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The Strait Gate

The Strait Gate (KJV) Friday, June 23, 2017

Jesus Teaching

                                   By James L. Thornton

Matthew 7:13.
“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.”

In these two verses the Lord has finished His sermon. From here on to the end of the chapter He begins to apply it, urging His listeners to practice it and implement it in their daily lives.

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Our Lord has come from heaven to earth in order to establish a new kingdom. He has come into the midst of the kingdoms of this world to call out of them a people unto Himself and form them into a new kingdom.
Jesus wanted to make it plain and clear that this kingdom which He would establish was different from any other kingdom the world had ever known.

It would be called,
THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT:
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN:

His people must realize this kingdom was something unique, something separate. In the Sermon On The Mount  (Matthew 5, 6, 7) Jesus give a description of it.

He gives a description of those who would belong to this kingdom, they would be called Christians. They would be poor in spirit, they would be meek, they would be pure in heart, they would be merciful, they would be peacemakers. (Matthew 5)

He tells them that because they are that kind of person and belong to His kingdom that the world would not like them, in fact persecute them.

Nevertheless they are not to segregate themselves from the world, become Monks or Hermits, but they are to remain in society as “Salt” and “Light.” Otherwise society will rot and dwell in gross darkness.

In fact He tells them that their lives are to be better that the most religious people the world had ever known, the Scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus tells them,
How to do their alms giving,
How to fast, How to pray,
He tells them how they are to treat their fellow men in great detail.
Yet listening to so great a sermon in itself was not enough. He asks now, “What are we going to do about it? Are we going to be content to just fold our arms, like so many others, and say “what a marvelous sermon?”

Do we say,
“It has the grandest conception of life and living that mankind has ever known,
Such exalted morality,
Such wonderful uplift,
That is the ideal life that all mankind ought to live.”
Jesus does not want us to praise the SERMON ON THE MOUNT 
but live it.
Live it.
Live It,
Live it.

The Test Of Fruit.
Jesus gives us the further test,
It’s not a matter of what the tree looks like,
but it’s the fruit that counts.

It’s what happens when the wind begins to blow,
When the storm threatens,
When the rains descend,
And the floods beat upon the house….
Does It Stand?
That is the test.

We must have something that will make us stand in the darkest, most crucial hours. We must live every day in the most serious and solemn manner.

Living always in the light of the Judgment.
Not to lie,
Not to steal, not to cheat,
Be loving and tenderhearted.

Our daily lives should be THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT lived,
Over and, over every day.
Let us examine our text.

Matthew 7:13. “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.”

In these verses Jesus talks about narrowness.
It’s a narrow life we must live,
A narrow way that we must walk.

Here we are walking along and we come upon two gates confronting us.
The one on the left is very wide and broad and a great crowd of people are entering.
On the other hand there is a very narrow gate which will allow only one person to enter at a time.

The wide gate leads to a broad way, and a great crowd is surging along it.
The narrow way is not only narrow at the gate but continues to be narrow,
And only a few are walking on it.

The first thing we should notice is the way is narrow at the very beginning.
Not that it becomes narrower and narrower,
But it is narrow at the beginning.

Some seem to think to be a Christian is little different from being non-Christian.
Some think of Christianity as not narrow,
But attractive, exciting,
And that you come in in crowds.

SOME THINGS MUST BE LEFT BEHIND AT THE GATE:
The first thing we leave behind is worldliness.
We leave behind the crowd,
We leave behind the way of the world.

You first must separate from the crowd,
Sometimes you go against the crowd, go in the opposite direction of it to get out of it.
Make a break with tradition, customs, and habits, which is difficult.

Almost everybody wants to conform to the norms of society,
Yet we must extract ourselves from this crowd and become a individual person.
We go through the turnstile one by one.
Every Person becomes a responsible person to God.
The gate is narrow, it brings us face to face with God.

We must begin to live the SERMON ON THE MOUNT:

The Sermon Says,
“Resist not evil,”
“Turn the other cheek,”
“Go the second mile,”
“Love your enemies,”
“Bless them that curse you,”
“Do good to them that hate you,”
“Pray for them, that despitefully uses you and persecute you.”

It is instinctive to hit back. We may think we should defend our rights.
We want to love only those who treat us kindly.
But this kind of luggage cannot be admitted at the turnstile.
We must make a radical break with the world.

We have to leave “self” outside.
We must “Put off the old man with his deeds.”
We must “Bury the old man” (self).
Pride cannot enter.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny (put off) himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).

Is it any wonder that Jesus said, “And few there be that find it?(Matthew 7:14b).


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 By James L. Thornton     

 

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