The partner said, what, give up golf? He said, oh heaven’s no, not golf, the ministry.

Life is difficult. Think about that statement and what it would mean for your family and raising children. Maybe, you’ve heard, the trouble with children is that when they’re not being a lump in the throat, they’re being a pain in the neck.

I’m sure some of you, may have had lumps in your throat because of your children just this week. Something happened and caused you pure joy, something happened that was so pleasing, so surprising, and yet deeply moving. So deeply moving that your emotions welled up and a lump in your throat kept you from speaking. The tears in your eyes were tears of joy and they glistened as you smiled with uncontrollable delight.

For others, the lump in the throat wasn’t so sweet, but bitter. Your child disappointed you, betrayed your trust. Painful and destructive, betrayed his or her best self, and there wasn’t anything you could do about it but cry and try to breathe around that lump in your throat.

Life is difficult. We know it, don’t we? But, that doesn’t have to be bad. Could it be that God prefers our tears and suffering? Life is difficult. And the fact is, we have no choice in the matter. So Jesus is talking about something else. He’s not just commenting on how life is, He is calling us to make a choice, and shocker, He’s calling us to choose the difficult or the narrow way.

So, let me ask, what’s this narrow door Jesus is talking about? He’s certainly not talking about narrow-mindedness. Someone said to Jesus, Lord, will those who are saved be few? And Jesus answered with the words of our text. That sounds like a parable of exclusion, doesn’t it? A door so narrow that only those who are righteous can pass through. That’s what it means, isn’t it? The narrow door refers to righteousness. That’s the way lots of pastors on TV and radio interpret it.

If you have to pass through a narrow door, they say it must refer to moral righteousness or maybe proper doctrine. They think of it as something narrow, something mean, something rigid and confining. There are even those who claim to know the exact dimensions of the door leading into the Kingdom of God. You hear it all the time from radio and television preachers and from certain pastors as a narrowly defined doctrine, a rigidly prescribed righteousness. And I tell you that if they’re right, if the door is as narrow as they think it is, then I can’t get through it. And what’s more, I wouldn’t want to get through it. If the door is as narrow as they say, then the people on the other side of it can’t be much fun. If that’s the only kind of people that’re going to make it to Heaven, I’m not sure I want to go.

But, Jesus isn’t talking about narrow-mindedness, either in terms of righteous conduct or correct doctrine. The guy who asked the question probably thought that’s what He was talking about, and felt good about it, because Jesus seemed to confirm his thinking. But, Jesus added something. He told the parable about the End of the Age. In that parable, people wanted to get into the Kingdom, but the door was closed. They begged saying, we ate and we drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets. But the Lord will say to them, I tell you, I do not know where you come from; Depart from me, all you workers of evil.

Then He told them that people would come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and sit at the Kingdom of God, and those who had appeared to be last would be first, and those who had appeared to be first would be last.

Do you see what that means? Some who appear to be the least deserving, as we see them, are going to be in the Kingdom. And some who, on the surface, seem to be most deserving, are going to be left out.

A pastor returned to his former church, and was greeted by a woman who brought him up to date on her life. She said, since I last saw you, my dear husband Albert died and went to heaven. Well, he remembered old Albert as an irritable old cuss, but he wanted to say something appropriate, so he said, so Albert died and went to heaven. I must say I’m sorry. The expression on her face indicated that she didn’t really understand the intention of what he was saying, so he tried it again. What I really mean to say is that I’m glad. Her painful expression made him see that that was even worse. So he said, what I meant to say is that I’m surprised.

Yes, there’ll be surprises. So this parable isn’t about exclusion, absolutely not. In fact, quite the opposite. Over and over again, Jesus makes the point, the door, though a narrow one, is open. It’s open right now. And that’s the point He wanted to make and it surprised His listeners. It’s not by right Lutheran doctrine, or being righteous that we enter the Kingdom. It’s by faith, by the grace that God offers us in Jesus Christ. He has told so many times in so many ways, it is through Him, the way the truth and the life, I am the door, I am the good shepherd. Now through the narrow door, it in Him and Him alone.

But, there’s more here, and we need to look at the more that’s here. Let me put it this way. The narrow door is open to all, but to walk the way into which it leads is difficult and demands striving. Put another way: On the road of a disciple of Jesus, conversion isn’t merely a point, but the beginning of a process.

So, let’s return to our image, the image of the road less traveled, and the narrow door. The issue under discussion (in our scripture lesson) had to do with how many people would be saved. The response of Jesus needs to be seen knowing, that He is on His way to Jerusalem. He knows what lies ahead, shame, struggle, betrayal, suffering, the Cross. Is it any wonder that He would answer this question, keep on striving to enter the narrow door?

When Jesus tells us “to keep on striving”, I want you to know that we got the English word “agony” from the word striving. In other words, Jesus is telling us that we must strive, or agonize to get through the narrow door. This is the agony of the soul and the spirit.

The narrow way is very demanding. An athlete has to avoid rich food, and subject themselves to rigorous discipline. An artist has to devote many weary hours and days to practice. A saint has to pray and pray, and then deny self so as to be able to live the prayer that they’re praying.

For Jesus, the door was as narrow as the cross! Therefore, for the Christian, “our place” is at the narrow door. Entrance to the Kingdom of God is never automatic. We won’t just tumble into the Kingdom of God. It is the result of struggle. Those who “enter by the narrow door” have agonized and have sweat great drops of blood (as it were), to know, to pass it on, and to proclaim God’s will.

The narrow door is open, open to everyone because God is gracious and invites all into His Kingdom. But that’s the beginning of our Salvation, not the end. The door is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life. Where did we get these funny ideas about what it means to be a Christian? That a Christian life ought to be peaceful and tranquil?

A student enrolled in a university, and was assigned to a faculty advisor who asked, where do you attend church? The student responded, I don’t attend formal, institutional services. Instead of confining myself to the four walls of a building, I go out into the green fields. I go out into the woods where I can stand beneath the lofty arches of the forest trees. I listen to the singing of the birds, the voices of God’s creatures, a place where everything that has breath praises the Lord. The advisor, totally unimpressed, asked, where do you go when it rains?

Good question! Where do we go when we find out that we have a terminal illness? Where do we go when we’ve lost a job? Where do we go when our best friend of many years turns against us because of a misunderstanding? Where do we go after our mate of 40, 50, or 60 years has died? Where do you go when it rains? You go to where you’ve been if you have been walking the road less traveled. You go to scripture with which you’ve lived in a discipline of wanting to know God’s will and way.

You go to prayer where you’ve already practiced your communion with God in good and bad weather. You go into the fellowship arms of a small company of Christians with whom you’ve been sharing your life in study, confession, prayer, and action. You go to Jesus, who waits in love, to receive you unto Himself, and to protect and comfort you as a hen gathers her brood under her wing.

The road less traveled moves through a narrow door which is open to us all, traveling along a way that’s hard, traveling the road less traveled while developing a relationship with Christ and with Christ’s people, that will sustain us no matter what.

[ Donald Beaumont ]

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“The Road Less Traveled”

Imagine a road, but not just any old road—one that has a variety of special features not ordinarily found in most places. Such a road probably does not exist anywhere on earth.

Straight as an arrow and nearly as narrow, our road has only one lane, which climbs relentlessly uphill. Because it is a one-way street, travelers are compelled to move forward at all times, and oncoming traffic never occurs. Plenty of intersecting roads crisscross it, however, and signs along the way point out other destinations. To either side are numerous things for the traveler to see and do.

Perhaps the road’s most peculiar features are really not part of the road at all. To each side of it is a ditch, one to the right and another to the left. In fact, these ditches are the hardest part of the road to miss!

Obviously, this road is an analogy of the path that all Christians must travel—the road that leads to salvation! We know that man’s way, though it seems right to him, ultimately leads to death (Proverbs 14:12), but God’s way leads to life (John 5:24-29). But even in desperately trying to live God’s way, we often find we have crashed into one of these ditches.

Humanly, we tend to go to extremes in our beliefs, erring to one side or the other rather than maintaining a straight, steady and upward climb to the Kingdom of God. So true is Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:14: “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”!

Legalism

The ditch on the right is legalism. A legalistic Christian overemphasizes the importance of abiding by every detail of law. Though it is not wrong to be law-abiding, such a person, like the Pharisees, places so much weight of the details of the law that he forgets more important tenets of the faith.

He lives in fear of breaking the law, seeing sin in every action, word and thought. So that he will not or cannot break a law, he builds legal walls around his life. For example, because David writes in Psalm 55:17 that he prayed three times a day, a legalist would require himself to do so also, although this is never commanded by God.

Too often, this Christian’s legalism envelops his family and friends, placing unnecessary burdens on them in their worship of God. His Christianity is restrictive and binding, and he forgets that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3:6). His religion is so stifling at times that it will drive his loved ones away.

The Pharisees, classic legalists, were so busy hedging themselves and others in by their picayune ordinances that they forgot and disregarded the things that really matter to God (Matthew 23:1-4, 23). Justice, mercy and faith are principles that affect our relationship with God and other men. Here Christ does not diminish the need to be accurate in our tithing, but the larger issues should never be neglected to satisfy the letter of the law. He “desire[s] mercy and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 12:7).

The trap the legalist falls into is self-righteousness (Matthew 23:29-30), establishing a personal set of righteous acts which he will follow before he follows God’s righteousness. The legalist becomes puffed-up in his knowledge and accuracy in keeping the law. Ultimately, he keeps tabs of all his righteous acts and tries to use them to “bribe” God into accepting him (cf. Isaiah 64:6).

Liberalism

The ditch on the left side of the road is liberalism, just the opposite of legalism. A liberal Christian so de-emphasizes the law that it eventually becomes negligible and of no effect in his life. He loosens the requirements of righteousness and lowers the standards so that everyone becomes acceptable to God without qualification.

Though he may give lip-service to the concept of sin, the liberal does not take it seriously. He makes little or no effort to understand or follow the binding laws of God’s way of life like tithing and keeping the Sabbath. To him, his own convenience and freedom are more important than obedience, and he just assumes he is in good standing with God.

The liberal would merit Christ’s scathing rebuke of Matthew 7:21-23. In the final analysis, liberals are lawless like the Gnostics of the first century. Gnostic “Christians” came into the church—undoubtedly sincerely—full of the Greco-Roman intellectual ideas of piety and theology. Mixing these pagan ideas with the revealed truth of God’s Word, they produced a form of Christianity stripped of its heart: law, obedience, holiness, pleasing God and having a right and close relationship with Him and His people.

Liberalism eventually results in licentiousness (Jude 3-4). The Gnostics went to the extreme of telling the people that sinning ultimately glorified God! They reasoned that the more one sinned, the more God had to exercise His mercy and grace, and He was thus glorified before the world! What utter nonsense! But one can imagine where this line of thinking led them.

The Road Itself

Both ditches of legalism and liberalism are equally dangerous. Both lead to disqualification. But what about the road, the way that leads to salvation? What are its hallmarks?

God’s way is the perfect blend of law and grace, the perfect balance of living within the strictures of the law and living in the freedom of God’s grace. It balances “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law” (Matthew 5:18) and “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). It is a delicate and intensive process of seeking God’s will and learning the requirements of His way of life.

The writers of the Bible called this way many things: the new man, the image of God, a new and better way, the circumcision made without hands, living godly, living by faith, being transformed, becoming converted, putting on Christ, having a heart of flesh, the new covenant, becoming perfect, true worship, pure religion, etc.

When Paul speaks of putting on the new man in Colossians 3:10-15, he gives us several attitudes we need to emulate as followers of Christ. Most of them involve the way we deal with each other because a major part of what God is teaching us has to do with building and solidifying our relationships. As we see in the next few verses, he comments specifically on the husband-wife, parent-child and employer-employee relationships.

Why? Largely, our judgment by our Savior hangs on the quality of our relationships. We should never forget the principle found in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40, 45).

Both of the ditches along the road to salvation abuse the relationships we have with each other and with God. They cause distrust and division. They distract us from our common purpose and goal. It becomes vitally important to be constantly vigilant about our position on the road to avoid plunging into the ditches.

In this section of Colossians 3, Paul advises us about our course of action: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another” (verse 16). It is so crucial at this juncture in the history of the church—maybe even the history of the world!—that we become masters of the Word of God. It should live in us! And in using its wisdom, we can help and encourage each other as we struggle up the narrow way that leads to life.

[ Richard T. Ritenbaugh ]

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“God’s Gifts and Two Paths”

When we receive gifts and blessings from God, there are two opposite ways our hearts can go. The gift is the same, but the paths lead to drastically different results. One ends in us belittling God, the other honors him.

