MATTHEW 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate because the gate and road that lead to destruction are wide. Many enter through the wide gate. But the narrow gate and the road that lead to life are full of trouble. Only a few people find the narrow gate.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Are Christians narrow minded? If one embraces all of God’s Word today as truth, they are usually marginalized and looked upon as narrow minded and out of touch with the times. This is true in the world, and it is a growing reality in the church. Every day we read stories of prominent leaders in the church who have suddenly had a revelation that they need to rethink the traditional values and teachings of the Bible. In essence they are trying to renovate and expand the “narrow way”.
Jesus constantly emphasized the contrast between the appearance and reality of the Kingdom of God. The parables of the mustard seed, the leaven, and the wheat and the tares all emphasized this contrast. In this passage Jesus notes the two gates that one uses to attempt to enter into the Kingdom. One gate is wide, it is easy to enter, it is the popular gate, the tolerant gate – it is easy to find and easy to enter. The other gate is narrow, the pathway that follows is filled with trouble, sacrifice, and the call to obedience. There are few that find this gate. Yet, it is the only gate that leads to life!
The “Narrow Gate” is Jesus and His truth. Jesus said, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 GW). One enters the narrow gate through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The pathway of faith is discipleship. Discipleship is marked by obedience to God’s Word and bears the fruit of the Spirit. Along the pathway of discipleship there are constant trials and persecutions. However, the disciple who endures to the end, by grace through faith, will be saved. There is a crown of life at the end of the journey!
The “Wide Gate” is “Jesus lite”. It gives the appearance of faith (just like tares give the appearance of wheat), but it does not demand the sacrifice. It picks and chooses from the truth of God’s Word and fashions a religion that fits the individual and is comfortable. It does not demand discipleship, but encourages others to be tolerant and adapt a truth to their own liking. It is easy to enter in. It is easy to follow the broad path that it sets before it. There is no expectation or demand for fruit. To do so would be judgmental (the antithesis of tolerance). Its’ main objective is to make everyone comfortable and happy. Yet, those who walk upon this path are blinded to the fact that it actually leads to a steep cliff of destruction. There is no life at the end of the journey!
Jesus clarifies this truth in the verses that follow. One may ask – “How can we know if we are on the narrow path or the wide path? Jesus makes it clear – it is obedience to His Word!
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?’ Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people.’” (Matthew 7:21-23 GW)
- “Therefore, everyone who hears what I say and obeys it will be like a wise person who built a house on rock. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not collapse, because its foundation was on rock. “Everyone who hears what I say but doesn’t obey it will be like a foolish person who built a house on sand. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and struck that house. It collapsed, and the result was a total disaster.” (Matthew 7:24-27 GW)
This is not a call to “works righteousness”. The Bible is clear – the just shall live by faith. However, this is a call to identify the characteristics of true faith. James writes – “…faith without works is dead”. The work of God is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ – faith. The fruit of faith is to obey and do His commands. True faith produces obedience to God’s Word – period! The true believer is not narrow minded, they have simply chosen to walk through the narrow gate. The narrow gate is Jesus, the narrow path is the Word, the Logos of God – the teachings of Jesus Christ in their entirety.
Lord, give me grace today to walk in obedience to ALL of Your commands. When I fall short, when I fail, let me run to You for forgiveness, cleansing, and the grace to continue on the narrow way. Guard me from the temptation of creating my own path. Help me to be faithful in continuing on Your path in spite of the difficulty I may face or the opposition I may encounter. Let me build my house (life) firmly on the Rock (the foundation of Your Word)!
In Jesus Name!