The Strait Gate and The Narrow Way

THE STRAIT GATE & THE NARROW WAY

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
MATTHEW 7:14

Without context, the focus of most Christians becomes the gate. The message presented in many places today is one of being “born again” with little thought of entering the Kingdom of God. Religion likes things simple and easy and the English language plays into this concept very well. However, in the Greek language, there is a whole different thought to what Jesus is saying to us.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrowing (compressing) is the way,
which is leading unto the life, and few there be that are finding it.”
Literal Greek Translation

The Greek tense used here is the Participle mood, best translated here with an “ing” suffixed to the basic verb form. This communicates to us a progressive walk and an on-going sense of growth and development. The narrowing or compressing of the way is the daily experience of all who would find the resurrection Life of Jesus. The leading speaks of following Him with the discovery that death to the outward man is the path to experiencing His life within. Discipleship is the life of the narrowing way, and few there are who choose this path.

Seeing vs. Entering

We hear much of the scripture:

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:4

However, Jesus goes on in his discourse to Nicodemus:

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:5

While many of God’s children are content with seeing the Kingdom, there is a cry within the heart of God that some enter into the Kingdom. There is a pursuit  and a cost involved with this entrance. The narrowing and confinement of the path must be walked in the reality of our hearts. We discover that this way is neither popular nor easy. It is the way of the Cross. It is found in the following of Him, not in the structured ways of men. It leads us into the wilderness where we discover that He came not only to forgive us but to save us from our sins and self-will. Of necessity we must be born not only of water (the cleansing aspect of His life) but also of the Spirit (the empowering aspect of His life) where we find enablement to overcome the issues that bind us. This birthing of the Spirit is also accompanied by the fire of His life to purge the dross and the impurities from our hearts. It is a purifying that no amount of washing will ever accomplish.

The strait gate is the introduction to the Narrow Way. The Gate is not an end in itself as many suppose. It is merely the beginning ever leading us farther on the Narrowing Way wherein we discover the “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our God.

“We want to reach the kingdom of God,
but we don’t want to travel by way of death.
And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’
Do not hesitate, man, to go this way,
when this is the way that God came to you.”
AUGUSTINE

It is the broad and easy road which leads to destruction. A crossless walk is the way of the broad and easy way, its end is judgment and misery.

“…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many are the ones entering in through it”
Matthew 7:13

Ω

“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
William Law

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – FB Meyer

Quote for Today

“Creation reveals God’s nature, as the picture the artist. His eternal Power and Godhead are visible in His works. See Rom 1:20. And all things and beings were made through Jesus Christ. Consider Col 1:15-16. The hands of the Son of God wove the blue curtains above us and filled them with luminaries. The seas are His and He made them, and filled them with living creatures. The woodlands are the outcome of His mind, and He filled them with flowers and birds. He taught them to live without care. He filled the tiny heart of the mother-bird with love to her young and blessed her. His are the cattle on a thousand hills. He molded the red earth into His own likeness and made Man. We were made to have dominion. See Psa 8:6-8. Ask Him to put all things, especially all the evil things of your heart, under your feet. The world is good, and if you were good, you would find it so”
– F.B. Meyer

Meditative Moment

Meditative Moment

The reward of discipleship

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11)

“Salvation is free
But Discipleship will cost you
your life”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Persecution Post

Persecution Post

“Sister Pasqualita spoke at the “Mexico, I Love You” Congress. She had suffered severe ostracism in her small town in the very southern part of Mexico because she had become an evangelical. Other Christians had already been forcibly driven from the town.

One night a group of her persecutors surrounded her grass-roofed home setting it on fire. As she opened the door, someone fired a gun at her. A co-worker shares her story in his own words:

“When she was sharing her testimony she was crying. She said, ‘I thank the Lord that only twenty-one ammunition bits touched me.’ She had been shot all over her body and even in the neck. She was still able to run and fell into a hole where her persecutors couldn’t see her in the dark. She was losing blood quickly but some other townsfolk who appreciated her testimony somehow took her out through the mob to another nearby town’s clinic. She survived but three other family members in the house were murdered.

