For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Four lepers and the Good News.
2 Kings 7:3-10.
Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, We will enter the city, the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die. And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there.
For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses, the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us! Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact their tents, their horses, and their donkeys and they fled for their lives. And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. Then they said to one another, We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household. So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them.
There are only 2 roads and we choose which 1 to take.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
A. Worldly pleasure.
The 4 lane highway or broad way to destruction.
2 Timothy 3:1-5.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,
disobedient to their parents,
ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
B. Human intellect.
Romans 1:18-22. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
1 Timothy 6:20-21.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
1 Corinthians 1:25-29.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.
Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
C. Good works.
Will you say to God “I’ve lived a good life”? Luke 18:9-14.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people robbers, evildoers, adulterers or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
There are prophets, miracle workers and those who have cast out demons will not all go to heaven
Matthew 7: 21-23.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you.
Away from me you evildoers!
Will you say “I believed in God”?
But someone will say, You have faith;
I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
You believe that there is one God.
Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless
Will you say “I have my own religion”?
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
If we could be righteous through any other religion, Jesus died for nothing.
We do not reach Christ through righteousness, we reach righteousness through Christ!
There are only 2 roads.
The narrow road of grace.
Therefore Jesus said again, Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The dying thief on the cross chose the road of grace.
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
The 4 things he did to get onto the road of grace.
He acknowledged he was a sinner.
He accepted responsibility for his sin.
He acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
He confessed with his mouth.
We are all sinners.
1. He acknowledged he was a sinner.
Luke 23: 40-41.
But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.
God cannot help us if we don’t see that we are sinners.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He said to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
John 9:39-41. And Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind. Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.
You only go to the Doctor when you realize that you are sick, so the first thing that the Spirit of God has to do is convince you of your sin.
Romans 3:10-12 & 23.
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.......
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
2. He accepted responsibility for his sin.
Who told you that you were naked? the Lord God asked. Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat? The man replied, It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it. Then the Lord God asked the woman, What have you done? The serpent deceived me, she replied. That’s why I ate it.
Adam blamed Eve and God.
Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?
It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit
Eve blamed the serpent.
Then the Lord God asked the woman,
What have you done?
The serpent deceived me
People blame the Devil for their own lusts.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Who are you blaming for your sin?
“I’m only human”
“it’s Adam’s fault”
“it’s my wife”
“it’s my husband”
Accepting responsibility for your sin is vital.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.
Simon answered, Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!
The Prodigal son.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.
Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.
The thief on the cross.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him:
Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! But the other criminal rebuked him. Don’t you fear God, he said, since you are under the same sentence?
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.
Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
3. He acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Salvation through Christ alone.
Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
1 John 5:10-12.
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
4. He confessed Christ.
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:
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