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The Gate that leads to the Narrow Path

Is Christianity the right choice for you?

First consider carefully what is involved.

  1. When we decide to look into Christianity… To investigate the reality of it.

  2. First we should Learn a few basic things, like an overall picture of what it is all about.

  3. One of the first things we learn is that it teaches that when we die, which we all must face… life goes on…

  4. And that eternal life will be spent in a specific place, it will never change, and it will last forever.

  5. We learn that one place is called hell which will be a severe punishment, as if being burned, and it will last forever, and ever, and never end.

  6. We learn of a 2nd place, which is called heaven, which again will be eternal, however in this place will be a place of peace, comfort and joy.

  7. We learn these are the only two choices, and we will make the choice ourselves, and there is no other options.

  8. In order to go to the place called Hell…. nothing is required, we are basically born on that path, which the bible refers to as the wide gate, and broad path (Matthew 7:13)

  9. Or we can go to the 2nd Place called Heaven, but it must be chosen, and this choice was created by the death of Jesus Christ, called the grace of the cross

  10. but this is a narrow gate, and a difficult path.

  11. We are told to make our decision carefully, to “Weigh the Cost”

  12. We should first determine whether this can all be true by something called “Christian Apologetics” (defenses).

  13. We should determine the requirements on our part in order to enter onto the narrow path, and how to stay there, always keeping in mind that “salvation” (what these Christians call going to Heaven) is free, but there is a cost, and the cost is dear (in human eyes), and we must understand it is free because of Christ being crucified for us, so that we can choose Heaven, but the work we must do, causes us to mature, and  it is a witness to our commitment to following the commands of Christ for He tells us if we say we believe in Him, and do not obey His commands we are liars, and the truth is not in us (He is the truth, and the witness of the truth). 1 John 2:4

  14. Before we enter the difficult path that leads to eternal we must pass through a “narrow gate” . A gate keeps both things in, and things out, and this one is strict (narrow). There are several things we must do to prepare ourselves to not only enter onto the path, but to equip ourselves with certain knowledge, and actions that will help us be successful in staying on the path.

  15. So we are now going to enter into a series of sermons to explain each step of the way.

 

Today, we are going to look at a simple outline of the calling and work of a Christian

 

Introduction

  • Each step of the way could be a sermon in of itself, and each deserve a deep study.

  • So first I will want to look at the calling, there are two callings

  • how are men called to salvation?

  • and then how men are called into the ministry.

  1. What comes between the two callings?

Training

The purpose of training

  • To learn the truth

How long does that training last?

  1. Exactly the same length of time we are on the narrow path until we reach eternity.

  2. And, lastly, what about taking the word to the world?

    What can we expect?

    • The first two steps can be a simple progression and many not so simple

    • The last step can be stressful IF WE LET IT BE… taking the word to the world.

Sermon

Being called into the faith…

 

Jesus said in John 6:44 that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

 

  • What does it mean that God must draw someone to salvation?

    1. Of course, there are many ways we could look at this, but again,

    2. Remember the key word today is SIMPLE

      Today’s lesson is on a simple understanding of path,

 

 

So let me begin with this:

  • Have you ever heard of the KISS principle? (keep it simple stupid)

However there is a principle that is put a little nicer…

  • There is a principle called Occam’s Razor, or law of parsimony: and it means the simplest answer is generally the correct answer.

  1. It is the problem-solving principle that states that “Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” So let’s keep this simple

APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO SCRIPTURE: DO NOT ADD OR TAKE AWAY

  • My old father in law used to say, and I would add correctly, the bible is simple, and anyone with a 6th grade education can understand it, it takes a real professional to confuse it… so again, let’s just keep it simple.

  • Another example of simple: James Holzhauer

  • HE WON 32 consecutive Jeopardy victories, His big knowledge base garnered him national recognition and more than $2 million in prize money, landed in second place during the long-running game show

  • He was also a big winner on “The Beast”

  • He was asked how he prepared for these contests: His answer… he went to the library to study the various subjects… in the children’s section.

 

FIRST

 

This is clear, Every person has a sin nature and would not desire to come to faith in Jesus unless God first placed the desire in the person’s heart.

In other words… God took the first step.

 

SECOND

How?

INBORN KNOWLEDGE

 

Romans 1:20 teaches, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
God has revealed Himself through His creation, providing ample evidence of His existence

 

  • So what we see so far is simple, no man is righteous, Yet… God has created us with a certain understanding, BUT we must also have outside help to understand the calling, and God provides that…

    1. Some people simply say they don’t believe in God,

    2. but the truth is,

    3. they may have doubt, but they do believe, GOD SAYS SO!

