The Difficult Gate

An illustration of Jesus is the strait gate.

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Jesus gives the reason why he speaks in parables and illustrations because to the person who can’t be bothered investigating and they don’t get it, it is a story to them and that’s about it.  But to those who have received Jesus Christ namely the disciples, these parables give the understanding of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus directly relates to a prophecy saying hearing but not understanding and seeing but not perceiving.  From this scripture we can conclude from our literal ears and eyes that what we see and hear, do not necessarily bring us salvation.  There needs to be something else not what our eyes can see and ears hear.  The parable of the strait gate is a depiction of what he is exactly trying to say.  They see but they don’t see.  They are looking, hearing and reading but they don’t get it.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Did you notice in these scriptures there are two things that make it difficult?  The word strait is the word for difficult.  It is entering into the difficult gate.  The gate itself is difficult.  It is hard to get into and at the end he says and few there be that find it.

The gate is not just difficult but it is also hard to find.  We have a broad road and then we have a gate ,a gate which is difficult and hard to find.  It is in a conspicuous place.

The Cross

The cross stands where two roads diverge. One is the path of obedience leading to heaven. The other leads into the broad road, where man can easily go with his burden of sin and corruption, but it leads to perdition (MS 50, 1898). {5BC 1095.10}

The cross is where two roads separate. It is an intersection. Jesus said if I be lifted up, I will draw how many men? All men unto me. We need to take that as exactly as it says. All men will be drawn to the cross of Christ. What stands at the cross of Christ? Two roads. Do all men go through the strait gate? No. In this world every single person has to come to a decision of what they want to do with the cross of Christ whether they hear about it or see it in nature, every person has to come to a point where the cross of Christ is. Jesus is on the cross and he is saying is nothing to you all ye that pass by? Beside the cross is a major highway. Our God put the symbol of salvation on a major highway where so many people are travelling. All the people are travelling on highways and that is where the cross of Christ is. If you can picture a big highway and you are driving along and there is the cross of Christ and you say look at that, it is the cross and you may admire the cross and you may think wow. The whole world, even the movies are depicting the cross as many people are attracted by it as it attracts. But what is that? The cross of Christ is seen and is acknowledged but they keep driving.

If you are going to heaven and you thought great I’m going to heaven and you start out and are driving and on the way you see the cross of Christ along the way, would you think you are on the right path? You think wow the cross and you keep going believing that you are going to heaven and everything is well. But is that the way to heaven? Just because you passed the cross of Christ does it mean you are going to heaven? The cross stands where two roads diverge. In our mind we might see two paths like a Y. I don’t see it like that. I see a major highway and a conspicuous little lane way that you couldn’t find with your human eye. To some people there is no diverging of the highway of the cross. You acknowledge Jesus as a good person, the son of God and you keep going in your life. You think I have seen and experienced that cross but you are still on the highway. You are still on this major 8 lane road. There was a statement that Jesus made.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

This gate where Jesus says few there be that find it, have they sought for it? If you pass the cross of Christ and you took that cross as a mere proof you were on that road, why would you look for another?  If you hear the message of Christ and think that is salvation, why would you seek anything more? Why would you seek a deeper meaning of God?  There needs to be a seeking when we come to a point in our life where we see that cross we need to start seeking. When you find it then what do you have to do? What do you do when you see a door? You knock and it will be opened and then you have to go through but this gate is difficult. You have to find it but are on a highway and you are not expecting a little lane way. Here is a conspicuous little gateway.

The Rich Young Ruler

The rich young ruler was travelling along his highway of life and realised he may not have been going the right way so he came to Jesus;

Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 

Jesus beheld them or He looked at them and said with man it is impossible. How strait is this gate? It is impossibility to humanity. If you are driving in a car along a nice highway and you are travelling a good speed, how many of you stop to see where some four wheel drive tracks go? Some want to cut through the bush and go somewhere. How many of us stop in our little two wheel drive cars to see where they lead? This is exactly what it is like, it is an impossibility. You wouldn’t even consider it, you keep on driving. Are there some things in our Christian walk that we think have nothing to do with getting to heaven whereas it has everything to do with getting to heaven? Jesus talked to this young man and said if you want to enter, keep the commandments. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The Eye of a Needle

I puzzled about this. A camel going through the eye of a needle. There is a small gate which is was for war that only people can get through but camels can’t who are laden with things. They have to unpack their backs and crawl through, it is very difficult.  There is also another thought on this. The word camel in the Greek it is spelt kamelos.  The word for rope that they tie the big ships down with is kamilos without the E.  The Arabic word for camel and rope is the identical word, the rope that ties ships down. Either way, whether you want t get a rope that holds a ship down and put it through your sewing needle or put a camel through a gate, either way it’s hard.  Either way it’s impossible without God.  This difficult gate, what makes it difficult?  Why do you want to go to heaven?  We want to live with God forever and have eternal life.

