Summary: As Christians we are called to live on the straight and narrow, not the wide. Don't live in the world, don't live in the wide Abandon the wide! WARNING! THIS SERMON IS LIKELY TO CAUSE SOME DISCOMFORT!


Matthew 7:13,14

As you are turning I want to tell you a story

The story of Champion Coach

Champion Coach is a charter bus company ran by Craig and Hazel Dance out of Greenville S.C.

The Dances are devout Christians and they run this very successful business that caters to college and professional sports teams among other clients

Craig’s dream was always to be a sportscaster

So after stepping out on faith I 1998 and starting this charter bus business

You can imagine his excitement when he got to sign the Duke basketball team up as one of his clients

And then when he was approached by CBS Sports for a SEC bus tour

Including the Auburn/Alabama game, the SEC Championship and the Peach Bowl in Atlanta

This was a great deal, working amazingly for Craig and Champion Coach

In 2011 CBS approached Craig about doing a national tour for CBS, a separate entity from CBS Sports

To promote the network, their television programs, the whole 9 yards

Craig was excited, but he also had reservations because of the programming on CBS

He called his contact at CBS and shared his concerns

He blatantly told them you need to know more about me and my business

I am a Christian and I do not want anything on my buses that will conflict with my beliefs and my values

He didn’t want any violent or sexual images to be included on the wrap on his Champion Coach bus

Craig was assured that he would have the final say on the wrap

Well, when the first draft came out, sure enough it had a guy holding a gun and a woman that was not dressed appropriately

Craig did not approve the wrap and they respected his decision

They came back with their final wrap design

This one included promotion for CBS’s new fall line up for 2012

This included a show created by the same people that created Will and Grace several years back

This new show was called “Partners” a sitcom about two life long friends that were architect business partners

One was engaged to his girlfriend

The other was gay

Craig called his contact again saying as a Christian he could not support this at all

And he was told maybe you just need to compromise

Craig said no, and lost the contract

Not only that he had to call his friends at CBS Sports and fill them in on his choice

It eventually led to him losing his contract with them as well

The deal he so desperately wanted

Worked a solid year on, gone in an instant

Craig Dance was willing to abandon all he had in order to take a stand

Abandon the wide, to follow his God



There are only two religions in this world today

That which has emanated from the heart of man

And that which has come out of the heart of God

The one is only imagination

The other is a revelation

The narrow gate, and narrow way

Verses the wide gate and the wide way

As a Christian, we have chosen the narrow gate, the narrow way

But too many Christians today are trying to live in the wide, live in the world

Yes they have chosen the narrow gate

The narrow gate of Jesus

Yes they are on the narrow way that leads to life

But are still caught up in living the way of the wide

Lets look at the two ways and see what it means to abandon one and live the other

Live with abandon

Warning, this sermon is likely to cause some discomfort

According to a recent survey, 70% of adult Christians believe there are no moral or ethical absolutes that apply to everyone

In other words most Christian adults have been poisoned by the drug of moral relativism and political correctness

Most Christians have joined the non-Christian culture and believe we set our own standards

In essence this survey reveals that 70% of adult American Christians have decided that God is not capable or worthy of establishing guidelines for living

In a similar survey only 20% of adult Christians said that living a life according to God’s will is the single most important thing in their lives

Only 20%? That means 80% are telling God to take a number

Get in line. Your will is not the most important

These facts are lived out before our eyes every day

As a matter of fact they are more than likely lived out to some degree by the man or woman we see in the mirror every morning

The people of the Way have strayed off course

The people of the Book have relegated it to a spot on the coffee table or mantle and rarely open the Book

Those who call themselves Christians no longer seem to understand the nature of the call

