One Way to Heaven (c)2006, 2008
A Play - by Sue Seaman
Opening Scene - The Wild West
A stranger rides into town on a dappled horse. Climbing down he ties up the horse outside the saloon bar and goes inside. He strolls up to the counter and orders a whisky. The barman hands it to him.
Havenít seen you round here before.
Not from these parts. Iíve come to meet a friend Ė Hank Lawson.
Iíll have me another whisky while I wait.
The Barman fills up the manís glass
And whatís your name - if you donít mind me asking?
Chandler. Chuck Chandler
Just then the saloon doors swing open and Hank Lawson swaggers toward the bar.
Could be your pal just came in.
Chuck turns around and Hank comes over.
Well, are you ready?
Glancing up at the Barman, Chuck tosses some coins across the bar and leaves with Hank.
The Barman is left feeling uneasy - that thereís trouble brewing.
Sure enough not long afterwards there is a commotion outside. Elmer Cooper rushes in.
Two men have just held up the bank and beat the manager to the ground!
I reckon it was the two who were in here earlier. I knew they were up to no good!
I couldnít get a close enough look at them as they rode off.
Well I remember both of the names of the two fellers who were in here. It was Hank Lawson and Chuck Chandler.
Did you say Lawson and Chandler? Theyíre wanted men! Their pictures were in the Gazette for robbing the bank in the next town. The Sheriff and some of his men have ridden off to find them.
Well, I reckon theyíll find them. Jake is the best Sheriff we have had in a long time.
Just then there were shouts outside the Saloon. Elmer rushes out and a few moments later comes back in announcing that Jake and his men had got the two men handcuffed and were taking them down to the jailhouse.
In the jailhouse where Hank and Chuck are in a cell.
Well boys - youíll face trial for robbing the bank when Judge Deacon comes into town tomorrow and if he finds you guilty - youíll go to jail for a very long time.
I didnít mean to hurt the manager. I was hoping he would just hand the money over Ė all peaceful like.
That would have been the end of it.
Yeah, we didnít want to harm anybody Ė honest.
Well we will have to see what the Judge says at the trial. Heíll be here on the early stagecoach.
I guess we will just have to pay for what we did.
The Sheriff leaves and a while later reappears with the Reverend Anderson.
The Reverend wants to speak to you boys. He has something important to say to you.
Well what is it?
Let the Reverend tell you. Iíll be outside.
Iíve come to tell you about Jesus. Iíve come to tell you that you can be free.
How can we become free Reverend? Hank and I just robbed a bank. Weíll be found guilty and sent to jail for sure. And you say we can become free?
Yes. You will have to pay for your crimes if youíre found guilty by the Judge - but you can still be free.
I donít understand.
Iím not talking about being free from jail. Iím not talking about being free from the penalty for the crimes you have committed - Iím talking about being free eternally!
You see, you need forgiveness for more than just these crimes. You need forgiveness from God.
It means repenting of all of your sin and asking God to forgive you. And He will!
The Bible speaks about two kinds of death. There is a physical death and a spiritual death.
We all face a physical death someday. But then there is a spiritual death - itís what the Bible calls the second death.
If you die the physical death never having accepted forgiveness for your sin, never having accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour in this life then you will face the second death Ė and will spend eternity separated from God - separated from life Ė separated from everything and everyone, forever.
The Bible calls that hell.
But God offers you life. You can be born again of Godís Spirit Ė you can be free!
Then when you pass through physical death you can have the assurance that you will spend eternity in the glorious presence of God.
Thatís heaven Ė thatís freedom!
So how can we be born again?
By repenting of your sin, believing that Jesus paid the price for your sin on the cross, asking God to forgive you and inviting Jesus into your life.
Reverend Anderson - I remember my Mama talking to me about that when I was a young Ďun.
She was a Bible believing woman.
Sounds like tomfoolery to me. Prove it to me.
I can show you in the scriptures but youíll have to believe by faith.
Well maybe Iíll think about it.
Well Boys, I will come by first thing in the morning just before your trial.
The Reverend leaves and the two men ponder over the things he said.
The next morning
Reverend Anderson visits early just as he said.
God still loves you both Ė despite what you have done.
How do you boys feel about me praying for you?
Well if it makes you feel better Reverend.
Reverend - I would like you to pray for me.
You can join in if you want (he starts to pray)
Hank prays too and with a step of faith he asks Jesus to forgive him of his sin and invites Jesus into his heart to take control over the situation which he now faces.
Chuck just laughs mockingly as they pray.
Later that morning at the trial Chuck and Hank are both found guilty by Judge Deacon.
They are both given life sentences.
The two men are lead away to jail. As they pass Reverend Anderson he notices the look of peace on Hankís face Ė and the look of panic on Chuckís and he remembered the story of the two thieves that were crucified next to Jesus. One of them repented and the other did not. One of them went to heaven that same day with Jesus Ė the other did not.
Many years later
Hank was now an old man. And although he had spent all his life in jail Ė he was free. He spent every day talking with his Saviour and friend, Jesus with the assurance that when he died, he would spend eternity in His presence.
Chuck was an old man too. But Chuck had become a sad and bitter old man. Chuck died with no friends, no peace and without ever accepting Jesus. By his own choice, Chuck would spend eternity the same way Ė lonely, lost and all alone in hell.
The Bible tells a similar story of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was a poor man who knew he needed God and trusted Him before he died. The rich man thought he had everything and never trusted God or even believed - until it was too late.
Tell me friend, where are you heading - heaven or hell? The choice is yours - donít leave it until it is too late. We cannot make it into heaven any other way than through Jesus.
He is the one way to heaven Ė the one way to freedom.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)