The Dead Man at the Gate

If you want to go to a place which you could live forever, would you start going down a track where there was a dead man at the beginning?  I want to live forever and so I go down a nice road that is happy and many people going down there and then there is a bush track with a dead man in front with thorns and blood, I don’t think that is the right way I’m going this way.  We are looking with the eyes that you can’t perceive. This is what Jesus was saying about his parables and even of himself that he had no form or comeliness or when we see him we won’t desire him. Jesus came as the strait gate to the Jewish nation. Did they see that gate?  They didn’t see it let alone trying and get through it.  Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life.  No man comes to the father but by me. Jesus is the way, door and gate. He says I am the door to the sheep. This way of life begins with a dead man, the cross of Calvary.  It is not just admiring that dead man.  Christianity is not just about admiring what Jesus did.

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes [shall be] they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 

Why do we want to go to heaven?  Do we want war or peace?  We want peace but Jesus says don’t think I am come to send peace on this earth.  If you want peace would you go to heaven?  How many of us here just want a blissful family unity and Jesus says that the foes will be of his own household.  To love someone else more than my family, that doesn’t sound like heaven.  Taking up my cross and following him, should I be looking for myself?  If I want go to a place of eternal life should I look for it?

Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Herein the way of having life is that you must die.  You have to die.  For this reason, this gate is strait.  This is why the gate to heaven is difficult.  To admire Christianity and read the bible and look at the cross from the highway isn’t salvation. To say look at what God has done for me and say wow but you don’t follow in the path of self denial in your cross, you haven’t entered in.  Perhaps you haven’t even found the gate. We must ask ourselves the question, what we see, is it really what we are seeing?  What we think, is it really how it should be?  If I want to look for something, I can find it.  But if I’m looking for the wrong thing then I have to find it.  I might find it in the broad way.

The Desire for Life

Humanity inside of itself has desires to life. The struggle for life.  It is the light of everyone in the world, to desire life. This desire of life is good.  If we go on that desires alone without committing it in to God’s hands that desire will lead us to just look for earthly life. This is the faith that the desire for life is in us because we are alive. That is the faith that has been given to every single person. That is your faith.  What the strait gate is offering is not your faith but the faith of Jesus, the faith of someone else.  That faith that you have if you submit it to the bible to Jesus Christ and lay it down you will receive a greater faith. What did the disciples ask Jesus? Increase my faith.  Is there a need for us to have a increased faith?

A substance of something hoped for added to us? If we don’t want to add to our faith and increase our faith, that faith can lead into lots of different religions. People can have lots of different religions but is it the faith of Jesus?  The desire for life when people worship Buddha or Mohammed, their faith is driving them to that as that is the way they believe is leading them to life but that is part of the eight lane highway. Although we have a desire for life, we must be distrustful of our selves, of what we see. Even when we see faults among us as we see fault but we are to look beyond the fault.  Can you see life through a dead man?  Our human eyes say no.  Our human eyes can say acknowledge the dead man but we honour it in lip service and keep going. Do we believe there is life in the dead man of Calvary? Was there life in Jesus?  Yes.  What happened three days later?  Life came up.  Divinity couldn’t die.  Can you see the divinity in him?  This is the question; can you see the life of Jesus in each other?  Or is all you see human faults and problems and you look and say what sort of a person is that?  If that is how you look at people, you will never understand the parables of Jesus. Seeing, they see not.  They are looking at it but what is really there is not coming in, they are just seeing externally.

Those who travel in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. .  {MYP 126.1}

If you saw someone and their face is sad, are they sad?  If you saw someone cry are they crying?  The bible says cry as though you cry not.  What we see on the external of people is not necessarily the truth.  If we always go on externals, we will never see in the cross of Christ what Abraham saw.

They do not dress like the company in the broad road, or talk like them, or act like them. A Pattern has been given them. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and travelled it Himself. His followers see His footsteps and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely; so can they, if they follow His footsteps.  {MYP 126.1}

Here we have this strait road and if you want to go through it, you have to change your whole life.  The way you talk, the way you act, the way you dress, the way you relate with people.  Everything changes.  Did the young rich man want to change how he related to the poor?  He didn’t want to change. We can see that this strait gate is difficult to find because what we are seeing by our mortal vision is not the case and if we do discover the richness of Jesus Christ and taste the glories of God, we can say no this is too much involvement of my whole life.  Once you have found the gate, they will seek to enter in but can’t.  They have too much baggage.  They can’t carry on.

