Introduction: “All roads lead to heaven.” Is that true? The modern
culture rejects the idea of absolute truth. Instead, the idea is
that every person’s opinion is equally valid and equally true.
Spirituality of any stripe is good. When the singer Madonna forms a
“prayer circle” before her performance, and then prays to herself,
popular culture notes that she is indeed a “spiritual” person. What
does the Bible say about the way to heaven? Let’s dive into the Good
Book and find out what the official map says!

  1. How Many Roads?

    1. Read Acts 4:1-4. Which do you think was most disturbing to
      the Sadducees: that Peter and John were preaching the
      resurrection of the dead or that thousands believed them?

    2. Read Acts 4:5-7. Do you think that the Jewish rulers
      really wanted to know the answer to their question?

      1. To fully understand the question, we need to go back
        to Acts 3:1-7 and read the story of the healing. Read
        Acts 3:1-7. This is what began the chain of events
        which lead to the arrest of Peter and John.

      2. Read Acts 3:11-16. Had Peter explained to the crowd
        in whose name this healing had been performed? (Yes.
        Verses 6 and 16 make the matter very plain.)

        1. How would you rate Peter’s statement on the
          diplomacy scale? Is he avoiding hurt feelings?

      3. Let’s go back to my prior question about whether the
        question the Jewish leaders asked in Acts 4:7 was
        genuine? (After looking at the context, it seems the
        question is not sincere. It is simply an attempt to
        intimidate the disciples from sticking with the story
        they told the crowds.)

    3. Read Acts 4:8-12. We hear a lot about “tolerance” these
      days. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us to
      ( Matthew 5:43-44) “love our enemies.” Is that the same as
      tolerating them? (The “wisdom” of the world makes me shake
      my head. Who wants to be merely “tolerated?” Yet, that is
      the mantra of the day. What the world really means by
      “tolerance” is to be willing to accept as true what the
      other person believes.)

      1. When you consider Peter’s statement in Acts 4:8-12,
        does he sound tolerant to you?

        1. Does he sound loving? (Yes. Telling people the
          truth when their eternal destiny is at stake is
          an act of love.)

      1. How many legitimate paths to heaven does Peter
        identify in verse 12? (One. “Salvation is found in no
        one else [than Jesus.]”)

    1. Last week we spent a lot of time studying John 10. Read
      John 10:7-9. How many legitimate paths to heaven does
      Jesus identify? (One. Jesus says that He is “the gate.”)

    2. Read John 14:6. We see Jesus again describing the way to
      truth and eternal life. How many ways does Jesus describe?

    3. Read Matthew 7:13-14. Here we find another discussion of
      the “road system” of life. How many roads lead to eternal

      1. Are the vast majority of the people on the right

      2. How about you? Are you among “the few” on the one
        road to life?

  1. How to Describe the One Road?

    1. As you think about what Peter said to the Jewish leaders
      in Acts 4:8-12, can you tell me why he didn’t say, “I
      understand that we are all in the same business of saving
      souls. I applaud your efforts and want you to know how I
      appreciate what you have done in the past. We are helping
      to sharpen some of your doctrines. While we realize that
      this may cause some discomfort at the moment, I am sure we
      can all work comfortably together towards our mutual goal
      of helping the people.” Anything wrong with saying that?

      1. Doesn’t Peter have a reputation for being impulsive
        and inconsiderate?

      2. Is Peter’s impulsiveness the problem here? (Notice
        Acts 4:8. Peter’s words are being driven by God. The
        Holy Spirit chose those words!)

      3. Go back a minute and review what Peter said to the
        ordinary people in Acts 3:13-15. Is the nature of
        Peter’s approach to getting people on the right road
        pretty clear?

        1. Is it the approach you use?

    2. I just returned from a vacation in the South. On a
      prominent billboard along the freeway in (I believe)
      Tennessee I recall seeing this: “Saturday is the True
      Sabbath. Sunday is the Mark of the Beast.” I thought,
      “Wonder how many people are persuaded by that?” Would
      Peter agree to a controversial billboard like that?

    3. Let’s skip down a bit in our story and read Acts 4:23-26.
      What kind of reaction does the world have towards the
      gospel? (The world is hostile.)

