“Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” [1 Thessalonians 5:21-22]
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” [Matthew 7:15-16]
Once upon a time there was a man who from a very early age began seeking spiritual truths. He was blessed to have a very Godly mother who had a strong, unwavering faith in the truths of Jesus Christ. She knew that the Bible was the inspired Word of the One True God, and passed that belief on to her son.
But as her son grew, he began to question those truths. He began a journey that would lead him into many false teachings. For many of his young adult years, he thought he had found convincing answers in other religions, especially eastern religions and New Age philosophies. He never doubted that Jesus was the anointed Son of God, and he never doubted that there was only One True God. He wavered mostly on the idea that some would be saved and go to heaven and some would be lost and go to hell. He allowed the false teachings to lead him to wonder how a just, merciful loving God could ever allow anyone to perish and suffer forever in the fires of hell. He even doubted that there was a hell at all, and that eternal punishment was simply a myth devised to scare people into living better lives. This young man failed to take Matthew 7:15-16 to heart, and he was headed down a path that would have lead him to destruction.
Then tragedy struck. As he struggled to endure a devastating loss in his life, he reached out for comfort and relief from his agonizing grief. He reached up to heaven, and all the truths his mother had taught him came to life. As he cried out in his despair it wasn’t Buddha or Mohammed or the Dalia Lama that answered his cries. It was Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God, The Messiah, the Risen Lord and Savior that answered him. He had no doubt that it was Jesus. How could he know it was Jesus? By the prompting of the Holy Spirit that he had received when he was baptized at the age of 12. The promise of the Lord came alive in his spirit, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [Hebrews 13:5] In an instant he realized that it had been Jesus who had loved him, walked with him and sustained him all of his life. When he was drowning in grief and despair, he reached up and felt the hands of Christ saving him.
As we walk through this life we will hear all manner of teachings that sound good and seem to answer some of our deepest longings and questions. Let us remember these words from Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” We must guard our hearts against any teaching or philosophy that tells us there is any way to heaven except Jesus Christ. And once we really get to know Jesus and accept His teachings, we will see that living by His truths is the best way to live anyway. Even if Jesus was not the only way to heaven, the example He set by His life – love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, care for the down trodden and His sinless life – is far above all others. And the tomb of Jesus is the only empty one.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me you would know my Father as well.” [John 14:6-7]
Once you have met the Living Christ you will understand the rest of the verse, “From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Test all teachings by the Holy Word. Jesus is the way. Amen.