Series: Student Ministry: The Sermon on the Mount

Through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has given us a lot to consider and to apply to our lives. Here is no different. A conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount is being drawn and it comes as a tremendous warning. For those of you who came to our house and watched the new Pilgrim’s Progress move, much of this will sound familiar and those images will likely come to mind. We will see that there is only one way, it is not easy and most of the rest of humanity will not go this way. If you want to travel this way then it will be hard, but the end is eternal life.

I have not always understood this text in any meaningful way. Then, years later, as I scan my time in ministry and look back even further to my time as a student in youth ministry, I realize that there is no real faith where there is not real obedience. Those who truly trust Christ will walk in His ways. I have had a good number of students who looked like they had it all together only to leave and walk the easier road that is far more traveled that leads to destruction. Many of them have still yet to realize their folly and if they continue in their way it will be seen in the end that they traveled to the City of Destruction. Then, there are those that have remained faithful through the years. They have been traveling the hard way and continue to do so. They are on the road that leads to eternal life, where few go.

Christianity is not all about making a decision to trust in Christ. That is important, but if you truly trust in Christ then you are put on a journey that leads to the Celestial City. All those who are repenting and believing in Christ are on this journey while everyone else is traveling a different way. The end of their path is destruction and many, many people go that way.

We must understand that if we are truly trusting in Christ then we will be those who are following him. He is inaugurating the New Covenant here. He stands on the mountain having given the Law and the ethics of His Kingdom. He opened with the blessings of being part of the Kingdom. Now, we are being warned. Those who are actually in Christ’s Kingdom will live as if they are part of Christ’s Kingdom.

We are here commanded to enter where most do not enter and walk where most do not walk and at the end of this path is eternal life that most people do not have. Enter this path through Christ, it is difficult, and few go there, but the reward is beyond measure.

Read Matthew 7:13-14

Enter Through Christ

We begin with Jesus telling His hearers to “enter by the narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13 ESV). In the context here, we find that Jesus is drawing the Sermon on the Mount to a conclusion. He gave to believers the blessings of the Kingdom, the law and ethics of the Kingdom, and now He gives a command. Enter by the narrow gate.

The message that Christ delivered was difficult. We have stated over and over that it is impossible for people to meet Christ’s demands. There are many other people to follow and many other ways to follow that are much easier, but here Christ commands us to enter into the Way by following what He taught. If it feels good then go and do it, is the mantra of days gone by. Do whatever you need to do to feel happy is the mantra of today. And people are cast into a journey of self-fulfillment in whatever they think will gratify their lusts the most. If it’s changing into a boy, then go do it…the culture says. If it’s changing into a girl, then go do it….the culture says. If it’s being homosexual, then go do it….the culture says. And if anybody tells you it’s wrong, then our culture calls that evil. Rather than teaching that humans should chase after every lust that fills their body, Jesus taught that the Kingdom is about self-denial and we are guilty when we even desire to do things that are wrong. Now, enter into this narrow gate and walk in this narrow way.

We enter into this narrow way that leads to this narrow and difficult path only through Christ. We are rebel sinners who deserve God’s justice and wrath. But God sent His Son to come and live a perfect life, and die in our place that we might have our sins forgiven and be counted as righteous. We enter into this difficult way that leads to eternal life through Christ. The other way is easier, much easier but it leads to death. This is the only way that leads to life. As Jesus said elsewhere,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6 ESV

To enter into this gate we must repent of ruling our own lives and trust in Christ. We are rebel sinners. The gate is not large enough for us to carry our battle gear through, we must lay down our arms and trust the Savior. There is no other way. As the great Puritan Commentator, Matthew Henry put it,

“It is easier to set a man against all the world than against himself, and yet this must be in conversion.”

Matthew Henry, taken from his comments on Matthew 7:13-14 in Matthew Henry’s Commentary

 And this is not easy. There is only Christ. Eternal life is found only in Christ. Do not trust in your own works, but in Christ. Christ’s way is not easy. His gate is quite easily overlooked and it requires supernatural repentance and faith to go through it, but all those who are on the road to Heaven go through this gate. Jesus is the Way and we must enter into this narrow way through Him.

Walk The Difficult Way

Jesus doesn’t just command us to enter into the narrow gate. He also commands us to walk in the narrow and difficult way. The call is no easy one. In order to follow the way of Christ we must fight against our self. This narrow and difficult path is filled with self-denial. It is filled with abandoning what we desire. It is filled with following the Master and not this ungodly age. I hope that you felt this today at school as you watched people doing things and behaving in ways that you just can’t anymore.

