(one of the most photographed gates ~ built in 1888 in St. Augustine, Florida)
We live in an age of mob mentality and contradictions. We, as a nation, cry out that all lives matter, which indeed they do, yet many will blindly follow a crowd by destroying and burning property and bringing harm to others. Women scream for the right to do what they want with their own bodies, but individualism in others is not valued. What I have noticed most in watching people on the news lately is that they are not thinking for themselves. It’s a crowd mentality, and we have a fear of being left out of the crowd. But Jesus warns us about being left out of the Kingdom. He says we should not go to the wide gate where lots of people travel. Find the narrow gate and the few, and there you will find life! You’ll recognize it by its fruit – love, joy, peace and goodness.
As I continue on my journey of reading through Jesus’ words in the New Testament, this next passage toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount is as timely and relevant today as it was when Jesus first spoke these words:
Matthew 7:13-23 ~ Enter through the narrow gate
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!”
The last part is one of the saddest statements Jesus makes. “On that day, many will cry out ‘Lord, Lord!’ It is one of those statements that I believe many people think it is meant for someone else and does not apply to them. But there are many people who like to play it safe just in case – one foot in, one foot out. Just enough church so they don’t go against God, but not enough to make a change in their lives. Sadly, I have some dear friends that fall into this category. They want to believe and probably do to some extent, but they don’t want to give up their lifestyle and make some hard choices. But we cannot live a life away from God and follow God at the same time. Jesus asks us to give up ourselves and follow Him, and it is by that change in our hearts and our thinking, that brings us to Jesus in a personal way. And on that day, Jesus will say, I have walked with you, and you with me. Come in!
I’m concerned about the legalists that have installed a bar half way in the gate and told us that we must duck under it and have installed a vertical divider halfway in the gate and told us that we must pass to the right of it and not touch the edge it is just to say that they have taken the narrow gate and made it too small so that most cannot enter in … not even me, one who opposes the gospel and doctrine of legalism.
Thank you Jamie for reading my post and taking the time to comment. It was Jesus, not the legalists, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, and “I came to save the world” (John 12:47). This is why I am reading Jesus’ direct words in the New Testament and not listening to all the legalists, so I can see what Jesus actually said. For if Jesus really is who he claimed to be, then only his words matter. For one who opposes the gospel of Jesus Christ, how do you suggest we enter in heaven?