The Two Gates

Matthew 7:13-14

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

INTRODUCTION

Dan Brown  is an American author who writes thriller fiction. He is best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Brown’s novels are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour period, and feature the recurring themes of  cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and  conspiracy theories. His two most successful novels are The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons and both have been made in to motion pictures. Brown has been under attack by conservatives because his books seem to promote the prevalent worldview that one religion is as viable as the next. Brown’s view along with many others is that all religions have something to contribute but none or viable in and of themselves. No one religion has a corner on the truth. Of course, I have a problem the Brownian worldview and so did Jesus.

First of all: I do no consider Christianity a religion for many reasons. Christianity is based on a relationship with the Son of God. Religion is spelled D-O whereas Christianity is spelled D-O-N-E. Religion is what man does for God but Christianity is what God did for man through His Son Jesus Christ. Religions have founders [human origin] but Christianity has a resurrected Savior, a Head, a living LORD. All religions are tied to the thoughts, beliefs and the legacy of some human agent or cultish leader. Christianity is revealed to man and through man but from a divine origin.

My second problem with this “All religions are viable” ideology is that it is not logical, practical, realistic or observable. Obviously the Creator knows what He is doing. He is not confused, not conflicted but morally absolute. He can be no other. This means that there is always a right and wrong, a black and a white–nothing more, nothing less. One brief illustration: Take the person of Christ…the world view of Christ is that he was a good moral man, esteemed teacher and founder of a viable religion called Christianity. Obviously they have not studied scripture or else don’t believe it. As C.S. Lewis pointed out some 50 years ago, Jesus is either who He said He was, the Son of God or He is a liar and a lunatic because he did profess to be the Son of God. The one thing He cannot be is a good man who taught a good ethic. Either the Pharisees were right and Jesus had a devil or else Jesus was right and the Pharisees were sons of the devil but both were not right. One was right and one was wrong. This is the crux of the message today. Note: there are two of everything, not three: there are two gates, two kinds of people, two ways, and two destinations. Thus with Jesus there were only two ways: a right way and a wrong way.

THERE ARE TWO GATES

Of the two gates–one is broad [wide] and the other is narrow. Many people do not like the word ‘narrow’ but it is not a bad word. A cutting edge must be narrow or sharp. This is a major reason liberalism does not work: it is too broad and has no cutting edge. Liberals can destroy a church but they cannot build one simply because doctrine is so broad that it has no cutting edge. The gospel they preach has nothing to say about sin and repentance. Their social gospel is broad and inclusive: “God loves you and everyone is going to heaven.” This is not what Jesus teaches. God does love you but everyone is not going to heaven. Everyone doesn’t want to go to heaven. The devil was in heaven at one time but he did not like playing second fiddle to Jesus. Heaven is about Jesus. People who don’t like Jesus will not be happy in heaven. This leads us to our second point…

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE

My good friend Phil Glisson, a full-time evangelist from Memphis, Tennessee, says there are two kinds of people: the kind and the wrong kind. I like that and there may be some truth in what he says but Jesus is talking about the [1] saved and [2] the lost. Those on the narrow way and those on the broad way. There is no category for almost saved or partially lost. You are either saved or lost. Jesus said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” There is no category for indifferent. There is no gray area in Jesus theology. Several times in my experience I have had members and many times leaders who attempted to hide in the gray area. In times of controversy these folks are always the same, “We are not taking sides.” I always quote Luke 11:23 [above] and tell them, “Jesus didn’t give you a third option.” Folks we either crown or crucify, there is nothing in between. There are always weak and uncommitted people who pretend to take the high ground in any church conflict by saying, “We are neutral: we aren’t taking sides.” No decision is a decision. Taking no side is taking a side. What you are lacking is courage and faith. You are controlled by your fear. You are not concerned about Christ or His kingdom, you are looking out for your own interest. This leads to the third point…

THERE ARE TWO WAYS

If you enter the narrow gate, you join the minority and you will find the way difficult. If you take the way of the masses, the broad road, life is must less of a challenge but remember; its the dead fish that go with the current, they float down stream. Floating with the current is what the majority do and it is easier than going against the current. I’ve been in the minority so long, I think I have gotten use to it. Why is it that no one ever preaches on Luke 6:26, Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. The great majority of Baptist are worried about offending someone. I don’t have to worry, I have been blessed with worriers in every church I have attempted to pastor. I have had people get visibly upset because certain people didn’t like me. I had a man who actually believed that a preacher should have no enemies. He always thought it was my fault that people hated me. I always told him the same thing, “Jesus didn’t die of old age.” He died because He had enemies who hated Him.” Somehow I was never able to convince him of that truth. You can not be popular and be a sold-out committed follower of Christ. The great majority are on the broad road and you will be going counter-culture to all of them. Don’t be fooled by appearance; the world hates people like Tim Tebow. He is a hero to those of us who believe but to the world, he is a problem. They see him as a real threat. They may pretend to admire him but the truth is, they would enjoy seeing him fall. Trust me, the boy’s name would be plastered all over the media if he were to be caught making a critical mistake. We call this persecution and all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. This brings us to the final point…

THERE ARE TWO DESTINATIONS

Practically everyone wants to narrow this to one but this is not what Jesus taught: He said emphatically, “The highway to hell is broad.” I don’t like to talk about hell but that does not diminish its reality. Hell is a place were rebels go. No one has to go to hell. It is not pleasing to God for anyone to go to hell but neither will He force you to go to heaven. You have those two choices and that is all. You may want a third choice like the Muslims offer, with 70 virgins waiting on you but that is a myth. It is heaven or hell. To go to heaven you have to be perfect and none of us are perfect so that means we have to have help and of course Jesus offers us His help. Proud and self-sufficient people would never bow to Christ as ask for His mercy and grace but that is exactly what you have to do. You cannot get into God’s heaven without going through the ONE Door and that is Jesus. He is not trying to keep you out, He died to get you in but you can’t get in until you humble yourself before He who died for you.

My wife and I went to the Holy Land on New Years of 1990. One of the many church building that we visited was the Church of the Nativity in the very little town of Bethlehem. The door of that church is less than four feet high. You can not enter the church without bending. You cannot get into heaven without bending.

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