The Way

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

Are you going over the hill and through the woods to Grandma’s house? Are you on the way to work and accomplish the day’s task to ensure the support of your family and yourself? Maybe you are off to a sports event or on the way to that secret get-a-way for a well-deserved holiday. At some point in each day we are on the way to somewhere or something. It is but a leg in life’s journey towards a destination. But the far destination is far reaching compared to Grandma’s house, work or play, there is an eternal destination that we all are on the way to and we must decide now where our destiny ultimately will be. The words of a favorite Led Zeppelin song come ringing through my head as I ponder these thoughts, which are. “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” There is a choice that each must make and it must be made and committed to before the curtain comes down.

In a world so filed with diversity and many menus to make choices from, still when the dust settles there are but two choices for our eternal home. The Apostle Matthew wrote these words from Jesus. “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.” (Matthew 7:13-14) As I look out to the world I see the truth of these words that the broad way is well traveled, in fact quite crowded. They either have chosen this broad way to destruction or have not found the narrow way that leads to life eternal.

The question becomes then, “Are you going to heaven when you die?” There are many good people in this world. People who strive to be the best than can be for family, society, country and the world. They do their part in living in the community as an active and vital part for the common best benefit of all. I salute them as there are many who have chosen a lesser path, but it will not get them to heaven.

I myself have been a member of the Church since I was ten years old. My name has been on the Church rolls. I have for many years been faithful in attending and being actively involved in supporting the activities of the Church. I can say with clear conscience that I have given much of my time, talent and treasure to the work of the Church of my membership. But my name on the Church rolls will not get me to heaven and neither is it a path for any other to reach the destination of the Holy City. Our name on the Church rolls is for man’s statistical measurement, what is required is to have our name recorded in the Book of Life. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

How do we get our name written in the Book of Life? First we have to believe that God is. That God is the “I AM.” The Sovereign Lord of the universe as we know it. We read in Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) In the beginning there was God and only God and all that there is was created by God. All was created by God the Creator. Not a bunch of lifeless matter that somehow came together and formed breathing life on a world of water, rock and oxygen. Man in his own intelligence can look and see that a far higher intelligent power had to place the universes together in perfect harmony.

Many people claim to believe in God. Not wanting to sound negative I still have to say that if people really believed in God then we would see a lot more humility instead of the arrogance of the world society today. Man would know his place and would have a reverent fear of respect for an All Might All Knowing Ever Present God. The angelic beings know, those saints who have gone before us know and we should acknowledge that only God is worthy to receive glory, honor and our praise. “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

All mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden are sinners in the eyes of a righteous God. We have all rebelled against the Word of God. We have violated His commandments which we given to us out of His love for us to teach us to live in a wholesome manner. God knew that we could not follow His law, the law was given to us to show where we have fallen short. So man is without excuse by his knowledge of God’s creation and the gift of His Word. Therefore, we are all sinners in the sight of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

As sinners we have missed the mark. So many times I have people say to me “well at least I am not as bad as he.” We have a natural tendency to judge ourselves by what others have or have not done. I do it, you probably do it, and I believe all do it. We are always judging others as a way to measure ourselves. We are often like the self-righteous Pharisee. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11) But neither the Pharisee nor the tax collector nor the Good Samaritan are the mark that we are to achieve. The mark, the goal of our life is to live as Jesus would have us to live. He is the one set before us that we are to strive to live up to. It is a high calling to live as He is but it is our calling. If we submit our will to His it is a goal that someday we will achieve. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

By surrendering our life to Jesus and allowing Him to live through us we will live a more righteous life. If we love Him then we will keep His commandments. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) By staying in His word we are empowered by His Holy Spirit. This is the power needed to overcome the world. (1 John 4:4) This is the grace of God that is sufficient for us to gain the victory over the evil spiritual forces that will come against us. It is not by our own doing, as we are weak, but our living in the strength and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

It is the abundant live in the here and now which brings us to the abundant life in the then and there of the Kingdom of God. It is not something that we can earn or buy, it is a gift from the mercy of God the Father that He sent His Son to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) It is our hope that is “built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness.” If we follow this path through life here, then we will receive the glory reserved for us in the Kingdom of our Lord. “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)

This has all come about because God loves His creation and more importantly God loves you and me. He loves us so much that He made the greatest sacrifice to redeem us from the kingdom of darkness of the god of this world Satan. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God so loved the world that He sent His Son to pay the wage of the sin of the world. Not just yours and not just mine but all the sin of the world. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) It is a burden of the saved to see so many in the world fail to accept this free gift of salvation from the coming wrath of God who is love but also is just.

The Jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And the Apostle Paul answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30) Nicodemus came at night to seek Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who was well versed in the Scriptures. A religious ruler of the Jews, a righteous man of the faith, yet he knew that something was missing in his life, the assurance of his salvation. And Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Whoever will have their name inscribed in the Book of Life must be born of the Spirit and deny the flesh. It is a spiritual journey we must be on through this world to reach the glory of the Kingdom in the next. It is not something that we can accomplish of our own doing, it is the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) This is a must in order to live in the spiritual unity and like mindedness of our Savior and with our sisters and brothers in the faith. It is the only way that we can have God living through us. It is the only way that the world about us will see Jesus in His true light. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” If you are not in the security of the palm of Jesus’ hand now is the hour of you salvation. “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

There is no other path, no other way, and no other one who could have been the perfect Lamb of sacrifice for the remission of sin, your sin and mine. The Apostle Thomas asked Jesus how he would know the way to where He was going. How do we find the narrow path that leads to the Gate of the heavenly Kingdom of God? How do we learn to live a life worthy of our salvation? Jesus answered and said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

It is not by what we could or can do, there is no price comparison to the shed blood of Jesus that we are purchased by, it is the gift of God according to His rich mercy towards us, His creation. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 16,2015

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