The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."                                                                                                                              Luke10:17-20

"That your names are written in heaven." Is your name written in heaven? Is my name written in heaven?

You don't have to be senile to walk into a room and scratch your head and wonder what you came there for. "What am I doing here?"

And you don't have to be a religious fanatic to find yourself asking that question on a deeper level. "What am I doing here? --- in this world. Am I just taking up space until it's time to die? Am I supposed to get all the gusto I can, since 'you only go around once'? What's the point? Why was I born?"

While Jesus came here to atone for the sins of the whole human race, he never suggested that the whole human race is on its way to glory. In fact Jesus made very clear that, despite every effort on God's part to bring the whole human race back to Paradise, it's not going to happen.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."               Matthew7:13-14

Two roads: One road, the minute you step on it, it is life. All along the way this road is life. You have peace. You're walking with God. You're on your way to glory.

The other road, the minute you step on it, it is death. All along the way it's death, even if it's party time day and night. Deep within there's an emptiness. There is no peace. You never think about the destination.

Can we go out on the street and look around and figure out who's who? No. Can we walk through our church and figure out which road each of us is traveling? No.

Is it possible to think you're on the Road of Life, and actually be on the other road? Jesus told a bunch of religious men who were certain that they were on the road to glory, that they were mistaken.

All of us are tempted to dodge the issue of where we are and where we're heading by looking at the Muslims and the Buddhists, and Hindus and asking "What's going to happen to them?"

And it's true, there are legions of so-called Christians who have it all figured out--- "Simple," they say, "They're all heading for Hell." They'll even twist a few Bible passages to try to "prove it." But the Bible never said that. And Jesus never said that. Jesus makes clear that no one is damned for ignorance.

"If you were blind, you would have no sin, but because you say 'We see,' therefore your sin remains."                                                                          John 9

When Jesus, the Incarnate Word, died on the cross, he atoned for all people..

"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Muslims' sin, Buddhists' sin, Hindu's sin, your sin, my sin.

The moment will come in every human soul, when this awesome Grace will come knocking at their door.

"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth (on the cross) will draw all people to myself."                                                                                                John 12

Somewhere, somehow, the miracle of Calvary will open the doorway to Life for each soul who has ever lived on this earth. And they will then decide which road they will take.

We're not just talking about what's going to happen to us after we die. We're talking about right now. Right now the whole human race can be broken down into three categories:

1. Those who are on the road which is Life.

2. Those who are on the road which is Death.

3. Those who haven't come to the crossroads yet.

But let's focus on the ones who are presently on the road which is Life. Jesus calls them the elect. Of course, as long as we are in these bodies, we can choose to switch roads.

If you are on the road to Life, no person can push you off this road. No devil, no circumstance  can side-track you. But you can break the seal God put on you to hold you, if you choose.

So who are these people who are on the Road which is life?

"For there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then if any one says to you, 'Lo, here is the Christ! ' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders , so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect."                                        Matthew 24:21-24

Who are the elect?

"And will not God vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily."                        Luke 18:7-8a

The elect. The people who are on the road which is Life.

Once we truly hear the gospel, if we're not among the elect, we're in trouble, not just after we die, but right now. Once we hear the gospel, if we are not among the elect, then our life in this world, every day, every hour we live, could be a tragic waste.

Of course, only God knows who these people are. This is why he insists that the wheat and the tares must be allowed to grow together until the Harvest. Because, if we try to decide who's who, we will make some big mistakes!

So we're not going to waste time trying to play God and decide who's who. But for our own spiritual well-being, it's a good thing to understand who our Lord Jesus is talking about when he talks about the elect.

Or when he says to the Father:

"I am not praying for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me,

for they are thine."                                                                 John 17


Because the elect, as Jesus describes them, are much more than "church members in good standing," respectable folks who take communion at least once a year and contribute to the church treasury. Much more than people who consider themselves "spiritual."

According to our Lord Jesus, here are the people who are the elect---who are alive in God, and God is alive in them. They're not trying to get to heaven; heaven has already come to them, right here on earth.

First of all, the elect are those who are daily answering the call of God.

"Many are called but few are chosen." Because many who are called keep ignoring their call. They're invited to the Banquet, but they keep making excuses. They're too busy with "stuff." They're wrapped up in themselves, so the call goes unanswered day after day.

But here's this motley crew who answer the call. When the Master says, "Come, for all things are now ready," they come. These people understand that their call is the thing that defines their life. They do not stare at the walls and ask, "What am I doing here?" They know. They're answering the call of God.

Secondly, the elect are those who cry to God day and night.

"And will not God vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night?"

They cry to him day and night for strength to walk the walk. They're like the man who bangs on his neighbor's door at midnight for bread to feed a weary traveler.

"Lord, I don't have it in me to give this person what he needs. Give me your Spirit! Give me a Living Word. Give me your healing grace, so I can help this person!"

But these people who are on the God-road, the Life-road, don't just ask and plead and beg. They give thanks, like their Lord always does, for everything. They're always giving thanks!

Jean and I were in a McDonald's one day. It was almost empty. In comes a man who sits down in a corner with his tray of food. Before he touches the food, down goes his head in prayer for the longest time.

Is he one of the elect? Only God knows. But this man was doing what God's elect always do, whether they bow their heads or breathe a prayer in silence. They give thanks. They're always giving thanks, walking down the street, riding up the elevator, lying in bed, rising up for a new day. "Thank you, Father! Thank you, Lord, for your unspeakable goodness! "

Thirdly, the elect are the sheep who follow the Shepherd.

They are not just nice people. They are not just "spiritual people." They are not just Bible experts. They are disciples who walk in the steps of their Master.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

And no one shall snatch them out of my hand."

                                                                        John 10

They listen. They obey. When the Master says "Go," they go. When the Master says, "Come," they come. When he says , "Speak," they open their mouth and bear witness. When he says, "Hold your peace," they obey.

They are disciples of the crucified and risen Lamb, and their hearts are nailed to his cross.

Finally, the elect are people, who in obedience to the Lord's command, love one another.

"A new commandment I give to you: that you love one another. Even as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."          John 13

How can we love one another, if you live in your isolated world and I live in mine? If we rarely see each other? Your Jesus is over there, and my Jesus is over here?

One thing about the elect. They know how to forgive each other and love each other. They know how to work together.

"That they may all be one, even as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me."          John 17

One. Truly one in the Lord Jesus----and in nothing else!

There are millions of people on the earth who haven't even come to the crossroads yet. They're trudging along as best they can. Some are happy. Some are sad.

But for those who have already come to the crossroads there are only two possibilities:

The road which is Life.

The road which is Death.

Only God knows who's on the road that is Life. Only God knows who's going to stay on this road all the way to the end.

But there is no reason why each of us cannot be on this road.

No reason why we can't stay on it all the way to the end.

The Lord Jesus himself promises that he will never leave us or forsake us, if we choose to abide in him. All the angels in heaven are standing by to help us.

May God give us wisdom to choose this road, and to keep choosing it every day. So that we'll never have to ask , "What am I doing here?"

We will know why we're here and where we're going, all the way to Glory.