The Narrow Road

I’m reminded of a story a friend once related to me a long time ago regarding an off-road expedition someone he knew went on.  If I remember correctly, the person had a brand new full-size Dodge 4×4, all decked out for off-roading, and he decided to go on a road leading to a place called Devil’s Canyon.  He had never been on this road and therefore was unfamiliar with it.  As he progressed down the road he found it becoming more and more narrow, and it became apparent to him that backing back up the hill was not an option.  Eventually the road became so narrow that it began to scrap the sides of his new truck.  Unable to turn around or back up the hill, hoping the road would begin to widen out he continued down the road.  That is until his truck became so wedged in that it couldn’t move anymore in any direction.  He found a way to exit the truck and began the long walk back to the main highway, leaving the truck in its new resting place indefinitely.  The road continued down the hill, but he was unable to continue down it because the vehicle he chose to take was not compatible for the road he was on.


It is recorded twice that Jesus speaks of the narrow road.  The most popular passage of Jesus teaching about the narrow road is found in Matthew 7:13-14, where He identifies both the narrow road and the broad road.  It is in this passage that we learn that there is a narrow road that leads to life, and a broad road that leads to destruction.  Jesus makes it clear that while it is easy to travel the broad road leading to destruction, it is a difficult and narrow road that one must travel to receive life and only few find it.  In Luke 13:22-30 Jesus spends some extra time talking about the narrow gate and how many will seek to enter it but will not be able to.  He points out that while many will say they ate and drank in His presence, and that He taught in their streets, He will tell them to “depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.”  How can someone who initially started out on the narrow road end up on the broad road that leads to destruction, and subsequently denied entrance into heaven?


There are a number of reasons one might find themselves on the broad road.  Perhaps the biggest reason for this is because the narrow road was more difficult than they wanted to go through, and in trying to avoid some of the difficulty they have chosen to switch from the narrow road to the broad road.  Living for Christ was more demanding than what they expected or committed to, and for them it wasn’t worth it.  They chose the easy way of life instead of the difficult path of following Jesus.


Some people have embraced the idea that God’s grace insures their entrance into heaven no matter how they live, taking the mindset that all their sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven and nothing is expected or required of them.  Because they asked God for forgiveness when they accepted Him as their savior, they tend to think that they no longer need to ask forgiveness for any future sin, and that they can continue without turning from sin.  While it is true that God’s grace is extremely wonderful to experience, to think that God expects nothing in return, or that He doesn’t expect us to turn from sin, can find you on the easy and broad road to destruction.


For some, they have tossed out any trace of a moral compass on how to live.  For them, there is no such thing as right or wrong, or even good and evil, in the life of a Christian.  Some will go so far as discount even the need to acknowledge or listen to their conscience, citing that as Christians under a new covenant there is no longer a need for it.  These people do not see the need to repent of sin, especially since in their opinion there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil.  They believe all humanity after Christ is inherently good and redeemed, just on different journeys to eternity.  This is the quick route to the easy and broad road leading to the broad gate and destruction.


The guy in the first paragraph used the wrong vehicle on a narrow road that brought complete destruction to the truck.  In much the same way, a person with the wrong mindsets and ideologies may find that the beliefs they embraced and lived by were incompatible for the difficult and narrow road leading to eternal life, and as a result find themselves going through the broad and easy gate to destruction when it’s all said and done.


The Christian walk is very simple, just living our lives in a way that pleases and honors God.  We often times make it more complicated when we try to designate what parts of our life Jesus has access and control over, and what parts He doesn’t.  Every part of our life, and everything that we have, is Gods, and we need to remember to live accordingly with that understanding.  While the Christian life is simple, it is not an easy one.  We read in Luke 9:23-26 what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and it’s not an easy life to live when our flesh is constantly warring within us to live as we please and in ways that we consider right in our own eyes.  In Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 we are told that “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.


