Enter God’s Kingdom – Sermon on the Mount 17
16 September 2020
Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14(Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13–14 NLT)
Jesus talked about God’s Kingdom, about how its values and its laws were different from the values of society, even the religious culture of the Jews. But Jesus didn’t talk much about life after death. As we spend time in the Gospels, we encounter a great deal that Jesus said about the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God. And we begin to more clearly understand that he was talking about our lives here and now most of the time when he spoke of “God’s Kingdom”.
When we read, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate,” we think of “entering heaven after we die”. When we read, “The highway to hell is broad” we think of “going to hell when we die.” The word Jesus uses for “hell” here doesn’t mean a lake of fire and torment, it means “death” or “destruction.” Jesus’ entire statement contrasts a way of living that leads to a good life, a Kingdom of God life, with a way of living that leads to death and destruction.
It’s not easy to live a life of truly following Jesus! It requires a distinct choice to take the “road less traveled” and to live by values and standards that Jesus made very clear in the chapters we just read together, Matthew 5-7. And it not only requires a clear choice to begin to follow Jesus, it requires daily choices to get off the couch and put on your hiking boots and go where Jesus goes. The other way, the wide road that leads to destruction, or the many roads that lead to destruction, is not so challenging in the choice department. You can choose to do pretty much whatever you like, whatever “feels good,” whatever is least demanding. It’s the outcome that’s painful!
Christ-followers, let’s choose to live in such a way in the presence of our children, our friends, our neighbors, that they say of us, “She showed me the path to take, the narrow road that leads to life.”
Father, You remember when I made my choice to follow Jesus. That’s settled. Now, today, I have more choices to make that determine whether I stay on the path or drift. Help me choose well and wisely! Amen!