SOTM – The Narrow and Wide Gates

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:13-20)

During His Sermon on the Mount Jesus has been warning His disciples, His followers, and the scribes and Pharisees that have been listening not to follow the teachings of false teachers but that of His, as His words are the truth. We have seen in chapter five a series of they say on issues and what He says. There were six of these sayings and He began with this truth. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

From that point I believe that Jesus was stating that the twisted false truths of the self-righteous was far from sufficient to gain one entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. I tend to believe that the self-righteous have not graduated from the physical into the spiritual realm of meaning. There is nothing physical that we can do that will grant us entry into the Kingdom. We are spiritual beings living in a physical tent which will remain here when we depart this world. Our focus is the spiritual poverty that we have and the richness that we can receive from our Lord and Savior. It is His Kingdom that we seek and we get there through His Righteousness. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus made a comparison to murder, (Matthew 5:21-22) adultery, (Matthew 5:27-28) divorce, (Matthew 5:31:32) making false vows, (Matthew 5:33-34) vengeance, (Matthew 5:38-39) and the way we treat those who oppose us. (Matthew 5:43-44) Not all of what they had said was Scriptural and therefore was not truth. It was also in the perspective of governing our physical bodies for the appearance of men and not our soul and spirit to live honorably for the Father who sees in secret. The problem for man is not in his body but in his heart. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Jesus narrows life down into two paths that we can take, the broad road and the narrow road. I have hear many tell me that the broad road is easy and that is why many walk in it. I hear it said many times that the Christian life is a life where we have to give up all that is fun. I just muse that these people do not know what fun is. I have given up nothing that is fun, as I have learned that there is no fun in doing evil things. I have also learned that it is just as hard to live an unrighteous life as it is a righteous life. Some have been taught that living the Christian life is all good and it is hard to argue against that but it does not mean that it is easy either. I found both roads to be just as challenging. The difference is that when I walk in the Kingdom path, in His will, I am empowered to do the work that He has set before me. When I step out of His will that is when I quickly become overwhelmed. I don’t see it as unjust trouble but the love of my Heavenly Father, as He disciplines me through the trials of this world. “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)

The broad path leading to the wide gate is the path that most will talk and I think the greater error is that they do not have a proper eternal perspective. Once they have crossed over, sadly, it is too late to correct their error. They get on the broad road because it is more popular and people like to be in the masses. This thinking started in childhood, “everyone is doing it so it must be okay.” It is a path of deception and few see it, as they set their worldly goals and strive to achieve it. Some find success and some find constant defeat but they never see beyond the horizon because they all are short sighted. They think they are on the wide road because it is the popular place to be and that makes it right, the truth is that the wide road through the wide gate narrows down to death and that is final. “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

The narrow road which leads to the narrow gate is harder to find. But unlike the broad road which narrows to death, the narrow road widens to eternal life. All have seen this narrow road and most reject it. They are gods unto their own selves and their own thoughts are the gods that they serve. They do not submit to the law of men and they will not submit to the law of God. Yet they fail to know the truth, as they plow into their sinful living the wage of their sin has been paid in full by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. They cannot accept Jesus or His way and I suppose there are many more reasons than I can understand. But I do know this, and all do, that it boils down to that twinkling of an eye when life here is over and we find ourselves face to face with the truth. There will be no question then. Did we follow the truth or did we reject it. For those on the narrow road, who lived in the truth of God’s Word they will have found the perfect abundant life. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

There are many false teachers on the broad road who appear to be sheep but are really wolves. They are not only on the broad road keeping their unsuspecting converts in line but they can be found in many a Church behind the pulpit. Our society has abandoned the truth. God is no longer in our schools, no longer allowed in our public places, and we are not allowed to speak to Him in prayer. Those who think they have done us a good service have violated our constitutional right to practice our faith openly. They think that they have done something but they have fallen to the deceit of Satan and they are his instruments. If Satan can take God’s Word out of the life of people, then how can the people know the truth? If the Church opens their Bibles on Sunday and allows them to collect dust during the week, then how will they know if their teachers are speaking the truth or false doctrine? We have become a nation of foolish children who know not the way to go. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

As we know a good tree from a bad tree by its fruit so we will know the true teacher from the false teacher by the fruit that he produces. There are those who excuse sinful living. They teach that where sin abounds the grace of God abounds all the more. (Romans 5:20) They teach that this gives license for man to continue to live in his sins. This is not true as they would be denying the work of the Holy Spirit which is sanctification. The Christian cannot continue to live freely in sin. “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) Paul’s point to the Romans is that God’s grace is sufficient to forgive their sin. But there are many other false doctrines that are being taught in the world today and we can discern them by the fruit they produce. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Do not follow them, follow Jesus.

The teachers of His doctrine will produce the good fruit. The fruit that will lead to eternal life and is evidence that the Lord is the Master of their life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 13, 2016

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