“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.
Today I want to offer you a little “food for thought” as it were. Last night as I was praying, I got to thinking as I do so much about the state of the world, the mainstream churches and the Bible. One of the things I pray for IS the churches that claim to be Bible-based Christian churches all over the world. I don’t necessarily pray for individual ones, but rather as a whole and that the Holy Spirit can accomplish His tasks through the individuals within them.
With all that is going on in the world and with the churches so willing, for the most part, to compromise their teachings to attract followers, due greatly to treating their churches as a business, which is obvious in many, I was asking the Lord about the state of the organized church. Now mind you, I was not praying at this time with the state of the TRUE Church of God, the Body of Christ as a whole; I DO pray for them, but my main concern in prayer is for the visible church and not the Spiritual Church that is comprised of born-again individuals from all over.
Anyway, as I was praying, I thought of the Lord’s Letters to the churches in Revelation, but then my thoughts wandered or were directed again to what the Lord said concerning the narrow path and the broad path as found in Matthew 7. And here we are again in Matthew 7. It seems that every time I get a thought about something, and especially concerning the “hidden” truth, the Holy Spirit directs me to the Book and Chapter that everyone quotes and remembers mainly for NOT “judging” others! Yet as happens often, they have made a whole doctrine on those few verses to justify not being challenged when it comes to truth as compared to falsehood. They forget the majority of Scriptures that follow that are meant to lead us into “testing the spirits” as the Beloved Apostle John speaks of in 1 John 4:1. Those following Scriptures are meant not just as a warning to those CLAIMING to be followers of Christ Jesus, but as a safeguard for the rest of the true Church.
But I digress. Back to the narrow path and the broad path. As I was praying for the organized, visible churches of the world, I thought of those paths and in essence and in truth, you would think that as a CHURCH, which claims Jesus as their example, they would be on the narrow path. Yet today, we see churches that are turning their back on legitimate Scripture to accept and condone sinful lifestyles into their congregations and even beyond that into their leadership.
I know, I know, right off the bat you are thinking, here goes another condemnation of homosexuality, yet in truth, that is a small part of it. Long before the churches were allowing homosexuals to be a part of the leadership, they were allowing adulterers and fornicators, sexual perverts and promiscuity into the leadership. I am not talking in general, I am talking about those living openly in those lifestyles. Yet with all that, and as vile as that may seem, there are congregations that let habitual liars and con-artists to also be in leadership. Lying and deception are as deathly a sin as any sexual sin, it is just that in this day and age, it is easier to overlook the lying and deceptive sins! But GOD DOES NOT! God never has and never will and so many churches wonder why they are dull and lifeless with no spiritual anointing, power or authority!
Do you actually think for a moment that God’s Holy Spirit visits those churches where the leadership especially is allowed to continue in behavior that God, Himself says is abhorrent? It is no wonder that those professing Christianity are a laughing stock to the rest of the world. They do not see the organized church as anything that is any different than what they are. They see the truth of the hypocrisy, but for some reason those sitting in those churches do not recognize the very sins they condone.
Now before you condemn me, I KNOW that not all churches are perfect for they are made up of imperfect individuals. But why do we go to church? Why do we congregate with others who supposedly believe in the same Bible as us? Isn’t it so that we can join in Praise and Worship as a body of believers and once our hearts are softened through that Praise and Worship, after inviting the Holy Spirit to visit us, isn’t it to learn, in practicality about our relationship with the very Father that we were just Praising and Worshipping? Isn’t it meant to strengthen us to rely upon the Lord, learning to surrender to His yoke that we might go from that place and actually be a LIGHT to the world around us?
Yet I have to ask again, when you have leadership that lives a lifestyle that God SAYS is sin, whatever that sin may be, how can that very same leadership condemn the same sin in the congregation and give you practical instruction on how to avoid it? The congregation then becomes an image, a likeness of the very leadership it sits under. If the leadership condones sinful behavior because “God loves you all just as you are,” than the congregation will condone that same sin to the world of darkness they are supposed to be a light in!
