The narrow gate

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few[1]

We have been thinking about what it means to be part of God’s happy people. These people are the ones who realise their own spiritual poverty and hunger for righteousness. They discover, even in the midst of persecution that God is good, a loving father who pours out his blessings to them.

God’s happy people are those who are captivated by his grace. It transforms their heart so that they are able to love him completely and this leads to a transformation of relationships with others.

We are now coming to the Sermon’s conclusion and Jesus finishes with a warning.  The last section of Matthew 7 is all about the importance of making sure that you are part of God’s happy people, safe in his kingdom, protected from the storm and bearing fruit for him.

Although we have seen this life described as “the happy life”, it is not an easy direction to go. We have already seen that it will mean persecution for many.  Furthermore, there are all too many other voices around seeking to crowd out and drown out the voice of Jesus.  This includes the false teachers who appear as part of the flock but are actually just there for their own gain, to devour the flock. 

So Jesus warns that there is a wide road, an easy way to get onto. It looks popular and it looks easy. However, this way leads to destruction. Now, I want you to notice that within the immediate context, we might identify the destruction  as linked to the wolf like appettites of false teachers.  There is a destruction that happens in churches when people pursue their own selfish desires. It leads to individuals being hurt badly, it leads to splits in the church family. Division causes destruction.

Furthermore, we rightly associate these verses with the bigger picture of the Gospel. Just as Moses and Joshua asked God’s people to choose life and blessing over death and curse at the end of giving the Law, so Jesus the new Moses-Joshua once again holds out life as the better option to death.  The promise is that with Christ, we will be raised, knowing spiritual life now and physical resurrection to eternal life with him at the end. To reject Christ is to remain dead in sin and face the destruction of an eternity in hell.

Which path have you chosen?

[1] Matthew 7:13-14.

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