Path One: Turn Away from God Because of the Gift
The first route is to turn away from God when we receive his gift. Turning away from him seems counterintuitive since it’s a gift from God. But we do it daily. God blesses us and we return the favor by forsaking him.

And to be clear, this turning away isn’t merely adjacent to the gift (meaning, it’s not that we receive it and happen to draw from him). The turning away is because of the gift (or more specifically, because how our hearts receive the gift). We can become so consumed with the good gift that we forget about the Giver. We belittle the Giver as we over-inflate the gift.

When this happens the gift was still good. It’s our response that was opposite of what was supposed to happen. To compare, this is similar to the biblical concept of law and sin. Although we aren’t saved by obeying the law, the law in the Bible is still good in itself. Through it God guides us. But the law results in our sin when our sinful nature hears the law and “seizes an opportunities” to disobey the law. Paul explained it this way:

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means!…But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness” (Romans 7:7-9).

So it is with God’s gifts. Like God’s law, God’s gifts are always good and can lead us to glorify him (see Path Two). But on the other hand, our sin can seize an opportunity through God’s gifts and cause us to forsake the Giver and worship the gift (see Hosea 2:5-8; Deuteronomy 8:11-14).

Path Two: Draw Nearer to God Because of the Gift
The second path we can tread down as we receive a gift from God is the opposite: we draw nearer to God. One avenue leaves us further away from God, this one brings us closer to him.

In both instances the gift is objectively the same. So is the Giver. It’s our hearts that can rotate the 180 degrees. And like Path One, the drawing near in this option isn’t merely adjacent to the gift—it’s not just that we happen to receive a gift and happen to be close to the Giver. Rather, the drawing near is because of the gift. We focus on the gift in such a way that draws us closer to God.

Do We Devalue the Gifts to Avoid Idolatry?
But to many of us, this emphasis on God’s gifts makes us fretful, doesn’t it? After all, we don’t want to become idolaters! So the mistake we often fall into when we consider this second path is thinking that being overly positive about the gift is dangerous. Essentially many of us think we must devalue the gift in order for it to not lead us down path one. Is this true?

In one sense, perhaps. We know that compared to having God, the gift doesn’t compare (see Philippians 3:7-8). We do well therefore to keep the gift in proper perspective. We shouldn’t so value it to make it compete with God. Realizing this allows us to not idolize the gift, running down the first path and turning away from God.

But mostly the idea that we must devalue the gift to keep us from idolatry is incorrect. It’s not how we should think about God’s gift.

Ask yourself: What teenager values the gift of a car for their sixteenth birth more from their parents. The teenager who gets the car, loves it, says an exhilarating “thank you,” and has a stronger, happier relationship with their parents because of the car? Or the teenager who happily receives the car, but then doesn’t say thank you and never wants to talk to the parents again because they’re so consumed with the car?

We could say in one sense that the first teenager “devalued” the car compared to the second teenager. But wouldn’t that be misleading? It’s true the first teenager didn’t allow the car to consume them and wreck their relationship with their parents, but they didn’t devalue the gift. They rather properly valued it—and one could even argue they valued it more for what it was. They received and valued the gift in such a way that it fueled their joy and the joy of their parents.

The Joyful and God-Glorifying Path
So it is to be with us Christians as we receive our daily gifts and blessings from God. Moment by moment, God lavishes his “good and perfect gifts” upon us (James 1:17), and through them we can either 1) turn further from God because of how we receive the gifts, or 2) draw closer to God because of how we receive the same gifts.

And as seen in the teenager-car situation above, only one path is joyful and God-glorifying.

With those two paths laid, the next post will consider ways how we can daily strive to receive God’s gifts like this.

[ Ryan Hawkins ]

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“Halting Between Two Choices”

[ Billy Graham ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0cYhmLwv5I

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“There Are Two Paths Proverbs 4: 14-19”

There are two distinctly different paths described in this passage. One is the path of the wicked which is in darkness and the other is path of the just which is in the light. These two paths do not run on the same course. Those who believe in relative truth want to convince you that all paths run on the same course and ultimately lead to the same goal, but this is definitely not the case.

In the King James Bible we have a pathway for the just clearly laid out for us (2Pet 1:19). The words of God are light and the Holy Spirit will give you understanding through those words if you will diligently study them with a heart for God. Modern translations of the Bible are a dim light at best (Prov 20:1), so it is important to make sure you read a King James Version in order to have your path lit by the brightest light possible.

Do not be concerned if you do not understand everything you read right away (Ps 119:130, Job 28:28) because there is so much wisdom contained in that book that you can study it for a lifetime and not learn all of it. God will slowly feed you what you need for that moment one day at a time (Ps 119:105). God’s Holy Spirit will guide you to choose the righteous path of the just by the light of the Bible (2Tim 2:22, Ps 101:3, John 1:5). Without the light of God’s word we stumble through life in darkness (3:19-20, 1Pe 2:8).

People who choose the path of darkness feed on violence and wickedness. Hollywood is only too happy to provide food for the wicked appetite. You can count on most every movie either blaspheming God, or containing violence, illicit sex, or some other form of wicked behavior and Hollywood is filthy rich because people love wickedness.

6 things that will keep you from the path of the wicked

– Enter not into the path of the wicked
– Go not in the way of evil men
– Avoid it
– Pass not by it
Turn from it
Pass away from it

You cannot be neutral in avoiding the wicked path. If you are not reading your Bible and going to church and having fellowship with other Christians you will get sucked into the path of wickedness. We have a good example of this in Lot. Lot pitched his tent in a valley near to Sodom. He did not go into Sodom, but only went toward it. By doing so he went in the way of evil men. However, by the time the two angels went to destroy Sodom they found Lot in residence as an active member of the community. Lot did not turn away from Sodom and so got sucked into the path of the wicked.

Young people find themselves under peer pressure to go down the path of the wicked. Simply explain to your friends that you cannot be involved in such activities because they are contrary to what your Savior would have you do. Whatever is leading you away from the path of the just and the Lord Jesus Christ is something you do not need and should avoid. Remove all opportunities for interaction with the path of the wicked whenever and wherever.

[ Bevans Welder ]

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“Two Paths: One of Light and Righteousness; The Other Sin and Darkness: Choose Wisely Your Present and Future Depend on It”

LISTEN NOW! In this wisdom moment found in Proverbs 4:14-19 “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked (sin) or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is LIKE DEEP DARKNESS; they do not know what makes them stumble.” There are two paths, two ways to go in our life, two ways to live our lives. One is the path of dark wickedness and one is the path of life of righteousness. Those who walk on the path of wickedness (in sin) they are driven to do evil and feel like they can’t sleep till they have sinned in some way. They spend endless hours, giving up sleep and rest, till they make someone else stumble. They find release when someone else finds pain through their efforts. Their meals consist of the Bread of Wickedness (sin) and the Wine of Violence (sin). They can’t see enough wicked sinful media and never are able to fully quench their thirst with the wine of violence as they seek more and more violent experiences through media, or physical violence. The complete opposite is true for those who take the path of righteousness. Those who take the path of righteousness grow progressively in their life becoming more and brighter just as the morning sun processes to its peeking over the horizon with a glimpse of light, till it is so obviously shining it’s bright as the sun is at noon day.

Those who take the path of wickedness (of sin); their way is like DEEP DARKNESS. Think about dark rooms where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. It gets more and more dark until your ability to see what is right and wrong has totally left your grid of understanding. Walking in darkness has serious ramifications resulting in falling, tripping and crashing in personal lives, in relationships, at work, and in life in general.

They have no clue why they stumble, it’s because of their choice to walk in the path of wickedness/sin, and they can’t see it because they are in the dark.

So you’ll find them blaming others, someone for their own choices. You see “they do not know what makes them stumble.”

The darker a society gets, the more tragedy it experiences, but the blindness of those in that society increases till they know there is tragedy, but they can’t see – THEY ARE THE REASON WHY! John 1:5 “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
There are two paths and it’s for each of us individually to determine which path we will walk in. If we choose the path of righteousness’ our lives will become ever brighter and we’ll not have a life filled with traps, pitfalls and stumbling for our path will be made straight. If we choose the path of wickedness and sin, our lives will become increasingly darker, our ability to discern the what and why of what we’re doing will become impossible. Two Paths are before you; choose wisely.

[ Greg Lancaster ]

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“If I Ask, Seek, and Knock Will It Be Given to Me? (Matthew 7:7)”

If I Ask, Seek, and Knock Will It Be Given to Me? (Matthew 7:7) We answered that question on this episode of Real Truth Real Quick.

Principles:

1. Faith is not a force, and God is not a genie.
2. God is going to give you what is good.
3. Praying in Jesus’ name will not make a bad request happen. Just as not praying in Jesus’ name won’t keep a good request from happening.
4. We need to always remind ourselves that we have a good Father.
5. The knocking of a repentant sinner with a broken and contrite heart, who asks the Lord to fellowship with them, will not be refused.
6. God will sometimes use our not getting what we want to show us more of who He is.

[ Real Truth. Real Quick. ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzXIz4rnlUw

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“Two Gates, Two Roads, Two Destinations”

[ Kenneth Stewart ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFCE5HZLgj4

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“One Burdening Word (Matthew 7:21-23)”

During a time when misinformation seems to rule the day, this series highlights essential truths that we all need during this Covid-19 crisis. This message from God’s Word is about the most important truth every single person needs to know and respond to no matter what’s happening in our world.

[ John Benzinger ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipkImOMyQ_8&feature=youtu.be&t=394

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“JENGA: Two Roads to Eternity”

[ Pastor Bob Botsford ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nigsUS6K7Xc

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“Two Paths, One Way (Matthew 7:13-27)”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SweyABtVddk

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“Is Christianity Too Narrow?”

Christianity claims to be the only way to God. Isn’t that extremely narrow and intolerant?The Curiosity Collective brings together thought leaders, authors, philosophers and theologians to explore this difficult question.

[ Explore God ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqPx1i934pA

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“Who Will Be in Heaven?”

Matthew 7:13-27

Most people think that when they die, they are going to heaven. If you asked why, the majority would say they have been good people or their positive deeds outweigh any negative things they’ve done. Yet the sad reality is, most people will not find themselves in heaven—and that includes some who claim to be Christians.

It may not be a popular topic of conversation, but our Savior knew that hell was essential to understand. In today’s reading, He uses illustrations of contrasting gates, trees, and houses to point out that there are only two possible destinies after death: heaven and hell. Jesus is warning us about a most sobering reality—that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” actually belongs to Him (Matt. 7:21-23).

What, then, distinguishes a true follower? John 14:15 tells us those who love the Savior will keep His commandments. This obedience begins with believing Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:36). In other words, the first step is to humble ourselves before God, admitting that we’re sinful and deserving of condemnation. Next, we must call out to Him, requesting the forgiveness for which His Son’s blood was shed on our behalf. From then on, we’re to live only for God.

If you hear the gospel but stop short of obedience, ask yourself, Do I fully understand the goodness of God’s love? That should inspire you to obey the Father. Looking good on the outside isn’t enough to enter the kingdom of heaven. Remember, to those who truly receive Him, He will give “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Won’t you make sure you’re among those destined for heaven?

[ Charles Stanley ]

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“The Two Paths of Life”

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both….
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost

The Bible teaches that there are two distinct and very different paths we can take in life. Each path is different in the way that we live now and where we end up in eternity. The path we are on determines what eternal destination we arrive at. Jesus describes this as the broad and narrow way.

“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 (NKJV)

We usually picture the broad and narrow gates as people standing at a crossroads where they have to choose to go one way or another. Look at this picture that illustrates this.

Droga
 
This picture is hanging in my office and I really like it but I don’t think it’s completely accurate. There are two reasons for this.

First, it gives me the idea that this is a once for all decision. Imagine if at this moment of decision, someone chooses the broad way and then later regrets it. The standing at a crossroads image causes me to imagine that the decision once made cannot be unmade or remade. I’m convinced that those walking on the broad way to destruction are constantly given opportunities to change their direction.

Secondly, the standing at the crossroads having to make decision image gives the impression that people are neutral until they choose. In other words, until someone actively chooses which gate to enter and which way to walk on, they really aren’t on a path that leads to one eternal destination or another. This isn’t accurate with the way the Bible pictures humanity.

Instead of the standing at the crossroads image, I see it as people who have already entered through the broad gate and are walking on the broad way to destruction. As they walk along this path there is a gate that is off to the side. They can choose to ignore this gate, they can choose to investigate this gate or they can choose to go through this gate. In order to go through this gate they must change their direction. They can’t keep walking the way they were already walking to go through this gate. Instead, there has to be an intentional change of direction so they can go through this gate.

