Crossroads

January 2, 2022

 

Crossroads

 

Life is full of choices isn’t it?

Just take a moment to think about how many different decisions that you made just to get to church this morning.

What time to get up?

Shower or bath or nothing?

What to wear?

What to eat?

Which car do we drive?

Do we come this morning?

What do the kids need to wear?

Which path will I take to get here?

Each day we are confronted with choices.

Some of the choices that we make on a daily basis have very little impact on our lives such as what and where to eat?

Other choices can significantly change the course of our lives, such as “Do we have children?”

Do we get married?

What career do I chose?

Then we have a whole other set of choices dealing with our daily conduct.

 

John MacArthur writes in his commentary on Matthew, “Our lives are filled with decisions—what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do, what to say, what to buy, whom to marry, what career to follow and on and on. Many decisions are trivial and insignificant, and some are essential and life-changing. The most critical of all is our decision about Jesus Christ and His kingdom. That is the ultimate choice that determines our eternal destiny.”

MacArthur hit the nail on the head.

The most important choice you will make in your life is whether or not you are going to follow Jesus and give your life to Him.

All the other important decisions in life hinge on that choice.

There comes a point in our lives where we are standing at the crossroads.

We will be standing at the crossroads where there are two signs, one pointing to Jesus and eternal life and the other pointing toward a path of destruction.

Each of us will have to make our own choice.

 

He had (his) religion, but he didn’t know God,

and though he had eyes, I thought this rather odd:

He only could see what he wanted to see.

So, blind to the truth that could set his soul free

the man charged ahead - unaware he was lost,

until he encountered a man on a cross

at a fork in the road

where the path became two

and the man who’d always been sure of himself had to choose.

Between broad and narrow, between left and right,

Between things he could see, and things still out of sight.

And I’m sure that the man would have gone the wrong way,

Had he not encountered the Savior that day.

But love rescued him! Truth set him free!

Grace opened his eyes - he could finally see.....

that the man on the cross makes the difference.

For you and for me.

 

As we stand at the crossroads, we are confronted by two gates, the narrow and the wide gate. Let us look at the wide gate first.

 

A. THE WIDE GATE

The wide gate is one of the choices that we have as we stand at the crossroads.

Notice that Jesus gives us the choice as to which gate we are going to enter.

The gate is wide and is easy to enter.

Many people can go through it at the same time.

When we go somewhere we would naturally choose to go through a wide passage verses a narrow one.

The gate is wide because more people will choose to enter in through it.

The nice thing about the wide gate for many people is the fact that because the gate is wide, they are able to take anything they want with them on the journey once they enter in through this wide gate.

Have you ever had to take a door off the hinges to get an appliance through it because the door was not quite wide enough?

Wide doors or gates are inviting.

On our journey through life many will want to take as much baggage with them as they can, the wide gates allows for that.

As we stand at the wide gate we peer down the path and it looks very wide and inviting also.

 

B. THE NARROW GATE

The narrow gate does not have room for anything but you.

You must leave all the baggage behind.

Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him daily.

This implies that our agenda is the one that Jesus has.

There is no room for chasing after the world and its pleasure, no room for unforgiving spirits, and there is no room for the self-righteous.

The narrow gate will not be as easy for us to walk through.

All the things that Jesus has told us up to this point has been to prepare to be able to walk through the narrow gate.

In LUKE 13:24 Jesus say, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (NIV)

Jesus tells us that we must make every effort, or put out a great effort to enter through the narrow gate.

Matthew 7:13-14 Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. 14 But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it. (TLB)

 

We’re all on a road.

We were born to travel it.

It is The Road of Life.

There are many stops along the way.

Some good, some bad.

And at different places along the journey we all come to “CrossRoads.”

Intersections marked by the sign of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Places of eternal decision.

At the “CrossRoad” the path divides - and we have a choice to stay on the broad road of destruction we’ve been traveling, or exit onto the narrow road that leads to life.

The direction we choose at the “CrossRoad” not only has ramifications for the rest of our journey, but even more importantly, it determines our final destination.

 

Which road are you on?

If you’re here today, listening to the sound of my voice, then this is another “CrossRoad” moment in your life.

What are you going to do?

Which path are you going to choose?

Are you on that narrow road that leads to life?

Do you know that your final destination is secure?

Or have you ignored God’s signs along the road of your life?

Are you careening out-of-control down the road that leads to destruction?

Are you living recklessly hoping everything’s going to turn out right at the end?

...broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

If that’s you, if that’s the road you’re on today, then pay close attention.

Jesus has set up a temporary road block.

He’s sent up a flare and he’s trying to get your attention.

He’s pointing - the Cross is pointing you in the right direction.

Don’t miss this moment.

Don’t drive by the Cross in the middle of the road.

I believe God loves us all so much that there are literally countless moments when He tries to reach us during the course of our lifetimes.

I can’t even begin to venture a guess at how often He tries, but I do know that God is committed to reaching us with the Good News that there is a Savior.

