Summary: Decisions we make at the crossroads determine our path for life.
Title: Tenth Street and Fourth Avenue East
Text: Matthew 7:13-14
Thesis: Decisions at the cross-roads determine the path for life.
Owen Sound is an historic Canadian port city on Lake Huron that offers tourists a variety of activities. In fact, if I were to pick a Canadian summer vacation destination it would be Owen Sound. It is a hopping place with its Harbor Nights Concert Series, the Emancipation Festival (Owen Sound was a safe haven for the Underground Railroad), they have Tall Ships, a Salmon Spectacular, the Owen Sound RIbfest, and they even have a Buskerfest (a Buskerfest is a festival of street performers…Buskerfest is where freaks, geeks, oddities, artists and out of the box entertainers entertain.
Owen Sound is also known for its historic walking tours… one of the tours is the “Salvation Corners Route.” The prominent feature of the “Salvation Corners [walking tour] Route” is the intersection of Tenth Street and Fourth Avenue East where there is a beautiful limestone church on each of the four corners… This is no small thing. Owen Sound was once known as Corkscrew City and Little Chicago of the North. It had a reputation for “vice and villainy” for seaman on shore leave.
And while the corner of Tenth Street and Fourth Avenue East is known as “Salvation Corners,” one block away at the intersection of Tenth Street and Third Avenue East is “Damnation Corners” where four hotels of dubious reputation once dominated the intersection.
Our text today speaks of two intersections… one in, the New Living Translation, leads to the “highway to hell” and the other the “gateway of life.”
The four churches at “Salvation Corners” intersection may be thought of as a crossroads where we choose a path for our lives.
Our text today speaks to the direction we choose at such a crossrods.
I. The Christian life begins with an initial decision.
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the Narrow Gate. The Highway to Hell is broad and its gate is a Wide Gate, for the many who choose that way. But the Gateway to Life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Intersections can be very bad places. There are number of factors that contribute to danger of any given intersection: The intersection voted the “Worst Intersection in America” in December of this year is the intersection where 132nd Street, Industrial Road, Millard Avenue and L Street converge in Omaha, Nebraska. It is where thirty lanes meet…there is a high volume of traffic, no sidewalks, no crosswalks and a tangle of lane markings for turn lanes. (Angie Schmitt, Streetsblog Network, Cleveland, Ohio, 1.31.13)
The danger at the intersection of Tenth Street and Fourth Avenue East, i.e., Salvation Corners, so to speak, is which way do you turn? Everyone makes a decision… everyone opts for a way of life that will either end in destruction or eternal life. People make an initial decision to enter each way of life through a gate that opens into either the Way of Life, i.e., heaven or, as the NLT states, the gate that leads to the Highway to Hell.
The first gate is a Wide Gate.
A. The Wide Gate opens to the way to hell.
“The Highway to Hell is broad and its gate is a Wide Gate, for the many who choose that way.” Matthew 7:13
Jesus describes the Wide Gate as being wide in order to accommodate the massive numbers of people who choose to pass through that gate. Most people opt, either knowingly or unknowingly, to go the way of least resistance. It’s a way you go when you want to go with the flow. It’s the way to go when you want to live life the way you want to live your life. It’s the way you go when you wish to be your own master. It’s the way you go when you want to believe whatever you want to believe. It is the gate where you shape religion to your liking. It is the gate where you can believe everyone prays to the same God and whatever religious path you chose leads to heaven.
But Jesus also speaks of another gate.
B. The Narrow Gate is the Gateway to Life.
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the Narrow Gate. The Gateway to Life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
The emphasis on this gate is in direct contrast with the description of the other gate. The other is a big, wide, expansive gate that opens onto a big, wide, expansive super highway. The other is a gate that is easy to find. In fact you don’t even have to look for it.