The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life

March 3, 2019

Luke 24:13-27

All of us need help when we are traveling to find our way.

These days, most of us just take out our phone, we speak in the address, and Siri directs us to our destination, one turn at a time.

Many of you are old enough to remember when we used one of these (folding map).

Chances are good if you under the age of 35, you may have never used a map like this and you never will.

Years ago, if we didn’t have a map like this, when we traveled out of town and out of state on vacations, we used to stop and ask directions from strangers. Either that, or we stayed lost a lot because it’s impossible to always know where you are going unless of course, you are a man.

Men always know where we are going.  If you don’t believe that, just ask a man if he is lost and he will tell you that he knows exactly where he is.

And the women just roll their eyes.

O.K, as a man, I will admit that I’ve been lost more than once and it would have helped if I had consulted with a map – or listened to my wife.

Confession is good for the soul.

If we were all honest, we would say that we have all been lost.  If we were all honest, we would all confess that when we are confused about life, about the direction we are to go, too many of us have turned down several wrong roads because we were too prideful to ask for help.

We do not seek help easily.  We don’t like asking for help. We don’t like telling people we are lost, men or women.

We don’t want anyone to know that we don’t know where we are going.  We are embarrassed to tell people that we didn’t plan well.

Because we have found our way before, we figure we will find our way again.  Some of us had rather trust our on instincts than trust a map.  In our instincts were so good, Siri would never have been invented.  If our moral compass were perfect, we wouldn’t need the scriptures.

Listen to these words of wisdom:

First pride, then the crash—

    the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.  Proverbs 16:18 (The Message Bible)

There is a way that people think is right, but it only leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12 ERV)

Is there anyone that would argue with the truthfulness of these words?

When the United States was in a race to put men in space and on the moon, imagine an astronaut coming into the program and saying, “I know the way to the moon.  It’s straight up.  I don’t need a map.  I don’t need any training.”

Imagine a Seal Team that has just received orders to go into the jungle to rescue some Americans that have been kidnapped by a terrorist organization.  As the leader of the operation is about to share the plan and lays a map out for the team to study, one of the members of the team grabs the map and wads it up and says, “We don’t need a map or a plan.  I know the way.  Just follow me.”

Now, what’s the difference in these illustrations and what we do when we enter into an intimate relationship with another person, and God says, “I have a map for that relationship in the Bible,” and we say, “I don’t need it.  I know the way.  I understand and have all the answers to navigate intimate relationships.”

What’s the difference when faced with temptations of all kinds and God says, “I have a map that will help you navigate your way through them in the Bible,” and we say, “I don’t need it.  I like making my own choices.  I don’t like religious literature that’s thousands of years old telling me what choices to make during my day.”

Many people think If there ever were a time when the Bible was the standard directional map for directing the lives of people, that time has passed.

The Period of Enlightenment taught us to be skeptical of absolute truth and question whether a collection of religious material, some as old as 1500 B.C., can tell us anything about our road map in the twenty-first century.

Philosophy has taught us that regardless of how advanced this world becomes or how primitive we still are at times in the ways we treat one another, what we have in common with those that lived before us and likely those that will come after us in our search for meaning and direction?

In that search we have been looking for answers to these basic questions:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Is our universe real?

Do we have free will?

Does God exist?

Is there life after death?

Can you really experience anything objectively?

What is the best moral system?

So, at night, when I look up at the stars and the moon, it does me good to think that every person from every millennium has had the opportunity to stand outside on a clear night and look at the same moon and the same stars and ask these same philosophical and theological questions.

So, before there ever was a map between here and New York City, there were people who wanted to know how to get there.  There were people who questioned whether New York City was real.  There were people who were asking, “Have you ever met anyone from New York City?”

Before there was ever anything ever written down that we call Holy Scriptures, there were people asking questions like, “How did we get something from nothing? How did the world get people that spoke multiple languages?  Who established the moral laws that we live by?  How do I know that God exists? If God exists, does God know me?  Can I know God?”  When we die, is that the end of life?

The scriptures as we have them came into being because people had these questions and because God answered them and inspired people to write a road map for living.

The Bible is our road map for living, dying, and living again.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

The Bible isn’t the only map available to you.  Almost every religion has one, about 4300 of them.

