Which Gate Are You Entering?
(This message is based on a message I heard some years ago by another preacher. I have made a number of changes.)
..Or do we mean the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our true God and Creator, the God that gave us His word in His Book the Bible?
Least there be some misunderstanding, may I plainly say that this the God that I mean. This is the God that I fear and of whom I preach and that He is the only God I mean, because only He is our Creator and Savior and only He can saved....because there are no other gods...! Only He exists and if we want to know of God, we must learn of Him. If we want to go to heaven, He is the God of heaven and we must listen to Him.
The plain fact and reality is this....You either accept Him...or have no God...because all the gods men have invented do not exist.
I. What Does God Tell Us About Himself in His Holy Word the Bible?
A. Isaiah 40:13-21, tells us of the greatness of God.
I hear popular TV preachers, heard by millions, tell people that God will send no one to hell.I hear parents telling their children that their dead relatives are now angels in heaven and that everyone who dies becomes an angel and goes to heaven.
By the way....God would not be a righteous and just God if He did not deal
with sin. Sin is destructive and a truly loving God
will deal with it. It is not love that ignores a problem
and overlooks it. What kind of doctor would it be who knew you
had cancer and refused to tell you, admit you had it and offer a cure?
Would it be love for a parent to ignore the disobedience of their child...let
it go and grow into full rebellion that will destroy the child's life?
Certainly not a parent that truly loved their child. Certainty
no a loving God who wants to save us from our sins.
III. But Who Is To Say Who is Right?
A. Aren't we all trying to go to the same place — just by different routes? Is not one way as good as the other. . . especially if we are sincere about it..RIGHT?
Quite truthfully, NO, we are not . Jesus said so!
" Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6)
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
I think that would preclude that a man could go to heaven any other way that through acceptance and belief in Jesus Christ. It means if one seeks some other way they are lost and will go to hell.
B. We now come to our text I read in the being of the message.
1. Now Jesus is concluding the Sermon on the Mount. Most people accept it as the greatest sermon ever preached whether they believe in Christ or not. I have actually been there and seen first hand the hill on which He stood when He preached this message to the multitude off the shore of the Sea of Galilee
2. People say this message is the greatest ethical standard. However, the Sermon on the Mount is not a sermon on ethics. It is a sermon calling for a radically different life to be lived. And that is not ethics, nor some optional, clearer, better standard of ethics.
3. Then what is it? Friends this is Jesus Christ, God incarnate in flesh giving us absolutes. Preaching God's truth, His very Word.
4. This is what Jesus teaches! As in all cases with the Lord, there is no multiple choice. What He said was not optional or given as a suggestion to be followed it one desires to.
5. Salvation is of God and the Lord does not use your plan or mine, but His perfect and simply plan which stands forever.
B. Jesus said “There are two gates — just two.” “One is very narrow. You come in one at a time. And the way leading to that gate or beyond that gate the way is restricted; it is confined. Men find it difficult and very few people choose it.
C. “There is another gate,” Jesus continues. “It is a wide gate. A lot of people go in at the same time. And the way that it leads to is very broad with plenty of room for all kinds of people and all kinds of ideas, all going pretty much in the same direction.
1. But that wide gate and that broad way leads to destruction, Jesus said the other way leads to life. So the choice is an absolute choice.....life or destruction, heaven or hell.
2. "I want to caution you,” Jesus says. “There are false teachers. They are not posing as false teachers. . . they are posing as sheep, yes sheep!
3. These people claim to be following me and they use my name.
4. But inside, these false teachers are ravenous wolves. They are not sheep. They do not belong to me. using my name, they are teaching you all sorts of things that you want to hear. But I don't want you to be deceived; they vary from my word. I want you to judge them by what they produce.
ILLUS: Suppose you were in the woods hiking and you heard a rustle in the bushes and out stepped a sheep how many of you would run?! Suppose on this hike you heard the bushes rustling and a snarling wolf jumped out....?! That would get a different response...right? You bet it would. But what if that wolf stepped out dress up completely in a sheep's skin and looked like a real sheep? Do you see the analogy that Christ is using. He said that some preachers and churches were like that wolf that would kill and eat you, but to get at you, deliberately disguised themselves as harmless sheep. Jesus did not say you shall judge the false prophets by how MUCH fruit they produce, how big are their churches, how much money they have, if they are on the TV or radio, or if millions of people follow them! The Lord says you judge them by the kind of fruit, the quality of the fruit they bare. What the do, say and preach is to be examined in the light of God's word. If they are God's man, or God's church...they will follow the Bible, which is God's word. If they don't....their fruit...meaning what they do, say and preach is a lie and they are of their father the Devil who is the father of lies.
ILLUS: I have know many people who profess to be Christians since I was saved. During this time I have learned to be a people watcher, which in biblical terms means I have become a "fruit inspector." I am not much interested in what a man says, but what he does, which means what he produces.
Several godly men and women come to mind when I think of Christians I have known. One is a man named John Vernon, who is a retired truck driver. The fruit of his life is plan to see...he is a prayer warrior and a man to whom God is first. He not only gives lip service to the Word of God he lives it...he prays, he is faithful to attending the church, he tithes, he is always seeking to help the his pastor and the other men of the church. Younger men look up to him and he is a great blessing to all. His pastor is proud of him and never has to wonder if he is going to be faithful today or gone tomorrow or whether he can be trusted or not.
