Two Roads to choose from
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7 13-14
Jesus tells us there are only two ways to choose – the wide way which leads to
destruction and the narrow way which leads to life.
What does it mean to choose the narrow way?
I enjoy traveling and visiting places I even enjoy driving except for the times when I
cannot find or understand signs which tell me which way to go. We have all kinds of road signs today that tell us where to go as well as global positioning systems.
God Positioning Scripture
2 Timothy 3: 16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
And then we have these other tools available to us as well.
Church, Spiritual Leaders, Means of Grace, (prayer, fasting, bible study, healthy living, meditation, Holy communion, Christian Conferencing, baptism, giving to the poor, serving those in need, visiting the sick, & imprisoned)
Jesus says there are 2 Gates
Everyone has chosen a gate to walk through
Do you understand what each choice means?
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Pretty Narrow huh – you know it depends on God – not good works
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Those who are heart-broken over their sin. Are you?
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Those who follow what Scripture teaches. Know the truth, do it!
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Those who want more than anything “Jesus”
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Those who pass along to others the mercy you have received. “This is Pro Active”
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
A first-century Hebrew walks alone on a hot afternoon, staff in hand. His shoulders are stooped, sandals covered with dirt, tunic stained with sweat. But he doesn’t stop to rest. He has pressing business in the city.
He veers off the road into a field, seeking a shortcut. The owner won’t mind – travelers are permitted this courtesy. The field is uneven. To keep his balance he thrusts his staff into the dirt.
Thunk. The staff strikes something hard.
He stops, wipes his brow, and pokes again.
Thunk. Something’s under there, and it’s not a rock.
The weary traveler tells himself that he can’t afford to linger. But his curiosity won’t let him go. He jabs the ground. Something reflects a sliver of sunlight. He drops to his knees and starts digging.
Five minutes later, he’s uncovered it – a case fringed in gold. By the looks of it, it’s been there for decades. Heart racing, he pries off the rusty lock and opens the lid.
Gold coins! Jewelry! Precious stones of every color! A treasure more valuable than anything he has ever imagined.
Hands shaking, the traveler inspects the coins, issued in Rome over seventy years ago. Some wealthy man must have buried the case and died suddenly, the secret of the treasure’s location dying with him. There is no homestead nearby. Surely the current landowner has no clue that the treasure’s here.
The traveler closes the lid, buries the chest, and marks the spot. He turns around, heading home – only now he’s not plodding. He’s skipping like a little boy, smiling broadly.
What a find! Unbelievable! I’ve got to have that treasure! But I can’t just take it – that would be stealing. Whoever owns the field owns what’s in it. But how can I afford to buy it? I’ll sell my farm…and crops…all my tools…my prize oxen. Yes, If I sell everything, that should be enough!
From the moment of his discovery, the traveler’s life changes. The treasure captures his imagination, becomes the stuff of his dreams. It’s his reference point, his new center of gravity. The traveler takes every new step with this treasure in mind. He experiences a radical paradigm shift.
He or She who has ears to hear, let them listen!
44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, and in the words of Tevye the milkman.
The year was 1905, and the Russians told the people in his little village, they had 3 days to vacate or the town would be destroyed. One of Tevye’s Jewish friends cried out in anger, “We should defend ourselves. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” To which Tevye said, “Very good, that way the whole world will be blind and toothless.”
It is easy to read the words of Jesus and gloss over them, thinking that they sound nice, but in reality, if we are willing, they take us much deeper into the life of faith.
“Peacemaking requires people who work tirelessly for a just society that mirrors, however obliquely, the kingdom of God.” James Howell
In reality we have already decided which road we are going to walk, we’re on it. Does anyone want to change the road you’re walking?
Here is a comparison of the two roads based on the Sermon on the Mount above.
The Narrow Road
One gate is wide and one is narrow Jesus tells us to enter the narrow gate If you wish
to be my child you must enter the narrow gate.
“It’s all or nothing you can’t have it both ways You are for me or against me” Jesus
I can appreciate evangelism that says that God’s arms are open wide – just come to
Him and trust in Him and all will be well you will live forever
But that misses the point of what Christ asks of us If you come to me you must make
a tough decision a costly one – the gate is narrow and hard to enter
What does it mean that the gate is narrow
It means that like a turnstile only one person can enter at a time and with very little
We can only come with no baggage It means leaving the world behind
If we come to God and say we want to live for Him but our hands or hearts are filled
with possessions pride desire for worldly pleasures anything that we might hold onto
tightly we then have a problem We won’t fit through the gate
What is your baggage?
