Are We Narrow Minded About the Narrow Way?
Matthew 7.13-14 (Luke 13.22-30)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and MANY are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and FEW are those who find it.
22 And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24 “STRIVE TO ENTER BY THE NARROW DOOR; FOR MANY, I TELL YOU, WILL SEEK TO ENTER AND WILL NOT BE ABLE. 25 “Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; 27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ 28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out. 29 “And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30 “And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”
Sermon Delivery 101
- Sermons can have a variety of purposes
- Exalt the Sovereign
- Equip the Saints
- Evangelize the Sinners
- Encourage the Suffering
The “Congregation” Changes a Little.
I believe that this is when the crowd begins to filter into the scene. We know, based on a later verse that the multitudes reappear at the close of Jesus’ sermon. (7.28)
Beyond the textual evidence there is also a shift in the nuance and emphasis of Jesus’ teaching. Two things stand out in these closing verses.
- Contrast the few with the many (Disciples/Crowd)
- Note a definite change in emphasis beyond discipleship to salvation
Several years ago my folks from Virginia surprised us one weekend and came in the back door of our church while I was in the middle of my sermon. It threw me off because it was so unexpected. They occasionally make these trips for “ice cream” and travel several hundred miles. Regardless of how small the change, one can notice these small differences in the context and thrust of the sermon.
The Sermon is Preached in Matthew 5-7
The Sermon is Practiced throughout the Gospels
We find an Exposition on the Sermon in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 13)
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY
THE: definite article; used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an.
- The book you gave me.
- Come into the house.
“Enter by THE NARROW GATE; for THE GATE is wide, and THE WAY is broad that leads to destruction, and MANY are those who enter by IT. 14 “For THE GATE is small, and THE WAY is narrow that leads to life, and FEW are those who find IT.
Protesting an Unpopular Idea
People don’t like to hear that I believe that there is only One Way to heaven. They argue:
- God is big enough to have more than ONE WAY to get to Him.
- God is Merciful and Won’t SEND anyone to Hell
- You Born Again Believers are just too NARROW MINDED
Some Life Illustrations
- How many ways are there to enter a theater for a show? 1 – With a Ticket.
- How many ways are there to board a plane for a trip? 1 – With a Ticket
- How many ways are there to enter Disney’s Kingdom? 1 – With a Ticket
We don’t hear those same protesters accuse the theater, or the Airline, or Disney of being too NARROW MINDED because they require entrants to have a ticket as the only way to gain admittance.
WE WANT TO HAVE GOD ON OUR OWN TERMS!
The Conflict Between “Our Plan and His Plan”
- Jesus tells us to STRIVE (Luke 13) – We must come on God’s terms
- Our Plan: Let’s open the door wide enough to let the “good” and “sincere” people enter.
- God is MERCIFUL…COMPASSIONATE…and UNBENDING on this issue.
- We are ALL sinners DESERVING of eternal separation from our perfect and holy God, and death and destruction in the place of torment.
- Yet, in His GRACE He has OFFERED us a way…THE WAY…of SALVATION. ONE WAY! Through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.
- He took my place and He is the ONE WAY…
- THE NARROW DOOR…”
- NO ONE COMES…except through Him…”
IF WE MISS THE OPEN DOOR
- The Door is Eternally Locked
- Standing on the Porch is NOT Entering the Kingdom. (I’ll get close)
- Our Pleading and Excuses won’t Matter (Even the Good/Sincere one)
- Picture the People Thrown Out and the People Entering
Like the Prelude to the Award Shows as people exit their limos and make their way up the red carpet, and so many others are left outside.
INVITATION – You have a Choice to Make
- There is ONLY ONE WAY TO SALVATION – JESUS
- There is ONLY ONE OPTION BESIDES HEAVEN – HELL
- There is ONLY ONE HOPE FOR THE WORLD – EVANGELISM
This means that we, believers who have decided to follow Jesus, must become the men and women who will stand by the narrow way and shout to those streaming past that this is the way…THE ONLY WAY…to be saved!