Matthew 7: 13 & 14. Not Many Really Understand These Verses, Do You?
The Strait and Narrow Way verses are THE most important regarding Salvation.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. Revelation 3: 21.
The following is an important excerpt from my END OF DAYS article, with a few more things added. And I should warn you, some things may be 'against the grain'.
It has already been prophesied, in Revelation 13, that the false prophet will coerce all the fallen religions into one in the 2nd half of Tribulation and that should be of considerable concern if you are presently in the church system. I believe the false prophet is the Pope (if not this Pope then certainly the next) as he has recently said that all religions should combine into one and you may want to think about that for a few minutes. He is also a proponent for a new world order that would combine church and state as it was many years ago. And that is all about regaining power.
Salvation and the strait gate are linked and there are many who think that salvation depends on attending a church, which is a man made institution and THAT SIMPLY ISN'T TRUE. Jesus said, enter ye in at the strait gate - and not the broad way, why is it that so many cannot differentiate between the two gates?
In parts of the O.T., it tells of the corruption of the leaders in the synagogues of those days and after the cross, nothing has changed in the church system. The visible churches that we see today are not the true church - we are the church, (people - not buildings) God does NOT dwell in temples made with hands. Acts 17: 24.
After you've read this article and I sincerely hope you will read it to the end - you might dismiss it but I hope you will remember this paragraph in the days to come. God in His mercy has granted salvation to all who want it and He didn't make it difficult to obtain, He made it simple and the cost was to Him - not us. Now if our salvation isn't difficult or complicated, surely finding the strait and narrow way is just as simple. If you think about it, man makes things complicated, God doesn't.
In the early days of Christianity, most couldn't read or write and they couldn't afford a Bible because they were all hand written. The printing press wasn't invented until 1440, so you had to go to a church to hear the word and the churches knew that so they had a monopoly on you. These days, everyone can afford a Bible and the churches have had to resort to other methods to entice and keep you. They know that attending a church is NOT a requisite for salvation. Sadly, over time the visible churches have become 'watered down' and polluted by so much false doctrine and this is what the majority of today's churches have become, which are just 'feel good and don't upset me preaching' to keep their converts, which is not teaching. When you stop and think about it, a good Bible is the only legitimate source of truth that isn't corrupted - but you do have to be careful to get a good one as there are so many available that are just translations of translations. The 1599 Geneva Bible is a very good Bible available as a free download (in modern spelling and is easy to read) and was written before King James 1st paid to have the KJV written as he wanted/ demanded it in 1611 because he was the last Catholic King and he openly despised the Geneva Bible. There are many interesting things in the preface not found in other translations and there are a lot of 'firsts' attributed to it. It brought God's word to the masses relieving them from the corruption of the clergy, which was mingled with the politics of the day. You can download it and save it to your computer at the following:
There's no way I can sugar coat this so I'll be direct from the start. If you are going to a church, which is the broad way and there are doubts about it because the alarm bells are sounding – then it’s time to think about the strait gate.
Matthew 7: 13 & 14 are two verses that are one of THE most important parables regarding salvation that are strangely, the least understood. So many don’t really understand the truth behind them and I’ll write them here with an explanation.
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.
To my mind, Jesus is responding to a question in Jeremiah 6: 16 which says: Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, [that is, look around you and see what's really happening] and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.
There are so many different ways these days, which just causes confusion, (all to Satan’s delight) which one shall I go to? And that’s because most are only looking for one that suits their own needs. So many in the system think theirs is the right way but lead to nowhere, and millions to their astonishment will find that it only ends in shipwreck on eternity’s shore. And most think there are many ways that all lead to the same place, and anyone with this mindset is in total ignorance of these verses. Yes there are so many ways but in reality, there are only two separate roads – and both are leading to different ends. It's either the strait and narrow way or it's the broad way - it's as simple as that. Have you ever wondered why all the religions in the world have given themselves a different name? That creates instant division. Wouldn’t you think if they were all following the One God in the way that they should, they would all be of one accord with each other? 1st. Corinthians 1: 10 - 13 speaks about this and is clear. There is only ONE true way that is acceptable to Him and Satan doesn't want you to know it, or find it - he is the author of confusion, which is why there are so many ways, yet people are so blind to the simple truth. AND IT REALLY IS SO SIMPLE.
