The Narrow Gate: Jesus Commands Us to Enter the Kingdom (Matthew Sermon 22 of 151)
July 04, 1999 | Andrew Davis
Salvation, Two Ways to Live, Hell
Two Gates: A Point of Decision
As we continue in our series on the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a narrow gate which Jesus sets before us. Seven centuries before Jesus ascended the mount on which He preached the Sermon on the Mount, the prophet Joel described a valley which he called the valley of decision — multitudes in the valley of decision. Now everyone of you makes decisions every day. For example, you decided to get up today. Was that a good decision? I guess time will tell. But every day you decide to get up and you make small decisions and great decisions. What you're going to put on, what road you'll take to get to work, what you're going to do first, once you get there. Small decisions and great decisions. Some of the decisions are significant. How you're going to treat your spouse, how you're going to raise your kids. But of all the decisions that God puts before you, there is none more significant, none more important than what you do with the text we're looking at today.
What did you do with the narrow gate? Did you enter it or did you stay outside? That's the most vital decision you can ever make in your life, for this impacts your eternal destiny. The Sermon on the Mount is a masterpiece of preaching. No preacher could ever ascend to Jesus' level of preaching. It really is a marvel and any sermon must be applied. And Jesus now, in this seventh chapter, is taking His teaching and applying it directly to our hearts. He begins by an appeal, I would say even a command, that we should enter the narrow gate.
The Sermon on the Mount, however beautiful, however majestic, is not meant to be marveled at. It is meant to be obeyed. We can marvel at it and we should. When Jesus finished this teaching, the people who heard Him were amazed and it's good to be amazed. But we need to go past amazement, we need to go into obedience. This is the first opportunity that Jesus gives us to directly respond to His commands. Jesus is getting His hearers ready for judgment day, so He sets before them here two gates and two roads.
Later He speaks of two trees: one a good tree and one a bad tree. Also two claims, someone who says, "Lord, Lord and it's true" and someone who says, "Lord, Lord" and it isn't true. And then at the end, we're going to see two houses. One of them stands and the other falls. Jesus is teaching again and again, the same lesson that we need to be ready for judgment day. Here He is beginning to get us ready by commanding us to enter the narrow gate.
Throughout the Scripture, God is constantly taking His people to a point of decision. To a point in which they need to make a commitment one way or the other. A point in which they need to decide to choose life or death. It's been that way from the very beginning. In the garden of Eden, God set a tree, the tree of the knowledge of the good and evil and said, "You shall not eat from that tree. For the day you eat from it, you shall surely die". And so he set before Adam and Eve a choice.
In the book of Deuteronomy, in the Arabah, that's the desert across from the Jordan river, right before the people of God entered the promised land, Moses set before them the whole law for a second time. Actually, that's what the word Deuteronomy means, it's the second giving of the law. And at that moment, Moses laid before them in Deuteronomy 30, he said, "See, I set before you today, life and prosperity, death and destruction. And this day, I call heaven and earth against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses, now choose life." And so that's the choice he sets before them in the desert. After the land was conquested, after Joshua had led the tribes through all their conquest one after another, he called everyone together at Shechem. And Joshua said, "If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefather served beyond the river or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Do you see, it's the same choice. He set before them the choice whether they would obey and follow God or whether they would disobey.
Then on in Israel's history after a long pattern of rejection, Elijah gathered them together again, this time at Mount Carmel, along with the prophets of Baal and the people of Israel. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver? How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord is God, then follow him. If Baal is God then follow him", it's the same thing. And so, it shouldn't be surprising to us when Jesus, the son of God enters the world, he will pick up the same mode of communication. He will bring the people to a point of decision. He does it time and time again.
We've already seen earlier in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus walking beside the sea of Galilee. And He came upon two brothers, Simon, Peter and his brother Andrew and they were casting a net into the lake for their fishermen, do you remember what Jesus said to them? "Follow me." A word of command and now they have a decision. Should they continue fishing or should they follow Jesus? They made the decision, they followed. And Jesus went up a little further and saw James and his brother John and said the same thing, "Follow me”, and immediately they got up and followed Him.
After the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 9, Jesus is going to come across Matthew —the very one who wrote this account for us. He was working in the tax collector's booth, and at that moment, Jesus gave him the same command, "Follow me." Matthew got up from his tax collecting booth and followed Jesus. Jesus brought him to that point of decision and Matthew obeyed and followed. This is Jesus' way.
