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Summary: The best of intentions won't get you to heaven...

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Do You Know Where You’re Going?

Matthew 7:13-14

13- Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14- Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Introduction:

Have you ever started out thinking you were headed one place, and then when you got there you discovered that where you’d wound up was someplace else? I know that’s kind of hard to follow, but just imagine that you started out on a trip from Toronto, and you planned on winding up in, let’s say, Saint John, New Brunswick. How hard can it be? That’s a road trip you could make with your eyes closed...and from the way some drivers do it, I’d say they do have their eyes closed.

You don’t think you need a map, and if you’re a guy you certainly don’t need to ask for directions. After all, you know where you’re going, and you know that the Trans Canada goes completely across the country, so it only stands to reason that if you hit the Trans Canada and point east you’ll wind up in Saint John. So then...how’d you end up in a place called Brattleboro, Vermont?

Have you heard about the British couple who made their vacation plans for Sydney? Planned on enjoying the surf, the sun, the culture, the friendly locals...booked their airline tickets and got on the plane. They thought they had things all looked after. How hard could it be to go from London to Sydney? Wellll...when the plane landed in Sydney nine and a half hours later, they discovered to their surprise that they were in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Where had they planned on going? The other Sydney...Sydney, Australia.

The differences between the two Sydney’s couldn’t be greater. Sydney, Australia is a sunny, thriving metropolis with a population of four million that recently hosted the Olympics. Sydney, Nova Scotia is a community of 26,000 that’s plagued by high unemployment, and is home to one of Canada’s worst industrial waste sites. The good Cape Breton’ers did their best to make the mistaken Brits feel welcome. But truthfully, on it’s best day Sydney, Nova Scotia is a poor substitute when you are anticipating Sydney, Australia. I wonder what clued them in? Maybe the utter lack of Australians...

Just because you think you know where you’re going doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get there. After all, you could start out for Paris...and when you got there, discover to your chagrin that you were in Paris, Maine...not Paris, France. Of course, you probably understood that you’d taken the wrong road when you asked to see the tower and they took you to the water tower instead of the Eifel Tower. You could take a taxi to London, Ontario and wind up in London, England. But you’d probably figure out that you weren’t where you’d wanted to be when the taxi fare was around $28,000.

Look, you might laugh and think, “Now that’s a little foolish!” But it happens more often than you’d think. Now it’s true that most folks headed to Sydney, Australia don’t wind up in Sydney, Nova Scotia. And probably no one has ever mistaken Paris, Maine for Paris, France. And I’m doubtful that large numbers of people heading for London, Ontario have ever wound up in London, England. Yet it’s also true that people do often get lost and wind up someplace other than they intended. You can start out with full intentions of going one place and wind up someplace completely unexpected. It’s all a matter of getting on the right road. You see, the wrong road, in spite of intentions, will never get you to the right place.

You can’t start out wrong and wind up right. The best of intentions won’t get you to the right destination if you take the wrong road. Or, as the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I. Intentions

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who started out on a journey for the purpose of winding up lost. And I’ve never known anyone who started life with the intentions of going to hell. I’ve known some hard cases, some tough guys, some wicked people who revel in their sin, yet, none of them started out intending to be that way.

I’ve never talked to a child who wanted to go to prison. I’ve never talked to a young person who wanted to be an alcoholic. I’ve never talked with a couple who married with the intentions of divorce. At some point in everyone’s life there is nothing but the best of intentions! So then how do cute little tykes grow up and go to prison? How do able young people wind up alcoholics? How do starry eyed couples wind up divorced? It’s a matter of being on the wrong road.

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