While a huge portion of our culture believes in the reality of hell, very few believe that they are going there. Most people tend to believe that the way they are living is okay. This is true of people who reject the claims of Scripture. It’s true of Christians who have become carnal Christians. It’s true of Christians who have become backslidden and worldly. People way well know what Scripture teaches about the paths of life but have convinced themselves that they are okay and will be the exception to what Scripture describes. Proverbs speaks to this mindset.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)

This warning is given twice in Proverbs. This is a pretty scary warning because it says I can genuinely think I am on the right path only to tragically discover I’m not. I think the idea of the proverb is that we don’t make this discovery until it’s too late. It reminds me of the passage where Jesus says that on judgment day many will say to Him, “Lord, Lord…” thinking they are saved only to hear Him tell them, “I tell you the truth, I never knew you.” (Matt 7:13-14)

I think it’s disturbingly easy for us to think we are on the right path in life when in reality we are on the wrong one. Many people will end up there and be surprised by it. What we need are some ways to check ourselves to see if we are on the right path and going in the right. This week I’m going to write about some ways we can check our lives to see what path we are on.

For further study read Psalm 1.

What are the two types of people described in this Psalm?

What does the blessed person do?

What blessed person not do?

What is the result of the blessed person’s life?

What is different about the life and result of the ungodly person’s life?

[ Stacy J Ross ]

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“Man’s Way vs. God’s Way”
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

There are two kinds of starting points man and God’s. Man usually starts with big frameworks, with a big plant, machinery, publicity, structures, and so on. That is how man usually starts when he is going to do something for God. It is a propensity; it is our way. We may argue that God is worthy of something big. That is mans way. Gods way is never like that — it never was. You search in vain to find any instance of God beginning like that. Pentecost came out of the deep and drastic dealings with twelve men. God’s starting point is always the intrinsic. Man’s beginnings usually end in only a small percentage of lasting value. Gods beginnings always end in a very great percentage of lasting value. But God’s beginnings seem so small, they appear so little. But so does a seed; it is a small thing, a little thing. Yet look at the potentialities in one seed, in one grain of wheat. It is the intrinsic with God. That is where God begins. That is why everything really of God has a long and hidden history of deep dealings on His part.

The thirty years of our Lord’s hidden life has a great bearing on the three and a half. The forty years of Moses away back there in the desert, looking after those sheep of his father-in-law, had a great bearing on the rest of his life. They were not lost, wasted, futile years. And so we could take up one after another — Abraham, David, and others, who had a long deep, secret, hidden history; it was out of that that the effectiveness came. Very often more is done, when God has been at work, in the last few years of a life than in all the years previously. That does not mean that all the previous years have been of no account, having no place. It means that God has been at work to get intrinsic values, and now at last these values are coming out.

God’s greatest things are coming out of intrinsic values to make themselves known. Therefore He takes a lot of time and a lot of pains in secret history with that one project. It may be that, though you are thinking the years are going, soon life will be past, all over, and you have missed the way, everything being a problem, an enigma; yet it may be that in a few years an infinitude of spiritual value will come out of the time through which you are going, out of this which you think is lost time. You must adjust yourself to this, that God is not careful at all about our standards of values, either in time or in method or in any other way. What God is careful about is to have the inherent, the potential, the essential, and the intrinsic. Lay that up in your hearts and cherish it and let it be a real governing factor with you. God works for depths. God works for solidity. God works for intensity. Therefore He works through testing, through hiddenness, and with very little appeal to our natural pleasure.

[ Michael Durham]

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When There Are Two Paths to Choose. A Study in Psalm 1.

TWO NATURES. TWO WAYS. TWO PATHS TO CHOOSE.

In Psalm 1, we find two different men; the Blessed Man (which we learned is a picture of Jesus), and the wicked man. We already went into detail about the Blessed Man (You can find that article HERE). So let’s dig deeper and take a look at a different sort of person and how we can choose which nature we are going to follow.

We all come to a fork in the road now and then. Our sin nature pulls us one way and righteousness pulls us the other way. Which path do we choose? The answer seems clear, yet so many of us end up following the ways of the wicked. Join us for a study in Psalm 1 and let’s decide once and for all who we are going to serve.

THE BLESSED MAN
When we are walking in the footsteps of the Lord, we become the blessed one. We don’t walk, stand, or sit with the ungodly, sinners, and scorners. Instead, we meditate day and night on the Word of God. The word meditate in the Hebrew is “hâgâh,” and it means to ponder or to talk to oneself.

That’s what we should be doing day and night — thinking about the Word. Talking to ourselves every chance we get about the Word. This is what the blessed one lives by, and as a result, she has a relationship with God that leads to the ultimate joy. You can read on in verses two and three to see where this brings the one who is blessed.

Read more about the one who is blessed in Psalm 1:1-3 or HERE in this Bible Study.

THE WICKED MAN
1. Is Blown Away By Every Wind of Doctrine.
In verse four, the ungodly are likened to chaff. “Chaff is the outer shell (or husk) that must be removed to get at the valuable kernels of grain inside. Chaff is very light and is carried away by even the slightest wind, while the good grain falls back to the earth. Chaff is a symbol of a faithless life that drifts along without direction.” – Life Application Bible

The ungodly – because they spend little to zero time meditating on the Word – are carried away by any wind of doctrine they hear. Please understand that the ungodly of Psalm 1 is not only referring to the unsaved but you and me as well. We’ve all been carried away on every new wind of doctrine and philosophy that have come with a new generation. We’ve all been blown about lacking direction because we’ve failed to spend time meditating and learning the Word of God for ourselves.

The majority of popular Christian celebrity preachers are carrying millions away week after week like chaff in the wind because the focus is on following them instead of the Word of God.

The ungodly don’t know right from wrong and therefore cling to the latest “Christian” fad, and are carried away into a life of death. Right or wrong is found in God’s Word. His Word does not change with every new doctrine, preacher, or book that comes on the scene.

2. Has No Hope of Eternal Life.
Verse five talks about what happens to the ungodly. Remember, the blessed become fruitful. They are planted in the Word (rivers of living water). They are prosperous, and they continue to thrive. The ungodly are not so. Very simply – they perish. Eternal life does not wait for them, and they are lost. Read Matthew 7:13-14.

In Psalm 1, we see two people – two natures – two destinies. I believe we become confused as Christians when we try to live in both natures. The Lord knows the way of the righteous because as we established HERE, the happy/blessed one has a relationship with God Almighty. We know Him, and He knows us. But the ungodly perish.

My Friends, be careful or what you allow into your ears. Watch out for your ear-gate. Be careful who you allow to counsel you. Be careful who you go to for Biblical teaching and understanding.

Learn the Word of God for yourself. (Acts 17:11) Study it, meditate, ponder, and think about the Word of God from day to night. I encourage you to cultivate a deep relationship with our Heavenly Father. This relationship will keep you happy. This relationship will keep you blessed. A deep relationship with God will keep you from being swept away by every wind of doctrine. This relationship will keep you from perishing.

[ Erika Michelle ]

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“ONLY TWO CHOICES: GOD’S WAY OR MY WAY”

How would you like to sit in a typical BIBLICAL COUNSELING & DISCIPLESHIP training classroom? That’s what this video is all about: opening that classroom for you to be challenged and grow SPIRITUALLY. Each day we frame life either by Man’s Way or God’s Way. That framework, worldview, or operating system is what determines our choices.

When Personal Troubles & Disasters hit, what do you seek FIRST?
Followers of Man’s Way vs. Followers of God’s Way:
1. Human Wisdom is often where we look first vs. We learn to cry out for help to God by praying immediately.
2. Social Media is often vital for support vs. Problems make us search the Word for answers.
3. We often Search for online sources of help. vs. Problems make us seek to more fully surrender to God
4. We usually Seek Advice from Friends saved and lost. vs. We sift all advice & ideas by the grid of God’s Word.
5. We consider Psychiatry and psychology for insights on how to frame problems and bad behavior vs. We are devoted to God and His Word as the First & Last Voice we will listen to in each situation.
6. Many of us see Medical doctors as one of our most trusted sources of help. vs. We learn how lonely it can be to walk primarily by faith and not primarily by sight.
7. We often feel that Professional Counselors are the only ones that are trained to tackle the big issues. vs. We remind ourselves that we must understand that God’s Plan is often for us to suffer, and not escape troubles.
CONCLUSION: Usually, God’s Word is only sought as equal with these other sources of help, comfort, and advice; God’s Word is not usually first, and often just consulted briefly along the way of struggling with all the voices we are listening to. As we daily surrender to the sanctifying work of the Spirit as we are in the Word, we welcome God’s Word & Spirit, His way, plans & people to dominate our thinking about our self, our problems, and other’s struggles. We are often guilty of seeing all of these avenues as basically equal in weight, authority, and able to help us. We need to always believe and practice that God’s Word revealing His Way is an authority above all others. We are usually guided by the world, which is defined as “Man’s View of Man”. We need to know and be guided by God’s perspective of us and our problems. Most people feel that Human nature is basically good and just needs encouragement. But we KNOW from God’s Word that we are Forgiven of our Incredible Mountain of Sin (1 John 1:7), and have a New Beginning (Jn. 3).

[ John Barnett ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nsKmXuc0AE

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“God’s Ways Opposite Than Man’s Ways”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).

God’s way is different than Man’s way. God’s way is very reasonable, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom 22:33-36).Not only are God’s ways different from man’s ways, they are so often totally opposite from the way natural man thinks. For example:

To go in, one must come out. (John 15:19)
To go up, one must come down. (James 4:10)
To be first, one must be last. (Matthew 20:16)
To be great, one must be least. (Luke 9:48)
To be strong, one must become weak. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
To receive one must give. (Matthew 10:39)
To be up in front, one must take the back seat. (Luke 14:7-11)
To be exalted one must be humbled. (Luke 14:11)
To be wise, one must become a fool. (1 Corinthians 3:18)
To find, one must lose. (Matthew 16:25)
To live, one must die. (Galatians 2:20; Jn 3:3)

There are two ways man can respond to this dilemma: (a) He or she can run and hide like Adam and Eve did and try to cover themselves with their own self-righteousness or, (b) do like Peter when he began to walk on the water and began to sink, he cried, “Lord, save me!” and threw himself on the mercy and grace of God.
God can change man’s heart. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart” (1 John 3:20).
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). [more…]

[ Edgar ]

Article: https://endtimechoices.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/gods-way-mans-way/

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“Matthew 7:13-29”

[ Dr. J. Vernon McGee ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdNB6c5Vm3

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“Christian Posers; Matthew 7:13-27”

Pastor Steve Whinery of Calvary Chapel Tri-Cities (Washington State) teaches on the danger of “pretending”.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ_03-diZOA

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Committing to the Road Less Traveled”

M. Scott Peck began his book The Road Less Traveled with this truth: “Life is difficult.”1 Writing this reality or reading it is one thing; accepting it is another. Are you wrestling with the struggles of life today, knowing that changing your circumstances is not one of your options? You’re not alone; the difficulty of accepting life as it is rather than as was expected is the reason few choose the road less traveled—the place where we face life on life’s terms.

There’s a ride in the Disneyland parks called Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The character, Mr. Toad, apparently has taken a wrong turn which has hurled him on a journey packed with potholes and pitfalls. Whistles blow, horns honk, and cars turn and whirl all the way to the end. It’s glorious to get OFF the ride! Real life is not like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Yes, sometimes the road appears just as impossible, but it’s never limited to three minutes! The worthwhile roads of life are usually long, and they always require dogged, rugged commitment.

How rough has your road been these last few months? Have you hit some major potholes? Does staying the course seem impossible? Have you had days like I have when you’ve felt like saying, “You have no idea!” to the woman complaining because she missed her nail appointment . . . because her perfect, little cutie-pie had the sniffles? You may be offended by the following candid statement, but it’s the truth: I’ve wanted to run over people who’ve smiled real big at me and stated THEIR belief that “only strong people are given grand hardships.” Says who? The Bible doesn’t say anything like that at all! Actually, it says just the opposite. When I’ve been at my weakest—not my strongest—is when Jesus Christ has transformed my soul and given me freedom and rest regardless of life’s circumstances (1 Corinthians 1:27).

I can choose to resent the apparent easy lives of others, or I can choose to let God transform me on the path I’m on. Committing to the road less traveled has nothing to do with anyone else’s road or what he or she is doing on it. I’m not traveling any road except for the one God has allowed me to take.