“She complained to the Lord saying, ‘Lord, why now that I’ve given you my life and my family am I suffering this way?’ The Lord reminded her of a song that she used to sing very often, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.’

“She continued, ‘Then I understood that when I decided to follow Jesus, it was in the midst of any situation, any persecution. My life now belonged to Him. I gained strength in that song. I am preaching again and I am encouraging the rest of the believers that when we decide to follow Jesus there is no turning back.’”

Today Pasqualita continues to be a strong Christian leader and teacher in her community and she still loves to sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.”

Standing Strong in the Storm

Thought for Today – Redeeming the Time

Thought for Today

Redeeming the Time

“Redeeming the time,
because the days are evil”
Ephesians 5:16

Time is one of the most precious commodities given to humankind. The experience of every moment becomes the very fabric of our human existence. Every day, every moment, and every breath are God’s gift to us. Each minute that passes is one less left in our journey here on earth. We are exhorted by God to see these gifts of time as opportunities in our walk with Him.

“So teach us to number our days
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

In Jesus’ life here on earth, no time was squandered. Each moment was filled with purpose and design. He was here to reveal the Father; to please His Father. He came that we might live our life with the same intensity of heart. His Life was active, yet ever at rest. His hands were busy in destroying the works of the devil. His words were filled with power and wisdom. His thoughts towards God’s fallen creation were pure. His feet took Him from the darkness of the synagogues to the lost woman at the well. In each situation men and women were struck with the very light of God. In short, His Life was not His own. John declared:

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.
Were every one of them to be written,
I suppose that the world itself could not contain
the books that would be written”
John 21:25

The Son of God was always engaged in the “now” of life. His heart was and is ever attentive to the will of His Father. Nothing was arbitrary or lost in His short 33 years. The secret of our life is to discover this same perspective. It is the surrendered life, free from our own pursuits, wherein we discover the divine enablement to be sensitive to the opportunities around us. It is here we “redeem the time” allocated to each of us. Discipleship is a journey of following in the Way of the Master; a life of cultivating and developing a sensitivity to His Spirit in our daily lives. The opportunities to extend His Love into the world are all around us.

“Do you not say,
‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’?
Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes,
and see that the fields are white for harvest
John 4:35

Life is to be lived in the moment. The deception of religion is that it concerns and consoles itself with either past or future concepts and ideas; Christ was always in the “now” of His Father. While people were and are looking toward an event, Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes to see that now, in the present, the fields are white unto harvest.

The secret to redeeming the time
is discovered in the “now” life we live.

Ω

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
– C.T. Stud

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Charles Spurgeon

Quote for Today

“I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?'”
– Charles Spurgeon

PODCAST – The Throne of God – Part One Bible Study

Podcast

The Throne of God

“And out of the throne proceeded
lightnings and thunderings and voices…”
Revelation 4:5

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Persecution Post – The Lord has Risen

Persecution Post

“At the time of the cruel persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin, public meetings were regularly held in order to ridicule religion, the church and the priests. On one occasion the inhabitants of a town were summoned to the main square. From a platform on the square, a fluent ‘scholarly’ atheist, who seemed to have many proofs against the Bible, God and the clergy addressed the public.

The crowd had listened silently. But when the local priest was called to the front to answer this brilliant oration, an uneasy muttering rippled through the crowd. The man went and stood close to the microphone and everyone held his breath. The tension could be cut with a knife, and you could hear a pin drop. What would his answer be?

We shall never know what went on in the heart of this man – his fear, his prayer – but at last his voice could be heard, resounding through the loudspeakers, not only to the crowd, but also to a large part of the city: “Khristos voskrese!” Christ is risen!

For one split second there was silence. A shudder went through the crowd and then, as a blazing testimony to the priest and to the atheist opponent, the cry broke out, unanimous and powerful: “Voistinu voskrese!” The Lord is risen indeed!”

Standing Strong Through the Storm