We have lost sight of the narrowness of the way

It is high time that we return to the nature of the Narrow Way

It is high time we learn again the cost of Christianity

First things first though

First you must enter the gate

Look at the first phrase in our passage

Enter ye in at the strait gate, or narrow gate

We see immediately that there is an action that must be taken

We must actually enter through the narrow gate

And it is given in the form of a command

Do it now, urgently

Don’t just admire the principles of God’s Word

Accept and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior

You have to take action

Accept the gift of His salvation

It is not an automatic

Just because you live in the greatest country

A Christian nation

Or because your parents were Christians

Or because you’ve gone to church your whole life

Its not automatic

You have to take action

Enter through the narrow gate

The gate of God is narrow

It takes effort to find it

It takes determination to enter through it

You have to sincerely seek it

You have to sincerely enter into it

You have to truly give your heart to Christ

Jesus made it narrow without checking with us on how wide we thought it should be

The truth is, the gate IS Jesus Himself

John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

The word door there is the Greek word thoo-rah

It can be translated as gate

Jesus is the narrow gate

You ever heard someone say that Christianity is too narrow-minded?

We try to avoid that term

But we need to come to terms with the fact that Jesus said the gate is narrow

Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me

There is no other plan but the person of Jesus Christ

There is no way to get to Heaven unless we go through Him

Jesus is very inclusive in the sense that everyone is invited to a relationship with Him

But His claims are very exclusive because there is not other way to Heaven except through Him

If you want to be a Christian you must come through Jesus Christ

If you want to have an eternal home in Heaven you must come through Jesus Christ

He is the way

Once we enter the narrow gate we are to walk the narrow way that leads to life

This word for narrow road is different than the one used for the narrow gate

It has the idea of being compressed, like a grape press

It means to be squeezed or crushed to crowd

To suffer affliction

It’s not easy being a true Christ-follower

Because traveling on the holiness highway is hard

2 Timothy 3:12 says all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

Contrary to all the self-help positive thinking junk that comes at us from every direction

Our confession of Christ will cost us something

The narrow road is a lonely and costly road

The problem with the narrow road is that its often filled with pothole problems

Potholes of our own doing

There are hills and valleys and detours along the way

It’s real easy to stroll down Sex Street and wander down Temptation Trail

Alcohol Avenue is ahead, just off Worldly Way

Pride Parkway leads to Compromise Court

And Reputation Road leads us way off course

If you are a believer and you know you’re in the ditch, its time to get back on the right road

To many Christians have passed through the narrow gate

But are living on the wide path

Living in the world

I will call it living in the wide

One paraphrase of our passage says it this way

Wide is the doorway and very pleasant is the path that leads to destruction

This road is popular and accommodating

Attractive and indulgent

But it is also deceptive and ultimately destructive

Are you living in the wide?

The narrow way is a committed way

This is not a short term contract

This is not a loose agreement

This commitment requires you to give to the Lord 100% of who you are

Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Jesus is teaching us here that if we come to Christ He must be first place in our life

He must come before every other relationship we have in this world

That’s what is means to commit your life to Christ

The problem with Christianity today is that we have too many confessors but not enough committers

Second we must understand that a commitment to Christ comes with a cross

Just as Christ was called to sacrifice for us

We are called to sacrifice for Christ

Christianity is not fire insurance

It is faith in motion

If we are going to call ourselves Christians we must flesh out our Christianity by being completely committed to Christ

You can only be completely committed to Christ if you will not be conformed to this world

You cannot live in the wide

Abandon the wide

The narrow way is a committed way and it is a costly way

Commitment is costly

It cost Christ His life and it demands ours

This will run contrary to the world system

Jesus said You shall be hated of all men

You will be a weirdo

You will be an outcast

Our commitment to Christ may cost us in this world but Jesus said

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

Abandon the wide

For the narrow committed, costly way is an uncompromising way

God has called us to stand firm in our faith

Compromise makes God sick

Compromise makes God want to throw up according to Revelation 3:16

There is no room for lukewarm Christianity

Abandon the wide

Commit to the narrow Christ centered way

You must be committed to the narrow way

When you commit to one way you must abandon the other

Christians, we cannot live in the wide

Abandon the wide

To many of us are holding on to sins

Holding on to the wide

What do you need to abandon today?

Do you need to abandon anger?

