Journey Off The Map

Bible Book: Isaiah  30 : 21
Subject: Vacation Bible School; Jesus, Life with

Historian Harold Albert Lamb (1892-1962) shares the following in Alexander of Macedon: The Journey to the World’s End: “At the same time all the soldiery came into dependence on one man, Alexander [the Great]. No one else could lead them back now to the safety of familiar lands.

Meanwhile the Macedonian army, or at least the column advancing with Alexander, had got itself lost. It happened in a curious way. The army knew where it was, on the earth’s surface, but it no longer knew where that point on the earth’s surface might be. It had marched off the map—off the only available Greek maps.”[1] Imagine their consternation as they stood in the blank space on the map! Lamb explains, “A hot argument began between the readers of the Greek maps and the surveyors. . . . Apparently Alexander agreed at first with the map readers, but soon became convinced that the surveyors were right.”[2] No doubt their confusion intensified when they encountered the icy Himalayas.

Dr. T. DeWitt Talmage (1832-1902) writes, “There are multitudes of people who want to find the right way. You sometimes find a man, after journeying at a cross-road, by his bewildered look indicating that he has lost his way, or is uncertain which road to take. There are many persuaded of the fact that there are a thousand wrong roads, but only one right road. If I should come into your heart now, and were able to scrutinize it as only God can, I would find that the great question with you was about which was the right road. Here are various roads branching out; the question is, which one you had better take. I am conscious of the fact that there are many of you who realize that there are a thousand wrong roads, but only one right one, and I take it for granted that you desire to ask which one it is.

Here is a road which seems quite attractive, but there are many toll-gates on that road; you would have to pay your way; you would have to pay it in tears, in genuflections, in flagellations, and from that fact I know it is not the Gospel way. Here is another road, with the houses of entertainment on either side of it of an evil nature; and there are bad solicitations to sin; and I know from the kind of people I see walking on that road, and the kind of people I see standing in the blackness of it, that it is the wrong road. Here is another way. It is beautiful, and it is macadamized. Horses' hoofs clatter and ring, and the vehicles spin down over the way. But in this instance you see the precipice, and you try to stop, and you begin to saw the bit in the mouth of the fiery steed, and you cry, ‘Whoa! whoa!’ But it is too late, and you roll over the embankment, and you are gone.

From these roads I turn away; I want to find the right road. You know about the Roman Appian road. It was a very costly road; it was three hundred and fifty miles long; it was thirty-four feet wide; and on either side there was room for foot passengers. It was built out of hexagonal rock closely fitted together, and it was so costly a road, and so wonderful a road, that it exhausted the treasury of the Roman Empire to build it. And yet the invaders, and the elements, and time, that old conqueror who tears up a road as he walks over it, have left a mere ruin. Well, I have to tell you of a way older than the Appian Way; millions have gone over it, and millions are to come, and it is as good a road now as when the first pilgrim traveled on it.”[3]

Dr. Halford E. Luccock (1885-1961) writes in Marching Off The Map: “We are conscripted into an expedition beyond familiar landmarks, a thrust outward into new and uncharted territory.”[4] Isaiah 30:21 reads, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.”

There are three stages of this journey off the map.

I. This journey off the map begins with Jesus.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. . . .” (John 14:6) Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Revelation 1:8 reads, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:17) and in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

Maybe you have heard the statement: “All roads lead to Rome.” Let me assure you every way does not lead to heaven. Think about these words in the second stanza of Lowell Mason’s hymn based on Jeremiah 6:16, titled, “The Good Old Way”:

The prophets, and the apostles too,

Pursued this road while here below;

And therefore we, without dismay,

Will walk, in Christ, the good old way.[5]

Rev. Bernard Lucas (1860-1921), a British Congregational missionary to South India and founder of United Theological College, Bangalore, writes, “Christianity differs from every other religion in this, that it claims to be a way of salvation from sin itself, and not merely from the consequences of sin.”[6] Biblical salvation involves justification, sanctification, and glorification. Immediately, we are saved from the penalty of sin, progressively, we are being saved from the power of sin, and ultimately, we will be saved from the presence of sin. Do you really want to be saved from sin itself? Regrettably, church membership rolls record many who do not. Our attitude toward sin is revealed by our words and deeds. If you haven’t been saved from sin, you haven’t been saved at all. Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

II. This journey off the map continues with Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 16:9 reads, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Hebrews 12:2-17 reads, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” Hebrews 13:5-6 reads, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

Note the images of flying, running, and walking, in Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Emphasis mine)

The duration of our earthly life. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Remember the dash between the date of your birth and the date of your death. Methuselah has the longest dash, at 969 years, almost a millennium. Moses writes in Psalm 90:10-12, “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Hebrews 10:36-39 reads, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” 1 John 2:19 reads, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (Emphasis mine)

The donation of our earthly life. Dr. Peter Marshall (1902-1949) former chaplain of the United States Senate, writes, “The measure of life is not its duration, but its donation.”[7]

In a message titled, “How to Have a Life That Lasts,” Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) asked, “What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake? Or let me ask it another way. What are you doing that makes any difference?”[8] Let me ask, “What are you doing with eternal significance?”

