Wednesday 29 July 2020

The 7th chapter of Matthew, verses 13/14.
This passage verse was part of Christ's Sermon on the Mount. A huge crowd had gathered around Jesus and preaching to them. In order that they would live lives worthy of being his followers, he is telling them what is expected of them, which will lead to eternal salvation.

Christ has been describing up to this point the character of Christians, and the rules by which they are to walk. Now He explains the way of salvation. Jesus always taught there were two destinies in life, and dependent on how we respond lies the future life when this is over.

Jesus was always eager to point out that there just two options to choose from, what is known as the narrow way or the broad way. Two roads to follow in life, one leading to Kingdom of God and heaven and the other to hell. Jesus only allows one choice, people may prefer selection, but within the Church this means following the Way and Word of God or that of man. No sitting on verbal fences.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate, the road is difficult, and only a few find it. The Psalmist stated, those who accept the Word of God bear much fruit, and those same believers accept the death of Jesus on the Cross was what saved them, and made them righteous to God.  The boundaries on this road are clearly defined, and limited to true believers who have tried to live moral lives worthy of the Lord’s support. 

The road will not be overcrowded for fewer people have chosen to enter. You enter one by one to Jesus who said I am the door, no one enters except through me

The broad road is overcrowded, many people crushed on to it. No boundaries, all accepted the immoral, hypocrites, selfish who only believe in themselves, those who bear malice, led permissive life, rejected Christ as Saviour.  The door is very wide and  the road is the highway to hell .
There are others who say, just follow your conscience, which is deluding yourself, for your conscience has become hardened and adjustable. Your conscience is no longer a safe guide.

The moment you reached the age of accountability you must choose which road to follow. You can still choose the narrow road. It is not too late for anybody  to turn around and leave the broad road and start the narrow road.
These are very important and profound verses which are not always taken with the seriousness they merit. The widely held belief is that as long as you are since, honest, don’t harm anyone, have a tenuous belief in Jesus and God, you are worthy of getting to heaven.

The most asked for Bible passage to be read at funerals I have found is one found in John’s gospel, and whilst people know little of the Bible, they seize on this verse, which states, ‘in my Father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you.’ These are the words of Jesus to his Apostles on his last hours with them, and indeed can be applied to-day, but only to those who have committed their lives in following Jesus, but not to all and sundry.

The Church has perpetuated a misguided belief, and is guilty of what could reasonably be called deceit and false teaching. In the service, and at burial people are assured that the deceased is destined for eternal life in heaven, irrespective of what kind of life had been led.  Whilst we all want to exercise compassion and consolation, this can be given without misinterpreting the Scriptures. It is time we showed personal integrity and reverence for God in our teaching, and in these two verses, Jesus has laid down for us what options there are for us, and we have to  decide now in his life.

This is what Jesus taught so many years ago, but it is still a moral and spiritual lesson for us to-day. We are living in very unsettled times.   Many businesses, organisations, societies and groups have suffered greatly because of this deadly virus which has plagued the earth, and no one more so than the Church. People have been denied the right to attend worship, but have now got into the habit of listening to and watching services through the internet and many in the older age range have lost the urge to return to Churches, which will mean the Churches will not survive,

We are now told we can meet provide no more than 30 are present, although some of the Churches I visit would consider it great to have 30 at any time.  The casual way in which the Church has treated the Word of God will prove in a lot of cases to be their downfall.  When people who have faithfully attended Church to find poorly put together services, have now seen inspiring services, especially if you have seen the televised United States Churches, it will not be an encouragement to return.

It is time to think of God’s feelings. The Church is a family with a (heavenly) Father who wants his children to meet together in fellowship, worshipping as one. There may be, as with human families differences, but we have a duty to put God at the heart of our lives.

From its first days the Church has had to face powerful forces giving much opposition to the gospel message, and now the attack is stronger than ever. The Bible states, for we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places .

We have a government, which whilst posing as Conservative, but without displaying many of the traditional conservative policies, introducing legislation in direct conflict with the Bible, and encouraging abortion on a large scale. Many people will feel disappointed.

Even more concerning, from within the Church itself. Incredulously, from the highest Offices there are calls to abandon Bible teaching on moral matters, and a link up with an activist organisation which opposes all forms of Christian teaching.

The Church in this and other Western nations has reached crossroads, and must make a decision which road it is going to follow along. The present situation in which the Bible has in so many places been either discarded or vandalised to accommodate popular opinion cannot continue,  If necessary, there can be a parting of ways in which the liberal wing with its secular activists partners, can take the broad road, and let the evangelical biblical people make their way with Jesus on the narrow road.  Jesus set guidelines which have been removed, so a decision has to be made whether we are following God made religion or man-made, one or the other.

We need to look back to the Reformation and learn from it, that the Bible guides the Church and the voice of God is not being listened to. Biblical doctrine only must be used; Jesus said, ‘ the Scriptures cannot be broken’, which means that all the Bible contains cannot be annulled.  If the doctrines within are not accepted, it must be asked is it being suggested the Bible is untrustworthy; is the Church no longer to take its authority, for at present  Church leaders are tearing up the doctrines and introducing man made ones.

For centuries the Church toiled to preserve the teaching of the Apostles, a message firmly believed to be God given, and God watched over his Church. We must trust in God to continue and deal with those who seek to abandon him.

The great men who God chose to write his words were those he chose because of their occupations and characters, their commitment and devotion, and Paul and Peter the two great Apostles, divinely chosen by God, stressed that those men spoke as God directly inspired them, being filled with the Holy Spirit.

God meant his Word to be respected, not become a subject for intellectuals to amuse themselves debating in College Common rooms, as to what should and should not be taught.

The clearest message comes from Paul,
ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true, and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives,  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Pray the Church will take the right road and not be diverted, and will bring forward men who will call the Church back to him, and once again make it the God given right to be the moral, ethical and spiritual voice of this nation.

Pray also that you will be found on the narrow road

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