Will it be Door Number 1, 2 or 3?
By Pastor Jim May
Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
A once popular game show on TV was called “Let’s make a Deal” hosted by Monty Hall. The show began on December 30, 1963 and continued on through until 1977. From that time on there were reruns, reruns and more reruns. In many places around the world it is still being shown, nearly 45 years after its debut. It seems that the whole world just loves to “Make a Deal”.
Not only do we like to make deals, but we are also drawn by the suspense of wondering just what our “Big Deal” might be. Though the crowds may scream and yell, and everyone has their own opinion as to which door to choose, no one really knows which way to go.
What’s behind door number 1? Is it a new car? What’s behind door number 2? It is a dream home? And I really wonder if I should pick door number 3? Perhaps that door has the thing I want most – a dream vacation, a new home, a new car and lots of cash in the bank. All of the doors had a prize behind them, or should I say a “surprise”, but only one door made you a winner in this game of choices & decisions.
Sometimes the other choices were often useless prizes like a goat, or a 1-year subscription to a seldom-read magazine, or a year’s supply of sauerkraut, or something like that.
The suspense was always great and it would continue to build into an impatient frenzy when the door was chosen, and Monty Hall would go on and on with what was behind the doors you didn’t choose. Then the time came to open the door you have chosen and reveal your prize. After all, it really didn’t matter to you what was behind the other doors, only the one you chose. Was it the right door? Did you make a wise choice? Or would you kick yourself for the rest of your life because of the choice you made when you had the chance?
Every day that we live there are those who continue to play “Let’s make a Deal” with their eternal soul at stake. We are all faced with choices constantly. In fact, one popular saying today is, “So many choices, so little time.” But choose we must, and what we choose will have an impact on our lives, either for good or for evil.
Everyone of us have voices that are shouting to us all the time, maybe not audible, where others can hear them with natural ears, but voices that shout from the realm of the Spirit.
Have you ever seen the cartoons where there is a little guy in a red suit and pitchfork on one shoulder giving his advice in one ear, while an angel sat on the other shoulder doing the same thing in the other ear? It’s amazing just how close that scenario is to reality. On one side we hear the world, shouting to come and partake of its pleasures of sin for a season, and the devil, ever tempting us to surrender to the desires of the flesh. On the other is the convicting voice of the Holy Ghost as He speaks to us to leave the world alone and to deny the flesh for the sake of all that is holy, pure and righteous. That’s the first choice we have to make – which voice will we listen to? Which voice will we decide to base our life upon? Believe me friend, that’s a big choice!
But that is only the beginning round of life’s “Let make a Deal”. The deals get tougher to decide and the consequences get greater as we go along life’s path to its eternal end.
Folks, there are some doors in front of you right now. You might not be able to see them with your natural eyes, but if you will only open your eyes to the realm of the Spirit you will see them. There they are, closed, so you can’t see what’s on the other side, and now the time has come to make your choice.
Satan shouts, “Pick number 3”! (He immediately draws your attention past Door number One for a reason, and we will get back to Door number One in a moment.) The door that appears before you isn’t like a normal door with a number on it. Actually it’s a wide gate with a wide path beyond that seems to lead to something that you have always wanted. The devil knows what you like. He knows how to push your buttons to get you to do his bidding.
The gate looks okay, and the beginning of the path looks peaceful and smooth enough. But there’s a quick bend to the left and we just can’t see what’s around the bend. What prize lies beyond the bend? Shall I choose that path and see where it leads?
But then we see the second door. It’s a beautiful gate, glittering and glamorous, filled with flowers and waterfalls and things that are pleasant to the eye and relaxing to the mind. Beyond that gate is another wide path with a cool stream flowing by it, fruit trees and a shady path to walk upon, and it seems to lead to a city that lay upon the hill, far off in the distance.
You recognize that city! From its appearance it seems to be the New Jerusalem, and this wide gate, beautiful path and cool stream seem to go off to the right in that general direction. But as you look closely into the distance, there, almost out of sight, the road takes another turn and we cannot tell where it goes from there. Does it really lead to God’s throne; or does it lead to another destination? There are lots of people shouting, and there is a powerful desire in the heart of man to walk this path because it is pleasing to the flesh.
Sadly, most people “Make their Deal” based on these two doors alone. They choose the wide gates and appealing ways of the pleasures of sin and fulfilling the desires of the flesh. They walk these wide paths and crowd through these wide gates, and then continue down the path until they reach the bend in the road and realize where its final destination is. But for many, they walk these wide paths for so long, and get so far from the First Door that there is no turning back and they rush headlong to judgment on the wrong path.
They never wait to see what’s behind the first door. Why don’t they see it standing there? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to see it standing there because on the outside it’s not a pretty sight.
Isaiah 53:1-2 says, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
Door number 1 is covered in blood. Upon it there is nailed a man who has been disfigured beyond recognition. It’s a very narrow door: only wide enough for one person at a time to enter in because the entrance is made only by passing by an old rugged, wooden cross. That man, whose very blood has opened a door to the pathway to the New Jerusalem, is Jesus Christ.
