Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TFT - MATTHEW 7:13-14

In Matthew 7:13-14 we have described for us two different gates leading to two different paths headed to two different directions. It is of utmost importance to make sure that you have entered through the correct gate and are proceeding on the correct path.

The broad gate is the popular choice: “and many are those who enter by it.” It is the gate established by Adam (Romans 5:12) and which “seems right to a man” (Proverbs 14:12). Multitudes pass through it. There are no crowds at the narrow gate: “and few are those who find it.” No one ventures through unless the Father first draws him (John 6:44). It is a narrow gate inasmuch as it represents the one way of salvation—salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9).

The broad way is well-traveled. You can believe whatever you want and do whatever you please on the broad path. It a path of tolerance and “good intentions.” All religions have a place on the broad way. The world, the flesh, and the devil work hard to usher people along that path (Ephesians 2:1-3). People encourage one another along the path (Romans 1:32) and discourage those who consider ever leaving it. People on the broad path generally disapprove of “narrow-path” travelers (Matthew5:10). No warnings beside the broad path are given regarding the path’s ultimate destination (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Broad path travelers can be distinguished by the bad fruit that is evident in their lives (Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 3:10). Some broad path travelers make religious professions and even do religious things (Matthew 7:21-22), but their true identity is known to the Lord (Matthew 7:23).

The narrow-way is the more difficult path. No one proceeds apart from God’s leading and provision. But He is careful to watch over His children along the way (2 Timothy 2:12, 4:18). It is the “way of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:21), established by the Lord Jesus Himself (1 John 2:6), and clearly mapped out in His Word (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19). To make progress one must lay aside encumbrances and sins (Hebrews 12:1). The world, the flesh, and the devil provide no encouragement to wayfarers on the narrow way—encouragement comes instead from the Lord (Romans 15:13), co-travelers (Romans 1:12), and the Scriptures (Romans 15:4; Psalm 119:105). Narrow path travelers can be distinguished by the good fruit that is borne in their lives (Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 3:10).

The destinations could not be more distinct. The broad path leads to destruction. “Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”…”will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). The believer in Christ is instead ushered into Christ’s presence and into a state of eternal bliss (2 Thessalonians 1:10; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). The rich man “enjoyed good things” as he traveled the broad path, but found himself in “agony in this flame” in the end (Luke 14:24). Lazarus endured “bad things” in his life along the narrow way, but was then “carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 14:22).

There are indeed two gates leading to two paths headed to two different destinations. Most are on the wrong path. As narrow-path travelers we are both obligated and privileged to share the gospel with those who are headed in the wrong direction. Jude 23-25 provides both encouragement and instruction to narrow way travelers: “Save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory and blameless with great joy, to the only God and Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Pastor Jerry

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