Thursday, March 3, 2016

Walking Christ's Road

We have been journeying through the Sermon on the Mount as a church for a little over a year now. Last Sunday we found ourselves in Matthew 7:13-14.  At this point in Jesus’ Sermon we must seriously consider our response. Not to just a verse here or there but His entire message. As you read this blog today, my hope is that you will ask yourself which way you are traveling.

Are you Walking Christ’s Road?

Everyone is traveling one of two ways. The way of death or the way of life. Let’s consider each of these in turn:

I.                    The Way of Death – v.13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

A.      Access onto this Road is By Default –

How do you get on this way of death? You don’t have to do anything Every person is born on this way. From conception we are guilty in Adam, and we have a sinful nature that loves sin.

3 Big picture types of people on this road:

     1.     Rank Pagans – people who follow other religions or even deny existence of God

       2.      “Righteous” Pharisees – (See Matthew 5:20)

People with only an external religion. They may read their bibles, come to church, and tithe. But it’s not out of a love for Christ.

     3.     Rash Professors

Those who think they’ve made some decision for Christ but never considered the cost. They may give lip service to Christ but their hearts and even their actions are far from Him.

B.      Adventuring on this Road is Deceptive – For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many

I think we see the word ‘easy’ and it might throw people off. Well, my life hasn’t been ‘easy’ so I must not be on this broad way. This way of death.” But let’s consider that word ‘easy’. I’ll sum it up with the Outback Steakhouse slogan: No Rules. Just Right.

The ‘easy’ way is a way of human autonomy. In other words, you call the shots, and there’s really no accountability to any higher authority. The highest authority for what you want to do is you. Sure, you may be kept in check by social mores, but really, you do you. You do what you want, and frankly, no one’s really going to tell you differently. You may say you love the bible but it’s only in the capacity in which you can twist its words to make it fit your agenda.

And I say adventuring on this road is deceptive because no one really thinks their headed for hell do they? I mean most people think in their minds ‘You know, I’m an ok person. Am I perfect? No. But I’m as good as most.’

And that’s the issue. Not just most, but NONE are good. None are righteous, no not one. Here’s some characteristics of those adventuring on this wide way. Do one or more of these happen to describe you? If so, you are on the wide and easy way:

1. Unbelief – Don’t believe the truths of the Gospel or Scripture

2. Hypocrisy – claim to love God but live a life contrary

3. Presumption – Assume God must meet you on your terms

4. Apathy – no real or tangible concern for holiness or the ways of God

5. Worldliness – in love with the stuff and systems of this world

6. Self-Righteous – you’ve got what you need in you

Lost people go through hardships all the time. We live in a Genesis 3 world. It’s fallen. Jesus isn’t saying a life of no hard things. He’s saying those on the way of Death just give in to sin, don’t care about holiness, and don’t submit to a higher authority.
The deception of this way is that so many are going traveling this road. You can look around at the world and you can fit right in on going this way. It’s not our natural way to reject the way so many are going, is it?

C. The Achievement of this Road is Destruction –…that leads to destruction

What is the achievement of this way of life? Destruction

Live your way, even if you give occasional lip service to God, and you are headed toward destruction. This is Hell. Not annihilation, but eternal, conscious torment under the holy righteous wrath of God.

II.                  The Way of Life: Enter by the narrow gate…For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Jesus commands us to ‘enter the narrow gate’ because this is the way of life. This is Walking Christ’s Road

A.      Passage into this Road is Exclusive: v.14 - For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

It is exclusive because there is only:

1.       One Person: Christ.

Acts 4:12 there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved

Christ is the Gate. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is God in the flesh. He bore our burden to Calvary. We’re in need of His righteousness

2.       One Way: Christ is the way. But let me be clear: This requires a decision of faith

You can’t be an onlooker of Jesus and hope to have eternal life. What does Jesus say? Enter!
You must receive Christ! You must come to Him in faith! But do you know why so few find it? No one is really looking. Romans 3:11 says ‘no one seeks after God.’ So, we’ve bought into this concept of the need to create ‘seeker sensitive’ churches. Like, create churches were we can attract lost people by looking more like the world. But, the Bible teaches us there is only one seeker: It is God. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Will you repent and believe the gospel?

