Summary: What is the true way to God? Sermon describes the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. But . . . which is the true church? Both spiritual laziness and legalism are denounced, in favor of a sincere service of God, through humbling faith in Jesus.
WHICH GATE SHOULD I ENTER?
Often people ask me which church they should join. I am always tempted to tell them to join an Assemblies of God church, since I belong to that fellowship. However, I believe God needs to direct them specifically. So, I simply encourage people to join one that preaches Jesus and relies on the Bible. Additionally, avoid churches that focus on themselves and do not respect the larger Christian family.
Most Christian churches teach the basic truths of Jesus and the Bible. The reason most people who say they are Christians fail is not because of the church they belong to, but because their religious practice is more of a hobby than a saving relationship with the God of the universe. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says: ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE. FOR WIDE IS THE GATE AND BROAD IS THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY ENTER THROUGH IT. BUT SMALL IS THE GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE, AND ONLY A FEW ENTER IT.
Many people practice a religion that will land them in fires of condemnation. How can one avoid the Broad Gate that leads to destruction? How can one go through the Narrow Gate that leads to salvation? Avoiding the Broad Gate means avoiding the extreme, on the one hand, of practicing sin in the name of being under grace, and, on the other hand, of abstaining from life in order to earn a place in heaven. False Christianity can be easy or hard. The Epicurean heresy says to eat, drink and be merry–for tomorrow we die. The modern version of this philosophy can be found in the bumper sticker saying, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Universalism offers theological endorsement for this credo. Adherents teach that since God is love everyone–even Hitler–goes to heaven. Most conservative Christians reject universalism. Yet, some have been seduced by the Hyper-faith movement. Proponents say that you are a prince–a child of the king. God wants you wealthy, healthy, blessed and always without troubles. It is somewhat difficult to imagine explaining such teaching to the 12 disciples. Eleven of them were martyred for the faith, and the twelfth was exiled on a prison island called Patmos.
While many would askew the obvious deception of lazy and self-indulgent religious practice, the more subtle heresy of asceticism can prove appealing. “The body is evil. Deny it and feed the spirit,” proclaims this seemingly disciplined approach. Christians baptize this dualistic spirituality when they slip into legalism. Adherents proclaim that God only blesses those who do not do anything dirty, and that one is a true Christian, mainly as a result of what he does not do. Another approach that appeals to the spiritual soldier in all of us is the notion of “Last Days Remnant.” Believers suggest that during the rapture only the Christians who are fully perfected and pure will be taken. All the so-called carnal Christians will be left to suffer through the Tribulation. Of course, the small group that makes the rapture consists of those who belong to their particular church or movement.