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How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 2

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In today’s post we are going to examine the second distinct people group from Matthew 7:13, 14, the “few”. If you remember from my last post, Jesus stated that there would be few that find the narrow road that leads to life.

The key word “few” as used here can be defined in one of several ways, including:

  • A small number of.
  • Emphasis on how small a number of people or a thing is.
  • The minority of people; the elect.

Don’t overlook the importance of this word. I believe that Jesus used it purposefully. Even though it is a very small word, it carries significant weight and impact in this lesson.By using the word few,Jesus is pointing out that the many,or the majority,are headed the wrong way.

How does the fact that Jesus used this word sit with you? Does this bother you or make you uncomfortable? Doesn’t it sound like Jesus is saying that those who find the way to life are in the minority?

Think about that point for a moment. There are over 7.5 billion souls on this planet. The latest estimates (2015) are that there are just over 2.2 billion Christians, or roughly 30% of the world’s population.few-there-be-stuart-miles-fdp-etpr-2

Even if every one of those 2.2 billion are numbered among the “few that find it”, that leaves 5.3 Billion, or 70% of the world’s population that will enter through the Wide Gate. From a purely statistical point of view, this is astounding!

Of course, there really is no way for us to number the few or the many. That task, thankfully, belongs to God and God alone.I use the numbers as a reference only.

But could Jesus really be saying to us that not everyone who thinks they are on the right track,isn’t? Well, he actually did say that here:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Matthew 7:21-23

Now we have Jesus telling us that not only will there be “few that find it”, He is also telling us that many will think they will enter through the Narrow Gate, only to be told that He never even knew them! The four most dreadful words we could ever be told are “I never knew you”!

This brings me to ask a very important question:does this sound like something we should trust to chance? I don’t think so! Jesus Christ is telling all of us that we can be busy doing all types of good deeds,church or religious works,and still miss heaven!ef-2-chance-dice-03

 

If that doesn’t cause us to take a look deep inside our hearts,I don’t know what will.

So we see that in truth there actually are going to be comparably few that find that narrow road that leads to life. OK,OK,so, exactly who are these “few”? The answer is found in Matthew 25:31-46. Here is an excerpt from that passage:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’   Matthew 25:31-40   NKJV

These, beloved, are “the few that be that find it”. May I encourage you to study these verses of scripture? Within them you will find many character traits of the chosen.

In my next post I’m going to conclude this topic by showing you how to make absolutely certain that you choose the path that leads to life.

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How to choose between the wide and the narrow

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Gates.

I like gates. Plain ones, ornate ones, all kinds of gates. Being a country boy, I got used to seeing gates either around the neighbor’s property or my own. They always made me curious about what’s on the other side.

Gates are built for several reasons. One is to allow access to areas that otherwise would be unreachable due to fencing or some other type of obstruction.

Some are very imposing and seem to say “keep out”, while others have that inviting look that says “welcome home”.

pasture-gate

toadhollowphoto.com

They are also built to contain things or animals, like sheep, cattle, and other animals so they cannot escape and freely roam where it may be dangerous for them to do so.

Gates are also used to safeguard the entryway of a small village or town. These gates serve as a type of passage way into the village. Once through the gate, you’re in.

Around the Old City of Jerusalem there were several gates that permitted citizens to enter and exit the city as needed.

Names such as Zions Gate, Jaffa Gate, Lions Gate, Herod’s Gate, and several others might be familiar to you. All of these gates served distinct purposes, and the history of them is quite fascinating.

map-of-old-jerusalem

While Jesus was intimately acquainted with all of the Jerusalem gates, He also spoke of gates in a figurative manner, such as when teaching his disciples.

Jesus referred to two of these types of gates as the Narrow Gate and the Wide Gate. You will find them referenced here in Matthew’s gospel:

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.   Mat 7:13-14 NKJV

As Jesus speaks of these gates notice that he also references two distinct people groups, the “many” and the “few”. I find it interesting that every one of us fits into one of these groups, the only distinction being which gate we ultimately enter through when our lives here on earth are complete.

Let’s take a closer look at these two gates along with their corresponding entrants. Let’s begin with the Wide Gate.

What is significant about this particular gate? For starters it’s big enough to accommodate the many. Also, the road leading to it is wide. It’s easy to get through isn’t it? Unfortunately, this gate also leads to destruction.

Sometimes the easiest choices in life lead to consequences we’d just as soon have avoided, agree? The easy way is so enticing, and it’s the rare person among us who would deliberately choose the more difficult path. Indeed, our nature is to seek the path of least resistance.security-consequences

Jesus said that there are many who will be going through this particular gate. Who are these “many” described in verse 13?

I believe they fall into two different, or sub groups of people.

1) Those that willingly and knowingly rejected Christ as their Savior.

2) The religious who have been deceived into believing they are “good enough”, and thus have trusted in themselves rather than Jesus.

Luke 19:10 tells us “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Obviously, those in group # 1 have rejected the One that came to seek and save. This group of people has therefore chosen the Wide Gate that leads to destruction.

Perhaps far more tragic than the 1st group is group #2. This group has some knowledge of the fact that on their own they are not “good enough”, however they are deceived into thinking that by looking inward they can do enough on their own to ultimately enter through the Narrow Gate that leads to life.

The great sorrow here is that they knew they were inadequate by themselves, that something was missing, but they chose to look within for the solution rather than look to Jesus Christ. In doing so they have also chosen the Wide Gate that leads to destruction.

Be watching for my next post, which deals with the second people group, the few.