Summary: "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."

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A. A high school history teacher was discussing the funeral of the Pope with his class. One student asked how they chose the new Pope. The teacher explained the process, finishing with, "So the Cardinals pick him." A student in the back of class, asked, very seriously, "Why would they let a baseball team pick the next Pope?"

B. The outline for this message came from Reverend Brian Bill of Edgewood Baptist Church

C. In 2008, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted an unusually detailed study of faith in America.

1. According to Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum, Americans “are very open.

2. In terms of various paths to heaven, and even in interpreting the teachings of their own faith, the majority tell us that there’s not just one right way to do that.”

3. The study found that 70% of Americans – even 57% of evangelicals – believe that many religions can lead to eternal life

a. This sounds a little like the proclamation of Pope Francis that atheists will get to heaven if they just follow their conscience.

b. In an article in the New York Times in May of 2009, Ross Douthat points out the worldlier behind Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” and the current blockbuster movie “Angels and Demons.” “In the Brownian worldlier, all religions…have the potential to be wonderful, so long as we can get over the idea that any one of them might be particularly true. …the polls…reveal the growth of do-it-yourself spirituality, with traditional religion’s dogmas and moral requirements shorn away.” His conclusion is quite correct: “For millions of readers, Brown’s novels have helped smooth over the tension between ancient Christianity and modern American society. But the tension endures. You can have Jesus or Dan Brown. But you can’t have both”

c. According to some, civil religion in America is tolerant and inoffensive.

(1) Here then is a list of some core elements of the new catechism

(a) The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself

(b) God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem

(c) Good people go to heaven when they die

D. We are coming to the end of our study in the Sermon on the Mount and we’re going to find out what Jesus said about getting to heaven as He drives home the necessity of putting what we’ve heard into practice

1. Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7:13-14

II. Body

A. Our main passage contains only two verses, two very important verses.

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV

"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.

1. Jesus is using a common teaching method to contrast two decisions and two destinations

a. Clearly put, this part of Jesus’ sermon could be summarized like this: The gate you take determines your fate, therefore keep it straight before it’s too late! Where you wind up later depends on which road you take now.

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