That our sins, which are many, have be forgiven because His died on the Cross to take our guilt for us. (tract, sermon, friend, stranger, tv/radio broadcast, a co-worker, a trip to VBS as a child)

He’s passionate about it.

John 3:16, “He’s unwilling that any should perish.”

So, although I can’t begin to tell you how many times it happens, God pursues us during the course of our lifetimes over and over again.

But it’s what we do when we come to the knowledge of the cross that matters.

 

THERE ARE 2 WAYS YOU COME TO THE “CROSSROAD.”

 

I. YOU WENT LOOKING FOR IT.

 

I believe there is a God-given curiosity within man that puts him on a search for a higher power during the course of his lifetime.

You can interview millions of people from all over the world, and you will get several versions of the meaning of life and what the true mode/brand of religion is - but although those things may differ greatly, the majority of those you talk to will believe there is more to this life than the hear-and-now.

They may not know the God of the Bible, but they have a belief in a higher power who reigns supreme and they understand that there must be something more to life than just living and dying.

It just makes sense.

There was an emptiness - The “God hole.”

So, for many in this room, there came a time when you began to think about the meaning of life and eternity and it led you on a search that ended at the “CrossRoad.”

You may not have known that’s where it would end when you started, but once you got there, you knew it was what you’d been looking for.

You may have come to the “CrossRoad” at a VBS session one summer.

You may have heard about it from your Sunday School Teacher.

Maybe your next-door-neighbor, or your mom, dad, Grandpa led you to the “CrossRoad.”

You might have heard about it at a summer camp or from a close friend...or maybe a complete stranger.

But once you came to the “CrossRoad”, you knew your search was over.

You bowed your knee, you called upon the name of the Lord, and you were gloriously set free from sin!!!

The shame and the guilt were all gone and you felt like a brand new person. (You were!)

And off you went down the narrow path, hand-in-nail-scarred-hand with Jesus. Isn’t it great!?!

So, many of us came to the “CrossRoad” because we went looking for it, and God gladly made sure we found what we were searching for.

“He’s unwilling that any should perish.”

“You will find me when you seek me with your whole heart.”

Many others come to the “CrossRoad” because.....

 

II. IT CAME LOOKING FOR YOU

 

Like I said, God wants you bad.

“The cross shows that God would rather die than live without you.”

But he won’t “make” you choose him.

That’s our option.

And even when we’re not looking for Him, he doesn’t stop trying to get our attention.

 

HERE’S 3 WAYS THE CROSS COMES LOOKING FOR US.

 

1) IT COMES BY SURPRISE

 

We weren’t expecting it.

We weren’t even looking for it.

But all of the sudden, there it is.

A cross in the middle of the road.

Ever been traveling in unfamiliar territory, heavy traffic, and all of a sudden, you see something that just grabs your attention? Maybe it’s a famous landmark. A historical marker. A sign “WORLD’S LARGEST FIREWORKS WAREHOUSE” or the exit sign you needed and now your past it!!!

You were just driving.

Minding your own business.

Doing your own thing.

And there it was - and it caught your eye.

It happens spiritually.

It happened to some of you.

You were headed down the path of life.

Minding your own business.

You weren’t expecting it.

You weren’t even looking for it.

But all of a sudden, there it was.

The cross of Jesus Christ.

You heard for the first time that you were a sinner and that there’s only one way to change that: accept what Jesus did for you at the cross.

It’s decision time.

The cross caught you by surprise.

Usually one of two things takes place in that “CrossRoad” of decision.

You accept it or reject it.

You either reject it outright, or you say, like many have said, “That sounds good, maybe some other time.”

And you keep right on going.

KEY POINT: Every time you pass the “CrossRoads” could be your last.

“Life is a vapor...here today, gone tomorrow.”

Perhaps the “CrossRoads” has caught you by surprise tonight.

It might be a surprise for you - but this is a God ordained moment.

God’s trying to get your attention.

You’re at the “CrossRoad” - what will you do?

Here’s another way the cross comes looking for us.

 

2) IT COMES IN HEAVY TRAFFIC.

 

Most of us have been stuck in a traffic jam.

Frustrating.

You want to get somewhere (you’re usually late) and the traffic is just crawling at a stand-still.

You’re one of hundreds of vehicles caught in a mess.

Helpless.

You can’t do anything to change your predicament.

You feel trapped.

Every day it’s the same thing.

You feel like you’re going nowhere fast.

And then you see it.

A big sign that says, “Ride the bus - get out of the rut.” Or drive the HOV Lane

And, sitting there in that traffic jam, you come across the answer.

Sure enough, you check into it and the metro has a stop one block from your office and once you try it, you never get stuck again.

Many of us get stuck in a rut during the course of our lives.

A traffic jam.

A treadmill that’s going nowhere fast.

We don’t like it be we don’t know what to do about it.

Life is so busy.

It controls us.

We feel helpless - pushed around by all these external circumstances.

