DOES IT MATTER 5-19-19
Does It Matter?
May 19, 2019
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat an important question in Lewis Carroll’s book, ‘Alice in Wonderland’: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” To which the Cheshire Cat responded, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice then said, “I don't much care where.” The Cat rightly followed by saying, “Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.” How true it is that if you don’t care where you are going when you leave this life, then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
In the famous song by Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven” the lyrics state, “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.” And how true it is that there are two paths you can travel in this life, and as long as you are still alive, there is time to change the road you’re on. But… once you leave this life, you no longer have time to change roads. And the two paths lead to two entirely different places.
Lately, I have been noticing a very disturbing trend. Not just outside the church, but within the church itself. Not just our denomination, but Christians as a whole. Many, in their quest for tolerance and understanding, have diluted the message of the Gospel. It is no longer politically correct to say that Jesus is the only way to heaven. It is no longer acceptable to suggest that if you do not put your faith in Jesus you are on the road to hell. Preachers that dare to preach that message are quickly shoved to the side and out the back door. Pews need to be filled and people don’t want to hear that. People want to hear that God loves everyone and that we are all going to heaven one day. People don’t want to hear about a need for repentance and abandoning sin. They want to hear about how God wants to bless them, and that because of His grace it doesn’t matter if we sin.
Yes, this country was founded on religious tolerance. And no, we are not called to slaughter those of other religions, even if they want to slaughter us in the name of their god (who, by the way, is not the same God I worship and preach). We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). But real love does not desire another soul to spend eternity in hell. Love wants to share the good news of the Gospel, so that lost souls can be redeemed. Love wants to steer those on the wrong path (which leads to destruction and an eternity in hell) onto the right one (that leads to everlasting life in heaven).
Because despite what too many modern Christians believe, and sadly, too many modern pastors preach, Christ didn’t just come to show us the way, Christ IS the way. He didn’t come to teach us how to be good people, He came to teach us that we are all sinners in need of salvation, and to be the means of that salvation. He didn’t come to tell us that we are all God’s children, He came to shed His blood on the cross so we could become God’s children through faith in Him. Jesus called the self-righteous religious leaders of His day “children of your father the devil” (John 8:44) and asked them, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Now, if the religious leaders, who could recite entire books of the Bible, were very careful to observe everything written in the Law, attended all temple services, and tithed of their income were on the road to hell, how can anyone possibly say that all roads lead to heaven? Satan says, “Easy! Just put a thought into their minds that the Bible is not to be taken literally at all, but rather to be read allegorically.” And for those who aren’t sure what an allegory is, it is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one*. Synonyms for allegorical are: symbolic, metaphorical, figurative, representative, emblematic, imagistic, and mystical*. And while Jesus did sometimes speak in parables, he made it clear when he did speak in a parable that it was a parable and did indeed have a deeper meaning. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). The Holy Spirit did not inspire a Bible which only those with highest level of intelligence and religious instruction could possibly decipher and interpret. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16). So don’t listen to those who say, “What he really meant was…” or “We are not supposed to take that to mean…”. Jesus very plainly told us how to get to heaven, and also how we won’t get to heaven.
So, where do you want to spend eternity? If you don’t care, then it doesn’t matter what road you take. But if you want to go to heaven, put your faith in Jesus Christ, in the blood He shed on Calvary to cleanse you of your sin, and in his resurrection that defeated death and opened the door to heaven for you. Confess to Him that you are a sinner who doesn’t deserve his love or forgiveness, but that you want Him to give you new heart filled with the Holy Spirit so that you can live your life for Him. For that is the narrow road - the only road - that will take you there. Amen.
"Living Word" (Jeremy Camp) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xZYJ7NCbFE
"Only Jesus" (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXIBP2BdYR8