Jesus does not make it easy for us. Jesus challenges us with His doctrine. In John 6, Jesus wanted to weed out the true believers from the mere followers, from those who were just interested in seeing the miracles or maybe getting some of that bread and fish. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you'll have no life in yourselves." At that point, many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. Jesus turned to His own twelve and said, "You do not want to leave too, do you?" He set the question before them. And Peter answered for them all except one. Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." Jesus is consistently bringing people to a point of decision even to a point of challenge. On the Damascus road He did the same with Saul of Tarsus. He brought him to a point of decision, and Saul obeyed and followed.
We have been going through the Sermon on the Mount. There's been so much good teaching, so much encouragement, but now it's time to decide. It's time to choose what will we do. Will we follow or will we not? Jesus says, "Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it, but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. Two gates, two roads, two destinies, two groups, and we can learn lessons from each of these.
The Lesson of the Gate: Inside and Outside
Let's first learn the lessons from the two gates. Jesus says, "Enter through the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to life." There are two gates here. We have the narrow gate, and we have the wide gate. But just that there is a gate, teaches us something. It teaches us simply that there is an outside and there is an inside. A gate is something though which we travel to get from the outside to the inside, or from the inside back to the outside. So, there is an inside, and there is an outside. Adam and Eve, after they've sinned in the garden were pushed outside the garden of Eden. You remember the terrible words, outside. They were banished from the garden of Eden. It says, "So, the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth." It's a message saying you're not welcome back in. You're on the outside now because of your sin, pushed outside.
It was also at the time of the flood. When God saw that the thoughts of our hearts were only evil all the time, He brought a flood on the earth. In Genesis 7:23, "Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out. Only Noah was left and those with him inside the ark." Do you see outside and inside? If you're inside the ark, you're safe. If you're outside the ark, you're not. It's destruction. And so, also it was in the land of Goshen, with the people of Israel. The time came for the Passover and the Passover lamb was sacrificed. And the lamb's blood was spread on the door. God gave them a warning. He said, "Not one of you shall go out of his house until morning." Now what is implicit in that threat? If you go outside, you'll die. You'll perish. But if you stay inside the house, the house with the bloody door, if you stay inside there, you're safe. You're secure. Outside and inside. This is the lesson of the gate.
And how about Rahab's house? You remember Rahab the prostitute? She welcomed the two spies that came from the people of God. She protected them, she hid them. Then when the time came, she said, "I know that God has given our city and the whole land into your hands. Now, please swear to me and promise that you will spare me and my family." They said, "We will, because you have acted in this way we will. But you must each one of you stay inside your house, for if anyone goes outside his house, his blood will be on his own head. He will perish." And so, the same lesson. Outside of Rahab's house, there is destruction, inside of Rahab's house there is safety. Outside and inside, the lesson of the gate.
Finally, also the lesson of the cities of Refuge. Under the Mosaic covenant, if you accidentally killed your neighbor, even if an ax head flew off and you accidentally killed your neighbor, he might come after you not understanding, and you're subject to the avenger of blood. He might think that you killed his father or brother in anger, and he would come and try to kill you. So, you had to run to a place called the City of Refuge. There you had to stay until the High Priest died. If you stayed inside the City of Refuge you were safe, but if you came outside the city, your blood would be on your own head. The avenger of blood could kill you with impunity. It's the same lesson over and over, there's a place of safety which God has provided, and then then there's a place of danger. That is the lesson of the gate.
Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount, "Knock and the door will be opened to you." That implies an outside and an inside. In Matthew 18, He says to His disciples, "Unless you change and become like little children,” you'll never what? “Enter the kingdom of heaven." To the rich young ruler, after the rich young ruler rejected Him and walked away, Jesus said to His disciples concerning him, "I tell you the truth, it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man,” what? “To enter the kingdom of God." It's a matter of entering — that's what the gate is for.
Then there's the tragic story of the five foolish virgins. You remember the five wise virgins who were ready when the Lord returned. They entered in with Him. But the others, the five foolish ones, in Matthew 25:11, came later and knocked on the door. They said, "Sir, sir, open the door also for us." But He said, "I don't know you, go away." Outside and inside, there's a place of danger, and then there's a place of safety. There is an outside, and there is an inside.