Committing to the road less traveled doesn’t have anything to do with the good or bad life throws my way either. It has nothing to do with my circumstances, my feelings, my human weakness or strengths, my friends, or my church experiences. It has everything to do with believing that God is who He says He is—the all-good and infinitely wise Master of the universe and Lord of my life.

After many years of fighting, looking for an exit, and choosing other roads which have always led to dead ends, I have committed to following the direction of God my Father. My circumstances may still be difficult, but following His lead has become easier as I’ve learned to abide by these rules for the road:

Believe that God loves me and allows me to experience difficulties for the purpose of transforming me into Christlikeness (Hebrews 12:11) . . . and therefore, TRUST Him.
Believe that God’s ways and thoughts are infinitely superior to mine (Isaiah 55:8–10) . . . and therefore, SURRENDER to Him.
Believe that God is faithful to fulfill what He has promised (Philippians 1:6) . . . and therefore, REST in Him.
Believe that God’s truth is absolute, without error, and timeless (2 Timothy 3:16) . . . and therefore, OBEY Him.
Dear friend, are you like I once was, wishing for another road or looking for the exit? Will you choose now to turn around and commit to the road less traveled, the one the Lord knows well and promises to guide you down? Will you release your will—your whole life—to Him? If not, why not? Please let me hear from you! But before you write, ask yourself these questions:

What am I afraid of?
What do I believe about all of this?
What am I unwilling to surrender?
What are my reasons for refusing to obey?
Committing to the road less traveled doesn’t mean slapping on a smile or having the way all mapped out or being fearless. It doesn’t mean gritting your teeth and saying, “Well, I guess I’m just stuck here.” It means accepting the circumstances you cannot change and believing God will change you as He brings you through them. It means releasing the bitterness, the doubt, and the anger you have toward God. It means admitting to Him (and to yourself) that you cannot fix the potholes or anticipate the sharp turns or make it by yourself . . . and then trusting Him to see you all the way through.

Almighty Lord, on the road of life the mysteries of Your will and what is allowed to come into our lives can be difficult to understand and deal with. May Your Holy Spirit be actively working in our lives, regardless of the circumstances we endure. Father, may all praise and glory and honor be given to You today, as we learn to trust, surrender, rest, and obey You. Amen.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 15.

[ Colleen Swindoll Thompson ]

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“Foundations of Grace, Part 2: The Lordship of Christ (Matthew 7:13-27)”

In this time period, as I thought about it, and particularly in anticipation for the fortieth coming up, I wanted to reach back and perhaps answer the question as to why God has blessed our church. There’s no question about the fact that He has. We have all lived in that blessing. I’ve lived in it for the duration of my years here. I can honestly say to you that there has never been a moment in 40 years, not a single moment in which I wished that I was not here, in which I wished that I was somewhere else. There have been times when I wanted to be used by the Lord somewhere else, when I wished I could be two people so I could go somewhere else, particularly in a mission-field environment, and minister there. But there has never been a fleeting moment when I have ever, ever thought to myself, “I wish I weren’t here, but I wish I were somewhere else.” It has been a blessed journey. It has been full of all kinds of adventure, all the ups and downs of life. But it has been a profound blessing to my life. [more..]

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq61qseZ9-o

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“The Only Road to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14)”

The biggest question that will ever be answered is the question, “Which way to heaven?” The most important decision that anybody will ever make is the decision that they make regarding their eternal destiny. Life here, says the Bible, is a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away. It is like steam off a cup of coffee, nothing more, compared to eternity. Everyone will live somewhere forever without end. Where you live forever is absolutely critical. There are two options: hell and eternal punishment, or heaven and eternal joy. The question then is, “Which way to heaven?” [more…]

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3MCdHFJpA

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“Matthew 7:13-14 Commentary”

Jesus sets before every man the two ways, and ONLY one leads to eternal life, the other to eternal death, which makes it vital that each individual make the right choice. Jesus clearly did not believe in the deadly deceptive heretical doctrine known as universalism. [more…]

[ Precept Austin ]

Commentary: https://www.preceptaustin.org/matthew_713-14

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“The Narrow Way”

This sermon is from the Lord’s Day pulpit ministry of R.C. Sproul at Saint Andrew’s Chapel near Orlando Florida. Sermon Text: Matthew 7:13-20.

Sermon: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/sermons/narrow-way/

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“A Life Well Built”

Matthew 7:24-27

[ Dr. Tony Evans ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A3h62l4_M4

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“Matthew 7:13-14, At The Crossroads”

We continue in our verse by verse Bible study in the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday Mornings with Pastor Gino Geraci at Calvary South Denver in Littleton CO. This week we look at Matthew 7:13-14 in a sermon called “At The Crossroads.”

[ Gino Geraci ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQot4renGaM

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“Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 7:13-14”

Jesus loves you! Pastor Chuck Smith teaches through the whole Bible in a way that you can easily understand. This is an in-depth study on the “Sermon on the Mount” in the book of Matthew.

[ Chuck Smith ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb3qXeALZ0c

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“The Narrow Way”

[ Dr. R.C. Sproul ]

Teaching: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/sermons/narrow-way/

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“The Narrow Way”

Sermon at “Resolve” conference.

[ Dr Steven Lawson]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NsyxWvgoiw

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The Narrow Way to Life”

Matthew 7:14 – For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

[ Steve Lawson ]

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=ht1PrYyi00Q

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“How to Make Right Decisions”

I recently published a blog post called “8 Keys to Knowing God’s Will For Your Life.” That post was directed toward helping believers to figure out the big picture in regard to God’s will. For instance, those keys have much to do with God’s plan for you vocationally, in ministry, and in the important stages of life.

This post, on the other hand, lends help for the “smaller” decisions that we make from day to day. In order to continue in the middle of God’s perfect will, it is vital that we make right decisions each day and each week. But that is not always easy. As a tool to help you make right decisions from a biblical perspective, I have pulled together 13 questions you should ask when facing a choice. Here they are:

1) Does God already have a clear teaching about this?

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

If God has already spoken clearly about this, you do not have to wonder any longer. Just do what he has told you.

Simple, right?

Well, the problem here seems to be that most people in our culture today seem to have a fairly low level of knowledge of the Scriptures. They are “low-information believers.”

So, I would encourage you to saturate your mind as much as possible with God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Learn it. Once you have done so, you will be amazed at how much better you are at making good, solid decisions in life.

2) What do my top spiritual advisors tell me about this?

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

It is vital that you surround yourself with godly friends who will be able to speak into your life about life’s decisions. Do you realize that you are basically a composite of the five people you spend the most time with? It is crucial to choose those people carefully. If you don’t have those types of friends, I would encourage you to increase your involvement in church and small groups and ministry in order to establish those godly relationships.

3) What do authority figures in my life have to say about this?

Titus 3:1
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.

(Also see Romans 13:1-7; Hebrews 13:17)

God often works through authority relationships in our lives. For instance, it would be extremely rare for the best choice to be something that is illegal. Look at this choice from the vantage point of authority figures in your life, and at least use that as an important reference point for you.

4) How will this affect me spiritually?

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

There is much more to this life than just earning a bigger paycheck or improving your status amongst peers. When you make choices, make sure you consider how this decision will affect your spiritual development. Will this draw you nearer to God or further from him? Will this decision interfere with your ability to attend church, maintain godly relationships, or spend time cultivating your spiritual disciplines? If it harms you spiritually, then I would suggest pulling the plug on that choice.

5) How will this affect my family? Will this draw us closer to God or further from God?

1 Corinthians 8:9
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

Not only must you consider how this decision will affect your own spiritual development, but you must also consider the affects it will have on the spiritual state of your family. Will this help your family to grow in Christ, or will it interfere with that spiritual growth? Will this pull them away from godly friends and away from a healthy, godly church environment? Will this divide your family in any way? Be careful not to make decisions that will cause your family to pay a big price.

6) Is this going to bring more peace or less peace to my life?

1 Thessalonians 4:11
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.

Did you know that God actually wants you to have a peaceful life? Of course, this is not the “American way,” but it is definitely an important consideration when it comes to making decisions. Be cautious that you are not stacking your life with more and more “stuff” that will send you over the edge with stress and anxiety. And make sure it is not going to steal the peace from your family as well.

7) Is this consistent with the way God has wired me?

1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God has created you for a purpose, and He has designed you specifically to fulfill that purpose. You are a gifted individual, and His plan will be for you to function within that area of giftedness. When we veer outside of the way He has wired us, we often feel excessive stress, anxiety, and burnout very quickly.

When it comes to making decisions, make sure you evaluate the choice in light of the way that God has designed you. Are you creative? Are you detail-oriented? Are you relational? Are you task-oriented? Are you a communicator? Pay attention to how God has wired you.

8) Am I paying attention to the risks that are associated with this?

Proverbs 27:12
A wise man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.

When making decisions, it is very important to honestly assess the risk that is involved. Sometimes we can become so mesmerized by a “golden carrot” that we overlook the risks that are associated. For this one, I would suggest that you have an outside voice speak into the situation.

In his book Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey says that anytime he has made a business decision that has gone against his wife’s advice, it has cost him at least $10,000. Sometimes others, like a spouse, can see the risks that we overlook.

It is a sign of wisdom to be cautious. Not fearful, but cautious.

9) Do I have total peace from God about this?

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sometimes everything can look right on the outside when I’m making a decision, but there will still be angst within my spirit. I have learned that making a decision without that inner peace is nearly always a mistake. God gives us peace as a protection and a guide. Seek His peace, and be cautious of making decisions that move against that peace.

10) Are the doors of circumstances clearly open here?

(See Acts 16)

God often works through obvious circumstances. For example, He did that for Paul in Acts 16. In that chapter, Paul and his entourage kept facing closed doors as they were seeking where they were to minister next. And then, one door to Asia flew open while all other doors were closing.

God often directs me more by closing doors than by opening them. But there have been times in my life when I have attempted to force open a door that was not truly open. That never ends well.

It’s always good to look at how God is opening or closing doors in front of you. And while an open door does not always mean that you are to pass through, it is often an indicator that God is at work. Pay attention to open doors, and be cautious of forcing doors open when they are closed.

11) Is now the best time for this? Could waiting be better?

Ephesians 5:16-17
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Haste does not always produce the best decisions. Sometimes everything might seem right about a choice, but making the decision at a later time might make more sense. This isn’t always easy, because we often want to move forward quickly when we see an opportunity. But sometimes the wiser decision is to slow down, plan more, get more input, and give it more time to develop.

12) Am I willing to let God close this door?

(Again, refer to Paul’s journey in Acts 16.)

An important element to making good decisions is to make sure that you are completely submitted to God’s ultimate plan for your life. Sometimes we get it into our heads that we want to do a certain thing, and then we struggle immensely when we begin to realize that God may not want us to move forward with that particular choice.

The disaster comes when we place our desire above God’s plan. Let me be clear here. That never turns out well. The best decision you can ever make is to submit your choices to God’s plan and be willing to give up an opportunity when you sense God does not want you to move forward with that decision.

13) Am I willing to trust God if He asks me to step forward?

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Closely related to the above question is this: Are you willing to trust God if He asks you to step forward? This is basically the flipside of question 12. It’s important to stop when God says, “Stop,” and it is equally important to move forward when He says, “Move forward.”

Are you willing to do that thing He might want you to do? What if it makes you feel uncomfortable? What if it moves you out of your comfort zone? What if it requires faith?

I can testify to you that the most exciting moments of my life have been when I have submitted to God and stepped forward with Him in faith. I hope you can experience that same joy.

Wrapping It Up

OK, so when you have a tough choice to make, I would encourage you to go over these questions before confirming your decision. Perhaps print these questions out and keep them as a reference point for the future. Talk through each of these questions with your spouse or a friend in the context of a decision you are currently making in your own life. I know of some parents who have used these with their kids to help train their children to make good decisions as well. In essence, these questions can serve as guidelines for helping you and your family make decisions that you will not regret.

[ Chris Russell ]

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“The Narrow Way to Life (Matthew 7:13-14)”

We must put away the idea of a so-called Christianity that says you don’t have to follow Christ entirely. This is false and headed in the direction of the broad road to destruction. The only rules on the easy way are the ones you want. Yet on the narrow way to life one is bound to Jesus Christ and reliant on Him. There are going to be such powers that are going to resist you in this world that if God’s everlasting arms were not under you, you would fail in a moment.

