“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We’ve all heard this verse that speaks of two distinct, yet completely different gates—the narrow gate and the wide gate. But what exactly was Jesus meaning when He said this statement? What does the word ‘narrow’ actually entail and even more importantly, to whom does it apply to?
There are approximately 7 billion people currently living on Earth and according to statistics, 2.2 billion of them profess to be Christians. To personalise it a little, let’s break it down to our country. In Australia, there are 23 million people with at least 61 percent of them professing to be Christians. This should ring through as great news because it must mean that over half of our country are followers of Jesus—people who believe God’s Word, have repented from their sins and as a direct result have given their lives to Christ.
If this were true, then why are we seeing such a huge decline in the speaking of and living out the biblical faith?
Instead of having the Bible taken out of schools and evolution replacing God as being the creator of the world, shouldn’t the opposite be happening? With over half our population being ‘Christians’, surely the majority would rule on these important decisions and the truth would never be disregarded—even in the slightest way.
What about the fact that around the world, 125,000 babies are murdered every single day and hardly anyone blinks an eye or even gives it a second thought? And what’s worse, the killers of these innocent children are their own parents who have been given full permission by the governing authorities to terminate the child with their complete help and resources.
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
While babies are being thoughtlessly killed and discarded, society is more focused on saving the whales and ensuring puppy factories are closed down. Protecting the welfare of animals has somehow become more important than protecting the life of an unborn child. While it’s important to care for animals and treat them well (Proverbs 12:10), we need to keep in perspective that God made humans in His image (Genesis 1:27) for His pleasure (Colossians 1:16) and He sent His Son to die for the salvation of people—not animals (John 3:16).
Therefore we too need to realise that like God, we should value human life because every human being has a spirit that will remain for eternity, whether it’s an eternity of life or an eternity of death (Matthew 25:46).
It’s to be expected that society would stray from what really matters because they are lost and don’t know any better, however why is it that so many professing Christians are also pushing the world’s unbiblical agendas? Herein lies a huge problem.
We live in a time where everything is allowed, yet nothing is allowed. Let me explain. To put it plainly; sin is accepted and truth is rejected. We live in a world where like Isaiah prophesied, what is right has become wrong, and what is wrong has become right (Isaiah 5:20). So as not to offend or come across as discriminative, governments are constantly changing laws to accommodate the wickedness that is increasing. However they don’t believe it to be wickedness, they believe it’s showing humanitarianism. The definition of ‘Love’ has been a significantly abused word that churches often utilise to support their reasons for tolerating and accepting sin. This is not just the world—this is churches!
So if the path to Jesus is narrow like He said, and apart from the unsaved, we have massive mega-churches with thousands of attendees who are supporting worldly agendas, turning a blind eye to evil and are all encompassing of sin entering the church, then something isn’t right. Either Jesus was being over the top when He spoke of the way being narrow, or something is amiss with these popular churches. However I put to you this question; when did Jesus ever speak exaggerations or words of unimportance? And how can God’s church be mega?
The Bible says the world will hate you—not celebrate you.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Although I know people will become angry and upset by this, it must be said. I cannot hold back the truth because there are those few who are truly seeking.
There are many well-loved churches pumping out a brand of Christianity that is nothing more than a poor, yet widely accepted shadow of the real thing.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
This is a very serious problem! And as we can see from the verse above, it was an issue that Paul was also dealing with. Yet was Paul saying it’s not really a big deal and if people are believing a different gospel then we should let them continue and unite anyway because although we may not agree on doctrine, at least we’re all heaven-bound? Not at all!
2 Peter 2:1-3
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Not only did Paul warn of the dangers of believing a different gospel and that anyone who is preaching such blasphemies is accursed, but he also said that these people are not part of the brethren and they need to be marked and exposed! It is highly dangerous to a person’s spirit when they sit under a false preacher’s teachings because that person will become indoctrinated with lies and as a result will reject truth. This is why the Bible also says to avoid such people.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
The Bible warns us in at least 22 of the 27 New Testament books about false teachers, so it clearly is a problem that believers need to be aware of and diligent in ensuring they are not caught up in.
But where is this taught nowadays? When do you hear these Scriptures preached from the pulpits? Why is it that the only messages you’ll hear at these well-known churches are motivational and feel-good?
Are feel-good messages wrong? They are if they’re all about the flesh.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
People on the wide path love hearing easy messages because it suits their fleshly desires, allowing them to go on living how they want to live, with full permission from their church to go after their dreams. And if their church are saying it’s ok, then they convince themselves that this is what Jesus wants for them—to bless them.
