Summary: Jesus Christ taught that the path to heaven was very narrow and very few find it as many misguidedly choose to travel wrong paths. The bottom line is that salvation is a matter of the mouth and heart.
A Mouth and Heart Matter
The Philippian jailer asked in Acts 16, “What must I do to be saved?” Another way of asking this question is, “How do I get to go to heaven?” When people are asked this question a myriad of answers pour forth. Jesus Christ taught that the path to heaven was very narrow and very few find it as many misguidedly choose to travel wrong paths. The dilemma is that man seeks to find salvation in his own way just as Paul spoke of Israel’s struggle in the tenth chapter of Romans.
I. Man’s Dilemma – Seeking salvation through human efforts – Romans 10:1-5
A. Romans 10:1-3 “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
B. By keeping the law
1. Israel sought to establish their own righteousness by complying with all the demands of the Law so that they might merit salvation.
2. Romans 9:31-32 “...Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law...”
3. Romans 3:20 (LEB) “For by the works of the law no person will be declared righteous before him, for through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
C. By being good
1. Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
2. Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
3. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
D. By being religious
1. When a person hears the word Christian, they equate that word with the word Religion.
2. Some define religion this way: “Being religious means adhering to a certain set of rules or doctrines. It means that I go to a church (or synagogue or temple or whatever), and I do what the pastor (or priest, or rabbi) tells me I should. It means that I believe, that by doing what I should do, I am somehow getting closer to God.” - copied
3. Acts 17:22 “So Paul stood there in the middle of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I see you are very religious in every respect.”
4. The problem with being religious is seen in these comments: “Religion allows you to keep your old life. You can live life as you please doing a few good things for God like going to church or helping someone that makes you feel good about yourself. Religion is always SELF-CENTERED and SELFISH.”
5. Being religious is not the same as being righteous.