Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No. 04 A Way That SEEMS Right???
It is so good to be back with you all again. I apologize for my absence for the last couple of weeks, but am so glad to be feeling better and I think I’m ready to get back on the “Bible Ballistics” trail! I had knee replacement surgery several weeks ago and that has kept me from my writing. I am doing much better, and while I’m still terribly slow and have a lot of limitations, we are making progress. Thank you for the prayers, messages and calls; your concern has been a real encouragement to me.
I’d like to share some thoughts today about paths and choices. With all the chaos and fear around us, we need to keep our hearts and minds focused on God and His Word. Our confidence is in the creator NOT the creation—and in that is great assurance, as the ‘creation’ isn’t doing to well (since they’ve chosen to walk away from God and HIS ways). And we must remember that God created us with the freedom to choose, to make decisions, we are gifted by God with the free will to choose for ourselves the paths that we take. But we also must take into account that with each choice there is a consequence; and we need to choose wisely and consider the cost!
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25
Jesus cautioned us to be aware of the truth and the consequences of missing “truth”. And in the culture that we live in, it is so easy to be caught up in “popular” opinion and miss “truth”!
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.
of false prophets,
which come to you
in sheep’s clothing,
they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15
Jesus told us that there are two ways—but only one choice. He also declares that the ways are not always what they seem to be, they are not always easily discernable. While one is broad and appealing, and followed by the masses its end is destruction! The other by contrast, is a narrow way yet its end is life—abundant and eternal life, but “few” find this narrow way! Jesus came to give that life—eternal and abundant– to those who will believe in Him and trust in His sacrifice for salvation. His way—the only way!
“Thomas saith unto him,
Lord, we know not whither thou goest;
and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:5-6
There is only one-way to The Father, and that way IS JESUS! Yet Jesus didn’t come to only give us eternal life in the ‘by and by’, He came that we might know HIM, and The Father through His sacrifice. And in His salvation we receive abundant life, love and the peace of God within our hearts.
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access
into this grace
wherein we stand,
and rejoice in hope
of the glory of God.
3 And not only so,
but we glory in tribulations also:
knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience;
and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad
in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength,
in due time
Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:1-6
What a mighty God we serve—the One who created us, He who loved us even when we sinned against Him, and also made provision for the Savior to save and redeem us back to the One we failed. He made the way—the only way– for sinners to be reconciled back to Himself—He paid the debt for our sin by giving HIS SON.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
And not only save us but give us abundant life! Don’t settle for the imitation of the “thieves”! Look to Jesus!
“I am the door:
by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out,
and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not,
but for to steal,
and to kill,
and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd giveth his life
for the sheep.” John 10:8-11
This great shepherd sacrificed His life so that YOU and I might have life “more abundantly”. Yet that abundant life also has a price tag—a cost to consider. We must remember that following Jesus has a resultant consequence, and Jesus did not leave us in the dark about its certainty, yet it’s a message that isn’t talked about much today. Many are more concerned about what God can give than what we are called to give Him. How sad that so many in our day are focused on “popularity” more that “persecution”!!!
“If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world,
the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you,
The servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have persecuted me,
they will also persecute you;
if they have kept my saying,
they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you
for my name’s sake,
because they know not him that sent me.” John 15:18-21
When we identify with Jesus, we can expect to be treated as He was. As He told us above, when we choose to follow Him, the same kinds of people who persecuted Him then, will persecute us now. Those same kinds of people who hated Him then, will also hate us now. In fact people have challenged me on this issue, saying ‘when we treat others nicely, then they will respond in kind’, but most of those who were alive in Jesus’ day “loved” Him to death—death on the cross. And we can expect to be treated in the same way. When we are speaking life and truth (just as Jesus did), we will be accused of false and heinous things, just as our Lord was. We may suffer for HIS sake and the truth of His Word when we devote ourselves to living according to His Word and His Righteous ways.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
What choices are we making each day? Are we rightly considering the cost? There is so much false information abounding around us, and the acceptance and approval of mediocrity and worldliness seems to be the fare of the day. We must make it our diligent pursuit to know Christ and His Word, and to pursue the things that please God and produce growth in the knowledge of God and holiness in our living. A small price in return for what our Lord has done for us
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:8-10
Oh, to “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings”! Oh, that we might recognize and understand that to suffer with Jesus, is better than to join the crowd of popular majority in ease and indulgent worldliness. We don’t hear a lot of teaching or preaching about the suffering for and with Jesus, but a lot on the indulgence of the flesh—the message of God’s blessings and prosperity to those willing to “manipulate” God and His Word! Do we want to know Jesus and His Word, or do we want ease, comfort and prosperity, when many are loosing their very lives for clinging to the name and hope of Jesus? Are we willing to die to self and live to Jesus, or are we clinging to self and the world?
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
And we must always consider, that whatever we choose, there is a consequence—a true principle of God– and HE is the record keeper, of all and for all.
“Be not deceived;
God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh
shall of the flesh reap corruption;
but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9
We can stand fast in assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ whom we serve, knowing that it is Him to whom we will all give an account, for every word and deed (Ouch!!!)
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt. 12:36
“For the word of God is quick,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner
of the thoughts
and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature
that is not manifest in his sight:
but all things are naked and opened
unto the eyes of him
with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13
And so, like Joshua, may we all choose to serve God and align ourselves with Him, His Word and His ways.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord,
choose you this day whom ye will serve;
whether the gods
which your fathers served
that were on the other side of the flood,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
The truth is, that all will give an account—and there is no exemption for sex, age, status, family or culture.
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” Proverbs 20:11
All will give an account! What will your account reveal?
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20:12
Oh, to hear Him say:
“His lord said unto him,
thou good and faithful servant:
thou hast been faithful
over a few things,
I will make thee ruler
over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21