We may have chosen the narrow way but the way we live we may wonder whether we
are still on the narrow road. If so we need to get up confess sins and continue on our journey.
I pray that you have entered the narrow gate If not, you can do so today.
Here is some important information for you as you plan to attend the Holston Evangelism Conference. The Witness Team is meeting tomorrow (Thursday) in White Pine Tennessee to finalize plans and I hope to have more information posted here by late tomorrow night.
Blessings and please help me pray for what I believe is a vision that God has given us for New Life and Excitement in Christ. This could start in Holston and Spread Far and Wide.
Feb 19-20 Holston Evangelism Conference – This event will be held at Cokesbury Center in Knoxville, TN.
We welcome the Rev. Rudy Rasmus and Bishop James Swanson to lead us through this inspirational and motivating event. We will celebrate the past year’s theme and covenant to “Offer Them Christ” and to invite Holston to the next steps toward Pentecost 2010. Friday: Optional Mission Outreach (“Grace bags” to Knoxville Homeless) 3-5; Registration 5-7; Session I begins 7pm. Bishop Swanson will conclude the conference by 3pm on Saturday.
40 Days of Prayer and Preparation — beginning on Feb 23rd, we will encourage every congregation to pray,fast and ask God for a burden for the lost. Churches may organize specific prayer groups, teaching or preaching about prayer and fasting, or other creative Holston ways of preparation. The Witness Team will provide a 40 Day Prayer Guide which will be daily devotions written by lay and clergy members of our Conference. At this time we are working on the best delivery of these guides, but at the least we will be emailing copies to local church pastors and designated leaders for copying and distribution.
The Witness Team is asking that every Pastor and Lay member who has a blog to add the daily devotional to your church and personal blogs.
The cost will be $30 per person with a discount for groups of 7 or more. The cost includes lunch on Saturday.
Mark 8: 31-38
New Living Translation
31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
headed home, Kyle to Sylvan and out for a cold training run with Kenneth 28 degrees about 18 hours ago from web
fellowship time with Charlie and Marlyn, VBS planning about 19 hours ago from web
working on Witness Team, 50 Golden Days, Wednesday Night Youth Message, and SNL this week, don’t miss Sunday night about 17 hours ago from web
If my computer problems were solved I could have been home by now about 17 hours ago from web
Betty Ridge just blessed us with some awesome Chicken and Dumplings about 19 hours ago from web
please pray for Samuel, back at the Doctor, ears are still not better. May be looking at tubes about 20 hours ago from web
Holston Conf Witness Team will meet Thur 2 work on finalizing plans 4 the Holston Evangelism Conf 4 Feb 19&20 & cont work on 50 Golden Days about 21 hours ago from web
if the internet here at church would work (Century Link) I could be so much more productive about 21 hours ago from web
Seniors meeting is today @ 1st Hillsville, All Sr. Citizens welcome, great meal and a great ministry program. Hillsville Police Dept today about 22 hours ago from web
Brit Hume Message to Tiger Woods http://imagebearer.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/brit-hume-message-to-tiger-woods/ about 23 hours ago from web
in Matthew 15 Jesus says it’s a heart matter, our hearts are in need of repair, we need forgiveness but we also need change, follow me… about 24 hours ago from web
people need Jesus, what are we doing about it? about 24 hours ago from web
just heard on NBC News, more than half of all Americans R not satisfied in their jobs. That is sad when much of our lives are spent working about 24 hours ago from web
Resurrection is coming soon N Gatlinburg,Divine Rhythm N Severville, then Convocation N Lake Junaluska & Holston Evangelism Conf N Knoxville about 24 hours ago from web
reading Matthew 15, 17 & 17 this morning about 24 hours ago from web
planning to take the kids and grandkids to Monster Truck Jams in Greensboro next weekend, yeah about 24 hours ago from web
oh my it is only 37 DAYS | 23 HRS | 27 MINS | 16 SECONDS to the Myrtle Beach Marathon. I must train! about 24 hours ago from web
butterscotch pie is not going to make me the lean mean running machine that I desire to be, no kidding gotta run today
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child, whom he placed among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes a humble place—becoming like this child—is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Causing to Stumble
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10-11 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If a brother or sister sins, [a] go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ [b] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. [e]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold [f] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. [g] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive a brother or sister from your heart.”
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ [h] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ [i]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others have been made eunuchs; and others have renounced marriage [j] because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
The Little Children and Jesus
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, ” ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ [k] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ [l]“
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife [m] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 ” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his supervisor, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
A Mother’s Request
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Two Blind Men Receive Sight
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
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