Narrow is the Gate

Narrow is the Gate

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mt 7:13-14)

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Mt 22:14)

. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”  (Act 14:22)

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  (Joh 15:18-20)

The term “narrow gate” conveys its meaning rather well.  A narrow gate allows the entry of fewer people at one time, than does a wide gate.  A narrow gate doesn’t allow a person who is heavily burdened with packages to get through very easily.

When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way which leads to life . . . “ He was pointing out that the Christian walk is not as easy as it may seem.  Jesus was warning people that following Him would lead to grief and to serious challenges of life. 

“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” way (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com).

As Christians, we must continuously keep our eyes on the goal of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus tells His followers that the world will hate them even as it hated Him.  And since Jesus was persecuted, we should expect the same treatment. 

These are tough realities and truths that Jesus was setting before everyone who chooses to follow Him.  However, no one will be able to say that they haven’t been told the entire truth about following Jesus. 

Jesus loves us and wants us to follow Him; and He pours out His love, mercy, and grace upon us to empower us to do just that.  We must remember to add our own willpower and determination to this endeavor by choosing continuously to persist in following Jesus Christ.  Let’s glorify the Lord throughout our lives.

What Did You Want to See?

What Did You Want to See?

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  (Mt 11:8)

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  (Lk 7:24)

Jesus talked about a “reed shaken by the wind” because in Bible days, reeds grew similar to sugar cane. The reeds bowed nearly to the ground during the hot daytime. At night, thanks to the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, the reeds would stand up again. This singularity was a crowd-gathering event. Groups of people came out to see the reeds rise in the cool breezes of the night. Then they would return home, unchanged by what they had witnessed. 

Jesus was telling the people that they did not follow John’s teachings, but that all they wanted was to see a spectacle (similar to the reeds).  They were not willing to repent and to be baptized.

They were also coming out to listen to Jesus in the same way—without a willingness or interest in changing their lives. Jesus was showing them how empty and frivolous they were.  They simply moved through the events of their lives without ever connecting with God or His power.

We must determine that in the course of our everyday lives, we must “see Jesus” and His power come alive in our own lives and in our own experiences.  How do we do that?  We study the Word of God and we allow it—INVITE IT—to cleanse us, transform us, and empower us to act. 

We are Christ’s disciples and we are meant to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  We are called to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to work in our own neighborhoods to be an influence for good and a witness of Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

We Are Servants

We Are Servants

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  (! Cor 4:1-2)

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad . . .  (Jas 1:1)

“These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  (Act 16:17)

. . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mt 20:28)

As shown in Matthew chapter 20, Jesus came to serve humanity—He came as a servant.  Jesus came to reconcile mankind to His loving Father, and how thankful we are for His completed work. 

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our example.  (1 Pet 2:21)  Since He lived to serve humanity (which means people), so also should we!   Let’s admit that God saved us to empower us to serve others. 

How may we serve other people in meaningful ways which bring glory to God?

  • Hold onto and teach others sound doctrine. (Tit 1:9; 2:1)
  • Perform good works/deeds for other people so that people will give glory to God for them. (Mt 5:16; Eph 2:10)
  • Be LIGHT in the world. (Mt 5:14)  Jesus says in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world.  As believers, we are to allow the light of Christ within us to shine forth to all.
  • Live honorably. (1 Pet 2:12)
  • Be faithful. (Mt 25:23)
  • Use your gifts, skills, and passions to serve within the body of Christ. (Rom 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:27-28)

Living our lives as an offering and a sacrifice to the Lord—in service to others—is not only honorable; it is very satisfying.  God bless you.