Faithlife Sermons

Do All Roads Lead to Heaven?

I Want to Believe, But...  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

Jesus explained to his disciples (and the ensuing crowd) that there is a small gate that leads to life (MIT). In short, Jesus was claiming that he was the one and only way to heaven (MIM). So we ask ourselves, how is Jesus the only way to heaven. Our text reveals 4 comparisons of the roads to heaven which will help us to understand why Jesus is indeed the only road.

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

Introduction

Attention
In 2007, I led a mission team to Helena, Montana to assist a church planting team. While there, we had the privilege of visiting one of the beauties of our country, Glacier National Park. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around our globe, and there are few things (if any) that compare with the beauty and grandeur found in Glacier National Park.
This summer, I led a mission team from our church to Helena, Montana to assist our church planting team. While there, we had the privilege of visiting one of the beauties of our country, Glacier National Park. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around our globe, and there are few things (if any) that compare with the beauty and grandeur found in Glacier National Park.
On the edge of the United States and Canadian border, we saw mountains as tall as the sky, beautiful lakes, lots of wildlife. We never saw a bear, though I had hoped we would. We drove over the Continental Divide (where water runs to the Pacific Ocean on one side of the divide, and to the Atlantic Ocean on the other) at a height of 6,646 feet, and then back down. From wild goats and sheep, to glacial lakes and cedar forests, this is certainly one of our nation’s most beautiful sites.
But with all the beauty of the park, there is one striking feature. It’s known as the “Going to the Sun Road.” Constructed in 1932, this 50-mile, two-lane road bisects the park in half, going from east to west. It begins at one end, and travels all the way through the beauty and heights and depths of the park, and ends on the other side. But the interesting thing to me is that this is the only road that travels through the park. With all the beauty and splendor of the park, there is only one road that travels through it.
Need Element
If you have ever tried to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone, you have likely heard the response, “Isn’t that exclusive to say that Jesus is the only road to God?” “Isn’t that chauvinistic?” “Isn’t that spiritual racism?” And so people have begun to teach that it doesn’t really matter how you get to heaven…it doesn’t matter if you follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, or Ba’Hai…if you’re sincere, you’ll make it to heaven. Others will say, “If God is so good, surely He will not send people to hell if they live a good life.” Some have even said, it doesn’t matter what you believe, all roads lead to heaven.
But just as there is only one road through the Glacier National Park, there is only one road to heaven. And just like many of the “gated communities” of our neighborhoods today, there is only one entrance to that one road.
Background Info:
Background Info:
Jesus teaches about this question during his long discourse often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount in . Located along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus went up to a mountaintop (or hillside) to sit down and teach his disciples. With a crowd pressing around him, he began to teach his disciples what is the longest teaching segment of Jesus in the entire Bible. And no doubt, Jesus used the geographical setting he was in to illustrate his teachings.
Looking down below him, he saw the fisherman by the seashore cleaning the night’s catch and salting it down to preserve it for the market and he said, “You are the salt of the earth.” In other words, your purpose in this world is to preserve society and prevent it from decay. He used the imagery of those fisherman salting their fish to teach a powerful message.
Then he looked across the way to the hill where the city of Meron sat on the skyline and he said, “A city cannot sit on a hill and be hid.” And he went on to teach that they were to be the light of the world to all the world around him.
In the same way, Jesus likely pointed directly at Tiberias, a city built by Herod Antipas. The sprawling city was built along the shore of the flat lands, without walls and without gates and with broad open streets. Tiberias was an anathema to the devout Jew because it was built on the site of a cemetery. It symbolized uncleanliness, wickedness, and worldliness. And Jesus said, “On the other hand, broad is the street and easy is the way that leads to destruction!”
Bridging Sentences
Textual Idea
Sermon Idea
Interrogative
Transition
It was in this part of the sermon that Jesus explained to his disciples (and the ensuing crowd) that there is a small gate that leads to life (MIT). In short, Jesus was claiming that he was the one and only way to heaven (MIM). So we ask ourselves, how is Jesus the only way to heaven. Our text reveals 4 comparisons of the roads to heaven which will help us to understand why Jesus is indeed the only road.
Would you stand, in honor of the reading of God’s Word, as we look at ?
Matthew 7:13–14 NASB95
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Pray
Pray
Background
Jesus begins this section of his teaching with a command. He doesn’t give us a suggestion or a principle to follow, but rather a command. The first word of verse 13 is an imperative verb, which says, “Enter!” Jesus is not telling us to sit and look at how pretty the gate is. No, he is saying “enter!” The imperative tense demands a definite and a specific action.
And Jesus doesn’t want to confuse you about which gate to enter and so he begins by saying, “Enter through the narrow gate.” In these two verses, Jesus compares these two gates, these two ways to heaven. And he is crystal clear about which gate is to be chosen, the narrow gate! The narrow gate is the right gate, the gate to God, the gate to eternal life, the gate to heaven!
And indeed, I believe you can reduce all of the religions and cults of the world down to one of these two “roads.” Either the road goes through the narrow gate or the road goes through the wide gate. So we need to compare these two gates. What were they like? Who can enter? Where do they lead? And then we have to ask ourselves, “Which gate am I going to choose to walk through?” because the decision is ultimately ours to make.
Now, the people of Jesus’ day were used to gates. Normally, every city of that day was fortified by walls and had gates as entrances. In studying the gates of Jerusalem listed in the Bible, there are 19 different names of gates listed (note that some are referring to the same gate by a different name). Most of us have gates that we enter through every day. Perhaps your yard is fenced in. Perhaps you have to enter a parking lot at work that is gated. Over 40% of the houses built in California today are built within a gated community. If nothing else, we all live inside a house of which has a door (or a gate) which we must enter every day. Jesus uses this analogy of a gate to a city or a door to a house as a comparison to the question, “Do all roads lead to heaven?”