And further, ANY man made religion that preaches theirs is the only way – is a cult. Jesus has told us about this narrow way that leads to life - we only have to ask the Spirit to guide us and it doesn’t involve going to a money making enterprise, or any other which are all man made and some are far worse than others.
Have you ever wondered about these verses and not really understood them? The strait and narrow gate is a metaphor, that is, not visibly seen but nevertheless in this instance, very real and it is the Spirit who reveals it and leads you in it. You cannot see the Spirit, yet we know he works in us - and we are told to worship God in spirit, which we do, John 4: 23, 24 - all things that pertain to God are in spirit. So why would the strait gate be any different? When Jesus spoke about the strait gate during His sermon on the Mount, few would have understood what He was saying at that time and today, even though we now have the complete story in the N.T., not many understand the true meaning of those verses. You can look up many explanations of these verses on the internet and all agree that there are indeed only two paths - the strait and narrow way or the wide and broad way but only a few understand these verses enough to show you HOW to enter the narrow way, they simply repeat Jesus' words - enter ye in at the strait gate with little more. Well that doesn't feed the sheep - it leaves it a mystery.
Even in O.T. times, as it is today, good scripture is ignored. Jeremiah 5: 31 says it all – The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof? As it was then with a polluted system, so it will be in the end with so many unable to answer that question because of spiritual blindness.
Those today, in whatever belief they hold onto have all heard or read these verses at some time and many wrongly think that the road they're on IS the narrow way. This is cult thinking, NOTHING THAT IS OF MAN IS THE STRAIT AND NARROW WAY. Please, read that again and let it sink in.
Jesus created the narrow way and it's NOT in the church system and never was. Jesus knew of the corruption of the religious leaders of yesterday, which is why He brought His disciples out of it. It has continued unchanged today, because it is man made. There are so many who unknowingly walk in the broad way in ignorance over the narrow way because they simply don't know the truth. And because of spiritual blindness and/or unwillingness, is it of little wonder that Jesus said few there be that find it?
As a simple analogy of the different ways, imagine yourself standing on an overhead bridge over a 15 lane highway and looking at the people in these cars, you notice that most appear happy but some appear unhappy, so they change lanes, perhaps because the other lanes are moving faster and they become content for a while. (This is people becoming restless in whatever religion they’re in and change for whatever reason.) This is the broad way, the easy way of the world. Soon you notice a small off-ramp leading off this highway and every now and then, a car exits the highway onto a very narrow road, which is not an easy road with many twists and turns and hidden dangers. But once off this highway there is so much more to see and understand and the rewards are far greater than the broad way.
The strait and narrow way isn’t difficult to find once you know how and anyone can enter in because it’s in you, revealed by the Spirit but there are some conditions. Anyone can enter - so long as you remain a believer and continue learning about Him through God's word, those are the simple conditions. And it is a very difficult road to travel because we will be persecuted – just remember that Jesus walked it before us and suffered all for our sake. He simply said – follow me. Before Jesus came, the Jews were teaching in their synagogues by forceful means, some even endured stoning and until He came, the strait and narrow way wasn’t even heard of, except by prophets like Isaiah who spoke of it. Isaiah 30: 21 says in part: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Which was the Spirit speaking and Jesus made it available after He came to all who would diligently seek it in spirit. Solomon is talking about the broad way in Proverbs 14: 12, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. There are so many things to give up (excess baggage of every description) and leave at the gate to enter the narrow way – A complete change of heart.
Just as the Spirit is given by grace, so too, is the strait and narrow way and we access it by faith from within, through the Spirit, believing and remaining in Him and continue reading His word and prayer and doing whatever He asks, John 3: 16 - 18 and Ephesians 2: 8, 9.
The first thing to know about finding the strait gate is that you have to realise it is NOT a physical place - if it was a physical place as in a building, there would only be one, the same one worldwide - but in fact, there are thousands and they are all different! There is only One strait gate which is universal and you access it through the Spirit in faith. The church visible is just that, the strait gate is invisible. God, Jesus and the Spirit are all invisible but we know that they are real and Jesus created the strait and narrow way, which wasn't here before He came - in O.T. times, the Spirit was on them but not yet in them. Numbers 11: 17.