[ Tim Conway ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ-u8TD99zw

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“The Two Paths of Life”

[ Dr. Charles Stanley ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RXPIV21gH8

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“One God, Many Paths? Michael Ramsden”

Surely if there is a God then any path to him would be acceptable to him, right? Why do Christians feel differently about this issue?

Join Michael Ramsden as he explores this issues at an open forum at Pepperdine University. A question and answer session follows Michael’s talk.

[ Michael Ramsden ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i08JbA4LzRI

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“The Damning Deception of Empty Words and Empty Hearts”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1VQLTCEbN4

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“Storm Survival”

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” [ 2 Corinthians 4:18 ]

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are going through a crisis, and those who will go through a crisis. These days, it seems you’ll encounter more of the former.

Jesus, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, talked about two men who built houses. One built his on a solid foundation of rock, while the other built his on an unstable foundation of sand.

Then Jesus said this about both houses: “And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house” (Matthew 7:25, 27 NKJV). It is not a matter of if the rain descends; it’s a matter of when.

I wish I could say that we’ll reach a point in our lives when all our problems go away. In reality, some problems simply replace other ones. If we’re not pulling into or out of a storm, we’ll face one eventually.

Worse yet, storms can seemingly come out of nowhere. It might be a hardship. It might be anxiety. It might be a tragedy. But it’s something that came up pretty quickly, and it’s had a major impact on you.

Sometimes those trials and hardships in our lives seem random, but they never are. Matthew 5:45 tells us, “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (NLT).

The apostle Paul wrote, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NLT).

Storms have a beginning, middle, and end. And something will come out of them: an immeasurably great glory.

We cannot control circumstances. Nor can we control what people say to us or about us. We cannot control everything that comes our way, but we can control our reaction to it.

[ Greg Laurie ]

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“Saved or Self-Deceived, Part 2 (Matthew 7:21-27)”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztj_jyOPTVg

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“Matthew 7:13-27”

This is the full version of the now infamous Paul Washer “Shocking Youth Message”.

[ Paul Washer ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0w37pI8OEE

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“Two Roads, Two Trees, Two Builders”

Matthew 7:24-29 “Two Roads, Two Trees, Two Builders” was taught by Pastor David Rosales at Calvary Chapel Chino Valley on Sunday morning 8/23/15.

[ David Rosale ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byMbBWNCHN4

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“What Will It Cost Me To Be a True Disciple of Jesus Christ?”

What exactly is the cost of being a true disciple of Jesus? There are many Christians but not enough disciples. In this video I share one of the most convicting verses in the New Testament about the subject of discipleship.

[ Allen Parr ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32Zkkaya8mE

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“The #1 reason there are so many FALSE Christian converts”

This is another demonstration that we have biffed it on the fundamentals of the faith starting with the gospel itself it has been watered down it has been altered sharp edges have been totally shaved off any point has been blunted to make it soothing and to help those for whatever their need might be to the Christianity Today article in the Philippines a woman named Grace found herself on a website about coronavirus by an internet evangelism organization one of the big three that they cite in this article quote please help me to not worry about everything she wrote to a volunteer counselor what’s happening now is very confusing the counselor explained that only Jesus can bring lasting peace and grace receive Jesus as their Savior now I don’t know the whole conversation but much of this is a gospel that is presented to fill the need of those who are hurting if you’re afraid of coronavirus come to Jesus Christ if you’ve just had vorse come to Jesus Christ if you’ve lost your fortune come to Jesus Christ he’s gonna take care of every single problem that you have the problem is they aren’t presenting the gospel!

Pastor Mark Pennock in a 2013 doctoral dissertation at Dallas Baptist University studied converts who came to Christ through evangelistic websites. he did 37 interviews. now that’s not a lot but they were supposedly in depth. and he determined all his subjects experienced an impassable quandary—like a divorce job loss financial crisis that left them searching and questioning. now that’s good. God will pull the rug out from under anybody to get their attention. but it’s not that he wants them to come to him so that the rug can be replaced. he wants to get their attention so that they recognize you’re at the end of your rope because I hold the rope. and one day I’m gonna pull your rope in and I am going to judge you for every thought word in deed. and if you are not hidden in the cleft of the rock my son the Lord Jesus Christ, I will grind you to powder!

86% said finding a Christian web site was unplanned but out of their own initiative about 75% had a personal dysfunction an addiction issue prior to their online conversion. so what do these websites do at least the ones that are cited here? what’s your problem oh you’re an alcoholic Jesus will help you oh you lost your money Jesus he’ll be your peace don’t you worry and he might even give it all back.

Back in the United States that was a different that was the Philippines anecdote in the United States a volunteer chatted online with a young mother named Brittany who worried that COVID-19 would take her life in her children’s lives. the volunteer offered hope and peace and Brittany too accepted Christ. boom-boom-boom but we’re doing it all wrong here. we’re just laboring with the wrong tools apparently it’s a piece of cake. oh wait a second maybe this should have been the headline: only a fraction of those who come to faith online engage in follow-up discussions or report joining a local church. oops! there’s a tell. and this has been going on now they do to their credit talk about this inside of this Christianity Today article that people from Crusades from large evangelistic outreach is from online Internetting to try to evangelize people they can’t find them in a church that’s a bad sign. they can’t find them doing any sort of follow-up. they’re not connected in other words they’re not walking in the faith, because they never entered the faith!

In the first four weeks 173 thousand people this is an this is a website that was set up in English Spanish Portuguese Korean Mandarin Chinese and Arabic to help people deal with their fears of Coronavirus. hundred and seventy three thousand people visited their websites more than ten thousand clicked a button indicating they made a decision for Christ. we just can’t find him now. why? because they’re not getting the Gospel. you say well how do you know that well I clicked on the links. I’d like to read to you exactly what it is that they are telling people at these websites and let me tell you something it ain’t the Gospel!

This is from one of the biggies fear who can protect you fear and anxiety are common reactions occurring across the world during the current crisis this is the time to reflect and ask important questions like how do I respond to this how do I handle these feelings of fear? Jesus wants to be with you there’s someone who can be your comforter no matter what the situation is and his name is Jesus. so come to Jesus your great big cosmic cuddle blanket. (that’s the way the Gospel is presented) the comfort and peace that Jesus offered isn’t about saving us from disease his promise is that we our family can have peace an eternal life regardless of the challenges in our lives because he sacrificed his life for ours.

okay nothing about Jesus nothing about sin we sacrificed our life right this makes no sense. this is all assumptive and just because somebody slaps something on a fear-based gospel presentation come to Jesus for one of the benefits but don’t come to Jesus because you want to come to Jesus, it doesn’t make it a gospel presentation.

Imagine you’re an etch-a-sketch total blank slate would this make sense? why would you be encouraged to come to Jesus he sacrificed his life for our spy don’t totally get that but I guess he’ll make me feel better.

Back to the article. in our broken world diseases exist and cause pain and suffering but God didn’t leave us without hope he sent His Son Jesus so what’s Jesus supposed to help us with our broken world in our diseases and our pain and suffering. nothing about the wrath of God being satisfied. he sent his son Jesus to come and live a perfect life and dying across in our place. why? what his substitutionary atonement have to do with me being afraid of Coronavirus? he rose from the dead three days later and is now in heaven with God. okay so who is this cheat who is this Jesus he’s with God I guess. so he’s a man he was the son of God. did God have a baby. does any of this make sense no it doesn’t! no wonder why the statistics are what they are Jesus offers you the free gift of salvation and forgiveness for you and your family for the wrongs that we have all done. does that help it no it doesn’t help it. it’s cryptic it’s watered down it has nothing to do with the judicial aspect of the Christian gospel you can accept this gift by admitting your need for forgiveness if you believe he died for you and that he rose from the dead you can put your trust in him and follow him as your Lord. he calms fears. there it is come to him to have your fears come if you believe in Jesus his promise that he is with you always and can calm your fears in scary times. knowing he’s in control and he has good reach and he is good reassures us that he can protect us in our family because he’s lord over all. oh so my family won’t get Coronavirus if I believe in Jesus? sign me up! and you don’t have to fear anymore because you’ll know that you’ll be with him for eternity. how does Jesus help you if you’re afraid? the Bible says don’t be anxious. so here’s how you start trusting him. If you want to give authority to God so you don’t have to carry your fear anxiety or worry you can start by praying something like this”

Lord Jesus I need you in my life without you I’m full of fear and anxiety with you I have a good father to trust with my life right now and eternally I admit that I do things that are wrong and need your forgiveness would you forgive my sins oh that word just appeared in the Salvation Prayer. I want to live for you in Jesus name Amen

Did you pray this prayer congratulations we’ll use you as this statistic to demonstrate we’re doing online evangelism.

Nonsense! you say well that’s just a one-off they’re not all that way all right let’s try another one shall we

Step one God loves you and has a plan for you oh that’s good news cuz I’ve got a plan for me too. Step two here’s the problem people are sinful and separated from God wide who you calling a sinner we’ve all done thought or said bad things the Bible calls it sin the result of sin is death spiritual separation from God I’m down with spiritual separation from God I’m not that nuts about him but I’m glad that he’s got a plan for me like I’ve got for me too. God sent his son to die for your sins. he died in your place so you could have a relationship with God.

why? who’s Jesus what would white what’s God so upset about this doesn’t seem right. oh wait a second you say you’re just cherry picking these bad gospel presentations.

how’s about the other website that’s mentioned in this article that the whole world is getting saved? about gay lesbian and God’s love.

Don’t worry God loves you just the way you are.

And so while I’d like to be really really happy and excited that everybody’s getting saved on the internet without a correct gospel presentation all we’re doing is making FALSE CONVERTS! isn’t that nice?

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toE9_S_3IYc

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“Depart From Me, I Never Knew You”

How can someone who is not even saved, do many mighty works? This is from a sermon called, “Kept By The Power of God.”

[ Doug Eaton ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQemxHQfFMU

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“I Never Knew You; Depart from Me, You Who Practice Lawlessness”

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Bible Commentary

[ Matthew Henry ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtP9WjGFx-Y

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“The Narrow and Wide Gates – Two Roads – In a Nutshell”

Two roads diverged in a wood, I took the one, less traveled by and that has made all the difference, so said, Robert Frost. In Mt 7:13 and 14, we note Jesus talking about two types of roads. He said, “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. Jesus Christ compared the way to life with the narrow road and the way to destruction with the broad road.

The broad road is the easy way of floating downstream, in the course of this world. One can easily sail into it without much effort and thought. It takes in multitudes and keeps them. This way does not require spiritual maturity, moral character, commitment, and sacrifice. Jesus said many will enter through the wide gate and move through the wide road. The “many” would probably refer to all who do not take the words of Christ seriously. The broad road is easy, pleasing and attractive. There are few rules, few restrictions and requirements. Here, sin is tolerated and the truth is diluted. Here, the word of God is pronounced but not studied and applied. Here, the ways of God are admired but not followed.

On the other hand, the narrow road is the way of holiness and is hardly chosen. The narrow road is not smooth and walker friendly. Few go there, traveling mostly in solitude and singularity. We are not in heaven as soon as we pass through the narrow gate, we would be walking through the narrow road with all inconveniences and wilderness type of experience. Here, we are likely to be persecuted and face oppositions. Here, we have to deny ourselves and would be asked to give up our inclination to the world. Entering in the narrow gate would require efforts and diligence. Here, one needs to strive and swim against the stream to keep going. Walking through the narrow road would mean keeping our lust under control, winning over temptations and overcoming the desires of the flesh.

We can have many paths to take in life, but God’s way is the only one that leads to eternal life. We cannot walk on two roads, in two different directions, at the same time. The fact that “everybody does it” is no proof that what they are doing is right. Surprisingly, an only a small number of disciples chose to follow Jesus by the end of His ministry. The thousands that followed Him, like a celebrity apparently left him on the way.

Jesus wants us to be on the right road, where the entrance is somewhat difficult, for it demands self-denial and calls for the strictness of obedience. Following Jesus requires crucifying our flesh, living by faith, enduring trials with Christ-like patience and living a lifestyle set apart for God from the world. May God enable us to choose the right road and move on steadily along with Christ in our daily life.

[ Brother Prithvi Raj ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpeMF1UsEjc

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“Romans 1:24-27 “Abandoned by God”

[ Steven Lawson ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev_HUL0WJ_w

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“God gave them over to a Reprobate Mind – Matthew Henry Bible Commentary Romans 1:19-32”

Reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drQts3KfDPg

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The Wide and Narrow Gate || Matthew 7:13-14”

Mat 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

[ 2BeLikeChrist ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CtC7UNL38g

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“How can I be assured that I am among the chosen?”