Around the age of 14 I started having a problem with anger

I was angry at little things, angry at big things

Angry with my parents, my sister, kids at school

I kind of kept it under control Didn’t lash out to harshly

I was the beloved student, teachers loved me

Church folks adored me

But inside I was angry

And for 25 years I had an intense anger problem

Bet you didn’t know what did you

At times it controlled me

But with much prayer and wise council I have given my anger sin to God

In the last year I have learned a lot about anger

Such as the fact that we have to be careful with what we might call righteous indignation

God is righteous, we are not

Dr David Jeremiah says this

"the apostle Paul draws a distinction between anger and sinful anger in Ephesians 4:26: "Be angry, and yet do not sin" (NASB). Anger becomes sinful when it is self-focused and long-term, causing Paul to continue, ". . . do not let the sun go down on your wrath." So it is possible to be indignant and offended by unrighteousness without it becoming sinful. It's a fine line—but a line nonetheless."

We have to be careful with our anger

Think about all the times someone got angry in the Bible

It never worked out well

Human anger often doesn’t work out

Moses got angry and killed the Egyptian

Earned him 40 years in exile

Later Moses got angry and struck the rock instead of speaking to it

He was banned from entering the promised land and received a death sentence

Samson got angry and the woman he was going to marry was given to another man

And then her and her father were burned to death by the Philistines

Saul got angry with David and attempted to murder him

Peter cut off Malchus’ ear in the garden and was rebuked by Jesus

Anger doesn’t work out well

You need to abandon your sinful anger

Do you need to abandon lying, and deceitfulness

Lying to your wife, lying to your kids, lying to your employer

Deceiving those around you

Holding things back that needs to be divulged?

Abandon your deceit

Ladies do you need to abandon gossip

Abandon bitterness


Abandon those things

Maybe you need to abandon bowing down to the idol of self-image

The idol of reputation, what others think of you and your “perfect” family

Maybe looking good in the eyes of others is so important

You are willing to do anything to maintain your image

Abandon reputation

Abandon pride

No one tells me what to do

I value your opinions, your ideas, even though they are always wrong

I can’t work under anyone, I must be in charge

Abandon pride

Men, do you need to abandon lust?

All alone in front of the computer, or at the bookstore or watching TV

Giving in to pornography

Another form of idol worship

Worshiping the creation instead of the creator

Young men, old men, all in between

Abandon lust

Getting uncomfortable isn’t it?

Sin should make us uncomfortable

The church isn’t uncomfortable enough with sin anymore

Oh sure, we are uncomfortable with other’s sins

Can you believe what she said the other day? What she posted online?

Did you hear what he did? Right there in Wal-mart parking lot no less?

Yes we are uncomfortable with other’s sins

We need to be uncomfortable with our own sins

Does your sin make you uncomfortable?

GOOD! It should!

That is evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life and your willingness to yield to Him

If you are not uncomfortable with your sin

You are becoming complacent

To comfortable with your sin

You are living in the wide

Abandon the wide!

Jesus said deny yourself take up your cross and follow Him

Deny yourself

You could say abandon yourself

People are willing to pay a high price for something they value

Do you want to follow Christ?

Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow

If you don’t, everything else is superficial lip service

Abandon! Quit living in the wide

Jesus expects us to take up the cross

To deny oneself means that we have the willingness to let go of our selfish desires and our worldly security

It is giving over of the self and allowing God to have control

Denying ourselves is the first step to living with abandon

We will never embrace the life of abandon until we deny ourselves

Until we give full control over to Christ

Jesus makes it clear that following Him is going to demand a price

The cost is a cross

The issue comes down to value

How much do you value what Christ has done for you?

Jesus leads the way in which we should live

He brings fulfillment and a freedom that we could find in no other way

CS Lewis said it this way

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world

Jesus expects us to give a full commitment

Jesus calls us to live with abandon

Who or what holds your true devotion?

Who or what holds your loyalty?

Who or what is your first priority?

