Matthew 7:13-23 (nkjv) “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. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Why is it hard to find the gate? Why difficult? Because there are many false prophets calling men to another road and gate that is broad. Thus the warning to beware of them. They are everywhere and are calling men to the other gate. How do we identify them who are calling us to the wrong gate? Answer: One is their avoidance of trouble, even - of agony. You read that correctly.
Luke 13:24 says: "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." The word for "strive" here is agonidzo, from which we get "agonize". Why is there such an intensity concerning entering in? Are we saying it is a hard gate to find, then more difficult to enter? Yes.
It is because to become a believer a person must turn from total confidence & reliance on self, and this is a demand for repentance in man. This is not a kind of surrender or repentance where I elevate myself by self denial, rather, it is a repentance where I find sin and a bankruptcy in myself that compels me to find help totally outside myself.
It includes a realized need for, and a hunger and thirst for a righteousness outside myself that I do not have. This is agonizing, for all that man has ever known is the elevation of himself, but it becomes agonizing to discover difficult truths such as my own depravity and bankruptcy before a holy God. It is a painful experience.
The false prophets of the present day have a different view of things, where positive statements and avoidance of "negativity" is sought. It is mindset of join the party, of seeking and getting prophetic utterances, of letting Jesus speak to you, of being happy, and yes, even speaking the world you desire- into existence. This is a far cry from the agony of one learning his true condition before God...unto needing and finding in Christ a Savior.
The contrast is between the narrow gate versus the broad road.
How different is the truth from the message of the false prophets, where frivolity is emphasized, and non-serious matters dominate. It is hard for us to face the need to come to the Lord as sinners. It is devastating to self to discover and own our guilt and nakedness before a holy God. In the end it is joy unspeakable, but there is first agony and difficulty. There is much loss (primarily to pride) when one gains Christ. Jim Elliot was famous for saying "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose".
The false prophet leads a person away from the narrow gate... to the broad road and wide gate.
Follow the group, the gang, the music leader, and experiences, them that are being "real" .. .. is the invitation down that broad road. I'm coming to Jesus to fix my marriage, to satisfy me, to make me happy. There is on this pathway a false sense of belonging, reinforced by "the group". Feelings, healings, and experiences are sought, and not Christ.
There is also a dangerous indifference towards sound doctrine.
The false prophet's savior is a Jesus that men come to for what they desire him to be. It allows them to bring with them through the gate what they want.
One has rightly said "you cannot go through a turnstile with your luggage".
The narrow way and the small gate, in contrast to such thinking, involves counting the cost of entering, it has no promises of healing, no guarantees of physical or even mental well being, no perfect marriages, no money, no prosperity. It may actually bring more trouble into life than beforehand.
It does promise forgiveness...of sin. But one come as a sinner to the Savior, who died for those sins and rose from the dead. This is the narrow gate.
Consider the gate reader. Which one are you at? Beware of the one where the Lord says "I NEVER KNEW YOU". Beware of the false voices, they are everywhere, and they are popular.
loosely inspired by an online JM message.