Just prior to the Sermon on the Mount, in Mathew 4:17, we see the heart of Jesus’ message: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Now, we know that the work of the Holy Spirit under the hearing of the gospel is absolutely required for a person to repent and believe. No one will call upon Christ unless God acts first. The Holy Spirt must raise the dead to life before anyone will come to Christ. But let us be clear that the gospel call to all man is: TURN and be saved!

If you are reading this your call isn’t to discern the actions of the Spirit. Your call is to flee to Jesus. Plead with God by the mercies of Christ to save your soul. Go to Christ in faith!

3.       One at a time:  Do you know what a turnstile is? Those gate things at amusement parks where u walk through and they turn and count you? It’s one at a time.

It’s one at a time with the narrow gate. I can’t enter for you. I can’t enter with you.  The faith of your pastor or parents can’t save you.

B.      Pilgrimage on this Road Requires Endurance – the way is hard

Whether they admit it or not, many begin this journey and turn back. No, I’m not saying people lose their salvation, but I am saying many think they’ve gone through the narrow gate, only to fail to endure when the way gets hard, and thus show they were never regenerated.

So many hear the call of Christ in churches today and they say “Ah, I’ve done did that.” When the truth is, they are living for themselves and not for Christ. They are on the wide way not Walking Christ’s Road

The way is hard because it is not just a one-time decision to follow Christ but a daily renouncing of ourselves and taking up our cross and following Jesus

It is the way of holiness. I am surprised at the number of people who say they are Believers but there is no conscious decision in their daily life to pursue holiness.

In fact, Christ gives us a picture of what those Walking Christ’s Road look like doesn’t He (Matthew 5:3-10)

1.       Helpless: acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy and need for Christ
2.       Haters of Sin: Mourn their sin, fight it, repent of it, hate it
3.       Humble: surrendered to Christ
4.       Hungry: Hunger and thirst for righteousness
5.       Hearts of compassion: Merciful
6.       Holy: Pure in heart, not just outwardly righteous, but also inwardly desire Christ, love Christ, follow Christ
7.       Hopeful: Peacemakers, gospel sharers
8.       Hated by others: Despised by those going that broad way

And those Walking Christ’s Road are few in comparison to the broad way. J.C. Ryle said:  "Repentance, faith in Christ, &holiness of life have never been fashionable. The true flock of Christ has always been small."

Are you walking Christ’s Road?

I wonder, if it really cost you to gather at your local church, would you still go?:

Ø  If your family was in danger by your presence here, would you still go?
Ø  If your life was in danger because you gathered here today, would you still gather?
Ø  If your bank account was in danger because the IRS was going to fine you for gathering today, would you still gather?

Are you walking Christ’s Road?

C.      The Prize of this Road is Eternal Life – For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few

Eternal life! Ah, the way is hard, but it leads to life. The idea is not that we have to work our way to heaven. The idea is that true Believers will be on this narrow way and seek to live for the glory of God.

We have the power of Christ in us and it is by Him that we persevere. By grace are we saved and by grace are we sanctified and by grace will we endure to the end.

To the true Believer let me encourage you: keep running

This is the straight and narrow way.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:1-2)

Oh Believer! KEEP RUNNING! Keep fighting sin! Keep striving toward the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Do not turn to the right or the left! Stay on the narrow way! Keep killing sin! Run harder! Stay disciplined! Keep reading! Keep praying! Keep Hoping! Keep seeking God!
And let’s run together…

And when we see our blessed Lord and Savior He will say to us: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I asked you at the beginning to consider which way you are traveling. Remember, there are only two ways. You are either walking Christ’s road, or you are deceived and walking the way toward destruction.

Which road are you on?

Does my life fit Jesus’ definition of a Christian? And if not, will I repent this day and bow to Him as King, trusting Him as my only suitable and all sufficient Savior?

You can listen to the audio of this sermon by clicking here

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