Summary: Heaven, Hell, two roads, the crowd


Matt 7: 13-14 (p 685) July 15, 2012


Douglas Corrigan became a legendary aviator, not because of his accomplishments as a pilot but rather because of a supposed navigational error. In 1938, Corrigan “Mistakenly” flew from New York to Ireland—when he was supposed to be flying from New York to California-because he seemingly misread his compass. For Americans, who were caught in the midst of the Great Depression, Corrigan’s antic provided a great deal of humor and uplift and he became a national folk hero. To this day, Corrigan’s nickname, “Wrong Way” Corrigan,” remains a stock colloquial phrase in popular culture. People us it to describe anyone who blunders and goes the wrong way, particularly in sporting events.

In fact…. (show the clip)

On January 1, 1929, the Golden Bears faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Rose bowl in Pasadena, California, USA. Midway through the second quarter, Riegels, who played center, picked up a fumble by Tech’s Jack “Stumpy” Thomason. Just 30 yards away from the Yellow Jackets’ end zone, Riegels was somehow turned around and ran 69 yards in the wrong direction.

Teammate and quarterback Benny Lom chased Riegels, screaming at him to stop. Known for his speed, Lom finally caught up with Riegels at California’s 3-yard line and tried to turn him around, but he was immediately hit by a wave of Tech players and tackled back to the 1-yard line. The Bears chose to punt rather than risk a play so close to their own end zone, but Tech’s Vance Maree blocked Lom’s punt for a safety, giving Georgia Tech a 2-0 lead.

Riegels was so distraught that he had to be talked into returning to the game for the second half. Riegels turned in a stellar second half performance, including blocking a Tech punt. Lom passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point, but Tech would ultimately win the game-and their second national championship-be a final score of 8-7. The example of how the distraught Riegels was persuaded to pick himself up, return to the field and play so hard during the second half is sometimes used by motivational speakers to illustrate overcoming setbacks.

But there is a more modern “Wrong Way”. It involves Jim Marshall, who played for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1960’s…

During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, Marshall was involved in what is considered by many, including author John Rolfe, to be one of the most embarrassing moments in professional sports history. On October 25, 1964, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards with it the wrong way into his own end zone. Thinking that he had scored a touchdown for the Vikings, Marshall then threw the ball away in celebration. The ball landed out of bounds, resulting in a safety for the 49ers. Despite the gaffe, the Vikings won the game 27-22, with the final margin of victory provided by a Carl Eller touchdown return of a fumble caused by a Marshall sack. Marshall later received a letter from Roy Riegels, in famous for a wrong-way run in the 1929 Rose Bowl, stating. “Welcome to the club.”

I promise you Douglas Corrigan did not believe he was flying to the Ireland…nor, did he want Ireland to be his destination….

Roy Reigles and Jim Marshall believed they were headed for a touchdown…Reigles was stopped just short of the wrong end zone….Marshall made it in…threw the ball in celebration…and then learned the other team gained 2 points instead of his team gaining 7….

Welcome to the Club…!!!

Roy Reigles could have written that letter to every single one of us.

Jeff preached a sermon a few weeks ago from Prov. 14:12 which says…”There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death”

Whether you believe or hope you’re running or flying in the right direction doesn’t really change the fact…Your Not!

Jesus is winding down the sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7…He’s shared the beatitutudes…the attitudes of a blessed life…He’s talked about salt and light, fulfilling Dog’s law, Murder, adultery, divorce…Making a Vow, revenge, loving our enemies and giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, money, worry and judging others…

The last 3 stories: the narrow and wide gate, the Good & Bad fruit, and the wise and foolish builders all have something in common…

1 way is right…and the other way is wrong…Jesus entire point is…Make sure you choose the right way…Make absolutely sure you’re headed in the right direction…

Scripturally Jesus puts up a sign so that we can know if we’re headed in the right directions or the wrong way..

Look for this identifying factor:


“Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Choosing between a Lazy -e boy (recliner) and a cross is a no brainer to this world.

“I’ll take the recliner…why in the world would I choose death or discomfort in a cross over a life of ease…” So here is how I determine what is right…If it’s easy…or easier…and most people or a lot of people agree with me then I am headed in the right direction…

[Let me give you a very clear illustration of what I’m talking about…Homosexuality is a sin…scripture clearly preaches that to engage in this lifestyle is wrong…sinful (Rom 1:27)…I don’t believe homosexuality is worse than adultery…they are both sexual sins…but what happens when Satan begins to undermine its sinfulness…when we as humans begin to say…”It’s at birth”…people don’t really have a choice in their sexuality…and we become friends with those who engage in the life style…and we really like them, even respect them…we don’t want them to be lost…we want to make this lifestyle…not a sin, but a genetic marker…there we go…now we believe were headed in the right direction…but whether you believe or hope your flying or running in the right direction doesn’t really change the fact….”You’re Not”]

And if we truly love people…all people…then convincing ourselves God’s definition of sin is different now isn’t love…it’s easier…it’s broader…and it’s the most evil thing we could do if it’s our son, daughter and friend.

Love doesn’t overlook sin…it loves in spite of sin, because of sin, so grace can come through. This is not easy or popular…its’ eternal…

[I use to watch American Idol with Kari…but I only watched the early auditions…when people would sing horribly…it sounded like cats being strangled.

Simon Cowell would make one cringe…He would be brutally honest…not much love…Paula would be somewhat honest…cupcakes and kisses…not much truth…

And Randy would be somewhere in the middle “Dawg!