What is something you can’t carry pass the cross of Christ?  Can you carry your sins through the cross of Christ?   You can’t.  It’s impossible to carry your sins.  If you go through you have a choice, disown all your sins or if you want them, take them down the highway, one or the other.  If we go through the cross of Christ, where do our sins go? Do we have to be sinless before we go through the cross of Christ?  No.  He is the friend of sinners, he is calling the sinners to come, those with the big bags come.  As you go there and you go through the cross, they don’t fit through the door.  It’s like the camel with his bag, he doesn’t fit and can’t go through. It’s not just about riches or big bank account, you can’t empty it.  You can’t take your bank account to heaven but the baggage have to come off.  All those threads have to come off.  There has to be a reducing of your load.  Not just a reducing, it has to come off.  What if you like one of your sins?  What if you don’t see one of your sins as sins?  And you think this is not a sin, this valuable.  Can it go through?  If we perceive it as valuable we must perceive it as a sin.  We can argue all day long.  How much can we trust our vision?  We can’t trust it to find or get in the gate.  We have to walk by faith and not by sight.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son]. 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham

Did Abraham want to give up his son?  Everything was dependent on this son. The blessing of salvation to the whole world was going to come through this son and he was to give it up.  To destroy and kill him.  This is the same thing.  What perception he had in the carnal mind would say no that will not happen. This is the promise, I want to have this promise this life, his own life depended upon his son.  Abraham’s whole life and salvation was in his son.  It’s not just a matter of giving up your son and you continue living, if that son died forever Abraham would die for ever.

That is the seriousness of it. That is the cross.  Abraham saw the cross, he experienced the cross.  If we are to be the children of Abraham, if you are Abraham’s seed then you would do the works of Abraham.  You would have the same mind vision of Abraham.  Yes it is a trial.  He was tried, when he was tried by faith not by sight, he went and offered his son and what was his reason?  Was his reason that just before I kill my son God would provide a lamb?  What was his reason?

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Was Abraham going to kill his son literally?  All the way?  Absolutely.  He wasn’t just saying I’ll do it and maybe the Lord will come in the last minute, he was going to go all the way to take his sons life and his own through his son.  His belief was that God could raise him from the dead. Abraham entered in at the strait gate.  He found the strait gate and he entered in.  We are called upon to give everything over.  Our heart, our children, our husband, our wife, our family are all to be given over to God.  Everything.  What God says we will do.  Like job.  Though he slay me yet will I trust him.  Though I don’t even get it anymore, my human brain it’s impossible.  Submit it. Ask God what are the sins that mar my life?  Don’t try and understand the bible in your own carnal security that this verse is too extreme or people will laugh at me if I do this, all these reasoning’s are all wrong.  They all stop us form entering the gate just like the rich young ruler as we are rich with the things we love.

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ask God everything that mars your life, every single thought, action or word that is wrong and then say lead me.  It is one thing for God to show you how you are wrong and another to enter in.  When we do enter in, we have nothing left.  Every single strand has been stripped from us.  Every burden has been taken from us.  Everything has gone.  We are nothing but the Lords.

Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

You are nothing when you say that.  that is when you have entered in.  If we want him to be our shepherd we have to give up everything.  It doesn’t mean we empty our bank account and throw everything out of our windows and sit on the floor, we give him our heart.  if God wants you to do anything you will do it.  If it is God who says it then that is the way I would follow.  If Jesus stepped there then I will step there.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalms 23:1 The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

When you think about this Psalm, what happens if you are in the desert?  If you are like the child of Israel in the wildness wonderings, could you say;

Psalms 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

If you are in the Arabian desert could you say that?  You can only say that if you can see the green grass of God’s blessings.  If you are looking with human eyes you will just whinge.  It’s hot I’m thirsty.  If you can see past all the rubbish, dirt and desert you will say;

Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Although physically it’s a desert.

Psalm 23: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Did Jesus say that in the wilderness of temptation?  What did he cry out on the cross?  I thirst.  He leads me beside still waters. If you read psalms 22 you will see it’s his experience on the cross.

Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Who is that? it’s Jesus on the cross. If you read psalm 24 who is that?  Its Jesus ascension to heaven.

Psalms 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Chapter 23 is his thoughts, his prayer on the cross. While he is in the physical saying I thirst, in his heart he says into thy hands I commend my spirit he leadeth me beside still waters.

Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Although I am walking through this, I will fear no evil.  This is the strait gate.  This is the strait gate that we are to see that no one can see.  The whole world is rushing by and can’t see that small track into the bush with someone dead at the entrance.  We are to see life everlasting and people will say you are mad come this way, and you say no there is life here.  They will say no it’s a desert, and you say no its green grass, and they say, no come this way. That is the human reasoning. It is my prayer that we can all ask the Lord to increase our faith.  To see in every trial that you go through the blessing of God.  To go through every difficulty and see success and every loss and see the gain because unless we see it that way we can never find the way. May the Lord help us like that and see his goodness.  Even if we don’t see it we can praise the Lord.

Amen.

Posted on February 23, 2010, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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