ENTER BY THE RIGHT DOOR, NOT THE WIDE DOOR

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ENTER BY THE RIGHT DOOR, NOT THE WIDE DOOR

“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. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Many read this passage of scripture and think that God wants us to turn cartwheels before we can get into Heaven. It seems as though Heaven is an exclusive club, meant only for the moral elite, and we ‘mere mortals’ will never have a cat in hell’s chance of ever qualifying for entry. Well, beloved, when Jesus said it, it was exactly so. Because the children of Israel said,

“All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8

“We will obey everything the Lord says.” Exodus 19:8[GW]

They trusted in their own efforts and relied on their own strength to please God. They thought they could live the perfect lives demanded of them by the Ten Commandments. So truly for them, not only was it a narrow door, it was a difficult door too. But since Jesus came, suffered, bled and died, the way just became so much easier. So what changed?

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”” John 14:6

Jesus has become the way.

Think of it this way. Let’s say there is this really exclusive ‘members only’ club. To gain entry, you needed to be amongst the ‘who’s who’ in society and pay an obscene amount to purchase its membership. Now, we all know clubs like this right? There are a few around. Would you consider the way in ‘narrow’? Certainly the economists would consider its ‘barriers to entry’ extremely high.

And if you think about it, Heaven is just like that, isn’t it? It’s Heaven after all; the domain of the apostles and the holy men. For didn’t Jesus say to His disciples,

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

So if you want to get into Heaven, you need to be amongst the ‘who’s who’ of holy men. And what do you have to pay by way of membership fees?

“But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17

Which ones?

“Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 19:18-19

And if you think these are easy,

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5:21-22 [MSG]

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

And if you still think you can qualify based on your own efforts,

“Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”” Matthew 19:21

Heaven is no public golf course. It’s no street corner pub. It is a properly exclusive ‘members only’ eternal life, meant only for the holiest of men.

But let’s say that for the club that we were talking about earlier, members can bring their guests in for free; and their guests can enjoy all the facilities and benefits that membership affords them. Is the way in now easier? Undoubtedly so. But is it any less narrow? Well, no, because instead of what you have, your entry becomes dependent on who you know.

Beloved, for us who believe, Heaven is just like that. Jesus is our ‘member’ who can bring us into Heaven at no cost to us.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

But what’s more is that Jesus does not bring us in as guests, He paid for our membership. For remember,

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

His blood shed, gave us full and complete remission of sins, thereby making us absolutely right with God. And when He went to the cross,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

So the price we had to pay for membership, Jesus paid; and for us, when He brings us into right fellowship with our Father, we do not come as guests, because

“…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

We who believe are now our Father’s children.

So has the way become easier? Undoubtedly so. But is it still narrow? Yes.

Beloved, consider how sheep enter the pen. It matters not how wide or narrow the gate is. They will all just file in one by one till the entire flock is in the pen. So too is it for us. It matters not how narrow the way is because Jesus said that of all whom the Father has given, of all who would believe, He will not lose a single one. So for us, all that should matter is that we believe in Jesus, because by so doing, we enter by the right door, for

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

You see beloved, the narrow way is actually for our own protection, for

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” John 10:1-2

Jesus cannot very well leave the door wide open for the thief now, can He? Of course, not. For

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Our Father would not even entrust our care to a hired hand because,

“…a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.” John 10:12-13

So He entrusts our care to His Son; and boy does Jesus not disappoint, for,

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

And if you think that the way is now closed, or that it is closed to you for some reason, my friend, Jesus is telling you right now that He is still on the look-out for more of us lost sheep, for He says,

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16

So if you would believe in Him, if you would let Him bear the consequence of your iniquities, let Him bring you into a right relationship with our Father, then respond to Him right now saying,

“Jesus, thank You for loving me. Thank You for staying true to our Father’s desire and Your love for us and going to the cross to die for my sins. Thank You that by Your blood shed, I now receive full remission of all my sins. Thank You that by Your death, I die to sin and my old life has no more hold on me. Thank You that by Your rising, I too rise into a new life and can boldly enter into our Father’s presence, rightfully expecting to experience His love and care. Jesus, there is no other way apart from You. But thank You for making it so easy to be right with our Father. I gratefully receive all that our Father has purposed for my life right now. In Your name, Amen.”

Beloved, before Jesus arrived, the prophet Isaiah saw in a vision and prophesied our moment right now, and this is what He said.

“And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk on it.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:8-10 [AMPC]

Jesus is our Highway to Heaven, a path that He has made straight and level. No danger can ever be on this path. So even if we are simple of mind, we can never lose our way. Yes, in so far as Jesus is the only way into Heaven, the way is narrow. But let us be like sheep and not worry about how narrow the way is. For Jesus our Shepherd will always ensure that we are well taken care of and safe in His care.

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