      1. If the world is hostile anyway, should we reply with
        hostility? Should we just speak plainly?

      2. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Temple Tax
        dispute – whether Jesus, the Son of God, should have
        to pay the taxes that went to support the Temple. The
        real issue in the story was “Who is Jesus – mere
        teacher or Son of God?” Read Matthew 17:27 to find
        one of Jesus’ goals in working out a difficult issue.
        What is a high priority for Jesus? (Not to offend
        those who did not believe in Him.)

    4. Based on what we have studied so far, how would you
      describe the best way to approach non-believers? (Be plain
      about the truth, but try to avoid offending them.)

    5. How should we approach competing, yet wrong, religions?
      Should we compliment them? For example, our lesson
      (Tuesday) says “we must have great respect for Muhammad,
      who insisted [on monotheism].” Do you agree?

      1. Let’s look at some facts about Muhammad. He was born
        A.D. 570 – hundreds of years after all of the books
        of the New Testament had been written. This means
        that both the Old and New Testament were available to
        him. Muhammad considered himself to be the latest in
        the Biblical line of prophets. “Muhammad initially
        took for granted the support of Jews and Christians
        and saw no reason to go on the offensive against
        them. With the passing of a few years, however, when
        the discrepancies between his revelations and the
        Judeo-Christian Scriptures became widely known, Jews
        and Christians doubted that Muhammad was a true
        prophet of God.” (L. Spargamino, Religion of Peace or
        Refuge of Terror?, p. 18) It was at that point that
        Muhammad’s relationship with Christians and Jews
        began to deteriorate.
        1. Either Muhammad is a true prophet or he is not.
          If he is not, then should we “have great
          respect” for him?

        2. If Muhammad is not a true prophet, and he is
          leading millions of people away from the one
          road and the “one gate” which allow us to enter
          eternal life, should we respect him?

        3. Is it possible that Muhammad is a true prophet?
          (The Koran teaches, “Admonish those who say that
          God has begotten a son.” Surah 18:4-5. “God is
          but one God, forbid that He should have a son.”
          Surah 4:172. Speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion,
          Muhammad writes “They did not kill him, nor did
          they crucify him, but they thought they did.”
          Surah 4:156-58. Since Muhammad denies the “one
          gate” this precludes him being a true prophet.)

      2. If we believe Muhammad is a false prophet, how do we
        convey this to Muslims without offending them? How do
        we get any Christians on the “one road?” Let’s
        discuss this next.

  2. How to Get Others on the Road?

    1. So far we have seen some pretty plain language in
      describing the “one road.” Jesus’ adds that we should
      avoid offending people. Let’s Read Acts 16:1-5. Why did
      Paul have Timothy circumcised? (“Because of the Jews.”)

      1. What was the result of this decision and the joint
        work of Paul and Timothy? (Jews were converted to

    2. Read Galatians 5:2-6. How can you reconcile Paul telling
      Timothy to be circumcised when he told the Galatians that
      Jesus was of “no value” to them if they let themselves be

      1. Does Paul have a double standard?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Would Peter and Paul be able
      to plan an evangelistic meeting together? Is Paul a wimp
      compared to Peter? How does Paul teach we should approach
      those whose beliefs we think are wrong? (We have to be
      careful here because the Holy Spirit inspired both men.
      Paul’s explanation for his “double standard” is found
      here. He has a moral standard and a pragmatic standard. He
      does not compromise his moral beliefs, but he engages in
      all sorts of “compromises” to win others to Christ.
      Timothy gets circumcised even though Paul knows this is
      not required by God. Paul did this so that the Jews would
      be more receptive to Timothy.)

    4. How would you apply this advice today? How should we speak
      plainly, yet seek not to offend? What “compromises”
      should we make to reach unbelievers?

        1. Would those compromises have anything to do with
          our worship service?

        2. What compromises would you suggest to win
          Muslims to Christ? (Suggesting that you respect
          their false prophet?)

    5. Friend, there is but one narrow road and one small gate
      that leads to eternal life. We need to be plain in
      describing this, yet avoid unnecessary insult. We need to
      know what to compromise and what not to compromise. This
      takes wisdom from above. Will you pray that the Holy
      Spirit will guide you in knowing how to bring others to a
      saving knowledge of Jesus?

  3. Next Week: Loving Our Enemies?