TEXT: Revelation 21:1-2; 16
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
In light of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s recent birthday commemoration and the national holiday celebration going on this week, I would like to continue sharing an adaptation of a message originally delivered by Dr. King at New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 1967. The message is titled, “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.”
Dr. King said, the first dimension of life that we need to master is the length of life. This is the dimension of life where we are concerned with developing our inner powers. Before you can love other selves adequately, you’ve got to love your own self properly. This also means that you’ve got to accept yourself as God made you.
A lot of people never get beyond the first dimension of life. So I move on and say that it is necessary to add breadth to length. Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
One day Jesus told a parable. You will remember that parable. He had a man that came to him to talk with him about some very profound concerns. And they finally got around to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” And this man wanted to debate with Jesus. This question could have very easily ended up in thin air as a theological or philosophical debate. But you remember Jesus immediately pulled that question out of thin air and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. He talked about a certain man who fell among thieves. Two men came by and they just kept going. And then finally another man came, a member of another race, who stopped and helped him. And that parable ends up saying that this good Samaritan was a great man; he was a good man because he was concerned about more than himself.
Now you know, there are many ideas about why the priest and the Levite passed and didn’t stop to help that man. A lot of ideas about it. Some say that they were going to a church service, and they were running a little late, you know, and couldn’t be late for church, so they kept going because they had to get down to the synagogue. And then there are others who would say that they were involved in the priesthood and consequently there was a priestly law which said that if you were going to administer the sacrament or what have you, you couldn’t touch a human body twenty-four hours before worship. Now there’s another possibility. It is possible that they were going down to Jericho to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s another possibility. And they may have passed by because they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal source rather than one individual victim. That’s a possibility.
But you know, when I think about this parable, I think of another possibility as I use my imagination. It’s possible that these men passed by on the other side because they were afraid. You know, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I’ve been on it and I know. And I never will forget, Mrs. King and I were in the Holy Land some time ago. We rented a car and we drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho, a distance of about sixteen miles. You get on that Jericho road—I’m telling you it’s a winding, curving, meandering road, very conducive for robbery. And I said to my wife, “Now I can see why Jesus used this road as the occasion for his parable.” Here you are when you start out in Jerusalem: you are twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, and when you get down to Jericho sixteen miles later—I mean you have sixteen miles from Jerusalem—you’re twelve hundred feet below sea level. During the days of Jesus that road came to the point of being known as the “Bloody Path.” So when I think about the priest and the Levite, I think those brothers were afraid.
They were just like me. I was going out to my father’s house in Atlanta the other day. He lives about three or four miles from me, and you go out there by going down Simpson Road. And then when I came back later that night—and brother, I can tell you, Simpson Road is a winding road. And a fellow was standing out there trying to flag me down. And I felt that he needed some help; I knew he needed help. But I didn’t know it. I’ll be honest with you, I kept going. I wasn’t really willing to take the risk.
I say to you this morning that the first question that the priest asked was the first question that I asked on that Jericho Road of Atlanta known as Simpson Road. The first question that the Levite asked was, ‘’If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question. Not “What will happen to me if I stop to help this man?” but “What will happen to this man if I do not stop to help him?” This was why that man was good and great. He was great because he was willing to take a risk for humanity; he was willing to ask, “What will happen to this man?” not “What will happen to me?”
This is what God needs today: Men and women who will ask, “What will happen to humanity if I don’t help? What will happen to the civil rights movement if I don’t participate? What will happen to my city if I don’t vote? What will happen to the sick if I don’t visit them?” This is how God judges people in the final analysis.
Oh, there will be a day, the question won’t be, “How many awards did you get in life?” Not that day. It won’t be, “How popular were you in your social setting?” That won’t be the question that day. It will not ask how many degrees you’ve been able to get. The question that day will not be concerned with whether you are a “Ph.D.” or a “no D.” It will not be concerned with whether you went to Morehouse or whether you went to “No House.” The question that day will not be, “How beautiful is your house?” The question that day will not be, “How much money did you accumulate? How much did you have in stocks and bonds?” The question that day will not be, “What kind of automobile did you have?” On that day the question will be, “What did you do for others?”
Now I can hear somebody saying, “Lord, I did a lot of things in life. I did my job well; the world honored me for doing my job. I did a lot of things, Lord; I went to school and studied hard. I accumulated a lot of money, Lord; that’s what I did.” It seems as if I can hear the Lord of Life saying, “But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was sick, and ye visited me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was in prison, and you weren’t concerned about me. So get out of my face. What did you do for others?” This is the breadth of life.
Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others. And this is the way I’ve decided to go the rest of my days. That’s what I’m concerned about. John, if you and Bernard happen to be around when I come to the latter-days and that moment to cross the Jordan, I want you to tell them that I made a request: I don’t want a long funeral. In fact, I don’t even need a eulogy more than one or two minutes. I hope that I will live so well the rest of the days—I don’t know how long I’ll live, and I’m not concerned about that—but I hope I can live so well that the preacher can get up and say, “He was faithful.” That’s all, that’s enough. That’s the sermon I’d like to hear: “Well done my good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful; you’ve been concerned about others.” That’s where I want to go from this point on the rest of my days. “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” I want to be a servant. I want to be a witness for my Lord, to do something for others.
And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. And you may think you got all you got by yourself. But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world. You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, and you reach over for a bar of soap, and that’s handed to you by a Frenchman. You reach over for a sponge, and that’s given to you by a Turk. You reach over for a towel, and that comes to your hand from the hands of a Pacific Islander. And then you go on to the kitchen to get your breakfast. You reach on over to get a little coffee, and that’s poured in your cup by a South American. Or maybe you decide that you want a little tea this morning, only to discover that that’s poured in your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you want a little cocoa, that’s poured in your cup by a West African. Then you want a little bread and you reach over to get it, and that’s given to you by the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. Before you get through eating breakfast in the morning, you’re dependent on more than half the world. That’s the way God structured it; that’s the way God structured this world. So let us be concerned about others because we are dependent on others.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.