Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Path To Salvation: Final Sermon in the series on the Gate… March 29, 2020

 

The Narrow Path

The final lesson on the series of sermons on the narrow gate.

Matthew 7:13

The Narrow Way

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.

Introduction

 

Before the lesson let’s consider the challenge people face When becoming a Christian

  • You must enter this gate. There’s only one narrow gate.
  • It is a definite gate. The Old Testament talks about ways that seem right to a man that are the ways of death.
  • BUT

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life; John 11: 25 – 26

no man comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6

 

Jesus says, “I am the door. If any man tries to come in any other way, he is a thief and a robber.” John 10:1

 

  • In Acts 4:12 it says, “There is no salvation in any other name;
  • for there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
  • There’s only one way to be saved,
  • there’s only one person who is the Savior, and faith in that person is required for salvation.

Making the right decision

  • Shackleton who organized a expedition to the South Pole in 1916 is said to have created what is now a much disputed ad, quoted as saying:
    • Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
    • This would have been an honest ad
    • It would have given the men a lot to think about. Would the fame and fortune be worth the risk?

 

  • What would you say to the crowd if you wanted to organize a group to go on the journey to eternal life.
  • What would the message of the modern evangelist be to the crowd?

 

  • I doubt that it would be this, Luke 14:25,
  • “He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me, and doesn’t hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he can’t be My disciple.’”

 

  • That’s not a very attractive message; however, that is the truth.
  • there’s a lot to think about this, just as in the expedition to the South Pole.
  • This is a life commitment. It is an eternal decision.”
  • It is not easy decision;

Traveling Along on the Broad Path

  • It’s much easier to go the broad way.
  • The sellers of the broad way are telling you, “Hey, come join our group, you can come in all together.
  • Oh, don’t worry about your sin. Don’t worry about your theology.”

 

  • There is a carelessness and a shoddiness and a flippancy that exists within many people’s understanding of the gospel.
  • To me it is an insult to our savior, as if we somehow deserved salvation

The Difficulty

  • Strive to enter in, agōnizomai; used in 1 Corinthians 9:25 of an athlete struggling to win;
  • Also used in Colossians 4:12 of laboring fervently, even to the point of death;
  • used in 1 Timothy 6:12 of fighting, combat.
  • It means there is a serious personal struggle that follows the decision to follow Christ

 

 

  • So Jesus says in Matthew 11:12, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
  • That sounds very strange, but it is in the bible, so therefore it is true.
  • There’s a certain violence in coming to salvation.
  • You’re in the throes of a war and a battle with your own soul to release your love of sin and self and pride.
  • It’s a wrenching experience. Luke 16:16 says, “Every man presses into it.”
  • Becoming a Christian is not easy, it’s hard.

What is required?

  • the kingdom opens up to those who seek with ALL THEIR HEARTS.
  • You’re not going to sleep your way into the kingdom.
  • The kingdom requires earnest endeavor,
  • untiring energy, utmost exertion,

You have a great adversary standing in your path to salvation

2 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.

  • because Satan is mighty and has a vast array of helpers,
  • because he has many false prophets and deceivers all over the world,
  • because he actually receives help from the part of our heart’s that – the love of sin.
  • We must let go of the love of sin,
  • We must have the desire to be forgiven of sin,
  • To obtain this, demands a strong self-will;
  • a vigor, an eagerness, a willingness to conquer, take possession of the kingdom with all its blessings of salvation.

 

THIS IS NOT FOR WEAKLINGS.

 

  • This is not for waverers. This is not for compromisers.
  • This is not for the Balaams.  or the rich young rulers.
  • This is not won by deferred prayers, by unfulfilled promises, broken resolutions, and hesitant commitments.
  • It’s for the strong and the sturdy, like Joseph, Nathan, Elijah, Daniel, and others

 

The conflict is often fierce.

  • It is difficult because we must let go of self, and submit fully to Christ
  • “Are you willing to do that? Have you really counted the cost of what’s involved here?
  • Jesus is asking for your whole life. He is asking you to become His slave.
  • He is asking you to live the rest of your life doing exactly what He tells you, no matter what it cost you,
  • even if it cost you all your hopes and dreams, those are just worldly things folks
  • AND YOUR OWN LIFE.”

