The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
December 21, 2014
1) Choosing the Narrow Way -- Even When Difficult (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
Choosing the Narrow Way -- Even When Difficult
by Tom Edwards
Throughout life's journey, we often come to many turning points or
crossroads that confront us with needful decisions which can
sometimes greatly alter not only the direction of our lives, but
also whom we become. So let us choose wisely, using God's word
for our standard. And if we hearken to all of that standard, we will
not only have a better tomorrow, but we will also have -- even
more so -- a much better eternity!
Choices, of course, can vary greatly -- all the way from unnecessary
or trivial to that which is vitally important. And though
making those more important choices, which can change our lives for
the better, might seem like such an easy thing to do, yet how often
have we failed or neglected to do that? Perhaps we need to
remind ourselves or become aware of the fact that some of that
disregard can actually be sinful -- or, as also referred to, a "sin
of omission." For James warns, "...to one who knows the right
thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin" (Jms. 4:17).
So our choices are to involve not only abstaining from the wrong,
but also in carrying out those things which the Lord wants us to.
In the gospel, we have a better life set before us for the taking;
but, sadly, the majority continue to choose it not. Is it
unbelief, indifference, laziness, no incentive, worldliness, a love
for sin rather than a love for God, discouragement by the thought of
persecution for doing what is right, not realizing the value or
importance of the better choice, or different combinations of these
factors that hold one back from accepting that right or better
way? Whatever it is, it needs to be overcome. For
nothing should stand in the way of our doing what is right unto the
Every new day -- with its joys or sorrows, its trials and
temptations or whatever else it brings -- is to be a day we each
live faithfully unto the Almighty God. And our hearts should
be motivated with that commitment as we daily face the differing
paths and select from among them the right one to follow.
Job did this and says of God, "But He knows the way I take; When he
has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held
fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I
have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the
words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:10-12).
Though there are many ways to choose that lead to destruction, there
is only one way that leads to eternal life! As Jesus declares,
"...'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father but through Me." Notice in this statement that
the Lord does not refer to Himself as being "one of the ways"; but,
rather, as being "the way." This clearly corresponds with Acts
4:12 where Peter states about Jesus that "...there is salvation in
no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been
given among men by which we must be saved."
So in thinking of Jesus as the only Savior, we can also think of Him
metaphorically as being the only road to heaven; but we will also
use the idea of a right "road," in this article, to refer to any
Because there are so many wrong roads that lead in a direction away
from God, we can also sum them all up as one extremely wide road
that the majority have so easily taken. For what characterizes
each of these roads is sin -- and it takes only one transgression to
keep a person out of heaven. Apparently, this summing up is
what Jesus has done in referring to the "broad" way in Matthew
7:13,14, where He urges the hearers to "Enter through the narrow
gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to
destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the
gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there
are few who find it."
We must not only enter that narrow way, but also continue on it,
which is implied in various passages of the New Testament. For
benefiting from the Lord's sacrifice is conditional: Initial
requirements are to be met to become a Christian: One must hear the
gospel, whereby faith comes (Rom. 10:17), believe in the deity of
Christ (Jn. 8:24); repent of sin (Acts 17:30), publicly acknowledge
faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and be baptized in
water for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16;
Rom. 6:3,4; 1 Pet. 3:21). But just as roads are meant to be
traveled, even so entering this road (by the previous means), must
also be continually journeyed (by faithfulness unto the Lord)
toward that final destination of eternal life (cf. Rev. 2:10;
Heb. 10:36-39); and that we may remain on that highway of God's
mercy, grace, and blessings, all along the way. For sin will
cause us to turn off that road and lose our way and the spiritual
blessings of God (cf. 2 Pet. 2:20-22). As John states: "If we
say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as
he Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 Jn. 1:6,7).
Choosing the narrow way is not always the easy road to take; but it
is the way that, down through time, many have taken because of their
faith in God, their love and appreciation for Him, and their desire
to gain heaven and avoid hell.
Moses, for instance, "...when he had grown up, refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure
ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing
pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches
than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward" (Heb.
There were two roads set before Moses, figuratively speaking; but he
chose the one that would involve "ill-treatment," suffering, and
becoming an object of scorn to the worldly, for that road of
faithfulness unto God was the one that would lead to heaven, though
difficult at times to travel.
