The Holy Highway
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13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
I. There is a Decision to Face
II. There is a Direction to Follow
III. There is a Destiny to Find
We're making our way through the Sermon on the Mount under the general heading, "Building on the Rock." Matthew 7:13, 14. These are verses that talk about the Holy Highway. Now, when you came to church this morning, you came on some kind of a road. And that's what we're going to be thinking about today. There are all kinds of roads in the world. As a matter of fact, there are over four million miles of roadway in the United States alone. Some good road and some very bad roads. And some that are dangerous roads. Because we have people on our highways that have more horsepower than horse sense. And I know that you will agree with that.
The Apostle Paul traveled on roads that were built by the Romans; it's still in better condition than some roadways in the world today. And one of those reasons is that the Romans laid a deep foundation. And that ought to be a lesson for us today.
I was thinking of the overland trail. Beginning in Saint Louis, and going out to the far west where the stagecoaches would travel. I was also thinking of a brief road, a short road, but an important road: The Via Dolorosa——the way of sorrows. It’s The road our Lord took as He went from the judgment hall to Calvary.
But really, the road I want to talk to you today about is the Holy Highway. The straight and narrow. The old S & N. Look at it here. Verse 13, "Enter ye in at the straight gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction. And many there be which go in there at. Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto light, and few there be that find it."
This is the king's highway. The holy highway. The straight and narrow way, the desire of my heart and the prayer of my heart, is that if you have not done so, today, before this service ends, you will put your feet on the straight and narrow path that leads to life.
I am trying to get you on this holy highway. And I want you to see three things that are in this passage. These two verses that I look at first of all. I want you to see as I look at it, there is a decision to face. There is a direction to follow. And there is a destiny to find.
I. There is a Decision to Face
I. There is a Decision to Face
First of all, they tell me there is a decision to face. For our Lord says, enter in. That is, it's up to you. There is a decision that you must make. Now, there are only two ways. There is the broad way and the narrow way. There is the way that leads to life. There is a way that leads to destruction. There’s only two ways. Modern man does not like this. People get all uptight when you tell them that there is only one way to Heaven. We like to put people in all kinds of categories and gradations.
And we like to talk of men as being upper class and middle class and lower class. But you see, God never divides men horizontally. God always divides men vertically. Right and left. Sheep and goats. Saved and lost. That's all.
Now you know the Lord Jesus never preached to please the crowds. You talk about a person who cut it right down the middle, it was the Lord Jesus. Just look for a moment and see what our Lord is talking about. In verses 13 and 14, He says there are only two kinds of travelers. And two kinds of roads. Look in verse 17. He says there are only two kinds of trees. And so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
You're a traveler on two kinds of roads, you're a tree bearing two kinds of fruit, you're a builder building one of two kinds of houses. Look in verse 24. "Therefore whosoever hearth these things of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock." Verse 26. "And everyone that hearth these things of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man that built his house upon the sand."
There are two kinds of travelers, two kinds of trees, two kinds of builders, that's the way our Lord is. And in the congregation today. Just look around. Everybody kind of looks the same. We're all here this morning in our Sunday morning glad rags. But God doesn't look on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. And in the congregation today, we say that they are young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong, and so forth.
Church, there are only two categories of people here today. The saints and the ain't's. The saved and the lost. Those who are with Jesus, and those who are against Jesus. Those who are loving him, and those who are hating him. Those who are receiving him, and those who are rejecting him. Those who are crowning him and those who are crucifying him. Those who are on the road to Heaven, and those who are on the road to Hell. And every one, is in one of those two ways and that's all. Either you're on the holy highway, or you're on the broad way.
Now, I know what’s the going minds of men today. They say well, Pastor, don't be narrow-minded. Now, that's just what we are talking about today, a narrow way. Don't be narrow-minded. We are all headed toward the same place, just on different roads. Have you ever heard that? We are all headed to the same place, just on different roads. May I tell you what Jesus Christ said? The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 14:6, I am the way. No man comes unto the father but by me. He said I am the way. Jeremiah 21:8 says, "Behold I have set before you the way of life and the way of death."
I know there are a lot of people that say it's not nice to be narrow. I know there are a lot of people that want to broaden the old S & N. The old straight and narrow. But Jesus did not preach that way, and so look. If what I have to say today bothers you or irritates you, don't come up and argue with me about it, just read the Bible and tell God about it. Just say God, you made a mistake when you put this in the Bible. But don't take the issue with me. You ought to take the issue with me if I don't preach the Word of God. Jesus said, "Straight is the way, narrow is the gate that leads unto life." Now, I know that poem by Edwin Markham:
He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
That sounds all wonderful. But let me tell you what the apostle Paul had to say. Galatians 1:8, 9. "But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Anathema. Do you know what that word literally means? Let him be damned.
