Monday, August 22, 2011

The Morning After: A Life of Exclusivity (Matt. 7:13-14)

I had the opportunity yesterday to preach on one of the great gospel passages in the New Testament, the two roads (Matthew 7:13-14). If we are honesty, we would agree that it is not too difficult to understand what Jesus is saying. I don't think you have had to take some Greek classes or have a degree in Bible-Theology from some well established Bible College to understand it. Jesus says there is a gate that is wide and there is a gate that is narrow. There is a way that is broad and a way that is narrow. There are many people who follow the way of the broad road that leads to destruction and very few that follow the narrow way that leads to life. And it is His command to us that we enter the narrow gate and follow the narrow road. That's it! That's His illustration for how to live our life.

How Does It Fit Into The Context?
When Jesus stated the "golden rule" in Matthew 7:12, He ended it by saying "this is the Law and the Prophets." This concluded what He started back in Matthew 5:17 when He said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. What Jesus starts to conclude the sermon and basically asks, "what are you going to do with my teaching?" "Who's team are you going to be on?" He is saying that you only have two options, you can follow the ways of Jesus or the other way.

The Difference Between The Roads.
There were three main differences that I see between these roads. First, the Wide Road is the way of the world, But the Narrow Road is the way of Jesus. There are many things those on the way of the world characterize this road. Some say there is no absolute truth. Some say that riches will make you happy. The worst things stated on this Wide Road are statements like everyone eventually gets to heaven or you can earn your way there. The only problem with those thoughts are they are just not what Jesus says.

The only summary of those on the Narrow Road is that Jesus is the Only Way. He is exclusive. There is not one person that will ever get to heaven apart from Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). No one comes to have a relationship with God apart from Jesus. Not the well-intentioned Muslim. Not the good person who gives millions away to help poor and starving children in Africa. Not even the person in some remote village who had never heard of Him. Not the one who plays the Christian game in the good Bible-teaching church. Not the successful politician. Not the atheist who doesn't believe God exists. And certainly not the pastor who writes good books about Jesus without ever knowing Him. NO ONE!

Second, the Wide Road is easy to enter, but the Narrow Road is difficult to find. If you read those verses, you will recognize that Jesus never tells you how to get on the wide road, but commands you to enter on the narrow road. Why is that? Because all people are already on the wide road. But He does command us to enter narrow road, but He says there are only few who find it. Apparently it is not easy to find. This tells me a very important thing about the way to heaven. It is free. It costs us nothing to enter. But that does not mean it is easy.

As Christians, we need to stop making following Jesus as if it is some easy decision that we make on a whim. It seems as though it has become so easy to follow Jesus in our society that everyone is a "Christian." I don't know how we got here, but we need to stop reducing following Jesus to saying some words of a prayer (as if the sinner's prayer is some sort of incantation) or asking Jesus into our heart (a phrase that is not even in the Bible). How did following Jesus ever get reduced to that? Instead, what we find in the Scriptures is what Jesus says in Mark 8:34-38, that to follow Him means the death of us!

Third, the Wide Road leads to Hell, but the Narrow Road leads to Heaven. This is what Jesus is talking about, your soul for eternity. Jesus couldn't be clearer. If you follow the Wide Road with the world, it will end in destruction. There is nothing in the Bible that gives any indication that once 100, 500, or 1000 years are up, there will be a second chance. The Bible talks about eternity in heaven or hell.

If you want to listen to the entire message, you can access it HERE (usually posted by Tuesday noon). If you have any questions about this message, feel free to contact me (EMAIL),

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