I. "ENTER YE IN AT THE STRAIT GATE."
A. Jesus in the sermon is teaching that entering into the Kingdom took more than just being a descendant of Abraham. It was more than observing religious rituals.
1. Remember the statement, "Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
2. Many people today have much of the same attitude of the Jews of Jesus day.
a. The Jews, because they were Jews and had the mark of circumcision, felt that they needed nothing more to enter into the kingdom of God.
b. They were much like the people today who because they live in America and had water sprinkled when they were a baby, that their entrance into heaven is guaranteed.
c. I fear concerning the easy gospel that is being dispensed by so many today.
d. Being saved entails much more than just going forward and repeating a prayer. That is where it often begins, but it is a changed life, a strict obedience to the word of God.
e. In just a few verses Jesus is going to warn that not every one that says, "Lord, Lord," is going to enter the kingdom of heaven.
f. I seek to be very careful on this point, for I do not want to be guilty of giving to any man a false hope. I want to bring people to a true hope and confidence that we can know as Christians, but I surely do not want to give them a false hope.
B. Paul was very careful to warn the churches against false hopes.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
C. Why is it today that we seem to think that heaven is such an easy place to attain?
1. Because of the watered down preaching of the gospel.
a. It is interesting how when a person dies, we want to think that somehow God will receive them despite the fact that they lived horrible and wicked lives.
b. Their relatives want the funeral sermon to assure them that they are in a better place.
c. We do not want to believe that those that live after the flesh will die. Romans 8:13
2. They do not believe that the gate is strait and the way narrow.
D. Jesus later is to say, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me."
1. And again, "How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven, it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle." The disciples in amazement asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus responded with man, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
2. People today do not like the message of the cross. That we are to reckon the old man to be dead, to be crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be put out of business.
3. They don't like the message of the strait gate and the narrow way.
4. They are always seeking to broaden the way.
5. Luke records Jesus as saying, "Strive to enter into the strait gate." The Greek word translated strive is the word agonizomai, from which we get our English word agonize.
II. BROAD IS THE GATE AND BROAD IS THE WAY THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION.
A. It never bothers me when people accuse me of being too narrow.
B. I do get worried when the world begins to speak well of me.
1. I do not want to be known as being very tolerant toward sin or evil.
2. I pray that God will help me to always speak out against those things that the Bible condemns as sin.
3. Notice the great pressure being put on the church today to accept homosexual behavior.
a. Many have caved in to that pressure.
b. Some churches are rather proud of the fact that they can accept lesbian pastors.
4. The world is trying to break down the walls of decency and righteousness, and get us to accept all types of unscriptural behavior.
5. It is not mine to judge the sinner, that the Lord will do in His time. It is my duty to judge the sin, and to dare to proclaim that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
C. I would be derelict in my duty as a minister of Jesus Christ if I did not warn people about the destiny of those who choose the broad way.
D. The psalmist was envious of the wicked until he saw their destiny.
1. Surely you have set them in slippery places. They will be cast down to destruction. The moment they enter into eternity they will be consumed with utter horror.
2. Those who are far from God shall perish.
a. God is not willing that any should perish, and has done all that is possible short of violating man's volition to keep him from perishing.
b. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.
3. The broad path leads to destruction. There is a way that seems right unto men, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
III. TWO PATHS.
A. One is narrow with few walking it.
B. The other is broad and very popular.
1. One wonderful thing however, when you walk the narrow path there is always One that is walking by your side, guiding you, strengthening you, encouraging you.
C. The paths lead to opposite destinations.
1. The one to destruction.
2. The other to life.
D. On which path are you walking tonight?