III. This journey off the map ends with Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 reads, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 1:12b reads, “. . . for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (Emphasis mine)

Oh Lord, I want to be like You! 1 John 3:1-3 reads, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

In Mastering Your Emotions, Dr. Adrian Rogers shares, “Before the late and great Dr. R.G. Lee [1886-1978] died I was in his home with Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, and Tommy Lane, our minister of music at Bellevue Church. Dr. Lee was one of my predecessors at Bellevue, considered perhaps the best preacher of the twentieth century and one of the greatest in the history of Christianity. His adopted daughter came out and gravely announced, ‘I believe Dr. Lee is dying.’ We were shocked. An elderly doctor rushed over and found that Dr. Lee was alive but unconscious.
Because we thought he was close to being with Jesus, Tommy suggested, ’Let’s sing him into heaven.’ So we sang as best we could ‘Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned,’ Dr. Lee’s favorite hymn. Then Cliff Barrows led us in ‘Come Thou Angel Band.’ I was ready to enter heaven myself.
Then Dr. Lee revived and opened his piercing blue eyes, and his daughter said, ‘Papa, Billy Graham is here.’ Dr. Lee pulled Billy’s head down and kissed him. Later, Dr. Lee testified, ‘I saw heaven. I saw Jesus. I saw my mother. I never did justice to heaven in my sermons.’ You say he was hallucinating? Oh, how I hope God gives me an hallucination like that!”[9]

Oh Lord, I want to be with You! 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 reads, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 reads, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (Emphasis mine)

There are two false doctrines related to the eternal destiny of every man, woman, boy and girl. These false doctrines present an inaccurate picture of the judgment of God.

The first false doctrine is Universalism. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the term Universalism means: “a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved” or “the principles and practices of a liberal Christian denomination founded in the 18th century originally to uphold belief in universal salvation and now united with Unitarianism”[10] Universalism denies the clear teaching of Scripture about the inhabitants of heaven. Some will be saved and some will be lost for all eternity. Remember Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:24-25; John 6:70-71; 17:12; Acts 1:24-25). Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

The second false doctrine is Annihilation. Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) writes, “Here is annihilation—the only annihilation I know of—the absolute annihilation of sin through the pardon which the Lord gives to his people.”[11] Rev. Spurgeon warns, “In hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying; the hope of being annihilated. They are forever, forever, forever lost. On every chain in hell is written ‘forever.’ Up above their heads they read ‘forever.’ Their eyes are galled and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is ‘forever.’ Oh, if I could tell you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be. It is ‘forever.’ They are ‘cast into outer darkness.’”[12] Those who believe in Annihilation deny the clear teaching of Holy Scripture. There are degrees of punishment in hell (Matthew 11:20-22; Luke 12:47-48; John 19:11; Hebrews 10:29). Jesus had more to say about hell than He did about heaven.

Will your destination be eternal damnation or eternal salvation? Allow me to share a few excerpts from Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon titled, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”: “Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.

So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them. . . .

All wicked men’s pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. . . .

If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a wonder, if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, even before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here, in some seats of this meeting-house, in health, quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning. Those of you that finally continue in a natural condition, that shall keep out of hell longest will be there in a little time! your damnation does not slumber; it will come swiftly, and, in all probability, very suddenly upon many of you. You have reason to wonder that you are not already in hell.”[13] (Emphasis mine)

Dr. Adrian Rogers explains, “Often the minister who preaches on Hell is accused of being unloving. With a sneer the world loves to call him a 'hell-fire and damnation preacher.' The late, great Dr. Robert G. Lee [1886-1978] said, “I know some people call the preacher who stands squarely upon the teaching of Christ and His apostles narrow, harsh, and cruel. As to being narrow, I have no desire to be any broader than was Jesus. As to being cruel, is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is a man to be called cruel who declares the whole counsel of God and points out to men their danger? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people to the fact that the house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from the rattlesnake in the coil? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadliness of disease and tell them which medicine to take? I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than to be called kind for being cruel.”

The cruelest thing we could do would be to fail to warn people about Hell and what the Bible has to say about it. To ridicule a preacher who warns of Hell is like ridiculing a doctor who warns of cancer. Hell is not a pleasant subject, but it is a reality.”[14]

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon warned, “The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”[15] John 3:17-21 reads, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.’”


“‘Come to Jesus’ was [the] hallmark of Adrian Rogers’ life & ministry” according to Dr. Steve Gaines.[16] Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus. Repent of sin and believe the Gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6b).

The Christian life is the most exciting life because you are walking in uncharted territory with the only One who knows the way. When you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, remember the words of Isaiah 30:21, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.”

Let me invite you to journey off the map with Jesus!

[1]Harold Lamb, Alexander of Macedon: The Journey to the World’s End (New York, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1946), 247.

[2]Lamb, Alexander, 249-250.

[3]T. DeWitt Talmage, “The King’s Highway” Sermon Notes (Isaiah 35:8-10).

[4]Halford E. Luccock, Marching Off The Map (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1952), 11.

[5]The Brethren Hymnal, Compiled under the Direction of the General Conference of the German Brethren. Brethren Church by the Committee, Lowell Mason, “The Good Old Way” #318. (Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1901), 203.

[6]Bernard Lucas, The Faith of a Christian (New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1904), 110.

[7]BrainyQuote, Peter Marshall, .

[8]Adrian Rogers, “How to Have a Life That Lasts” Sermon Notes (Mark 14:3).

[9]Adrian P. Rogers, Mastering Your Emotions (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1988), 20-21.

[10]Merriam-Webster, “Universalism” Accessed: 06/02/15 .

[11]Charles H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Pulpit: Sermons, Vol. 24 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1879), 692.

[12]Charles H. Spurgeon, Sermons of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, of London (New York, NY: Sheldon, Blakeman and Company, 1856), 314.

[13]Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Sermon Notes (Deuteronomy 32:35).

[14]Adrian Rogers, “The Message I Tried To Talk Myself Out Of”, Accessed: 05/23/15 .

[15]Charles H. Spurgeon, BrainyQuote, Accessed: 06/02/15 .

[16]Steve Gaines, “‘Come to Jesus’ was hallmark of Adrian Rogers’ life & ministry” Friday, November 18, 2005, Accessed: 05/27/15 .


Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & / / (251) 626-6210

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