The New Testament warns about false assurance. Can we ever be sure that we are saved? From Ligonier’s 2016 National Conference, R.C. Sproul and Ian Hamilton explain what it really means to be assured of our salvation. When you have biblical and theological questions, just ask Ligonier.

“Sproul: Now the problem is complicated, because we have four kinds of people.
The people who aren’t saved and know that they aren’t saved. People who aren’t saved and don’t know that they aren’t saved. People who are saved and know that they are saved. And people who are unsaved who know that they are saved.

That’s where the problem comes in, because you have all kinds of people who have an assurance of salvation illegitimately. Because they don’t understand what salvation requires.” [more…]

[ R.C. Sproul ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BOipuPD2uY

*****************************
“Heaven or Hell Puzzle”

You are standing before two doors. One of the path leads to heaven and the other one leads to hell. There are two guardians, one by each door. You know one of them always tells the truth and the other always lies, but you don’t know who is the honest one and who is the liar.

You can only ask one question to one of them in order to find the way to heaven. What is the question?

Puzzle Solution:

The question you should ask is “If I ask the other guard about which side leads to heaven, what would he answer?”. It should be fairly easy to see that irrespective of whom do you ask this question, you will always get an answer which leads to hell. So you can chose the other path to continue your journey to heaven.

This idea was famously used in the 1986 film Labyrinth.

Here is the explanation if it is yet not clear.

Let us assume that the left door leads to heaven.

If you ask the guard which speaks truth about which path leads to heaven, as he speaks always the truth, he would say “left”. Now that the liar , when he is asked what “the other guard (truth teller) ” would answer, he would definitely say “right”.

Similarly, if you ask the liar about which path leads to heaven, he would say “right”. As the truth teller speaks nothing but the truth, he would say “right” when he is asked what “the other guard( liar ) ” would answer. So in any case, you would end up having the path to hell as an answer. So you can chose the other path as a way to heaven.

*****************************
“Sermon on the Mount Location”

For nearly 2,000 years, attempts have been made to establish the location where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. We just don’t know the exact site.

The Church of the Beatitudes now stands at the summit of a Galilean hillside, traditionally known as the “Mount of the Beatitudes.” Completed in 1938, this church was built near 4th century Byzantine ruins that commemorated the site. Early pilgrims marked a rock-cut cistern as the actual location. This church now covers that spot, which also included an octagon enclosure. Part of the original mosaic floor of the 4th century church has been recovered and is now on display in Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The view of the lake from the Church of the Beatitudes is stunning. You can see the synagogue at Capernaum through the trees to the north. To the south, you can see the houses of Tiberias covering the hillside. While we don’t know the exact location of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, each of these hillsides echoes with his words. The landscapes on these few slopes seem perfect for a spontaneous amphitheater.

[ Drive Thru History ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtCnDMShFts

*****************************
Sermon on the Mount Location
Mount of the Beatitudes

Jesus continued to teach in the region of Galilee. His message continued to make the authorities anxious, but found favor with everyday people. Interestingly, it seemed that both his critics and his supporters couldn’t agree on what Jesus was actually teaching. In fact, Jesus seemed to be a walking paradox at times. This perplexing tension was visible for all to see when Jesus delivered his famous, “Sermon on the Mount.” [more…]

Article: https://www.drivethruhistory.com/sermon-on-the-mount-location/

*****************************
“Roman Road to Salvation”
(How to be Saved)

The Roman Road to Salvation is a selection of verses from the Bible, in the book of Romans, that walk us through the steps from death to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

[ Teen Missions International ]

*****************************
“THE DOOR – Two Paths”

[ ImpurFektFaith ]

*****************************
“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” (“Solid Rock”)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

Oh Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

Oh Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Oh Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

[ Grace Community Church ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Michael Shamblin ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Rock You Up ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Cindy Morgan ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Daniel Band ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Greg Hager ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Chris Chance ]

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“Two Roads”

[ Saul A.D. ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ Michael Shamblin ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

[ King Solomon ]

*****************************
“Burn The Ships”

Are there ships you need to burn in your life? What from your past has kept you silent and held you back from freedom? This album, ‘Burn the Ships’ was conceived when my wife, Courtney was battling addiction and all that comes along with it…. She one day chose to literally “flush the pills”, and never look back. Now we invite you to stand with us – leave the past behind, step into a new day, and ‘Burn the Ships’.

[ King & Country ]

*****************************
“Two Roads To Travel”

[ True Gospel ]

*****************************
“Two Roads/One Choice”

[ Jim Bennett & Junior Marshall ]

*****************************
“Two Roads”

There’s a way that seems right unto a man
But in the end, it’s the way of death

I once knew a good good man, did good works all his days
Gave money to the poor, never had a bad word to say
But in his heart he held a high opinion of himself
He said “I don’t need God or anybody else’s help”

Two roads stand before you
Which one will you choose?
You’ve got one eye on the devil
And God’s got His eye on you
Wide is the way of the wicked
But bright is the way of the truth
In the end, sink or swim
The choice is up to you

O’ we all’ve got that somethin’ keeps us struggling everyday
But the fork in the road is up ahead for every sinner, every saint
I want to hear you when you’re whisperin’
To tremble when you shout
Truth is in your spirit ‘cus the Spirit bares it out

Two roads stand before you
Which one will you choose?
You’ve got one eye on the devil
And God’s got His eye on you
Wide is the way of the wicked
But bright is the way of the truth
In the end, sink or swim
The choice is up to you

Is it your lies? Is it your pride that you can’t cover up?
You’re in too deep and you can’t sleep
Ain’t it been long enough
Come to me if are weary, heavy laden, there is rest
He knows all your secrets anyway
Wanna get it off your chest
Get it off your chest

Two roads stand before you
Which one will you choose?
One leads to destruction
One leads me to You

Lead me Lord, o’ lead me Lord, lead me Lord
Two roads stand before you
Which one will you choose?
Two roads stand before me
Which one will I choose?
One leads to destruction
One leads me Lord to You

[ Point of Grace ]

*****************************
“There Are Two Ways”
[ Es sind zween Weg in dieser Zeit (Ausbund Hymn No. 125) ]

There are two ways, in this, our day, One narrow and the other broad;
Who now will go the narrow way Will be despised by all abroad.
This plainly God’s word teaches us, The narrow entrance way go in;
Straight is the gate, who enters thus, Must first endure great suffering.

There—after, there’s eternal rest, Therefore, O man, Thy way prepare;
Wilt thou be in God’s kingdom blessed Eternally with righteous there.
After this time nought shall transpire But peace and joy eternally;
The righteous then, this shall acquire Who God’s will honor constantly.

But he who the broad way shall go, The stairs to hell, this is the same;
He now is lost, God’s wrath shall know, But blessed is he who’s born again.
To him hath God prepared, impearled A crown eternity shall hold;
It shall not pass away, O world, Away then, with your gain and gold.

O, take the straight and narrow way That thou the lasting crown obtain;
Which God doth but His church convey Which He hath cleansed from sin and stain.
Therefore away with all man’s gain, Desire, vain pomp, and arrogance;
Turn sharp away from all known sin, So thou be known as God’s child hence.

Nought other can the way become, Who will eternal suffering flee;
Must righteous be, this is the sum, Go on your way, nor fancy see.
Press toward the mark till endless day, For who the prize at last will gain;
All must forsake upon this way Would he the lasting crown obtain.

[ The Overholt Family ]

*****************************
“Burn The Ships”

In the spring of 1519
A Spanish fleet set sail.
Cortez told his sailors,
“This mission must not fail.”
On the eastern shore of Mexico,
They landed with great dreams,
But the hardships of the new world
Made them restless and weak.
Quietly they whisper
“Let’s sail back to the life we knew”
But the one who led them there was saying,

“Burn the ships!
We’re here to stay.
There’s no way we could go back now that
We’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships.
We’ve passed the point of no return.
Our life is here so let the ships burn.
Let ’em burn!”

In the spring of new beginnings
A searching heart set sail
Looking for a new life
And a love that would not fail.
On the shores of grace and mercy
It landed with great joy.
But an enemy was waiting
To steal kill and destroy
Quietly he whispers
“Go back to the life you knew”
But the one who led us here is saying

“Burn the ships!
We’re here to stay.
There’s no way we could go back now that
We’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships.
We’ve passed the point of no return.
Our life is here so let the ships burn.”

Nobody said it would be easy
But the one who brought us here
Is never gonna leave us alone

Burn the ships!
We’re here to stay.
There’s no way we could go back now that
We’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships.
We’ve passed the point of no return.
Our life is here so let the ships burn.

Burn the ships!
We’re here to stay.
There’s no way we could go back now that
We’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships.
We’ve passed the point of no return.
Our life is here so let the ships burn.
So let the ships burn.
Let ’em burn!
Let the ships burn!

[ Steven Curtis Chapman – “Heaven In The Real World” album ]

*****************************
“Sorry, I Never Knew You”

Last night as I lay sleeping
A dream appeared to me
I dreamed about the end of time,
About eternity.
I saw a million sinners
Fall on their knees to pray
The Lord he sadly shook his head
And this I heard him say,

“Sorry I never knew you
Depart from me forevermore.
Sorry I never knew you
Go and serve the one that you have served before.

I thought the time had fully come
That I must stand the trial.
I told the Lord that I had been
A Christian all the while
But through his book he took a look
And sadly shook his head
Then placed me over on his left
And this I heard him say,

“Sorry, I never knew you.
I find no record of your birth.
Sorry, I never knew you.
Go and serve the one that you served down on Earth.

There were my wife and children
I heard their loving voice.
They must have been so happy,
O how they did rejoice.
Their robes of white around them,
Their faces all aglow.
My little girl looked over at me,
And this I heard her say,

“Daddy, we can’t with you,
We must dwell in the joys of our Lord.
Sorry, for we still love you,
But you cannot be our Daddy anymore.

No when I had awakened,
The tears were in my eyes.
And looking all around me,
And there to my surprise.
There were my loving babies,
I knew it was a dream.
And beside that bed of mine,
You should have heard me scream.

Father, Lord in Glory
I know thou gave thine only Son.
Father, please forgive me,
For I want to be ready when you come.

[ The Sego Brothers & Naomi ]

*****************************
“I Never Knew You”

Jesus warns the group of religious leaders against their prideful ways.

His Story the Musical is a new pop/hip-hop musical of the story of Jesus Christ. This is His Story, of a Truth, and a Life, and the Way that God came to man.

[ HIS STORY: THE MUSICAL ]

*****************************
“Committed To The Call”

I hear his voice and I’m convicted
To rise above the status quo
He’s asking me to live and listen
And to let His will move my soul

His Holy spirit beckons
I can’t help but answer

I am committed to the call
I vow to walk in blind faith
Willing to sacrifice it all
To reflect amazing grace
I am committed to the call

I will revel in the Son’s light
And let His love come shining through
I will seek life from the true vine
And bear the fruit of Holy truth

I’m drawn by words of wisdom
Whispering my name

[ Kim Hill ]

*****************************
“Narrow Way to Heaven”
(Parody of “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin)

There’s a way Jesus showed all us sinners must go
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven
If to get there’s your goal — with a pure heart and soul
In His Word you can get what you came for
Ooooooh and he described it right there in Matthew 7
There’ve been signs all along but you want to be sure
Cause the road sometimes swerves as you’re reading
In the free Bible book, there in John 3:16, come find how all our faults are forgiven
Two ways to ponder — two ways to ponder
There’s a freeway of death and it hooks to the left
And the steering and driving is easy
It is not quite as seems — see that smoke, feel the heat
Hear the voice of the Lord who stands knockin’
Ooooooh … it takes you under. Ooooooh … it really takes you under
And it’s His Word that’s true — if we all follow through
Then the Bible will lead us to Jesus
And the true way will dawn — on those who’ve read John
Chapter 14 verse 6 and thereafter Ooooooh …
If there’s a possible dead end road — don’t be a lost man
It’s best to think before you take it
Yes, there are two paths you can go by — but there’s a wrong one
But there’s still time to change the road you’re on
Ooooooh … can it take you up there?
You’re headed somewhere but it won’t go the place you wanna go
If Christ has called and you avoid Him
The way to Heaven’s very narrow, and did you know
It’s very wide on the way to Hell? LEAD
Where will you wind up down the road — a shadow land or street of gold?
There is a Way that we all know — He shines bright light on words that show
How every man will turn to dust — but if you let Him in your heart
The Truth will come to you at last — and our Lord warned us where to go
And He was God — He ought to know
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

*****************************
“Jesus (Sermon on the Mount)”
(Parody of “Venus” by Shocking Blue)

He taught us on a mountain top
A sermon that was clear and plain
A sermon on duty and love
And Jesus was His name.

