Friday, July 6, 2018
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It's a very impressive bridge. We saw it as we traveled near the Ohio River years ago. As you looked at it from the city where we were staying, it appeared to be complete. But when you went a few blocks and you looked at it from downriver, some additional information became apparent-in fact, important information. The bridge was only partly completed. It would get you part way there, and then it would drop you in the river.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Beautiful Dead-End Bridge."
Every religion, including yours and mine, is in a sense, a bridge that starts us in the direction of where we all hope to end up for all eternity-heaven. Sadly, every religion, though, is a bridge that doesn't get you all the way across. Most religions look like they'll get us to heaven, but they won't. They can't.
God makes that clear in many places in His Book, including in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Romans 3, beginning with verse 20. He says, "No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law." That means doing good things and not doing bad things. "Unless we are righteous-free of the stain of sin-we can't enter a perfect God's perfect heaven."
Romans 3:23 goes on to say, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That's "fall short". Every one of us, no matter how good we try to be, it falls short of God's holy and perfect standard; falls short of ever living in His perfect heaven. So a lot of religious folks are living in this deadly false security, believing that somehow our goodness and our religion are going to get us where we want to go. But that security is actually a bridge to nowhere.
Thankfully, the next verse has some good news. It says that all of us who have fallen short of being with God can be "justified (that means made right with God) freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Redemption means that it took Jesus paying the price to get us back for us to ever be right with God. And that's what He did when He died that awful death on that awful cross. That was love for you like love you've never known. He loved you too much to lose you. So He paid the price for your sin; the price you should pay. Bottom line: Jesus is your only hope. Not Christianity, not a religion about Jesus, but Jesus.
Every religion, every morality is ultimately dependent on my efforts to get God's approval. But in Ephesians 2:8-9, God clearly says, "It is by grace (which means undeserved love) that you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works." Now if God says it's not by works that we get to Him, why would we depend one more day on what He clearly says won't work? Our only hope is His Son. Our only hope is Jesus' death for us and His resurrection from the dead that proves He can give eternal life.
Honestly, what are you depending on to get you to heaven? That's the life-or-death question. If it's anything or anyone else other than total trust in Jesus Christ, you're not going to make it. He's the only bridge that reaches all the way across from our sin to God's heaven. Every other bridge will fail you. Every other bridge will cost you heaven, no matter how beautiful the bridge is.
And God is coming to you today with this message because He wants you to spend eternity with Him. That's why He's moving in your heart right now, calling you to abandon all other hopes and put all your hopes in His Son, Jesus. If you're not sure you've done that, please don't risk one more day without Him. Tell Him, "God, I have no hope but Your Son, and today I'm turning my life over to you completely. I'm putting all my trust in Jesus to be my Rescuer from my sin."
Listen, our website is there, really created for you for such a time as this so you can nail down your relationship with God and be sure you belong to Him and that you're going to heaven when you die. The website's ANewStory.com. Please go there today.
You can go to sleep tonight knowing where you're going when you die; knowing you're going to heaven because Jesus is going to get you there.