I have known other men, who also professed to be Christians. One man was a great preacher, one of the best speakers I have known. While he was preaching the Gospel on Sunday, he was running around with a married woman in the church and later left his wife and family and married her. He shone like a new penny. He looked good, he called on the name of Jesus Christ, but he did not really love the Lord and I question whether he knew Him as Lord and Savior. His fruit showed what he was.
ILLUS: The first church I pastored had a man it in who was its most prominent member. He was Chairman of the deacons and everything else. He had taught a men's Sunday school class for many years. When I first met him I was impressed with him, but in time I learned of his true nature. He told dirty jokes to the teenagers in the church. He messed around with other women. As soon as I began to teach that God's people live godly lives...he became my enemy. What was his fruit?
D. You see this is what Jesus is saying. Would you expect to get grapes off a thorn bush? Would you expect a good tree to produce bad fruit? Jesus was saying, "Don't you know that it is impossible, for a good tree to produce bad fruit?... or for a bad tree to produce good fruit?"
Speaking specifically of the false teachers, Jesus says, “ You shall know them by their fruits ...by their lifestyles ... by what comes out of their mouths...what they teach.”
1. If you want to know what someone really believes then watch the way they live their lives. That has never changed and that is what Jesus is talking about.
2. Jesus was speaking to the multitude and He said, "A lot of you are self-deceived. Some call me Lord, but I am not their Lord because they do not follow me. On the day of judgment you plan to come to me and you are going to say, ‘Lord, Lord, what about me? Man alive! you know what I've done!
Why, these false teachers proclaim, I, in your name cast out demons! I've done miracles in your name! In your name, I have preached! I was a member of this church or that. I got baptized, I attended lots of rituals, I did many sacraments, I was a leader in that church and I did lots of wonderful things.
4. Jesus is going to say simply, "Depart from me you worker of iniquity.......I never knew you."
IV. There is Only One Way and that's God's Way.
A. Why will Jesus say "I never knew you" to these people?
1. Jesus can't be conned. Receiving true salvation is not matter of choosing from a multiple choice. There there are not four, or five, seven or any number of answers. There is only one answer that is right and all others are wrong.
2. The sinner lost in sin, wants a multiple choice god. He does not want to give up his sin. He wants heaven, but wants to continue to be a sinner. But God says, heaven is a perfect place and no one will go there without being perfect. He says only He can make us perfect, forgive our sins and impart to us His righteousness. He says I loved you....yes, the sinner you are... I love you and want you to be in heaven with me. Isn't that amazing?
But what would heaven be if God allowed even one sinner there....It would not be a perfect place anymore.
God says I forgive and change your life....you accept me and you repent of
you sins. You turn from sin to righteousness. You cannot be my
child and remain an unrepentant sinner. The truth is that without being born again, you as a sinner, would be miserable in heaven and destroy it.
Man wants to try and work his way to heaven, invent His own god, his own gospel so he will not be responsible for his sin and have to turn from it. Jesus in John 3:19 plainly states this. Man wants his god to overlook his sinful life. He wants God to accept his plan of salvation and not God's plan. Again Jesus said the false gods of this world, invented by man are the one who attracts most people. The false gods have false preachers who preach a false gospel which appeals to men and that is where the crowds are.
3. They reject God's simple plan and demand that God accept their makeshift way. The problem with man's way is that it is not a way at all. Why? Because it does not deal with sin.
Man says everyone is going to heaven....we are all working for the same thing....we all will make it. But the one who holds the keys to heaven and hell says...."NOT SO!" There is only one way and that way is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ....through His shed blood that is the only way atonement can be made for sin.
You can join every church in America; do good works twenty four hours a day; be baptized till your skin looks like a prune, sincerely with all your heart believe in a god you or someone else make up....but it does not impress God. You come to Him His way...or no way. 4. God's Gospel is simple, and was stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
B. For any religion to change what God has said in His Word and for any man to offer a different way is blasphemy — and it has never been anything but blasphemy.
C. And then Jesus concludes by saying, “You know, there are two types of builders.
“One man goes to build a house, and he chooses the rock. The winds come, and the storms burst upon that house — it stands; it is upon the rock.
“Others build it on sand — and when the same storms and the same blasts come ... it doesn't stand. Do you build your life upon the foundation of sand or upon the rock — Jesus Christ?”
D. One way is true and saves, the other is untrue and those that chose that road will die in their sins.
And you will notice Jesus never said it was easy. He never said there would not be storms opposition of all types. But he did say, “This is the way to build a house that will stand the test of eternity and the judgment of God.
E. Salvation is something personal, based on the truth which is God's plan for the redemption of man.
1. Turn with me in your Bibles and lets read what Jesus our God, Creator and Savior said.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
2. Did you note verse 21? It says "he that doeth truth cometh to the light..."
3. Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
1. God gave us the best way and the only way there could be. We are all sinners, sold unto and condemned in sin....we cannot save ourselves. We are drowning in a sea of sin.
Christ, God himself, came and took in His own body your sin, mine sin and the world's sin. No man could do that.
No man could offer any sacrifice for his own sin..because he has nothing to offer.
God way is better because once a man believes and repents of his sin, and asks God to save him...he is instantly and eternally saved.
The best man's corrupted wisdom could come up with is that a man should try to work enough to earn heaven and even if that was possible, which in truth it is not, when would the man ever know he had worked enough. And if he could work enough, he could never stop working least he lose it.
2. God's plan is simple. Believe, repent of sin, ask God in faith and He saves. Not only does He save, and make you a child of God, he is responsible to keep you saved.
3. What door are you using today? You are surely going through one of these ways... the narrow why God provides or the wide gate that leads to destruction.