MANY ROADS LEAD TO HELL, BUT ONLY ONE ROAD LEADS TO HEAVEN
Scripture Text: Ecclesiastes 10:15
In our scripture text, Ecclesiastes 10:15, we read these words, "The labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city." I would like to apply this scripture in the presentation of the Gospel because so many people are foolishly laboring to reach the city referred to in Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 3:12 and in Revelation 21:2, but unfortunately, these same people do not know how to get to Heaven.
In each of these three aforementioned scriptures we are told that Heaven is the city and dwelling place of God, the New Jerusalem, the eternal home of all those who are saved, or "born again," through faith in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Revelation chapter 21 Heaven is described as having a street of gold, 12 foundations of precious stones, 12 gates of pearl, and a wall of jasper. It is also a place where there will be no tears nor crying, no sickness, no sorrow, no pain, no death, no night and "there shall in no way enter into it anything that defileth, neither he that worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they who are written in the Lamb's book of life." Yes, it is the place for which the children of God in all the ages past have turned their anxious eyes. Heaven is a prepared place, but only for a prepared people.
It is grieving to think that literally billions of people have lived on this earth and have labored foolishly to reach the "city of God," Heaven, and they've depended upon their religious leaders to show them "how to go to the city." Unfortunately, most of them have been led astray by those who, themselves, are spiritually blind to the truth of God. In Proverbs 14:12 we read that "There is a way that seemed right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Again in Proverbs 15:24 we're told, "The way of life is above to the wise, that they might depart from Hell beneath." Friend, are you wise, or are you foolish?
In the past when I've asked people what assurance they have that they are really on their way to Heaven, "the city of God," I find that most of them are all confused. Some are highly resentful and instead of accepting the authoritative information from the word of God, I've found them substituting their own finite reasoning with "I think this, or I think that." Some believe that we're all going to be in Heaven someday even though we take different roads to get there. One university student told me that reaching Heaven was like climbing to the mountaintop by different paths. Others think that as long as you are sincere and worship the same God everything will "come out alright at the end."
Now in view of these widespread misconceptions, let's take a brief look at the various ways that man has conceived, with the Devil's help, to presumably gain entrance into the presence and "city of God." And let me say at the outset that each of these ways is diabolically opposed to the Bible, the word of Almighty God. Therefore my friend, I say, with the fear of God as my only reservation, that if you are on any of these roads then you are even now on your way to an eternal place of torment called Hell.
First of all, if you are someone who doesn't believe in God then you are on "ATHEISTIC ALLEY," or perhaps you don't believe that mere man can have a personal knowledge of God, in which case you are on "AGNOSTIC AVENUE." I'll not dignify such diabolical positions by elaboration but in Psalms 14:1 we read, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." At the end of His upper-room ministry in John 17:3 Jesus said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent." I should add the fact that there are no atheists or agnostics in Hell. Why? Because they all changed their minds 10 seconds after they died!
The first significant road that I would bring before you today is "LEGALITY LANE." It is a hard, rough and stony road that passes by the ominous cliffs of Mt. Sinai. As you walk along, you can almost hear the thunder and see the lightning flashing. That expression on your face indicates that the two tablets of stone, containing the 10 commandments, are too much for you to bear---but you struggle on. You say, "I'll do my best to keep God's Holy laws and surely I'll get to Heaven that way."
Friend, the Bible says that if a man "shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." God says that if you or I break even one of the commandments then we are guilty of breaking them all. In Galatians 3:10 we read, "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." In Exodus 32:28 we're told that when the law was given and broken about 3,000 people perished. In contrast, when the grace of God was preached on the Day of Pentecost about 3,000 souls were saved. In Galatians 2:21 we're told that "if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." And even John the Baptist tells us in John 1:17 that "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Do I hear someone say, "Well, I'm sure glad that I'm not on that road because I know that I've failed and I'm guilty of the grossest violations of God's law? Therefore, I'm going to 'turn over a new leaf' and start pleasing God by putting away my bad habits and cultivating new ones. Surely, this will put me on the road to the celestial city called Heaven." My friend, this may come as a shock to you but you're on "REFORMATION ROAD" and it also leads to Hell and the Lake of Fire.
