Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I don’t own a GPS, but my daughter Claire does. Knowing her proclivity at getting lost, we bought it for her several years ago so that she would have it for a trip to California. She affectionately named it Gertrude. Gertrude was of great assistance in directing her to and fro on her recent trip to the East Coast. A GPS is an amazing device—by satellite it determines your position, within a few feet, anywhere on the planet. Give it a destination and it will give you audible instructions as to when to turn. No longer any need for maps or to stop and embarrassingly ask for directions—unless, of course, your GPS fails. That’s exactly what happened to Claire as she was making her way from Washington DC to Baltimore. Gertrude couldn’t find her satellite, so Claire was lost in a frightening and unfamiliar place. Fortunately she was able to call a friend and he guided her to her destination by use of the internet.

A GPS has its limitations. It will do you no good to type in “heaven” as your destination—it doesn’t know the way. The best of earthbound navigational means are of no value or assistance in making the trip from heaven to earth. But God has provided, in His Son Jesus Christ, all that is necessary.

The disciples were distressed when Jesus told them of His pending departure. But He told them, “And you know the way where I am going (John 14:4).” Thomas was quick to respond, “Lord we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way (John 14:5)?” Jesus’ response? “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me (John 14:6).” Nobody can journey to heaven from earth apart from Jesus—He is the Way. To know Jesus is to know the way. Apart from Him the journey is not just difficult, it is impossible. The great obstacle, sin, must be dealt with. He has done so on the cross. Jesus saves to the uttermost those who trust in Him. He frees sinners from the penalty and power of sin. He alone can “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21a). He will do so “by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21b).

The Apostle Paul’s journey through life in ministry was met with many challenges and much opposition. He wrote to Timothy, in his final letter, “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:16). As believers we must sometimes travel alone on a wearisome and difficult path, but we are never truly alone. “But the Lord stood with me,” Paul said. In Jesus we have a travelling companion who will never desert us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), indeed, He is with us always (Matt. 28:20). His guidance is not subject to technological glitches or operator error. He stands ready to guide us in all our decisions (James 1:5). He is preeminently qualified to direct us in all matters (Heb. 4:15-16). Paul was fully confident of Christ’s ability to lead him on his journey—“The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:18).

These are difficult times in which we live. The broad way that leads to destruction is well traveled. Doomed travelers are ushered speedily along a perilous route to a disastrous end. The narrow way is impossible to navigate apart from Christ and His Word. But His “word is a lamp to (our) feet, and a light to (our) path” (Psa. 119:105). God’s Word is far better than a GPS in as much as it is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) communication from God to us in all matters pertaining to faith and practice. Through His Word, the God of the universe speaks to us in personal and practical ways—teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us in the way we should go (2 Tim. 3:16).

The Apostle Peter spoke to our great need to pay attention to the Word: “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19; Cf. 2 Tim. 3:14-15). One day, when we are with Jesus, our difficult journey on the narrow way will be complete. In the meantime we need to be careful to “pay attention” to our heavenly navigator and His instructions—He knows the way, He is the way, and He alone can bring us safely home.

Every Gideon Bible includes this wonderful testimony regarding the Scripture’s ability to guide us: “The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

Pastor Jerry