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Intro: We all face “either or decisions as we pass through life. There are times when we face a decision that is black or white; one in which there are only two possible choices. Many shrink from those decisive moments, but we must still face them.
It is the same in the spiritual realm. This passage confronts us with some choices that we will have to make. Jesus lays out three choices that confront every person who ever lives in this world. These choices must be made and they are the most important choices you will make in your life. What you do when you are confronted with these choices will determine how you will live your life; how you will die; and where you will spend eternity.
No one is going to force you to make a choice today. All I am going to ask you to do is to consider these choices Jesus mentions. Then I want you to consider your response to these choices. Consider your response in light of your life, in light of eternity and in light of the Word of God.
I want to preach on the subject of Only Two. I want you to see that life really only gives us Only Two Direction, Only Two Destinations and Only Two Decisions.
I want you to see that, while life often appears hard and filled with difficult choices, it really boils down to Only Two real choices. Let me share those choices with you today.
I. ONLY TWO WAYS
(Ill. Traveling and hate to get lost. Planning, maps and GPS help. I have discovered that where I end up has a lot to do with the choices I make along the way. One wrong turn and I could find myself many miles from where I intended to go.
The same analogy holds true in spiritual matters. Where you wind up in eternity will be determined by the road you take here on earth. It is impossible to take the wrong road and go to Heaven, and it is impossible to take the Heavenly road and go to Hell. One wrong turn on the spiritual highway of life will lead you to a place you do not what to go to.
This life is a brief pause between two very long eternities. We are surrounded by death from the day we born into the world; loved ones pass away, friends leave this world, and deep inside, we know that it will happen to us someday as well. We will all face death some day, James 4:14; Job 14:1; Heb. 9:27.
Since we are going to leave this world someday soon, and when we do, we will continue to live either in Heaven or Hell forever, it is essential that we know where we will end up. Let’s consider these Two Directions.)
A. There Is A Broad Way - The word broad means “spacious.” Jesus says that there is a spacious, broad road a person can walk. What does He mean by this “broad road? The idea that Jesus is trying to convey is that the broad way is wide open. In other words, anything goes on the broad way.
You can do anything you like, you can carry all the baggage of your sins; you can live like you want to live; you can call all the shot and make all the rules! You can be as religious as you like, or as irreligious as you like. You can go to church, pray and read you Bible. You can do as much or as little as you please on the broad way. The broad way encompasses all religions from Islam to atheism. You can confess Jesus if you like.
You can be king of the road on the broad way. When you walk the broad way, you can make your own decisions and not have to answer to anyone. You can live life as you please. Go where you will, do what you will and be what you will. It is your life and you get to call the shots. It is an easy way to live, because there is no one to please but self! That is what the broad way is all about!
(Ill. There is a sinister side to the broad way that open-minded, pleasure seekers fail to mention to those who travel this road. There are a couple of things you need to know before you decide to live out the rest of your life traveling the broad way.
You aren’t really in control - Eph. 2:1-3
· Sin always brings pain and sorrow - Gal. 6:7; Pro. 13:15
(Ill. The Jukes family - There has been careful research in to the history of one criminal family known as Jukes, and it is conspicuous for a long line of pauperism, waste, imbecility, insanity, prostitution and drunkenness. A total of 1,200 decedents have been traced from this prolific family tree. Some 400 were wrecked physically by their sins; 310 were professional paupers; 130 were convicted criminals; 60 were perpetual thieves and pick pockets; and 7 were murders. Out of the 1,200, only 20 ever learned a trade and 10 of these learned it while in prison! Sin carries a high price tag!)
God offers a better alternative He offers: peace,
B. There Is A Narrow Way - The Broad way is wide open and easy, while the other way road of life is called “narrow. This word refers to a grape press. It has the idea of being constricted. It can also carry the idea of being distressed and difficult. The narrow way is the exact opposite of the broad way.
On the narrow way, you can’t take all your sins with you. If you try, you will find that there isn’t enough room for you and them. When you walk the narrow way, you must choose to give up your rights. You can no longer do as you please, but you must do those things that please the Lord. You cannot make the rules, but you are expected to keep the Lord’s rules.
(Ill. Some people have the mistaken idea that they can live as they please and that the Lord is obligated to smile down on them and just bless them real good. In truth, when you walk the narrow way, you should expect some difficulty.
