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Are You In The Way or On The Way?

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Title:        In The Way or On The Way?

Text:        Luke 5:17-21; Matthew 5:24; 7:5: 6:33

CIT:         Some people are on the way while others

                stand in the way of  revival.

Purpose:  Repentance/Salvation


        This morning I want to ask you a very important question.  It is a question I ask myself almost daily and one in which is very important for us as we near our revival services with Doctor Skinner.  “Are You in The Way or On The Way?”  “Are You In The Way or On The Way to Revival?”  You might say, “Preacher how can we know if we are in the way or on the way to revival?” Good question and I want to help you answer the question from God’s Word this morning. 

        Our Scriptures for this morning are very familiar but I want us to handle it in a very different way.  I don’t want us to focus on Jesus’ ability to forgive sin or heal a man of palsy; I don’t want us to focus our attention on the four men who worked together to get their friend to Jesus which is a message in itself; what I want us to focus on is two distinct groups of people.

        Jesus is returning from preaching in the villages of Galilee.  He has returned home to a great crowd of people.  So many that people couldn’t get in the doors where Jesus was teaching.  These people represent two distinct groups of people, people who are “in the way” and people who are “on the way.”  

        The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes are one group.  They are doctors of the law, the upper crust, so to speak, of Jewish religious life.  They were not there to grow closer to God; they had gathered around to catch Jesus making a mistake.  This group got into the house and no one else could get in.

        There was another group.  It consisted of four men carrying a man who had palsy on a stretcher, trying to get their friend to Jesus.  They could  not  get past  the  crowd at the door, so they went on top of the roof, tore a hole in it and let their dear friend down at the feet of Jesus.  Because of their faith and effort their friend met Jesus and was healed.

        Two groups of people, a group of people “in the way” and a group of people “on the way.”  Since I became a pastor,  I have found that wherever I go there are at least two distinct groups of people; those “on the way” with Jesus and those “in the way.”  Are you in the way or on the way with Jesus?

        J. Wilbur Chapman was one of Americas great evangelist.  He tells the story of preaching a revival in Cleveland, Ohio.  He had been in Cleveland for three weeks and nothing had happened.  He could not understand it, He had preached with power, he had prayed with compassion but nothing had happened.  One day a man came up and asked if Chapman would like to know the reason the revival was a flop.  Wilbur said he was very much interested.  The man told of a banker, who was deacon in the church, who was thief, liar, cussed like a sailor, and told dirtier jokes than you would hear at the pool hall.  The man said, “This is the reason God has not blessed your revival.”  

        Wilbur and the pastor paid a visit to the banker and confronted him with these charges.  He went ash white and begin to sob, “Yes,” he said, “it is true.”  That night at the revival, the banker was the first down the isles to rededicate his life to God.  Chapman went on to say, “That night a revival started in Cleveland,  hundreds were saved.”  It was all held back by one man “in the way.”  My question to you this morning is: 


        I could go to a hundred different texts within the New Testament to find the basic foundation for being ready for revival:  Paul  has told us in I Corinthians 3:11 that the only foundation we can build upon is Jesus.  So I want to take my text from Jesus’ greatest sermon, “The  Sermon  on  the Mount.”  Within this sermon Jesus used the word FIRST three times.  I call these, “The Three Firsts of Revival.”  Turn with me to Matthew 5 where we find the first of the three firsts:

I.  First, Be Reconciled  ( Matthew 5:24).

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.  And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ (Empty head or you idiot) shall be in danger of the council.  But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.  Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

        It is impossible for a person to have anything against his brother and expect to experience revival or have an open relationship to God.  It is impossible for a Christian to harbor hard feelings towards a brother and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Did you know that? 

        If I found someone something or someone in my life that I couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive, I would look to my salvation because your hate has become greater than your Christ.

        a.  Who is Thy Brother? 

        The word used here is Adelphos.  It is a word which can mean a physical brother, a neighbor, or simply someone you have something in common with.  This could be anyone at all.  Jesus uses an example of a hated Samaritan when defining for the Jewish leaders who a neighbor was.

        Jesus would say the person setting next to you is your brother.  Jesus would say that the people setting in front of the liquor store in downtown Hughes are your brothers.  The Bible does not say God created my kind of people but God created mankind and we are brothers because we were created in the likeness of God.

        b.  What Does The Bible Say.

        John tells us in I John that:

He that says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness even until now.

         Paul tells us:

Not to let the sun go down on your wrath.