Division 1: Two Gates (Wide vs. Small)

Two Gates (Wide vs. Small)
Explanation
Illustration
Argumentation
Application
In these 2 verses, Jesus compares 4 aspects of the gates. He begins by referring to their description. He calls the first gate wide and the second gate small.
I remember growing up as a young boy. We had a gate around the backyard of our house. And on one side of the yard was a large gate. In fact, it was a double-gate that would allow the lawnmower through, or the pickup truck, or whatever into and out of the backyard. But then on the other side of the house was a small single person gate. If was wide enough for one person to walk through at a time. And that’s the picture we see here of a large wide gate versus a small gate.
People often accuse Christians of preaching a narrow gospel, an exclusive gospel that does not allow everyone to get to heaven. But Jesus himself said He came to seek and to save that which was lost. And He came that none shall perish, no not one. So the gospel message is not an exclusive gospel, but it is a narrow gospel in that there is only one way to get into that gate.
We proclaim a narrow gospel because Jesus himself said,
John 10:9 NASB95
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved” (). We proclaim a narrow gospel because “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (). We proclaim a narrow gospel because there is “one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (). We proclaim a narrow gospel because that is the only gospel God has given and therefore it is the only gospel there is!!!
We proclaim a narrow gospel because...
Acts 4:12 NASB95
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
We proclaim a narrow gospel because there is...
1 Timothy 2:5 NASB95
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
We proclaim a narrow gospel because that is the only gospel God has given and therefore it is the only gospel there is!!!
Application
Allow me to give you a few principles about the small gate.
First, you must enter the small gate must enter alone. It is like going through a security check at the airport. You must enter alone. People do not enter the kingdom of God as groups, as families, or as nations. It is a personal decision that we make, it is a gate we must enter alone. The Jewish people thought they were a shoe-in because they were God’s chosen people…but they needed to decide who Jesus was and trust in Him first.
Secondly, you must enter empty-handed. The gate is so small we must go through with absolutely nothing in hand. We are reminded of the rich young ruler who sought Jesus for the way to heaven in . Jesus turned to this young man and said there is one thing you lack, “Sell at that you possess and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” The Bible says, “When he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” The gate to heaven is not wide enough for your bank account and your prestige. It isn’t wide enough for your pride and your gluttony. The gate to heaven is small and Jesus bids you, “Come just as you are!” Indeed Job was right when he said, “Naked I came into this world, and naked shall I leave” ().
But thirdly, you must enter repentantly. The small gate is so narrow that not even your sins can come with you. Charles Spurgeon, that famous British preacher of the 1800s, said, “You and your sins must separate or you and your God will never come together.” The repentant life is a changed life. It’s a life that believes that if we will confess our sins, “He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness” (). And the life of a believer should be a changed life, filled with confession of sin, obedience to God’s will, love for all people, and the practice of righteousness.
Jesus begins by saying the gate that leads to heaven is narrow. There is nothing you can bring with you to get in that gate. You can’t bring your past accomplishments, you can’t bring your goodness, you can’t bring your riches, you can’t bring your church attendance certificate, and you can’t bring anything else but a decision to trust in Jesus.
Jesus said,

