by Robert G. Brooks
Verse 15 of the text immediately warns about false religionists- “which come to you as friendly sheep, but who in their hearts (however sincerely committed, but self-deceived) are like wolves!” 1 John 1:1-3 sets forth clearly the witness we should receive: “Enter in at the straight gate.” Jesus is the only gate to God!
I. The Super (“Broad”) Highway to Hell (vs. 13)
A) Most are on this road, says Jesus. Most would say they believe in God, but their attitude is “Let God be, but let me run my life.” They have no time for Him, as is evidenced by their ignoring the church of the Living God, which is purchased by the blood of Christ. Hence they “trample under foot the blood of the Son of God.” (Hebrews 10:29) They simply ignore Him, their Creator and Redeemer. It’s not enough to say with one’s lips “I believe in God”—but ignore Him in life (James 3:19- “Thou believist there is one God; thou doest well. The devils also believe, and tremble.”) You say you believe in God. SO WHAT! The Dark One knows Jesus is Saviour – but he is not committed to Christ – like the vast majority of this world.
B) No one in Holy Writ spoke more of Hell than Jesus of Nazareth:
Matt. 5:22, Matt. 5:29, Matt. 10:28, Matt. 18:9, Matt. 23:15, Matt. 23:13, Luke 12:5
C) The word hell is a translation of the Greek word gehenna. Gehenna translates the Hebrew word Hinnom. This was the name of a valley southeast of Jerusalem, where in Israel’s early history children were sacrificed (!) to the false god Moloch. Later this valley was a garbage dump, where the fires never ceased.
D) THERE HAS TO BE A HELL if for no one but Adolph Hitler! The wars, the torture, the tyranny, the terrorism, slavery, murder, rape, sodomy, fornication, adultery, character assassinations, child abuse and abduction, wife abuse, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the spitting –as it were- in the face of the Lord God Creator, Giver of Life solely on the basis of grace. What more shall I say except to consider all the martyrs who became “living torches” for their rebellion against a corrupt church because of a will to see the common man own the Bible for his freedom to search its truths rather than ecclesiastical lords.
II. The Straight Gate and Narrow Way Lead to the Paradise of God
A) The thief on the cross who turned to Jesus and heard Jesus say, “TODAY you will be in Paradise.” He didn’t say you are going to sleep for millenniums until you enter. Paul said, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8) Jesus said “I am the door.” He is the “gate” to eternal life.
B) The way to Paradise, Jesus says, is a narrow way (i.e. there is no room for excessive baggage – only a personal cross, a denial of egocentrism.) It is the way that seeks to be perfect like our heavenly Father.
C) Jesus said, “few there be that find it.” Islam is growing with all speed because it is a religion of hate ( and mankind is more negative at heart than positive). Christianity is, conversely, Christ-centered, the essence of whose teaching is love. Hence few find “the way, the truth, and the life.” It is estimated that thousands on church rolls are not really born again!
The two ways fork early in childhood at what is called “the age of accountability.” When the child is old enough to grasp the seriousness of doing wrong – of sin and guilt. There is a cross in the middle of the fork. They become aware that the road right leads to the God-man; the other leads to total separation from God.
And so to you, friend, if you have never committed yourself to the God-man — Jesus the Christ; the call comes from Deuteronomy 30:15-20: “See I have set before thee life and good, death and evil.” Jeremiah puts total commitment even more clearly: Jeremiah 21:8 says “Behold I have set before thee the way of life and the way of death.”
The only remedy is repentance! Art thou too proud to say to your Creator, I have ignored You? Then….