Summary: There are but two choices in life: the big gate, or the little gate. This is the call to throw off our baggage and follow Christ.
Big Body, Narrow Gate
Luggage Bin Problems
In Life we carry a lot of baggage around.
A. Sin/ Immorality
I Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (RSV)
Behave like obedient children. Don’t let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be. (CEV)
Matthew 5:19 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God." (The New Living Translation)
Colossians 2:20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, "Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch." Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. (The New Living Translation)
1. The word religion comes from two Latin words that mean to bind back.
2. Religions are man’s efforts to bind himself back to God.
a. Men devise religions because they realize that they aren’t good enough to make it to heaven on their own.
b. They substitute religious devotion for personal goodness.
3. In this, all religions are alike they require you to do something to restore a right relationship with God.
a. Christian religions and cults require things like baptism, church membership, keeping the commandments, saying prayers, etc.
b. World religions, such as Hinduism and Islam, teach that salvation is obtained through obedience, devotion, sacrifices, etc.
B. Biblical Christianity is not a religion, and it is definitely unique
1. The Gospel doesn’t present a religion, but the message of what God has done to bring us back to Him.
2. Unlike religion, Biblical Christianity teaches that salvation may only be received as a gift.
The heart of the matter is our "Right to choose for ourselves"
Paradise Lost "To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell; Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven"
Like the devil, we are bent on making our own choices. We, too, are driven to believe that unless we are in control then even Heaven itself loses worth.
Transition: Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30, RSV)
Yoke-what it is
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, " ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ "This is the first and great commandment. "And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (NKJV)
By holding on to such baggage we predispose ourselves to the broad path.
II. Gates & Paths
With so much luggage being carried around, this is the most used gate & path.
1. Wide Gate- easy access
Hagar the Horrible Cartoon -Lucky Eddie and Hagar come to a fork in the road with a sign. Lucky Eddie is unsure of which direction to go. The sign shows two arrows, one for each direction. It reads: "Path of no return" & "Path of least resistance". Hagar says to Eddie, "Guess!"
We indeed like the path of least resistance.
2. Broad Path- "Misery loves company", a road for the masses
3. Many Enter- People follow fads
Transition: Robert Frost
"The Road Not Taken"
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
1. Narrow Gate- we must be selective of what we carry.