Today I want to reflect some more on walking on the right path. Obviously if you are walking on the wrong path or heading in the wrong direction, you need to turn around. The best solution is to have the discernment not to go down the wrong path in the first place. Today many do not seem to concerned about that, as they think the way they are on is the right way. They are completely unaware that like Samson the lord has left them powerless and like Israel at that time everyone does as they see fit. Scripture has given us enough warnings to keep us heading in the right direction. We see these warnings clearly laid out in Proverbs 1-9. As Proverbs tells us the enemy is constantly trying to pull us in the wrong direction. Proverbs 9:13 “Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” Notice also that in the same chapter wisdom is also calling out. Proverbs 9:1 “Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, 4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 5 “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”
Last week we talked about walking the right way but many are not on that way though they think they are. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” This way that appears to be right has turned out to be empty and many have been led astray Peter tells us 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.” Throughout the generations the church has not been concerned enough with staying the course. More often than not, the church has become about a way of doing things. Whoever seemingly has the best way, they flock to it only to find out it was perishable. So because the church started to follow man not Jesus, this has led to the disaster and desolation we find ourselves in. Proverbs tells us Proverbs 2:12 “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 18 Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.” The problem is that most in the church do not see that following other ways is wrong. Proverbs 5:7 “Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. 11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. 14 And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” Proverbs 4:14 “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.”
But this is not how it was supposed to be. If only we would once again live by God’s word. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Proverbs 4:26 “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” So there is obviously a difference between following the right path and the wrong path. One leads to life the other death. Jesus said Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Make sure you are looking for it. Luke 13:22 “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Scripture is so clear that there is a right and wrong path but what isn’t clear is what the church has done to scripture. They have ignored the word and made up their own, thus nullifying the word of the Lord. They have gone their own way and have brought disaster on themselves. The wide gate has been emulated, meaning you imitate them, especially with the idea of matching their success. and the narrow door no one seeks anymore. They have replaced the true narrow way with the way of the denomination or independent. The church does not realize that the way they have been following has been the wrong way. Every time someone copies a way of doing things or a theology they continue down a path leading to disaster. We see this with doctrines names after man and leaders in the church desperately want to be successful so they follow what they think is success and end up following the likes of Rick Warren and Bill Hybels just to name a couple. They have forgotten success comes from following the word of the Lord. 1 Kings 2:3 “Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”
The ways of men are the wicked ways we are to turn from. This way is the way we have been warned over and over not to take but so many have travelled this path it appears to be the right way but it is not. Church became about man and not God. Who can I follow to make myself feel better? Why can we say this; because scripture says so. Because we have followed other gospels, we have turned from God. Other gospels are other gods. This is why Revelation tells us. Revelation 3:5 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
This is to the church as the bible is written to the church. Wicked ways is following your own ways. Sure people who do not follow Jesus follow in their own path but those who say they follow Jesus and follow men instead are following wicked ways that they need to turn from. Just answer the door. Paul told the Colossians 4:16 “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” Today lukewarm is the standard temperature for the body of Christ. It is even worse than that as Jesus compared it to the Pharisees. Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Mark 7:6 “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Because we have follow wicked ways, we are not seeing Isaiah 42:6 “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” We are not seeing what Jesus said to Paul in Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ We have the opposite of what we read in Isaiah 61 so we have a serious problem but most don’t think so and they will continue to go in the wrong direction until it is too late. There is not a desperate desire for the Holy Spirit. They continue to resist Him. Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Hosea also describes them. Hosea 4:16 “The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow?” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” So all the goodness God wants to pour out on us his people have been withdrawn because we have broken faith with His word. This verse sums up the church today as no one wants to hear the truth about turning. Isaiah 30:11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
When you look at Isaiah you see this back and forth. You have amazing promises from God mixed together with his anger. Take Isaiah, which starts Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” Deuteronomy 32:5 tells us “They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!” Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”
Then in Isaiah 2:5 “Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” In Isaiah 7 there is the promise of Immanuel but also the promise of Assyria. In Isaiah 9:The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne.” Then in the same chapter “Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. 13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. 14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; 15 the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
16 Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. 17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” We have the same thing happening now as those who guide are leading the people astray.
Yes we saw the promised Messiah, the new covenant came but like Israel we have rejected the truth of His word to follow mans ways, to follow false gospel / gods, wicked ways. Deuteronomy 32:15 “They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior. 16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” We must turn from these wicked ways and no longer follow in them. Yes this is hard because friends and family acquaintances believe in much what the word is saying is wicked. We may have things in our lives we are just unwilling to let go of. If we continue to follow in wicked ways the land will not be healed. 2 Chronicles 7:12 “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
If this is what we want, we must do what we are told to do. Paul said
1 Corinthians 15:1 “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” If you have taken a stand on a false gospel you will fall from your secure position. 2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. Peters message after Pentecost. He said Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
If we want to see the church in its glory, which means just like in 2 Chronicles 7:2 where “the priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” If we want to see Pentecost we must believe turn and wait for the Spirit of God to be poured out on us again. John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
2 Chronicles also tells us what to do. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” We must turn from these wicked ways so that we have not believed in vain.