In Ecclesiastes 3:15 we read that "God requireth that which is past." So even if you were to reform today and turn over a new leaf, as you call it, the old sin-stained leaves are still in the book. You'll still have to face them at the Great White Throne Judgment unless, you substitute your reformation with the regeneration made possible by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ and the subsequent indwelling of the Spirit of God. In John 3:3 Jesus Christ told the religious Pharisee named Nicodemus that "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." And friend, this regeneration, or new birth, takes place the moment you acknowledge and repent of your sin and trust in the value and virtue of the blood of Christ as your only escape from the eternal wrath of a thrice-holy God. No, "REFORMATION ROAD" will never lead to Heaven. In fact, it's a dead-end street to the district called Hell.
Not far from "REFORMATION ROAD" we find another super highway called "MORALITY MIDWAY." This road is quite crowded and many lovely people travel this highway. They are people you would like to have as friends and neighbors. They are people who revolt against all forms of sin and evil. They are people who pride themselves in their morals, ethics and culture. These people are opposed to abortions, pre-marital sex, homosexuality and other conditions that are an abomination to God, but they are depending upon their religious heritage, culture, ethics and high moral standards to take them into God's Heaven.
Friend, if your religious background and culture could save your soul; and if ethical behavior could put away your sins and make you fit for God's Heaven, then tell me--- Why did Jesus Christ die that cruel, shameful and ignominious death at Calvary's cross? No, "MORALITY MIDWAY" will never lead to the pearly gates of Heaven. In fact, it is going in the opposite direction because it subjugates the sacrificial and substitutionary work of Christ to a position of secondary importance.
There is another road that runs parallel to "MORALITY MIDWAY" and it's called "SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS STREET." It's a beautiful tree-lined street packed with the Scribes and Pharisees and other such church dignitaries. I hear one saying, "I thank God that I am not as other men. I'm not a drunkard, a blasphemer, an adulterer or murderer. I fast twice in the week and I give tithes of all that I possess. Surely, if anyone gets to Heaven, I will." But what does God say in Isaiah 64:6? "We are ALL as an unclean thing and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Now that expression "filthy rags" does not refer to clothing covered by the dirt from the streets but rather to robes made unclean by the inward corruption that exuded from the sores of lepers. That's what God says about our self-righteousness. They all come from a diseased, corrupt, evil heart and therefore they can never justify a sinner in the sight of an infinitely Holy God.
In Titus 3:5 we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to God's mercy He saves us." Again in Ephesians 2:8,9 we're told, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Friend, you'll never reach Heaven by anything you've done or could do, but rather by having faith in what Jesus Christ has already done at Calvary.
Another road so well-traveled by those who assume that they are on their way to Heaven is "RITUALISTIC RAMP." These are people who are laboring under the false impression that they are fit for Heaven because they have been baptized at birth, dedicated soon after and later on confirmed in a solemn ceremony. They partake of the sacraments, rarely miss a church service, sing in the choir and may even teach a Sunday School class. They have been led to believe that these rituals and noble activities will lead them to the "city of God," Heaven. But they have been misled by so-called "men of the cloth" who are also on the same disastrous road to eternal torment.
Friend; please don't listen to any religious leader who cannot substantiate what they say with "chapter and verse," in proper context. The Bible makes it clear that religious leaders have to be saved too. In Romans 3:23 we're told that "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Yes, they have to be "born again" too if they ever expect to see Heaven. There are no "ifs," "ands" or "buts" about it.
I might add that I was preaching the Gospel for several years before I was saved by the grace of God. There is a great difference between knowing about Jesus Christ and knowing Him, as you're own and personal Saviour. (It would be wonderful if some of you religiously lost clergymen reading this message would humble yourselves before God and REALLY trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord of your life.) Inanycase, "RITUALISTIC RAMP" will never lead to Heaven, but rather lead you down to Hell.
Another popular road taken by many people today is called "DELUSION DRIVE." These people absolutely will not accept the Bible as the divinely inspired word of God. They don't believe in the Deity, or the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. They don't believe in His sacrificial and atoning death on Calvary's cross. They don't believe in an eternal place of torment; but they are ready to listen to every kind of Devil-inspired doctrine.
