Entrance Through Christ Alone
Intro: I’ve always been fascinated by the Bible. As a kid, I read it and was terrified of some things.
Predestination, “What if I’m not one of the chosen ones.”
I thought, “If that’s the way it is, heaven will be a really empty place.”
Apparently I wasn’t the first one to think this way.
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”
This is an answer to their question about salvation.
Entrance to the kingdom is narrow.
After Jesus’ description of the mustard seed and yeast we have the gate.
The allegory: Pilgrim’s Progress’ description of the ‘narrow gate’
So, in process of time, Christian arrived at the narrow-gate. Now, over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
He knocked, therefore, several times, saying, “May I now enter here — though I have been an undeserving wretch? If so, I shall sing His everlasting praise!”
At last, a serious person came to the gate, named Good-will, and asked who was there — from whence he came — and what he wanted.
Christian responded, “I am a poor burdened sinner, coming from the City of Destruction. I am going to the Celestial City, that I may be saved from the wrath to come. I have been informed Sir, that the way to the Celestial City is through this gate. Are you willing to let me enter?”
Good-will replied, “I am willing with all my heart!”
And with this, he opened the gate.
As Christian was stepping in, Good-will gave him a sudden yank (inside).
Surprised, Christian asked, “Why did you do that!”
Good-will then explained, “A short distance from this gate, there is a strong castle erected, of which Beelzebub is the prince. From there, both
he and his minions shoot arrows at those who come up to this gate
— hoping to kill them before they can enter in!”
Then Christian said, “I both rejoice and tremble!”
When Christian was safely inside, the man at the narrow-gate asked him who had directed him there.
“Evangelist directed me to come here and knock — as I did,” said Christian, “and that you, Sir, would then tell me what I must do.”
“An open door is set before you — and no man can shut it!”
“I am now beginning to reap the benefits of my hazardous journey!” replied Christian.
“But how is it that you came alone?” asked Good-will.
“Because none of my neighbors saw their danger — as I saw mine,” answered Christian.
“Did any of them know of your coming?” inquired Good-will.
Christian replied, “Yes! My wife and children saw me at first, and called after me to come back. Also, some of my neighbors stood crying and calling for me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears — and so I started on my journey.”
“But did none of them follow you — to attempt to persuade you to turn back?” asked Good-will.
“Yes!” replied Christian, “both Obstinate and Pliable tried to turn me back; but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate railed at me, and went back alone. But Pliable came with me for a little way. (but also turned back)
Good-will then said, “We refuse entrance to no sincere Pilgrim, notwithstanding all the wickedness they have done before they arrive here. Therefore my friend, come with me, and I will teach you about the way in which you must go.
Look ahead of you — do you see that narrow way? That is the way you must go. It was built by the patriarchs, prophets, Christ and His Apostles; and is as straight as can be. This is the only way you must go!”
“But,” inquired Christian, “Are there no turnings nor windings, by which a Pilgrim may lose his way?”
“Yes, there are many side paths which intersect with the narrow way — but they are crooked and wide. This is how you may distinguish the right from the wrong — only the right path is strait and narrow!”
The narrow way into the Kingdom of Heaven…
1. is dangerous and costly.
Meaning: Unpopular, lonely, different, and countercultural.
“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."
25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”
Example: Getting somewhere a minute too late.
This means there will be a time when the door is no longer open.
2. is open for a limited time.
Delayed obedience is disobedience. Why wait??
“I will follow you, Lord; BUT FIRST let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” …or bury my father…
“But first…” are dangerous words.
I might find myself on the outside begging to come in like these guys.
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
‘Being near to Jesus’ was their justification.
Following means obedience.
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
3. requires obedience
What is the difference between the wise and foolish builders?
Hearing and Doing.
29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Reminds me of…
“Many are called, but few are chosen.”
“Here I am. Send me!”
Example: Annso, me, and the Sheraton: We were invited when the others were too busy or didn’t want to come.
To be called is to be invited to follow Jesus.
To be chosen is to obey Him.
4. is through Jesus Christ alone.
A different view on the narrow way:
“Once both groups are through the gate they will find themselves in the same place. Derrett thus argues that this metaphor states that it is the journey of the sinner which is hard and destructive, but that after facing this turbulent journey the sinner, like the pious, will ultimately find God's grace.” ~ J.D.M. Derrett
There are lies at every turn.
Are you reading your Bible and reminding yourself of the truth?
Are you praying so you can really know God?