Division 2: Two Ways (Broad vs. Narrow)

John 10:9 NASB95
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Two Ways (Broad vs. Narrow)

Division 2: Two Ways (Broad vs. Narrow)

Explanation
But there is a second comparison Jesus makes in the two gates. He refers to two ways. Verse 13 says, “For the wide gate is wide and the way is broad.” That word broad means spacious.
Argumentation
Application
While we were traveling home from Glacier National Park to our temporary home in Helena, MT we drove through the open fields of back country Montana. And if there is ever a place on earth that would be described as spacious, this would be it. You could see as far in any direction as the horizon would allow and it was open field. You might see a tree here and there, but mostly just spacious, broad land. And because there was nothing out there, the cattle had free range and just wandered across the land. Now granted there were some fences to keep the cattle off the road and out of the next farmer’s land, but apart from that there was nothing to inhibit you.
But there is a second comparison Jesus makes in the two gates. He refers to two ways. Verse 13 says, “For the wide gate is wide and the way is broad.” That word broad means spacious. While we were traveling home from Glacier National Park to our temporary home in Helena, MT we drove through the open fields of back country Montana. And if there is ever a place on earth that would be described as spacious, this would be it. You could see as far in any direction as the horizon would allow and it was open field. You might see a tree here and there, but mostly just spacious, broad land. And because there was nothing out there, the cattle had free range and just wandered across the land. Now granted there were some fences to keep the cattle off the road and out of the next farmer’s land, but apart from that there was nothing to inhibit you.
And that’s the description Jesus gives of the wide gate. He says, the wide gate is a broad gate. In other words, there are no limits, no boundaries, no fences. The way that is broad is easy, attractive, inclusive, indulgent, and permissive. There are no rules to follow. The broad way would say, all you need to do is be religious and you’re accepted in the group. Sin is tolerated, truth is moderated, and humility is ignored. God’s Word is praised but not studied, and His standards are admired but not followed. And just like Solomon said in , it is the tragic way...
Proverbs 14:12 NASB95
There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
But then Jesus refers to the small gate as being narrow. That word means hard way, the demanding way, the way of self-denial, the way of the cross. It has an understood meaning of suffering tribulation and trouble. Jesus didn’t sugar coat the gospel and say the way to heaven is “easy!” He made it very clear, very early in His ministry, the way to heaven is narrow…it’s hard!!! The Greek word for narrow, στενός, is where we get our word stenography, which is a writing that is abbreviated and compressed. The word is used because of the cramping, the difficultly of writing that way. Jesus tells his disciples in ...
But then Jesus refers to the small gate as being narrow. That word means hard way, the demanding way, the way of self-denial, the way of the cross. It has an understood meaning of suffering tribulation and trouble. Jesus didn’t sugar coat the gospel and say the way to heaven is “easy!” He made it very clear, very early in His ministry, the way to heaven is narrow…it’s hard!!! The Greek word for narrow, στενός, is where we get our word stenography, which is a writing that is abbreviated and compressed. The word is used because of the cramping, the difficultly of writing that way. Jesus tells his disciples in , “strive to enter the narrow gate.” That gives the picture of making conscious, purposeful, intense effort to enter the door.
;
Luke 13:24 NASB95
“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
That gives the picture of making conscious, purposeful, intense effort to enter the door.
That gives the picture of making conscious, purposeful, intense effort to enter the door.
A few years ago I was at Liberty University’s Scaremare. It’s an alternative event to Halloween that is a “scare-house” built around the concept of death. And there are some passage ways inside which are so narrow, that even I had to turn side ways and squeeze through. There was an effort to enter and push through the maze of corridors.
Argumentation
And indeed, the way of the cross is one of great effort. The kingdom is for those who come to the King in poverty of spirit, mourning over their sin, hungering and thirsting after righteousness to replace their own unrighteousness. It is for those who want the kingdom at any cost. For those who are willing to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus daily. Jesus only saves those for whom He becomes their Lord. And sadly, most people think that heaven can be obtained on much easier terms than those prescribed by Jesus himself.
The kingdom is not for “weaklings, waverers, and compromisers…it’s not for Balaam, the rich young ruler, Pilate and Demas…It is not won by means of deferred prayers, unfulfilled promises, broken resolutions and hesitant testimonies. It is for strong and sturdy men, like Joseph, Nathan, Elijah, Daniel, Mordecai and Peter…Stephen…and Paul. And let us not forget such valiant women as Ruth, Deborah, Esther, and Lydia.” (Quote by William Hendricksen).
All the other religions of the world would have you come to God on your terms by what you could physically and emotionally handle. Yes, there is a Law to follow. Yes, there are commandments to obey. But ours is a God who is not only a cross-carrier but He is a burden-bearer. Jesus will help us carry the load, including the load of obedience. Jesus said...
Matthew 11:29–30 NASB95
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Application
Application
The road to heaven through Jesus is remarkably simple, but it is not easy. We can give nothing or give up nothing that will earn us entrance into the kingdom of God. We can pay nothing for salvation, yet coming to Christ costs everything we have. The person who says “yes” to Jesus must say “no” to the things of the world, because to be in Christ is to rely on His power rather than our own. And when we identify ourselves with Jesus Christ, we declare war on the devil, and he in turn declares war on us. The one whom we formerly served, now becomes our archrival.
But remember that in the end, of the two ways into heaven, Jesus said,
John 14:6 NASB95
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through Me” ().