A Company called Brown Trucking Company used to do a polygraph test of all potential employees, and performed this test on app 15,000 people before the laws were passed to stop the practice

  1. They asked those who claimed to be atheist if they believed in God, and every time they said no, the test indicated they were lying…

So simply put… we are born with the basic knowledge.

 

OBTAINED KNOWLEDGE

  • God

    also provides the Gospel message that gives us a desire to believe in Jesus as Lord.

 

BY HEARING THE WORD:

For example, when Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, we read,

(Acts 2:37 – 38). “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?'” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • These people were drawn to salvation through the hearing of the Gospel message and the Spirit of God. As a result, many believed and were saved on that day (Acts 2:41).So what’s the progression here?  We have built in knowledge of God, even though we are unrighteous… we are saved through the gospel… then WE take the gospel to the world.

    • if we are following Christ’s command, you heard the gospel from someone else… someone who told you about Christ… and it’s your duty to spread the good news.

    • Now many of you learned the gospel when you were a child and your parents or grandparents taught you, or it may have occurred when you were an adult, much like Jim Pinkston,

    • but somewhere along the line it did occur, and considering the fact that you’re sitting here bears witness of that.

      1. However, it is clear; it is God who initiates the process, provides the way of salvation through the gospel of Jesus, and provides the faith necessary for a person to believe in His name.Every part of the process is due to God’s grace, ALTHOUGH a human response is involved in placing one’s faith in Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9 serves as a wonderful summary of this dynamic, stating,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

  1. Salvation is God’s gift provided by His grace. We receive it by faith, experiencing the salvation only God can provide.

However, never forget verse 10… God has also given us work to do… and that may be preaching, or some other service, but rest assured He will call you to be a part of the church, not just a bystander, or observer… but a doer…

 

  • Training

    1. How do you prepare yourself, what training is necessary…

    2. this is probably the shortest and simplest part of this sermon….

 

2 Peter 3:18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

 

  • You must have knowledge…. Study to show yourself approved…

Timothy 2:15  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

  • be like the Bereans and check what the preacher is saying to make sure it is biblical, just as you should with me.

Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

 

  1. All these things are necessary, however studying the scriptures to make sure the preacher is preaching the truth is imperative…

  2. do not just believe what anyone says standing here and talking.

Corinthians 11:14-15 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

 

  1. And just as Paul said, he preaches every chance he has, because he knew that was one time a false preacher couldn’t get in, and it’s same with you:If your desire to teach the truth, then never say no when asked to speak.

  • In addition to the above, during the process of learning

    • WE must be willing to ask questions when they arise.

    • And, Be will willing to dig through the scriptures for answers for yourself, and keep digging until you feel confident you have the right answer.

    • Only use the bible, and occasionally concordances.

    • Personally, I believe the New Kings James is the most correct translation that is commonly available, and I use the Thompson chain version, just because it makes it really easy to find cross verses, and verses covering the same subject,

    • When you do this, you are allowing the scripture to be it’s own commentary.

    • I spent 7 years going through the bible, book by book, and reading 1 to 3 commentaries on each book, before realizing that many of those commentaries were based on doctrines of men… and many of them made no sense to me, they just didn’t gel with scripture.so you can understand verses, by other verses, comparing helps make sure you have the verses in the proper context.

AVOID MAN MADE DOCTRINES…. STICK TO THE BIBLE.

Called into the ministry

  • So how is a person called into the ministry?

    1. It has been my experience that people are called in various ways.

      • As a child, our preacher told us he received his calling in audible voice, so audible that he was sitting in church between two friends, and he thought one of them had spoken to him.

      • There’s a story I’d like to share with you of a missionary by the name Amy Carmichael and she is no relation to me, even though I am a bit fond of her name, her story begins with this. States she also heard a audible call, and describes that call… and she ended her story with this statement, a statement that all of could make at that time we found true salvation.

    2. She said, and I quote….but I knew something had happened that had changed life’s values. Nothing could ever matter again but things that were eternal.

      • Amy went on to give her entire life to Gods work in India saving the little girls from Temple worship… and later the little boys as well.

    3. Generally it’s not so dramatic….And, I believe many of us are simply called by merely being asked to do something. And, then something more, and more, and etc

British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon:

 

“If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.” In other words, only those who believe they are chosen by God for the pulpit should proceed in undertaking this sacred task.

 

  1. I disagree with that… if you are asked to do something within the church, cut the grass, lead in singing, or prayer, or preaching… if you are able… do it.

  2. It is my belief that a major part of faith, and belief is believing God has placed you where you are, and if asked to do something… just do it.

 

Often when it is the preacher or the elders who ask you to do something, it is God asking you through them.

  • But there is danger in the world today as well… God will protect you.

  • Matthew 10: 16 – 20 Jesus tells us He is sending us out among the wolves, and that we are to be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves.

