Are You That Witness Series – Matthew 7:12-14
Intro: In the early 80’s while living in Clayton, North Carolina I worked with the local utility Company; Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) which was located out of Raleigh. Interesting job, I got saved (accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior) during my third year of working for them. That sure changed things for my future with that occupation. I worked in the Relay Construction Department and worked my way up to a first class electrician and this required that I travel a lot. My job mainly consisted of wiring the new substations and distribution stations. I did do some wiring of the Sharon Harris Nuclear plant and a few SEP plants (Steam Electric Plants).
At one time I thought about transferring because of all the traveling that was required and my kids were 1 and 3 at the time. So for a short time I thought about becoming a lineman, which meant I could stay at home and even make more money. But! This required Pole Climbing; these are the poles that carry the electrical power on a distribution line from one structure to another. You know when a transformer blew or there was new distribution lines going in I would climb the pole and do the work that was required on the pole.
Utility-pole or Telephone-pole climbing is an art. In order to climb, one must have a belt that goes around the pole and wear spiked shoes. The secret is to lean back and depend on the belt so the spikes can dig into the pole. Depending on the belt is hard to learn; often a beginner slides down the splintery pole because he won’t depend on his equipment. It only takes a few such experiences to convince the beginner that it is better to depend on the belt.
In the Christian life, God wants us to climb by depending on him. When we are hurt by splinters, we should recognize that they are reminders that we need to depend on his strength and loving protection. Depending on Him requires everything: "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:36-39
Text: Matthew 7:12-14 (NKJV)
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Application: No secret, you can climb closer to God when you lean on Him.
1. The golden rule of life: Vs. 12
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
For the last several weeks we have been talking about the great Sermon on the Mount. This Scripture contains two of the most well-known things Jesus ever said. They deal with two of the basic issues of life. There is the issue of righteousness. How can a person live righteously, that is, have a right relationship with his neighbor? There is the issue of life. How can a person be sure he has life, real life?
The golden rule reveals the heart of God. It shows us exactly how God's heart longs for us to live and act. It is a simple statement revealing what love really is and what life in a perfect world is like. It tells believers that they are to live as the golden rule dictates while still on the earth before being transferred into the heavenly world or dimension. The witness for Christ will follow these laws and the Prophets.
- The golden rule is a one sentence statement that embraces all human behavior.
- The golden rule demands true law and justice.
- The golden rule is concerned with true love and with positive, active behavior. It is more than not doing wrong (lying, stealing, and cheating). It is more than just doing good (helping, caring, giving). It is looking, searching, and seeking for ways to do the good that you want others to do to you. It is seeking ways to treat others just as you want them to treat you.
- The golden rule teaches the whole law. The whole law is contained in the words: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" Every human being would like to have all others treat them perfectly: to love and care for them to the ultimate degree and to express that love and care. The believer is to likewise love and care for others while still on earth. He is to give earth a taste of heaven before all things end. Men who are treated so supremely and get a taste of heaven are more likely to turn to God.
Three things are required of men. To know what Christ taught. To believe what Christ taught. To do what Christ taught. It is not enough to know or to believe the golden rule. We must live it.
The Golden rule simply put - is God’s way! If you want to climb (grow) wrap your arms around the love of God, walk in His path and lean on Him by faith and you can avoid the sinful splinters of this world knowing you are using the correct equipment.
2. The two choices in life: Vs. 13-14
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
There are two travelers, the wise vs. the unwise. The unwise are many. They enter the wide gate, travel the broad and easy way, and end up perishing and experiencing destruction. The wise are the few. The few search for, find, and enter the narrow gate. They travel the narrow and hard way and end up in life. Few experience the fullness of life in its highest ideal. The wide gate is the world and the narrow gate is heaven.
