Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Bible Church | Sermons

There Are Only Two Ways - No Gray Areas

We're continuing in Matthew 7... and Jesus now gets to the application portion of this sermon... He's asking the question: now that you've heard all that I've told you... what do you do?

You have a choice to make... and it is a very simple choice... there are only two options... the wide gate and the narrow gate.

 

Matthew 7

13 - 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.

14 - For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

The theme of chapter 7, this last section of the Sermon on the Mount, is judgment.

The object of... Jesus' purpose in giving this sermon is to bring believers to the point where we understand our nature... our character.

Our Lord has come right into the middle of the kingdoms of the world, and He is calling people out of the world into His kingdom. This is a kingdom unlike any other kingdom... the Kingdom of God... a kingdom of light... the kingdom of heaven.

Believers need to realize this is a different type of kingdom. It's not like any kingdom ever seen on earth. So Jesus has given us a description of the people in this kingdom. That's what the Sermon on the Mount, up to this point, has been.

Jesus gave us a general portrait of a Christian in the Beatitudes.

And He has told us that, if we are that kind of person, the world will react to us in a certain way... it will probably dislike us and persecute us.

However, we are not to separate ourselves from the world and become monks or hermits... we are to remain in society as salt and light. And in this way society is prevented from totally falling to pieces.

Having done that... Jesus then shows the result of people being as He has described... what we've been calling having a right heart. And it is totally... and radically different from even the best and most religious people known at the time when Jesus was on earth... the Pharisees and Scribes.

So He contrasts kingdom behavior with that of the Pharisees and scribes, and shows that His people are to have a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and Scribes... and He shows us how to do that...

He gives us detailed instructions on giving... and how to pray... and how to fast.

And finally, as we've been talking about here in chapter seven, He deals with out attitude towards life in this world, and our attitude towards other people in matters of judgment.

Here it is...” He says, “this is the character of the kingdom which I am bringing about. This is the type of life I am going to give to you, and I want you to manifest it and live it.”

Now Jesus is turning to everyone listening to this Sermon and he is saying, “What are you going to do? You must make a choice.”

I've talked about the woman I spoke with at last year's Sandcastle Contest... when I asked her about what happens after she died, she said she was fine... she lives her life according to the Sermon on the Mount. And because of that she was going to heaven... she was depending on her works.

And I suspect she stopped reading right here in chapter 7 at verse 12... she never got to verse 13... I would have liked to have asked her, “Have you made the choice Jesus gives you in verses 13 and 14 of chapter 7? Which gate have you chosen?”

This is not a sermon we just listen to and forget. Jesus does not give us that option... He calls us to action... and that action is making a choice. He's told you this is the life you are to live... what are you going to do about it?

He is testing His listeners. He is saying, “My sermon is finished. What are you going to do with it? What is your reaction to what I just have said?”

 

In these two verses He gives us four tests...

There are two gates...

There are two ways...

There are two destinations...

There are two groups...

 

That''s it. Just two. There is no third option. You have to choose on of these.

This is too black and white for today's culture, isn't it? We don't like black and white... we don't even like staying with two genders. I did a quick check with the Google... I was surprised... Google still does say there are only two genders. But, when you sign up for Facebook you can pick from any one of 58 genders.

That's the way we are going... nothing is wrong... remember the story I told about the 8 year old second grader... his teacher took away his bubble gum... so what did he do? He set the school on fire.

I want what I want, and if I don't get it there will be consequences... so we now have 58 genders... and I'd guess there is still someone, somewhere who is not happy... that is not getting the gender they want.

And by the way... it doesn't end there. There are people who are getting surgery because they know that they really are not human... they are a cat... or a dog... or a horse... and they get surgery to implant whiskers, and make their ears pointy like a cat's. And it is WRONG to tell them they are wrong... that they are actually a person... a human being created in the image of God... they are not a cat. You can't tell them that... we're wrong, not them.

BUT... Jesus says it is black and white... there are only two choices... and today we are talking about those choices... starting with the first... do you choose the wide gate or the narrow gate?