He taught it!
Yeah, baby, we caught it!
Well, come to Jesus
And you’ll find out
He’s your messiah!
Well, come to Jesus
And you’ll find out
He’s your messiah!

His lessons had us mesmerized
Amazin’ every man He met.
That was because my Jesus
Taught like no-one else had.

He taught it!
Yeah, baby, we got it!
Well, come to Jesus
And you’ll find out
He’s your messiah!
Well, come to Jesus
And you’ll find out
He’s your messiah!

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

*****************************
“There Are Wolves Among Us”
(Parody of “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon)

I saw a weird wolf with a Bible trembling in his hand
Talkin’ to the sheep that don’t know where to graze
He was lookin’ for some ways to fleece those flocks
Gonna get a big church and preach ’bout faith

Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!
Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!

I hear ’em prowling around on Christian shows
Whenever I tune ’em in
Seen the holy Word of God mutilated late last night
They’ll do it Sunday again

Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!
Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!
Huh!
LEAD

If you dare to say repent
They’ll brand you a malcontent
Label me an overzealous naysayer
“You’d better stay away,” they grin
We preach on love, not sin!”
Huh, then why’d we need a Savior

Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!
Aw hoo! There are wolves among us
Aw hoo!

Well, I saw the Lord Jesus warnin’ you and me
We should beware of wolves among us
I saw the Lord Jesus do it in Matthew 7:15 — uh
We should beware of wolves among us
I saw various Apostles speakin’ to people about it — I made a list
It’s filled with verses – ha!
Aw hooooooo! Acts 20:29
There are wolves among us
Jude 1:4
Aw hooooooo! 2 Peter 2:1
There are wolves among us
1 John 4:1
Aw hooooooo!
There are wolves among us

[ ApologetiX – “Only a Glorified Cover Band” album ]

*****************************
“Little-Read Bible Book”
(Parody of “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs)

Who’s that I see not doin’ any good?
Why it’s a little-read Bible book!
Hey there, little-read Bible book, you sure have been forsook
You’re never read, so big bad wolves can roam. Literally!
Little-read Bible book, I don’t think many people look
So we’re walkin’ in and making ourselves at home
Owwr! What big lies we have!
We come as spies disguised as lambs
But if they’d read just an open page
I think they all could spot the wolves far away
What truth Scripture has! It’s sure to warn if someone’s bad
So before they understand God’s grace
I think I ought to lock you up in a safe
I’m gonna keep my sheep suit on
And I’ll assure them nothing’s wrong
And you can get dusty and they all can leave you alone
Owwr! Little-read Bible book, I’d like to quote you, yes I would
But first I’ll change me a thing or two on my own
Owwr! What if these parts I add
A word or two, nothing big
Little-read Bible book – even bad news can seem good
I’ll try a little cyanide, just enough to slide on by
Maybe they’ll swallow things I say
Before they get to that odd taste
Little-read Bible book, I’m sure their goose is cooked
They never read in the big black book at all
Owwr! That’s too bad – Baaad

[ ApologetiX – “Adam Up” album ]

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“One Way”
(Parody of “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies)

It’s been one way, take a look and see, up to Heaven, the Bible says it plainly
False faith and philosophy can’t get ya to Heaven — come back to Jesus
He’s the way and the living truth
You realize that all those false gods couldn’t help you
Yes indeed, He’s forgiven me, and He can still get you saved if you say you’re sorry
Holy cow they got you hoodwinked with the pagan god thing
I think you’re lookin’ at also rans
But some of this superstition though it might be called religion
Finds find you sizzlin’ with the devil in the fryin’ pan
It’s not like the Bible says it one time
More like 300 times it says there’s only one avenue
First C’rinthians chapter 8:6, the Bible says this
You try to tell me that it’s not true
I think you’re makin’ a mistake — I’d like to take and wake and shake ya
Like to tell you how to find yourself the way there
Cause Jesus showed us and we know where every soul is gonna ago
Unless n’ they confess Him as their Lord and Savior
I cannot help it if I think there’s one way and you’re mad
Tryin’ hard not to sin but you’re still bad
There’s a time to die and after the funeral
Then you’ll understand what I mean when it’s too real
I have a tendency to stand behind John 14
John 14:6 could be my favorite Bible verse.
It’s been one way, take a look and see, Deuteronomy says it pretty plainly
5:7 the passage reads: “You shall have no other gods before me”
(You can) read Exodus halfway through
You read that line in chapter 20 ’cause it’s there, too
Yes, indeed, chapter 20, verse 3
Now, it’s written in two places for you, and you saw it (Catch your breath here)
Check into China — the Chinese Christians
They haven’t done zip but they’re chained up in prison
Cause they read their Bibles with the lights on or cause they prayed once
Or cause they spoke on their religion
In America it’s more like getting dandruff, they see you stand up
They snicker when they see you passin’ by
They’d cure us all of all our bad flaws — They wanna make laws
But if they did they’d have us sterilized
They get upset at anyone who tries definin’ God above
They’re so alarmed they always try to start attacking
Their attitude is that you’re rude and that no truth is absolute anyway, babe
So let them think the wrong thing
I cannot help it if I think there’s one way into Heaven
Kinda hard to ignore Matthew chapter 7
I can find the line in Acts chapter 4:12
Cannot be saved by the name of someone else
I have First Timothy to verify my beliefs, there’s quite a bit to read but 2:5’s the verse
It’s been one way, take a look and see, drop your guard and your pride and say I’m sorry
Bible says what you have to do
It says you just confess that Christ is Lord — He’ll come in you
Believe that He’s risen, too, you’ll realize you’re born again, I wouldn’t tease you
Yes, indeed, we can all be saved
But there will still be too many who won’t say they’re sorry
And still Jesus waits till we say we’re sorry
And still Jesus waits so please say you’re sorry
At least God don’t speak in code like Hammurabi …

[ ApologetiX – “Biblical Graffiti” album ]

*****************************
“Rocky Start”
(Parody of “Rockstar” by Nickeback)

I’m through with sand in my eyes because of weather and wind Seemed like a tropic paradise – I remember movin’ in
This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I thought it would be (Tell me what you want)
I want a brand new house – one that’s never gonna drift Or collapse whenever the rains fall in
And I think time’s come to give up this sandbox dream (Yeah, so what you need)
I need to get it started – I’ll begin it
With a big flat layer of bedrock in it
Gonna fortify my house like Matthew 7 counsels me
(Built better, done right)
I’ve got a new toolbox called the Word of God
And I’ll start on top of the Solid Rock
Cause it’s Extreme Human Makeover time for me
(So how you gonna do it)
I’m gonna change this life before it’s in flames
I’ll even call Ty here to trade my space
Cause we all just gotta get a big rocky start
So we can build our house without a shifting yard
It don’t come easy, but it’s dug down deep
The walls stay standing and the steps won’t creak
And we’ll hang tough in the cruelest storms
When you see high winds on the news reports
Every good home-builder doesn’t wind up scared
Cause it’s way more sturdy than the beach down there
And, hey, hey, I’m gonna need a rocky start
Hey, hey, I’m gonna need a rocky start
I wanna build a great, white palace with stuff that lasts
So I can make a Taj Mahal and not a big sandcastle
Not with stubble, wood, or grass just like in First Corinthians 3 (I’ll have a casa de Dios, uh huh)
I’m gonna bless my house with the greatest plans
He said in John 14:2 there’s plenty more mansions
Decorate with silver, gold, and precious stones provided for me (So how you gonna do it?)
I’m gonna change change this life before it’s in flames
I’ll even call Ty here to trade my space

REPEAT FIRST CHORUS

And we’ll wipe out all the private rooms
Where we had addictions buried in their painted tombs
I guess you never think this but in a while
Everybody’s gettin’ dug deeper once we’ve died
Well, hey, hey, I’m gonna need a rocky start
I’m gonna seize that stone that the builders rejected
Gonna pass all codes when it gets inspected
Let washed-up sinners try to mock my song
They’re sinkin’ in the mire because they built it wrong

REPEAT FIRST CHORUS & SECOND CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “The Boys Aren’t Backin’ Down” album ]

*****************************
“The Whole Darn Roof Leaks”
(Parody of “Hold on Loosely” by 38 Special)

You see it all around you – good comin’ from bad
He uses things that you hate to bless you – and realign somethin’ sad

And my mind goes back to a verse I read some years ago
That showed me
The whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, the Lord assumes control
You may think it’s come for no good reason, but hold onto faith in Jesus

This road ain’t easy – when you feel it’s not just
So open the Scriptures – to learn how to trust

And my mind goes back to a verse I read some years ago
That showed me
The whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, the Lord assumes control
You may think it’s come for no good reason, but hold onto faith in Jesus

Don’t let a dismal day – set your mental mood
Don’t let a hardship dim your faith, yeah

You see it all around you – good comin’ from bad
He uses things that you wouldn’t think to – bring about something grand

The whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, the Lord assumes control
You may think it’s come for no good reason, but hold onto faith in Jesus

The whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, you can assume that – the Lord is in control

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

The whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, the Lord assumes control

Whole darn roof leaks when storm winds blow
Yet when things get dicey, ooh yeah, the Lord assumes control

Yeah, yeah, yeah

[ ApologetiX- “Unconditional Releases” album ]

*****************************
“Superficial”
(Parody of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder)

Very superficial
Whitewash on the wall
Very superficial
Letter of the law
There’s too much obeying
No one’s looking past
Leaven’s in the breadbox
Spreading pretty fast
And do you really think
That the Lord judges man on the surface Superficial change your ways
Ooh, Pharisee official
Wash your face and hands
Sifting out the small bugs
Swallowing a camel
Keep doin’ the same things
Even though they’re wrong
You don’t want to change things
You’ve had ‘em so long
When you receive these things
That you know come from man
And you’re stubborn
Your traditions taint your faith
There is true forgiveness
Nothing more than grace
Carry your traditions to 29 Isaiah Thirteenth verse, oh baby
Go and look into that
7:6-9 in Mark
Put it in your past
And do you really think
That the Lord judges man on the surface Superficial change your ways

[ ApologetiX – “Wordplay” album ]

*****************************
“Hell Smells”
(Parody of “Hells Bells” performed by AC/DC)

I’m goin’ under, I roared in pain
It wasn’t fun like I heard ’em claim
My life was flashin’ before my eyes
You woke me up but I’m traumatized

Oh, won’t take no visitors
Once there, you’ll find
Nobody’s partyin’ up all night
Ah, it’s hard to sell a one-way ticket to hell
You know the stench is rank and wretched

‘Cause hell smells
Yeah, hell smells
You won’t believe it
Hell smells
The stench is so vile
Hell smells

I’ve been through Revelation – up and down you’ll find
If you’re into evil it’s the end of the line
See the White Throne Judgment as He splits them wide
Puts them goats on the left and lines the sheep up to the right

Won’t take no visitors
Won’t take no bribes
Nobody’s put in by surprise
Ah, it’s not so swell when God forsakes you to hell
They won’t accept a late confession

Hell smells
Oh, hell smells
You got deceived and
Hell smells
The tempter just lied
Hell smells

LEAD

Hell smells
Stinks – it’s rotten, P.U.
Hell smells
You’re wrinklin’ your nose
Hell smells
The tempter just lied
Hell smells
The cross divides
Hell smells
So take your cue now
Hell smells
Before you go under
Hell smells
God can spare your life
Hell smells
There’s no way but Christ, yeah!

Ow!
Ow ow!
Ow! Yeah heh!
Hell Smells!
Matthew 13:42
They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth.

[ ApologetiX – “Loaded 45s” album ]

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“Works”
(Parody of “Words” by Missing Persons)

Do you have deeds … do you care?
Do you need deeds … do you care?

My works will prove and bear my salvation out
You worship God above, but I have my doubts
That you realize — uh what His Book said
You look at me and say you’re into grace
It’s like Ephesians 2:10 has no place with 2:8 and 9
You got no works — you’re just dead

What are works for? We’re all on missions from the Lord
What are works for? We’re goin’ fishin’
What are works for? If no one did them there’s no use talkin’ ’bout God

Read Titus we’ll go over doctrine with Paul
If those good works are having no effect at all
There’s some funny things — to Titus Paul wrote
Come to Titus chapter 2:14 for directions
3:8, 3:14, too, will both give you the strong impression
That there’s more to grace — than Satan might sell

What are works for? In First Corinthians study more
What are works for? In chapter 15
What are works for? In verse 10, listen, you know who’s talkin’ — that’s Paul

Do you have deeds … do you care?
Do you need deeds … do you care?