As they go down "DELUSION DRIVE" you can hear them muttering to themselves-"God is good and good is God. There is no such thing as evil, sin, disease and death. Every day and in every way I am growing better and better and better. I believe in the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God, if there is a God."
The Bible says in Isaiah 5:20, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." Friend, these people are hiding their heads in the sands of unbelief, but this will in no way detract from the truth of God's word. When these people die they will wake-up to the God-given fact that SIN is a reality; DEATH is a reality; and HELL is so real that it will be their soul's abode forever and forever. No, "DELUSION DRIVE" will never lead to the celestial "city of God," but rather to the caverns of the doomed.
Still another road, that is distinguished to say the least, is "MODERN THOUGHT BOULEVARD." Many of the so-called "intelligencia" tread this path. And the people on this road seem to wear their academic "cap and gown" 24 hours a day. They are too proud to accept "Thus saith the Lord"; but instead they bow down before the gods of science, philosophy, modern thought and all the various man-made theories that are turning people away from God.
These people take delight in refuting Biblical truths such as creationism and they propagate the Devil-inspired theory that we "came from monkeys." Many also advocate abortions and same-sex marriages, etc..(I'll not waste any more time on such unsubstantiated nonsense and blasphemy that must bring a stench to the nostrils of a loving Creator, God.)
Friend, there is nothing wrong with getting an education and preparing for your life's work here on earth, but remember that you must meet God! If securing an education is taking you away from your preparation for eternity then, obviously, "MODERN THOUGHT BOULEVARD" is taking you down to the place which Jesus Christ describes in 6 verses as where the "fire is never quenched" in Mark 9:43-48.
The "TEMPERANCE TRAIL" is one that is also crowded with those who practice sin---but only in moderation! Friend, sin is just like cheese, no matter how thin you slice it, it is still sin. Every transgression of God's word and will is sin, and there is no such word, thought or deed that is trivial in His sight. Friend, you'll never reach the place called Heaven by traveling down "TEMPERANCE TRAIL."
The "SECOND CHANCE SPEEDWAY" is overrun by those who wallow in the muck and mire of willful sin one day, then unscripturally confess their sins before a mere man the next day. Then off they go again round and round the race track of life until they experience the "blow out"of time and then they go into an eternity without Christ. In Mark 2:7 Jesus said, "Who can forgive sins but God only?" Again in I Timothy 2:5 we read, "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus." Friend, get off the track and go to God, through Jesus Christ, for He is ready, willing and able to forgive you who will place your faith and trust in His sin-cleansing blood. In I John 1:7 we read that the "blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin."
Finally, there is a road called "PROCRASTINATION PARKWAY" which is leading so many sinners down to the place of torment. These people have been the most favored of all because they have heard the Gospel of God's marvelous grace; they know that they can't do anything to save themselves; they know that they must be "born again" if they ever expect to be in Heaven, BUT they think that they have plenty of time to get saved. They're young and in good health so they want to enjoy the pleasures of sin while they can, then when they get old they can trust Christ as their Saviour and go to Heaven.
Listen to what God says: In Ecclesiastes 11:9 we read,"Rejoice O young man in thy youth, and let thine heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; BUT know thou, that for all these things-God will bring thee into judgment." Again we read in Proverbs 27:1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." In II Corinthians 6:2 we're told, "behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation."
Friend, "PROCRASTINATION PARKWAY" is a road to Hell that is paved with "good intentions." I should add that you can go to Hell by any means at your disposal, but you can only go to Heaven by God's Way, and God's Way is God's Son.
Our scripture text, Ecclesiastes 10:15, tells us how people are laboring foolishly trying to get to "the city of God," Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 11:28,"Come unto ME, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." There is no spiritual rest, or salvation, apart from faith in the crosswork of Jesus Christ. In John 10:9 He says, "I am the door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
In John 14:3 the Lord told the disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and that He would come again to receive them unto Himself. Thomas said to Him, "we know not where Thou goest; and how can we know the way?" In verse 6 Jesus responded, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
Friend, there is only ONE WAY TO HEAVEN---the Lord Jesus Christ! In Acts 4:12 we're told,"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Friend, I plead with you, in love for your soul and in view of eternity, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. If you do, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be sure of being in the "city of God," the place called Heaven for all eternity. AND REMEMBER, MY FRIEND, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY!
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk