Summary: There's something intriguing and exciting about a place where few have gone. So what about Jesus' words, "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
“Going Where Few Have Gone”
My wife and I once had the privilege of hearing a speech by one of our American astronauts who had spent extended time living on the International Space Station. Between what he had to say and the videos he showed, it was fascinating. After all, it was a live report from one who has gone where few have gone. There was a part of me, albeit a small part, that longed to go there – there’s just something intriguing and exciting about a place where few have gone. A large part of me has that same longing every time I hear these words of Jesus: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus was saying that on this journey through life, few have gone the intriguing and exciting way that leads to true, full, abundant living. I want to challenge you this morning to heed Jesus’ call and go where few have gone.
Jesus, as always, points us in that direction as He gives us some RULES OF THE ROAD. Listen carefully because these rules are critical to your life’s journey. The first rule, Jesus said (vs. 13), is to “Enter through the narrow gate.” We are to ACCENTUATE DECISIONS. Jesus would, in fact, later identify Himself as the gate (Jn. 10:7, 9): “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Then later Jesus framed it a different way (John 14:6): “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In other words, WE MUST CHOOSE JESUS. Several decades later the author of the letter to the Hebrews (10:20) wrote that through His death on the cross Jesus opened a new and living way into the presence of God. Can it be any clearer? We must choose Jesus to experience true, eternal life!
Note, however, that the gate is small and narrow. It’s like going through a turnstile at a sporting event or at a subway station; only one person at a time can enter. There’s room for only one. Or think of it this way: there are many lights on airstrip at an airport. The pilot can approach the landing strip from any of the 360 degrees, but only one precise angle will provide for a safe landing. Similarly, Jesus is the only way to true life and you must choose Jesus by yourself. Just worshiping here will not lead to life. Participating in the life of the church will not lead to life. Knowing your way through the Bible will not lead to life. Knowing the Heidelberg Catechism, or the Apostle’s Creed will not lead to life. Serving will not lead to true, eternal life.
Only making a decision to choose Jesus will usher you into true life. No one else can make the decision for you; it’s up to you and you alone.
Some of you are thinking, “I’ve already chosen Him. So I’m all set.” Are you sure? Are you still choosing Him? What are you really living for? What controls you? What is your supreme desire? Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? It’s like updating your will. If you made it out when you first were married but then have children, you need to update it again. And once the children are all out of the house and living on their own, you must update it again. There will always be growth and change and therefore further decisions to be made. In the same way, WE MUST KEEP CHOOSING JESUS to stay on the road. We must live a life of strict discipline to stay on the road. It is not easy to be a Christian. As with anything worthwhile, there is a cost involved. In fact the word for “narrow” literally means “pressed”; so it’s a road on which we are pressed – a road of suffering, temptation, persecution, misunderstanding, derision.
And the only way to stay on the road is to stay within certain boundaries. A river in a channel is good and strong because it has boundaries. But with no boundaries a river is only a swamp. In fact, the only difference between a river and a swamp is boundaries! So the narrow way has many boundaries. Pilgrim’s Progress repeatedly portrays Christian walking on a very narrow path with danger on both sides. Listen to what Worldly Wiseman says to Christian: “There is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world…I judge from your appearance that you have already been in the Slough of Despond. And that slough is only the beginning of the sorrows that come to those who travel this road. Hear me, since I am older than you. You are likely to meet with pain, poverty, hunger, perils, dangers, lions, dragons, and even death, and you are sure to be weary and lonesome much of the time, trudging your way in darkness. This is most certainly true, having been confirmed by many who have gone this way.”