The two choices in life; the picture is not of a man standing at a crossroads, as some paint the scene. What man faces is a single gate, not two gates. There are two gates, but man faces and sees only one. Man cannot see the narrow gate; it has to be searched for and found. The charge is forceful: The wide gate is the world. The narrow gate is the Kingdom of Heaven. The wide gate stands open. It is so wide that there is not a single hindrance to entering the wide gate. Nothing keeps a person from entering it. It is as if a person naturally stands before its wide open doors. Plenty of people can enter and are entering its wide doors at any given time. A person has plenty of company in entering the wide gate. It appears to be the only gate to enter because there is so much growth around it, there is so many people entering it so much activity going on. The point is that a person does not even think of another gate, much less look for one.
The narrow gate is so narrow it cannot be seen. We must turn from the wide gate: turn from following the crowd; turn from the pull of the activity and attractions around the gate. We must search for the narrow gate and seek it out diligently. We must enter immediately when we find the narrow gate. How does a person enter the narrow gate (heaven)? Must repent: turn from the wide gate, the crowd, the activity and attractions around the gate (the world). Must confess that you do not know the narrow gate (heaven); the location (belief); the activity around it (righteousness, good works); and the attraction of it (hope, spiritual qualities, and real life), and that he needs help to find it. You must be born again: “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
How does a person enter the narrow gate? A person must stoop and bow down: become as a little child. A person must strip down: put off the old man. A person must struggle: struggle against the flesh. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" The way (road) is unpaved, covered with gravel and rocks. It takes strong will and determination and personal sacrifice to stick to the road. A person must endure hardness and sufferings.
Some seek the narrow gate and never enter it. Some come upon it, but they decide it is too narrow for them. It requires too much effort, discipline, and self-denial to enter. Some seek unthoughtfully. They carelessly walk right by it without ever seeing it. Some seek half-heartedly. They still look back to the wide gate so as not to lose sight of it. They miss the narrow gate because of insincerity and lack of discipline. Some seek and run across it, but they do not like what they see: the restraints, the discipline, the gravel and rocky covering. Therefore, they turn back to the wide gate. The narrow gate is narrow and hard to find. But it is not shut. It is open to all who seek and find it. The invitation is out to whoever will enter it. ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The wide gate requires no decision to enter. A person stands before it automatically by being in the world. Christ does not say a person has to enter it. To enter the gate requires no energy, no search, and no commitment. A person is there, facing the gate already. All they have to do is to begin the journey in life and follow its broad and easy course. The narrow gate requires a decision to enter. It requires (1) a personal decision, (2) a firm determination, and (3) a commitment of energy and effort to search out the entrance. And once the narrow gate has been found, an immediate and definite decision to enter is required: "Enter ye in" is the only way.
There is no choice. There is only one way, not many. The way is Jesus Christ. If a person wishes eternal life, he has to come to God through Jesus Christ: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV)
Conclusion: Here is the appeal to which Jesus has been moving through the whole sermon. He gives the call to decide now about becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom and inheriting eternal life, or remaining a citizen of this fallen world and receiving damnation. The way to life is on God’s terms alone; the way to damnation is on any terms a person wants, because every way but God’s leads to the same fate.
Jesus has been giving God’s standards throughout the sermon, standards that are holy and perfect and that are opposed to the self-righteous, self-sufficient, and hypocritical standards of man-typified by those of the scribes and Pharisees. He has shown what His kingdom is like and what its people are like-and are not like. Now He presents the choice of entering the kingdom or not. Here the Lord focuses on the inevitable decision that every person must make, the crossroads where he must decide on the gate he will enter and the way he will go.
Our lives are filled with decisions-what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do, what to say, what to buy, whom to marry, what career to follow, and on and on. Many decisions are trivial and insignificant, and some are essential and life-changing. The most critical of all is our decision about Jesus Christ and His kingdom. That is the ultimate choice that determines our eternal destiny. It is that decision that Jesus here calls men to make. You can climb when you Lean back on faith on God’ “Depend on Him!”
In : Sermon
Tags: "are you that witness series" "book of matthew"
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