The eternal question

Are you willing?

 

So, as we go today’s lesson

  • We will wrap up this sermon series on salvation… on entering the narrow gate.
  • Remember the steps are to believe by hearing, confess and repent, be baptized and added to the church, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Let’s revisit each aspect from the previous lessons on this subject.

 

Sermon

 

Step One: Believe by Hearing

The Word

2 Peter 1:19-21

Tells us that the word of scripture is sure… it can be trusted, and furthermore it is not open for personal interpretation… it means what it says.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Hearing = Study

2 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 willing to hear preaching, for example we find in…

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.

The fact of the matter is that God’s Word is the Sword of the Spirit for the conversion of man

The sword of the spirit does not lie in doctrines of men such as Calvinism… it lies only in God’s word.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

In Rom 1:16, Paul wrote: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

When the apostle Paul wrote his epistles, they were not his opinions or his own ideas of how to have a good relationship with God:

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

He declared that they are the “commandments of the Lord”.

 

Understand the power of words

So what are we talking about here?

COMMUNICATION,

  • which is the foundation of all things, civilization, science, mathematics, and most importantly, knowing the word of God.
  • In order to communicate the Word of God properly we must be able understand it properly
  • To understand it properly we must be willing to study Gods Word correctly and that includes

MEDITATING ON THE WORD

  • The definition to meditate is: to ponder, regurgitate, THINK ALOUD, consider continuously and utter something over and over again.
  • This is exactly what we need to do with the WORD OF GOD
  • Although God speaks to our spirits we still need to understand His word in our minds.
  • To understand the Word with our minds we need to focus on the word.
  • And it is through true mediation of the word that allows us to focus on the word.

 

The most powerful aspect of words, however, is

Truth:

  • God’s Word which is the Truth (John 17:17)
  • that will set man free from sin (John 8:32,34-36)
  • was given to Jesus Christ who had in turn given it to His apostles (John 17:8)
  • and the Holy Spirit was sent to ensure that the apostles would guide them into all truth (John 16:13)
  • as well as teach them all things and to bring to their remembrance all that was taught to them by Jesus Christ when He was with them

Stay in the right rut

  • Someone put up a sign along one of the muddy roads in rural Iowa during the rainy season.
  • It read: “Choose your ruts carefully; you’ll be in them for the next ten miles.”

 

  • That sign may raise a smile, but actually it offers sound advice.
  • When roads are slippery, it’s for your own good that you get into a rut.
  • But make sure that you choose the right one or you will surely end up in the ditch.

Ruts in the road to salvation

  • There are several ruts, which we call false doctrines, in the path to that leads to the gate that opens to the path…and choosing one of the false doctrines to follow, is just like choosing the wrong rut in that muddy road in Iowa… you will end up in the ditch.

In a much more profound sense, Jesus likened our destiny to choosing the right road to travel.

  • After describing qualities of the Christian life, in Matthew 5: 1 -12 referred to the sermon on the mount
  • Listen to what he follows up with in Matthew 7

Matthew 7:13-14

The Narrow Way

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.

Keeping your mind on God’s word:

Change your thinking, and change who you are

Philippians 4: 8 – 9
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

  • We learn the truth, when we read GOD’S WORD… OUT LOUD… this effects our thinking,
  • it changes our thinking and our lives…
  • when it is the word of God, taken from the scripture only…

 

  • How?

Proverbs 23:7 Says in part For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

  • This is how we ‘HEAR” and learn to “BELIEVE”

I know I spent a lot of time in this section, however the entire foundation of a successful journey through the gate, and down the path is BELIEF… and this is where we begin the entire journey… belief, and it must be belief based upon truth through personal study.

 

Step 2 Confess and Repent

Confession

  • WE confess a wrong/ and we confess Christ as Lord and savior
  • We know this by the first step… studying to show ourselves approved
  • by this we know we have committed sin…
  • We know this by the first step… studying to show ourselves approved

It is like a spotlight that showcases our sins, reveals them to us.

