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The Path to the Kingdom

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Matthew 7:13-14
The Path to the Kingdom
Good morning welcome to Red Oaks Baptist Church, Home Edition. The church met in many houses during the first few centuries of its existence and Richard Baxter said this about suspending or holding services in a different way. 1.) If the magistrate for a greater good, (as the common safety,) forbid church-assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him.
So while this may seem odd to us, this is not completely uncommon in the entire history of the church
Call to Worship: Psalm 116:5-7 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Intro: Let’s imagine we are planning a vacation. One of the first things you do is pick where you want to go. Los Angeles to see Hollywood and the homes of the stars. Yosemite to camp in the Sierras, Myrtle Beach to be near the ocean and then you open the map book, back when we had to use the Rand McNally maps, we would open up the map, find where we are and then find where we wanted to go.
The fun in that is you get to pick your route, maybe see what else was along the highway so you can see the worlds biggest ball of twine or Go see the giant PaulBunyan and babe the Big Blue Ox in Klamath California.
Wherever you want to go, if you are willing to travel there, you can get there. Some places you want to go there are multiple highways that end there and other places there are only a few roads to the location.
And so it is with getting into heaven. God makes it clear that will only be two outcomes
Read Verses: 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.
Main Point: Jesus prepares your heart, your mind, and your body, for the journey ahead in this life and the next.
God’s Kingdom is at the end of the Narrow Road (13-14)
If preachers are to take a lesson on how to write a sermon and the audience should wonder what to do with the teaching of a preacher,the lesson is the same; there must be a decision point. The teacher must present the information and then place the ‘what do you do with this information squarely in the lap of the hearer. The audience should likewise be listening to the information and think ”What am I supposed to do with this idea or concept.”
The question becomes How does this apply to my life?
Jesus does this in a masterful way as he brings his Sermon to a close. He has given the crowd a lot to think about. How the disciple conducts him or herself in the private. And in public. How they pray to God and why they pray to God. How you make more disciples.
And like the Road we talked about, the destination is really the point. Jesus wants people to understand that the road does not go on forever. It stops eventually. Because we run out of road or we. Get to our destination.
But here is what Jesus is telling the crowd really.
There are two roads to pick from. The easy way or the hard way. The narrow way or the broad way. And the crowd may be thinking, this is first century Israel. My road is already hard. I’m poor, I’m hungry, I can't go anywhere but work and I do that for not a lot of money. The Romans control most of what we do so it is not a great life.
The broad way, like a freeway or interstate, is nice and open, lots of lanes, relatively straight. I-40 is so straight across parts of New Mexico and Arizona that you can practically let go of the steering wheel and your car will go straight. Lots of rest stops or places to pull off if you want to rest or eat. The drive is easy and it goes by pretty quickly. And a lot of people are headed to the same general location or at least they are all on the road. And on one hand you feel the same because you are surrounded by others. You are not alone. But what if they are as lost as you are, just following the road because everyone else is?
The broad way is an easy drive, there is not much of a challenge, you can stop when you want. Other than the speed limit and the rather large DMV codebook, there are no rules. The DMV codebook is like the societal rules, what people think are the morals or what they determine to be a good person. As long as I don’t speed or I drive the flow of traffic, I am a good driver. If I don’t kill anyone or rob anyone, I am a good person. But there is much more to being a follower of Jesus.
But other places, are more remote, out of the way, If you drive up the 101 headed toward Klamath and Paul Bunyan in the redwoods, you have to know the way, you need to stay on the road because its two lanes most of the way and some of the turns are literally around fairly large Redwoods. One wrong move of your hand, and wham, right into the tree or worse yet, off the side into the river or some ravine. There are similar roads in Pennsylvania or Georgia.
The drive takes more effort. You have to pay attention. You have to know where to stop or know when the stop is coming up.
There is less traffic on the road because it can’t handle the number of people. But if you have ever seen the redwoods up close, those trees are more magnificent than any famous person or theme park you can go to.
There are only two choices: Choice 1: the Broad and easy way and Gate that leads to Destruction or choice 2 is the narrow,more difficult road that leads to life
These choices echo the book of Deuteronomy when God lays out the law again before the Israelites go into the promised land. In Chapter 30 verse 19 God says I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,”
One commentator says that “Only in making and abiding by the right decision would the Israelite find God’s True purpose.”
2)The Narrow road is Difficult
Not everyone will be on this road. The road is not smooth and it is not necessarily popular.
Wide can refer to the versus the minority but also to relative levels of difficulty or ease. “Narrow” may refer not only to the majority versus the “Narrow” in v. 14 comes from the verb thlibō, meaning to experience trouble or difficulty, while “broad” in v. 13 can have overtones of prosperity..
Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. This is important because as God’s children he is training us up in the way we should go, and then it becomes a little more in our court to use that knowledge and apply it so we live a pious, Godly life.
Psalm 16:11 ESV You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
3) The Narrow Road is Not Taken by Everyone
The marines Motto is the Few,the Proud. Not everyone who goes to Boot camp makes it to graduation day. The Marine leadership knows that and they are Ok with that. They do not change the toughness or the difficulty level just to get more people in the Marines.
A lot of people don’t even go to the recruiter’s office because they have heard about the Marines. It is the same with Christianity. People have misconceptions or bad experiences with church and so they don’t want anything to do with being a Christian.
This leads us to verse 22 when Jesus says many will say to me Lord lord we worked for you, but Jesus says, I never knew you, depart from me.
That is a hard pill to swallow if you think about it. We will talk more about that next week. But here is what The prophet Jeremiah records in his day.
Jeremiah 6:16 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Now we do not know who has been chosen By God for salvation. So we preach the gospel, we encourage and teach others about God, the Trinity and the work of Jesus on the cross.
That is everyone’s calling;to make disciples for God. To teach them so they can make more disciples. If we could figure out a way to spread the Gospel like the Coronavirus, think about how many people would be saved.
Any of us like to have options and we are inundated with choices of similar items. We like the variety-pack of cereal. We have In and out, McDonald’s Burger King, Jack in the Box or Five Guys. It’s a burger for your taste. We do the same thing for roads. We like to develop or know the quickest route for a situation.
John Stott summarizes the passage like this: “there are according to Jesus only two ways, hard and easy (there is no middle way), entered by two gates, broad and narrow (there is no other gate), trodden by two crowds, large and small (there is no neutral group), ending in two destinations, destruction and life (there is no third alternative). It is hardly necessary to comment that such talk is extremely unfashionable today. People like to be uncommitted.”
Many of us like to have options. And many people also apply this same theory of their Spiritual future and their earthly life. All the religions lead you to the same place. God, Allah, Vishnu, or whatever your diety’s. Name, or even if there is no. God, they will all get you down the road to the same place. But that is a fallacy. There can only be one truth.
We cannot control the world.Our circumstances today and the past few months exemplify that. What we can control is our commitment to God and. Our thankfulness that we have been chosen by the almighty creator and we trust Him to guide us down the narrow road through and over all of the difficulties and potholes we may encounter.
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