Summary: In the New Testament times and down through the ages men, women, boys and girls have experienced spiritual awakening, have followed the highway of holiness, have served the needs of humanity and shared their faith. Let us go and do likewise.
Have You Traveled These Roads Bravely?
II Cor 54
The highways of the 1st century were very extensive and widely traveled. Rome was a great builder of roads. Some of these roads that we read about in the Bible are tied up with spiritual experiences that are just as important today as they were in Bible times.
I. There is the Road to Damascus
A. Acts 9:1-8 tells us that Saul of Tarsus was traveling this highway when he
experienced a great spiritual awakening. He and his men left Jerusalem that morning to go to Damascus to arrest Christians. At midday a light, brighter than the sun, enveloped them and they fell to the ground. Out of the light a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” “Who art thou Lord?” “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Acts 26:16 gives us in Paul’s words what his commission was to be. The Lord said, “Rise. Stand on thy feet. I will make thee a minister, and a witness of the things which you have seen and the things in which I will appear unto thee. To open the eyes of the Gentiles and to turn them from darkness to light, to turn them from the power of Satan to the power of God that they may receive forgiveness of sings and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
B. The Road to Damascus is the road to spiritual awakening. Saul had an overwhelming experience. In 1st Corinthians 15:8 he wrote that he had seen Jesus. In 15:9 he called himself the least of the Apostles because he had persecuted the church of God. In Acts 26 he called himself a murderer. In 1st Tim 1:15 he called himself the chief of sinners. But after meeting the Lord on the Damascus Road, his life was so transformed that he could write. 2nd Cor 5:17, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” Saul had been converted. Like Wesley, his heart had been strangely warmed. He had been born again. His sins had been forgiven.
C. Fortunate is any one who can remember a Damascus Road experience. IT need not be highly dramatic, like the experience of Paul. It need not be like the experience of the professional diver, who working beneath the sea, found a piece of paper between the valves of an oyster shell. He pulled the oyster loose and held the paper up to his eyes. The paper was a gospel tract. As he read it, God spoke to him. He came to the surface a converted man.
It may be as simple as the publican who went into the temple and cried, “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus said that he went to his house justified. Conversion needs to be real enough for us to sing, “O happy day that fixed my choice on thee, my savior and my God.” The importance of conversion is not the manner but the fact itself. No 2 persons find God in just the same way. The important question that needs to be answered is, “Have you traveled the road to Damascus? Did you meet Jesus? Were you converted?”
II. In Luke 9:51 there is the road to Jerusalem which Jesus traveled. “And it came to pass
that when the time was come that he
A. ...Should be received up, He steadfastly set His face that He should go to Jerusalem.” For Jesus it was a rough road with a cross at the end. The road to Jerusalem stands for complete dedication to God. Despite the cross Jesus said to the Father, “Thy will be done.” And the way of dedication became the way of victory. Because of His dedication we have been redeemed and the redeemed are enjoined to be like their redeemer, to walk the same spiritual highway called the Highway of Holiness in Isaiah 35:8 and the way of the upright in Proverbs 16:17. The Epistles of Paul have much to say about holy conduct. According to both Old and New Testaments, God’s standard for His redeemed is holiness.
B. But although holiness is so necessary to our Christian experience, it cannot be earned, it cannot be purchased, it cannot be attained. From beginning to end, God is the giver and we are the receivers. We are redeemed because Jesus died for us and saved us from the guilt of our sins. We are made Holy because Jesus is able and willing to save us from the power of our sins. Holiness is the gift of God in and through Jesus Christ.
C. But God can bestow this work of grace only upon the soul that is fully dedicated to Him. This involves the surrender of self to God. Self is the greatest burden in life that we have to carry. Self is the most difficult thing that we have to control. We must hand over to God Self with its weaknesses, tensions, worries, trials, and errors. Full surrender on our part is necessary to remove the difficulties and hindrances out of he way that God may bestow His gift upon us. In order that a lump of clay be fashioned into a beautiful creation of art, it must be entirely abandoned to the potter and lie passive in his hands. Or as it is absolutely necessary that the doctor be obeyed if he is to have opportunity to help us. So God must have the whole case put in his hands. Perhaps abandonment is a better word than dedication or consecration, but either way it means an entire surrender, of the whole being, spirit, soul, body, to God to use as He sees fit.