Today my message is entitled "God's Highway. When we think of a highway, we often think of our interstate highways. For most of us here, interstates have always been around. However, our interstate highway system began in 1956 with the signing of the Federal Aid Highway Act by President Eisenhower. Our interstate highway system was designed to provide speedy and safe intercontinental travel. The longest interstate is I-90 which runs for 3020 miles from Seattle to Boston. So, a highway is designed to take a person from one place to a final destination in a safe and quick manner.
The Bible has a lot say about roads, paths and highways. Jesus told us about two basic roads in life. Each person is on one road or the other. You can't be on both roads at the same time.
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) ?Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Jesus has packed a lot of information into these two short verses about life's highways. The first way or road has a wide gate or onramp. The gate is easy to find, it's easy to get onto this first highway. So, it's not hard to understand that many people are on this highway. Not only is it easy to get onto this first highway, but the highway is easy. Not a lot of bumps, curves or steep inclines. Just a smooth ride all the way. The big problem with this first highway is its destination, which is destruction. This first road is a highway to hell, yet no one on it realizes where they are heading.
The second highway mentioned by Jesus has a narrow gate which is hard to find, since it is small. Since the narrow gate is hard to find, only a few find this narrow gate and get onto the second highway. The second highway is not like the first, it is hard and difficult. Yet the destination of this second highway is life, eternal life. In case we might not figure out which highway to choose, Jesus tells us what to do "Enter by the narrow gate," which is the gate leading to the narrow, hard road.
Can one move from one road to the other? The answer from the Bible is yes. A person can move from the wide road to the narrow road and from the narrow road to the wide road. But you can't be on both roads at the same time. When your life ends and you pass into eternity, the road you are on at that time will determine your eternal destination. Either destruction in hell or life with God in heaven. The final destinations are final. You can never move from one final destination to the other.
In life's journey, we need God's guidance and direction in order to find the right highway and to stay on it. Today, we're going to be looking at the prophet Isaiah's accounts of God's highway. What are the characteristics of God's highway, the narrow road that Jesus spoke of? How can we find and travel on God's highway? Since God has prepared a highway for us, we must find and follow His highway. We must ...
The highway that God has prepared for us to follow in life is characterized by holiness, which we'll talk about in more detail in a minute. In some ways, the world in which we live in has some of the qualities of a desert, a land without God. But the desert places which the God's highway goes through ...
Isaiah 35:1-2a (ESV) The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
The desert also refers to the wide road that many follow. A desert has no water, a desert doesn't have any vegetation. A desert is often thought of a place of sadness and difficulty. God's Word through the prophet tells us that the desert will be transformed by God through His highway. Let's see what else will happen in the desert.
Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
On this highway of holiness, those who are sick will be healed. These verses were quoted by Jesus in Matthew 11 to show that He indeed was the Messiah. Jesus came to transform the deserts of this world and the deserts in people's lives. He came to bring the water of His Spirit to bring life and refreshment to all who follow the way of holiness. The prophet then says that ...
Isaiah 35:8a (ESV) And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
God's highway will go through the desert and wilderness regions. Here the prophet first describes it as the way of holiness. Holiness means that God's highway is only for those who are holy. To be holy is to be righteous, to be in right relationship with God, to have your sins forgiven. The unclean or unbelievers cannot walk on this highway. The highway of holiness is only for believers. And what is the destination of God's highway?
Isaiah 35:10 (ESV) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Here we have another description of those who follow the way of holiness. They are the ransomed of the Lord. The Lord has purchased their freedom, they are no longer slaves to sin, they are free to follow God. Their destination is Mount Zion, the place where God dwells. We see that in Zion there is everlasting joy, it is a place of eternal life. A place where there is no sorrow or sadness. God calls us to follow the way of holiness.
So, let's talk about how one gets on this highway of holiness. Jesus said that He was the gate in John 10. Jesus is the only way to get on God's highway. How do you enter through Jesus' You have to repent or turn away from your sin, believe in Jesus' forgiveness and commit your life to following Him on God's highway. When you get on the highway, Jesus begins to transform the desert of your life into a joyous journey of following Him. At the end of the message today, I'll give an opportunity for you to enter God's highway by believing in Jesus. Not only must we follow the way of holiness, we must ...
