Summary: Jesus said that many will travel the broad gate to destruction ... but few will enter the narrow gate to Heaven. This message deals with the broad and narrow way.
“The Narrow-Gated Way”
INTRODUCTION: Read Luke 13:22-30.
13:22 – What had Jesus been teaching? 13:3,5
They thought this was pretty harsh preaching. This wasn’t an “easy believe-ism”. Jesus wasn’t preaching a very popular message. If He kept this up, there wouldn’t be many who would follow Him.
Jesus didn’t make it EASY for people to follow Him. Look at what He told the crowds in 14:25-27, 14:33.
So, naturally, they asked Jesus this question in 13:23. “If just being a Jew doesn’t save you … and being good doesn’t save you … and just believing in God doesn’t save you … WILL THERE BE VERY MANY SAVED?”
Jesus answers them – 13:24
“strive” – Gk. – ‘agonizomai’ – this is where we get our word “agonize” from. It was the word used for those who competed in the athletic games. It means to put all your energy towards the prize. This is where we ought to concentrate our lives … put all our energy … eternity depends on it.
WHY? BECAUSE … one day we will be standing at Heaven’s gate and be knocking to get in – 13:25. One day, at death or after the Rapture, it will be too late. If we haven’t already come in through the narrow gate, we won’t get in. There’s coming a time when it will be TOO LATE.
WHERE is the “narrow gate”? Jesus tells them - John 10:9 – “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” Unless you enter through the “gate” called “Jesus”, you can’t get into Heaven. There is no other way.
13:26 – They will be outside of Heaven, banging on the door, arguing with Jesus, saying that they had professed to be a friend of Jesus. They had been in church and heard Him preached. They had counted themselves as being one of the “Christians” … they had fellowshipped with them.
13:27 – Jesus will tell them that He never knew them. It’s NOT that He knew them, and they lost their salvation. BUT … He never knew them, because they were never saved in the first place. He will utter the most devastating words anyone could ever hear … “Depart from Me … I don’t know you.”
13:28 – Inside Heaven’s gates will be those who have entered through the narrow gate. BUT … they will be locked out. They don’t have the KEY. They never trusted Jesus as their Savior.
13:29-30 – There will be those in Heaven from all over the world. Those who considered themselves to be “first”, will find themselves to be “last”. The Jews thought that they were guaranteed a place in God’s Kingdom, simply by the fact that they were Jews, “God’s chosen people”. They looked upon the Gentiles as being “last” … out of favor with God.
Jesus is telling us that many who EXPECT to get to Heaven, WON’T be there. Others, whom we DON’T EXPECT to be there, WILL be there.
Some people expect to get to Heaven by being good & moral … attending church & being baptized … raised in a Christian home … It’s like the parable that Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14 of the Pharisee and the Publican – all turn.
Apparently, there aren’t going to be as many people in Heaven, as expect to be there. QUOTE from an article on Tim LaHaye … (The Gainesville Sun, Feb, 29, 2004) … “based on surveys of American religious attitudes, more than half of the country will be sucked into heaven during the rapture – which could happen at any time.”
While I agree with the rapture happening at any time, I have trouble with the idea that the masses will pour in through the wide gate. Jesus said “narrow is the gate that leads to life, and few there be that find it.”
Let’s examine the “narrow gate” a little closer – Matthew 7:13-14 – all turn.
“strait” = ‘narrow’.
Let’s look at the 2 roads … the “narrow” road, and the “wide” road. The picture that Jesus paints is that of a HIGHWAY … one roadway leading to Heaven, one leading to Hell. SEE DIAGRAM.
1.- THE BROAD WAY
• The Wide Gate – Why is it so wide? Because at one time, EVERYONE goes through it. Whenever anyone is born, they go through that gate … it HAS to be wide.
Psalm 51:5 – “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Ephes. 2:1 – “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”