Jesus taught what many call “The Sermon on the Mount.” In that sermon He taught the character qualities of the kingdom He would establish. The things He taught the people were many practical ways to live. As He came toward the end of this sermon, He presented a choice. Jesus always gives each person a choice that must be made. No one else can make that choice. But Jesus encouraged the right choice. “13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Notice that the way that leads to destruction (means “ruin or loss; death, damnation”) is wide and broad – and many go that way.
But see that the way that leads to life (means “life; or to live”) is strait and narrow – and few find it.
What is the difference?
The Bible teaches that everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23). And the penalty for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). The only One who paid that penalty for us is Jesus (Romans 5:8). Jesus declared He is The Way (see John 14:6). What are we to do with that information? (See Romans 10:9-10.) We rarely hear this today. Many times we hear that as long as you are good, go to church, say a little prayer to God and try to live your best that you will go to heaven.
Read what Jesus said after the invitation to choose the strait gate and the narrow way that leads to life. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). A false prophet (means “deceitful; wicked; liar; a pretend foreteller or religious imposter”) looks like the real thing (they come to you in sheep’s clothing). (See also 2 Peter 2:1-3.) They tell people try to be really good. They teach we are to do good works, make good decisions, to be kind to others, love one another, don’t break the law, and so many other “good” things. But is that the way to life? Can any person be “good” enough? A false prophet offers a religion of one who can come as they are, and just do good things. This is a false religion based upon works. A false teacher produces fruit just like him (see Matthew 7:16). If that person teaches a faith based upon works, not Jesus, they will produce a follower that looks like a Christian, but not like Christ. Religion based upon works promises heaven, but the path is destruction (death; damnation). Faith in Jesus promises life and one day heaven, but you must enter in by the straight gate and the narrow way. Take note that few there be that find it.
Jesus warned again of false prophets. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).
We can also read something very scary. “21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Many people are self-deceived.
Make sure you are not.
For there is a day when it will be too late. See what Jesus warned, “24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are” (Luke 13:24-25).