Pilgrim's Progress 1
Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Blanks: authorities, evil, stand, peace, faith, praying
Have you heard about the book called the Pilgrim’s Progress?
John Bunyan has written this book in 1678, in England and in prison.
Why was he in prison?
In those days, only the Church of England could hold religious meetings in England.
There was no religious freedom.
No other Christian group could hold their religious meetings of five or more people.
John Bunyan was a Baptist preacher.
So the nation of England considered him as an illegal preacher
However, John Bunyan refused to give up preaching.
He understood that God called him to preach.
So he was in jail and stayed there for about 12 years.
In these years, he started to write books in prison maybe because he wanted to help his family financially.
So he wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress.
This was a story book.
It was a made up story book based on teachings of Jesus and Apostles.
Through this book, he explained how Jesus may guide our spiritual life.
Through this story we may see our own spiritual life, too.
So I will try to retell this story with my interpretation.
But I am not going to tell the whole story today.
I am going to tell only the first half of the story.
Next week, we are going to hear the rest of the story.
So the story goes something like this:
There was a man who realized that he was living in the City of Destruction.
The more he read the Bible, the more he realized that the city will be destroyed.
This man also carried a big burden of sins on his back.
He carried this burden because he felt guilt of his sin and mistakes in life.
He wanted to be free from his sins and guilt.
Then he met Mr. Evangelist.
Mr. Evangelist told him:
“Yes, the city will be destroyed.
So, move to the Heavenly City where Jesus the Christ is.
There, you will be eternally safe and happy.”
Then this man became Mr. Pilgrim and started to travel to the Heavenly City.
Then from his town, Mr. Easily Bent came and join him.
But soon, they both felt into the swamp of discouragement.
Mr. Easily Bent was so discouraged and stopped his journey right here and went home instead of going on to the Heavenly City.
Mr. Pilgrim was also discouraged because he remembered his sins and felt guilt all over again.
But Mr. Help came and help him out so that he could continue his journey.
Next on his journey, he met Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman asked where he was going.
Mr. Pilgrim explained why he was going to the Heavenly City.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman was like:
“If you want to be saved from the burden of sins and guilt, you should go see Mr. Lawfulness who lives at the City of Rules and Laws.
Mr. Lawfulness could tell you what kinds of rules and laws you should keep to be saved.
I assure you that keeping those rules and laws you will be saved.”
It was a wrong advice, because no one could keep all those rules and be saved.
It was impossible.
But Mr. Pilgrim was deceived and tried to visit Mr. Lawfulness.
Then Mr. Evangelist appeared again and said to him:
“Where are you going?
You already have a plenty of burdens on your back.
Mr. Lawfulness will give you more burdens to carry.
Then you could not arrive at the Heavenly City.
You must live by faith, not by rules and laws.
Don’t follow wrong advice of Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
Just come to the Narrow Gate ahead of you and enter in it.
Then you will be able to follow the narrow path which leads to the Heavenly City.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Then Mr. Pilgrim turned around and followed the right path and arrived at the Narrow Gate.
When he knocked, Mr. Goodwill opened the gate for him and ushered him as Satan started to shoot his arrows at them.
God has a good plan for Mr. Pilgrim.
And Mr. Goodwill showed him the narrow path that leads to the Heavenly City.
Following this narrow path, Mr. Pilgrim read: Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Then Mr. Pilgrim arrived at the House of Mr. Interpreter.
Mr. Interpreter welcomed Mr. Pilgrim to the house.
Then Mr. Interpreter commands his servant to light the Candle.
It was like God’s light shine in darkness. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Then Mr. Pilgrim could see various rooms of the house.
Each room has each lesson.
Various spiritual lessons were prepared for him.
As Mr. Interpreter explains spiritual truths, Mr. Pilgrim could understand what was really going on spiritually.
God’s light also shines in his heart and guides him.
For example, they went to a place where a fire was burning against a wall.
Though a person busily pour water on it, the fire increased in heat and brightness.
When they went around the wall, they saw another person pouring oil on the flames.
Then Mr. Interpreter explains:
“This fire represents the work of God’s grace in human hearts.
Satan pours water to put it out.
But Jesus the Redeemer constantly pours the oil of his grace and love and maintains the work that God already begun in the soul.
Then Mr. Pilgrim was guided to another room.
There were two children whose names were Passion and Patience.
Passion didn’t want to wait when he was asked.
Passion devour whatever was given immediately and then starved.
