Christianity Today 5

Matthew 7:13 “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. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 23:26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

It appears that few people really believe that there is a narrow gate and a narrow path on the way to life. The Scripture tells us that there are few who find that narrow gate, and as such there are many who are on the broad road that leads to destruction. It is not just that there are many who are on the broad road that leads to destruction, but that there are many religious people who are on the broad road. Since the people have entered some form of gate, perhaps one that appears narrow to them, they think that they are on the road to life. Jesus tells us that there are many who have entered the wide gate and are on the broad road. But again, many of those people are religious people and think that they entered through the narrow gate and are on the narrow way.

Jesus Christ was and is truth Himself. He told the people these things and they were absolutely the truth of the matter. Those words were preserved by Jesus for His people in our day as well. Jesus tells us that the gate is narrow that one enters the narrow road to life on. False prophets, though many with orthodox credentials and perhaps many books to his or her credit, will say something opposite of what Jesus said. The false prophet, however, is going to be quite tricky. The false prophet will perhaps set out a very narrow gate and a narrow path and tell you that he is speaking the truth. However, the narrow gate of the false prophet will usually be something that is in the power of the human being though it may be very hard. The narrow path that the false prophet sets out may also appear very narrow, but in fact it is still part of the broad road.

The modern versions of Christianity are not all obviously wrong. Instead, they may have the name of a respectable denomination on the sign. They may have a respectable church creed. They may have a pastor with all the respectable credentials. They may have pastors who can do all sorts of miracles and all sorts of powerful speaking, but that does not mean that they are setting out the true narrow gate and the true narrow path. The path to destruction would not be so destructive if it is obviously the broad road. Just because a false prophet declares he is setting out a narrow gate does not mean that it is the true narrow gate. Just because a false prophet declares that he is setting out a narrow road does not mean that it is the narrow road. We must remember that the Pharisees had a version of a narrow gate and a narrow road as well. It was all based on their legalistic type of keeping the law that seemed like it was such a narrow gate and a narrow road. But they made it up and it was not the one Jesus taught.

False prophets do not always come as the face of evil, but instead they come as ministers of light. In fact, false prophets can also be deceived themselves. They can be earnest about their deceptions and truly believe that what they teach is true. As such, we should beware of false prophets. Both the true narrow gate and the true narrow path are Christ Himself. The soul that has Christ has to be turned from all hope in self and that includes entering the gate by any other power but Christ Himself and by His grace. Pride and self has a relentless grip and a powerful grip on us and unless we are brought to the end of that pride and self and give up and cry out to Christ to be delivered, we will always choose a gate that pride and self can retain something. Death to self is necessary to truly follow Christ out of love for Christ. A false prophet is known by giving people ways through a narrow gate that allow people to retain some little control of self. This is the majority report in modern professing Christianity. We are allowed to retain self whole or at least appear to retain just a bit. But that is simply, despite the narrow appearances, just another broad gate and broad road.

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