Summary: There is only one way to eternal life, but many choose a broad path that leads to destruction.
Life’s Most Important Choice
Matthew 7:13, 14
A. British poet, John Oxenham, in “The Ways.”
To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way,
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way and a Low
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go.
B. Our lives are filled with decisions.
1. Choices come to us on a regular basis.
2. The decision to follow or not to follow Jesus is the most important.
C. There are many instances in the Bible where God pleads with people to follow him.
1. While in the wilderness, God said through Moses to the nation of Israel, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendents, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by holding fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 30:15)
2. After entering the Promised Land, Joshua confronted the Israelites about turning from the Egyptian and Canaanite gods to the Lord, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
3. On Mt. Carmel, Elijah told the people to choose between God and Baal, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, follow him.” (I Kings 18:21)
4. In John’s gospel, Jesus once called on people to choose and we read, “As a result of this, many of his disciples withdrew, and were not walking with him anymore.” (John 6:66)
D. Jesus now reaches the appeal toward which he has been moving.
1. Decide between his way and other ways.
2. He has already shared God’s standards.
3. He has shown them what the kingdom of God is like.
4. They are at the crossroads everyone eventually comes to.
5. Choice between divine and human righteousness.
6. These are the same choices that have always been available.
7. Many, like the religious leaders, try the way of human achievement.
THE CHOICE INVOLVES TWO GATES
A. The narrow and wide gate.
1. Not an option to enter at least one of the gates (not to consciously enter one makes us enter the other).
2. We are not to ponder or adore the gate, but enter it.
3. He wants us to enter the narrow gate which leads to eternal life.
B. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus contrasts God standards of righteousness with that of the religious leaders.
1. The Jewish traditions were not the right gate or way.
2. Jesus, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” (John 14:6)
3. Jesus, “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved.” (John 10:9)
C. We must urge people to enter just as Jesus did.
1. We must proclaim a narrow gospel (which will often offend), not salvation at any cost.
2. “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
D. The other gate is wide.
1. It represents any and all other ways people try to get to God.
2. It is an attempt to depend on myself or others.
3. This way leads to a terrible end.
4. Many go this way, but there is no security in numbers.
E. Several requirements to enter the narrow gate.
1. We must enter alone (no one can come on our coattails. We can only lead others. Like the turnstile or the livestock gates found on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia).
2. We must enter devoid of any self effort (Only God’s grace can save us. We don’t take our goodness, achievements or anything else. We must deny ourselves. We must yield everything to Jesus. We must become like little children and be dependent on him. We must exchange what we are for what he is).
3. We must enter through repentance (Some Jews thought just being that was enough. Must go in a different direction. Some trust in church affiliation. Not enough to live in a Christian nation).
F. Charles Spurgeon said, “You and your sins must separate or you and your God will never come together. No one sin may you keep, they must all be given up, they must be brought out like Canaanite kings from the cave and be hanged up in the sun.”
IT INVOLVES TWO WAYS
A. The broad and narrow way.
1. The broad gate and the broad way or the narrow gate and the narrow way.