The True and Narrow Gate
The second lesson from the gates is that there is a true gate. Praise God that there is a gate. Praise God that there is a way to get inside. They didn't need to be. Does Satan have a narrow gate that he can enter in? It's not been offered to him, he has no way. He is outside and will be forever outside. So also with all the angels who fell with him and all the demons. There is no opportunity for them. There is no narrow gate for Satan, or for his demons, but for us. For us God has made a way. For us, there is a narrow gate. Praise God for it.
It's an evidence of God's grace to us that He has provided this gate. He has made it for us. But because it's His gate, He can choose what kind of gate it will be. He has decided that it's going to be a narrow gate. The true gate is a narrow gate. The word narrow in Greek is “stenos”. The original root is something that... someone that groans under a burden, a sense of being groaning under a burden as under some kind of pressure or constriction. We get our word, for example, stenography from it, which is a kind of a compressed style of writing that they use in the courts, restricted or a abbreviated compressed form of writing. This is what the narrow gate is.
I think the best image of the narrow gate is that of a turnstile like at a ballpark. Did you ever go to a ballpark back in the old days when there was a turnstile? The purpose of the turnstile is to force this huge group of people to go through one at a time. Why must they go through one at a time? So the gatekeeper can see if they have a ticket. Without the turnstile, they'd go through on mass and there'd be no way to tell whether everyone had the ticket. This is the picture of the narrow gate. There is a narrow gate, there is somewhat like a turnstile and the gatekeeper stands and each one must have a ticket. And what is the ticket? Personal faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith in His name. But each person individually must enter that gate, that turnstile.
Furthermore, the narrow gate tends to strip us of baggage. If it's a narrow gate, if it's like a turnstile, we don't come through carrying all kinds of baggage, do we? We come through stripped down. You think again about the rich young ruler. He came to Jesus and he said, "What good thing must I do to get eternal life?" as though it were that easy. "Well, all you need to do is just go and do this or that and then you can have eternal life." "Just some good deed, and then I'll be set." And Jesus said, "All right, we'll do the good deed thing, obey the commandments." And the rich young ruler said, "Well, which ones?" You see, that's what self-righteousness always wants to do. "Well, which ones should I do and how should I do it?" And He gave him a list of commands and the rich young ruler said, "All these I have kept since my youth." Isn't that incredible? One of them by the way was honor your father and mother. "Love your neighbor as yourself," Jesus said to him. "And I've kept it from my youth." "Well then, all right, one thing you lack. Sell all your possessions and give to the poor and you'll have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me." That is the narrow gate in action. All these things stripped away, Jesus Christ challenging him right where he was at. Jesus knowing how to touch him at his point of weakness. He's stripping away materialism, stripping away earthly possessions, stripping away earthly ambitions. Once you sell everything you have and give to the poor, what point is there in trying to climb back up the ladder of success? You were already there and you gave it all away and now you're free to serve your Lord. So it is. He stripped him away of earthly ambitions and of independence, going his own way, doing what he wanted. Now you have a Lord who's telling you to sell all your earthly possessions. You have a Lord in charge and He will guide you and He will lead you. Unless He stripped the rich young ruler of pride and self-righteousness, he would not enter, and he walked away very sad. And so it was with Jesus, the narrow gate strips away everything but humility and faith in Jesus Christ. You're allowed to go through with those two.
Isn't this what it means to be a spiritual beggar? “Blessed are the spiritual beggars for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It means to enter through a narrow gate, a humble gate, a lowly gate, a place where you recognize you need salvation. Oh, do you need it. You need a Savior. And not only that, but you're allowed to enter also through with faith in Jesus Christ. Faith that the blood of Jesus shed on the cross is sufficient for all your sins. And so it is that we enter the narrow gate. Another lesson though from these two gates is that there is a false gate. There is a false gate and it is broad and spacious. Shall I say, it is comfortable. It is the opposite of the narrow gate. Anything goes, no restrictions, easy to get through. The gate is self-defined. It's positive, it's friendly, it makes you feel good. I guess the best word for this gate is tolerant. Wouldn't you think that tolerant would be the opposite of the narrow gate? It's broad enough to accept anything. You can define your own terms and come in in your own way.
