Summary: We need to decide if we are going to follow Christ and understand the consequences of our decision.
A Messiah of Decision
Text: Matt. 7:13-29
1. Illustration: William P. Barker tells of a machinist at Ford Motor Company in Detroit who became a Christian. He responded to the invitation and was baptized. As the Holy Spirit began renewing this man he became convicted of his need to make restitution for some parts and tools he had stolen from the company prior to becoming a Christian. So the next morning he brought all the tools and parts back to his employer. He explained how he had just been baptized and asked for his foreman’s forgiveness. This was such an amazing turn of events that Mr. Ford, who was visiting a plant in Europe at the time, was cabled with the details of the matter and asked his response. Mr. Ford immediately returned a cable with his decision: “Dam up the Detroit River, and baptize the entire city.”
2. We all make decisions every day.
a. What to eat
b. What to wear
c. What to do
3. However, the most important decision that we make is whether or not we are going to follow Christ. In Matt. 7:13-29, we see...
a. The need for decision
b. The reason for decision
c. The result of decision
4. Read Matt. 7:13-29
Proposition: We need to decide if we are going to follow Christ and understand the consequences of our decision.
Transition: First, we need to understand...
I. The Need For Decision (13-14)
A. The Narrow Gate
1. The final section of Jesus teaching, often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, deals with Jesus command to enter by the narrow gate.
2. He says, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate."
a. There is a similar passage in Lk. 13:24, but emphasis there is determination - "Strive to enter..."
b. However, here it is upon immediacy. Do it now. There will not always be time. The gate will not always be open (Horton, 131).
c. We do not know what the future holds, and put Jesus off thinking that we can always deal with Jesus when we are older can be a fatal decision.
d. You get one chance at this, and in this case the old saying "if you snooze, you lose" has eternal consequences.
3. Jesus continues saying, “...The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way."
a. Greek, Roman and Jewish writers often employed the image of the two paths in life, and those particularly concerned with the future judgment especially employed the image of the two ways, the narrow one leading to life and the broad one to destruction (Keener, IVP NT Commentary: Matthew, 163).
b. We should get a picture in our minds of a wall to a city with two doors - one wide and the other narrow.
c. The wide gate is easy to get through, and there a very few obstacles or challenges.
d. It will seem easy and smooth, but suddenly, as if a bridge collapses without warning, these people find themselves in hell.
e. This once attractive option all of the sudden doesn’t look so good.
f. There will be many who will choose to enter by the wide gate because it looks easy, but the end, it leads to destruction.
4. Then Jesus talks about the other option - the option to follow Him. He says, "But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."
a. In contrast, there will be few who enter by the narrow gate because it is obviously more difficult, and therefore, less attractive.
b. There are more obstacles, and the navigation is more difficult.
c. This gate requires that you give up your rights, desires, and selfishness.
d. "Narrow" implies persecution, affliction, distress, and pressure (Horton, 133).
e. However, it leads to a much better destination - eternal paradise.
f. A city whose streets are paved with gold, and whose citizens are never old, sick, tired, or sad.
g. No one drifts through the narrow gate by accident or chance. They seek it and find it only when they hear the command of Jesus and respond to his word (Horton, 133).
B. Two Choices
1. Illustration: When I returned from my trip to Europe, back in 1982, I remember a conversation I had with an high school classmate. He asked me if I heard about Vick, another classmate of ours. Vick was one of my old partying buddies from before I accepted Christ. His parents were good Christian people, but he chose to reject what they believed. After my conversion, there were many times that I tried to witness to him and share my faith with him, but his response was always the same. He would tell me, "Mark, I know that you are right, but I am having too much fun right now, and I can deal with Jesus later. Well what this classmate told me about Vick was that he had started running drugs for the mob and had been skimming money from them. They found out and planned to kill him, so he took a gun and took his own life before they could. As I listened to this story all I could remember were those words "I have more time later."