Sermon Title: Are we people of the Way or In the Way
Scripture: John14: 1-7
This morning our scripture is from John 14: 1-7 where Jesus declares I am the Way, as we celebrate kingdom tide we acknowledge and proclaim Jesus is the way. This morning however I want to concentrate on Acts 9: 1-2 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. My question to us all are we the people of the way who stand at the ready to usher the King of Glory in or are we people in the way. As Joshua said to the children of Israel choose you this day, will you be of the way or in the way. The best example I could come up with of someone going thruough a narrow gate was that of a slaughterhouse designed by Dr. Temple Grandin. You might question why compare us the people of the Way to animals, well Jesus uses the image of a shepherd guiding His sheep, so there is already this correlation between Man with all the other animals in creation, whether we like it or not we humans are animals but it is the God in us that differentiates us it is the ability to choose that separates us from all other creations including the angels. Remember angels envy us envy this mankind Psalm 8:3-5 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor, that should let you know how precious we are to God. Dr Grandin proposed that the less stress on an animal about to be slaughtered the easier and more profitable the slaughterhouses would be. Today we go even farther and say the less stress the more tender and better tasting the meat. Fear will spoil anything or anyone this is why as people of the Way we are told over and overto fear not. The fears frets and worries only lead to sin. Dr Grandinapplied an understanding of animal psychology to design pens and corrals which funnel a herd of animals arriving at a slaughterhouse into a single file ready for slaughter. Her corals employ long sweeping curves so that each animal is prevented from seeing what lies ahead and just concentrates on the hind quarters of the animal in front of it. This design – along with the design elements of solid sides, solid crowd gate, and reduced noise at the end point – work together to encourage animals forward in the chute and to not reverse direction. This morning we are discussing what it means to be people of the Way and we must start off by looking at how those who belong to the Way must follow the narrow gate, must go down the path with no other company but the Father Son and Holy Spirit. You remember the story of Footsteps and we come to the place where there is only one set of prints and Jesus tells the person where you see one set of footprints it’s because I was carrying you. When you are people of the Way when you get to a spot where you can go no farther because of the relationship God himself will carry you somebody outta say Amen somebody here has felt the Lord carrying them.If you look at cows waiting for slaughter they start out in a large pen with many other cows and they walk around and socialize while the wait to go down the narrow path. That’s kinda like us we start out with everyone else, but along the way we find our own path and sometimes we find the gumption to go our own way. With the help of God with a little prodding by the Great Shepherd for He knows His own and they know His voice and will follow His voice alone. Back to the path not only is the path narrow so narrow no matter how you try you can’t turn around with animals in a pen the path has to curves so they can never get a clear view of what’s ahead, the premise being if you can’t see what’s ahead it leaves no room or reason to worry about what’s ahead. This highlights a grave difference between the Good Shepherd and just any shepherd, you see God doesn’t need to add twists and turns to trick us, no our gate is narrow but it’s straight. You see Dr. Grandin knew when the cattle can see what’s ahead the slaughter they become afraid, but we should not fear as we come to the end of the road because we are not headed to the end of life no we approach the beginning of our real life our true life our life at rest with God, no we should fear not this is the good stuff we were truly created to do to worship and commune with God our creator and all the saints. So for us the end of the narrow road is eternal life. God is not worried about us seeing down the road no the road is straight but we still look through a mirror darkly, no we can’t see far down the road we must trust obey and continue to pray without ceasing, we may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.. We start out life being socialized to live with others, isn’t that what they say about day cares and kindergartens, before you learn much else you first learn how to get along and play with others. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying everything I needed to learn about life I learned in Kindergarten. The Bible speaks of the time when we must be on pablum be in kindergarten but then there has to come a time when you are ready to move on leave kindergarten and eat some meat. There is a time for being in the large pen, of being able to look around at life and make decisions about who you are, what you stand for and who’s you are. All these things are decided when we are on the road with others but then there comes times in our lives where we get to choose to stay in the large pen to stay with the crowd or to take the road less taken that leads through death to eternal life. It can be very uncomfortable in the narrow gate at times it can feel lonely in the narrow gate, but because we cannot see the future because we cannot turn back on the road in the narrow gate we have no choice but to press on to trust and obey to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to cry out to my only companions in the road the Holy Trinity, the only ones who really knows what's ahead. One of the ways off the narrow road is to get kicked off, just like we got kicked out of the garden of Eden Genesis 3: 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. God will not tolerate trouble makers on the narrow road, He will not allow you for long to disturb His chosen ones so if you start to act up to act out then you get kicked out and the only place to go is back to through the wide gate that leads to destruction and many there be that find it. When you look around the wide pen the wide road you can see off in the distance, you can turn around you can even sit down. On the wide road satan will give you all the room you need to stretch out and make yourself at home. All the pleasures of the flesh are right there on the road, all the money, you can even get others to follow you to lift you up to make you a god. All that is fine and acceptable in the large pen on the wide road. Those are not things that interest people of the Way. Acts 4 starting at verse 32 we are told of the Beatific community where the believers dwelt together with love and shared azll they had no one went without and that is how people of the Way behave. . Possessions are not what people of the Way are looking for no they look for a better Way a better relationship, a better way to serve. Choose you this day whom you will serve but for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Let me give you one last tip, if you are not of the Way but in the way, move lest God move you, lest you find yourself kicked off the narrow path and headed for death and destruction, where there is much weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth. So as we continue to celebrate Kingdom tide remember daily to continue on as People of the Way not in the way.