INTRO: An exhortation you might hear on occasion goes like this: Youd better walk the strait and narrow. Have you ever heard that. (Children may have heard it from time to time!) Did you know that it is an everyday sort of expression which come from the Bible? It has its roots in a passage from the sermon on the mount - Mt 7:13,14. Of course, in that passage there is also the wide...and broad to which reference is made. The passage most assuredly refers to only two possible life courses ... one leading to heaven, and the other leading to hell. As this wonderful occasion of the Lords teaching continues to make contrasts, we look this morning at The Two Ways.
I. WHAT ABOUT THE NARROW WAY?
A. There is a gate ... a point of entry
1. and we are told the gate is strait - a narrow passageway
2. what makes this gate strait?
3. one can only enter it is a very specific way!
4. start with this: Jno 14:6 - there is no way to heaven without Jesus!
5. but go a bit further: Mk 16:15,16 - here are two very clearly marked, specific elements of entry - belief and baptism
6. according to Rom 6:3 - Gal 3:27, baptism is into Christ - thus, into the Way which leads to heaven, to God
7. that can only lead to the conclusion that entry into the narrow way requires baptism into this way - yes, the gate is strait and admits to no speculations
B. It is safe because it is well defined
1. narrow ways can be scary and dangerous
2. but this narrow way is so well defined that its narrowness may truly be advantageous to its travelers
3. 2 Pet 2:2 - the way of truth
4. 2 Pet 2:21 - the way of righteousness
5. now compare Jno 17:17 and Ps 119:172
6. this way is well defined by God in His word - all of the way markers one needs for his life are found in scripture
7. Ps 73:24 - guided by His counsel (word), we will find our way safely
C. It requires vigilance
1. although it is very well marked, one must take nothing for granted
2. the idea of watchfulness or vigilance in our Christian journey is advised!
3. 1 Thes 5:6 - let us watch and be sober
4. 1 Pet 5:8 - Peter explains why we need to be watchful! the Devil will do his best to entice us off the narrow way!
5. Satan may be saying to us, Let me show you a better way ... a more attractive way
6. Satans temptations of Jesus amounted to his saying, I can help you accomplish what you want to accomplish quicker, easier, etc.
7. any way other than the way revealed by God in His word is a false way!
D. It requires deliberateness, commitment
1. broad would be easier! so, when we drive, we look for the broad, uncomplicated way
2. but we must keep the destination in mind .... thats the point
3. so, the narrow way is the one way, the only way to heaven
4. and one must be deliberate, careful, committed in his daily traveling
5. Lk 13:24 - strive - and, yes, this way involves a struggle!
II. AND THE BROAD WAY?
A. This way is the easy, attractive way with an unattractive destination!
1. how many times do people choose the immediate without a thought for the ultimate?
2. this road can be traveled effortlessly - without deliberateness
3. it can be traveled in the company of many, many others
B. This way is the choice of the multitude
1. I take no pleasure in that realization
2. but it is the Lord Who made it very clear
3. and we must keep in mind that each person makes this choice - no one forces us to enter the wide gate ... but when sin comes into our lives and dominates us, that is the choice we have made
4. Prov 14:12 - a passage worthy of our consideration!
CLOSE: A decision to make? Yes, there is. And at the very beginning of His ministry on this earth Jesus made that very clear. The words of Moses at Deut 30:19 seem to me to be very appropriate just here ... Therefore choose life...!
Cecil A. Hutson
12 January 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)