Sunday Sermon: ‘God’s GPS’

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GPS (Global Positioning System) is becoming a big thing these days. You can purchase them for your car, boat, plane and even hand-held for things like hiking. They’re pretty cool. You type in where it is that you want to go and it guides you, both audibly and with a map. Most of the time they’re right; but every once in a while, they get a little mixed up.

TodayI want to share with you a GPS system that will never fail. It’s God’s Plan of Salvation. It’s unfortunate, but not everyone knows how to get to heaven. Sometimes it’s a lot like asking a local for directions to something in their area. “Well, let’s see. You could go down this road and turn by that big old oak tree. No, wait a minute. Did they cut that tree down last year? Here’s what you do. Go this way and turn on the first road to your right; or maybe it’s the second road. Anyhow, I always go a different way and take the shortcut!”

21 ¶  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7
21   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven...
22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

According to Jesus, there are even some who claim to be Christian, yet who are still lost. How tragic; especially when God has given us a clear roadmap in His Word. Today I want to share that road map with you. If you are here and unsure of your salvation, I encourage you to listen very carefully and get the right directions from God’s Word . If you are here and you are a Christian, I want you to listen carefully as well and to take notes. As a matter of fact, I am going to encourage you mark this roadmap in your Bible so that you can help your friends and family find their way to heaven.

The roadmap we’re going to use has often been called “The Romans Road.” It’s called that because all of it can be found in one book of the Bible, the book of Romans. Many have found forgiveness of sin and eternal life by following this map and you can as well today. So where do we begin?

1. WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE?

Well, with most earthly GPS systems, the first thing that has to be determine is your present location. To find that we turn to Romans 3:23.

Romans 3
23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

It cannot be said any clearer than this. All have sinned and all come short of God’s standard of holiness. The Bible tells us –

Romans 3
10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Many people resent being called a sinner. They will agree that they’re not perfect, yet they don’t like being called sinful. And in today’s world, there are fewer and fewer things that men classify as sin. What will happen to such people? I can tell you one thing, they will never be saved. They’ll never find their way to heaven. They will be eternally lost.

Jesus told a story about two men who went up to the temple to pray. The first man was a very self-righteous and religious man and when he prayed he said, “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery.” The other man, Jesus said, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but instead bowed his head in humility and said, “‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” Jesus then said, “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God.”

The Bible says that if we will confess our sins, God will be faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. But if we say that we have no sin, we are only deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. Friend, the Bible says that we all are sinners and that no sin shall ever enter into heaven.

2. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I KEEP GOING DOWN THIS ROAD?

Write in the margin of your Bible, beside Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23. That’s our second destination on the Romans Road.

Romans 6
23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Notice that this verse has two parts. There’s bad news and good news.

The first part tells us what’s going to happen to all those who keep going down the road of sin. The Bible says, ” The wages of sin is death.” What will happen as the result of our sin? Some people believe that God will one day weigh the good against the bad and if a person has more good than he has bad, he’ll get into heaven. Friend, that’s the wrong directions if you’re trying to find your way to heaven. The Bible says, “The wages of sin (singular) is death.” One sin will keep a man out of heaven and cause him to spend eternity in hell.

Write down Hebrews 9:27 in your Bible.

Hebrews 9
27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

We’re all going to die one day. Why? Because we all have sinned. God told Adam and Eve, in the very beginning, “The day you sin you will die.” Many often ask the question- “What comes after death?” The Bible gives us the answer – “the judgment.” Notice that the Bible calls it “the” judgment. Write Revelation 20:11-15 in your Bible. That passage tells us that God has a record of every sinful thing everyone has ever done and that each individual will have to stand before God one day and give a personal account for their sins. The Bible also tells us that after men are judged, they will be cast into a lake of fire. The Bible calls this eternal punishment – “The second death.” That does not mean that these souls will be annihilated and not suffer, but that they will eternally be separated from God and spend forever in a place of torment and outer darkness. Can you imagine the desperation a person will feel when they hear Christ say, “depart from Me for I never knew you.”  Hopelessly lost for eternity!

Now look once again at Romans 6:23 and notice the  second part of that verse. There’s good news here for bad people.

“…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It’s not God’s will or desire that anyone would have to spend eternity in hell. That’s why He sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus. The Bible says that ‘whosoever will believe in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

3. CHRIST TO THE RESCUE!

Write in the margin of your Bible, beside Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8. That’s our third destination in following God’s GPS.