  • We must beware of men… they will persecute us

  • And, it tells us to not worry about what we will say, for the word will come to us because it is the spirit speaking through us.

How does this happen?

The better you know the scripture the better you will know what to say… When questioned, you will automatically know which scripture applies to the situation, and the question at hand.
And, there can be times when God gives you the word

NOW WHAT ABOUT THE WORK?

 

Finally in Matthew 28:18 – 20  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

  • We have work to do while in this world, and I am speaking of work in the Lords fields. Every work is equal to all other work.

    1. The janitor, or the one who works in the yards of the church is just as important as being the pulpit preacher, regardless of our title, all of us are preachers,ALL ARE EQUAL.

      • In addition to that, some will become somewhat experts in various aspects of the scripture,

        • For instance some will have extensive knowledge in end-times events, others in the Jewish mysticism, others in fulfilled prophesies, and others still in the scientific facts found in scripture…ALL ARE EQUAL IN IMPORTANCE…

 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

  • And, we are in the world, preaching to the world, great or small.

    • A Few weeks ago I preached on the minimum side and had four people, and it would have been the same if it had been 1,000 or Just 2,

    • I will preach the word to whomever will listen.

 

  • As a Christian in 2020 in this world, you very well may be attacked for your belief,

  • be ready to give an answer for your faith,

1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give a logical reason for our belief.

Matthew 10: 5 – 10 Tells us that He sent the 12 out to preach without provisions, not even a change of clothes,

He is teaching a couple of things here… go preach the word… to everyone who will listen… do not worry about worldly things… and don’t pick and choose who you preach to…. And you are worthy of your keep.


AND

 

John 17:14-18….I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15   I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18   As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

 

  1. We are not looking for the wealth

    of the world, we are to be building up treasures in heaven.

 

 

 

  • Conclusion

 

  1. So to re-examine these simple steps, and then the lesson will by yours, and Joe lead us in a closing prayer: During that time, please come forward if in need of prayer.

    1. We are all unrighteous and in need of a savior

    2. God gave us built in knowledge of Himself

    3. He gave us evidence of Himself through creation

    4. He gave us the gospel, which we learn through others

    5. We study His word to gain knowledge

    6. We are called into the ministry…. We are all preachers… we might be the janitor who is a preacher, or Elder who is a preacher, and so on.

    7. When Asked We Just Do It

     

  1. Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
  2. 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
  3. 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’
  4. As we leave here, I pray for His peace to rest upon each and everyone of you.
  5. Thank you for your time and the lesson is yours.

 

  1. To take this a step further, I want to add, that God seems to have certain people He is really chasing, more than the typical calling, and I am not saying this is scriptural, but only that it appears to be a pattern to me.
  2. And the thing I see, is there are certain people He chooses, those whom He really wants to get their attention, and get them on the right track….His track… and this is the sign….
  3. He allows difficult times, and hardship, and allows them to be placed in a difficult situation, for it is in the difficult situations that we seek Him the most.
  4. And, when I look upon this group of Christians… this is what I see… people who have faced difficult situations. Loss of loved ones, and other heart aches
  5. And, you no longer walk in the world, in neither the physical sense, nor spiritual sense, and when you leave here….

 

STAY SEPARATED….

  1. And, I am convinced that you do listen to the Holy Spirit call you, seek you, and respond accordingly.

  2. The evidence of this, you could have been sitting in your home right now, watching a movie, or sitting in a restaurant throwing down an all meat omelet, but you decided to come here and to listen to the word of God…..

  3. I hope and pray that you take advantage of the situation that God has placed you in… and take up your cross For his burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

 

  1. And God will reveal to you His plans for you.

  2. To take this a step further, I want to add, that God seems to have certain people He is really chasing, more than the typical calling, and I am not saying this is scriptural, but only that it appears to be a pattern to me.

  1. And the thing I see, is there are certain people He chooses, those whom He really wants to get their attention, and get them on the right track….His track… and this is the sign….

  2. He allows difficult times, and hardship, and allows them to be placed in a difficult situation, for it is in the difficult situations that we seek Him the most.

  3. And, when I look upon this group of Christians… this is what I see… people who have faced difficult situations. Loss of loved ones, and other heart aches

  4. And, you no longer walk in the world, in neither the physical sense, nor spiritual sense, and when you leave here….

 

closing

In closing I would simply like to share a couple of verses, that have become a kind of tradition for me as I close out a sermon.

  1. Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you;

  2. 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;

  3. 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’

  4. As we leave here, I pray for His peace to rest upon each and everyone of you.

  5. Thank you for your time and the lesson is yours.

 

 

[i] “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

The Steps: A sermon series

  1. Believe through Hearing
  2. Confess and Repent
  3. Be baptized, and be added to the church, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  4. In the last sermon we will revisit each of the other paths, and determine the difficulty.