Yes, the Way is Narrow! P1

Matthew 7:13-20 P1

Why is it appealing to be open-minded to the point that everything is acceptable and permissible as long as no one is hurt? How does this philosophy destroy?

We live in an age where all ways and religions are accepted as equally valid and good. We are told that we, those who believe in ‘true Truth,’ are narrow minded and bigoted if we suggest anything else. However, political correctness aside, there is only One Way, and it is both the hardest way, and the easiest. Hard, because it cost our Lord so much; hard, because it requires us to surrender our Will; hard, because it is so easy, we think we do not need it. Jesus is the One and only Way, the gate that is narrow, the Way that is difficult, and to say otherwise neutralizes the Majesty and holiness of Jesus, His teaching, and it cheapens His Gospel (Matthew 7:13-20).

“Narrow gate” comes to us from Jesus using the illustration of two gates is from Ezra, and would be familiar to all first century Jews, as that passage is about coming back from captivity to rebuild the temple and the wall (Ezra 4). One leads to Life (water, food); the other, death (waste and dung).

The “wide gate” represents the beginning of the life of destruction as what is seemingly free and open, as it allows us to believe whatever we want. It does not require our Will, because our Will becomes the controlling factor. Materialism, hatred, refusing to forgive, prejudice and the rest of the rotten fruits will take hold and glue us to that destructive lifestyle, then rationalize it as good. It seems the easy path, but will soon be more difficult and destructive that we could have thought (2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:15; 21:8).

The “narrow gate” represents the beginning to the “Way” that leads to life (Matt. 14:6; 16:24; 25:46; John 10:1-18).

The narrowness is not determined by God’s anger or callousness, rather by our free Will and sin that rebels (Matt. 6:14-20), so He has to chase after us. Many still refuse His Grace (Matt. 22:14).

Even though the Way is simple in concept, people, since the early Apostles and Judaizers (Jews who kept the Law, especially circumcision, while believing in Jesus), tried to add extra burdens on the Gospel of Grace. From circumcision to the scores of false teachers, Paul and Barnabas were plagued with this until Peter, through the Holy Spirit, set them straight (Acts 10-15).

The Christian life requires surrender of our Will, as in self-denial and obedience to Him (Rom. 6:3-7; 17-22).

Few people desire to be convicted or challenged in their thinking or comfort zone, which they see as confining or bigoted. It will change our behavior, which is the main theme of chapters 5, 6, and 7 (Matt. 28:19-20).

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The Slippery Slope P XII

Does Your Church Buy into the Relativism of Your Culture?  

Does your church teaching or ministry model consider that Jesus is just a way but not the Way? He is to be THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life (John 14-15; Acts 4:12). What about teaching that there are no right or wrong absolutes, therefore neglecting morals and virtue? What about trying to be so careful not to offend anyone that we do not say anything to convict or to instruct?

How can a person be challenged to grow if we do not redirect his or her path in love, and, when needed, call a spade a spade? What about the embracing of sin, saying it is OK in an attempt to show love and acceptance?

This might include embracing homosexuality and saying it is OK. We are called to reach out to all those who are in any kind of sin, including homosexuals, but at the same time, we are not to accept the sin. We are to care and love and show them Christ without compromising morality or His precepts. What about failing to confront people in sin or to condemn the sins of our culture? We must live by example as well as point out errors—not only in our church but also in our society (Exodus 20:1-17; Rom. 1:16-32; 1 Cor. 6:9). We must be careful here, as we can easily slip off His Cornerstone and become a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P XI

Are you Watering Down His Word with Trends and the Ideas of Men? 

Perhaps not, you think. What about the preaching in your church? Is it Christ-centered or human-centered? Are you being seeker sensitive yet not communicating Christ’s Sovereignty and Lordship, His holiness and Supremacy (Col.1)?

Are psychology and the over-use of illustrations and stories taking the place of expository preaching?

There is nothing wrong with using the insights of science and behavioral science, as long as we come clean with the veracity of sin and personal responsibility. Are you just teaching popular topics that please people rather than going through the Scriptures verse by verse, thus not teaching? A church does not have to be liberal to water down the Word; it is done in conservative churches all of the time by the neglect of it! If your preaching is weak from a biblical standpoint, you have a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P X

If you think your church is ok, consider these points:  

Does Your Church have a Weak Bible? 

Maybe you think not. But, does your church teach that the Bible is not inerrant or inspired? God’s Word is for faith, practice, and is to be our authority for all that we do. Is God’s Word central to the everyday life and happenings at your church?

If not, then books, movies, and philosophy or psychology will take its place such as Bible studies started to study someone’s book (Can I say that is ok if it is one of my books? Oh, I guess not.), and not one of the 66 God has given, taking the words of men over the words of God. Of course it is ok to read and use good Christian books, curriculums, study helps, and such, as long as the Bible is studied first and foremost.

Make sure that any programs of study, even those of ITW, are used only as an addendum alongside God’s Word. His Word is the authority and not some other book. If your church thinking or ministry model takes the words of mere men and uses that to supersede or replace His Word, this is apostasy in action. If your Bible is weak, you have a Church of Perfidy!