From: Su Min
Subject: Narrow Gate
Beloved, Read today Matt 7: 13-14 and hear Jesus speak directly to you.
"Enter through the narrow gate.Most of us intuitively know the difference between light and dark, good and bad, right and wrong. Yet try as we might, by our own strength we fail to stay in the light. So easily we slip into darkness. We want to do good but we end up doing bad. We want to be right but so often we end up wrong. Even the prodigal son, who was born into a wealthy family, got lured away to the bright city lights and wandered off the straight and narrow. Many enter the wide gate to the broad road that lead to destruction. Few enter the small gate to the narrow road that leads to life.
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."
"I have the desire to do what is good, but I can not carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing (Rom 7:18-19)".We want to gain eternal life, but without guidance we plunge into destruction. This sinfulness is an innate part of fallen man... What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom 7:24)
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus. His message was "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near. (Matt 3:2)" After His temptation, Jesus began to preach "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near. (Matt 4:17)" Jesus knows that unless we have a change of heart, we can not have a change of direction. The human mortal earthly heart is fixed on things temporal. "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt 6:33). "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near. (Mat 3:2)"
How do we find the narrow gate? How do we stay on the straight and narrow road?
We turn to Jesus.
When we realise that we are poor in spirit we will be blessed. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will be filled.
- "I am the gate", Jesus declares (John 10:7).
- How do we enter the gate? How do we gain eternal life?
- Whoever enters through me will be saved (John 10:9).
- "If you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved!. Romans 10:9
- "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)
- Jesus calls you. Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him and he with me (Rev 3:20). Jesus offers us an intimate relationship.
- "Teacher, what good things must I do to get eternal life (Matt 19:17)?"
- Go, sell, give, then come, follow me (Matt 19:21).
- Jesus needs us to give up a worldly mind set, give up clinging to possessions, give up the idea that we can ever achieve righteousness and holiness on our own strength. We need to confess our sins and our own unworthiness. "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the very worst 1 Tim 1:15."
- We need to echo the humility expressed by Isaiah "Woe to me. I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips and I live amongst a people of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5)"
- We need to echo the humility expressed by the humble tax collector "God have mercy on me, a sinner (Luke 17:13)"
- God tells us we should humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chron 7:14).
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (2 Cor 7:10).Confessing with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord" must be accompanied by the surrender of the lordship of our own lives to the Lord of Lords. No longer is it "My will be done", but Thy will be done". Jesus is Saviour. Yes. But He can only save us if we are willing to accept Him as Lord.
Once we have accepted Jesus as Lord, once we are through the small and narrow gate, is it smooth sailing? The father of all lies would have us believe that it is so. Once we let our guard down.. wham! we get zapped. Be warned. "Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Eph 6:11-12)" Do read Eph 6:13-18 which elaborates on the armour of God. The Amplified version is especially elucidating.
Salvation is assured, but there is the need to consistently guard against temptation and persistently work towards holiness.
Being a follower does not exempt us from temptation. Jesus teaches us "Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation (Matt 26:41).
The call to perseverance is clearly recorded in Hebrews 10: 19-39. I will quote the last verse...But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me , he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me".
To avoid trouble we must avoid unwholesome company and unwholesome entertainment. Instinctively we know what that is. If there is a doubt, avoid it. We must deepen our spiritual walk, hunger for the Word of God, read it, study it, memorise it, meditate upon it. We must worship God in private and in corporate worship. We should love the Lord with all our soul and all our heart and all our mind. And we should love our neighbours as ourselves. Then we have successfully entered the small gate. Then we have firmly set our feet on the narrow road. The path is not easy. It climbs steadily upwards. But it leads us to life. Jesus walks with us every step of the way. He is ready to steady us if we stumble, comfort us if we fall, bind our wounds, set us to rest, then journey again with us when we recover. What a loving Master, the Good Shepherd who looks after His sheep.
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7)
- For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. (Prov 2:6)
- Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways (Proverbs 2:12-15).
Let us close in prayer
Abba Father, you amaze us with your love for us.
Thank you for the lesson today.
Thank you for providing a small gate, a narrow road for us to reach eternal life.
Thank you for clearing the way ahead of us.
Thank you for establishing clear guideposts on the way.
Thank you for paying our admission fee.
Thank you for accompanying us every step of the way.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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