Tuesday, October 20, 2015

There Is No Middle Ground

Part 26 of Kingdom Life

Text: Matthew 7:13-29

You can listen to this sermon here.



“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (vv. 13-14). 


Middle Ground 

Sometimes it’s good to take the middle ground. For example, in politics it can be helpful to take the middle ground between two extreme positions. But when it comes to following Jesus, there is no middle ground.


There Are Only Two Roads

Many people want to live in the middle ground (e.g., “I believe in Jesus, but I’m not religious”). What does Jesus say to people who want to live in the middle ground? Here’s what he says: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (vv. 13-14). In other words, there is no middle ground.

You’re either on the road that leads to life and the road that leads to destruction, so make sure you’re on the right road. 

People don’t like to hear about hell. But if there is a hell and it can be avoided, my conscience demands that I share the truth. It’s often said that Jesus—known for his compassion—talked more about hell than any other person in the Bible.


The Right Road

How do we make sure we’re on the right road? This is the most important question in life. It’s a question about our eternal destinies!

1. We must do a 180. 

When Jesus began his public ministry, he announced, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). To “repent” means to turn (i.e., do a 180 degree turn). To get on the narrow road, we must turn from our sin (i.e., repent) and turn to Jesus (i.e., put our faith in him).

2. We get confirmation that we’re on the right road by our actions. 

Notice the emphasis Jesus places on our actions:

  • “You will recognize [false prophets] by their fruits (v. 16). 
  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (v. 21). 
  • “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (v. 24). 

But we shouldn’t interpret Jesus’ words to mean that we work our way into the kingdom of God. We enter God’s kingdom by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), but faith results in works (Eph. 2:10).


The Road Jesus Traveled

Jesus came to earth to go to the cross. He declared, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). “For” means “in the place of.” Jesus died in our place so that we could escape sin’s consequences (i.e., hell).

People often ask, “If God loves us, why do people go to hell?” There had to be atonement for sin. If God could simply overlook sin, why did Jesus die on a cross?


Life's Biggest Question

We often spend a lot of time thinking about lesser questions (e.g., "Will I have enough money for retirement?")

There is no question more important than “Am I on the road that leads to heaven?”