 

Matthew 7

13 - Enter through the narrow gate;

This is a command. The word “enter” is an imperative... a command. This is what we are to do. Jesus is commanding us to enter through the narrow gate. We are not to go through the wide gate. Don't do it!! Why?

 

For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, but the sad news is that people ignore Jesus' command to enter the narrow gate, and there are many who enter through the wide gate.

Many people respect Jesus, and praise Jesus as a great teacher... and praise the Sermon on the Mount as great teaching... but they never receive Him as Lord and Savior. They never receive the King nor enter the Kingdom... they are as much separated from the King... and as much outside the Kingdom as the most ardent atheist or the most unethical pagan.

 

They choose the wide gate.

What has Jesus been doing in this sermon? He has been showing the narrowness of God's internal standard of righteousness... God's standard for our heart... in contrast to the broad and external standards of the Jewish traditions... and I must now say the Catholics today. Pope Francis made a speech this past week in which he made is clear that unity is more important than doctrine. We just all need to get along. We're being to rigid. We just need to loosen up.

But Jesus says... the only way is the narrow way of kingdom living... through the narrow gate:

 

Why is it a narrow gate? Because...

 

John 14

6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Christ is the only way. And I are not proclaiming my own truth here... this is God's revelation of truth. This is Jesus speaking.

When I was talking to an agnostic at the White Salmon Spring Fest a couple of weeks ago, he kept saying, “So you say.... Why should I believe what you say.”

My response was, “No. This is what God says. God, the creator of everything, including you and me.”

This is not something I say, or Christians are saying because it suits us... or because we are bigoted and exclusive. We proclaim the narrow way because it is God's way... and God's only way for men to receive salvation and eternal life.

 

We proclaim a narrow gospel because Jesus said:

John 10:9

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

We proclaim a narrow gospel because:

 

Acts 4:12

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

We proclaim a narrow gospel because:

 

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

There are two choices, and the narrow way is the only way to life. And the person who enters the narrow gate must enter alone. We cannot bring anyone else with us... they must make their own decision.

 

It is like going through a turnstile at Disneyland... only one person at a time can go through. There is no limit on the number of people, but people do not come into God's kingdom in groups... only singly.

Yes... missionaries have seen groups of people all turn to Christ... but it is still singly... as God gives each person a new heart. It is individuals who are changed... and because those individuals each change... we see a change in the group.

But the narrow gate is even smaller than that... it is so narrow that we must go through with nothing... we cannot bring anything with us. We cannot bring the baggage of sin and self-will.

Matthew 16

24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

25 - For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

To love God with everything we have is to throw off everything else... self and self-confidence... self-achievement... self-righteousness... and self-satisfaction.

 

Matthew 18

3 - … unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

The narrow gate means that those who enter do so stripped of all they possess. You are not adding Jesus to your accumulated treasures... your earthly treasures just block up the gate... they prevent you from going through.

In India we had to be careful. We were going door-to-door, and large numbers of people were coming to Christ. But, Hindus have 360 million gods... yes, 360 million. It is impossible for one person to worship, or even know about them all. So people picked the gods they wanted, and focused just on those.... and maybe added one or two when there was a special need.

As people claimed to accept Christ, we had to take the time to be sure they were not just adding Jesus to their collection of gods.

It's the same here. It's called easy believism. That's what most people who call themselves Christian are... they claim Jesus, and meanwhile they keep all of their other gods... self... environmentalism... prestige... Yoga... money... nature... It's Jesus plus everything else... and that won't fit through the narrow gate.

Salvation is the exchange of all that we are... for all that He is.

There are two ways to go... only two gates. One is broad, easy, attractive, inclusive, permissive... or as we now say... tolerant... the self-centered way of the world.

There are few rules, few restrictions... few requirements... you just need to profess Jesus... or at least be religious... or at least go to church on Christmas and Easter. And in church God's word is praised, but not studied. Spiritual maturity is not required. There is no commitment. NO sacrifice.

The other way is narrow. It is the hard way. The way of self-denial and the cross... and there are few who find it. This implies that we need to seek it. In order to find something, we must seek it... we must look for it.