These fleshly bodies will resist the confines of the narrow way. These sinful natures will find the narrow way too tight and constrictive. Anyone who said living for Jesus was easy has never tried it! Anyone who believes that living a separated Christian life that honors the Lord will be as simple and as fun as living a life that gratifies the flesh doesn’t know anything about the matter. However, living for the Lord brings with it certain benefits that cannot be obtained by any other means. Notice some facts about living the narrow way.
It honors God -
It brings His blessings and power into your life -
· It offers a far better life from every perspective - Heb. 11:25; Gal. 6:8-9; John 10:10.
Nobody ever said that living for the
Lord was easy, but it the only way to honor the Lord and to be His Disciple - Matt. 16:24;
II. ONLY TWO DESTINATIONS
(Ill. All roads end somewhere. There a saying that’s been around for 2,000 years ago that goes, “All roads lead to Rome.” Well, all roads lead somewhere and the same is true with the roads we are considering today. They lead somewhere and since everyone here is on one or the other, we need to find out where we are going!)
A. There Is A Place Called Hell - Jesus tells us here that the broad road leads to “destruction.” When we think of something being destroyed, we usually think about something being annihilated and forever done away with. This word, however, refers to “loss. It speaks of total and absolute ruin. It speaks of the loss a person can expect to suffer in the fires of Hell.
Here is the truth: the broad road ends in Hell! Every person who follows the broad way will eventually find themselves in the fires of Hell. That is the most awful thought my mind has ever tried to comprehend.
What makes it so terrible is the sure knowledge that some of you are headed there right now! Allow me to give you a little insight into this place where the broad way ends. It is a place of:
Unquenchable fire -
Memory and Remorse -
Unsatisfied Thirst -
Frustration and Anger -
Unspeakable Pain and Misery -
Eternal Separation - Rev. 21:8;
· Undiluted Wrath - Rev. 20:15
(Ill. Hell is real! I could never adequately describe Hell, but if I were to be able to exhaust all the vocabulary of English and paint word pictures that conveyed the truth of that place, my feeble words could never describe the reality of the horror that awaits everyone headed to the land of the damned. It is a place from which there will never be deliverance. It is a place you will surely go to if you continue to follow the broad and easy road through life. Where will you end up?)
(Il. Everyone who walks the broad way, even the religious folks, even the folks who claim to know Jesus are all going to Hell, Matt. 7:21-22.)
B. There Is A Place Called Heaven - Just as the broad road has its destination, the narrow way does too. This road doesn’t end in Hell below; it ends in Heaven above. Jesus promised those who would follow this way everlasting life. Not just a better life down here, but everlasting, glorious life in the realms of light above this wicked, perishing world.
If Hell is a place of horror, pain, separation and suffering, then Heaven is a place of joy, rest, peace, unspeakable beauty and glory. Everything that Hell isn’t Heaven is! A brief glimpse of the glories of that city tells me that that’s where I want to go. Consider these facts about that splendid place.
· No Tears, pain, sorrow, death, etc - Rev. 21:4
· No Sin - Rev. 21:8
· No Night - Rev. 21:25
· No Curse - Rev. 22:3
· With God and Jesus - Rev. 21:3; 22-23; 22:4
· A Glorious City - Rev. 21:11-24
Glories beyond description and beyond the ability of man to
comprehend and understand -
(Ill. The narrow road may be the more costly of the two down here. There is a higher personal cost for those who live for the Lord. It is what is waiting at the end of the road that makes it worth any price.
So what if we
walked a bit out of step down here? So what if we were misunderstood? So what
if we did without some things at the rest of the world indulges in and seems to
enjoy? When we get to Heaven, the trials of the road will seem as nothing! The
past will be behind us and all the glories of eternity with Jesus will be
unfolding before us. The journey will be over and we will be home -
III. ONLY TWO GATES
(As we read these verses, Jesus makes it clear that man must choose which gate he goes through and what kind of life he lives. If man makes these decisions, then he also decides where he spends his eternity. My friends, just as there are only two possible ways and two possible destinations, there are also only two possible decisions you can make.)
