Archive for the ‘Sobering Thoughts’ Category

Sobering Thoughts 18

October 26, 2016

Mat 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.

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

Isaiah 58:1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

How far can people go in the ways of morality and still be strangers to Christ? It would appear from the verses above and many passages in the New Testament that people can go very far in the ways of morality and still be far from Christ. How much theology can people know and still be strangers to Christ? It appears that they can be profound theologians and scholars and still be strangers to Christ. How far can people go in their religion and still be strangers to Christ? It appears that they can go very, very far in the things of religion and still be utterly void of the true knowledge of Christ. How far can preachers go in their preaching of orthodox religion and still be quite apart from the truth and Christ? It would appear that they can be popular preachers, orthodox preachers (in terms of the standards of a denomination), and even skilled at speaking.

The Lord Jesus spoke very clearly on this and so did His apostles, but people do not want to hear those truths. It is far easier to preach morality and religion than it is to preach the heart-searching truths of the depravity of man and the deceptive nature of the heart. It is far easier to preach morality and religion than it is to preach a Gospel of free-grace where God is gracious to whom He will be gracious. These things are the things that men hate and will not stand for unless God changes their hearts. It is also easier to listen to hard doctrine when a person agrees with it than it is to have the heart searched for the life of Christ and true grace.

The focus of preaching (so-called) has moved from the glory of God in Christ and the Gospel to teaching on a text in its historical context. Now this is not to say that having a text of Scripture is not important and it is not to say that placing a text in its historical context is not important. It is, however, to say that doing those things has a greater purpose. The purpose of preaching is primarily to glorify God, but in order to do that we must show men the narrow door and the narrow path. So many people have entered through the wide gate and are on the broad road and they are rushing to destruction while they are being comforted and told that they are true believers.

Jesus the Christ told us about how there would be these false prophets who were in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they were (in reality and spiritually) ravenous wolves. In our day we cannot imagine such nice people who have been to seminary being wolves. We cannot imagine these caring people who seem to have such concern for others and “me” being ravenous wolves. We cannot imagine a person preaching such thoughtful and intellectual sermons as being a wolf. Even more, we cannot imagine those who are orthodox in their theology as being wolves.

We must be awakened and know that there are ravenous wolves among us and they are in the pulpit. People are going to hell and are never awakened to their lost condition. People enter through very wide gates and are never told that the true gate is a very narrow one. People are on the broad road and are never told that it leads to destruction. People are very moral and are not told that their morality can damn them and not save them. People are very religious and are not told that their religion can damn them and not save them. People are very orthodox and are not told that their orthodoxy can damn them and not save them. The wolves are among us and at times it appears that the wolves outnumber the sheep. Jesus told us to beware of false prophets. He did not say that they were obvious, but that they wore sheep’s clothing. We need to listen to Christ.

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Sobering Thoughts 17

October 22, 2016

Mat 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.

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

Isaiah 58:1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

These people had the appearances of true religion and the appearance of seeking God, but they fell far short. We should learn from them and search our own hearts to see if we are doing the same thing. It will do not good if we are very, very religious and yet our hearts are serving self rather than the living God. It will not matter on that day how hard we worked and the degree we used religion as a means of appearing to seek God when in fact we served ourselves and loved ourselves.

Notice something of their hearts in the language uses. They fasted and yet wondered why God did not see what they had done. They humbled themselves and yet wondered why God had not noticed. As the Pharisees in Matthew 6 prayed, gave alms, and fasted for the sake of religious pride and to be noticed, so these people served self as well. They did not do what they did to seek God in truth and love, but instead their hearts always wanted something from God for what they did. They did not use the things of God to seek God for Himself, but instead they used the things of God to seek God (in appearance) to get the things they wanted for self.

This should drive us to search our own hearts. Why do we pray and why do we fast? Why do we go to church and sing the songs and listen to preaching? Why are we moral? Why do we do the things of religion rather than not? We may have heard about the Pharisees and know they did them from wrong motives, but that does not mean that our motives are right. It is possible to be as hypocritical as the Pharisees and yet part of our hypocrisy and deception is to just try not to be like the Pharisees. Our hearts are deceptive and they will find ways to hide from the light, but we must seek the Lord to shine the light in our hearts and ask Him to expose the real truth of them.