Now, Paul wasn't a curser. But what Paul said is, the road to Hell an any other gospel other than the gospel of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And then Paul reiterates it in verse 9. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The Bible is a narrow book. There can be no compromise with the gospel. Far better it would be for you to say two and two is five, than to compromise with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm saying that the Lord Jesus said there are two ways and there is a decision to face. Jesus said, enter the straight gate—the narrow gate. Let me tell you something about that decision. Listen, First of all there is the freedom to decide. You have the freedom to decide. Don't ever let anybody tell you that you have been predestined to go to Hell. You have the freedom to decide. Otherwise Jesus never would have said enter. Jesus said you can choose, and you must choose. We're not machines. We're human beings. And this morning, you are free to do as you wish.
But now pay attention. Apart from the grace of God, you're not free to do as you ought. Now, understand the distinction. You're free. You are free to do as you wish. But it takes the grace of God for you to do as you ought. You say, well, I can do whatever I want. Well, that's true. But you see, the problem is with your wanter. You always want what is wrong, until you have the grace of God in your heart. The only reason that you can choose to do right is because he first chose you.
We are free to choose. And he has chosen you, and he has invited you, and he has said, whosoever will may come and he will give you the power and the ability to come, and to take if you want to come. There are not enough demons in Hell or out of Hell to keep you from coming. But if you choose not to come. There are not enough angels in Heaven to drag you down this aisle. There is the freedom to decide.
But the only reason that you have that freedom to decide is because he has loved you and set his grace upon you. There is the freedom of decision, but now wait a minute. There is also the forcing of decision. Did you know that while you're free to decide, you're not free not to decide? While you are free to decide, you're not free not to decide! You are forced into a decision this very moment. There's no way that you can do what Pilate thought he was doing, that is wash your hands of Jesus Christ.
You cannot do that. Pilate said, well, I won't decide, I'll let the people decide. And that lily livered politician said I wash my hands of Jesus. But history and eternity has proven that Pilate's indecision was his worst decision. And the decision not to decide was a decision. And when you refuse the Lord Jesus Christ, you're not merely neutral, because Jesus Christ said in Matthew 12:30, he that is not with me is against me. There is no way that you can be neutral. The decision not to decide is a decision.
Now, let me say something else. You are free to choose, you're not free not to choose. And you're not free to chose the consequences of your choice.
Now for example, you can get in a ten-story building and open the window and say I'm free to jump out. And you are. But about that time, your choices get diminished. What I mean, you are free to jump out, but you're not free to negate the law of gravity. You are free to choose, but you're not free to chose the consequences of your choice.
II. There is a Direction to Follow
II. There is a Direction to Follow
Secondly, there is a direction to follow. Look at it again if you will. He says here enter in at the straight gate—that's the decision. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be which go in there at. Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way. After the decision there comes the direction. Now, let me talk to you about the narrow way today. The narrow way is the way that every blood bought child is walking today. It is the holy highway.
And the first thing I want to say about the narrow way, it is a disciplined way. When the Bible says straight here, it is not talking about straight like a straight line. It means discipline. Rigorous is the way. If you're looking for a cheap way, an easy way, a lazy way to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, forget it. The Bible says we are to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
We say well it pays to serve Jesus. Yes it does. But it also costs to serve Jesus. It costs every day. It costs every step of the way and there is no fine print in the contract that Jesus Christ gives. The problem with many people today is, they have sort of a cheap grace. An easy believism. In the way of Jesus Christ while salvation is free on the one hand, yet there is a discipline to the Christian life.
You see, without discipline, there is no power. Loose wires disconnected don't make a beautiful sound, but if we connect them and put them in one of those marvelous pianos and stretch them until there's tension there, and discipline there. Then we get the music.
When steam and vapor are in the air, there's no power there but if we compress it and put it in an engine, it will turn a turbine and the pistons because there is power there. Take a river and just let it meander and there's no power there. But dam it up and it makes a powered dam that can light up a city. Broad is the way, easy is the way that leads to destruction.
A few years ago, there was a young African, he was martyred for the cause of Christ. But before he died, he wrote these words. They were found in his room. It said this. I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't to look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap living and warped goals. My face is set, my gate is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, for the cause of Jesus Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till he stops me and when he comes for his own, he will have no trouble recognizing me, because my banner will have been clear.
Compare that with the Christianity we see today. We are looking for a cheap way, an easy way, a lazy way to serve the Lord. But Jesus said, straight is the way. It is a disciplined way.
But not only is it a disciplined way, it is a different way. Our Lord says few there be that find it. Few there be, not many. Don't expect the crowds to be on this way. And don't follow the crowds. The crowds are almost always wrong. What is happening in America today is because the crowds are wrong. Listen, We have morality by majority.
Do you know what most folks are taking comfort in? They're saying, well, I'm just like everybody else. Isn't that what they are saying? I am just as good as those other people. Church, our way is a different way. It starts at a different source, it follows a different course. It ends at a different conclusion, and if you're on this way, you're going to be going against the tide most of the time. Because we are twice born people in a world of once born people and they are different from us, and we are different from them.