Division 3: Two Destinations (Destruction vs. Life)

Division 3
Destinations (Destruction vs. Life)
Explanation
Jesus says the gate to heaven is small and it is narrow…but he goes on to describe the final destinations of the two gates. As Jesus is describing these two very different gates, He gives us their final destinations. Both the wide gate and the narrow gate point to the good life, to salvation, heaven, God, the kingdom, and blessing. There is not a religion about the world today, that I am aware of, that says, “We’ll lead you straight to hell!” They all promise the good life; they all promise a sense of eternal security. But notice that Jesus says the broad gate leads to destruction.
Argumentation
Application
Jesus says the gate to heaven is small and it is narrow…but he goes on to describe the final destinations of the two gates. As Jesus is describing these two very different gates, He gives us their final destinations. Both the wide gate and the narrow gate point to the good life, to salvation, heaven, God, the kingdom, and blessing. There is not a religion about the world today, that I am aware of, that says, “We’ll lead you straight to hell!” They all promise the good life; they all promise a sense of eternal security. But notice that Jesus says the broad gate leads to destruction.
I have a friend who was driving home from school one day. He is a teacher and coach in Granville County, north of Durham. Kevin was driving home late one evening from coaching baseball, and he went down a road he had been down many times before…but on this day there was a slight problem. For some unknown reason to him, they had torn down the bridge to do some repair work. The problem was there was no sign!!!
So along the road Kevin is driving, no doubt the sign on the side of the road read “Bridge Ices Before Road” which would indicate that there should have been a bridge ahead…but no sign that indicated that if you keep on driving that you’ll be pulling a Wylie Coyote (running in air, then falling). And that’s exactly what Kevin did, drove down the road, right off the road, and because there was no bridge, he crashed in the ravine. Thankfully, in his case, he was not hurt or killed.
And in the same way, there are millions of people driving down the road of life on a road paved with good intentions. These people think they are driving towards the good life, a happy life, perhaps even a good and happy after-life, but when they get to the end of that road, WHAM-O, the bridge is permanently out of order, and they are headed for destruction. And here in Matthew, Jesus says the broad way, the wide gate, the gate everyone seems to be following…though it might not tell you this at the beginning of the road or even along the side of the road…but that gate is leading you to destruction.
But this “destination” has two references.
First it is a reference, I believe, to our eternal destination being hell.
The word here doesn’t mean extinction or annihilation, but to total ruin and total loss. It would be one thing to live a life that ended in complete total destruction where the person ceases to both exist in this life and in the after-life…but the Bible teaches very clearly that though our bodies may waste away here on earth, the souls who end up in hell are tormented for eternity!!! And so the word here isn’t one of annihilation, but one of continued existence (both now and here after) in a state of total ruin and loss.
But secondly, this refers to our quality of life today. Jesus says that God’s way, the narrow way, the hard way, leads to eternal life…to everlasting heavenly fellowship with God and His people. And again, it’s not a reference simply to living or not living, but a reference to the quality of life. Jesus told his disciples, “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”
Psalm 1:6 NASB95
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.
But secondly, this refers to our quality of life today.
Jesus says that God’s way, the narrow way, the hard way, leads to eternal life…to everlasting heavenly fellowship with God and His people. And again, it’s not a reference simply to living or not living, but a reference to the quality of life. Jesus told his disciples,
John 10:10 NASB95
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
“I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”

Division 4: Two Groups (Many vs. Few)