Christians today are chasing after this world

That just leaves you tired

Christians today are spending their time praising their own name

That just leaves you dry

There is more to life than those things

We are called to a higher calling

Make your life count, every breath count for Christ

Live with abandon

Abandon the wide

Give Him all that you are

Every part of your heart place in His hands

We always hear about the God shaped hole in everyone’s heart

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

ALL thy heart, ALL soul, ALL thy mind

Abandon the rest

Abandon the wide

He wants us to drop everything to follow Him

In Luke 13:24 Jesus speaks again on the narrow gate and He says to strive to enter through the narrow door


No stronger word is found in the Bible

It could be better understood by the word agonize

Strive, agonize, make every effort, exert every power of body and soul, strain every nerve

Let the business of staying on the narrow way be the chief business of your life

We may say things like

Jesus, I don’t want anything coming between you and me

I won’t hold anything back from you God

I give you my life Lord

Those are just words, lip service

Don’t say those things, DO IT!

Abandon the wide

What part of your heart have you held on to?

What area of your life have you refused to surrender?

Remember the story of Champion Coach?

Craig Dance abandoned his dream

He abandoned it in order to stay on the narrow way

What ever happened?

Well that TV show, Partners, that he wasn’t willing to promote?

Cancelled after only 6 episodes

And Champion Coach?

2012 was their most successful year in the history of Champion Coach

Dr James Dobson put it this way

God will honor you for giving up something you most want

God wants you to abandon the wide

God want to reward and honor you for making the hard choices on the narrow way

You might say its to hard to completely abandon the wide

The temptation is to strong?

The sin is too great

I can’t abandon those things

But what did Jesus abandon for you?

He abandoned the glory of Heaven to live in this sin sick world

He abandoned His Father’s side to be born in a feed trough

He abandoned His earthly family to honor His Heavenly Father

He abandoned His life dying on the cross in your place

Is it to much to ask for you to abandon worldly pleasures for His glory?

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins

That is how much He loves you

In an article published in January of 2013

New Tribes Mission reported on the way one group of Bible translators came to communicate the fullness of God’s love to and African tribal community

The verbs for a particular African language consistently end with on of three vowels

Almost every verb ends in I, A or U

But the word for love was only found ending in I and A

Two words for love dvi and dva. Why no U?

In an effort to understand the concept of love in this African language the missionary began to question them

Could you dvi your wife?

Yes they answered, that would mean your wife had been loved, but the love was gone

Could you dva your wife

Yes they responded

That kind of love depends on the wife’s actions

She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and took good care of her husband

Then he asked could you dvu your wife?

Everyone in the room laughed

Of course not they replied

If you said that you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did

Even if she never got you water and never made you meals

Even if she committed adultery, you would have to just keep on loving her

No we would never say dvu, it just doesn’t exist

The missionary sat quietly for a while thinking about John 3:16 and then asked could God dvu people?

There was complete silence for 3 or 4 minutes

Then tears started to trickle down the faces of the elderly men of the tribe

Finally they responded

Do you know what this would mean?

This would mean that God kept loving us over and over

While all the time we rejected His great love

He would be compelled to love us

Even though we have sinned more than any people

The missionary noted that changing one simple vowel changed the meaning from I love you based on what you do and who you are

To I love you based on Who I am

I love you because of Me, not because of you

God dvus you

He loves you because of who He is

Not because of who you are or what you have done

No longer do you need to seek approval and acceptance from others to be loved

You are known and loved by Him Who loves you just because of Who He is

This is love

Because He loves you so much He is asking you to abandon the wide

Christian, have you passed through the narrow gate

But living in the wide

Abandon the wide

Walk the narrow

Maybe you need to come to this altar this morning and cry out to God

Ask Him to forgive you living and walking in the wide

Give Him all your heart, all your soul and all your mind


The time has come to hand it over

Stop holding back

Live with abandon

Maybe you are here this morning and you haven’t yet found the narrow gate

It is narrow

Not because it is difficult to become a Christian

It is called narrow because there is only one way to live eternally with God

There is only one way to Heaven

Believing in Jesus is the only way

Because He alone died for your sins and can make you right with God

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Put your trust in Him today

Accept Him as Savior today

Enter through the narrow gate to eternal life