Summary: A look at the characteristics of the Highway of Holiness
Let me start this morning by asking you a question: What route did you use to get here today? How many people came down the Hammonds Plains Road from Tantallon? How about the other direction from Bedford? Ok, how many came straight in from Kingswood Dr.? Did anyone just drive straight up Gatehouse Run? The truth of the matter is that there are several different ways of getting to Cornerstone on a Sunday Morning. If you wanted to get creative you could sail in the Bedford Basin, tie up at Convoy Key cut through the hole in the fence across the railroad tracks, through Sobey’s back parking lot and then walk or hitchhike to the church.
As a matter of fact most of us travel different paths every day of our lives, we take different routes to work, we take different career routes, different educational paths we don’t live in a cookie cutter world all trudging along in a mindless line, never varying from the path that the person before us walked.
(Video clip from Opening of Metropolis showing people all marching together)
By the way the video clip was from the 1926 Science fiction movie Metropolis and it was how Fritz Lang perceived life would be like in the year 2000. But the truth is every one of us here today walk different roads in most areas of our lives.
But as believers we are supposed to be walking a common path. I’m sure that many if not most of you have heard the comment “There are many roads to God.” Well that isn’t entirely true as a matter of fact it isn’t true at all because Jesus Christ made this statement 2000 years ago in the Gospel according to John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Not one of the ways, not one of the truths but the only way and the only truth, He said that the only way to heaven, the only way to God was through him and through the salvation that he offered.
This morning we are going to look at a word picture that was drawn by the prophet Isaiah almost 700 years before the birth of Christ. The passage was read earlier in the service, but I want to focus on three of the verses Isaiah 35:8-10 And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
The highway that Isaiah wrote about is a highway that makes it’s way through a wilderness. You see in the Bible, the wilderness is a picture of the devastation caused by our sin. It is wasteland in contrast with the Garden of Eden. God created a Garden; our disobedience produced a wilderness, the ungarden, the anti-garden, the place where nothing grows. The Garden of Eden was watered by four rivers; the wilderness is thirsty ground. The Garden had trees bearing fruit for food; the wilderness has no food. The wilderness is a place of burning sand and parched ground. Snakes and scorpions. Hungry jackals and lions. The Garden was a place of life; the wilderness a place of death. We chose death over life, self over God. We still do. And so we live life in the wilderness instead of the Garden.
But when we chose Jesus, and let Jesus chose us it’s like, like you’ve been wandering through the woods, lost, desolate and without hope and suddenly you push through the curtain of underbrush and there before you is a road with a sign that says “This Way Home.”
The wilderness is the place of testing, temptation, trial. In the wilderness Israel was disciplined by God. In the wilderness Jesus was tempted by the devil. In the wilderness John came preaching and baptizing to prepare the way for Christ. The wilderness is where every prop is kicked away, where every support is gone, and where you are left with nothing but God’s promise to protect you and his promise is that he is the way, and that he is the truth and that he is the life.
The holy highway runs from Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s cross to the garden tomb and the resurrection and glory. This is the only path that leads through the wilderness of life to eternal life. And it is called the Highway of Holiness. So what does the scripture tell us about this highway.