Summary: Lesson 17 on the Sermon on the Mount. Choose the narrow path.
Fix Your Path
Intro. One day when mom asked little Johnny what he’d learned about in Bible school he replied that they had studies Enoch. What did you learn about Enoch? Mom asked. Well, Enoch and God used to walk together every day. And they walked longer and longer and one day, they got to looking around and God said, “Enoch, it’s getting late and we’re closer to my house than we are to yours so why you just come on home with me today?” Don’t you wonder what it was like to walk with God? Adam did it, Abraham did it and Enoch did it. Jesus tells us how to walk with God here at the end of the sermon on the mount. It’s time to extend the invitation on the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus decides to make it very plain. You’ve heard this good teaching, now what are you going to do with it? Are you going to be like Emperor Severus that we talked about last week? Remember he thought the Golden Rule was so good that everyone ought to follow it, but he never became a Christian himself? You can do that with good teaching. You can try to be a good person without being a Christian. And we all know good people that aren’t Christians. But Jesus makes it clear that there are only two choices. He says in Matthew 17:13-14 “ Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” I am struck by several things in these two verses There’s an easy way and a difficult way, did you catch that? It’s easy to go with the flow. You might even hear people say, “So many people can’t be wrong, can they?” Ask Noah that question, and he’ll ask you how long you can tread water. Look at this folks, Jesus says that most people are headed the wrong direction. As a general rule, people won’t be Christians. So don’t follow this world! It’s headed in the wrong direction.
Another thing that I am struck by is that there is a significant difference between the broad way and the narrow way. Not just in where they lead, but even in the way they are traveled. That means that there is a difference between Christians and the world even as they live out their lives right now, not just in where they will spend eternity. If there is no difference between us and the world, then perhaps we haven’t found the narrow way. There are lots of people in church today who don’t want to hear this. But how is it that we believe that we can dress like the world, talk like the world, think like the world, conduct business like the world, serve the dollar and cut corners like the world, cheat and lie about it like the world, watch movies and listen to music like the world and then tell the world that we are different? Folks, you can’t walk on the broad path and secretly serve God. That’s the plain and honest truth. There is a way that is difficult to travel and few people find it. Have you ever wondered about that? Doesn’t it sound like the way to eternal life is this tiny secret path that is almost impossible to find? And unless you happen to be one of the lucky ones who stumbles across it, then it’s just tough for you. Certainly we have all wondered about those people who die without hearing the Gospel. Maybe we’ve even wondered about our own faith and whether or not we have missed some important piece of truth. I don’t have the definitive answer to those questions, but I do know that Jesus has just finished promising that if you seek, you will find. If we honestly seek to follow the Lord, then we will find that narrow way. Perhaps there aren’t many who find it because there aren’t many who seek it.
Jesus says that Christianity is hard work. Don’t get me wrong, the rewards are worth it, He covers that, too, but it’s tough. Did you notice that he says the narrow way is difficult? Don’t let anybody lie to you and tell you that Christianity is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. I hope, after all the time we have spent on the Sermon on the Mount and talking about the lifestyle Jesus expects from us that you don’t have any false ideas that the road is easy. If you aren’t prepared to give up the world and traveling on that broad and easy way, then you aren’t prepared to go through the narrow gate.