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Text Box: The Two Ways of Life



Text Box:  
(Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)  Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Mark 12:32-34 NIV)  "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."  When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
(Luke 13:24 NIV)  Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
(1 Timothy 6:12 NIV)  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(Matthew 24:13 NIV)  …but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Text Box: The Way of the Cross is certainly narrow.  You will not enter it by leading a passive go-with-the-flow lifestyle (Luke 13:24).  Certainly the Golden Rule will lead you there, for Jesus Himself said (Mark 12:28-34) those who believed and practiced it were on their way to being in the Kingdom at that time.
The road to destruction is easy for the flesh to follow.  It is a comfortable road that caters to your passions and desires.  You do not have to deny yourself to travel on this road.  Just follow your heart.  It is true what is said about this road: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  
Not only is the road to life narrow, but its gate is narrow as well.  You can easily miss the entrance to this road unless you are paying very careful attention to what God is doing in your life.  A sure way to miss the gate that leads to the road that leads to life is by following your heart’s desires.
Only a few can travel this road without harboring a longing for the broad way.  Only a few will believe Jesus is with them throughout the entire journey.  Only a few know this is the only way to live so they may spend eternity in their Master’s rest. Only a few look so sincerely that they find it and give everything up when they do (Matthew 13:44-46), recognizing it is the Master's way.
Many think they are traveling on this narrow road but instead are still treading the wide road.  By their fruit you can recognize them (Matthew 7:15-20 p.67).  They will seek justification by their actions (Matthew 7:21-23 p.69) but they will not know the Way of the Cross-—the narrow road.
The two gates (verses 13 and 14 p.65), the two trees (verses 17-19 p.67) and the two foundations (verses 24-27 p.71) we will examine in the next three weeks, Lord willing, illustrate what Kingdom citizens have in their heart.  They strive to seek the Kingdom and be convinced of what God says because their hope is in the Kingdom of Heaven, not in the world or its ways.  They understand that there are no other ways other than following Jesus to Heaven, or following their heart to destruction.  Kingdom citizens know a judicious decision is always required for you to enter the right gate, tread the right path, bear the right fruit and build on the right foundation.  That judicious decision can only come from knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior and building on His Words.  This is following In His Footsteps…

In His Footsteps © 1998         





Text Box: The Two Ways of Life




The way is narrow (Greek stenos, meaning pinched and difficult to navigate: strait).  It takes sober judgment to find, enter and remain in the narrow path.  Read Proverbs 2:1-15.  From who should you seek wisdom?  What does the Lord’s wisdom teach you?  Read Proverbs 1:23-33.  What happens when you reject the wisdom of the Lord?  Why do you think complacency is a factor in straying from the narrow path (verse 32)?  The word translated as complacency in the NIV is the Hebrew word shalvah, meaning: security, abundance, peace, prosperity or quietness.  These words spell out comfort zone.  Is your comfort zone preventing you from finding and walking the narrow path?  What will your comfort zone do to you in the end (verse 32)?   Read Luke 13:23-30.  What is required to enter the narrow gate?  Why will some not be able to enter?  The story given here is very similar to the picture painted by Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39; Matthew 7:21-23 and Matthew 22:1-14.  Why were all these people denied entry into the Kingdom?  All these involve you shedding your comfort zone to enter through the narrow gate into the Kingdom of Heaven.  The word translated as every effort in Luke 13:24 (NIV) is the Greek word agonizomai, which means: to fight, labor fervently, strive, to contend with an adversary.  The verb to agonize is derived from this Greek word.  Why does the flesh agonize to enter and remain in the narrow way?



The gate to the narrow way must be entered.  You must walk through it.  It cannot just be admired or mulled over.  Read Jude 1-5.  Why does Jude feel motivated to urge us to contend for the faith?  What happens when godless men/women are received in full fellowship without the church addressing their moral licentiousness?  Is it possible to be led astray?  What happens to those who do not believe after being delivered from sin?  How do these licentious men/women show their disbelief (verse 8, 10, 12, 13)? Have they remained in the narrow path?  Read Matthew 24:3-13.  What does Jesus say will happen to many because of the increase of wickedness (verse 12)?  Who will be saved?  Read 1 Timothy 6:12.  The term translated as fight is, again, agonizomai.  What must we do with or in our faith?  What happens if you don’t fight?  Who or what are you fighting (Ephesians 6:12; Romans 7:18-25)? Only when we are agonizing to continue our walk in the narrow path will our sins be forgiven (1 John 1:7).  What does walking in the light also involve (verse 9)?  Can we have forgiveness when we walk in darkness (broad road)?   If you are not having a struggle with something in your life, can you say you are agonizing as you walk the narrow path?  Name some of the things that make the narrow path difficult for your flesh. 



Read Revelation 22:12, 16.  Who is coming soon?  Who is He (verse 13)?  Who can enter the gates of the Holy City in Heaven?  Who must remain outside the Holy City?  How can we be sure that we are washing our robe so we can enter the Holy City (1 John 1:6-10)?  The gates of the city (Revelation 21:10-27) are not necessarily there to keep people out, but to serve as an invitation to enter (John 3:16-21).  Jesus Himself is our invitation and our gate (John 10:7-10).  The gates are always open, but each gate is so narrow that nothing vile can enter in God’s Kingdom (Revelation 21:27).



Who will have a tough time entering the gate? Read Matthew 19:23-30.  Who will have a hard time entering the Kingdom?  Why do you think this is so?  Even if you don’t have worldly riches, could you possibly fall into this category?  Why?  What must we strive for instead of riches (remember our Prime Directive, Matthew 6:33)?  Read John 5:39-44.  Jesus is rebuking the Jews who were seeking to kill Him (verse 18).  Did these Jews diligently study the Scriptures?  But, did they come to Jesus?  Why did Jesus say they didn’t have the love of God in them?  What was their focus on (verse 43, 44)?  What did Jesus direct them to do (verse 44)?  If you seek honor from the flesh, will you be able to enter through the narrow gate?  Seek the honor from the Lord, not the flesh.



The most difficult thing in the navigation of the narrow way is balance.  Read Ecclesiastes 7:18.  What causes us to go wayward and follow extremes (Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 10:23; Jeremiah 13:10)?  Should you take yourself too seriously (Ecclesiastes 7:4, 9, 10, 16, 21,22) and forfeit your crown of life by thinking you can navigate the strait on your own?  Or should you take your work in the Kingdom seriously and have the hope of Heaven (Philippians 2:7-16)? The broad path is flat and smooth—comfortable and appealing to the flesh.  Self-serving and self-preservation pave the broad road.  Read Isaiah 35:8-10.  Are you on the Way of Holiness?  How will those on this Way enter Zion, the Holy Hill?  What overtakes those on the narrow Way?  What flees from those on the strait Way?


Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.--Luke 13:24


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