The Expository Files.


The Two Gates

Matthew 7:13,14


One of the most startling teachings of Jesus is his teaching about the two gates. It is startling because few have really understood its true meaning. People that  attend any kind of church usually believe that the wide gate is reserved for the godless and those who are not interested in serving God. Let's look at what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14 about these two gates.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Strait Gate

Look at the strait gate and narrow way. What do we know about this gate?

First, Jesus says that it is the gate that leads to life. This obviously means that it is the gate that leads men to heaven.

Second, Jesus says that it is a "strait" gate. The word "strait" means difficult. Jesus tells us that entering heaven will not be easy. This is a surprise to most people, because they have been taught that the way to heaven is easy. They've been taught, " All you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus." There is a great
difference between what men teach today and what Jesus taught then.

Third, Jesus tells us that there are not many people going in through this strait gate and narrow way. He says, "Few there be that find it." This too, is a surprise to
many folks, because they believe that most people will be saved because most people believe in God.

Jesus has told us three things about the strait gate.

1. It is the gate that leads to heaven.

2. It is difficult to enter.

3. There will not be many people who go in the strait gate.

So far, we have no trouble understanding what Jesus has said. While it may not agree with what most have been taught and believe, it is clear and easy to  understand.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that there is a sign over the strait gate. What would it say? Obviously, it would say, "To Heaven." It would mean that because those
entering in know the truth and have heaven as their destination. Remember though, Jesus says that there are only a few that will find it and go in? Why is that? Do you have an answer for that question? Who are those who find and enter the narrow way? Give some serious thought to that question while we consider what Jesus
taught us about the wide gate.


The Wide Gate

Consider the wide gate now. Jesus tells us some things about it, also.

First, it is a "wide" gate. It is a gate that is easily seen. Perhaps it is attractive. It surely draws people to it.

Second, Jesus tells us this gate is the entrance to a broad way. Some translations say it is the "easy way."

In other words, it is not hard to enter this gate nor walk the road it covers.

Third, Jesus tells us that it is a gate that leads to destruction or Hell. Those who go in that gate are bound for destruction.

Fourth, Jesus told us there are going to be "many" who go in this gate. Remember, there are going to be only a few who go in the narrow gate to Heaven, but many will go in the gate to Hell. Many! Why is that? Do they want to go to eternal punishment? Is that what people desire? This is a question that also bears serious consideration.

Let us again summarize the points that Jesus has made about the wide gate and the broad way.

1. It is a wide gate.

2. It is easy way to go.

3. It is the gate that leads to Hell.

4. There will be many people who go in the wide gate.

Most people consider this the be the way of the world, the way of those who do not try to serve Jesus. Generally, it is taught that sinners and those who do not love God and the "un-churched" are the ones going in this gate. We are told they are living an "easy" life, hence we are to understand that they are going down the broad way. Why would anyone ever go in this gate? Surely you would not choose to go in this gate.

Let's use our imagination again, and ask ourselves:

"What does the sign over the wide gate and broad say?"

What do you think?

Most people, when asked this question say that the sign over the wide gate would say "To Hell." It is true, that Hell is where those who go in that gate will end, but is that what the sign would say?

No! That sign over the broad gate says "To Heaven!"

It is a lying sign. It is a sign that gives false directions. Think about it a moment. People going through the wide gate and broad way actually believe that they are going to end up in heaven. Prove it to yourself.. Read what Jesus says in the next verse.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

"BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS...."

False Prophets! These people who are going in the wide gate and broad way believe they are going to heaven! They are following men who claim to be men of God. They are following men who say that they will tell them the way to go to heaven! Never-the-less, they are following false prophets! Do you know what the really sad part of this is? Many are sincere in their beliefs. They do not want to follow a false prophet. In fact, even some of the false prophets may be sincere.

Notice, however, in Matthew 7:22, what they will say to Jesus on the day of judgment.

Matthew 7: 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Look what their claims mean!

1. They called Jesus their Lord!

2. They prophesied (taught the word of God) in Jesus authority.

3. They claimed to have cast out demons in Jesus' authority.

4. They did many wonderful works by Jesus' authority!

Those are pretty good credentials, and today, if we meet someone who makes these claims, we would probably be impressed! Most people would consider them to be saved.


After all, look at what they are doing! They call Jesus their Lord, they preach and teach, they cast out demons, and they do many other works that man considers to be great works.

But look at Jesus' evaluation of them. Jesus says to the false prophets and those who are following them:

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

These religious people with such great credentials are to depart from the presence of Jesus and God. They are to go to Hell. Why is that? Why would Jesus tell people who call Him their Lord, who preach, who claim to cast out demons, and who do great works for humanity, that He never knew them?

In spite of their claims, they are not Christians and are not going to be in heaven. Look back to verse 21. It tells you why!

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

What is Jesus point? Simple. In spite of popular belief, saying you are a Christian, even believing, is not all that God requires of us. Jesus says we must do the will
of God.

We must not just believe in God, but we must also believe God! We must believe God enough to do His will.

That is the problem with the teaching of many who are false prophets and teachers today. They are telling people that all one must do is believe in Jesus in order to be saved. They say we are saved by "faith only." This is a false teaching. God has never said it, but men teach it. In fact, we have seen that Jesus has said just the opposite.

Jesus clearly and carefully warns man about going in the wide gate. He proclaims the wide gate delivers men to Hell. The other gate is the one that takes men to
Heaven.

Which gate are you entering? The decision, the choice is yours. Are you going to believe men, or Jesus? Don't be misled by false teachers who are leading people into the wide gate and down the easy road. Remember Jesus words:

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

By  Ney Rieber
From Expository Files 2.3; March, 1995

 

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