What ticket do you hold?
Stage coaches were primarily used for mail but also were used for passengers which held around 9 people on the inside and more people on top or with the driver.
1st class ticket guaranteed inside and not have to leave the inside
2nd class ticket guaranteed inside but had to get out when work was to be done
3rd class ticket Ė no guarantee of inside seat and had to work through the trip
In a worldly way 1st class ticket is better but in comparison to Christianity 3rd class is better.
Matthew 15:3 He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?† 4 "For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'† 5 "But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" -- ††6 'then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.† 7 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:† 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.† 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " †
You see the Pharisees thought to highly of themselves because they were allow their man made traditions override Law of God and in doing so they were worshiping God in vain.
Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,† 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.† 3 "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.† 4 "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.† 5 "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.† 6 "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,† 7 "greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.'.
You see these Pharisees understood what needed to be done according the law of Moses and they didnít mind putting a burden other people and telling them what they should to do but they would not follow their own advice. This is why Jesus say do what they say according the law but donít follow their example. We see that Pharisees and the Scribes were just concerned about number 1 and they wanted to make sure they had the best seats and that they had the praise of others. The only time they did anything was when it would be seen by others so they would say what a great man. It was all about them and this exactly what a 1st class ticket holder is all about.
John 6:48 "I am the bread of life.† 49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.† 50 "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.† 51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."† 52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"† 53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.† 54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.† 55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.† 56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.† 57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.† 58 "This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
Now in contest Jesus had many people following after him and they were getting a big kick of the food that was being provided and the miracles that were being done. But when Jesus says the he was the bread of life that came from heaven and that they must eat of that bread to live forever this confused many of the Jews that were following after him and because the road got little bit bumpy for them they decided to bail.
John 6:66 †From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
That what a second class ticket holder is all about. They are just along for the ride but when there is work to be done or something difficult to understand they leave the scene.
Matthew 19:16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"† 17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."† 18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,'† 19 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "† 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"† 21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."† 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Here we have a man that was so close to having a third class ticket but we see that his one vice was his riches. His money was just to important to him and he allowed it to drive a wedge between him and God and so when the road got to rough he also fell away.
There are tons of Biblical examples of †those who hold the third class ticket. You see every person who loved God recorded in the bible was a worker. From the day of Pentacost in acts 2 to when the church began it started out with those 3000 souls and in Acts 4 we see that because of the workers of the lord 5000 men not including women or children were now Christians. The church was growing by leaps and bounds because there were so many Christians that held the working class ticket. This is the type of ticket that God want all people to have.
Over and over again the Bible teaches us that we are to be working people. For instance when Paul was giving his defense before King Agrippa notice what he says.
Acts 26:19 " Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,† 20 "but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
Paul teaches us that after we become Christians that we are do works befitting repentance. We donít simply become Christians then sit like a bump on a log no we are to active in Godís kingdom. We are to follow the examples the apostles and the Christians who are continually busy for the Lord. James tells us,
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Now the works that we do are not works of merit but works of obedience and we know that God demands obedience and salvation will only be given to those who are obedient.
Hebrews 5:8† though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.† 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Here we see that Jesus offers salvation to those who are obedient and there are dire consequences to those who are not.
2 Thessalonians 1:7Ö when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,† 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.† 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Now some today would say all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you can be pleasing to God. But James refutes this claim in,
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?† 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,† 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?† 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.† 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.† 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble!† 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
James makes it
Another great example of a third class ticket holder is the apostle Paul. He was one the hardest working Christian recorded in the Bible and he gives us 3 different illustrations on how a Christian is to endure and stay focused on keeping their third class ticket.
2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.† 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
First he describes Christians as Soldiers. A soldier is one who will obey the orders of those who are over them. In the time of war if the commanding officer tells his soldier to climb a mountain that is exactly what he is going to do. They will not allow other things to distract them because they want to please their commanders. This is the same for a Christian. We have become soldiers or Christ and we should be focused in on pleasing God by obeying his word and working for God so that we can win the spiritual battle against evil.
2 Timothy 2:5 †And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
Here we have the example of an athlete who focuses on training so that he can properly compete in a† race. He knows that if he does not compete by the rules he will not receive the prize. We as Christians need to train everyday by reading our Bible and praying. We need to practice those things the bible tells us on how to live a Christian life. We know that we must run this race by the rules or we will† not receive our crown. We must go by what the word of God says and not add to it or take away from it.
I like how Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
†2 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.
So we are to look unto Jesus with heaven as our goal.
2 Timothy 2:6 †The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
Here we see a hard working farmer and if he had not worked he wouldnít have any fruit to partake of. This example is once again showing that if a Christian wants to be pleasing to God they must be a worker for the Lord. All of these examples show us how we as Christians are to be 3rd class ticket holders. Those who refuse to lift a finger for God and not going to be pleasing him and they certainly have not considered God desires for us. Please notice Jesus statement in,
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all,
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross daily, and follow
A Christian who is a third class ticket holder is one that is ready for every good work and willing to take up the cross of Christ and follow him daily. This kind of Christian is one who considers God first, others second and self last. This kind of Christian is humble and doesnít think to highly of themselves and they have enough faith in God that they will try do things to serve him instead of making excuses. This is the type of Christian that you can ask for help and they will do it and this is the kind of Christian that we need to be. †
So I ask again what ticket are you holding this morning. The only ticket that pleases god is the third class working ticket. If you are holding a 1st or 2nd class ticket in your Christianity you need to tear them up and get yourself a 3rd class ticket.
we close out our lesson I want to show how some 1st and 2nd
class ticket holder became 3rd class ticket holder. In the book of
Haggai we learn that the people there have neglected the
Haggai 1:2 "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built." ' "† 3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,† 4 "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?"† 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!† 6 "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."† 7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!† 8 "Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD.† 9 "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.† 10 "Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.† 11 "For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."
Notice God had punished them for their neglect but he gives the way to correct their situation. He gives them away to tear up the 1s and 2nd class tickets and to lay hold of a third class ticket and that is exactly what the do. In verse 12 and following we learn they get busy for the Lord. They go up into the mountains and they gather the supplies they need and that start building the temple as God has instructed and now they are being 3rd class ticket holder as they are working for the Lord.
I have shared with you this† morning the word† of God and what it takes to be a third class ticket holder. I just hope and pray that if you are 1st or 2nd class ticket holder this morning that you will tear them up and lay hold of the third class ticket. †