Do not expect this life to be easy. Do not expect following Christ to be an easy way. The other path is easy and it is filled with people doing exactly what they want. As A.W. Pink once said,

“This broad road is thronged because all mankind are in it by nature, birth admitting them into the same; nor has anyone the slightest desire to desert it unless a miracle of grace be wrought upon them.” – A.W. Pink

A.W. Pink, taken from his comments over Matthew 7:13-14 from his book, Sermon on the Mount

We are, by nature rebels against God. It takes an act of God’s grace to move us out of the broad way and through the narrow gate and onto this path. This is where we naturally want to be, but by God’s grace we have been moved off of the broad way that leads to destruction and placed on the narrow way.

“A dead fish can float with the stream, but only a living one can swim against it; so the unregenerate mechanically follow this road, for there is nothing in them to resist the law of gravity. The going is smooth and easy because it is all downhill.”

A.W. Pink, taken from his comments over Matthew 7:13-14 from his book, Sermon on the Mount

It is difficult to fight against self. When you’re at home all by yourself it is easy to watch things that you should not. When you are with your friends it is easy to say things and do things that you normally would not do. The Christian life is hard. And Jesus emphasizes here that it is the difficult way.

I hope that you felt this at school today. I hope that you felt uneasy about being different than others. Like Christian at Vanity Fair, I hope that you felt a bit out of place. In Christ we are separated from the world and placed on a difficult path. We are pulled out of what was natural and made part of the unnatural.

If you are a Christian then you are a traveler on the King’s Highway. While on this path self-denial, war with self, war with the world, and war with Satan and Demons are the ordinary. This is your lot. This is what Jesus commands you to. And this is what you will do if you are his. This is not earning salvation, this is being changed by God and walking in the way.

“But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.” – C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Macmillan Publishing Co. 1952, p. 64

God’s people are changed by His grace and His mercy to be more and more like His Son. They desire to be on this path. They desire to walk in God’s way. They desire to be faithful in the midst of whatever troubles they find on the King’s Highway. Walk the difficult way.

Travel Where Few Travel

Know this. If you go through the narrow gate and walk in the narrow way, you will not be surrounded by a huge host of people. There are few who find it. There are few people who give up ruling their own lives and trust in Christ and there are few people who live a life of self-denial on the King’s Highway.

This is a lonely road to walk. I remember being in High School and really attempting to be faithful. In a High School about the size of Alma, do you know how many friends I had that were truly attempting to follow Christ. I was leading Bible Studies and prayer groups at the school and can count on my fingers the number of people that were really striving to follow Christ. Some of us would pray with a group of over 100 people at lunch every Wednesday. Most of those never went to church and even less ever read their Bible and prayed. And part of the people that left would go back into the cafeteria and behave like the worst of people. It is shocking to consider.

So, don’t think that the vast majority of people follow Christ. They don’t. Jesus said that the number would be few. Why do you think that people embracing sin in parades down the street think that Christ is okay with their sinfulness? The majority of people today don’t change their own lives and walk on the King’s Highway. They just act as if Christ is pleased with whatever they are doing. They are not submitting to Christ, but trying to force Christ into their will. He will not have this.

This also means that you will stand, relatively alone, on many issues today. Saying that there are few people on the Way means that there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with people that are following Christ. As D.A. Carson pointed out,

“Democratic decisions do not determine truth and righteousness in the Kingdom.” – D.A. Carson

D.A. Carson, taken from his comments over this text in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

We do not follow the ways of people, we follow the ways of God. The other path is much easier. There is no fighting against self, and there are a lot of people headed that way because it is so very natural. But, it is not for the Christian. The Christian will walk on the narrow way, because he entered through the narrow gate.

Find Life Eternal At The End Of The Narrow Way

The path is not an end in and of itself. It is leading somewhere. Well, the two paths lead to different places. The narrow gate leads on to the narrow way which leads to eternal life. We are born sinners so it is difficult to enter the narrow gate, we need divine assistance. This also makes it difficult to walk in the narrow way. Through much toil and striving we walk in the narrow way. But, there is another way. There is the broad gate. Many go into the broad gate. They go there naturally. This naturally leads down the broad way. Again, it is natural and it is easy. But it’s end…it’s end is destruction and many go there. This easy path leads to eternal Hell.

We are confronted here with a heavy dose of reality. Christ commands us to enter the narrow gate and walk in the narrow way. The other way is easy and there are many people going there. But, the narrow way leads to life everlasting. All Christians will travel on the narrow way. They may fall off the path for a short time, but all Christians will be on the narrow way.

Which gate have you chosen? Which way have you taken? Are you walking in the narrow way?