Passion only sought what was before him and what was on earth.
Patience waited when he was asked.
Patience sought what he could have in heaven.
Then Patience continually enjoyed the heavenly blessings of God.
Through various lessons, Mr. Pilgrim understands how Jesus Christ guides his heart and how God’s grace work in him:
He learned to discern spiritual matters and understood God’s truth in Jesus Christ.
Then Mr. Interpreter said:
“Now continually follow this narrow path.
Then, you will arrive at the place of salvation where the Cross of Jesus is.
There you will experience what God has done for you.”
Following the narrow path, he arrived at the cross of Jesus.
Here Jesus suffered and offered his life as a guilt offering for our sins.
And because of Jesus’ wounds, we are healed.
So here Mr. Pilgrim believes in Jesus and prays:
“Lord Jesus, I need You.
Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.
I open my heart and receive You as my Savior and Lord.
Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of my heart.
Make me the person You want me to be.”
Then he was free from all his burden.
All his burden of sins and guilt was rolled away into the open tomb of Jesus.
And he was saved.
When he received his salvation, his name was changed to Mr. Christian.
Then the angels appeared to him and gave him the certificate of the election which he would need in order to enter the Heavenly City.
Then as he continually followed the narrow path, he saw Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy climbing the wall illegally.
Instead of entering through the Narrow Gate, they jumped over the wall in order to follow the narrow path.
Mr. Christian explained to them:
“You need to go back and enter through the Narrow Gate.
Then you can receive your salvation at the cross of Jesus.
You can meet Jesus there.
Then the angels will give you the certificate of the election.
Then with it, you can enter the Heavenly City!”
But Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy ignored his advice and said:
“Don’t worry about us.
When we get there, we will find a way to get in it.
Then Mr. Christian said:
“No, you can believe in Jesus right now, and be saved.” John 3:36
But Mr. Formalist likes to follow his traditions and methods.
He liked to observe his various Christian traditions.
As for him, these traditions was more important than obeying God.
Mr. Hypocrisy also didn’t want to do what God asked him to do.
He was good at pretending to be a Christian.
He acted like a good Christian.
He dressed like Christians.
He talked like Christians.
But his heart was far away from God.
And God was not deceived by his shows.
So Mr. Christian told him what Jesus said: Luke 12:2
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed.
There is nothing hidden that will not be made known.”
Anyway, they simply wanted to travel with Mr. Christian.
And they arrived together at the Mount Difficulty.
Following the narrow path, Mr. Christian started to climb the Mount Difficulty.
But Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy tried to find an easy road again.
They didn’t want to climb the Mount Difficulty.
So they chose to follow the roads that were called, Danger and Destruction.
Following those paths, they faced Danger and Destruction.
Mr. Christian climbed and came at the top of the Mount Difficulty.
But Mr. Mistrust and Mr. Timid were running down saying:
Two great lions were on the road.”
And they ran away.
Mr. Christian continued climbing up and saw two lions.
And he didn’t know what to do.
But he had to pass through so that he could arrive at the Beautiful Palace ahead of him.
Then from the Beautiful Palace, Mr. Watchful said to him:
Just follow the narrow path.
These lions are chained.
They could not even touch you if you follow the narrow path.
These lions are there to test the faith of those who come here.”
Mr. Christian continued following the narrow path and arrive at the Beautiful Palace.
God built this palace so that people like Mr. Christian can rest for a while.
Mr. Christian stayed there for three days.
Here he was given the Armor of God.
He got the belt of truth, the breastplate of right living, and the shoes to share the gospel of peace.
He got the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
He took the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
So Mr. Christian was armed with Salvation, Righteousness, Truth, Word of God, Faith and the Gospel of Peace.
Now he can be strong in Jesus and in his mighty power.
He could win spiritual warfare against the forces of Satan.
He could stand firm against all strategies and tricks of Satan.
As Mr. Christian climbed down from the Mount Difficulty to the other side, with his armor he could stand against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
His struggle is not against people.
It is a spiritual battles.
So he needs to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
He needs to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Following the narrow path, he came this far.
Next week, we will see what happens next.
Jesus, thank you for guiding us to find the narrow path.
Help us to understand and live in your faith.
Help us to follow you and then one day arrive where you are.
May we speak your words that is given.
May we fearlessly make known the mystery of your gospel.
May we may declare your gospel fearlessly. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Protect us Jesus.
In Jesus name, we pray.