Have you noticed how quickly cell phone technology has continued to change? It was less than 15 years ago that “maps” became available on your phone. In the last year, almost 100 million people have used “maps” on their phones.
Everyone wants to know how to get to where they want to go. In fact, since Adam and Eve left the garden, their sons and daughters have been looking for the way back ever since.
Matthew 7:13-14 “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. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
When I give directions to my house, I often tell people to go down a narrow country lane. It is my favorite way to go, and though it takes a few minutes more, it is certainly the prettiest and least traveled route.
Just before you enter the neighborhood, the road closes down to a single lane which leads to a low and narrow railroad crossing. For years, we’ve watched the sides of that narrow pass for the tell tale signs of timid driving, too fat trucks, and dumb kids who try their hands at going through it like there is no tomorrow.
And so I warn people…
It’s a great route to take, but beware!
- There is a narrow gate to the neighborhood.
- Take heed. Be careful and you will be just fine.
Jesus wasn’t being mean spirited. He wasn’t doing anything but giving good directions to people who wanted to go home.
And it is the same for today. After all, what is better… to give you directions that will take you to your destination or directions that will take you to hell?
For every American who believes he is going to hell, there are 120 who believe they going to Heaven.
C.S. Lewis said, “The safest road to hell is the gradual slope – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turning, without milestones, without signposts.”
Why is this true? Because people have been given the wrong directions. Anyone who has used “one of them” knows what happens when you get the wrong directions.
Here are the wrong directions to heaven. If you have been following this path:
- You will find that it is a super highway with plenty of lanes.
- There are lots of people traveling with you.
- You can travel at your own pace without trouble.
- But, in the end, it will lead you to destruction. It will lead you to hell.
1. Good works are the wrong direction. The voice inside your head tells you that “good deeds translate into acceptance and entrance into heaven.”
But the Bible map says –
Isaiah 53:6 “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”
2. Being a good person – Trying and may be even achieving the good person label will not get you there either. There are lots of “good people” in hell today!
3. Good Religion – Combine good works with being a good person and add in religion and many think they have the golden ticket. But religion doesn’t always lead to the narrow path.
Have you found yourself using any one of these routes to justify your sin?
Are you a “good person”? Are you busy with “good works”?
The problem is deeper than “goodness” can overcome. So let me tell you the story of Man and the God who loves him.
Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
In the garden…
- Man was holy.
- Man was in charge.
- Man was in a right relationship with both God and man.
But man rebelled against God –
- He stepped off the narrow path.
- He refused God’s directions.
- He broadened his path and it lead to his distraction.
In Gen. 2:17, God tells Adam that if he doesn’t obey his commands, death would be the ultimate result. And as a result of Adam’s sin, something dramatic and drastic took place.
The Apostle Paul said it best.
Romans 5:14 “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a [a]type of Him who was to come.”
- Death now reigned.
- Death is described as a ruler.
- Scarcely has any ruler ruled so many subjects!
- Death has an immense kingdom.
What keeps us out of Heaven?
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Sin separates us from God.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
God is so holy that He cannot allow sin in His presence…we cannot enter Heaven as we are!
But God love the world so much that He sent a second Adam – Jesus Christ.
- He led a sinless life.
- He died and paid the price of your sin and mine.
It was not good men that Christ died to save – it was sinners. It was not God’s friends that Christ did to rescue; it was men who were at war with God.
By what He did, by what He is, by what He gives, He enables all to escape from a situation in which all of us are hopelessly dominated by sin and death.
The truth is that you have been ruined by sin and today you can be rescued by Christ!