Sunday, December 22, 2019

Stay Out Of The Lazy River!

The Bible speaks of gates and doors. There are narrow gates and wide gates. There is a narrow door according to Jesus. So what's the deal with gates and doors? Well, actually in many instances, a gate or door indicates the point (second) you and I leave this life, and enter into eternity. Once we go through the gate/door...this life is done!

Here's a great example from the Scripture: "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. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7: 13-14) This is a very popular passage that many people use to encourage followers of Jesus to "walk the straight and narrow", while on the earth. But I am convinced there is much more than we've been taught about this passage!

Jesus is referring to two gates. One is wide and one is narrow. These two gates represent the point at which which we leave this life. There are also two "ways" to reach each gate: The "broad" way and the "narrow" way. The broad way leads to the wide gate that opens to eternal destruction. The narrow way leads to the small gate that leads to eternal life with Jesus. You determine which path you take by the way you live your life here on earth: Either for Jesus (narrow way), or for the world (broad way).

Jesus said that the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many people enter that gate. This is the way of the world. It's so easy to go the broad way that leads to the wide gate. Why? Because this way is the flow of the world. It kind of reminds me of those Lazy Rivers that flow throughout a water park. You know, you just hop up on your float and meander all through the park with absolutely no effort. The current of the Lazy River does all the work. Now certainly, the Lazy River is not evil. I just want to use it as an example. While our children experienced the thrill of all the different water rides, Connie and I effortlessly floated around the park on the Lazy River. Many Christians are doing the same. They're flowing with the world, making no effort to go upstream in a world that flows downstream. This is dangerous because the broad way will take anyone to the wide gate that leads to eternal destruction. Once a person enters through the wide gate, it's too late. More about that shortly.

There were a few times while in the Lazy River I tried to paddle upstream with my arms and hands (just for the heck of it), against the current. I had to paddle much harder and faster, hardly moving at all. It was much easier to simply let go, relax, and let the current determine my destiny.

If you refer to yourself as a follower of Christ, understand that the heaven's flow for you is exactly opposite from the world's flow. The world's way, the broad way, is easier. But this way leads to the wide gate that opens to destruction. Jesus said many people will enter through this gate. Once you enter through that gate, it closes and this life is over. The narrow way is the hard way. It is against the flow of this world. But this way leads to the small gate that opens to eternal life. Jesus didn't say few people will enter this gate. He said few people will find this gate. It takes seeking first God's kingdom in this life, which is taking the narrow way, that causes you to find the narrow gate. When you enter this gate, you begin an eternity of pure glory in the presence of Jesus forever!

So how do I know that these gates (narrow and broad) indicate the end of our life? Check this out: Jesus said, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." (Luke 13: 24). The question is why would anyone seek to enter the narrow door and not be able to enter in? Because at that point it is too late! "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.' "Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets'; and He will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.'  "In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out." (Luke 13: 25-28) I know this sounds tough, but it's true.

There will come a time (at the end of our lives) when the way we've walked, broad or narrow, will lead us to either the wide or narrow gate. At that point we won't have the privilege of choosing which gate to enter through. The life we have lived will determine which gate we go through: either wide or small. Once we enter, according to the above Scripture passage, the Master will shut the door. When the door/gate closes that's it. We will experience eternal life or eternal destruction. Some will be extremely shocked over their destination.

Understand this: Salvation is much more than a 20-second sinner's prayer. It is much more than fire insurance. Salvation is the point at which you believe and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the point at which you surrender your whole life to Jesus. Salvation is the point at which you begin an on-going, ever-growing relationship with Jesus for the rest of your time on this planet. It is this relationship, born out of the regeneration of your spirit, that enables you to walk the narrow way that leads to the gate through which you enter into eternal life with Jesus.

Jesus said "Strive to enter through the narrow door." The word "strive" means to struggle. It means literally "to compete for a prize". This word "strive" also means "To contend with an adversary; to fight or labor fervently." It takes effort to go the narrow way that leads to the narrow gate that leads to life! "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

The narrow way and the small gate are not the easy way. But they lead to life eternal in the presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is waking up His people in these current times. People are waking up to the reality that knowing Jesus is serving Jesus, in every way, 24 X 7, 365 days a year...for the rest of our lives!

The great news is that serving Jesus is the most powerful, most supernatural, and by far the most glorious life one could ever live. Serving Jesus brings heaven to earth to empower follower of Jesus to do what Jesus did; to say what Jesus said; and to go were Jesus is!

(Please e-mail me for prayer! Thanks! Steve Hutto)
37654EB: Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ - eBook Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ - eBook
By George Barna

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