Explanation
Well finally, Jesus concludes by referring to two different groups. “For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it” (v. 13). The word there “many” means mostly, largely, common. The many will include pagans and nominal Christians, atheists and religionists, theists and humanists, Jews and Gentiles—every person from whatever age, background, persuasion, and circumstance who has not come to saving obedience to Jesus Christ.
Argumentation
Application
Well finally, Jesus concludes by referring to two different groups. “For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it” (v. 13). The word there many means mostly, largely, common. The many will include pagans and nominal Christians, atheists and religionists, theists and humanists, Jews and Gentiles—every person from whatever age, background, persuasion, and circumstance who has not come to saving obedience to Jesus Christ.
It reminds me of the old saying our mothers gave us, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” I remember going whitewater rafting one time on the New River in West Virginia. It was Bridge Day, which occurs the third Saturday in October every year.
The bridge over the New River is considered one of the marvels of bridge work in America. It spans 3,000 feet across, and stands 876 feet above the New River Gorge. For comparison, you could place the Washington Monument below the bridge and still have over 325 feet of space (the length of a football field). And because of this great height, it is a perfect place for people to base jump, bungee jump and parachute off the side of the bridge. In fact, several years ago, there was a car commercial that had a SUV hanging from a bungee from a bridge…that was this bridge.
And so this year, we actually were arriving back to the bridge, having rafted it, and sat and watched as people jumped off the side of that bridge. And I can tell you as a matter of fact, if all my friends jumped off that bridge…I would not jump. There’s just no way.
And yet there are crowds of people by the thousands, the hundreds of thousands, and even by the millions who are walking through a gate that is plunging them into eternal damnation and destruction, and people are looking at each other…thinking, “He did it…so will I.”
Argumentation
There are a lot of things in this life that are decided by majority. Popular vote wins elections. Most people at a movie premier earns a blockbuster. Concert halls filled with people prove who our favorite artists are. Even churches make decisions in business meetings based on a majority vote. But there is one thing that should not be a majority vote decision…and that is what to do with your eternal destiny!
Someone asked Jesus in , “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And Jesus turned to them and said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” He went on to say, after the head of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to realize you’re not inside the house and you begin to knock, saying, “Lord, open up to us!” Then Jesus says, “He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’” And Jesus said, they will even say back “but we ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” You may live in the church, but that doesn’t make you a Christian…any more than living in a garage makes you a car! I’m telling you, when we all get to heaven…I believe some of us are going to be shocked to see who is “NOT” there…because they may have acted like they were saved, they have even called him “Lord, lord” but they had never come to a point of asking Jesus to save them and become their Lord.
Application
This is a decision that is both PERSONAL and SOLO…and it only affects YOU! So the question is, what have you done with this man called Jesus? If it all ended today, which gate will you have chosen? The narrow or the wide?

Conclusion

Visualization
Sure, there may be lots of roads out there in this world. But they also come to an intersection at that old rugged hill called Calvary. And it’s at the cross, where Jesus died for your sins and mine, to give us free access through the gate to life. But rest assured, there is only one road that leads to heaven…and his name is Jesus.
Sure, there may be lots of roads out there in this world. But they also come to an intersection at that old rugged hill called Calvary. And it’s at the cross, where Jesus died for your sins and mine, to give us free access through the gate to life. But rest assured, there is only one road that leads to heaven…and his name is Jesus.
Reiteration
“There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” All the religions in the world cannot be right in taking 10 different ways to heaven…if Jesus is God’s Son (which He is) and Jesus said, “I am the only way to heaven” (which He did), then he must in fact be the only way to heaven.
Acts 4:12 NASB95
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
“There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” All the religions in the world cannot be right in taking 10 different ways to heaven…if Jesus is God’s Son (which He is) and Jesus said, “I am the only way to heaven” (which He did), then he must in fact be the only way to heaven.
All the religions in the world cannot be right in taking 10 different ways to heaven…if Jesus is God’s Son (which He is) and Jesus said, “I am the only way to heaven” (which He did), then he must in fact be the only way to heaven.
Action
Action
Jesus stands at the gate of your life this morning and he knocks. The Bible says,
Revelation 3:20 NASB95
‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Jesus is promising you His Word if you will open that door, open that gate…the narrow gate. There is only one result…there is only one way that leads to heaven. Which gate have you chosen?
Appeal
Would you open that door this morning, and would you choose today to “enter” the narrow gate that leads to life!
Let’s pray…dear friend would you come?
Related Media
Related Sermons