Paul Washer once said that all Joel Osteen does is give the people exactly what they want and it is not God. Contrast that with preachers who stick to the whole Gospel. That is not a big "amen" ministry because people do not want to hear about picking up their cross daily. They do not want to hear about sharing in the sufferings of Christ. They want those sacrifices that cost them nothing. Doctrine? No time for that "religion." You want to know if you are on the broad path? Just look around and see how many people are skipping along next to you singing Kumbaya. The converse from the key verses today teach about being on the narrow way that leads to eternal life. The Bible teaches that few are those who find it. Do we understand that amidst the mega church mentality today? Few people find it. That is why Jesus taught that all of heaven rejoices when one sinner comes to salvation. Just one! Not stadiums filled with people.
The way is hard beloved. Not to accept the free gift of salvation but to follow Him who offers it. It is hard to deny oneself daily in such a carnal world. It is hard to love mercy when we are encased in such unmerciful flesh. It is hard to do justly with our wicked hearts ruling the day. It is hard to walk humbly before God when you have been taught to reduce God and elevate yourself. It is not easy being the peculiar one in the office. The one who doesn't swear. The one who doesn't drink. The one who doesn't engage in coarse joking. It is not easy being a light for Christ in a world that loves darkness. It is not easy being salt to a world that preserves nothing. What are the signs we are on the narrow way to life? There are precious few brothers and sisters with us. People who understand the sacrifices the Gospel requires of us. Who are genuinely offended by false teaching that leads people to hell. Not only are few on it but the way is not an easy one. It is a difficult walk to be in the world but not of it. To work in Sodom but not become enraptured by it. The way is hard because we must say no even to those elements in church many of our friends might enjoy. The big productions. The glitz and the show. The snazzy band and the accomplished speaker. It is hard to say no to that because it is so embraced by everyone else but give me what the Apostle Paul gave:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. - 1Corinthians 2: 1-5 (ESV)
Give me Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is all I need. That is where the power of God resides. You can keep your seven steps to a better you and your nonsense about me being destined to reign. Nothing but empty and vain philosophies driven by the wisdom of man. Plausible but powerless. Enticing but barren. No thank you. Give me the narrow way. If there are few around me that is a good sign. This leaves us with the first half of the key verses:
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.- Matthew 7: 12 (ESV)
How do we navigate the narrow way and ensure that we do not veer off course or end up on the broad path? Walk according to what was later dubbed, "The Golden Rule." If we would strive to treat all people as we ourselves wished to be treated then we would find ourselves fulfilling both the law and the teachings of the Prophets! The world believes in reciprocity. We give what we get. If someone treats us poorly we give it right back to them. The way God thinks however is so far above our ways. We are still to look upon that person our flesh wants to loathe and treat them not as they deserve but rather how we feel we ought to be treated. We cannot expect love if we are loveless. We cannot expect kindness of we are mean-spirited. What a radical teaching! To evaluate what people deserve not based upon them but upon us. That is actually the reason we enjoy salvation today because we sure did not deserve it.
Beloved there are only two choices. There are only two roads we can be on. Understand this very well. Right now you are on one of these roads. There is no third choice. Realize also that while God is always willing to forgive you, your life may be required of you tonight as was the case with the rich fool. Tomorrow is promised to no one. It will be a sad day for many when we all stand before Christ and then they realize they had been on the wrong road the whole time. Do not fall for the mega church mindset. Narrow is the way to life and few are those who find it.
Narrow and few.
Reverend Anthony Wade - April 27, 2015