1. Today we’re in Matthew 7. We’re almost done with the sermon on the mount – this weekend and next. It’s been a good series and I kind of hate to end it, but when you’re doing a series on the sermon on the mount and you come to the end of it, that’s it. Matthew 7:13-23. Jesus gives us some straightforward, no-nonsense spiritual advice. Here’s what He says.
2. The other day I took the kids to Busch Gardens. Just the boys. We had a blast. They love roller-coasters. Elijah just made the height requirement on most of the coasters, so I was spiking his hair up so he could get in. And we wanted to be the first ones on the rides, so we left early. But I hadn’t been to Busch Gardens in a decade, so I wasn’t sure how to get there. I turned on my phone GPS and set the address in there and no problem.
3. As we got closer to the park, we started seeing clear signs, so we were kind of following both – the signs and the GPS. But when we got like right to the park, the sign that said “parking” was actually on the wrong side of the road but we could see the rides on the right and knew BG was on the right and my GPS kept saying to go forward and turn right. So after a brief battle over which directions to believe, I just kept going and followed the GPS. Came to a little side entrance thing, I don’t know what it was. Didn’t look right, but I saw the park right there and GPS said go, so I followed it.
4. As I’m going in, cars are passing me the other direction, looking at me like you’re going the wrong way. The kids are like “Dad, those people are saying you’re going the wrong way”. Yeah, well they don’t know where I’m going. We’re going a secret way. By now I’m realizing this doesn’t seem right but I can’t turn around and now I’m just curious where exactly the GPS is leading me, so I follow this winding path on the wrong side of the pylons but I know I’m on the wrong road.
5. Well, I finally find a place to turn around – it’s a little roundabout, and as I pull into the roundabout, my GPS says “Destination” and I can almost spit on the front gate of the park…we’re right there. And I’m thinking why can’t we just park right here. And there’s an official Busch Gardens guy coming over to us, so I roll down the window and try to play it cool. I’m about to explain the whole “I just was following my GPS” thing and he says would you like me to park your car? And I looked at his tag and it said Valet. At that moment I wasn’t sure how I’d gotten there, how anybody else would ever get there, but I just played along and said, “of course I do my good man. Why else would I drive up to the valet booth? It was more expensive than regular parking, but the tickets were free so what do I care? The kids were pumped – Dad you drove right up to the front!
6. Let me just ask you – do you know what road you’re on? Jesus tells us here to choose our path well; that there are eternal implications inherent in our choices. Do you know where the path you’re on is leading? What is the logical extension, the destination, the conclusion…where are you heading? Do you know? Do you care? Are you paying attention? Unlike my little story, we’re not going to end up in the right place by accident. It’s not “all dogs go to heaven.” It’s not “as long as you’re not a serial killer, you’re OK.” The path to life is a conscious, calculated choice that we have to make and continue to make.
7. According to Jesus life is an either / or proposition. There is no “Middle Group”. Jesus deals in extremes; yes or no, in or out, hot or cold. Two masters, two treasures, two gates, two roads, two kinds of fruit, two destinations, two foundations. But here’s the problem – we want both. For most people it’s a both / and. We want to believe in God AND live our life. want to live for God, but I also want to live for myself. I want heaven, but I also want to have some fun. I want to grow and mature, but I’m not willing to commit. We want the middle road – to have eternal life and everything Jesus offers, and life the way we want. But Jesus never gives us that option. You’ve got to pick a path – it’s one or the other.