When you're at a crossroads, it's so important that you make the right decision. Once you've made the right decision, it's so important that you keep on heading in the right direction.
Some people tell us that there are many ways to God and many ways to heaven. This is not what Jesus tells us. What does Jesus say to us? - He says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Jesus says, "I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he will be saved" (John 10:9).
How does Jesus open the door to heaven for us? He says, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for us" (John 10:11). It's through His death on the Cross that Jesus opens the door to heaven.
What is heaven? We speak about going up to heaven when our life on earth is over. We can also speak of heaven coming down to us while we are still here on earth - "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, when, at the cross, the Saviour made me whole." When we come to the Cross, and put our trust in the Saviour, this is the beginning of heaven. It's a "foretaste of glory divine."
Why did Jesus come to earth? We might say that He came to earth so that we might go to heaven. We might also say that He came to give us the life of heaven here-and-now: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
How does this "abundant life" come to us? It comes to us through the death of Christ. If we are to bring real life to our hearers, we must "preach Christ crucified." we must join with Paul in saying, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:23).
Preaching Christ crucified is grounded in knowing Christ crucified.
What is "preaching"? Is it what happens when the minister speaks to the congregation? It's more than that. The Word is to be preached by many people in many different places, all through the week: "A great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles ... those who were scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:1a,4).
What did Jesus do when He began His preaching ministry? He called His disciples to Him. They were ordinary people. They were learning to follow Jesus. They were learning to be his witnesses.
What will it mean, for us, to be Christ's witnesses?
Let's return to Jesus' words, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). This is more than a Gospel message, calling on unbelievers to put their faith in Christ and receive salvation. It also contains instruction for Christians who have committed themselves to being Christ's witnesses.
If we are to point to Christ as the Way, the Door, the Gate, our witness must be true and living.
- This is more than saying that we believe that the Gospel is true. It means that the Gospel is to be preached by those who have experienced its truth.
- It's more than saying that Christ brings life to the world. It means that the Gospel is to be preached by those who are growing in their experience of life in Christ.
May the Lord help each of us to be men and women who know, in our hearts and lives, that Jesus Christ is the true and living Saviour of all who come to God through faith in Him.