Summary: Sermon 18 in a study in the Sermon on the Mount
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
With verse 13 Jesus is beginning His conclusion to this sermon. He has finished His picture of the Christian and will now go on to exhort the Christian to something that the Christian should already have realized is his only available course.
As I pointed out in my end statements last week, Jesus is concerned with the fulfilling of the law and the prophets so much that he topped his description of the Christian with the assurance that God’s Word and God’s Law is fulfilled in us and through us as we love one another with the love with which Christ loved us.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I Jn 4:10
If God loved us sacrificially then the only love we can have toward one another that accomplishes His purpose is a sacrificial love.
Think about what you would have others do for you and think about the way you would have them treat you, He says, and do so for them; behave thusly toward them.
So then we can see if we think this through, that while the work of salvation is all of God and none of us, and while the grace that provided our redemption is full and free, yet the redeemed one, the saved one, is not saved to nothing but there is now a life to be lived with purpose and deliberateness, and it is a life to be lived not for ourselves as when we were of the world, but to God and for our brothers and sisters as those who are more important than ourselves.
As I said, Jesus is deeply concerned with the fulfilling of His law and the words He gave through His prophets, so much so that He declared not one letter or punctuation mark would go unfulfilled. And if He said that the fulfilling of them through His church was to be by the expression of a Christ-like love, then our next step is to realize that we are called to a very special kind of life that we cannot live in our own strength or out of our own resources.
His next words therefore should make a great deal of sense to us, as they call us away from the direction of the ungodly to a new direction that is contrary to that of the world.
As has been said about some of the earlier comments of Jesus in this sermon, taken out of context they could seem to refer to the process of becoming a Christian. But since we’ve noted all along that the Sermon on the Mount is for believers because no unbeliever could begin to understand the spiritual truths therein, much less live any of them out, then we have to conclude that when Jesus exhorts His hearers to ‘enter through the narrow gate” He is talking about a direction to be taken by the one who is already a Christian. We are not to enter through in order to become a Christian, but because we already are one.
THE NARROW GATE vs THE WIDE GATE
Ok. So we are believers in Christ, born from above, indwelt and helped by the Holy Spirit and we are to enter through a certain gate. Let’s talk about these two gates that Jesus compares and determine what He is warning us about and then we’ll talk about these two ‘way’s He refers to and see how they fit in and what they mean for us.
First then, He says to enter through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide which also implies ‘easy’. But the gate to life is narrow.
When you go to the airport to get on a plane and take a trip you at some point must pass through a gate. Especially since September 11, 2001, the personnel working at those gates are very careful to let only one person through at a time. In fact, the metal detectors are designed in such a way that only one person can go through at a time. They are narrow.
So what can we glean from this picture?
Well let’s approach it by way of contrast. He said the gate to destruction is wide and there are many who enter through that.
When I was in my junior high years my parents took me to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to the services of evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman.