Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 16: How to Live Forever

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 16 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “What clues does a person leave when they are lost?”

After teaching the disciples what living the eternal life is like (not being angry with your brother, being faithful, letting your yes be yes, praying, forgiving, etc.) Jesus returns to His main point: Matthew 5:20. In rapid-fire succession Jesus issues five commands that leave His hearers with clues on gaining entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

Read: Matthew 7:7-14

Upon first reading Matthew 7:7-14, it appears that Jesus is talking about three different subjects: prayer, the Golden Rule, and entrance into the narrow gate that leads to life. However, upon reflection, a larger picture comes into view. It is a summary of how people should live life from God’s perspective. How to live forever has a starting point, a route and a destination.

Sometimes by substituting a natural example, a spiritual one is more easily understood: When people want to go to someone’s house that they’ve never been to before, they first ask for directions. Secondly, they follow the directions. Some people will take a map along in case they get lost or confused about the directions. Others take their cell phones! And finally upon arrival at the individual’s home, they knock to gain entrance.

Jesus said that the first step towards how to live forever is to ask for directions. He then states that the one to ask is God, the Father. Jesus assures His hearers that everyone who asks God will receive, because God is good: “Ask and it shall be given to you”; (other - James 1:5). Asking God for directions shows that a person has a right heart, one that is filled with faith and is dependent upon God’s provisions.

The second step is to seek to follow the directions or “the way” to the destination. Jesus makes the directions or “the way” to the destination quite easy to understand: Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. By treating others this way proves that a person has right thinking, he considers others equal to himself and is not hindered by pride. It is the narrow way! Jesus assures His hearers that everyone who seeks to follow these directions or find the narrow way will do so. “Seek and you shall find.”

The final step is to enter through the correct gate or door. Jesus indicates that there are two gates or doors through which men may pass. One leads to life eternal, the other to destruction. Jesus tells His disciples that they must enter the narrow gate if they want to live forever, otherwise they will be destroyed. The narrow gate is only the width of a man and one person at a time may enter it. That gate is Jesus (John 10:9)!

The directions for living forever are simple: 1) depend on God, 2) follow the Holy Spirit and 3) go through Jesus. To make it easier God provides a road map called the Bible in case people get lost. He also stations other people along the way to redirect the steps of those who get off the route. They are called apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers. And if those things weren’t enough, God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside His people, so they would have a direct line of communication to Him.

The point of the lesson is if you want to get to a new destination follow the instructions of those who have been there before.

With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:

What is your favorite fruit and how do you check it for quality?

. . . and the homework assignment . . .

Pray for the thing that you need from God that will make you more effective at showing the lost how to live eternally.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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