Just because you begin to follow Jesus on God's highway doesn't mean that you?ve arrived at the destination of the highway. You're on a journey, a journey that will last for a lifetime. A journey in which you must stay on God's highway, even when the going gets hard, because it will. Some fall off God's highway. And when you fall off, you find yourself back on the wide road headed for destruction. So, how can we stay on track on God's highway?
Isaiah 43:16-18 (ESV) Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, ? Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
The first part of these verses refers to God's miracles of delivering Israel by allowing them to pass through the Red Sea on dry land. It was God's highway through a huge problem. God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt and the power of Pharaoh's army was a great miracle and showed God's power. So, why does the prophet tell us not to remember the former things or consider them? As we talked about last Sunday, there is a place and time to remember and praise God for what He has done in the past. Yet, we shouldn't focus on the past, we shouldn't constantly be thinking and talking about the glory days of the past. Why not? Because the past is past. You can't live for the past, God wants you to live for the future.
Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
God is not just a God of the past, He is a God of the present and a God of the future. In this verse, God is saying through the prophet Isaiah, that He is doing a new thing. God is making a highway in the wilderness, He is going to create rivers of living water in a dry and dusty desert.
Isaiah 43:21 (ESV) the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
The new thing that God wants to do in your life is so that you might praise Him. Now that you're on the highway of holiness, God wants you to look to the future, for the new thing that He has for you.
As you are traveling on God's highway, God doesn't want you to focus all your thoughts on the past. How it was when you were first saved and your first experiences to the Lord. Don't forget about it, yet set your heart and mind on the new things that God has for you as you journey on God's highway. You're never too old for God to show you the new things He has for you. If you think that you know everything about God and His Word there is to know, you're quite wrong. There are always new things to learn from God. Those new things will help you on your journey, even when the going gets tough. As you travel on God's highway, you must ...
Isaiah 49:10 (ESV) they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.
God promises to take care of you as you travel on His highway. He will lead you and guide you. He will provide water for you as you journey through the deserts of life.
Isaiah 49:13 (ESV) Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
The journey on God's highway will be hard. Yet the Lord will comfort you and have compassion on you. He will never leave you or forsake you, He will care for you all through the journey. He will restore the things that the enemy has taken from you. God's highway is a highway of holiness and restoration. At the end of life's journey, when you reach your destination of life ...
Isaiah 62:10-11 (ESV) Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
As we travel on the highway, we are to prepare the way for other people to enter and travel on the highway with us. We are to lift up a signal or banner, so that others can see and be draw to God's highway. Even though many are traveling on the wide road, we are to seek to draw them to the only road leading to life. At the end of the road awaits our salvation. Notice that our salvation is a person, it is Jesus who brings his reward for us. Jesus quotes this verse in Revelation 22 as referring to Himself. The reward of Jesus for every believer who reaches the final destination is to hear Him say "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.
In a marathon race, what is the hardest part? The beginning, the middle or the end? Many runners consider a marathon as two races, the first 20 miles and the last 10K or 6 miles. In the last part of the race, it's when a runner hits the wall, when they want to quit. Yet, to complete the race, to win the prize, you?ve got to keep going to the end.
The same is true in the journey of life on God's highway. The journey often gets harder the closer you get to the end. But we mustn't quit, we mustn't give up, or we won't reach our destination. God knows the journey gets hard at times, that's why He comforts us and has compassion on our difficulties. Whatever you're going through in the race of life on God's highway today, God is there to help you make it through. He will continue to restore and strengthen you until you break the tape and win the prize.
Today, we began by talking about the two highways that Jesus told us about. The narrow road with the hard to find narrow gate and the wide road with the large gate. The narrow road has few on it because it is hard to find and hard to travel on. The wide road is easy to find and easy to travel on. Many are on it, so those who easily succumb to peer pressure will be found on the wide road. Yet the destinations of these two roads are vastly different. The wide road leads to eternal destruction in hell, whereas the narrow road leads to eternal life in heaven. Jesus commands us to enter by the narrow gate onto God's highway of holiness.
By default, everyone is on the wide road from birth. Everyone is born with a sinful heart, headed for destruction. There are only two kinds of people in the world, those on the wide road and those on the narrow road. Which road are you on this morning? If you're not sure, that means you're on the wide road. The wide road is the default road. You don't have to make a decision to be on the wide road, you're just automatically there. To get on the narrow road, you have to make a decision. You have to go against peer pressure and dare to be different. You have to make a choice to follow Jesus on His highway of holiness.