The Israelites of that day fasted and they humbled themselves (they thought), but a true fast is far more than just not eating food. We must have grace to abstain from eating and have the Lord work in us that we may truly seek Him for Himself. Oh how easy it is to think that if we refrain from eating and pray for certain things that we are truly fasting and truly humbling ourselves. Our proud hearts will take the opportunity to deceive us if we are not careful and will bring up all the religious things we have been doing and compare self to others who do not do those things. But the Israelites fasted and yet they sought their own desires and did not treat their workers in a just manner. How could they seek God for just decisions when they did not treat others justly?

Humility is not something that can be obtained by the work of the flesh, yet that appears to be how they approached it. As long as the proud self is trying to humble itself it is nothing but proud self trying to earn something from God. That proud self that tries to humble itself will indeed obtain something it thinks of as humility and it will be so proud of its humility, yet surely it is clear that being proud of our humility is nothing but a great deception of our own proud hearts.

Beware how far we can go in the things of religion and yet have unchanged hearts. Beware of how far we can go in the things of religion and yet be just like the Pharisees though we are too proud to notice the resemblance. Beware of how far we can go in the things of religion and yet still be in the bondage of self and pride. Oh how awful it will be on that day to be found full of the religion of self rather than Christ Himself.

Sobering Thoughts 16

October 21, 2016

Mat 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.

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

Isaiah 58:1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

Notice how far these people went in the ways of religion. Their religion, at least in appearance, seems to have gone beyond just the mere externals. Their religion appeared to be focused on God in many ways and to have been a way of seeking Him in some form of truth. Their religion was based (in many regards) on the ways that God had commanded. They were Israelites and were of the house of Jacob. If we read the things of Isaiah 58 in our day about a local church we would think that these people were a group of true believers.

God commanded Isaiah to raise his voice like a trumpet and declare to His people (the Israelites) their transgressions and their sins. Yet, what were the things that they were doing? They were seeking Him day by day and they even delighted to know His ways. They were a nation that had been involved in righteous things and they had not forsaken the ordinance of God. They prayed to Him for just decisions and they delighted in the nearness of God. They fasted and they humbled themselves. But again, if we found a local church where the people were doing these things we would think that we had found a true group of people truly seeking the living God with all of their hearts. We would think that we had found a group of true believers who had hearts for God.

Regardless of how far they went in their religious practices, however, their hearts were not right before God and they were not converted people. It is possible for people to seek God every day, but if they are not seeking Him from a new heart and a heart that loves Him they are seeking Him for selfish reasons and as such they are not seeking God for Himself. This is a point that must be made and people must come to see. Seeking God for selfish reasons or reasons that are self-centered (even if for religious reasons) is idolatry. It boils down to seeking God for a greater purpose and is the worship of self and loving self with all of our hearts rather than God.

These people sought God daily and they delighted to know His ways. People can have a delight in religious things that is not a delight in God Himself. People can love the external things of religious morality and delight in those things without a true delight in God. In fact, religious morality apart from a true love for God is a wicked thing. It is living in a moral way and doing it for self rather than for God. It is not truly living to please God, but instead it is living in a way to the delight of moral self and is a form or self-righteousness. It is self-centered and as such it is pride and self being religious in the sight of God but not doing what it does for the glory of God and out of love for Him. Even morality can be a way for self to seek self in the name of religion and have it to be idolatry.

The heart of man is so deceitful and so wicked that it blinds men and it keeps them from seeing true holiness and the true Gospel. The heart of man is so wicked that it can and it does take the very things of God and uses them as a way to serve self and love self rather than seek the Lord in the ways that He intended. The proud heart of man will take preaching and evangelism and use them as ways to seek the glory and honor of self rather than the glory and honor of God. God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace, yet proud preachers and proud evangelists do what they do using His name and yet do it to the praise and glory of self. This is vile and wicked and is the height of pride, yet these people think that they are close to God. How far men can go in the things of religion and yet be utterly lost in their deception.

Sobering Thoughts 15

October 20, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that broad gate (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

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

It is hard to overstate the issue at hand when you have the very Lord of the universe telling us to enter through the narrow gate. When the Lord of the universe who knows all things and that includes all things in the future and He says that many enter through the broad gate, it should give us pause and cause us to reflect on why this is the case. If we take the words of Scripture carefully and see them as they are and that as the very Word of God, this is vitally serious. We must deal with these words and we must deal with our hearts and live sin light of these words.

Mat 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.

Note the language and structure of the text. We are to enter through the narrow gate for the gate and the way that leads to destruction are wide and broad and there are many who enter through it. On the other hand, however, we are to enter through the narrow gate for the gate is small (as opposed to wide) and the way is narrow (as opposed to broad) that leads to life. There are few who find it.

