“Two Paths, Two Destinations, One Choice”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 7.13-14
Matthew 7. Around here there aren’t very many busy roads. We have to go to Edmonton. Often when I travel down a busy highway in Edmonton I think to myself, “Wow, all these people are going somewhere.” But, as I’m told, Edmonton is nothing like Highway 401 in Ontario. Its widest segment has 18 lanes, boasting around 500,000 vehicles daily in the summer. What a broad way!
Truly, all those people are going somewhere, as Jesus says Matthew 7:13-14
Matthew 7:13–14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
No doubt, all the billions of people are saying to themselves, “There is comfort in numbers. We’re all headed to the great unknown.”
And then, at someone’s funeral they comfort themselves with, “He was sincere, such a good person and he helped others. She was so kind. So thankful she’s not suffering anymore.”
Jesus is closing His Sermon on the Mount and He snaps people back into reality and looks out over those to whom He preaches and He appeals to them: there are “Two Paths, Two Destinations, One Choice” … enter the narrow gate.
Often in Scripture, the choice of following the LORD or not is presented as 2 ways.
For example, Psalm 1:1–2 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Two choices, walk in the counsel of the wicked or delighting in the law of the LORD.
Similar, in Pro. 9:6, “Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 15:19 The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.
Jeremiah 21:8 “You shall also say to this people, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.
So it is in our text this morning. There is a wide gate that opens to a broad way, with many people. It leads to destruction. Then there is the narrow gate that opens to a narrow way, with few people on it. It leads to life.
Enter the narrow gate that leads to life. But before we dicsuss the gates, let’s first talk about the two paths.
Two paths: Broad way, difficult way
Jesus explains why we should enter into the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it.
EXP: The broad way, the wide way.The way that leads to destruction is pleasant. It is the path of least resistance; otherwise, most people would not be on this way.
Life on the broad way: Lanes to choose from
The broad way is big and spacious, and, like highway 401, there are plenty of lanes to choose from. If we could kind of take a helicopter view of the different lanes on this broad way that leads, as we can see, it leads to the destruction, ..“Look there, there are a lot of people in the “control lane” going down this broad way…he says…
“I like being in control of my life”
He says, “I enjoy my own way. I’m okay with God, he is okay with me. And he knows I like to do my own thing.” Little do these people realize, Eph. 2, that they are living according to the prince of the power of the air and are by nature a child of wrath. They are, John 8, of their father the devil. That’s hardly being in control of your own life.
Over in that lane, there is a great line up in the “earthly success lane.” We ask, “Why are you in this lane, dear friend? Don’t you know this lane also is heading toward destruction?”
“Well, I enjoy my own pursuits. I want the recognition of the world and to have the approval of men.”
James 4:14 “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” What good is the praise of men?
You may enjoy your own pursuits, but Luke 12:20 “God will one day say to you, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared for yourself?’ You can’t take anything with you.
And there is a traffic jam in pleasure lane. One lady says …
Pleasure lane: “I like my sin”
“Yes, I know I can’t take anything with me, but we might as well “eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
Dear soul, …Galatians 6:7 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. v.8…For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.” Can’t you see, you’re headed toward eternal corruption?
And please understand Pro. 13:15, “the way of the transgressor leads to their calamity.” You know, for God has showed it to you, that God is holy and righteous and can’t let sin go unpunished. Live in reality, not in the deceitfulness of sin and riches.
Many a man changes lanes from time to time. A popular lane for those in pleasure lane is to turn to the “good works lane,” he says…
“I’m not sinner like like I used to be when I was in pleasure lane. I go to church, my good works outweigh my bad works.”
“Sir, Jesus calls you a whitewashed tomb Matthew 23:27 27 “…which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside [you] are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
Matthew 23:25 25 “Woe to you…for you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside [you] are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
Please understand…Isaiah 64:6 6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
“So, kind sir, in the presence of a holy God, your sin taints everything you do, so that on the scale of good works and bad works, you actually have no good works.
Many on this path, sadly.
As you can see from our helicopter view, sadly, many are on this broad way. There is a lane for every reason on this way. And they stay on this way because the way to life is too difficult.
Life on the difficult way
EXP difficult: As we look over at the other highway …. Verse 14, “for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life.” As we look, we see it is a difficult way.
That word there for “narrow” in verse 14, “the way is narrow” is a word that means, “to crowd in hard against.” It’s used for example in Mark 3:9 to refer to people crowding in on Jesus, a tight space.
Here it is used metaphorically to convey the sense of difficulty and restrictive. Following Christ is like going into a cave with narrow passageways. Imagine going through a series of caves each of which gets more restrictive. You look at that path and think, “That’s too narrow! I wouldn’t make it!”
It is difficult ()
The way of the cross is norrow and difficult because you battle against your own self. There is the putting off of sin, the necessity of persecutions, the turning from the world, and the seeking of things unseen.
That’s difficult and the way is too tight to have your sin, your ambitions, your pride, and desire for riches. Jesus says,
Mark 8:35 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Losing your life…that’s a narrow, restrictive way. But it’s not like the path of following Christ is without it’s blessings…
When somebody comes to Christ and enters the narrow way, on this path are new joys and new desires. Old things pass away, all things become new. He is a new creation in Christ Jesus. And when he repents of sin, the power of sin is broken! He has died to sin and he is alive to God. And so by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he partakes of the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, and patience!
There is great joy on this path! But that prospect isn’t enough for most to leave the immediate gratification of the broad way. Indeed, as we look out over the narrow way, there are few who are on it.
TRANS: Now, each of these two ways leads to its destination. Two ways, two destinations.