Repentance

We learned the last time I was here there are two types of confess, repentance and forgiveness, Judicial and Parental, and we must continue to confess, repent and ask for forgiveness after salvation.

Judicial

  • The initial confession and repentance leads to forgiveness God grants as Judge.
  • It’s the forgiveness God purchased for you by Christ’s atonement for your sin.
  • The forgiveness of justification takes care of judicial guilt,
  • but it does not nullify His fatherly displeasure over your sin.

Parental

  • parental forgiveness God grants as your Father.
  • He is grieved when His children sin.
  • So the forgiveness Christians ARE SUPPOSED TO SEEK in their daily walk is not pardon from an angry Judge,
  • BUT MERCY FROM A GRIEVED FATHER.

True Repentance

  • You will learn through bible study, that repentance in the true biblical sense is a change of the will of man in reference to God,

 

Step three Be baptized, added to the church and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

Baptism

  • The word “Baptism” is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse.
  • In Hebrew it is referred to as a MIKVEH – an immersion.
  • So by this know … immersion… is the true baptism & that is the physical act of Baptism.

Baptism, required for salvation

  • just as believing by hearing, confessing and repenting, is a required act for salvation.

John 3: 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

  • Receive new everlasting Life through Baptism
  • And it is the power of God that makes alive again…

 

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

  • I have been crucified and resurrected with Christ… How?

Romans 6:3-4 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

  • And this is where we are relieved of the sin…. Cleansed that we might enter into the that mansion:

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

You are Added to the Church

  • The church comprises the “whole number of the true believers, that have been, are, or shall be, gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof” . This is otherwise known as the invisible church. In another sense, the church is the body of the faithful

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Ephesians 2:21-22 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

  • Acts 2:38 says in part you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
  • The church as described in Acts 2 was one that grew on a daily basis as the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
  • The first converts in Jerusalem numbering abut 3,000, witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and
  • heard them proclaim praises to God in languages that they had not learned before: “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:11).
  • These were not “unknown tongues” in the sense that no one on earth spoke those tongues or languages or angelic tongues.
  • They were merely tongues or languages that the apostles had not learned before but the Spirit empowered them to speak in those languages (Acts 2:4) as evidence of God working with them (Mark 16:20; Heb 2:3-4 – ‘to confirm or authenticate their words’).

 

Conclusion

I would like to close after the next statement, and then Joe will lead us in a closing song, and if any of you are in need of prayer, please come forward at that time.

The path to salvation

  • We must hear and believe, confess and repent, be baptized and be added to the church and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • There are two main arguments between the truth and false doctrine..
  • False doctrine says all you have to do is believe, and you don’t have to be baptized,

What is the Truth?

  • Must you believe by hearing?
    • Of course
  • but does believing by itself save you? No… even the demons believe and shudder. James 2:19
  • Must you confess, and repent, Yes…
  • will that by itself save you? No,
    • in fact if you do not continue to confess and repent, you will lose your salvation.
  • Can you be added to the church and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Without believing, confessing, and repenting,
  • No, the scripture teaches that one receives that at Baptism.
  • So, does Baptism by itself, save you? No,
  • However: without it can you be saved? NO
  • Baptism is one of the stepping stones we follow to the narrow path.
  • I would like to compare this to another common mistake people make concerning the bible to put it into perspective
  • … the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5: 22-23
  • We often hear people speak of the “FRUITS” of the spirit…
  • Sounds right doesn’t it, but it’s not,
  • it is actually one fruit with multiple aspects, love, joy, peace and etc. all working in unison.

The same principle applies to the gate entering on to the difficult path:

One Gate, multiple aspects that all work together and in unison.

Believe, recognize your sin, confess it, repent it, baptize to be clean of it, and then you are dressed properly to be a part of the church, and an acceptable receptacle for the Holy Spirit.

 

 

  • So in closing I would like to close with
  • NUMBERS 6:24-26
  • 24 “The LORD bless you and keep you;
  • 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you,
  • And be gracious to you;
  • 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
  • And give you peace.” ’
  • My prayer for you never changes… I pray for your peace, and for you total commitment with all your strength to Gods word.

 

  • Thank you and the lesson is yours