Which leads me to my point finally about the broad way and the narrow way. We often think of the world marching down that broad path that leads to destruction. Yet by the very nature of it being broad, all-encompassing, all-condoning of what God says is evil and sin, the people marching down that path are marching down it together in groups! Some are marching down that path arm in arm, not seeming to have a care in the world and why? Sadly, because there are those who go to churches where sin is condoned and they are marching arm in arm together with their fellow “church buddies” and the world that is marching forward with them do not see any difference whatsoever in their lives! It is exactly like Jesus stated later on as recorded by Matthew, “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” – Matthew 15:14.
This is why Jesus stated that this path leads to destruction. They truly are blinded by the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and they don’t even know the ditch is close on either side. I think one of the things that is wrong with some of these churches that allow this is that they believe and speak about Jesus, but they speak about the man, Jesus and not the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One. You see, if they truly were following the example of Jesus, the Anointed One, they would see His love for what it is, a sacrifice to FREE mankind from the bondage of sin and not a license to use grace to justify sinfulness! They love to preach the Jesus Who went around feeding the hungry, healing the sick, espousing the Father’s love, but they don’t like to preach the Jesus Christ, who tells those same ones to “go and sin no more.” The same Jesus Christ who says that our Heavenly Father is looking for a people who will be holy as the Father is holy.
Now on the other hand, when you consider the narrow path and the narrow gate, consider this; a church cannot save you. Indeed a church as a whole, as a group or an organization cannot be saved, only individuals can. Jesus came and died on the Cross that mankind on a whole could be saved, but He died for each individual that makes up mankind. He died once, the Bible states, for ALL (Hebrews 9:26, 28, 1 Peter 3:18). It is up to the individual, just like it was for the thief on the cross beside Him, to CHOOSE whether to accept that Gift that He so graciously provides.
The narrow path and the narrow gate only allows for individuals to pass through one at a time. Yes, in the analogy, there are those in front and those behind on this same path, this same journey, but remember the words of the Savior, “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 is the WAY to the Father. The narrow path is the journey and as He told us, it is not always easy; for one thing, we HAVE the world and its ways going against us and mocking us. But it IS an individual journey, though we can have others cheering us on, it is still a journey we must take individually! Jesus is that Narrow Gate He referred too. He is the Way through and only individuals can go through Him.
One day, whether we head down the path of destruction that is broad and easy, or we go down the narrow path that has hardships along the way and leads to the Father, we will ALL individually do what is written in the Word of God, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11.
Individually, we will ALL bow before Him, Christ Jesus and confess once and for all that He IS Lord, and the Bible tells us why; “to the glory of God the Father.”
You know as Christians we should probably all wrestle with this thought; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” – 2 Peter 3:9-10. The Lord DESIRES that none should perish, but He also tells us this; “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Every Christian who truly loves the Lord should be praying for those in the world and especially for those who sit in churches that CLAIM to follow the example of Christ Jesus. Our Heavenly Father truly desires that no one perish, but His Agape, unconditional love will NOT force them to choose His will over theirs, no matter how much He loves them. It wouldn’t be love if He did force them to love Him! We should never give up praying that the Holy Spirit can get through to them and that with a softened heart, the seed of the truth can be planted. BUT, we also need to recognize the truth the Lord has revealed to us; there will be few who actually choose the narrow gate which is in actuality Christ Jesus. God, our Heavenly Father desires a relationship with each of us, free of the sin that He cannot be in the presence of. Therefore we MUST go THROUGH Christ Jesus for it is HIS Blood offering that washes away all of our sins.
Each of us who truly loves the Lord should be able to see very clearly the paths unfolding in front of our vision in this day and age. The broad way is the easy way, full of what seems to be fun and little care and it is the path that groups love to walk down. The harder, more narrow path only allows for individuals, one in front of the other; think about it, those in front are our examples as they stay on this narrow path, and we on the other hand are the example for those right behind us. But it is individual, and when we advance through that narrowest of Gates, our Heavenly Father is standing right on the other side awaiting our arrival! What an AWESOME and GLORIOUS God we serve!