You can choose one of them as your road map or you can decide to be your own god.  By that I mean, you can decide that no one or nothing is better at finding your way than you are. 

If that’s the case, then God or no one else will tell you how to run your life. You will take direction from no one except yourself. You will become your own moral compass. You can map out your own life and keep the maps of all these religions on the shelf.

Or you can decide that there is something different and unique about the Bible.

The uniqueness of the Bible is that it is HIStory.  Whose story?  The story of Jesus. 

It starts with the beginning, and it takes us to the end of time.   It is about the Alpha and the Omega, one One who began this world and the One who will bring it to a conclusion.

It is the story of the God that created the heavens and the earth and how God’s story intersects with ours.

Of course, for those who start with the premise that there is no god, no divine, no first mover, and that the earth and all that is within is here by chance, then the Bible will be seen as just one more religious book among many, with no special purpose or meaning for us as we journey through life.

However, there have been many people that have come to the Bible with no belief in God, only to end up convinced of God’s existence, of His love for each of us, and the value of the Bible as a road map for living our lives.

The reason for this is given to us in Hebrews 4:12.  It says that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

In other words, when we read the Bible, there is an opportunity for something life-changing to happen because while men wrote these words, they were inspired to write them by God.

While these words are ancient, the hearts of those of us who read them still ask the same questions as those who wrote them.   The same Spirit that spoke to those who wrote them, still speaks to you and me.

You don’t even have to be a believer for these words to make a difference in your life.  In fact, when we first read them or hear them, we are not believers.

At some point, we become believers.

Hebrews 4:12 becomes a reality.

God’s word penetrates our hearts.  We come to realize that the road we are traveling and the ways we have mapped out for ourselves, or the road we are following that other people have told us to follow are not producing happiness, contentment, peace, joy, and satisfaction with life.

When we read the Bible, we are not just reading the history of how God created the heavens and the earth, but we are reading about how God remained involved in that history, through prophets, priests, and kings.  Ultimately, he became involved in our history in a personal, intimate way, by coming to this world in the flesh, in the person of Jesus.

God left heaven and joined the human race.  Why would God do that?

When I am lost, and I am finally smart enough to ask for directions, sometimes a person will give me some directions, and when they are finished he or she will say, “You got it?”

Sometimes I’m too embarrassed to say, “No, that was confusing.  Can you say it one more time?”

I let pride get in the way.  l get back on the road, and I get lost again.

There have been times when I’ve asked for directions, and the person will say, “You know, I’m going that way.  Why don’t you follow me?  It’s just easier if I show you.”

Of course, it takes some trust to follow, but that’s nice to follow someone that knows the way.

That’s precisely what God eventually did.  God just came down here and said through Jesus, “Just follow me.”

“Follow me,” was one of Jesus’ favorite lines when he was gathering his disciples.  Later, when he was telling people the kind of life they should live and the kind of path they should take, he said that “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  (Matthew 16:24).

One of the reasons the Bible is so important is that it leads us to Jesus, and Jesus leads us to abundant life and heaven. 

After Jesus rose from the dead, he was walking on a road from Jerusalem to a nearby village called Emmaus with two people who did not recognize him.

I love the part where it says “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Don’t you see?  Jesus understood that the Scriptures, the ones we now call the Old Testament was HIStory.

Jesus became such an important figure to all of history that two thousand years ago when calendars began to be marked in some distinctive way, His Story became the standard for dividing all of time.

Anything that happened before the birth of Jesus was noted as B.C. “Before Christ.”  Anything that happened after the birth of Jesus was noted as A.D., the abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” in the year of our Lord.

Jesus entered history in the fullness of time. Then Jesus rewrote history.

Jesus rewrote history by conquering death.  Because Jesus conquered death, not only can we have faith that the roads he tells us to travel in this life are reliable, but we can have faith that Jesus knows the way to heaven, and we can follow him there as well.

If you are not opening your Bible and following God’s word, wouldn’t you say that’s what you are doing, trying to get to heaven on your own?

Maybe we could simplify it say, that you are just trying to solve today’s problems on your own when all along God has a map you can use for every situation.

If you are not opening your Bible and following God’s word, it’s time to admit that you are like a lot of people who are too prideful to ask directions.

I is right in the middle of pride.  Let’s change that today.  Commit to God that you will reach for Him by reaching for the Bible regularly, a road map that “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

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