As __________ read the passage did you notice all the sets of two?
- In fact, all the way through the Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents sets of two.
- In chapter 5:20 there are two kinds of righteousness…that of the scribes and Pharisees and the righteousness that exceeds theirs.
- In chapter 6: 19 there are two treasures…one laid up in heaven and one laid up here on earth.
- In chapter 6:24 there are two masters…God and mammon.
- In chapter 6:32-33 there are two ambitions…seek after worldly things or seek first the kingdom of God.
And now here in Matthew 7:13-14 there are 4 sets of two: the narrow gate and the wide gate; the broad way and the narrow way; two destinations, destruction and life; and two groups of people; the many and the few.
- And if you continue on in chapter 7 you will find there are two kinds of teachers, two kinds of trees, two kinds of pleas, and finally two kinds of foundations.
Now, there are a couple of things that Jesus is doing with all these sets of twos…one thing He is doing is He is making contrasts.
- He is making contrasts in order to get people to make the right choice.
- You have the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees…and a righteousness that exceeds theirs…with one there will be no heaven for you…with the other you will enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- With the two treasures…one is eternal…the other will be eaten up, destroyed, or stolen.
- With the two masters…One can give you eternal life….the other can only satisfy temporarily.
- You see, with all of these sets of 2 Jesus is making a contrast to help us make the right choice.
But then the second thing that Jesus is doing with all these sets of 2 is presenting us with the stark reality of things.
- Most people like to have several options or several choices.
- Go into Dairy Queen sometime and look at all the different choices of soft drinks that are available.
- At Sonic they have 25 different flavors of Milk Shakes…I can remember when we the primary two choices were vanilla and chocolate.
- People are not satisfied with 150 channels on TV…we want 200 or 250.
- We prefer to be given a lot of choices.
But what Jesus does with all of these sets of 2 is He brings us to the stark reality that when it comes to righteousness…and treasures…and ambitions…and masters…and gates…and ways…and destinations…and groups of people…there are only 2 choices.
- It is one or the other….there are no other options…no other choices.
- And with the contrasts that He has made there is no sensible reason why anyone would make the wrong choice.
Let’s look at verse 13 and 14….and let me tell you, as we go through this it is “gut check” time!
- It is time for all of us to be honest…and to decide where we stand.
Look at verse 13…notice first of all the TWO WAYS.
- One way is “broad”, spacious, roomy…it is the wide and easy way.
- There is room on it for a diversity of opinions and loosening of morals.
- It is the road of tolerance and permissiveness.
- It has no curbs or boundaries of either thought or conduct.
- Travelers on this road follow their own inclinations, that is, the desires of the human heart.
- Superficiality, self-love, hypocrisy, mechanical religion, false ambition, fault finding are common characteristics of those who travel this road.
- There is no resistance or effort required to travel this road.
- There is no such thing as “ only one truth” on this road.
- That is why this broad road is easy.
But the “narrow way” on the other hand is hard.
- In fact, the word “narrow” in the Greek could actually be translated “to suffer tribulation; troubled; standing obstacles in the way.”
- It is the “hard” way because those who travel this road will be persecuted, insulted, slandered; Matthew 5: 11-12.
- Those who travel the narrow way will be slapped on one cheek and perhaps even on the other.
- They will have to go the extra mile with those who demand it…and they will have to love their enemies…and judge themselves before judging others.
- This road will not be easy.
And its narrowness is due to something called “divine revelation”, which restricts travelers to the confines of what God has revealed in Scripture to be true and good.
- Its boundaries are clearly marked.
- In other words the narrow way includes a life style…a lifestyle that obeys God…a lifestyle that glorifies God…a lifestyle unlike that of the world.
- The narrow way is a “committed” way…it is a path that you must stay on.
- And it is a “costly way.”
- It cost Jesus His life and it demands ours for Christ says in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
So, those are the TWO WAYS…one broad…the other narrow; one easy that faces no resistance and allows anything…and one that is hard that lives in the confines of the word of God…one that follows the world…and one that follows Christ.
- And the stark reality…No one can travel both ways…it is one or the other…which WAY are you traveling?
Second, notice the two gates.
- The gate that leads to the “easy way” is wide…it is a simple matter to get on to the easy road.
- There is no limit to the luggage that people can take with them.
- They don’t have to leave anything behind…not even their sins, not even their sinful lifestyle…not even their self-righteousness, or their pride.
- This gate will let you take whatever you want with you.
But the gate leading to the hard way is small.
- In fact, there is only one way to enter this gate and that is through Jesus Christ who says in John 10: 9, “I am the door, if anyone enters through Me, He shall be saved.”
- And the only way to enter into Christ is through baptism for Gal. 3:27 and Romans 6:3 tells us that when you are baptized you are “baptized into Christ.”
- The gate is small…there is only one way to enter it.
And In order to enter it you must leave everything behind…sin, selfish ambition, covetousness…even if necessary family and friends.
- And this gate can only be entered one by one.
- So, there are only two gates and everyone has or will enter into one of them.
Then there are two destinations.
- The broad way or the wide gate leads to
- Jesus doesn’t specifically define this for us…but it seems safe to say that everything and everyone who goes down the wide way will be destroyed…and that forever.
- The broad road is a spiritual suicide road.
By contrast, the hard way, entered by the narrow gate, leads to life…a life so glorious, so wonderful that human words cannot fully describe it.
- Every one…is heading to one of these two places…and that includes you.
And then there are the two crowds or two groups of people.
- The many will enter into the wide gate and travel on the easy road.
- This road will be crowded with people of every kind.
- And often they will look as though they are having a wonderful life…some will have riches and comforts and pleasures of every kind….and they will entice others to come with them!
- But then others on the easy road will be sour, and bitter…while others will be kind and gentle…and others poor and miserable.
Then there are the few.
- The narrow gate…and hard way….will seem to be deserted in comparison.
- Those who find it will be few…but they will all be rich in heavenly treasures.
- And the travelers on this road will be despised by many of those on the other road.
- This road can be a bit lonelier…but the fellowship at the journey’s end causes each one to press on.
- To which crowd do you belong?
So, there it is. Jesus has clearly laid it out for us. It is your choice.
- And now it is “gut check” time!
- Time to be honest…
- Which gate have you gone through…which “way” are you traveling (everyone is going some where)?
- What is your destination? (Have you come to Christ? Are you still on the right path?)
- Which crowd to you belong to…the many…or the few?
The good…and the bad of all of this is you can change roads, destinations, and crowds at any time.
- Check your gut and if you need to get on the “narrow way” do so today because tomorrow may never come.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023