J.I Packer wrote a book called Hot Tub Religion. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with a hot tub itself, but there's something wrong with hot tub religion, and that's what J.I. Packer is talking about. Let me read this account from him. "The other day I was one of a crowd who spent much of a wet Saturday afternoon in a hot tub. As I sat there savoring hot tub-ness, cracking small jokes and adjusting to the feel of being bubbled over from all angles, it struck me that the hot tub is the perfect symbol of the modern root in religion. The hot tub experience is sensuous, it's relaxing, floppy, laid back, not in any way demanding, whether intellectually or otherwise, but very, very nice. Even to the point of being great fun. Many today want Christianity to be like that and labor to make it so. The ultimate step of course, would be to clear church auditoriums of all seats and install hot tubs personalized for each person. Install hot tubs in their place, and then there would never be any attendance problems." Do you know that two-thirds of all southern Baptist church members are not in church today? Maybe if we install hot tubs we can get 'em back, right? Packer goes on to say, “Meantime, many churches, evangelists and electronic religionists are already offering occasions which we are meant to feel are the next best thing to a hot tub, namely happy gatherings free from care, real fun times for all. Happiness has been defined as a warm puppy. This kind of religion projects happiness in the form of a warm welcome to all who tune in or drop in, a warm choir with a schmaltzy swing, a warm back scratching use of words in prayer and preaching, and a warm cheerful after glow another hot tub touch. To the question, where is God? The answer which these occasions actually project, never mind what is said, is in the preacher's pocket. Soothing for sure but is it faith? Worship, service of God is godliness the real name of this game.”
I believe that a good symbol of Christianity is the cross. For Jesus said, "If you would come after me, you must deny yourself, take up the cross and follow me daily." But J.I. Packer is arguing that for some churches today, the best symbol for Christianity is that of a hot tub. I think that a hot tub religion is the perfect example of the wide broad gate and the right wide road. It's comfortable, it's easy, there's never any sacrifice, there's never any need to wrestle with sin or struggle with it. It's tolerant and all views are accepted. So there is a false gate and we must be aware of it.
What should we do with the true gate then? The scripture says very plainly here we must search for it. Maybe you missed it, but at the very end of the verses I read it says that, "Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and” what? “Only a few find it." What does that imply? You have to search for it. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. There's a searching for the true gate. You're looking for something. You're looking for salvation from sin. You're looking for true purpose in your life. You're looking for security after death. You're looking for things that only Jesus Christ can give you, but you must search for them. They don't just happen — you must search for them. There must be a hungering and a thirsting, for if you're not needy, if you're not hungry, if you're not thirsty you will not look and if you're not looking, you will not find. That's the nature of this gate.
But we must do more than search for it. Brothers and sisters, we must enter the narrow gate, "Enter the narrow gate." The word 'Enter' is a command. It's not an invitation. It's not a request and it's not a suggestion. It is a command. Did you ever think of the Gospel as something that we should obey? The Gospel is a command from God that we should repent, and that we should enter, and that we should believe. Does God have the right to command us? He does have the right to command, and Jesus as the Son of God does have the right to come and say, enter, enter the narrow gate. We are not to stand outside the gate and admire it, look at its beauty or talk about its restrictiveness or its narrowness. We are supposed to enter it, enter through the narrow gate. He does not beg, He commands and we must obey to be saved. Many people make a distinction between knowing Jesus as Saviour and knowing Him as Lord. But you know what you're going to find on the other side of the narrow gate? You're going to find a Lord. You're going to find a King. For do you know what the narrow gate enters into? It enters into the Kingdom of God. You're entering into the Kingdom of God and every Kingdom has a King and God is ready to take your life and to guide you and to direct you as a King would, with love, with purity. We do not separate out salvation from obeying Jesus as Lord. The very first thing we must do for salvation is obey His command that we enter the narrow gate. We are not called to admire the gate, to praise the gate, to talk about the gate or analyze it, we are called to enter the gate.
Jesus: The Narrow Gate
What is the gate? It is Jesus Christ Himself and none other. It says in John 10:7, "I tell you the truth I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters through me will be saved, he will come in and go out and find pasture." Jesus is the gate. In another metaphor it says in Hebrew 10:19, talking about entering into the holy of holies it says, "Therefore brothers since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is His body, we should enter in, we should come close, we should be with God.” What is that gate? What is that entrance? It is the body of Jesus Christ; it is the blood shed for us on the cross. For Jesus takes all of our sin, that which has excluded us from the Kingdom of God. He absorbs it onto Himself, and He pays the penalty for our sin. Jesus died on the cross to give us that gate, that way of entry. How are we to enter? First we enter through conviction of sin by becoming a spiritual beggar, by being convinced that we need to enter. That it's dangerous out here. If we stay out here we will be in danger but if we go in there there's safety, conviction of sin. Then there is the search for salvation, that yearning and hungering and thirsting for freedom from condemnation, freedom from sin. Like the Philippian jailer saying, "Oh what must I do to be saved?" There's a passion there, and then there's a repentance from sin. We enter by turning away from sin. A total desire to renounce sin, to be saved from sin's penalty.
