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Matthew 7:13-14

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The Narrow Way

Start the sermon with an easy vs hard game to engage the people.
Certainly it was easier with option B vs Option A.
Trivia time the highest batting average of all time?
TY Cobb’s career ended in 1928 and he batted .366 over 22 seasons. The best batting average of all time failed .634 times and he holds the record for the best batting average of all time. He failed .634 times.
The batting average for baseball is between .250 and .275 and if a batter hits over .300 they are considered to be among the best. That still means they fail 7 out of 10 times.
What if all careers allowed this rate? What if Doctors failed at surgery 7 out of 10 times. Hey 3 patients made it through but the other 7 did not survive. Not good right. What if pastors only needed good sermons 3 out of 10 times. What if they failed 7 out of 10 messages? Not good right.
It is interesting that over and over you see Jesus teaching throughout scripture and you see people leaving because of his teaching.
In John 6 Jesus is teaching that he his the bread of life and watch what happens after the teaching.
John 6:60–67 HCSB
Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”
In this passage after Jesus teaching about being the Bread of Life it says some of His who left him? His disciples no longer accompanied Him!
Also in Luke 4 Jesus proclaims that He is the Messiah and the response to the crowd is
Luke 4:28–30 HCSB
When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff. But He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.
Seems like a typical response right?!? Jesus tells them that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2 and then their response to his message is to drive him out of town and attempt to throw him off a cliff.
Imagine what would be going through a pastor’s head on Monday morning if that was the response to his message of Sunday. Calls his buddy and he says how did it go yesterday. You know it wasn’t that bad they just drove me out of town and to a cliff and they tried to hurl me off the cliff but they didn’t get it done so now I am preparing for what’s next.
So I make light of this but over and over throughout scripture we see Jesus being rejected after he teaches. We read this in scripture but then when we may not be tearing it up or knocking it out of the park we start to think what is wrong with me.
Yet, Jesus constantly was rejected and he taught on this in Matthew 7 during the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 7:13–14 HCSB
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
Jesus says Enter through the narrow gate. So this gate is not wide. Jesus says to enter through this gate that is not wide but this gate that he calls us to enter through is a narrow gate.
The gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who go through it.
This other gate that Jesus speaks of is a wide gate and a broad road.
The word
Wide: Vast opening from one side to the other
wide here is a vast opening from one side to the other.
The word
Broad: Having ample space or roomy
broad here is having ample space or roomy as Jesus describes the road that leads to destruction.
He also says there are many who go through it. Later in verse 14, he says the gate is narrow and few find it that leads to life.
The broad way many go through it.
It is easier to fit through a wide gate or to drive on a broad way. The way that leads to destruction is much easier than the way that leads to life. Perhaps this road that leads to destruction is paved, does not have many bumps or curves on it. This road many will go down.

The Gate and Road that Leads to Life

Matthew 7:14 HCSB
How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
Narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life.
Again the narrow gate is once again repeated from verse 13. The word narrow meaning not wide or small passage way.
Difficult: crowd against, press upon ; cause trouble to ; suffer hardship, feel persecution
The road that leads to life has trouble, hardship, and persecution.
In contrast to the road that leads to destruction, scripture says this road or gate that is narrow and difficult that few will find it.
Destruction = Many will find it
Life = Few will find it
This road or gate to life is narrow and difficult.
This road is full of bumps it may be a dirt road, with curves, hills and potholes.

The road that leads to life requires crucifying our flesh

Galatians 2:20 HCSB
and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we die to ourselves and it is no longer our desires in our lives but Christ who lives in me.
We die to our pleasures, we die to the desires of this life, we die to our wants, we die to the next high, we die to the next escape.
We live to Christ. We seek his pleasures, we seek His desires, We seek His wants, We deny ourselves take up our cross and follow him.

We live by faith

Hebrews 10:38 HCSB
But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.
We no longer rest in how to make our life secure for our sake. We learn to live by faith. Jesus says we now live by faith and no longer worry about daily needs but begin to live by faith.

We face trials

James 1:2–3 HCSB
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
The narrow path leads us to trials that we are to consider them great joy whenever we face them. It is these trials that test our faith and produce endurance.
The broad way that leads to destruction may not have any trials on it that produce faith and endurance.

We live a lifestyle separate from the world

James 1:27 HCSB
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Romans 12:1–2 HCSB
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
The narrow path leads us to change our focus. Our focus shifts from ourself to the widows and orphans in distress.
Our bodies become a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to God. We deny our bodies the “pleasures of the world” because they are now living sacrifices to God. The sin you once allowed your body to engage in you now deny that sin because your body has become a living sacrifice to Jesus.
The narrow gate leads you to a mind that is being transformed. This mind is changed and no longer thinks about the things of the past but now focuses on what is good and pleasing and the perfect will of God.
The broad road or the gate that is wide that leads to destruction still focuses on pleasing yourself. It does not deny the body anything and lets you find the next high, the next sexually immoral relationship, and that which pleases you. This road leads to destruction. This road does not have bumps and difficulties.
Matthew 7:13–14 HCSB
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
The gate and road that leads to life is narrow and difficult and few will find it.
There is only one way to this road that leads to life.
John 14:6 HCSB
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The road to destruction is wide and many will find it.
Satan has paved the highway to hell with fleshly temptations, worldly attractions, and moral compromises. Most people allow their passions and desires to dictate the course of their lives. They choose temporary, earthly pleasure over the self-sacrifice required in following Jesus.
The narrow gate is ignored. Most people would rather create their own religions and design their own gods.
The Christian life should cost you everything. You no longer live for yourself but you now deny self and live to Christ. This is the narrow gate that leads to life.
Final observation from this passage.
We talked about baseball players failing more than succeeding and still being considering great baseball players.
We also saw that crowds rejected the teachings of Jesus.
This scripture teaches us that many more will choose destruction over the road that leads to life.
For example recovery ministry. More people in recovery will choose destruction over life. More people will choose the earthly pleasures and not deny their body anything this world has to offer that leads to destruction verses the road that leads to life.
More people will choose the next high or the next escape verses denying self and taking up the cross and following after Christ.
Children’s ministry or youth ministry more children and youth will choose the road that leads to destruction verses the road that leads to life.
Certainly Jesus wants us to choose life
John 3:16 HCSB
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus desires that we choose the narrow gate and difficult road, but because of sin in this world he says few will find this road.
Be an individual who daily chooses the narrow gate and difficult road. Pursue Jesus daily. Deny yourself, pickup your cross and follow Jesus daily.
Recognize that few follow the narrow and difficult road. Understand that many follow the wide gate and broad road. Many choose self over Christ but the call of Christ in Matthew is to go make disciples
Matthew 28:19–20 HCSB
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Understand that in making disciples many more will choose destruction than life but our call to Christ is to make disciples!
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