Stuck at the Crossroads

How did this message impact you? Share your testimony

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Introduction:

Thanks again for being here today. Also, if you are joining us online, thanks for worshiping with us in that way. We would love to know you are with us so just type your name in the chat box or let us know how we can be praying for you.

We are moving towards the home stretch of Kingdom Culture, which will conclude next Sunday. Jesus began by teaching us in chapter 5 about our heart, our integrity, our character and how he wants us to live in relationship with him and how to live out that relationship in our world. In chapter 6, Jesus moved to teaching us about how our heart, our inner life, will be reflected in how we steward what He has given us – our material possessions, our food, clothing, our stuff.

Jesus has described a Christian’s character, influence, righteousness, and ambition and now concentrates on relationships. Kingdom Culture is not individualist but communal. Jesus continues this theme of how we live with one another in our passage from Matthew 7:7-23.

Story: Grandpa’s encounter with a North Korean and his prayer to the Lord. He was at a crossroads of decision and he credits God for bringing him home after his decision.

Effective Prayer
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

The Golden Rule
12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
The Narrow Gate
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell[f] is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

The Tree and Its Fruit
15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

True Disciples
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Easy ButtonWe think that life would be amazing if we just had the “easy button” from Staples. All of our problems would be solved. Or would it? If life had an easy button it would eliminate the decision-making process that would lead us to actually make a decision. We would no longer need to ask questions and learn about various options. It would also eliminate the need for much effort – except to lift our finger and press the red button down.

But life doesn’t come with an easy button, we are presented with a choice to make.

In our teaching from Jesus today, He presents us with this tension of two ways. So far in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has contrasted between the two kinds of devotion, the tow treasures, the two masters, and the two ambitions. Now as Jesus comes towards the conclusion of his sermon, it has come time for a decision to be made – once again between two ways.

The two-way declaration is one used many times in scripture.

We see this with Moses in Exodus 19 (“You must not have any other god but me.”) and Deuteronomy 6 (Serve only the Lord your God)

With Joshua (Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left.)

With Ezra and Nehemiah (rebuilding of the temple and the worship of God or the worship of idols.)

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says, See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.’”
Jeremiah 21:8

In every situation, we have 2 choices to make – to choose what will please God or choose what will please ourselves or others.

Movement 1:

We are first presented with a choice to make about our influence, what or who are we going to seek? What direction are we looking for? If we are going to seek God’s direction then we must do so through prayer.

7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks,

receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

This is really a choice of influence. Who is going to influence our direction? Who are we listening to and what or who is going to determine our heading?

A.S.K.

Ask
• One needs to simply ask. Make the request.

Seek
• If by a simply request, we do not receive an answer, we

should seek through persevering prayer. Knock

• If the answer is still delayed we should knock in desperate and even agonizing prayer.

This is the promise that our prayers of all kinds will be responded to just as we respond to children who ask for a loaf of bread. We wouldn’t give them a rock! The heart of the Father is to give good gifts to those who ask.

Who we converse or spend time with will be who or what influences us.

Movement 2:

Story: Getting ready for a trip, we talk about who wants to go along, we pick our destination, we plot our direction – the pathway or road to get there, and when we arrive we have to enter our destination.

As we seek God’s direction for us and rely on his influence, we are presented with a choice to make about that direction.

We have a choice of:

  • Entrance: Heaven’s gate or hell’s gate. • Road: Narrow or Wide
  • Companions: Wolves or Sheep
  • Destinies: Life or Death

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

Proverbs 14:12
What path will we choose?
That leads to the third choice, the choice of responsibility.

Only we can choose the path forward. God sent His Son Jesus to earth to live and die and be raise to life so that we may have a relationship with Him and have eternal life. We have to respond to His truth, His love, and His grace.

The first step is to…

  • We must take Personal responsibility
  • It is not someone else’s responsibility or decision to make. It is ours. We have the choice to choose our influence, direction, and our responsibility. At some level, things cease to be someone else’s fault and become our own fault. So we have to take personal responsibility for our life and what we are going to do with it.
    • Galatians 6:5 New Living Translation (NLT) are each responsible for our own conduct.

For we

  • We must make effort
    • Colossians 3:23-24 ESV Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. • We must be persistent
    • James 1:12 ESV Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
    • Galatians 6:9 ESV And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
  • We must keep our Faith in Christ
    • Romans 8:18 “The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.”
    • Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Conclusion:

In every situation we have 2 choices to make – to choose what will please God or choose what will please ourselves or others. That choice is often within our hearts to trust and obey Christ and that choice will be displayed in the fruit that we bear. Many people appear on the outside that they are choosing the way of Christ but they are really choosing themselves and over time, this will be revealed by the lack of fruit they bear.

Not everyone who calls out Lord, Lord is a true disciple of Christ, those who are will bear the fruit of Christ.

There is fake fruit and there is real fruit. Fake fruit is fluff, surface results that may look like fruit but it is really made up of toxic ingredients that parade around as the real deal. Real fruit is pure in its essence – this fruit is formed through the transformational presence of Christ, shaping people into being more like Him.

What we give we will receive.
The road will be difficult because of the sacrifice that it takes.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

Response:

Jesus is calling us to make a decision. This morning, what have you decided?

Song: Mighty To Save

Benediction:

As we stand at the crossroads, may the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself into deeper commitment; May the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen us in his service;

May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls. May the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be amongst you and remain with you always.
(William Temple, The Oxford Book of Prayer) Amen.

Kingdom Culture Sermon Series Graphic
Kingdom Culture Sermon Series Graphic
Kingdom Culture Sermon Series Graphic