“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV) I am not sure if we pause long enough in this busy life to truly consider what a particular set of Scriptures might mean for us. What the implications mean and how we can use them to motivate us to actually change something that we are doing. We have all seen the key verses before. We have probably heard them used in sermons and I know I have written about them extensively. So let us pause today and reconsider the implications of this teaching from our Lord and Savior. First, Jesus gives away the answer. We can only enter through the narrow gate. Enter where? Heaven beloved. That may sound simple enough where this finds you today but you would be amazed at how poorly some understand this. Most of the confusion comes from listening to the wrong voices. The leaven of compromise has not only entered the church but it has settled in behind the pulpit. Too many preachers are more concerned with church growth than spiritual growth. Jesus has never been clearer about a subject: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. – John 14: 6 (NLT) There is no other way beloved. Despite what wishy washy mega church pastors might say on the latest talk show where they are selling their newest book designed to have you focus on this temporal existence instead of on eternal life. There is no greater purpose to be driven towards. If you are heading to hell then I guess this is your best life now. The devil wants this ecumenical blending of all faiths into a one world religion. It will come under the guise of fairness and will sound reasonable to the unspiritual ear. But it is the exact kind of reasonableness that will condemn so many to eternal separation from God. The next fact presented here by Jesus is that there are only two choices. In test development it is what is called a “forced choice” option. Yet it seems as if so many of us walk around thinking there is a third choice. We know we are probably not heading toward the narrow gate but we certainly do not think we are on the broad path. Charles Stanley said it best: “The broad way is easy to find. In fact, unless you make a conscious choice to avoid it, you’ll find yourself on it.” The harsh reality for us to consider today is that it is actual work to find the narrow way and to stay on the narrow walk. If we are not actively engage in working towards being on the narrow path then by default we are on the broad road. Not only that; but the fact that we are talking about paths indicates that this is an ongoing process. Modern Pentecostalism tends to muddy the picture with its quick and dirty methods of salvation. A lifetime of sin wiped away by saying a magic three sentence prayer. Now is it that easy to embrace the salvation of Jesus Christ? Absolutely but it then requires more and more of you. In the church we hand them a Bible, say a prayer and wish them good luck. We then count them as a “salvation” and move onto the next sales pitch. The result is a large swath of people in the church who believe they are saved because the preacher told them so but are lacking the regenerate heart which is the proof of salvation. Then they enter into membership in their local seeker-friendly/emergent church where their skills are then harvested and they think their new found record of good works is all the proof they need that they are on the narrow road. That is why at the end so many will say Lord Lord but not enter into His eternal peace. Jesus describes the highway to hell as the broad path for a reason – because there are a lot of people on it. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security just because you find yourself in the majority. The false calls for unity in the church where the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is not the unifying principal is nothing more than a celebration of being on the broad path that leads to destruction. Singing kumbya on the way to hell may feel right now, but it will be a cold day when you realize the Master will not open the door to let you in: “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ – Matthew 25: 10-12 (NIV) While we are on the topic of the broad path let us realize where it leads to. The devil and his world systems have marginalized the concept of hell as to almost make it appear as a viable option for people! We have all heard the cute one-liners, such as: “At least my coffee will stay hot in hell.” Beloved, hell is not an acceptable alternative for you or me. We will not be hanging out with our friends in hell. The Bible describes hell as a place of torments and sorrow. A place of outer darkness and gnashing of teeth. Where men are punished with fire and brimstone. A bottomless pit where we can find no rest. Oh beloved we need to be careful to not marginalize hell. When describing the narrow path Jesus flat out tells us that only few will find it. While on the broad path you will have your ears tickled with sermons about how much God wants to bless you with everything to make you rich beyond the dreams of avarice, the narrow path reveals what it should be all about – Jesus. If you find yourself in a church that is preaching about what God can do for you instead of what He has already done you may want to check the path you are on. This is not a joke beloved. Eternity is too long a time to be wrong about things. Jesus is telling us that many will enter through the broad path that leads to destruction. Utter darkness. Complete separation from God. Eternal torment. I know we do not hear about hell too much anymore because it doesn’t fit into the seeker friendly theory of church growth but our ignorance to it does not lessen what it is. We must realize the lengths the devil goes to in order to push us towards the broad path. It will look right and may even sound right. There will be plenty of company and we will have to fight the urge to rationalize it away by thinking “they all can’t be wrong.” Yes beloved they can because small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life. Only a few will find it. Everyone is on one of these two paths. There is no third option. Rev. Anthony.