Are you on the narrow road?  Or, are you on the broad and easy road that leads to destruction?  When was the last time you took a good hard look at your life to make sure that you’re on the difficult and narrow road?  If you have been on the easy and broad road, it’s not too late to make a change and get on the right road.  In Philippians 2:12 we are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  Many of the people I described above are taking their walk with Christ, or for some God, rather nonchalantly thinking that their eternal destination is set and can’t really be changed.  What Paul is telling us is that we need to take our walk with Christ very seriously, having a reverence towards a righteous judge knowing that while His love for us is without measure, He is also very just and will not allow sin to enter into Heaven.  Grace, God’s grace, is not a ticket to sin, but instead an opportunity through Christ and the Holy Spirit to live the life that God intended for us to live from the beginning.


In Matthew 7:21-27, talking about those who claim to be followers of Jesus, Jesus makes some sobering statements for all of us to consider.  Jesus mentions that there will be many who call Him Lord that will not enter into Heaven.  Oh, they had quite the resume, doing marvelous things that could only be done in Jesus’ name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus tells them to depart from Him.  Why did he tell them to depart from Him?  He tells us in verse 23 that they were workers of iniquity, or lawlessness as one version translates the text.  Basically, they were doing the supernatural in the name of Jesus, thinking that they were His followers and representatives to the world, but apparently they were living in disobedience to Him living life as they thought best and right in their own eyes.  They were not living according to the will of the Father.  In 1 John 2:3-6 and 1 John 5:3 the Apostle John makes it very clear what the indicator is of one who truly knows and loves Jesus, and that is whether or not they keep and do His commandments.  If one doesn’t keep His commandments, or even acknowledges that we need to keep His commandments, then scripture is clear that the love of God has not been perfected within them, or that they are even of Him.  They are living life as it seems right to them, but as we read in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, living life like that leads to death.


If you’re not living on the difficult and narrow road that leads to eternal life, then this is the time to get on it, and on it to stay.  It’s all about the road that you are on, difficult and narrow or easy and broad.  Which will it be for you????


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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The Not So Lonely Road

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the world is getting more and more hostile towards followers of Christ.  Hostility, or should I say brutality, towards Christians isn’t anything new as this has been the case since the birth of the Church after the ascension of Christ.  While there have been times in history that the hostility has been more extreme than at other times, what is different is that we can see the unfolding of end time events coinciding with this increased hostility.


We’re seeing entire groups of people known to be followers of Christ in different parts of the world be massacred.  We’ve heard of Christians being beheaded at the hands of religious extremists.  I’ve even heard of an adult child, a Christian, be brutally chopped alive with his dad, also a Christian, being forced to watch.  We may not be seeing any of this here in America, or at least on a large scale, but we are seeing a greater hostility towards followers of Christ.  It may not be in the form of blood and violence, but it is there.


It’s easy for us to talk about Jesus and get excited when we gather together with other believers.  It’s easy to talk about the Scriptures and our experiences.  It’s even easy for us to go to Christian concerts and conferences, pray at meals, and sing songs about Jesus.  But, when was the last time you were mocked, ridiculed, or even persecuted for the stand you took to honor Jesus with and in your life?  When was the last time people unfriended or ostracized you because you refused to live according to the standards and behavior of the world, instead choosing to live according to the standards and behavior befitting a follower and ambassador of Christ?  When was the last time those ridiculing and mocking you for your stand were fellow Christians?


I’m not talking about times when some well-meaning Christians are ridiculed for trying to impose or dictate to others their standards and way of life upon another, which often times creates resistance and resentments from them.  I’m not even referring to those within our own family that are rejecting Christ and the way we are leading them according to His ways and that which honors Him first and foremost.  What I’m referring to is when we attempt, in our own lives, to live in a way that honors Christ and best represents Him to those around us, and people don’t like it because it interferes with or goes against the way they’re living life.


