Tag Archives: Kingdom

Words of Jesus – Enter the Narrow Gate

“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 the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

Kingdom
Kingdom (Photo credit: photoscott)

Jesus tells us that there is only one way to enter God’s Kingdom, through the narrow gate. Therefore, since there is only one way to enter, it’s important for us to know where that way is, especially since He says that only a few ever find it…

I love trying to discover shortcuts and new ways home, however, my children have never fully appreciated this little quirk of mine. Whenever I would suggest taking a shortcut, my children would usually groan and whine, and try to talk me out of it. You see, exploring and trying to find shortcuts might be okay if you have a sense of direction, but they learned at a very young age that their mother has absolutely no sense of direction. My shortcuts often found us miles and miles away from home, by the time I figured out where we were.

I always looked on it as an adventure. I figured we would eventually wind up somewhere I recognized. However, this was more troubling to my children, who may have wanted to get home in time for a favorite show, or even more urgent, they may have needed to use the bathroom.

English: Narrow road at Cwmmiles, Login
English: Narrow road at Cwmmiles, Login (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I have to tell you that as much as I like to ride, and as much as I enjoy riding around aimlessly in my car (Of course, this was when gas was affordable!), it would be horrible to spend my life, thinking I’m on the right road to the Kingdom of God, only to discover that I missed it. And listen to this, Jesus said that only a few ever find that road. Did you pick up on that? That means that there’s a whole lot of people who are going the wrong way, and only a few who have managed to go the right way.

Now for someone like me, who has no sense of direction, I want to make sure I study the road map and check to make sure my GPS is up to date, because I definitely want to be on the right road for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, I’m going to really dig into this so that I’m prepared for my journey to the Kingdom of God… Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.” 

 The Greek word for narrow is stenos, which means narrow & strait.

Dictionary.com defines narrow:

  1. of little breadth or width; not broad or wide; not as wide as usual or expected: a narrow path.
  2. limited in extent or space; affording little room: narrow quarters.
  3. limited in range or scope: a narrow sampling of public opinion.
  4. lacking breadth of view or sympathy, as persons, the mind, or ideas: a narrow man, knowing only his professional specialty; a narrow mind.
  5. with little margin to spare; barely adequate or successful; close: a narrow escape.

Dictionary.com defines strait:

  1. Often, straits. ( used with a singular verb  ) a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water.
  2. Often, straits. a position of difficulty, distress, or need: Ill and penniless, he was in sad straits indeed.
  3. Archaic. a narrow passage or area.
  4. an isthmus.
  5. narrow: Strait is the gate.
  6. affording little space; confined in area.
  7. strict, as in requirements or principles.

The first thing we have to know if we plan on journeying to the Kingdom of God is that the gate we’re supposed to go through is very narrow… It affords very little space, it’s very limited… And look at this – this narrow strait way is very strict in its requirements and principles. Do you understand the magnitude of this?

Day 306/365 - One Way
Day 306/365 – One Way (Photo credit: Great Beyond)

If we want to go on this journey to the Kingdom of God, then we’re going to have to go through a very narrow gate. We’re going to need to search for it, because it’s small and tight… And we’re going to have to meet some strict requirements and principles…

Okay, I can almost hear what you’re saying – “What about grace?” And that’s a fair question… Let’s examine this closely, because I don’t want to miss it, and I certainly don’t want to steer anyone down the wrong road.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB) Brothers and sisters, you will never hear me dispute that we are saved by grace through faith, and that works do not save us. Scripture is very clear about this.

http://www.sunministries.org/Narrow.html
http://www.sunministries.org/Narrow.html

However, why were we saved? For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) We are not saved as a result of our works, but we are created to do good works after we’re saved… So, brothers and sisters, let’s examine ourselves, because the road is narrow and there are some strict principles that we must meet, not to earn our salvation, which is a gift from God, but as proof of our salvation.

Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well” — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all — it is dead and useless.

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.”

Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did — by his actions. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.” He was even called “the friend of God.” 

So you see, we are made right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example of this. She was made right with God by her actions — when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds. (James 2:14-26 NLT)

The Strait Gate
http://goodjesuitbadjesuit.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

Do you see, brothers and sisters? On this narrow road, we must have a living faith, and faith without works is dead. There’s so much to say about this narrow road. You see, singing in the church choir, preaching from the pulpit, even casting out demons is no guarantee that you are walking on the narrow road.

In John 14, when Jesus is speaking to the disciples about His imminent departure, He talks about the way to where He is going.  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:1-6 NKJV)

Do you see it again brothers and sisters? There is only one way, and this straight and narrow one way road is through Christ alone. And understand this, even though obedience is not popular, it is required. Do you love Jesus? Obey Him. Do you really love Jesus? The evidence of your love will be shown in your obedience to Him. Obedience is a requirement on the narrow road, don’t let anyone mislead you. Look what Jesus says about this:

  • Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NKJV) 
  • “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15 NKJV)
  • Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24 NKJV)
  • “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10 NKJV)
  • “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:12-14 NKJV)

Do you see how important obedience is to Jesus? Brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone mislead you. I’m not saying you have to obey in order to get saved. If that was the case, none of us would ever find that narrow road. But once you are born again, that changes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) You see, my old sinful nature passed away (it died), and I got a new nature… Before, I had no desire to obey or to please God. Now, I love Him, and more than anything, I want to please Him. Because I love Him, I want to obey Him, and because I love Him, when I disobey Him, it breaks my heart.

