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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                  Are You On The Right Way? (7:13-14)

INTRODUCTION

1. Everyone is on a spiritual journey as they travel through life...
   a. Whether religious or not, we travel a spiritual path
   b. Every day we make choices that affects the direction in which we
      are headed

2. Many people think that the paths we can travel are many...
   a. In one sense that may be true; there are all kinds of religions
   b. But in another sense there are really only two paths or ways

3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke of these two ways - Mt 7:
   13-14
   a. Each with its own beginning, each with its own end
   b. One way is heavily populated, the other is traveled by few

4. Where are you in your spiritual sojourn?
   a. Are you on the right way?
   b. Are you heading in the right direction?

[To answer such questions, let's look closely at what Jesus said.  Note
first that...]

I. THERE ARE TWO GATES

   A. THE WIDE GATE...
      1. "for wide is the gate..." - Mt 7:13
      2. This "gate" represents the beginning to the "way" that leads
         to destruction
      3. It is described as "wide"; evidently it is a gate which:
         a. Allows many to enter with no sacrifice on their part
            1) It does not require giving up anything
            2) One is allowed to bring along whatever "baggage" they
               desire
               a) E.g., materialism
               b) E.g., prejudice, hatred, an unforgiving spirit
               c) E.g., believe whatever one wants to believe
         b. Is therefore chosen by most people
            1) For there are no restrictions concerning belief and
               behavior
            2) It also opens the way to "the path of least resistance"

   B. THE NARROW GATE...
      1. "Enter by the narrow gate.." - Mt 7:13
      2. This "gate" represents the beginning, or starting point, to
         the "way" that leads to life
      3. Why is it "narrow"?  Because it is a gate which:
         a. Requires self-denial and obedience - cf. Mt 16:24
         b. Has no room for...
            1) A consuming desire for earthly goods - Mt 6:19-20
            2) An unforgiving spirit - Mt 6:14-15
            3) Self-righteousness - Mt 6:1
            -- As Jesus has already stressed in His sermon on the mount

[These two "gates" are only the starting points.  Let's now take a
closer look at the fact that...]

II. THERE ARE TWO WAYS

   A. THE BROAD WAY...
      1. "...broad is the way" - Mt 7:13
      2. The way that leads to destruction is broad because it allows:
         a. Any behavior one desires
         b. No need for reformation or changes in one's "lifestyle"
      3. Many people love this path
         a. They think they are "free"
         b. They believe they are "open-minded"
         c. They view themselves as "tolerant" of others in this same
            way

   B. THE CONSTRICTED WAY...
      1. "...difficult is the way" - Mt 7:14 (NKJV)
         a. "...narrow the road" (NIV)
         b. "the way is narrow" (NASB)
         c. "narrow is the way" (KJV)
         -- The picture is one of a narrow and difficult path between
            two cliffs
      2. The way that leads to life is "difficult" because it requires:
         a. A righteousness that exceeds that of many religious people
            - Mt 5:20
         b. A change in our behavior - cf. Mt 5:21-7:12
      3. Because of its difficulty, many choose not to travel its path
         a. They think it too "confining"
         b. They think it is too "narrow-minded"

[As Jesus describes the two gates and the two ways, He also reminds us
that...]

III. THERE ARE TWO GROUPS

   A. THE MANY...
      1. "There are many who go in by it" - Mt 7:13
      2. We have seen reasons why this is so:
         a. The entrance is wide:  "Come as you are!  No changes
            necessary!"
         b. The way is broad:  "Make your own rules!  Believe what you
            want!  Do what you want!"
      3. This is the way people travel by default;  unless they are
         actively seeking the narrow path, this is the one they will
         travel

   B. THE FEW...
      1. "there are few who find it" - Mt 7:14
      2. As proven true so often in the past, only few will be saved
         a. E.g., the millions lost in the flood vs. the eight saved on
            the ark
         b. E.g., the hundreds of thousands lost in the wilderness vs.
            the two who entered the promised land
         -- So Jesus warned on another occasion - Lk 13:23-24
      3. That it must be "found" suggests effort must extended
         a. As Jesus said in Lk 13:24:  "Strive to enter through the
            narrow gate..."
         b. Even then not all will be saved:  "...for many, I say to
            you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
         -- Not just effort, but the right kind of effort - cf. Mt 5:6;
            6:33

[Finally, we note that Jesus tells us that...]

IV. THERE ARE TWO DESTINATIONS

   A. DESTRUCTION...
      1. "...broad is the way that leads to destruction" - Mt 7:13
      2. Paul wrote of the "everlasting destruction" that is to come
         - 2Th 1:7-9
         a. Upon those who know not God
         b. Upon those who obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ
      3. John described it as "a lake of fire" - Re 20:15; 21:8
      -- A most sobering thought are these words of Jesus:  "...there
         are many who go in by it." - Mt 7:13

   B. LIFE...
      1. "...difficult is the way which leads to life" - Mt 7:14
      2. This "life" is the "everlasting life" received at the judgment
         - Mt 25:46
      3. It is the "gift of God", given at the end - Ro 6:22-23
         a. To those who have been set free from sin - cf. Ro 6:3-7
         b. To those who became slaves of God and of righteousness
            - cf. Ro 6:17-18
         c. To those who bore the fruit of holiness - cf. Ro 6:20-22
      -- Another sobering thought are these words about the way that
         leads to this life: "...there are few who find it." - Mt 7:14

CONCLUSION

1. So we have seen that Jesus describes:
   a. Two gates
   b. Two ways
   c. Two groups
   d. Two destinations

2. Are there many roads that lead to heaven?
   a. Many people like to think so
   b. That all religions lead to heaven
   c. That it really doesn't matter what you believe or do, as long as
      you are sincere

3. But according to Jesus...
   a. There are only two roads (ways)
   b. One leads to life, i.e., heaven
   c. The other road, filled with many people with many different
      beliefs, leads to destruction!

4. Are you on the right way, the only way, that leads to life?
   a. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes
      to the Father except through Me." - Jn 14:6
   b. The way that He provides is a narrow one, for He requires that
      people keep His commandments - Mt 28:19-20

Will you be among the few, or the many?  Let Jesus direct you along the
narrow way that leads to eternal life!
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