Summary: My journey to heaven begins with a choice at the fork in the road.
September 9, 2001
The Doorway to Heaven – Part 1
The story is told of a young man named Charles Murray who was a student at the University of Cincinnati. Murray was a high diver and training for the summer Olympics of 1968. A fellow student had been talking to him for quite some time about her relationship with Jesus Christ. Not being raised in a family that attended church, this was all quite new and fascinating to Charles. He even began asking questions about sin and forgiveness.
So finally the day came that this other student put the question to him. She asked him if he realized the need to be saved and if he was ready to trust Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The expression on his face changed and replied with a strong, “NO.”
In the days that followed, Charles was quiet and seemed like he was avoiding this student that witnessed to him, until he called wanting to know where to look in the Bible for some verses she had given him about salvation, but declined to talk about the issue any further than that.
Because he was training for the Olympic games, Charles had special privileges at the university pool facilities. Some time between 10:30 and 11:00 that evening he decided to swim and practice a few dives.
It was a clear night in October and the moon was big and bright. The university pool was housed under a ceiling of glass panes so the moon shone brightly across the top of the wall in the pool area.
Charles climbed to the highest platform to take his first dive. He stood on the platform backwards to make his dive, spread his arms to gather his balance, looked up to the wall, and saw his own shadow caused by the light of the moon. It was the shape of a cross. At that he sat down on the platform and began to pray. He asked God to forgive him and save him. He trusted Jesus Christ twenty-some feet in the air.
Suddenly the lights in the pool area came on. The attendant had come in to check the pool. As Charles looked down from his platform, he saw an empty pool that had been drained for repairs. He had almost plummeted to his death, but he stood at the crossroads just in the nick of time.
At Matthew 7:13, the main body of the Sermon on the Mount is over, and now the application or conclusion begins.
Jesus is wrapping things up. It’s invitation time. Decision time.
He’s talked about the character qualities of people in the Kingdom. He’s
Not letting his audience walk away saying, “That was a good sermon.” He wasn’t content for listeners to say, “I’d never heard ethical standards for living described quite that way before. You gave me some things to think about, preacher.”
Jesus tells us it is time to make a choice. You’ve heard these things, but will you do them? Will you be a sold-out, loyal, committed and devoted follower? Will you begin the journey to heaven?
A telemarketer phoned a home and said, “I’d like to talk to the person who makes the final purchasing decisions for your family.”
The woman replied, “I’m sorry that person is still at Kindergarten and won’t be home for another hour.”
When confronted with choices or decisions we are not ready to make, we’d all like to pass the buck to someone else. Jesus won’t let us get away that easily.
In the words we find at Matthew 7:13-14, it is clear…
Big Idea: My journey to heaven begins with a choice at the fork in the road.
13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
TRANSITION: Let’s learn from Jesus about how to make the right choice on our journey. At the beginning of our journey to heaven we stand at an intersection. Jesus says…
I. THERE ARE ONLY TWO ROADS
We’re accustomed to having a supermarket of choices before us. A virtual smorgasboard of options on just about anything.
Toothpaste – extra whitening, tartar control, complete care, baking soda, gel, paste, gel and paste combined, different sizes of tubes – that’s just Crest! Look over you’ve got all kinds of different options with Colgate, AquaFresh, Arm and Hammer, on and on.
How about shampoo? Ever walk down the shampoo aisle at a place like Target or Wal-Mart? Talk about options! Botanical this, herbal that, citrus enhanced, salon quality, extra body, maximum shine, increased volume. I wish there was one that was called “Doesn’t smell like Apples and Makes You Feel Like You’re Not Going Bald.” If there was a shampoo like that I’d buy it.