Let Him preside — over your dead body
Hope to see it soon — when will I know?
Your faith is private, so it’s not showin’
But we’ll always have works when His grace has changed us
Time’s ticking, my friend
But I guess you know it now
I guess you know it now
I guess you know it now, know it now
Now, now, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow

Peruse in chapter 2 in James there’s other things you’ll find
And Matthew 7:21 if you feel so inclined
Go to Romans 6 — I think you’ll find it there, too
Maybe a holy Lord is calling you to action
You can’t be irresponsible — you’re not in traction
Go and answer Him — before He pulls out the rug

What are works for? We know from James 2:24
What are works for? But no one listens
What are works for? When yours are missin’ there’s no use talkin’ ’bout God

What are works for? Well, no one’s gets ’em in the door
What are works for? It’s not some system
What are works for? They show we’re different from phonies talkin’ ’bout God

What are works for? We know salvation’s from the Lord
What are works for? With no additions
What are works for? They grow our witness with those who ought to know God

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without
effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God
that was with me.

[ ApologetiX – “From Hair to Eternity” album ]

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“You Gotta Go”
(Parody of “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette)

I want you to know that I have prayed for you
I wish nothing but the best for your soul
I know you’re worried prob’ly — you’ll get converted like me
When it comes down to it there’s a fear there
Cause you say, “Hell — it can’t be”
You should play poker, baby
You sure do make a really excellent bluffer

Those who call on His name will be saved by His grace
Cause He paid quite enough for you when, you know, He died
And every time you speak His name it’s in vain, what a shame
Cause His arms are still open wide — open wide — while you’re still alive

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

You say there’s no Hell — you’re not evil
I’m not nice to tell you that you could go
If you forget about me — you can do as you please
I ain’t above you — I’m a miserable sinner
But there’s a path we must take
Now if we wanna be saved
And if you think it’s a joke — then you’ll suffer

Those who call on His name will be saved by His grace
Cause He paid quite enough for you when, you know, He died
And every time you speak His name it’s in vain, what a shame
Cause His arms are still open wide — open wide — while you’re still alive

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

There’s no one who can say that He sent them away
Cause an offer was made to you and you closed your eyes — and you knew it
And everyone says that’s not fair, that’s someone else’s fault
That’s not appealing — I hurt your feelings

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

I-I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

[ ApologetiX – “I Know You Are But What Am I?” album ]

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“One Thing Leads to the Father”
(Parody of “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx)

The deception’s worldwide
To what are you trying to pray
You’ve got a bland faith – your guru says
Communicate with any god you please
You see I mentioned this to
Make a case for black and white
But then one little cross leaves you shocked – it’s unique You won’t discover though you seek
I know the … Truth, Life, and Way
Read John 14:6, baby, one thing leads to the Father
You tell me that I’m wrong
I’ve been a Christian too long, my friend
One way leads to the Father

[ ApologetiX – “80’s Medley: Octagon but Not Forgotten” medley (at 5:17) ]

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*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”
[ Hunter S. Thompson ]

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.”
[ William James ]

“Even choosing to do nothing is still making a choice.”
[ Mark Batterson ]

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.
[ John C. Maxwell ]

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
[ Viktor Frankl ]

“You’ve got two roads before you: One is the path of righteousness, where you carefully walk the road to the light—the direct route. That’s your merry co-op play. The other is the path of heresy, searching for power along the path to darkness—the indirect route. Single player. It fits a shut-in lone wolf like yourself.”
[ Jack Rakan, Mahou Sensei Negima! ]

“It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.”
[ Jean Nidetch ]

“The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger”
[ William Shakespeare ]

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice, he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.”
[ James Allen ]

Deep down we usually know exactly what the right thing to do is in any situation.
But if we simply don’t want to do it, we won’t have any trouble coming up with an endless list of lame excuses to justify not doing it. In fact, some of the excuses may even seem like really good ones. Do the right thing anyway. That’s what saints are made from.”
[ Mother Teresa ]

“There are two ways to go when you hit that crossroads in your life: There is the bad way, when you sort of give up, and then there is the really hard way, when you fight back.”
[ Matthew Perry ]

“It’s a wonderful thing to know that at any moment you have the freedom, the ability, the power to choose what to do and how to live your life. Choice is the greatest gift we get from life.”
[ Michael Feeley ]

“Either life is an accident and we’re all victims or you can make other choices that will enable you to live the life you desire most. It’s your choice. Be aware. Be active. Get out of resignation and confusion. See what’s actually going on and make the best choice you can and change direction.”
[ Portia Nelson ]

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
[ Viktor Frankl ]

“Bible does not give us a road map for life, but it does give us a compass.”
[ Max Anders ]

“There are two paths of which one may choose in the walk of life; one we are born with, and the one we consciously blaze. One is naturally true, while the other is a perceptive illusion. Choose wisely at each fork in the road.”
[ T.F. Hodge ]

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
[ Roy T. Bennet ]

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
[ Aristotle ]

“Beliefs are choices. First you choose your beliefs. Then your beliefs affect your choices.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
[ William Jennings Bryan ]

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control the way you think about all the events. You always have a choice. You can choose to face them with a positive mental attitude.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“Choosing a path meant having to miss out on others. She had a whole life to live, and she was always thinking that, in the future, she might regret the choices she made now. “I’m afraid of committing myself,” she thought to herself. She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none. Even in that most important area of her life, love, she had failed to commit herself. After her first romantic disappointment, she had never again given herself entirely. She feared pan, loss, and separation. These things were inevitable on the path to love, and the only way of avoiding them was by deciding not to take that path at all. In order not to suffer, you had to renounce love. It was like putting out your own eyes not to see the bad things in life.”
[ Paulo Coelho ]

“You are not the victim of the world, but rather the master of your own destiny. It is your choices and decisions that determine your destiny.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.”
[ Elizabeth Gilbert ]

“Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.”
[ Madeline L’Engle ]
“Your beliefs affect your choices. Your choices shape your actions. Your actions determine your results. The future you create depends upon the choices you make and the actions you take today.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“Man has a choice and it’s a choice that makes him a man.”
[ John Steinbeck ]

“Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.”
[ Stephen R. Covey ]

“Focus on making choices to lead your life that aligns with your core values in the most purposeful way possible.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“The spirit of a man is constructed out of his choices.”
[ Irvin D. Yalom ]

“You have two choices, to conquer your fear or to let your fear conquer you.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”
[ Neil Peart ]

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”
[ Zig Ziglar ]

“You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.”
[ Steven Denn ]

“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.”
[ J.E.B. Spredemann ]

“It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. ”
[ Jean Nidetch ]

“The history of free men is never written by chance but by choice – their choice.”
[ Dwight D. Eisenhower ]

“What you choose also chooses you.”
[ Kamand Kojouri ]

“Choose well. Your choice is brief, and yet endless.”
[ Goethe ]

“Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.”
[ Roy T. Bennett ]

“To choose not to choose is still a choice for which you alone are responsible.”
[ Gary Cox ]

“Choice, choices, choices! Choose rightly. Choose the things that brings you highest fulfillment.
Commit your life to the choices you have made.”
[ Lailah Gifty Akita ]

“Choice is the basis of every part of your existence, but so is fear. The difference is, choice creates movement, where fear limits movement.”
[ Réné Gaudette ]

“We may know our true purpose in life, because we may choose our purpose in life.”
[ Bryant McGill ]

“Once in a while, life gives you a chance to measure your worth. Sometimes you’re called upon to make a split-second decision to do the right thing, defining which way your life will go. These are the choices that make you who you are.”
[ Perry Moore ]

“You have to choose your own destiny.
You have to choose your own path in life.”
[ Lailah Gifty Akita ]

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
[ Robert Frost ]

 

RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV / 30 helpful votes
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:1-29 ESV / 25 helpful votes
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. …

Matthew 7:23 ESV / 22 helpful votes
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:22 ESV / 9 helpful votes
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

Matthew 7:21 ESV / 9 helpful votes
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

John 3:1-36 ESV / 8 helpful votes
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. …

Luke 13:27 ESV / 8 helpful votes
But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’

Matthew 25:41 ESV / 8 helpful votes
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Psalm 6:8 ESV / 8 helpful votes
Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.

2 Timothy 2:19 ESV / 7 helpful votes
But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV / 7 helpful votes
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Luke 6:46 ESV / 7 helpful votes
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

1 Corinthians 8:3 ESV / 6 helpful votes
But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

John 3:16 ESV / 6 helpful votes
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 1:1-51 ESV / 6 helpful votes
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …

1 John 2:19 ESV / 5 helpful votes
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

1 John 2:4 ESV / 5 helpful votes
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

James 2:19 ESV / 5 helpful votes
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

John 10:14 ESV / 5 helpful votes
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

Psalm 5:5 ESV / 5 helpful votes
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

1 Corinthians 14:1-40 ESV / 4 helpful votes
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. …

Romans 8:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

John 1:1 ESV / 4 helpful votes
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Matthew 25:12 ESV / 4 helpful votes
But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Matthew 7:24 ESV / 4 helpful votes
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Judges 16:20 ESV / 4 helpful votes
And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV / 3 helpful votes
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Galatians 3:1-29 ESV / 3 helpful votes
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— …

2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV / 3 helpful votes
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 8:29 ESV / 3 helpful votes
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

John 14:1-31 ESV / 3 helpful votes
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” …

John 8:1-59 ESV / 3 helpful votes
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” …

Luke 13:25 ESV / 3 helpful votes
When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

Matthew 13:1-58 ESV / 3 helpful votes
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, …

Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 3 helpful votes
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

Daniel 5:1-31 ESV / 3 helpful votes
King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. …

Leviticus 20:25 ESV / 3 helpful votes
You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean.

Revelation 22:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Revelation 7:1-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, …

1 John 5:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 3:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

James 2:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 1:22 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Philemon 1:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Galatians 2:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Corinthians 12:1-31 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; …

Romans 10:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 8:1-39 ESV / 2 helpful votes
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. …

Romans 3:31 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Acts 10:1-48 ESV / 2 helpful votes
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. …

Acts 3:1-26 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. …

Acts 1:1-26 ESV / 2 helpful votes
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” …

John 17:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 16:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 14:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

John 10:27-30 ESV / 2 helpful votes
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

John 6:40 ESV / 2 helpful votes
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:29 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:28-29 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:28 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

Luke 10:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Matthew 24:24 ESV / 2 helpful votes
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 23:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Matthew 22:37 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 15:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?

Matthew 10:33 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 8:1-34 ESV / 2 helpful votes
When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, …

Matthew 7:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

Matthew 7:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“Judge not, that you be not judged.

Matthew 7:1-23:39 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. …

Matthew 4:4 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Zephaniah 2:1-15 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the Lord, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the Lord. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ashkelon shall become a desolation; Ashdod’s people shall be driven out at noon, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast, you nation of the Cherethites! The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left. …

Amos 1:1-15 ESV / 2 helpful votes
The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said: “The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers.” Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron. So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad. I will break the gate-bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven, and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden; and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,” says the Lord. …

Isaiah 29:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. …

Psalm 119:115 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.

Psalm 23:1-6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …

Psalm 1:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Leviticus 5:1-19 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and realizes his guilt; or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, …

Genesis 31:1-55 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. …

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“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

 

FOCUS VERSES:

The Narrow and Wide Gates
“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.

True and False Prophets
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
[ Matthew 7:13-27 ]

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
[ Matthew 7:7-11 ]

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
[ Matthew 12:30 ]

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
[ Matthew 16:24 ]

“Except you become as a little child, you can’t enter the Kingdom.”
[ Matthew 18:3 ]

“Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
[ Matthew 25:12 ]

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
[ Matthew 25:21 ]

“Observe all things that I have commanded you.”
[ Matthew 28:20a ]

“But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’
[ Luke 13:27 ]

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
[ Luke 6:46 ]

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
[ Luke 13:24 ]

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
[ Luke 14:26 ]

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
[ Luke 18:13d ]

“If you continue in My word, then you’re My real disciple,”
[ John 8:31 ]

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
[ John 10:9 ]

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father but by me.”
[ John 14:6 ]

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise”
[ Ephesians 5:15 ]

“Examine yourselves whether you’re in the faith.”
[ 2 Corinthians 13:5a ]

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
[ James 1:5 ]

“Prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
[ James 1:22 ]

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
[ Proverbs 14:12 ]

“You will seek me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
[ Jeremiah 29:13 ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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