This should strike us like a bolt of lightening as we see these two verses in contrast to each other. There are many who enter and go on the way to destruction, but there are few who find the way that leads to life. Among those who think that they are on the road to heaven, only a few are on the road to life while the vast majority is on the way to destruction. It appears that so many have deceived themselves and/or have been deceived by ministers of the Deceiver himself. There are many ways and many approaches on the road to destruction, but the road to life is very narrow. The narrowness is not a way of strict moralism, of strict doctrinal precision, or even of being in a certain denomination. The way is narrow because the very self must be denied in order to have Christ alone by grace alone.

Sobering Thoughts 14

October 19, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that broad gate (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

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

The words of Christ should land with all the force of a freight train upon our souls. “There are many who enter through it” (the broad gate). Not only does the broad gate appear very deceptive for those who think that they are entering the narrow gate, there are many false prophets around only too eager to help those around them enter the broad gate. These false prophets may be the nicest people and the best spoken, but that is nothing but sheep’s clothing for them. In reality they are pawns of the devil who is using them to hide his own ravenous nature of the wolf who longs to devour eternal souls. The nicest and most well-spoken of ministers may indeed be nothing but a mean for the devil to deceive souls.

“There are many who enter through it” (the broad gate). How many people read their Bibles and just assume that s/he is safe? How many people hear someone read that passage and just assume that s/he is safe? How many people hear someone preach on that subject and the preacher just assumes that all the people who gathered to hear him are safe? When Jesus tells us that many think that they are okay and yet are not, this should become a driving concern for us. Is this an assertion that people lose their salvation? No, but it is an assertion that Jesus taught that many will think that they have entered through the narrow gate and yet have entered the wide one.

“There are many who enter through it” (the broad gate). The Pharisees thought that they were no the narrow road and even seemed to be proud that they were on such a narrow path. However, Jesus reserved His hardest words for them. Assuredly those very stringent men had entered a wide gate when they thought that they had entered the narrow gate. Assuredly those very stringent men were on a broad road when they thought they were on a narrow road. The way of free-grace is the narrow gate and the narrow path. Sinners must not look to themselves and their own works as a way of peace with God, but instead they must not just trust in grace alone they must have that free-grace. They must live by that free-grace and all of their works must come from that free-grace. There is nothing we can do that is spiritual or good unless we receive it from Christ first and that is by free-grace. Oh how men and women hate free-grace while they give lip service to the doctrines of grace!

Sobering Thoughts 13

October 18, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that broad gate (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

It bears repeating, to our own souls and to that of others, that of all the people on either road all of them think that they are on the way to heaven. All those on either of the two roads think that they are on the road that is the way to heaven. No one really thinks that s/he is on the road that leads to destruction. The broad gate is not thought all that broad by those who go through it. The broad gate may even be thought of as extremely narrow by those who go through it. This should so strike our souls as to make us to turn from self with all of our own strength and then seek the Lord for strength to turn from self. That self is so sticky and is such a chameleon that most people have no idea that they are full of self and in the control of self. This is true of religious people and even very religious people.

The way to destruction is often (apparently by the vast majority) thought to be the way to life. How can one stress this with the appropriate words? How can one overly stress the importance of such a teaching? If we look out on the world today, it would appear that few people (percentage or real numbers) are even concerned about the road that they are on. However, of the few people who are concerned about the road that they are on, it would appear that the vast majority of those people are on the broad road that leads to destruction. Speaking of the way of destruction, Scripture tells us that “there are many who enter through it.” When Jesus speaks in such a way, it would behoove all to listen and then search his or her own heart.

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

The very next verse after Matthew 7:13-14 which tells us of the narrow gate and the broad gate and then the broad road and the narrow road, we have the words of Jesus telling us about false prophets. Not only are people deceived by their own hearts, by the deceitfulness of sin, by the Deceiver himself, and perhaps God is hardening their hearts as well; but people are deceived by those who are supposed to be preaching the Gospel. Each and every soul must beware of what s/he hears. There are people who mean well (in a humanistic way) in the pulpits and take the name of “pastor” who are lost and clueless as to the Gospel. The very words of these men (and women in our day) may be charming and sound so wonderful, but these men are ravenous wolves of souls on the inside. These people only care about themselves and not the truth. They are the blind leading the blind and indeed both will fall into the pit of eternal destruction. How we must know that only the free-grace of Christ can take a poor soul and enlighten its eyes and grant it a new heart. All the ways of these false teachers, who may indeed be quite orthodox in many ways, are simply part of the broad road. Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Our souls must learn that.