In 1 Peter 3:13-17 and in 1 Peter 4:12-19, the Apostle Peter, a disciple of Jesus, tells us that it’s a good thing to suffer for doing good in the sight of God.  He further instructs us, as followers of Christ, to not suffer for doing any wrongdoings, which implies that we shouldn’t as followers of Christ be involved in any wrong or evil activities of which we could get in trouble for.  And just in case someone might argue that he was only addressing what we call the “big” sins, Peter gives us a broad scope to look at when he mentions murderers and busybody’s in the same sentence.  If we suffer, even at the hands of other Christians, for doing that which is right and honorable in the sight of God, it is a good thing remembering how Christ suffered and was persecuted for all He said and did that was right in the sight of God.  However, he makes it clear that it is shameful for us as followers of Christ to suffer for doing what is wrong and evil in God’s sight.


Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 that there are two gates by which people enter into eternity.  He mentions, as many of us are already aware, that wide is the gate and broad or easy the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  He also tells us to enter through the narrow gate, telling us it is both narrow and difficult to enter but through which leads us to life, and that there are only few who enter by it.  To live as the world would have us to, living by the standards and reasoning’s for life that the world embraces and tries to get us to live by, this is an easy way of living.  However, to live according to the standards we’re told throughout the New Testament that a follower of Christ must live by, and in a way that honors the God of creation and the sacrifice Jesus made for our salvation, this can be very difficult to do when the world and its way of thinking is so contradictory to the way of life and mindsets befitting a follower of Christ, and this can make things very difficult.  It becomes hard when the way the world thinks and does things appeals to our flesh, or when it conflicts with the way those closest to us chooses to think and do things, or when we’re put into a position when we have to choose between living or dying for Jesus and what others are offering us if we forsake Him.


We know that while Jesus walked up the hill to be crucified, having been forsaken by most of his followers, He was not alone.  Both the Spirit of God and the Father, Himself, were with Him.  And like Jesus, we are not alone.  We know that the Spirit of God resides within us, and that there are other followers of Christ who walk the same road.  We are also told in Hebrews 12:1 that there is a great cloud of witnesses.  The narrow road and the narrow gate we must enter eternity through, though only few find it, it is not a lonely road.  Others have traveled it long before us, and there will be others still who will travel it after us, but it is not a lonely road.


As we speedily approach the sounding of the trumpet and the return of our Savior, the road is going to become more and more difficult to travel and stay upon.  True followers of Christ will suffer more and more persecution for the way they live and represent Christ, even from those closest to them or who profess to be Christians.  Are you willing to stay the course of the narrow and difficult road through the narrow gate, or are you going to choose the broad and easy road that leads through the broad gate leading to destruction?  The choice is up to you.  It doesn’t matter that you gave your life to Jesus at some point in the past, you still retain a free will to choose through your life and the decisions you make whether or not to stay on that narrow and difficult road that leads to eternal life.  We are quickly approaching the finish line that will eternally complete the redemptive process of salvation which was started when we gave our lives to Jesus, and no matter how we started the race the Apostle Paul refers to in our walk with Christ, whether or not we finish the race is entirely up to us.  Remember, the narrow and difficult road by which we must live and walk upon, it’s not so lonely as one may feel it is a times.  It’s the not so lonely road, the same road that leads to an eternity beyond anything we can ever dream or imagine.  There is nothing here on earth, or any experience one may have, that can come close to what awaits those who enter through the narrow gate at the end.


John Johansson

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Changes Are Here

Hello, I’m back.  The other day I mentioned that there would be some changes regarding the time and location of the Bible chat I lead titled, “Fan or Follower”.

The day of the week and the time will be consistant with what we’ve been doing so far, Thursdays at 10:00pm (EST).  The location has been changed to, #shopharchat.  If you want to follow the chat and hopefully participate, the easiest way to do so is through Tweetchat.  Go to, and then put in the hashtag, #shopharchat.  If you don’t have a Twitter account you will need to get one (they’re free) in order to follow and participate through Tweetchat.

Hope to see you there!!!

John Johansson — Twitter ID’s; @rshophar, @johnejo

Changes are coming

Hello, Everybody.

I don’t know how many of you follow me on Twitter, or especially the Twitter Bible chat I’ve been leading on Thursday nights, but there will be some changes taking place in the next few days regarding the Bible chat.  The Bible chat will no longer be located at the hashtag, #mkbiblechat.  When I know more regarding the hashtag and time on Twitter I will be leading the chat, I will edit this blog to reflect those changes.