I'm convinced there's only two religions in the world— there's a religion of self-works and there's a religion of grace and none other. I don't know any others. When I begin to talk to somebody and I say, "Why would God let you into heaven?" If they tell me that they are basically a good person, I believe they have not entered the narrow gate yet. They're still outside. When you enter the narrow gate you renounce forever the right to say, "I'm basically a good person." Basically, you're a sinner in need of salvation. Basically, you are saved by God's grace. Basically, God has searched you and has known you and has forgiven you through the blood of Christ. We are not basically a good person for Jesus said, "There is no one good but God alone." But once we enter, He transforms us and begins to work His goodness into us. But we renounce forever and the way we do that is through repentance. We turn our back forever on sin when we enter the narrow gate. Charles Bergen said this, "You and your sins must separate or you and your God will never come together. Not one sin may you keep. They must all be given up. They must all be brought out like Canaanite kings from the cave and hanged in the sun one by one. What an image. We turn our back forever on sin, that's what the narrow gate does. But we enter through faith and trust in Christ, through believing in Him as our Savior, that His death is sufficient for us even a sinner like me.
The Two Roads that Lead From the Gates
After the gate come two roads. We enter the narrow gate or we enter the broad gate. The narrow gate leads to a journey and the broad gate leads to a journey. With salvation, the moment you enter the narrow gate, you're free forever from the penalty of sin. But you know what? You're beginning a journey. Sometimes we're so concerned with justification by faith, getting people saved that we forgot that there is a narrow road after the narrow gate. There is a road to be traveled. There is a journey to be made. Do you remember what Jesus said in John 14? When asked, somebody said to Him, "Lord, we don't know where You're going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said, "I am the way. I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." What is a way? You could say I am the road or I am the path. I'm the place where you travel along your journey. It's a dynamic thing. It's not a static thing. We come into faith in Christ, and then we begin a long journey.
John Bunyan who wrote Pilgrim's Progress understood that. You enter through the narrow gate, and then you begin the rest of the story. In the book, the narrow gate happens within the first few pages, and then Christian travels along his journey to the Celestial City through many toils, dangers, and snares. There is a way, a journey, to be traveled. Each gate leads to a road like itself. The narrow gate leads to a narrow road, the broad gate leads to a broad road, a comfortable road, an easy road. There's no self-denial on that road. All you have to do is, for example, profess Jesus, walk the aisle and then don't worry about anything else the rest of your life. That's the broad, comfortable road. God's Word is praised but not studied. God's standards are admired but not practiced. There is no spiritual maturity sought. There's no journeying, no traveling; it's easy, it's comfortable.
There was a West Indian man who was deciding what to do with his religion, what he would do and he chose Islam over Christianity. He said, "Islam is a noble, broad path. There is room for a man and his sins on it. The way of Christ is too narrow for me." I wish that every pastor in America understood with such clarity the difference between Christianity and all other religions. There is no room on that narrow road for a man and his sins. And so, Jesus is constantly excluding that. He's relentless in it too. The Christian life does not get more and more tolerant. The things that are excluded at the gate are excluded all along the way. But what's really mysterious about the whole thing is the more you move along in your Christian life, the more free you feel. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free." There's a freedom along this way. 1 John 5:3 says, "His commands are not burdensome." And Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." And why is it? Because what's outside the narrow way is sin, and sin is devastating, sin hurts, sin ruins, sin robs, but the narrow way is the way of safety. There are two roads and there are two paths, one of them leads to destruction and one of them leads to life. And thus, we move to the lessons of the two destinies. Whenever you're traveling on a journey you should know where you're traveling to. When they put in the interstate system under the Eisenhower administration, one of the things they decided to spend money on were signs that told you where you were going. What if you got on the highway and started traveling and you didn't have any idea where you were going? You sure wouldn't use the highway system because they're useless, unless you know the destination.