Sobering Thoughts 12

October 12, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that wide gate. (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

The way to life is through a narrow gate, even a very narrow gate. There is no room for a person to enter that gate with pride and self, or with love of the world hidden in that heart. This does not mean that a person is perfect, but simply that God has broken that heart until it wants nothing of self, pride, and the world when it enters that narrow gate. Later on, however, the person will fight those things as God shows the heart deeper levels of pride and self, but that inwardly taught heart will fight and claw against those things as the Lord humbles it more and more.

Not only does the heart have many sinful and deceitful things standing against it to deceive it, the heart has many religious things that are deceitful as well. There are many pastors, theologians, and apparently well-meaning people who are so willing to stretch the gate as wide as needed for others to enter (they think). Not only are they willing to stretch the gate wide to allow more and more people to enter, they are also willing to make the narrow path that Jesus speaks about very wide. As one man said about various psychologists and theories of psychology, if you keep looking you will find one that you like. This is what appears to be true in the modern United States of America. Not only are people deluded enough to think that there is freedom of religion in the States, they believe that they are free before God to sincerely practice the theology and religion of their own choice. In other words, there are many, many broad roads out there for people to be deceived by.

There are broad roads that are filled with legalism and very strict moralists, but those people have yet to understand that they have broadened the road to make room for their self-efforts. The broad roads are filled with those who have made it through the wide gate (even if they think it was narrow and costly) with their pride and self still intact. Oh yes, the self is like a chameleon and will change itself and take on the glittering colors of various theologies and various moralities, but that ole self is still there and it has adapted to the theology and the morality of those around it. Oh how beautiful it looks in its own sight, but the devil appears as an angel of light as well.

The true gate and the true road that lead to life is a narrow one. It is not narrow according to the dimensions (so to speak) that men measure with, it is narrow in precisely the way God has measured. Many want to broaden the path to allow for worldly pleasures, but many want to make the path very narrow in their own way of measuring with their theology and their morality. Jesus spoke with clarity when He said that those who were poor in spirit were those who were blessed. The narrow gate and the narrow path are for those without any righteousness of their own and yet at the same time they are not living in open sin and are not pursuing sin. The narrow path has many ways to broaden it on either side. Christ alone and His free-grace alone is the narrow gate and the narrow path.

Sobering Thoughts 11

October 11, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that wide gate. (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

It appears from the verses above that it is not just that there are few in the entire population of humanity who enter through the narrow gate, but that there are few of those who are of the Christian religion who enter through that narrow gate. The narrow gate is meant to give us a picture of something that is hard to see and hard to enter, though it may be hard to enter because few even want to enter through something that narrow. We may be loathe to enter the narrow gain because there is no room going through that gate for self and pride. The Rich Young Ruler found that the gate was too narrow for him to enter with his riches.

What we must be faced with is that that this narrow gate is too narrow to enter with anything in our hands. We cannot hold on to various lusts and loves. We cannot hold on to various things of the world. The gate is so narrow that we have to die to self and offer up self to be crucified in order to enter that narrow gate. It may be that we will have to suffer shame in order to enter that gate. It may be that we will have to give up all that we have in terms of respect of the world or financial things to enter the gate. This is a narrow gate and we must deny self and all the things of self if we are to enter.

In Matthew 18 we are told that we must be turned and become like children to enter the kingdom. We must lose all of our rights (so to speak) and be humbled into the dust where we receive all things as do very small children. Very small children do not worry about riches and honor, they just hold out their hands and quite apart from merit they are trusting in they receive. The simply receive all based on who their parents are. That narrow gate must be entered because the wide gate leads to destruction. The wide gate has enough room for some pride and some of self and some of religion in it. The wide gate may appear quite narrow to some and so they repent of many things, but there is still some room for them to enter with a few things.

It may be impossible to overstate the importance of nothing that the wide gate may appear small and yet it is far easier than the narrow gate. The narrow gate allows a person through with absolutely nothing. The wide gate will allow a few things to many things, though there may be some requirement. The wide gate is quite consistent with the things of religion, even orthodox religion and even a very stringent morality. The wide gate will allow enough pride and self through to damn a person, but perhaps not enough through so that pride and self can be easily seen. The wide gate is just wide enough to allow the things that the heart cherishes and wants to hide. The wide gate is just wide enough to allow many religious people in so that they will not have to truly and fully repent.