Brothers and sisters, if you’re not living a life of obedience, if obeying the Lord doesn’t seem important to you, then you need to begin to question yourself. Am I walking on the narrow road, which is difficult and confining?

Or is my way fairly easy? I don’t worry about obedience, because God loves me. He knows my heart. Brothers and sisters, I assure you that you’re right. God does know your heart. Remember? He’s the One who said,  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV) 

Brothers and sisters, let’s pray to the Father of Lights that He would show us the strait and narrow way, and that we would boldly walk that road, knowing that there will be periods of loneliness, because only a few ever find it.

Words of Jesus – Enter the Narrow Gate – Introduction

“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 the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

At the risk of sounding like an intolerant person, I need to tell you that there is only One Way to the Kingdom of God. It’s not a two way street… There are not many ways… It’s not an easy road… It’s not a major highway or multi-laned interstate…

Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate… But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” He also breaks it down for us, making it really clear that in order to get to this glorious kingdom, we’ll have to travel down a small narrow road.

I always think of The Road Not Taken, the great poem by Robert Frost when I read this passage.

http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken
http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken

Jesus makes it absolutely clear to us that though there may be other roads, there is only One narrow way to the Father’s Kingdom. Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 CJB)

Brothers and sisters, every one of us has at some point in our lives come to a place where, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and we’re each forced to make a choice. Will you travel the broad, open well-traveled highway? Remember, The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. I know it seems so much easier and maybe it even appears safer to travel down the well-traveled road, but my friends, it isn’t.

You see, that road branches off into many other super highways, and you will be offered many choices, but don’t be fooled. Each one of those other roads, though well-traveled, ultimately lead to hell, and eternal separation from God and His Kingdom. Those seemingly well-lit highways will lead you to ultimate darkness and infinite loneliness.

Brothers and sisters, please choose to go a different way, down a much less traveled road. Yes, the pathway is rough and steep, and there will be many obstacles along the way, but be of good cheer! Though you will sometimes suffer loneliness as you travel this road, and though the way is not as well-lit as the highway to hell, continue on this less traveled, narrow road, because it will ultimately lead you to the Kingdom of God, where there you will enjoy the light of the Son, and all your tears will be wiped away.

Brothers and sisters, I close with the last stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and this is my prayer that each one who reads this post will join me in saying:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This was just a brief introduction to this passage (actually, it was all I was going to write about the topic at first, but I feel the Spirit leading me to go more in depth about it). Therefore, I devote another post to the narrow road, and yet another to the highway to hell,  followed by a final one summing up everything we’ve studied together.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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Words of Jesus – I Did Not Come to Abolish the Law of Moses

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s Laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!” (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)

Moses with the Tables of the Law
Moses with the Tables of the Law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is for everyone who quotes the Apostle Paul when he said,  “All things are lawful unto me…” 

Let’s get this straight… First of all, it really irritates me when people quote scripture out of context… Many Christians quote the Apostle Paul and use this to justify their sin. I like to look at the whole scripture in its context, so that we have an accurate understanding of what Paul was saying… I also like the New Living Translation, because this translation clearly expresses what Paul was saying in his letter to the Corinthians…

Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers — none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything (1 Corinthians 6:9-12 NLT).

faithfultotruth.blogspot.com/2011/04/humanitys-gain-from-unbelief-charles.html
faithfultotruth.blogspot.com/2011/04/humanitys-gain-from-unbelief-charles.html

Do you see? Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that we should. Paul makes it very clear that those who live in sin will have no part in the Kingdom of God. It’s the same when people try to excuse their sin by saying, “I don’t live under the Law – that was for the Old Covenant. I live under the New Covenant.”

To be sure, we don’t live under the Old Covenant. As a matter of fact, for those of us who are Gentiles who have been grafted in, we are not bound by many of the Old Testament laws… But, it’s important for us to understand that this doesn’t mean that we’re lawless. Jesus didn’t come to break the Law. He didn’t come to end the Law. “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s Laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!” (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)

Look what Jesus is saying. He said He didn’t come to do away with the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. Jesus said He came to fulfill them, and that even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved… Further, He gives us a warning that unless we obey God better than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees did, we won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!

http://energybibleinoneyear.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/love-the-lord-your-god-with-all-your-heart-soul-mind-and-strength/

That makes it pretty clear, doesn’t it? So, like the teacher of religious law, our next question should be, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the One and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:28b-31 NLT).

The most important command is to love the Lord my God with all of my heart. That means with every beat of my heart, I am to love Him. I am to love Him with all of my soul – every one of my emotions must adore Him. I must love Him with all of my mind – as I meditate on His attributes, I can’t help but love Him. And I am to love Him with all of my strength. That means that my body is not my own any longer to do with as I please. Rather, I give my body in love to Him, so that every move I make, every breath I take, is an expression of love to my Savior!

Jesus said that the second greatest command was equally important. I must love my neighbor – anyone I come in contact with – as myself. I must treat my neighbor with love and respect, regardless of how they treat me. If I want to be forgiven, and I do, then I must forgive my neighbor… my father, my mother, my enemies…

By obeying these two commands, I am obeying the 10 Commandmentsthe Law of Moses. 

Lord, help me to obey Your commands. Let me love as You love, forgive as You forgive. Lord, increase my love for You and let me be a woman after Your own heart. In Jesus’ mighty, holy name I pray. Amen

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers