Summary: The most crucial choice we will ever have to make... Which road are you on?
Last night I was at the supermarket trying to choose some sausages. I thought it would be an easy task... But when I eventually found the aisle things started to go wrong. There were pork sausages, thick pork sausages, thick pork Irish sausages, reduced fat sausages, Cumberland sausages, Lincolnshire sausages, West Country sausages, value sausages, traditional sausages, pork and apple sausages, skinless sausages, pork and leak sausages, Mediterranean sausages, chicken sausages, chipolatas, value chipolatas, honey roast sausages, and at last.... beef sausages. Boy was I glad when I found the ones I wanted!
Life is about choices. And here in the West we love choice. Choice means everything to us. You can choose your sexuality. You can choose whether you want to keep that baby or abort it. You can choose from 100s of different sausages. And you can choose any religion you want... or none.
So when Jesus says, “There are two ways to live and one way to God”, that sounds a bit narrow minded! All sorts of questions come to mind.
For example, What about those who have never heard about Jesus? And, what about those who choose a different way? And, how can I be sure I’m living the right way?
Jesus speaks of only 2 ways to live...
1. There Is The Wide Gate And Road That Leads To Destruction
Three things about the wide gate and road...
a. It’s the easy way
It’s easy to get through the gate; it’s a big gate. It’s easy to walk down that road – it’s a wide road. This is the way of tolerance and going with the flow. This is the way of ‘if it feels good, do it’. This is the way of visiting a Christian church on Sunday, but forgetting the Christian life on Monday. On the broad way there are even those who think you can believe in Jesus and still hang onto a sinful, selfish life. It’s so easy to get drawn into this way. Have you ever been to a concert or a football match and got caught up in a huge crowd? The crowd draws you along in one direction. Yes, it’s easy to go down that road, but Jesus says...
b. It’s the dangerous way
It’s dangerous because it’s a road that may look and feel good; it may be signposted ‘Heaven’ but it takes you to hell. Jesus says, “broad is the road that leads to destruction.” Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
c. It’s the majority way
Jesus says, most people take the wide gate and broad road; the majority live life this way. Culture and Society will be shaped by their values. You will hear the majority view on TV and in the newspapers, on the radio, and in your workplace.
2. There Is The Narrow Gate And Road That Leads To Life
Three things about the narrow gate and road...
a. It’s the hard way
In a sense it is very difficult to live out the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has been teaching us to be meek, merciful, pure, influence society positively, to have a righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees, to love our enemies, to give our money, to fast and pray, to not worry, to restore others, and to put God as number one in our lives. Now live like that says Jesus! Do these things! That’s hard!
This is the way of denying self, and following Christ in total surrender to God... Remember the rich young man came to Jesus wanting eternal life? Trouble was he wanted to trust in wealth as well as in God. Jesus told him to lay down his wealth and put God first. The young man couldn’t and went away sad. Jesus looked at his disciples and said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. You see, the way to God is narrow. God won’t play second best in our lives. We either trust him or we don’t. We’ve either chosen his way or we haven’t.
It’s hard the hard way because people will ridicule us and oppose our insistence that the narrow way is the right way.
So, it’s the hard way, though in Matthew 11, Jesus smiles and says if the weary and burdened come to him they will find his way easy! They will find rest for their souls!
b. It’s the safe way
Jesus said “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life.” It hard, but it’s possible! It narrow, but it will get you there! Jesus says elsewhere, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) That’s God’s fullness for your life both now and eternally. Jesus says that those who trust in him will never be put to shame. Jesus says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9). The narrow way, the way of Jesus, is the safe way.