The Strait Gate and the Narrow Way
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
“Strait” here means “narrow, with obstacles standing close about”.
“Narrow” is a thin path.
Is Jesus trying to discourage people?
No, He is just telling the truth….for all of us have “turned everyone to his own way”.
Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Now we must turn from that way, and seek to enter into His Way, which is Life.
Isn’t He the door….by Him, if we enter in, we will be saved?
Yes! Absolutely! But getting to the door, or the “gate” as it is referenced here, is often the problem…..for we try and bring all that we are, with us.
This is not our possessions….but our old life, old habits, old way of doing things, our old way of seeing things.
Luke 18:25 “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needles eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
I use this verse….for it exemplifies that we need to set everything aside to “enter in”.
In the old walled cities of Israel…..there were gates….wide and broad; which the caravans of camels and carts came in and out all day. There were guards, it is true….but they seldom restricted the merchandise from coming in and out.
But at night, when robbers and enemies were about….the gate was shut; and any caravan,….having missed the time…..would be stuck outside,….a easy prey for these bandits. For the guards would not come out to fight for them.
If this happened, the only other recourse, was to empty every animal, and squeeze them through a door, which was set beside the gate for travelers at night. One guard could easily hold the door if bandits or an enemy tried to come in.
This door was called the needle’s eye. For no animal could come through it, carry all they had.
(I know some people say that the Lord Jesus was telling a ridiculous joke….that He meant it for the impossible. For He goes on to say….”The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” And it could be true….for Jesus was illustrating the impossibility of those that hold on to “my things”, to be saved.)
So let us see, what we hold on to:
Our opinions,…..formed when we were under the influence of the world.
We often continue to see things the same way….and God wants us to see through His eyes…
Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.”
Mark 3:5 “And when He had looked round about on them in anger(on those who did not want Him to heal on the Sabbath)….being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts…”
We often hold on to alliances,….people we had the same interests with before,….but now?….which will we choose?
2 Corinthians 6:17-18”Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
We often hold on to habits…whether games, T.V., or being fans of a particular thing……
Habits of speech, or a certain way we do things….all of these are formed when we were not born again….
And I must stress…….we should be willing to lay any of these things aside.
Not that the Lord always asks us to…..but anything that will “weigh us down”, or burden our following Him…..you have to be willing to take off. (Hebrews 12:1)
Matthew 10:37-38 “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.”
How much do you want Him in your life? And how much of your life is yours…..and how much is His?
These are the things He was addressing in the broad way and the strait gate….our willingness to give Him all.
Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.”
Not that He gains by us….He is self-existent, eternal, Almighty. But that the more we love Him, the more free we become from sin, self, and the world.
The more our heart grows with love for Him…the more it expands in light, peace, and joy.
It is for our benefit He asks us, as He asked Peter by Galilee….”Lovest thou Me more than these?”
It was not just his fellow fishermen, the Lord was asking about……but fishing, the sea, the old life…..”Do you love Me, Peter, more than all of them?”
Twice in the Psalms, David says, “my heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7, Psalm 108:1). Both times he is speaking of God’s mercy to him.
The “fixed” in these Psalms is “prepared”. David had prepared his heart to receive mercy from God….and had run straight to His God, trusting Him, to receive it.
Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpassed.”
Let me ask….are we preparing our hearts to hear Him,….to follow Him,….to love Him?