But during the early auditions there were some truly awful singers….you remember William Hung…and others….and some of them were truly shocked with Simon’s honesty. Some were so horrible even Paula and Randy were honest about their talent…and I asked Kair…”do you really think they were surprised…don’t they really know how horrible they are…and Kair said, “And I believe her now too!) They honestly believe they’re good because Mom’s, grand moms, and friends have told them how great they are…they really started to believe what were told.”

There’s an old adage that says “If you tell a lie often enough and sincerely enough eventually people will believe it’s true”

That is how the God of this world works…not just with homosexuality or abortion…or someone else’s sin…but with all sin….

And pretty soon if enough people believe it and support it as true it must be o.k. huh? No wonder Romans 3:5 declares “Let God be true and every man a liar”…

One of the huge reasons it’s difficult to be a Christian is that “the narrow road runs down the middle of the broad highway…and millions are headed in the opposite direction confirming each other and telling you how stupid you are for the way and the direction you’re walking.

Ease and popularity will never be the best compasses for heading into eternity. Satan will use both to convince you your not headed in the wrong direction…but there will be individuals more shocked and surprised than Douglas Corrigan who lands on the emerald shores..

Just 7 verses from our text Jesus says – Matt 7:21-23 (P686)

Those are some of the severest in the New Testament to me…because these aren’t American Idol auditions…these are Heaven or Hell… auditions we’re talking about. And clearly these people think Jesus is there Lord because of all the stuff they’ve done…miraculous stuff…and all the while they worked and preformed…they never knew Jesus…and he never knew them….Evil doers.

The Greek word for “Evil doer” is “ergazomai” – it literally means those who work and are evil “Labor with evil”

It hits me hard when I think about what Jesus is saying here in Matt 7:23…He’s speaking to “church people…people who genuinely believe they made it through the auditions…because of all the work they do, and the labor they’ve been evolved with…but all the while, they’ve never known the truth…they’ve never had a relationship with Jesus through His Spirit…they will be open mouthed in shock believing they’ve scored a touchdown but all the while they’ve run in the wrong direction…It’s easy to rely on our resources instead of His…It’s easier to attend church for our salvation…than take the time for a relationship…ease and popularity are never great compasses for eternity.

Here is the most import truth you can ever hear…


“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

Jesus continually battles the Pharisees who believe they are the religious guardians of God…they are judgmental hypocrites who have no love for people and only an outward appearance of Godliness….they are in Jesus words “White washed tombs”…”Blind guides who create disciples twice as bad as thunders.

They are not the shepherds God has intended for his people…they are killing the sheep, not loving and protecting them…so Jesus says in

John 10: 1-6 (p 759)

Salvation is found only in the Name of Jesus…Its His death on the cross that open a new and living way for us into the presence of God…It’s his burial and resurrection that conquers death, and provides the hope of new life…

He is the gate…and He calls us to Himself…John 6:44 records…”No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

We hear the Holy spirit’s voice cutting our hearts, calling us to salvation…to walk through the gate…but it’s that same voice that keeps us on the narrow road…(we’re not following a stranger…We’re following a voice we are very familiar with…it’s the voice that saved us.)

[I was in at Mom’s the other day and found a recording of my Dad…He was telling a war story…My dad’s been gone for 8 ½ years…and the moment I heard that voice I knew exactly who it was…this wasn’t a stranger…it was my Rock, Hill born, W.R. raised…Southern talking….Dad.]

That voice grabbed my heart because it was so recognizable ….unmistakable!!!

Jesus said, the same is true with our heavenly father’s voice…it’s not a strangers, it’s not unrecognizable…It’s distinct, clear and powerful…Listen to Jesus words.

John 14: 15 – 21, 25-26 (p764)

It’s exactly how we enter the gate into a saving relationship with Jesus and how we stay in Christ on the narrow road.

Once again Jesus says… John 16:7-15 (p765)

The apostle Paul says…It’s the Holy Spirit within us that makes us God’s son or daughter…and by that spirit we cry out “Daddy, Abba”, Father…This Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit (small “s”….our inner soul) that we are God’s children.” (Rom 8: 15, 16) (p800)

Here’s the small gate, here’s the narrow road…and the reason only a few find because it is completely opposite to the ease and popularity of the wide Gate and broad road.

Salvation is found in a Holy Spirit invitational call, and a Holy Spirit recognizes life lived in Christ…and as I end I’ll share with you that is sometimes a difficult prospect in the American church…

Jim Cymbala says in F.W. F. F.

Too often a church service, which is meant to draw us toward God, is not all that much different. Spontaneity and the leading of the spirit have been thrown out in the name of keeping things on schedule. However, there has never been a revival of religion so long as the order of service has been strictly followed.

Please understand: I am no campaigning for disorder. I am not saying “anything goes.: I am asking us to remember that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said he would build his church, and we must not be so independent that we lose contact with the Master Planner. God the Holy Spirit does unusual things, and he does not always notify us in advance.

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,” says Romans 8:14. Read the gospels and look for Jesus’ daily agenda. It just isn’t there. Scan the book of Acts to find the apostolic liturgy. You’ll come up empty. What you will find are people moving in spontaneous obedience as they are propelled by the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit.

The prayer of the Jerusalem believers recorded in Acts 4 says in essence, “God, please don’t send us out there alone just talking. Work with us; confirm your message in a super-natural way.” What way and in what manner was left entirely (and rightly) to God alone.

Lets pray.