Thank you.

John Johansson – Twitter ID’s: @rshophar, @johnejo

Be Watching …

Imagine for yourself that you are on your way to Denver, CO.  You’ve recently heard that someone in your family has prepared for you a house on some property near some of the world’s best snow ski resorts, a place that will be yours to stay in as long as you live.  This family member is so excited about you moving his way that he’s personally flying out in his Learjet to come get you.  You know his arrival is soon because he told you, and so you’ve gone to the airport watching and waiting for him to arrive.  You know it’s important to be watching because he’s on a time schedule and has to return as quick as possible for his next appointment.

While you’re waiting you hear of some intense storm clouds coming your way, and after a while you begin to see them in the distance.  Apparently this storm is stronger than usual because you notice all kinds of preparations being made to secure both the air craft on the ground and the buildings themselves.  People are working as hard as they can to ensure that they not only endure the storm, but that after the storm has passed they will be able to show themselves victorious over the storms deadly presence.  As you see and hear of the reports of the storm coming over the radio and the televisions located in the lobby, you begin to start thinking of all kinds of things.  You begin thinking about the people who are dear to you and the things you will be leaving behind, wondering how they will fare as the outer edges of the storm begin to hit the airport.  You are really getting mesmerized by what you are seeing and hearing.  After a while you just have to get your mind off of things and go looking for some shops to browse through and maybe get something to eat, all the while forgetting about the flight you are waiting for.  Not only have you forgotten about it, but when you do think about it you can’t possibly think that he would be arriving in the midst of such activity.  Surely he’s been told he couldn’t continue flying into your airport until after the storm passes, especially since it seems he has been delayed in coming.

All of a sudden all the activity in the place has jumped into full panic mode.  Not only has the storm arrived hitting the airport in its full flurry, but a number of buildings have gone completely flat and a number of people are missing.  In the midst of such activity people are in full panic looking for the missing people, and you begin to be fearful for your loved ones as well.  After this storm passes you hear that other more powerful storms are on their way, and it is then that you remember the flight you’ve been waiting for.  You inquire of some of the attendants if they could find out the status of the plane, and they tell you that it is heading back to Denver, CO.  You begin to wonder when he will return to come get you when they inform you that it already came and left.  You’re not sure if you heard them right so you ask them to repeat what they’ve said.  They repeat what they’ve told you and continue to tell you how that the plane made a quick landing and taxi to the boarding station.  They continued to tell you that it only waited a couple minutes before having to make a sudden take off just as the storm was beginning to hit the airport full force.  They weren’t sure, but they we thinking that maybe some of the people that were missing had quickly boarded the plane in the hopes of getting to safety.

Jesus tells us that He’s gone to prepare a place for us, and when it’s time He will come again to take His bride home (John 14:1-4).  He also tells us that we don’t know when He will return, and because of this we are to be both waiting and WATCHING for Him to return (Matthew 24:36-44).  He even goes so far as to say that we need to pray we are counted worthy to escape the things that will come upon the earth, implying that just watching isn’t enough (Luke 21:34-36).  Where do you see yourself?  Are you the person that is waiting and watching for their flight only to get distracted by what is happening around them?  Or, are you going to be the person that in the midst of everything going on around them will keep their eyes looking out for the plane coming in knowing that their eternal safety hinges on that one flight?

Jesus is coming back, and the impending storm that the world sees is growing and getting closer each day, and with that we know that Jesus’ return is that much closer.  Don’t get distracted about what you see and hear, or even in your own plans and agendas, because you then run the risk of missing the plane.  Jesus doesn’t want anyone to miss it and that is why He’s given us such warnings.  Biblical prophesies regarding the seven year tribulation period that is to come are being fulfilled before our eyes in warp speed, and knowing that Jesus will come before it begins should tell us to keep our eyes out for the plane all the more.  I’m sounding the shophar because His return is imminent and we need to watch for Him.

Wait and watch for His return, and pray that you are counted worthy to escape that which is coming to this world.

John Johansson

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