Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
THAT IS WHAT - Jesus was born for - Lived for - Died for - Arose for - and has empowered His church for. We are to proclaim that He is the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
Not only is He the way to heaven, He is heaven and it should be revealed through us.
He is truth - the ultimate truth! And we as children of GOD should be a living revelation of truth.
He is life and every facet of life should reveal him.
THE GOOD NEWS IS - IN CHRIST (the anointed one) WE CAN DO IT!!
There's an old saying about midweek family night, prayer meetings, Bible studies, etc. They would say you go to church Sunday and get your tank filled (like a car). If you use it much, by midweek you're half empty (and if things were really tough -- you're closer to empty). So, to prevent a disaster you go to church midweek to get 'er full again. Don't get caught with and empty gas tank -- it is damaging to your engine.
Then, there were few stations available during the night -- today there are few churches open for midweek services. According to Hebrews 10:35 IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT TODAY, IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT!
Every road leads to Rome.
You've heard that statement, right? A similar statement is very prevalent today -- every religion leads to God of heaven.
Let's think about this for a moment. Certainly, with today's transportation technology one can teach Rome, or Britain, or Israel, or South America -- even the South Pole -- from any location.
We occasionally make trips to other areas of the country -- and sometimes we take a different route than we might normally use. No matter how many times we have driven to Denver or Atlanta, we still check the map each time we begin a trip. We can opt to choose a scenic route or, most likely, choose the freeway to Atlanta, or LA, or Denver or Des Moines, or Buffalo. But just to get to the freeway there is some planning that must be done. It would be utterly foolish to just start driving with no knowledge of the route and expect to reach a given destination without many unnecessary hardships.
First of all, where is the freeway and which route is the best? MapQuest or Google will show you the shortest route. But, have you ever tried the shortest route and found yourself going through small town after small town with 20-30 mph speed limits, traffic lights, pedestrians or farm equipment to slow you down and raise your blood pressure? An amusing example of the shortest route: My wife and I along with our son-in-law were going from Atlanta to the home of some relatives in north Georgia so we set the GPS for the shortest route. Things were going well wen we were instructed to take a certain road. We didn't feel very comfortable about it but after all it was GPS. This road turned out to be a logging trail and we wound around and around, sometimes practically able to see our tail lights while going around a curve. We drove over roots and ruts, mountains of pine cones and other debris, until we finally reached a relatively comfortable road that finally took us to our destination.
Next, avoid toll roads. This one has cost us more than the toll would have cost. Not only in time but in money. For example, the distance is often somewhat longer and often you find yourself going through small towns, or even no towns at all. There is nothing like driving through wide open spaces, the gas tank bell goes off, the light comes on, with no gas station in sight. I remember one night when our children were small we spent several hours in front of a gas pump in a closed service station -- in the middle of nowhere, Montana. The tank was on empty and we were still mile away from even a chance of a gas station. And we weren't alone. Before morning several cars joined us. Fortunately, the local sheriff notified the manager of the station and he came and opened the station early so that we could get on our way.
Once, for some reason we ran two different sets of driving directions (from two different sources) for the same destination and then took both of them with us. We were following on set of directions and soon found that we did not know which direction to take. This set of directions had completely left out a portion of the trip so we switch to the correct set of directions and safely arrived at our destination.
When you think about this, there are some rather deep spiritual implications in each incident, but the point I want to make is that yes, all roads lead to God -- but only IF you remember that there is one destination that must be reached first. There may be a lot of winding roads and hazards until you reach the right road.
John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. The only way to get to the Father (God) is by Me." He had said earlier in John 10:9, "I am the door, by me if any man enters in he shall be saved."
From Little Falls I can get to the airport without going the most reasonable way. But when I do get to the airport there is no way I can board a plane without first going through the airport gate. This is all Jesus is saying. To get on that plane to heaven you have to go through Him first.
So, the question is, 'what is your destination?' The next question is, are you on the right route to reach your destination? Have you gone through the right door?
The gospel of God has evolved from 'God is holy' to 'God is love' with nothing in between -- especially in the American culture. But, let's think of the Old Testament writers. When they talked about God they understood that God was holy and just; that He was omnipotent, and that He pulled no punches when He gave instructions. When He said do something -- He meant it. When He said don't do something -- He meant that, too.
But in today society there is not much talk about a holy God. As a matter of fact, the very mention of the wrath of God as part of God's nature is unwelcome in most religious circles -- including the churches -- and unfortunately in many of what used to be "full gospel" churches. You will hear about the God of love, the God of generosity, and even a God of good works -- but rarely is the other side of God taught -- the side of wrath, justice and judgement. The truth of the love of God has so penetrated the consciousness that many think that God's wrath is so inconsistent with His love that they will reject the same gospel to which they learn of the love of God.
But think about this. Without anger at sin and disobedience - would God be holy? First of all, Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent.
God would not be a Holy God if He did not are whether a person was good or bad. He would not be a holy God if His holiness were weakened with the passions of fallen man. I believe that if there is no wrath or anger there is no love, conversely, if there were no love there be no wrath. I am glad to believe in a God who is angry with me when I sin, but yet know that He loves me -- even though He cannot look upon sin -- rather than believe in a God who does not love righteousness enough to hate sin -- so that He would ignore the rod of correction and hate me.
See, love and anger combined could be compared with gold. Gold alone is soft and essentially, not very useful, but when it is mixed in perfect proportion with an alloy the gold becomes firm and strong and yet malleable enough to form into precious items.
So, how do we handle the commandment that tells us to sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God. This is found in Leviticus 20:7 and over 150 other times in the Bible. So, knowing that God is not a man that He should lie, don't you think that He intends that this verse e obeyed. Of course, He does! Elementary school English students learn that this sentence is in the imperative form.
God is making a definitive command or order here -- and He means it! It is to be obeyed! And when God gives an order and it is disobeyed there are always consequences -- because He is a loving father. As any loving parent He desires that His children be perfect. And God (who is not a man that He should lie) tells us what happens to His obedient children in Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. "These things that shall come to pass" are some pretty awful things., but Jesus, Himself, says that we might be accounted worthy to escape them -- if we stay 'prayed up and worthy.'
And He tells us what happens to His disobedient children -- (Col 3:6) "for which thing' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" Would God do this to His children? Well -- He is not a an that He should lie, and He does not threaten and not follow through. He talks about his judgement in Matthew 25:41-46 to disobedient 'children.' 2 Peter 2 corroborates this and talks about these children who disobeyed as "accursed children" in verse 14.