Two destinations: Destruction, life
Jesus says…Matthew 7:13 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
In our helicopter view, we can see that the broad way leads to destruction. “Destruction” is the same destination for those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Their god is their appetite, they glory in their shame and put their minds on earthly things. Their destination is destruction, Philippians 3:19.
This broad way leads out over a cliff into hell!
Broad way leads to destruction: Hell
Hell is the place for those who reject Christ. It is a final judgment! It is eternal punishment, separation from God, and the experience of the unquenchable fire of the wrath of God. It is everlasting torment.
But the difficult way, the narrow way leads to life!
Difficult way leads to life/heaven/new heaven new earth
This is eternal life where there will be no tears, no pain, no sorrow or death…. This path, the narrow path …the way of the cross… there will be no sin there, the curse of the earth will be gone and those who have trusted Christ will be with God and Jesus Christ for ever living in the eternal city with glories beyond description.
Man will by no means, apart from the experience of it, be able to know the depths of the splendor that is there.
Two ways, two destintions.
Consider again the two paths as they lead out into the horizon… the broad, nice and wide path… and many are on it. It is the path of worldly pleasure and the delusion of self destiny… One of merry-making and that abuses the resources of this world for selfish gain. There is the congratulations of others on this way, the pride of life. But it ends in a Christless eternity and everlasting torment.
Then, there is the difficult way. It is the way of the cross on which Christ has died, and He offers you to carry a cross, and along with it, eternal life. But pouring out from the foot of the cross is the water of life, that refreshes weary travellers along its way. The hills are steep, there is no prestige, there are many a snare and a trap and a struggling against the inclinations of the flesh. But at the end, the inheritanace of eternal life.
Shifting our attention again to the broad way, it is like everyone on that broad way is lulled to sleep. All of the gaiety, fun, pomp, pleasure, posessions, and the desires of the eyes have deadened people’s conscience and people don’t understand.
The whole world seems to be on a giant escalator, heading down to the pit. They feast, and work for money and worldly success, and thirst for the entertainments of the world and they have been lulled to sleep! Their conscience barely pricks their hearts that God is angry and they go about their lives thinking all is well!
And then we come alongside and we warn them, “Look, the end of this path is death and eternal destruction! Can’t you see? Jesus, the eternal One, is Himself warning you. Get off this downward path before it is too late!”
“Ah, what’s the use” comes the reply. “Your way is too narrow, so strict. Lighten up a little.”
TRANS: The gate leading to the one is broad and you can take anything you want through it. But the gate leading down the difficult path is small…so small in fact, it takes a miracle for your soul to fit through it.
One choice: Remain through the wide gate, narrow gate
You can choose the wide gate
You are on the broad way by birth: sinner from birth verses
The fact is, humanity is on this broad way by birth. Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.
The cry is exaggerated…lies, deceit, pride, grumble…broad way, from birth!
TRANS: But by choice or lack thereof, people stay on this broad way…
By choice, you stay on the broad way
By choice, those on the broad way have unbelief. Those in the broad way do not believe that their sin is that bad. They do not believe that in white hot holiness of God. Nor do they receive the undeniable: that Jesus is the judge, proven by the resurrection from the dead.
By choice, those on the broad way retain their pride. They have grandiose delusions of their own greatness… But, in reality they are but a worm. They put themselves on the throne, thinking themselves great..
By choice those on the broad way live selfishly, feasting on the rubbish of this world, thinking they live sumptuously.
And by choice those on the broadway live religiously. They think themselves good enough… Or they trust in their own decision for Christ, or they invited Jesus into their life, but there is no life change they are but whitewash tomb. By choice and by birth, they enter through wide gate and stay on this broad way that leads to destruction.
TRANS: And naturally, as we consider human nature, not to make a choice is to stay on this broad way. There is but one choice: enter the narrow gate.
You can choose the narrow gate
“Strive” (repent/cut off hand) “Find” it; “Deny self” Nothing of “invite Jesus into your life.”
Jesus says elsewhere in Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
That word “strive” has the idea of agonizing for it. Indeed it is an agony to come to Christ, because there is great sacrifice. It is pictured as taking up your cross, it is pictured as cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye.
Jesus talks about “counting the cost” of following him. This is therefore by no means, “repeat this prayer after me and welcome to the kingdom” kind of evangelism.
There of necessity must be the recongition that this gate is narrow, it is small. It is too small to let in your desires for sin. It is too small for self to squeeze through or to think to oneself, “I will have Jesus and the world too.” It is too small for any so-called good works to enter in.
It is too small for prestige; it is too small for reputation… It takes a miracle of God to get your soul through it.
But nothing is impossible with God! It can be an agony, but it is not complicated. Cling to Christ!
Jesus offers you a cross to die on and His sacrifice to live by
glories of the gospel.
Jesus offers you a cross to die on and His sacrifice to live by and there is no other gate.
John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
It is exclusive, it is narrow! Jesus is the only way. He is the only way out of the sinful misery of this world. The Son of God in heaven, came down to earth lived that perfect life, and laid down his own life…
Are we settled on this? No one took Jesus life from Him. He said no one can take it from him, he laid it down. He has the power to lay it down and He has the power to take it back up again. He himself purposefully died on the cross for us and he purposefully raised himself from the dead… That whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 7.13-14
And so Jesus is appealing to you and to those whom you love: strive and enter into this narrow gate that leads to life! Jesus says, John 6:37 “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
Revelation 22:17… And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
John 10:9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
The gate is open, He beckons those far and wide to enter. Be a part of His mission and appeal to those around you to enter into the only gate, Jesus Christ.
298 are you washed in the Blood.