The Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 1980’s and 90’s were fun books whose stories developed according to the choices you made at the end of each section. For instance, it might say something like this. “As your taxi driver drove you downtown, you were unsure which way to go. If you want to turn left at the intersection, turn to page 70. If you want to turn right, turn to page 36.” The story developed according to the choices you made according to the page you turned to next. These were quite fun to read and could end differently every time.
Our spiritual journey is somewhat similar. When it comes to our relationship with God, there are definite results which come from the choices we make. However, there are only two directions we can travel. Jesus describes these two ways in Matthew 7:13-14. Many people choose to travel the broad road which leads to destruction. They are oblivious to the terrible results which come from going this way. A smaller group of people choose to travel the narrow way that leads to life. While it is not an easy journey, those who travel this road have escaped destruction and have been given God’s eternal life.
What happens if someone travels down the broad road? What happens if someone travels down the narrow road? These are questions that I will attempt to answer from the Bible this morning. To help us to understand things, we will use the Chart of Salvation and look at the various Bible verses attached to each point. We will start with point one and then follow the points on the left side of the chart.
- The Broad Way
The broad way mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 is the wrong way to go because it leads to destruction. Those who travel it have rejected God and his right way to go. Consider four things about those who are currently traveling on the broad way.
Sinful man does not seek God (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12).
In the first passage, we are reminded what every sinful person is like: worldly, influenced by Satan, disobedient to God, full of lust, and under God’s wrath. In the second passage, we are reminded that we are not righteous, do not seek God, and do not do good. These are not good descriptions, but they are true. Those who are walking down the broad way do not seek God but are choosing to walk away from Him.
Sinful man is deceived (Prov. 14:12).
The Bible tells us that we can easily be deceived about the way we choose to travel. It is possible to go in a certain direction and think it is right when the end result will actually lead to our death. The fact that it seems right emphasizes the possibility of being deceived. It seems right but is not. The fact that many people have chosen to travel down the broad way is not evidence of being right but being deceived.
Sinful man cannot please God (Prov. 15:8a).
The Bible tells us here that a sinful person cannot please God by doing good things. If a wicked person brought a sacrifice to God that cost him a large amount of money, would this please God? No, God would look past the sacrifice and see the sinful heart of the wicked man and consider even the good things he did to be an abomination. In other words, God would hate even the good things he did due to his sinful choices.
Sinful man deserves Hell (Rev. 20:11-15).
The Bible tells us that the broad way will eventually lead to destruction. This destruction is described in this passage. All people regardless of their social standing will stand before God and be judged according to two books. The first is the Book of Life which has the names of those who have repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus. The other book records the sinful works done by each person. God will then pronounce each sinful person guilty and cast them into the lake of fire.
Whenever I was reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books, I would often keep my finger in the page and see how things turn out. If the story ended abruptly, I would turn to the other page and see what happened. I bring this up because those who continue to travel the broad way will eventually face this terrible judgment. Having rejected God and his ways, each sinful person will get the judgment they deserve just as the Bible has described repeatedly. But it doesn’t have to end this way because God has provided a way to escape.
- The Narrow Way
In those adventure stories, the outcome of the story depended on your own choices. But with God, things are different. He has provided everything we need to turn from the broad way to the narrow way that leads to life. Consider five things that God has done to for us.
God must intervene (John 6:44).
The Bible tells us that God must intervene in our lives if we are to have any hope. Jesus explained that no sinful person would turn from his sinful ways unless God the Father drew him. In other words, the Father must convince a person of his need before he will come to believe Jesus. How does He do this? God uses the truths in the Bible to inform us and then uses the Spirit of God to convince us of our need. When this happens, the Father draws us to Jesus.
God requires faith and repentance (Acts 20:21).
While many statements have been made by others, the Bible tells us that there are only two responses required by God. They are repentance and faith. First, a sinful person must repent. When someone repents, he is changing his mind about his sin and turning from it to God. Second, a sinful person must believe. When someone believes, he is putting his entire confidence in Jesus alone. This leads us to the next point.
God grants life through Jesus (John 3:16-17).
The Bible tells us that God loved the world and sent His only Son so that we could be saved. From what does He save us? If you look back to the end of the broad way, you will know that the lake of fire awaits all sinful people who have not been saved from it. But the only way to be saved from this judgment is to believe in Jesus. What does this mean? When Jesus died on the cross, He was being punished for our sins. God judged Him instead of us. And now He grants eternal life to all who will put their entire confidence in Jesus and what He did for them.
God gives assurance through growth (2 Pet. 1:5-8).
The Bible tells us that there is more to the narrow way than just repenting of sin and believing in Jesus. God desires for each believer to grow in spiritual maturity. In the passage we just read, we are to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith. As we develop these characteristics in our lives, we will become productive for the Lord. If we don’t add these characteristics to our lives, we will become unfruitful for the Lord and could get to the point where we forget what God has done for us.
God will one day take believers home (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
The Bible tells us that there is a wonderful future for those who travel the narrow way. Those who have repented from their sin and believed in Jesus will someday be taken to be with the Lord for eternity. We are not told when it will happen, but at some point Jesus will return in the clouds with a shout and the sound of a trumpet. All believers dead and living will be taken to be with the Lord forever. You can read more about our wonderful future in Revelation 21-22. Free from the affects of sin, we will spend eternity with the One who loved us and called us away from the broad way to destruction.
If you are used to the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you will remember that there were multiple endings to each book. You could end up in a cave full of treasure, in an alien spaceship, or be capture by pygmies in the jungle. As you have seen in our study today, God only offers two possibilities: the broad way which leads to destruction and the narrow way which leads to life. On which road do you find yourself today?
If you are like the majority of people in the world, you are on the broad way which leads to destruction. To this point, you have been living a sinful life with not thought about what God desires. You have been deceived and are headed toward the lake of fire. But it doesn’t have to end this way. As God works in your heart, repent of your sin and put your faith in Jesus. This is the only way to escape the broad way which leads to destruction.
If you are one of the few who are traveling on the narrow way which leads to life, then God the Father has drawn you away from your sinful way of life and brought you to Jesus. After repenting of your sin and believing in Jesus, you were saved from destruction and were put on the narrow way which leads to life. Thank God for that! But don’t stop there. In gratitude for what God has done in your life, add spiritual qualities to your faith. As you do this, God will make you a fruitful Christian for Him. And at the end of your life, you have the wonderful hope of being with the Lord forever.