But what about what the Bible says? It makes no difference to people on the wide path because they are not looking for truth, they are looking for a way of feeling a sense of self-righteousness (like the Pharisees) so they can appease their mind and tell themselves that they are right with God while they indulge in the flesh and continue to live in sin.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
If these people, who have heard sound doctrine (truth), yet instead to suit their own desires, turn away to listen to false teachers and live life according to their own lusts because they love this world, then what does the Bible say about what path they are on?
1 John 2:15-18
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
Remember that Matthew 7:13 says the wide gate that leads to destruction is broad and MANY will go through it. This tragically means that the majority of the world will end up in Hell—not because God chose it for them, but because they chose it for themselves. This is devastating for our heavenly Father because He has made a way of escape through His Son (1 John 4:9) and wants that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9)...and this is why He is longsuffering and patient with the world in all its evil wickedness, giving people more than enough time to choose life through Jesus.
The narrow gate that leads to life, which only few will find, is explained by Jesus as being difficult. This descriptive word is often ignored. Why? Because none of us want to think of having a difficult life, however to be a true follower of Jesus means you will have a difficult life full of persecutions such as; hatred, anger and being ostracised—and this is mostly from other so-called Christians (Matthew 5:11, Matthew 10:22).
They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
True Christianity is a life of denying self—not indulging self.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Choosing life means to let go of your own fleshly desires and wholeheartedly live for Jesus!
According to God’s Holy Word, if we want to live our life for ourselves, then in the end we will lose it...but if we give up our life and live for Jesus, then we will find abundant life.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
It’s only natural that unbelievers love the world and all it has to offer; success, reputation, wealth, health, happiness, me time etc. But as born-again believers who know God offers His people so much more than the world can offer, why would we place any focus on these temporal things?
2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The wide gate is non-exclusive and allows for human effort and all of the world’s religions; even the ones that are close to the truth and claim to know Jesus—the deception being that they have made up a god they like in their own mind and therefore worship a different Jesus. This is exactly what the Israelites did when they got tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. They not only asked for their own god to be made, but once it was formed, they worshiped it and attributed their miraculous escape from the Egyptians to it—thereby calling almighty God a golden calf.
Exodus 32:1, 4
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”... And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
What absolute blasphemy—an incredible insult to the Holy God who had already done so much for them and showed His amazing love for them.
It’s so easy to tell yourself that God is who you want Him to be. To convince yourself that because God is a God of love, He wants me to be blessed and He wants to give me all the material things this world has to offer. And therefore it would be an insult to Him if I didn’t accept His blessings of financial prosperity.
These are extremely dangerous grounds to walk on. Where does the Bible talk of God wanting us to be interested in money and all it can get us?
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
The intention of this article is that God would open your eyes. That you would test yourself to see whether you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), because so many people have completely convinced themselves that they are born-again Christians who are heaven-bound, when in actual fact, they are believing a lie from the enemy and the fruit of their lifestyle is rotten.
You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Many who are on the broad path that enters the wide gate to destruction (Hell) are people who believe they are saved. They are among the large crowd of those who claim to be Christians, yet in reality, don’t live out the life. Only those on the difficult path who are entering the narrow gate are set for life (Heaven).
To live on the narrow road is to lose friends and family. It is painfully difficult to see people you grew up with and love so dearly, whom you thought were genuine believers, to turn their backs on you and wipe you out of their life because you stand for truth.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword to cause divisions. True Christians will stand out among the many professing Christians who are fake. A line is being drawn in the sand and it’s becoming more and more apparent as to who is real, and who is not (Joshua 24:15).
1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
It’s one thing to lose your friends and family, but when you realise the gravity of who they’re really rejecting, it’s absolutely heartbreaking because they are not really rejecting you—they are rejecting God!
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Jesus never sugar-coated the truth, and the truth is that not many people are willing to pay the price to follow Him.
So if you’re the kind of ‘Christian’ who is living the easy life, loved by everyone and attending a church that never convicts, rebukes or disciplines, but instead only speaks on happiness, success and living your best life now, then I implore you to go to the Lord in prayer. Read His Word and examine yourself to see whether you truly are in the faith, on the narrow road that is a life of difficulty and persecution—but with great eternal rewards of everlasting life with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christianity is more than a name—it’s living for Christ!
Colossians 3:2 - Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Let’s not look to our pastors, friends and family as to what a Christian should be—the truth can only be found by looking at God’s Word, which contains the lifestyle of genuine Christianity.
John 10:1-3 - “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:7-9 - So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
The narrow path is narrower than you think.
-- By Jenny Ayling