Consider also how that narrow road was that the apostle Paul had
chosen. It had him encountering persecution and imprisonment,
along the way, and even death. Yet he had stayed the course
and completed his journey. Paul verified his apostleship by
all the sufferings he endured on that road, as if they were his
"credentials"; and he had quite a list: "in far more labors...far
more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of
death. Five times I received...thirty-nine lashes. Three
times...beaten with rods, once...stoned, three times... shipwrecked,
a night and a day...spent in the deep. ... frequent journeys, in
dangers [from rivers, robbers, his countrymen, the
Gentiles, cities, the wilderness, the sea, and false brethren], in
labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and
thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from
such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern
for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led
into sin without my intense concern" (2 Cor. 11:23-29)? Yes,
Paul chose the narrow road, the more difficult way -- but did so
gladly because of his love for God, love for others, and the
determination to serve them.
Consider, too, the road which many of the Old Testament prophets
took. How lonely of a journey it must have seemed at times,
such as in the case of Elijah who mistakenly thought he was the only
one still on that road (cf. Rom. 11:2,3). Many of these
messengers of God were persecuted and put to death. They had
pleaded with God's wayward people (who were usually the majority) to
repent and return to the Lord; but, sadly, their message often went
unheeded. God's word to Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, had
been written on a scroll and delivered to Jehoiakim, the king of
Judah; but he cut it up with a scribe's knife and threw all the
pieces into the fire. Jeremiah was soon put into a cistern in
which "...there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into
the mud" (Jer. 38:6).
To that group of Jews who soon became so infuriated over Stephen's
message that they stoned him to death, he had previously declared,
"You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears
are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your
fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not
persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming
of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now
become" (Acts 7:51,52).
Many other examples could also be given of those who chose the
narrow way -- and even when it involved much opposition, adversity,
and suffering. It was their faith in God and love for Him that
helped them make that choice and stay on that course -- even if it
meant being thrown into the lion's den (Daniel 6) or cast into a
fiery furnace with its heat increased 7 times (Daniel 3).
Choosing the way of the Lord wasn't always easy; but it was done by
those who were seeking to please God rather than self. Another
Old Testament example of this is seen in what many of God's people
under the Law of Moses had to do when they found out, during the
time of Ezra's reading of the Law, that the Lord did not want them
to be marrying outside of their race; and, therefore, many of
these who had already done so were now willing to put away their
foreign wives in obedience to God -- and even though children were
involved. In Ezra 10, the men are mentioned by name; and we
would think that it must have been an emotionally difficult
severance for many of them (if not all) -- but they did so in spite
So Moses certainly wasn't the only one who in putting God first was
willing to suffer in doing what was right. For this would also
be true for every faithful follower of the Lord. Concerning
some of them during the Old Testament times, for instance, the
Hebrew writer points out that "...others were tortured, not
accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better
resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes,
also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn
in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword;
they went about in sheepskin, in goatskins, being destitute,
afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy),
wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the
ground" (Heb. 11:35-38).
Perhaps some of these thoughts remind you of the song, "Faith of Our
Fathers," which rings out, "Faith of our fathers! living still, In
spite of dungeon, fire, and sword...Our fathers, chained in prisons
dark, Were still in heart and conscience free; How sweet would be
their children's fate, If they, like them, could die for thee!...."
I have viewed the meaning of this last part as not wishing to be a
martyr; but, rather, to have enough faith, as those in time's past,
to be able to be one if need be.
May we be encouraged by the faith of these recorded in the
Scriptures to always make the right choices in our lives
regardless of whatever opposition or difficulty that would possibly
lead to, in conflict with the world.
It is because of His love that God wants each of us to choose His
way of salvation. For He is "...not willing for any to perish
but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
Of all the choices that we can make in life, none will ever be as
important as those which pertain to our eternal destiny! If we
continue to choose the way God wants us to and remain in the narrow
way -- even if it be difficult -- we will never have any regrets in
all eternity for having done so!
News & Notes
About a week ago, Deena Hensley Fields started experiencing
sciatic pain in several places, with the most severe being in her
knee. Her doctor thinks this is probably related to having
lifted a boat with a few friends that affected some discs in her
lower back. Let those of us who are Christians be keeping her
in prayer for a complete and speedy recovery.
And let us also be praying for the following people:
Jesse Bailey has been diagnosed with cancer.
Ginger Ann Montero has been experiencing different degrees of
abdominal pains for the last few weeks.
Robin Brown recently had trouble with her blood pressure,
which required medical treatment.
Emily Cox (Jonathan and Anita Abbott's daughter) is to
continue with bed rest until her child is born in about 3
Also for their health: Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Danielle
Howard, Marie Turner, Penny Medlock, Ronnie Davis, Rex and Frankie
Hadley, Jewel Wilson, Mary Vandevander, Deborah Medlock, Shirley
Davis, Sue Wooten, Mandy Strickland, Dexter Roberts, Dolly Downs
Moody, Steve Vista, and Colleen Henson.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom.
10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins
(Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can
be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)