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The Broad & the Narrow Way


The Broad and the Narrow Way

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Bible teaches us that there are only two roads in this life – the broad road and the narrow road. Only one of these roads will lead to God, to eternal life. Jesus told us that He, alone is the way to God. This is made clear to us than here in Matthew 7:13-14.

1 There are Two gates, Leading to Two Roads.

Which comes first, the gate of the way? Hendriksen thinks it’s a legitimate question. Does the pilgrim enter at the gate, then proceed along the way, or does he walk the pathway, then enter the gate into eternal life? After all what about all those jokes about St Peter at the gates of heaven? Isn’t that when we pass through the pearly gate? Don’t we ‘sweep through the gates of the new Jerusalem…’
You can see the attraction of the ‘way first’ theory for those who believe that a Christian contributes something to his salvation. Some commentators have argued that entrance into the gates of heaven are a reward for how we have walked in this life, salvation at the end being based on our works, and how we have done in our obedience to Christ along the way.
But Jesus doesn’t use that order. In his teaching the gate comes FIRST, we go through the gate, BEFORE we walk the pilgrim pathway. and a gate always leads to a path, it admits people and it prohibits people.   Again Hendriksen is helpful here. He says, “the order, gate followed by way is very natural and makes good sense. Especially in view of what is the intended meaning, the right initial choice, followed by sanctification, or the wrong choice, followed by gradual hardening.”

The narrow gate, leading to the difficult road. It is a narrow gate.

  • It’s restricted in admission. Like a turnstile at a football match, or at a train station, it admits only one person at a time. You can’t go through the gate in a group, or in a church membership, or in a fellowship, or a family. You must enter in through the gate as an individual, just one person. Your family and friends can take you with them to hell. They cant take you with them to heaven.
  • It’s restricted in what you can bring with you. You can’t bring your money with you, or your title or your reputation. All those things are worthless when you enter this gate. Luke 18:24 Jesus said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. It is the gate of self denial. Luke 9:23. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
  • It’s restricted in what lies beyond. Don’t you hear them saying it, the televangelists and the easy-believe preachers, they say come to Jesus and you’ll find your true purpose in life, and you’ll be happy, and you’ll fulfil your dream destiny and you’ll have an abundant supply of money and success, and a better job and well behaved children… those are downright lies.

The path of the believer is a narrow, constricted, difficult path. You won’t ‘enjoy’ it. You’ll be assailed along the way by sin and Satan. You’ll be involved in a constant battle with the sin in your own life, your own flesh warring against you. You will need to be watchful and vigilant in case you stumble and fall, for there will be many pitfalls. Pail said to the Ephesians church, in 5:15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Do you know what circumspectly means?- walking looking for potholes! But victory is assured! Remember the words of the psalmist in Psalm 1. 1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The wide gate, leading to the broad road. See the contrast. No restrictions here. You can enter this gate with as much personal baggage as you like, all your unrepentant sin, all you want in the way of sinful pleasure, bring it all with you, you won’t have to part with it, you can live as you like and they’ll call it your choice, they’ll want to affirm you in your lifestyle, and defend your right to remain in sin if you wish to do so, and bring all your friends and your family, look at all the bright lights and the earthly pleasures awaiting. Look how broad the road is, no need for circumspection here, proceed along this road as rapidly as you like, no pitfalls, no stumbling stones, no falls, – I think the term is ‘hell bent on destruction.’
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

2 There are Two Groups of Travellers.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

  • The many. What is the condition of these people? Think of what I’ve just said a few moments ago, think of that photograph. The pleasures of vanity fare, gambling, drinking, the lottery, the dance hall, it’s depicting a way of life that full of pleasure and happiness, while the few are experiencing hardship. Is this correct do you think? They are, but it is just an illusion. These people are enslaved to sin and Satan. They imagine that they have their freedom, their pleasure, their personal choice to live as they wish, but in fact they are doing the bidding of the master the devil. John 8:34. 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
  • The few. There are few on this road. Churches are getting smaller all the time. There is that great falling away, that will come before the end of time. They are a handful, a remnant on this earth, but in heaven there will a great multitude gathered, a multitude that no man can number.

3 There are Two Destinations.
Noe this teaching block specifically tells us where each of these paths will find their conclusion…

  • One journey ends in life. What compensation is there for that small group of people who are walking along this narrow way? Why are they enduring this hardship? They are called, of course, and the love the Lord who first loved them. But there is an end in sight. These few are bound for a celestial city, a heavenly reward, a mansion in glory! Paul said, Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
  • The other ends in destruction. The pleasures of this world quickly vanish, and they are soon forgotten in the terrors of a lost eternity. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus makes this abundantly clear.
    19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Now this is a challenge to Christians too. There were many in those days who were outward followers of Jesus, but were unprepared for the challenges and the difficulties of the narrow road that leads to life.

From → Bible Study, Matthew

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