        It is clear that our people relationships have a devastating effect on our relationship with God.

        During the Revolutionary War a pastor named Peter Miller had been being persecuted by this certain Tory.  His house was raided, barns burnt, and crops destroyed by this one English sympathizer.  This Tory was finally captured and brought to trial in front General Washington.  He was sentenced to death by a firing squad.  When Pastor Miller heard about it he walked sixty miles to plead for his release.

        Washington upon hearing his request was outraged, do you have the gall to expect me to release your friend?  Miller replied, “He is not my friend.  He hates me with a passion.  But, even my worst enemy but he does not deserve to die like that.”

        John says it is a test of faith,

We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.  He that loves not his brother abides in death.

        If you are harboring hate or anger against someone, God wants you to take care of it before offering your offering to God.  What offering?  I contend that all we have to offer God is ourselves.  God owns everything else!  God wants us to take care of our horizontal relationship FIRST!  Reconcile yourself with your brother.  There might need to be some reconciling for you this morning

Are you in the way or on the way?

II.  First, Be Right  (Matthew 7:5).

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what  judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

        The hardest sin for me to see is my own own.  I don’t have a problem seeing Janice’s sin.  I don’t have a problem seeing my children’s sin.  I know its hard to imagine, but I don’t have a problem seeing Chris’ sin, or even Dianna’s sin.  But, it is difficult for me to see my own.  In fact, we like to see other’s sin, it makes our sin look so much better. 

        The only person whose sin we have anything to say or do about is our own.  We need to examine our own life against the life of Christ and God’s Word.  If it doesn’t match up, we need confess our sin, and He will faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  We are to be holy.

        For several weeks on Wednesday night we have been studying about Returning to Holiness.  Getting the sin out and getting Jesus in.  This is essential if we hope to influence people around us for Jesus. 

        We cannot expect people to follow the Christ we follow unless the Christ we follow is first place in our own lives.  Be right.

Are you in the way or on the way?

III.  First, Be Realigned, Be Real (Matthew 6:33).

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His          righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

        Christians are new creatures, created in Christ Jesus.  God has enabled us to search out and please Him under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  The FIRST thing we are to seek is the Kingdom of God.  God is to be FIRST in our lives. 

        Doctor George Truett tells the story of a very prosperous and gifted freshman student at Baylor University.  He preached in revivals, he led people to Christ in street ministry, he had a four point grade point average, he had everything going for him.  His life was Christ centered.  He loved the Lord.

        Then, during his Junior year his grades fell, his witnessing fell off to nothing, no one was being saved at his revivals.  Being concerned, Doctor Truett called him in and asked what the problem was.

        The student related this to Doctor Truett: “This past summer I met this beautiful girl and fell in love. {Now I want to interject here that there is nothing wrong with courtship and marriage, there is nothing wrong with falling in love, but when it comes between you and God it is Sin.} He said, “I am not seeking the Kingdom of God, I would just as soon the Kingdom not come.  I want to get married and have children, that is my FIRST goal in life.”

        Whose will are you seeking?  Yours or the Father’s?  It is easy to put God on the back burner of your life.

Are you in the Way or on the way?


        I ask you that question because I am concerned about you and your walk with Christ.  I ask you that question because I am concerned about our church and our upcoming revival.  The strength or weakness of any organization is proportional to the weakest or strongest person involved.

        It is like an old pickle barrel, which was made from wooden slats.  My father always told me, “Son you can only fill that barrel up to the shortest slat.”

        Our church, our witness can only be as strong as you let it be.  Are you on the way to revival this morning or are you in the way?  You might say, “I’m in the way but I’ll move my membership before I forgive or forget.  I’ll wait for them to make the first move, I’ll not forgive nor forget.”   If you do, you stunt your spiritual growth and will hinder revival wherever you go and still keep revival from happening where you left. 

        You might be saying, “No one will ever know about that sin.  I can still be a deacon, a Sunday School teacher, or a counselor and no one will ever know.”  God will know and you will still be in the way, your spiritual growth and walk with Christ will still suffer.   Why not get it right today?


        In a moment we are going to be singing a song of invitation, I want to invite you to come and get on the way with Jesus today.  Won’t you come?

Blooming Grove Baptist                Sugar Creek Baptist

Onawa Baptist                                Pleasant Hill Baptist

Grace College of The Bible           Gum Springs Baptist

FBC, Hughes                                   Trinity Baptist

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