Scriptures

Narrow And Wide Gates

Introduction

‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ Matthew 7:13-14

‘Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.’ Luke 13:22-24

Because the way to heaven requires humility that is combined with suffering and persecution, few will enter the gate into heaven. Many will enter the gate to condemnation into hell since it is the way of indifference, self-righteousness, laziness and hypocrisy.

The fact that Jesus here states that it’s wide, assumes that most people will be lost, most people who live upon the face of the earth will choose not to obey God. The narrowness consists of the restrictions, disciplines, and requirements throughout the whole area of Christian living.

Such things as self-denial, forgiveness of others, commitment, meekness, rejection of the pursuit of wealth as the main goal of life, and countless other basic Scriptural principles are opposed to the natural man whose baser instincts propel him constantly in the direction of the wide gate and the broad way.

Only those who are truly spiritual, who have set their minds upon the things in heaven, shall enter and negotiate the straitened way that leads to life and we must remember that God will keep on saving men until the fullness of His purpose is achieved.

‘I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in’ Romans 11:25

Luke account happens later in Jesus’ ministry, but Luke clearly tells us that only a few who are saved. This question stimulated Jesus’ teaching concerning the narrow gate. It’s a fact of historical significance.

Throughout history few people are obedient in comparison to the population of the world. As in the few eight souls who were saved in Noah’s ark, so few who will be obedient to the gospel at any one time in history.

‘To those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water’. 1 Peter 3:20-21

We must enter the gate purposely.

‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.’ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

The gate is narrow, not because it’s the fault of God, but because of the unwillingness of people to submit to the will of God. People make the gate narrow because of their own rebellion against God and they will not be able to enter because they are either trapped by their love of the world or are caught in the deception of their own devised religions.

Many religious people cannot enter because they have tried to make their own gate through which to enter. Since they have convinced themselves that their gate is the right gate, they will not seek to enter the true gate.

‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:6

‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12

If we know that many souls will be lost, what should this teach us about our evangelism efforts?

Are we as concerned as Abraham was over those souls who lived in Sodom?

‘The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty-righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do, right?’ The LORD said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’ Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?’ ‘If I find forty-five there,’ he said, ‘I will not destroy it.’ Once again, he spoke to him, ‘What if only forty are found there?’ He said, ‘For the sake of forty, I will not do it.’ Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?’ He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find thirty there.’ Abraham said, ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?’ He said, ‘For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.’ Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?’ He answered, ‘For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.’ Genesis 18:22-32

Are we as concerned as Paul was over his fellow Jews?

‘I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.’ Romans 9:1-5

There should be a sense of urgency. We quarrel and fight over issues and the focus ends up being taken away from the lost and put on ourselves.

We must remember that every single soul is important to God and we should be going out of our way to help them seek Him through the narrow way.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"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."

Matthew 11:29

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