Our life is meaningless and crowded.

We might “have it all” but it doesn’t feel good.

We’re frustrated.

And there it is, right in the middle of the road.

A big cross.

Jesus calls out, “Come unto me all ye who are weak and heavy laden....”

“I have come that you might have life...”

The alternative is there for us.

All we have to do is take it.

Once again, we either accept the cross and start on a new course of freedom, or we reject it, saying something like, “I’m too busy.” or “I can’t give up my lifestyle. I’m important. I’ve got a reputation. I’ve got to have more things.”

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

You’re at the “CrossRoad” - what will you do?

KEY POINT: Every time you pass the “CrossRoads” could be your last.

Here’s one more way the cross comes looking for us.

 

3)  IT COMES BY “ACCIDENT.”

 

How many of you have been in some type of auto accident?

What a sick feeling.

That and seeing red/blue lights in your rearview mirror when you’re speeding will instantly make you sick!

Sometime we come to the “CrossRoads” by accident.

Something traumatic happens.

A death in the family.

A major mistake finally catches up to us.

Something tragic takes place.

We lose our job unexpectedly.

We’ve all been there.

Somehow we hope it’s all a bad dream and it will just go away.

But it won’t.

The dream becomes a nightmare and we’re in serious trouble.

We are perhaps at one of the lowest moments in our life.

And we come to the “CrossRoad.”

Jesus is there offering hope and encouragement.

He’s not there to take away the fallout, but he’s there with forgiveness to take away our guilt.

And some accept.

The road is hard at first, but eventually, they come out of it and go on to victory and a brighter tomorrow.

Some accept the cross temporarily, praying one of those “foxhole” prayers.

“God, if you’ll just help me through this, I promise I’ll serve you....”

Only to reject him later when the worst of the storm is over.

Others reject God entirely when they come to the “CrossRoad” by accident - choosing instead to blame Him for their predicament.

Bitter and angry, they drive on into more pain.

The worst part of going out into an eternity without God will be living in eternal torment and thinking over and over again, “If only....”

You’re at the “CrossRoad” - what will you do?

 

KEY POINT: Every time you pass the “CrossRoads” could be your last.

“If you’re going to go to hell, you’ll have to go right over the bruised and bloodied body of Jesus Christ himself.”

You’re at the “CrossRoad” - what will you do?

You can’t avoid it.

You can’t go around it.

You can ignore it, but you’ll eventually have to face it.

How many times will you come the “CrossRoad” during the course of your lifetime?

You’re there today.

What will you do?

There are no “U-turns” in eternity!

 

THE DESTINATION

 

A. THE END OF THE WIDE PATH.

The wide path ends in destruction.

Many people do not think this will happen.

Three in ten adults (31%) see hell as an actual location: "a place of physical torment where people may be sent.”

Four in ten adults (37%), say "hell is not a place, but it represents a state of permanent separation from the presence of God."

Describing hell as merely a symbolic term, not referring to a physical place was true for two in ten Americans (19%).

PHILIPPIANS 3:18-19 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Some people, who believe in the passages in the Bible about heaven, utterly reject the references to hell.

We do not like to talk about hell, but it is as real as heaven.

It is a reality.

Do you want to trust the Bible, or do you want to trust what other people who are on the wrong path say?

 

B. THE END OF THE NARROW PATH

HEBREWS 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

A loving God will not make people go to heaven if they did not want to go there when they were on earth.

Jesus tells us that the narrow road leads to life.

Where is the path that you are following going to lead you?

Where is it taking you now?

In John 6 starting about verse 50 Jesus tells the crowd who is with Him that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood that they will not have life.

At this according to verse 66 many of the people who were following Jesus withdrew from Him.

Jesus turns to the twelve and asks if they are leaving also since they were struggling with what He had said to the crowd.

In verse 68-69 Jesus gets His answer.

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.“

We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

To whom shall you go?

Jesus is the only path to Heaven.

At the end of the narrow path you will find eternal life!

Life is about choices and life is about the freedom to make choices.

God loves us so much that HE did not take that ability to choose away from us.

God does not send people to hell, we choose to go there by the way we respond to the grace of God through Jesus.

In Deut 30:19-20 God told Moses to tell the people that they needed to choose who they were going to serve.

God said that life would be found in obeying Him.

In Joshua 24:13-15 upon entering the Promised Land Joshua told the people to choose this day who they would serve.

As Elijah was about to take on the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, he told the people to choose to either follow God or Baal in 1 Kings 18:21.

God never forced people to follow Him, He gives us a choice.

The question is when you are at the crossroads of faith, which way will you go?

Many have chosen to go the wrong way.

Are you going to let the majority take you with them?

Do we love the majority enough to stand as an example and share with them the faith within us?

God loves you enough to give you a choice.

If that choice is the wrong one, God loves you enough to let you make that choice, but it is with a heavy heart.

As Joshua said in Joshua 24:15, no matter what the rest of the world chooses to do, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!