Sobering Thoughts 10

October 9, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

People are commanded and/or urged to enter through the narrow gate. This sounds bad because no one likes to be narrow in thinking or in what they do. We think of narrow in several ways, but all of them are negative. A gate that is narrow makes it sound like one can hardly fit there and if one has a phobia of tight places, it sounds so negative. What we must think of, however, is that Jesus had His reasons for saying this and it is vital that we deal with what He said. If there is only one way and it is a narrow gate, then we must go through the narrow gate. In that case going through the narrow gate is a very positive thing.

Why are people to go through the narrow gate? It is because, Jesus said, “the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” This is a massively weighty statement that we cannot take too seriously. The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that wide gate.

When Jesus, who was and is Truth Himself, spoke in such serious ways, we should listen and listen carefully. We should enter through the narrow gate because there is a wide gate and that gate leads to destruction. He tells us about this narrow gate because He wants to show us the right way and warn us about the false way. It is not that He was speaking of the whole world here and so we can think that the numbers are on our side, but He was speaking of those who think of themselves as on the way to heaven. In other words, of all those who think that they are on the way to heaven, the vast majority enter through the wide gate and it is the gate that leads to destruction.

This alone should strike us with a lot of weight and cause us to search the Scriptures and our own hearts. If there are vast numbers of people who think that they are going to heaven and yet they are on the road to destruction, then we have to take this into serious consideration and be concerned. If any person has not truly entered through the narrow gate, then that person is one the way to destruction whether or not s/he knows it or not. Jesus did not say that all those who are sincere are on the path that leads to life, but He said that only those who entered through the narrow gate are on the path that leads to life.

This is jolting and disturbing, but no one should just stand back and not take the words of Jesus seriously. One can imagine some saying that they walked the aisle and other saying that they have prayed the prayer. Others will say that they have the right theology. Still others will say that they are living a good life. Many in our day will say that they have believed. In the time of Jesus many believed, but were not converted. Jesus never said anything about the list of things in this paragraph being enough. We must not be deceived and we must search our hearts.

Sobering Thoughts 9

October 8, 2016

Mat 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.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

It should provoke people to examine their hearts when they read verses like the ones above, but for those who are deceived they may remain deceived. It is easy enough to read those verses and just assume that I have read and heard these verses before and simply go on with life. Legalist will assume that because they are so stringent that this passage cannot be talking about them. Those who have taken up with easy believism will dismiss this passage as being the spirit of the Old Testament. However, the words of Christ should penetrate to the depths of our soul and we must know that His words can never fall to the ground. His words are absolute truth!

The urgent words of Christ are that we should enter through the narrow gate. Oh how hard this is for the self-willed person to hear. How hard this is for the person who loves his own will to hear. How hard this is for all those who want to be like God (like the devil) and follow their own wisdom and find their own way. Oh, we think, I am not like those people. I am more religious and my morality is better than those people. That is really nothing less than to have the spirit of the Pharisee that Jesus condemned in Luke 18. “God, I thank you that I am not like other people” (Luke 18:11).

We must get it into our heads and then cry out to the Lord to drive this into our hearts that the gate is narrow and the words of Christ are urgent. It is not just that He is describing a gate to them as such, but He is urging them to enter at the narrow gate. He did not tell them that the gate is narrow and then tell them to be sure and enter it before they die at an old age, He is urging them to enter it now. No one has the guarantee of a long life and no one has the guarantee that s/he will be allowed to live another moment. We simply have no idea when we will die and we should urgently seek to enter at the narrow gate at the earliest possible moment and that is this very moment. We must not put this off as there is nothing more important.

Each person must know that there is a coming judgment day. Each person will die and each person will be judged before the living God. This is not some story that has been concocted to control the behavior of people, it has been revealed by God and each person must know that s/he will die and will be judged by the all-seeing and all-knowing God. This God is also all-present and all-powerful, so there is no escape from Him. He is the living God who upholds each being as He pleases and He is the One that gives each one his or her every breath at His mere pleasure. He has sent His Beloved Son who is Truth Himself and His Son commands and urges people to enter at through the narrow gate. That means that there is a narrow gate and that means that what Christ says about destruction is also true. There is no avoiding judgment and there is no avoiding the fact that there is a narrow gate and there are many who do not enter there. All those who do not enter at the narrow gate are on the road to destruction and they will perish in hell forever. This is that serious and it is that urgent.