Years ago, a preacher for a frontier congregation ended a stirring sermon by stating, “All those who want to go to Heaven, raise your hands!” Everybody, of course, enthusiastically raised their hands high ... everybody, that is, except a grizzled, old cowboy who had been slouching against the door post at the back of the room. He only stared with a look of doubt on his face at the preacher and the individual members of the church.
All heads turned as the rugged cowboy sauntered with spurs jangling up to the front near the minister and said, “Preacher, that was too easy. How d’ya know if these folks are serious? I c’n gar-an-tee to prove to you who really means to go to Heaven an’ who don’t!”
Bewildered at the statement, yet wanting to show confidence in the congregation, the preacher mustered up the courage to reply, “Ok, stranger, go ahead and put the faith of these good people to the test. Ask them anything you want to!”
At that, the cowpoke pulled his twin six-shooters from their holsters, turned to the congregation, aimed the guns right at them, and asked, “Alright, who wants to go to Heaven right here and now? Raise your hands!”
I believe that most of us would be just as enthusiastic about our answers as the people in the story if someone asked us during a sermon if we wanted to go to Heaven. Surely, there would be a chorus of people shouting, “YES!” However, Heaven is not simply the result of answering a question in the affirmative. It is the result of following the right path in our lives, and that path is not always an easy one to follow. This is especially true since the Bible teaches that most people will not follow the road to eternal life. Rather, most people will follow the road that leads to eternal destruction.
Jesus said in Matthew 7: 13, 14, “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.” In other words, we have two choices: a way that leads to death (which most will follow) and a way that leads to life (which few will find).
So, how do we find the pathway to eternal life? Listen again to Jesus in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” Jesus is the only way to Heaven, but one must listen to and obey His directions in order to get there.
Are you following the way of truth that leads to life?
Are you following Jesus today?
Are you raising your hands?