You should look and see what road you're on right now, and what is the destination to which you're traveling? Are you on the broad, easy, wide, tolerant road? Or are you on that road which Jesus characterized as narrow, restrictive? One leads to destruction, and the other leads to life. The word “destruction” is not merely annihilation, disappearance. That's what the Jehovah's Witnesses teach. But it's not true. Actually, after death comes judgment and then we're accountable for each of the decisions we made on that broad, easy road. That's what destruction is all about. It says in Romans 2:5 that we who travel along that broad, easy path are storing up wrath against ourselves for the day of God's wrath when his righteous judgment will be revealed. That is what Jesus means when he talks about destruction. It is a road that leads to destruction.
Jesus does not shy away from teaching about hell as many American preachers and evangelists do today. Anyone who stands up and teaches you and kind of cuts that out and excludes that part, they are false prophets, false teachers. But we must know that the broad road, the easy road, that road leads to destruction. But the other destination is life. There is a road. There is a narrow road that leads to life. Now what is life but the knowledge of God. Jesus said so in His prayer. Now this is life, this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. There's an abundance to this life, a richness to walking with God. And in that rich road, in that comfortable, that road of joy and abundant fruit, in that road there is knowledge of God. Eternal life is something we know as we walk along it.
But at that moment also, we should realize, the moment we come to faith in Christ, we have come into eternal life. But this life here on earth is nothing, compared to the life we'll experience when we see Him face to face. In Philippians 1:21, it says, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is” what? " It's gain.” To rephrase it, Paul would say, "To me, to live is Christ and to die is more Christ. I get to see Him face to face, I get to know Him perfectly. There's not that dark veil between me and the spiritual realm anymore, I'll see Him fully." That's the destination of the narrow road. That's what you should yearn and hunger for. Notice that the destinations have always been the same. In the garden of Eden there was a choice between life and death. Same thing at... In the Arabah In Deuteronomy it says, "I'm setting before you life and death." Joshua did the same thing, Elijah did the same thing; it was the same thing at the time of Noah's Ark; a decision between life and death. This is in fact, a life and death decision of eternal consequence.
The final lesson we can learn is the lesson from the two groups. You can boil them down to two words, the many, and the few. The broad road that leads to destruction is well traveled; there's lots of people on it. The narrow road that leads to life has only a few people on it. Now this is a problem for us, isn't it? From childhood, we're trained to want to curry people's favor. We like it when people are comfortable with us. We like it when people smile at us and are happy with us. But Jesus is saying, you must go the other way. You must be willing to turn your back on all that. You must be willing to be hated and persecuted, and spoke poorly of, to travel on that narrow road. There are many on that broad road. In this case, safety in numbers is not true. There is no safety in numbers on the broad road. There are many on that road, and it leads to destruction. And so it was heard in the streets of Gomorrah, "Everybody is doing it." Well, it doesn't matter if everybody is doing it. Let God be true and every man a liar. We must go the opposite direction.
And so, there is a road which only a few find. Like the turnstile, one at a time, they come to faith in Christ. One at a time, they walk along that road. Yes, of course there's fellowship. Jesus didn't say there's only one, or even none traveling, there are a few, and we have joyful fellowship with them, but don't look for it in this world. We're not looking for pleasure and the approval of everyone around us. We are traveling on a road that only a few find and that is the road that leads to life. The disciples asked the question, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" In Luke 2:32, Jesus did not answer the question, but He said the same thing here, He said, "Only a few are traveling on that road. Just be sure you're one of the ones traveling on that road. Don't be worried about whether there's many or few, be worried about whether it includes you, so enter the narrow gate.”
And so, what is the application today? It's very simple, you must enter the narrow gate. You must come to personal faith in Christ. If you have never come to faith, you must enter. Now next week, I'm going to give you what I believe is one of the most devastating scriptures that Jesus ever gave. That there are going to be people who will say, "Lord, Lord" and Jesus will say, "I never knew you." Don't be one of those people. Look at the road you're traveling. Is it a broad, easy, comfortable road or is it a narrow, strict road, a road which puts sin to death, a road in which there is a Lord who governs your life? If you think you've never entered the narrow gate, then enter today. Put your faith in Jesus Christ. Let today be for you the day of salvation. Say, "I want to enter the narrow gate. I don't want the sun to go down today, and me on the outside. I want to enter through that narrow gate". For all those of you have entered in, who know what I mean when I talk about a narrow road, rejoice in the narrowness of the road, don't chafe under it. Don't say, "I wish it were different. I wish I could wander a field from time to time". The road is a road of safety, and it's a gift from God. Rejoice in it and continue to walk along it, but know that in the end, God will give you eternal life for your trouble. Enter through the narrow gate. Enter for life.