In John 10:7-9, Jesus said, ”…Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
In another place, John 14:6, Jesus said, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
This first gate is “strait”, meaning several things. That gate, that door, is a place where we face difficulty, perplexity, distress, or need and have those needs met. It is also narrow and confined. It is a tight fit to get through and you will be constricted when you enter in, so no extra weights, or possessions can be carried through.
Paul, writing to the Hebrews said in chapter 12, verse 1, "…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…"
Each one who enters there must come face to face with the difficult task of accepting this man upon the cross as his one, single hope for reaching Heaven. Each of us must face the perplexity of not being understand how it all happens, and we must learn to just accept the promise of salvation by faith in Jesus alone. We must be brought under conviction for sin and distressed for our soul, and then comprehend our need for a Savior.
In another sense of the word, that “Strait Gate” is strict in its requirements for entry, being very rigid in its preset plan and design for entering in for there is only one way that it can be done. The entry can only be made after we have been made righteous by the blood, and no man can enter that “strait gate” without meeting the exact criteria required for entry.
Beyond the “Strait Gate” lies a very narrow and path. That path seems dark, foreboding and not much to look at from the outside of the gate. One thing that is noticeable about that path though. Though it is very narrow and leaves little room for moving about or turning around, it is as strait as an arrow and it is clearly seen that it lead directly to the gates of the New Jerusalem. There are no hidden turns, only a clear path ahead.
Yet, as you look down that path that is straight and so very narrow, you will notice that there are many intersections where there stands another set of doors. All of life, as we walk this path to Heaven, we will come face to face with another “Deal”. Satan doesn’t give up easily.
Sometimes he will offer another door to take you off the path. Will you keep the life you have on the path of salvation, or will you trade what you have for what’s behind door number 2? Some are very happy and satisfied with their journey along the strait and narrow, but there are multitudes who are easily pulled aside and sell their soul for what’s behind the next door, or the next, or the next. The devil will keep offering you another “Deal” and each one will seem greater than the next. He will offer you a “Deal you can’t refuse” because it’s just too good to pass up.
In Luke 9:62, Jesus said, “…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Would to God that all who entered that path would not look to the left or to the right, put on some blinders and keep plowing, but it just doesn’t happen that way.
I’ve seen travelers on the strait and narrow path take the devil’s deal, get a better job, get a better home, get a more comfortable lifestyle, get what will satisfy their fleshly desires for a while, but they forget that the road makes a bend just ahead and you can’t see where it goes from there.
How much will you sell out for? Is there something that the devil can offer you that is a better deal than serving Jesus? Is there anything out there in the world that has the power to separate you from walking with Jesus? If there is, you can be sure that Satan will find it and play “Let’s Make A Deal” with you soul for the last time.
That is the kind of tricks that Satan plays on those who actually choose Door number One and enter by way of the cross.
1 Peter 4:18 says, "…if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Those who walk the strait and narrow have a hard time remaining in the path, even though it is clearly laid before them, and they are led and guided by the Holy Spirit all along the way. Too many of them choose the wrong “Deal” and go wandering in the crooked paths of the world and are lost.
Where does that leave all of those who have chosen the wrong doors at the beginning? Perhaps the door they chose led to a false religion that looked good on the outside, even had some resemblance of the strait and narrow way for while, but soon led them off into outer darkness. Perhaps the door they chose was the door of self-indulgence, reveling in the pleasures of sports, of drugs, of the party life, or just a life of ease to do as they please. But they soon found that none of those things satisfy for long and they too were in a place of darkness. Perhaps they chose Door number 3 and won a grand prize, only to find that there was a catch, for to keep that prize was costly indeed. Their very soul was the price that was paid to handle the prize and they, too, ended in darkness.
You see, none of the paths behind Door number 2 or Door number 3, and none of the paths that draw you off of the strait and narrow, will take you to your desired destination in the New Jerusalem.
Instead, they all twist, and wind, and sink lower and lower into the darkness until they turn into a slippery slide on the edge of Hell and there is no escaping their trap.
In closing, let me ask a simple question of each of us here right now. Has the devil been playing “Let’s make a Deal” with you? Do you hear him offering you another “Deal” right now? Is there something that is before your eyes, or in your heart, that will draw you away from walking the strait and narrow way? Do you desire something in this life more than you desire Heaven in the next?
One way that you can know whether you are taking the devil’s “Deal” or not is to think about what’s most important to you. If the number one, most important thing in your life is not to serve the Lord, live for Jesus and be faithful as you walk the strait and narrow way to eternal life, then you’ve taken wrong “Deal” and walked through the wrong door and down the wrong path.
Turn around, go back to Door number 1 and get cleansed by the blood of Jesus one more time. Turn around while you still can. There is a point where you will be too far into the darkness to turn back if you aren’t careful.
If you are walking the strait and narrow, beware of the Deals that lie ahead. Keep your spiritual eyes and ears open and follow after Jesus. Stay as close to Him as you can.
1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…"
Don’t play “Let’s make a Deal” with the devil. You will always lose. He has nothing to offer that can compare with what Jesus has already given to you.