Summary: How to get to heaven from one's present position in life
How to get "There" from "Here"
A Sermon by Roosevelt Wright, Jr.
For the Tabernacle Baptist Church
October 12, 1997
SCRIPTURE: "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16; Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." -John 14:6.
Have you ever asked directions? Were you able to under stand them clearly? When you followed them, did they get you where you wanted to go? Often those who are new to an area are dependent upon others for direction. Many have stopped people on street corners and asked directions only to hear the response, "I'm new here myself!" Sometimes we are surprised when we learn that some people who have lived in a city many years, don't know the directions to some of the city's best known land marks or civic attractions. With surprise, sometimes we ask, "How could they live in a city and not know this place?" As frustrating as it is to find people who give us dumb looks and raised shoulders when we ask directions, it is equally frustrating when we receive directions but they are so complicated that they are hard to follow. What we ask is a simple question, but too often we get complications rather than a simple answer.
Consider the weary traveler who sought directions to a certain address by stopping a pedestrian on the street. Considering the address, the pedestrian said, "That's on the other side of town." When asked how to get there the pedestrian rattled off an array of alternatives. "When I leave home I take the interstate and then the 5th Street exit." Then he scratched his head. However, when I leave work I can get there by taking the by pass road and come to it straight down the lane." Before the traveler could say anything else he gave yet another alternative. "When I leave my mother's house, I take the freeway. It's a straight shot, just one turn." The traveler interrupted and said "But how do I get there from here?" The pedestrian scratched his head, "From here? I'm sorry, but I don't have the slightest idea!" There are many today who give life directions from their own perspective. The best directions usually come from persons who are familiar with where you are and know where you are trying to go.
There are many who are trying to find the way to a Godly life. They are reading life's street signs, but have no idea which way to go. Many have decided to simply drive through life, hoping they will stumble upon the Godly life. Some have asked directions from those who have steered them in circles and left them confused. Some have stopped looking altogether.
As Christians, we rejoice that we have found the directions to heaven. Jesus, who has been there and lived here, has shown us the way. With Christ as our guide we know exactly how to get there from here. That's why we follow him and take no chance of getting lost.
This text focuses on Isaiah's predictions that God would show those who are lost a new way of life as their God.
Isaiah spent the bulk of his life trying to give direction to Judah. Judah on the other hand spent most of its national life taking directions from sources foreign to the true God. As the armies of Babylon approached Judah, there were many that directed its leadership to forge alliances with neighboring nations such as Egypt. It was thought that such alliances with mighty nations would prevent Judah's defeat and subjugation by an invading power. However Judah, like Israel, took directions from other sources. The nation was defeated and the people became the wards of Babylon. God's judgment upon the nation for taking wrong directions is the subject of chapters 1-39.
Chapters 40-66 focus on how God will deliver the people and ultimately show them the way out of their estranged and exiled condition.
In captivity, Isaiah prophesied about the day when God would restore the believers. In the 42nd chapter Isaiah words addressed both Judah's state of affairs and that of believers in the future. So though his words are immediately addressed to the lost house of Judah, struggling to find its way back into the graces of God, they are also addressed to people in future times who are similarly looking for direction.
Verse 16 is a one verse passage that makes a prediction of hope.
Speaking directly to Judah and also to those in future years, God makes three promises to those that truly want directions for restoration: