Christian Fellowship 1996-12-30 - The Straight Gate

Matthew 7:13, "enter in at the straight gate"

We are all on a journey, on our way to a destination. There are two places where we will arrive, one of two gates we will use to enter our destination. One is a gate of abiding life, one is a gate of destruction.

This verse removes many of the stumbling blocks to serious religion that the world greets us with. There are difficulties on our journey. The vast majority take the easy way out and head towards the wide gate. This verse comes in the midst of Christ's sermon on the mount and follows the trend of the sermon that, "it is a hard business to follow Christ". The way to life is a narrow road, hard to find, and hard to walk in. However, cost what it will, Christ exhorts us to enter by the straight gate.

The course pointed out to us is a safe one. A Gate in Scripture is, Acts 12:10, the entrance to a city and, Acts 3:10, the entrance to the Temple. So here is the metaphor, heaven is compared to a holy city. So the godly are, as it were, in the outer court of heaven and the ungodly are in the outer court of hell, both making progress on their journey to their place.

The reasons Christ gives us this warning:

  1. The alternative to the straight gate is easy and it is a gate used often. However it is very dangerous. We must not divide the gate and the way to the gate. They are the same. They may be distinguished in some respects, but they are undivided in reality.
  2. Though the gate we are called to enter by is difficult, it is a safe and happy way. The reason the gate is narrow is because the duty of serious religion is difficult. The Jewish Rabbis speak of the gate of repentance, the gate of prayer, and the gate of tears. These gates are much like our gate that we must enter through.
  3. The use of this gate is infrequent, few find it. There is no difficulty in finding the wide gate. In fact, few seek the narrow gate. Most are blind and corrupted by lusts and the narrow way is burdensome to them. However, for those that find the narrow gate it is a happy journey that they begin towards it. Our journey is a steady course that leads away from the devil, the world and the flesh. So the hardness of the journey is balanced with the joy of moving away from that which plagues us the most.

Heaven is large but the way to heaven must be narrow.--Henry Smith

Heaven begins where sin ends. --Thomas Adams

Soli Deo Gloria,