Romans 5
8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That word “commendeth” means “demonstrated”. Would you admit with me that to lay down your life for someone else is a major demonstration of your love? What if that person was your enemy? God sent Jesus into this world to die for His enemies. Colossians 1:21-22 in the New Living Translation says, “You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”

You see, the only person who ever lived on this earth and didn’t have to die was Jesus Christ. Yet Jesus Christ did die. He died on the cross. Why? Listen to what Jesus said – “No man taketh it from me, (speaking of His life) but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:18) Jesus laid down His life for you. He died for your sins so that you could have eternal life. The Bible tells us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21 NKJV)

Why then do Christians, those who have been forgiven of their sins, still have to die? Scripture reminds us that death for a Christian is not the end. It’s the beginning. It’s the doorway that we must go through so that we can shed off these old earthly bodies that are prone to sickness and disease and death and receive new bodies that will never die and that will be fit for living in heaven. We, on this side of death, look at it with sadness. They, who are the children of God and who have passed on to the other side, look back upon it with celebration.

If you have ever used a GPS, you know that along the way it instructs you where to turn. “Turn left. Turn right.” Every once in a while I make the wrong turn and the GPS someone gave me will say, “At the next intersection, turn left and then turn left.” In other words, “Buddy, where are you going? You’re headed in the wrong direction! You’ve got to turn around if you intend to reach your destination.” The Bible has a word for that. It’s the word repentance.

4. WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

God’s GPS now brings us to a major intersection and decision. It has helped us to calculate that we’ve been going in the wrong direction if we intend to go to heaven when we die. We’ve got to turn around. The fourth destination on God’s GPS is Romans 10:9-10.

Romans 10
9    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11   For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Up unto this point and time, man has been travelling in a direction that will lead to destruction. Now God guides him to make a turn that will lead to everlasting life. Notice two very important directions these two verses give us:

# 1 You must believe in your heart. Believe what? Believe God’s Word and what it tells you about yourself and about His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The word believe is the same word that we sometimes find translated as “faith.” Here’s the question you must answer- “What do you believe it will take for you to go to heaven when you die?” In what are you placing your faith? Living a good life? Joining the church? Being baptized? Obeying the Ten Commandments? Do you believe that there are many roads to heaven and that you can choose which one seems best for you? What do you believe? In what are you placing your trust and confidence?

The Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) To go to heaven, you must put your faith and trust in the Gospel truth that Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that on the third day, to prove that Christ’s death was a sufficient sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead. (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Do you believe in your heart that what the Bible says about Jesus Christ is true? Are you persuaded that you are a sinner in need of salvation and that Jesus had to die for your sins? Do you believe that Jesus is alive and that He can save you if you will but turn to Him and put your trust in Him? If so, the Bible says this also –

#2 You must then confess this with your mouth. That means that you must make a commitment to Him as your Savior. You see, the word faith means – {the conviction and assurance that something is true.} And that word comes from another word which means – {to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with}. In other words, to have faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior means that you are convinced that He is the way and the only way to heaven and based upon your conviction, you make a U-turn from the direction you have been going and commit your life to Him.

Some ask, “Can a person be saved and keep it a secret?” Let me ask you a question, “Can you drive east and be headed west?” Of course not. Can you say that you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and received Him as your Savior and yet keep these things hidden and continue to live as someone who hasn’t? Of course not.  The Bible says,

10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11   For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
In the book of Acts we find Peter preaching a gospel message and in his message he said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19) To repent means to have a change of mind. When we are saved, we have a change of mind about God and our sin. Peter also said, “be converted.” To be converted means to turn around. It means to turn from sin and to God.
What is God’s purpose in our salvation? Write in the margin of your Bible, Romans 6:17-18

Romans 6
17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

You see, salvation in Jesus Christ is a complete transformation. We were headed in one direction that was taking us deeper into sin and eventually one day, the destination of God’s judgment and eternal damnation. But then we heard God’s good news. We heard a voice that told us to turn from our sin and to turn towards God and we made the decision to obey that voice and turn and instead of continuing on towards sin, death and hell, we turned towards righteousness, life and heaven.

Last Christmas someone gave me a GPS. There’s one message that I love to hear from it – “Arriving at destination.” You’ve made the journey. You’ve followed all the directions and you are safely home. I’ve enjoyed using that physical GPS, but an even greater gift was given to me many years ago. Someone shared with me God’s GPS, God’s Plan of Salvation and I made the decision to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I’m on the right road! I’m headed in the right direction and I have total confidence in these directions because they come straight from the pages of God’s Word.  How about you?  Will one day you hear, “Arriving at destination. Welcome home My child”, or will you hear, “Depart from Me for I never knew you”?

If you would like to be saved, pray this prayer in your heart,

“Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. I know that I am not worthy to go to heaven when I die. I believe in my heart that You sent Your Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I turn from my sin and put my faith and trust in You as my Lord and my Savior. Help me to live the rest of my life for You. Thank you for my salvation. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen”

If you have prayed that prayer and really mean it, you must tell someone. You need to find a church that preaches and teaches God’s Word and that will help you live the Christian life. You need to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and join that church and get active in serving the Lord. If I can be of any help to you, contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org

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