It is a disciplined way, it is a different way, and it is a delightful way. Do you think what I am saying is negative? Then, you don't know the joy of serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me give you a verse found in Isaiah 35. In Isaiah 35:8 God says, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools shall not err therein. No lions shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: and they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
It is a clean way, and I'll tell you it is a certain way. It's delightfully clean, it's delightfully certain. He says a way faring man, though fool shall not err therein. Do you know what that means? A way faring man, the fool shall not err therein? It means a stranger without good sense can find his way on the holy highway. You don't have to have a PhD to travel this holy highway. The Bible says God hath hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes.
And you may be here today, and you say, you know Pastor, I don't know much about religion, I don't know much about the Bible, I don't understand all that you are saying. Well my friend let me tell you that Jesus Christ loves you and it is so clean and so pure and so simple, Come to Jesus. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is gloriously simple.This way is delightful because it's clean. This way is delightful because it is clear. I'll tell you it's delightful because it is confident.
III. There is a Destiny to Find
III. There is a Destiny to Find
What is our Lord telling us in these verses? Number one, there is a decision to face. Number two, there is a direction to follow. It is a disciplined way. Oh church, this way is a delightful way. But now here's a third thing, Not only is there a decision to face. Not only is there a direction to follow, but there is a destiny to find. Every road is going somewhere. And the road you're on right now is going somewhere.
Now, I want you to ask this question. When I get to where I'm headed, where will I be? When I get to where I am headed, where will I be? Now the Lord again, in a very narrow way said, there are only two destinations. One he calls destruction and the other he calls life. You see, decision determines direction, and direction determines destiny. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out do you? Decisions determine direction and direction determines destiny. That's what our Lord is saying. And today, many of you are saying, well, to tell you the truth Pastor Martin. I'm on the broad way.
Some days ago, I was on an airplane. The steward got on the microphone and said this is flight thus and such headed to Florida. If Florida is not in your plans for this afternoon, I would suggest that you deplane right now.
Now friend, maybe you're on the high way to Hell, and if Hell is not in your plans I'd suggest you get off. I mean if you do not want to die and go to Hell, then why don't you do something about it. There is a destiny to find. Now it may be a fearful destiny, leading to destruction. I don't want to sugar coat what Jesus said.
Jesus, the loving Jesus had more to say about Hell H—e—l—l, yes I said Hell. Jesus had more to say about Hell, than any other person in the Word of God. It was Jesus who talked about destruction.
In Chicago, was a nightclub. They named the nightclub the Gates of Hell. Can you imagine naming a nightclub that? The Gates of Hell. One man, out on a lark. A man asks a policeman how can I get to the gates of Hell? On the same street where this nightclub was a church. And do you know the name of the church? It was Calvary Church. Do you know what that policeman told that man? You want to get to the gates of Hell, go right past Calvary and you'll come to the gates of Hell. Go right past Calvary and you'll come to the gates of Hell, and God has lifted up Calvary with the blood stained prince of glory hanging in agony and blood. And He says, "Stop! STOP! STOP!!—or you'll end up at the gates of Hell."
There is a destiny to find, it may be a fearful destiny, or it may be a fabulous destiny. It may be life. You see, that life begins not when you die, it begins when you step on the old S & N. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.
And not only does he add years to life, he adds life to the years. And if there were no Heaven and if there were no Hell, it's worth the trip just to be on this highway. Just to be on this highway. I mean there is a destiny.
But thank God we're on our journey home. Each step I take is one step closer home. How wonderful that is—it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. I may be just a heartbeat away from the end of my journey. How wonderful that is. Friend, there is a destiny, there is a destiny to find. It may be a fearful destiny, it may be a fabulous destiny, but listen to me. It will be a final destiny.
There's no chance after death. Ecclesiastes 11:3 says, "And if the tree fall toward the south or toward the north. In the place where the tree falleth, there shall the tree be." That's just a poetic way of saying when you die, your destiny is fixed. Revelation 22:11. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still. He that is filthy, let him be filthy still."
I've studied this book for many years. I've read it, loved it, preached out of it. I cannot find one place where God offers one shred of hope to those who die outside the Lord Jesus Christ. Not one. To the contrary, the Bible says it's appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.
Now, if you're on the broad way today, you're on that turn pike to torment, you're on that highway to Hell. And there are a lot of people, having a big time, and God brought you to this service this morning. And God put this preacher in front of you. And this preacher is holding up a sign, and do you know what it says? Heaven, exit now. Heaven, exit now. It never says the next exit... always now. Because the next exit may be Hell. There may not be another exit.
You say, well, I'm not going to decide today Pastor. You see, you've missed what I said to you. When you say you're not going to decide, that is a decision that keeps you on the broad way that leads to destruction. You say, well I've got plenty of time, I hope you do. But the Bible says boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.