A. There Is A The Wide Gate - There is no real choice made in entering the wide gate. When a person is born into this world they are born in sin, Rom. 3:23; Psa. 58:3. When they are born, they are already on the broad road. Even though that baby knows nothing of sin or of the choice to follow sin. As that child grows, there comes a time when he comes to understand the difference between right and wrong. At that time the child begins to do evil not only by nature, but also by choice. When that moment comes, the child will make a choice. Most people choose the wide gate and the broad way becomes the course of life. Now we all know where that road will end up!
Notice that Jesus said that this was the crowded way. Many, many more will find
their way onto the broad road than onto the narrow way. Many, many more will spend
in eternity in Hell than will ever be in Heaven. That is a sad thing! But,
what’s really sad about the whole thing is that men have many chances
throughout their lives to change roads. Every church service, every Christian
witness, every Gospel song, every sermon is an opportunity for God to speak to
your heart and for salvation. People ignore these opportunities and plunge
headlong toward Hell with reckless abandon and seemingly, without any concern
at all for their souls! They pass by the gate to Heaven every day
and never even see it! Please do not let this happen in your life. You
have the opportunity to change roads today, take advantage of that opportunity
and come to Jesus for salvation,
B. There Is A Narrow Gate - While the wide gate is easy to find, man is born staring right into it, the straight gate is more difficult to discern. What I mean in this, when God calls the sinner to come to Him for salvation, he must look away from the temptations and false promises of the broad way and see that the narrow way offers life and hope while the broad way offers only death, pain and destruction.
(Ill. Some people see the narrow gate and turn away because the cost is too high – The Rich Young Ruler Matt. 19:16-22. (Ill. What we would have done if he had come to our altar, versus what Jesus did when he came to Him.) Others look into it and see that it is the only logical choice – Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10; Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:29-39; The Woman at the Well John 4:1-30)
(Please note that this narrow way offers some clear opportunities for those who see their need to come to Jesus.
It is an open gate - Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17;
It offers everlasting life to all who will come in -
It promises a home in Heaven to those who enter -
· It is an exclusive gate Jesus is the gate, John 10:9; 14:6.
It is a small gate -
This reminds us that you cannot bring your junk with you. (Ill. Try to enter turnstiles
with a load of suitcases.) If you are going to come to Jesus for
salvation, then you are going to have to be willing to turn your back on the
sins and the junk of this world,
You are fooling no one but yourself if you think you can hang onto the world with one hand and Jesus with the other. The only way into Him is a narrow way and it requires that we lay down everything and cling simply to Jesus and Him alone!
the songwriter said: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy
cross I cling! What are you holding on to today that is keeping
you away from the Lord Jesus Christ? Whatever it is, it isnt worth the price
you will have to pay to keep it,
(Ill. Notice that Jesus said that there would be few who found this gate. Man is not at a crossroads. He is walking the broad way, until he turns his eyes away from that way and places them on Jesus. Then and then alone does man have the opportunity to be saved.
Perhaps few will be saved because few are looking for what
God offers through Jesus. Perhaps they are so filled up with the world and
their own ways that they have no time for what God offers them. They are
blinded by their sin and by Satan,
Conc: As I said earlier, I do not like to get lost. It bothers me to think that I am headed in one direction, when I am actually headed to a different place altogether. I do not worry about that when it comes to my eternal destination. I was on that broad way headed to Hell. I was lost in my sins and blind in my condition. I praise the Lord for the day He came to where I was, spoke to my heart and called me to follow Him. Now I am on the narrow way moving toward Heaven. Being lost now is not a possibility for me.
What about you? Where’s your road taking you? Have you thought it over? Where will you end up when you leave this world? Will it be Heaven or will it be Hell? Will it be the narrow way of walking with God or the broad way of anything goes? Where will you end up?
You say, “Preacher, I sure do want to go to Heaven! Then look to Jesus and enter into salvation through faith in Him. Be saved today. Be sure today. You had better not wait. As we learned at the outset, life is short and eternity is long.
Today is your day
to get ready to meet God in Heaven,
Salvation has nothing to do with coming to an altar and repeating a prayer. Salvation has nothing to do with being baptized and joining a church. Salvation has nothing to do with changing your life or turning over a new leaf. Salvation has everything to do with hearing the Gospel. Believing the Gospel and living the Gospel for the glory of God.
What is the Gospel? 1 Cor. 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.