No one has ever stumbled into the kingdom by accident. Or just accidentally wandered through the narrow gate.

Luke 13

23 - And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them,

 24 - "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Notice the word “strive.” Entering the kingdom takes a conscious, purposeful effort. The kingdom is for those who come to the king with a poverty of spirit... mourning over their sin... and hungering and thirsting for His righteousness.

There are two gates the broad and the narrow. This means there are two ways... and there are two destinations...

Think about this. What do other religions promise? Muslims can go to paradise. Hindus can come back into better circumstances until they become a God. Mormons also say you can become a God. Both the broad way and the narrow way promise the good life... salvation... heaven... the kingdom... and blessing. That's the promise of both, and other religions even promise more... you can be a god.

BUT, only the narrow way actually leads to life... and salvation... heaven... the kingdom... blessings... and God.

There is nothing here in what Jesus is saying to indicate that the broad way is marked with a directional sign pointing to “Hell.” The point Jesus is making is that the broad way promises heaven, but does not lead there.

There are two ways and two destinations...

Matthew 7

13 - ...the way is broad that leads to destruction

14 - For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life

 

Go one way and the destination is destruction... the other destination is life.

Destruction does not refer to annihilation... but to total ruin and loss. It is not the complete loss of being... but the complete loss of well-being. And it is the destination of all religions, except Christianity. It is the destination of everyone, except those who follow Jesus.

God's way... the narrow way... leads to eternal life... to everlasting heavenly fellowship with God, His angels, and His people.

There are two gates and only two... that means there are only two ways... and only two destinations... and there are two groups.

Going through the gates, traveling down the two ways... heading toward the two destinations... are two groups of people.

Those who go through the wide gate and travel the way that is broad, toward the destination of destruction are many. The many will include pagans, nominal Christians, atheists, religionists, theists, humanists, Jews and Gentiles – all types of people, from all types of backgrounds and circumstances. Everyone who is not trusting Jesus Christ. Everyone who is not obeying Jesus Christ.

There will be many who claim to know Jesus... be He will say “I never knew you.”

The group that goes through the narrow gate... and travels the narrow way... and who are heading for eternal life are few. It is a small group.

 

Luke 12

32 – Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Notice Jesus says, “little flock.” That's us. The word translated as “little” here is mikros... this is the word “micro” that we use to say exceedingly small. A micro number of people.

It's not because the gate is too narrow, or too small to handle more people. There is no limit to the number of people who can come through the narrow gate... if they go through in God's way... in repentance of their sins and trusting Jesus to save them.

Nor is the number few because there is only so much space in heaven... because heaven is limited and there is not room for more. God's grace is boundless... and heaven has limitless room.

Nor is the number small because God does not desire more to be saved. God earnestly desires

2 Peter 3:9

...for all to come to repentance.

Every person who will come to Jesus Christ... can come to Jesus Christ.

 

John 6

37 - All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

 

40 - For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

 

We hear it so much... whatever you believe is true for you.

 

That's a lie... a lie that leads to death.

 

 

There are ONLY two ways... two gates. Believing otherwise is just a fantasy. There are only two options.

The wide gate is easy and includes Islam, and Hinduism, and Buddhism, and Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mormons... and atheists... and agnostics.... and large numbers of those who are professing to be a Christian... they have all chosen the wide gate. Their destination is destruction.

Only those who have chosen Jesus... those who have repented and are truly trusting Christ alone... the right Jesus Christ, not a Jesus of their imagination... only those few go through the narrow gate and on to the destination of life.

Jesus' message in these two verses is simple. His question is hard... those going through the wide gate do not even recognize there is a narrow gate. They don't even see it...

They are blind to the narrow gate.

Can a blind man see which way to go? No, it's impossible. Those on the path to the wide gate are blind.... they can't see the narrow gate... they don't want to see it... except... except... when God reveals it to them.

We are called to tell them about the narrow gate... and God will reveal the narrow gate.

There are only two options... Jesus plainly says that. Let's us help them know about the narrow gate. And pray for God to reveal the narrow gate to them.

 

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