26. Sermon on the Mount 11

“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: Because strait is the gate,  and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Introduction
Many of the obstacles in the Christian life are the result of our own sinfulness and disobedience. The path we take is littered with those who have chosen to go no further, and those going back to damnation. The Lord Jesus Christ warns us of the very real dangers that await us in this path. His guidance will keep us from the way that leads to death.

Hell has a wide gate
It is easy to live on the road that leads to Hell. Entrance through its gate is gained by sin. There is no problem about not keeping God’s laws, for they simply do not exist, but this does not mean that the lawbreaker is not guilty before Him.

The whole world is travelling down the route which ends in destruction. All religions, except Biblical Christianity, are guiding souls to perdition while promising their followers paradise.

There are those, even in the church, who are doomed to eternal death. They think that because they professed Christ in the past they are now free to live as they please. If their lives have never been transformed by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, and if they refuse to live by God’s standards, then they are just as much children of Hell as the heathen. Too many still think that there is an easier way to the Kingdom than the one prescribed by the Master.

The majority of every age is doomed to perish because of their flagrant and blatant disregard of God’s word. Have we only an outward show of godliness? Are we void of the true righteousness of God?

The lure of the wide gate
Why do people choose the road that leads to destruction? The answer is simple. It requires no effort at all to go along with what everyone else is doing. 

Sinners cannot enter through the narrow gate that leads to eternal life until they are willing to be saved from their sin. One who is on the narrow road must exhibit evidence of a transformed life, which is, sanctification. This involves and includes a thirst after righteousness and a genuine love for God and others.

Few find the strait gate because they choose not to search for it. Instead they are lured, usually by others, down the path of ungodliness. They unquestionably follow their friends, family and traditions, who in turn are following the ‘father of lies.’ The majority can’t be wrong, can they? A life of pleasure appears more appealing than self-sacrifice and holiness. 

What enticing words do we have to stop this sea of lost souls careering towards Hell? How can we persuade the sinner that he is heading in the wrong direction? We are usually considered to be fools if we try. To those seeking pleasure and riches the Christian message of living the crucified life is unpalatable. Fear of being thought of as a religious fanatic keep many from the narrow way.

The Narrow Gate
One must strive to enter through the narrow gate and walk the road that leads to eternal life. The lazy and double-minded will soon give up, but the bold will endure to the end no matter the cost. Whilst the easy road requires no effort, the hard road is only found by those who seek it.

We say that we are walking on the right path, but are ours lives any different from those who are lost? Self-deception here will lead us into the very same pit as those who refuse Christ as Saviour. We must be thoroughly focused upon Christ if we are truly Christians. There may be times when we will have to stand alone, but we are never without the Lord by our side. “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

All along the way our souls are in danger of countless hindrances and obstacles. Faithless ones will seek to draw your attention and affection away from Christ. We must be alert and continue to walk in holiness. When difficulties come and temptations arise we can offer up unceasing prayer to our Saviour. He did not say that the way would be easy, but He did promise us His presence.

Conclusion
We must strive to enter in, and this determination must continue every step of the way. All of our energy must be used in following the Lord. To walk in purity, piety and mercy we must “Abstain from all appearance of evil”, and “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” even to suffer “the loss of all things” for His sake (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Luke 9:23; Philippians 3:8).

Are we truly willing to give up everything, possessions, friends, family, and life itself to follow the Lord? Unless we are prepared to lay aside everything that is dear to us on earth we cannot say that we have striven to enter through the narrow gate.

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