Left, center, Right

“A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

A couple of weeks ago Pastor Kevin was discussing Conservatism and Liberalism, the right and the left. How he always tells his children in life to stay to the right. First I was thinking how we stay to right when driving on the roads here in America. Then how we should make our moves in right judgment. But as he through conservatism and liberalism into the mix, well he wasn’t talking about how we drive but how we make sound judgments. A few weeks ago we looked at this verse in our Bible trivia, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Tonight I want to expound upon this thought of the Pastors just a bit more.

I remember the song the Rolling Stones used to sing back in the sixties, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” I know Mick was expressing his feeling on various relationships but it really goes much deeper than that. If one searches their heart they find that this world and nothing that can come from it beings complete satisfaction. There are those that great abundance of the things of this world and yet they are not satisfied. They only want more. There are those who have little in this world and they work hard to gain more and they never seem to acquire all that they want. Again, they both can’t get no satisfaction. The truth is, I believe, is there is nothing in this world that will being complete satisfaction. It is because we are not wired that way. We are tending to that which we can see with the physical eye and no matter what we see there is always more to want. Another verse in Ecclesiastes reads, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Our hearts are deceived by this world into believing that we want the things of this world. The truth is our hearts are set upon the eternal things of the world to come. Now you think about that for yourself. There is nothing in this world that will being satisfaction like that for which our heart truly desires, a right fellowship with our Heavenly Father and living in His presence is what our heart is in constant longing for.

This world brings it moments of pleasure, happiness, and short moments of peace. But as we read the newspapers, listen to the radio broadcast, and look about us we see a lot of pain and suffering. We see things going on in this world that is so evil that we cannot even begin to understand it. We wonder how people can get themselves to behave so wickedly. What is driving the hearts of man to live this way with one another? Paul gives us some insight in Romans, “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32) A lot of those in this world are way left of center causing much of the pain and suffering in this world. This is not a recent development as Jesus came into a world full of pain and suffering and suffered much for the benefit of man that he could be restored to his heart’s desire, a right relationship with the Heavenly Father. For His faithfulness, His obedience to the will of the Father, and for the suffering of the cross in order that the sin debt of the world would be paid in full, God the Father exalted Him to sit at His right hand. “Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” (1 Peter 3:22) The right hand in any kingdom is the position of honor and power and all the more in the Kingdom of Heaven. Only Jesus, only Jesus is worthy to hold that position and for those who follow Him it’s of great comfort to them that He holds the place next to the throne of God Almighty. As Christians some of us may be called to suffer greatly for the sake of our Lord. Some of us may not have to suffer as much and some may not suffer at all. But we all must be willing as the road to be glorified with Him is a road that leads through suffering as He. We have this promise from our Lord that if we follow Him we too someday shall be just as He is. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Because my thoughts are drifting in my Rock and Roll days Led Zeppelin’s song “Stair Way to Heaven” had an interesting lyric that went “There are two paths that you can go by.” I see a lot of my world as up or down, broad or narrow, black or white, and right or left, there are only two paths you can go by. There are two influences of man in the universe, God Almighty who reigns supreme and a fallen angel who was defeated at the cross of Jesus. Yet, man must subscribe to the one or the other. We must either accept God or reject Him. We make our choice and we receive the consequence, good or bad. For those who think they do not have to decide, well that is a bad choice. In the end we will bear the seal or the mark of whom we serve. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13) When we accept God through Jesus His Son, when we follow Him in faith upon His Word, when we accept the free gift of God’s salvation from the wrath of God, then we receive the seal of His Spirit upon our lives. The Seal of the Holy Spirit represents four benefits of being a Child of God.

The seal of the Holy Spirit gives us security. In Daniel 6:17 at the time of Daniel serving King Darius he was put into the Lion’s Den for praying to God. After being put into the pit the king placed his seal on the stone so that it could not be removed preventing Daniel from escape. To remove the seal of the king would have meant death. No one would dare break the king’s seal. The Christian is sealed by the King, King Jesus. No power on heaven or earth can break that seal for it is the seal of the Almighty King Jesus. We have been purchased by the atoning blood of Jesus. We are now His and the seal of the Holy Spirit gives proof to His ownership. In Jerimiah 32:10 we see where land was purchased and the deed was signed and sealed after payment as proof of ownership. The Seal of the Spirit is proof of our ownership by Jesus. Our seal is given with the authority of the King. In Easter 8:8 we read that King Ahasuerus issued a degree and it was sealed by his signet ring, a seal that could not be broken. The seal of the Holy Spirit is God’s pledge that we shall receive the inheritance of the riches of His glory. The seal of the Holy Spirit is the pledge of God and His Word cannot be broken. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

This is the path to the right, the path that lead to Jesus who sits at the right Hand of the Father Almighty upon His throne in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the right way, the right life, and the right path. Then there is the other path. If you are not traveling to the right, then you are traveling to the left. The left is the way of the world and it leads back to the dust from which all have come. It is not under the influence of the truth but is filled with the deceit of contemporary lies. Those who follow the path to the left will also receive the mark of the left given by the representative of Satan himself, the beast. Those who reject the love and truth of God will bear the mark that will seal their fate to an unthinkable end. “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead.” (Revelation 13:16) How sad a day it will be to hear those dreaded words from the Lord and Master of all when he says, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) All will bear the mark of the path we have traveled to our eternal destiny.

In the politics of the world men can straddle the fence leaning right of center or left of center. But in the politics of eternity there are only two paths that you can go by, the right or the left. Think about it, is your heart truly satisfied with the path that you are traveling? Are you finding satisfaction in the way your life is leading you? Are you traveling to the left? If you are not traveling to the right, then you are traveling to the left. I read on a Church marque a phrase that holds a truth. “Get right or be Left.” It is the choice that you must make, as there is no center ground upon which to travel. Would it not be wise to have a reverent respect for the Creator who “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) The choice is now to be made, as the day comes when the consequence of our choice will be effected upon us. “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:16) Surely, as you are God’s creation, your life should be worth more than spit. I believe it is. The day soon comes when the life lived here will be adjudicated by your Lord, He who is Lord of all. (Acts 10:36) “And He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:33) I pray and hope to see you all together in the sheep fold in the security of ownership of the King whose authority has pledged us to the inheritance of life everlasting in the full presence of God Almighty.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 4, 2014

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