If you simply read the Bible the Spirit will take care of the rest if you pray and ask him to give you a perfect understanding of what you read and how you should act and eventually how you can help others. The Spirit will reveal and help you with your particular gift of ministry that is given to all in time as we grow in spirit - 1st Corinthians 12. Being Spirit led through scripture and not by man, is how you grow and for so many this is a different way of thinking that is hard to accept.
Those are some of the conditions and you cannot access it without a full, positive commitment to these things. Everyone has the Spirit of baptism imparted by Jesus when you first believed and when you are aware of the Spirit working in you, you only have to ask him to reveal it, then believe it. In fact, once you are aware of the Spirit working in you, whatever he teaches you, that IS the narrow way simply because he will only lead us in things that pertain to the narrow way. He certainly won't lead you into the broad way. In my own case regarding hearing the Spirit, it was slow at first, gradually bringing verses of scripture to mind little by little until I learnt to recognise him. Why did Jesus impart that knowledge through the Spirit to all who will avail themselves instead of handing that responsibility over to man??? Well it was at first but that didn't work. Going to a church doesn’t guarantee salvation or finding the narrow way. No church will ever teach you the truth of the strait and narrow way - and even if they try, it won't be the full truth.
‘And few there be that find it’ can suggest this gate is hidden, 2nd Corinthians 3: 3 is a wonderful blessing and in 4: 3 & 4, it tells us who will never find it and why and is very blunt indeed. Those without a spiritual preparedness of mind and trusting in Jesus will not find it. The more we abide and remain in Jesus, the more it will attract Satan's attention and for some it is easier to slide backwards on a slippery slope with life's difficulties, than to press forward on a steep and rocky pathway. And human nature being what it is, it isn't easy - you either give in or resist him (Satan) but there is no reward for giving in.
Many seek to find it but only a few will and most fail because of not seeking with all their mind and heart, which is faith and honouring the conditions. Remember when you first believed, you accepted Him in your mind first, then your heart – well this is no different. You won't find it if you don't believe it exists. You believe in Jesus, yet you've never seen Him - you cannot see the narrow way but you know it must exist because Jesus said so. Can you accept that, or is your mind still saying no?
No-one just happens on the narrow way casually without persistent searching in your mind until you finally realise and accept that it's a gifted thing along with the Spirit and is within you after you’ve made a choice for God. And they are both spiritually connected. The Spirit doesn't always use spoken words, he causes you to know in spirit in your heart and when he speaks to your heart or prompts you, YOU WILL KNOW. The strait gate isn’t just down the street and around the corner in a building or in another town, simply because that is earthly, which is why it IS hidden to human reasoning but it is revealed to the genuine searching heart in spirit. So many just accept the first church they find or their friends go there, without ever knowing there is a perfect way because they know no different. There are many reasons why people put their faith in the church system - churches have been around for so long, nearly 2000 years so it must be right to belong to them, which is just a preconceived conditioning of mind either by yourself or someone else but that doesn't make it right, they were corrupted before Jesus and it has continued since but most can't see it. AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM - if more would see it as it really is and search for truth with the help of the Spirit instead of following vain traditions - everything of man is vanity. Help is only a sincere prayer away.
Most who go to church went there long before they ever knew about these verses and by the time they read them they are well down the wrong road and refuse to believe it's the broad way. Many in the broad way think what I'm saying is too simple, there must be more to it than that - some even love the rituals which is just a show! ‘Seek and ye shall find’ keep knocking and praying and the door will be opened. Jeremiah 29: 13 was written firstly for the Jews and it clearly says the search is in spirit and is beautiful to read: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. It is so simple that many bypass it unawares and can spend the rest of their lives looking for God and Jesus in all the wrong places because so many put their hope in so called sacred buildings. Some are beautiful to look at but that's all. Matthew 23: 25 - 27. Those in the broad way think they ARE in the narrow way, saying it’s only the unbelievers who are in the broad way, yet in fact, the unbelievers are not trying to enter anywhere, so how do they explain that? When you enter through the narrow gate in faith spiritually, which leads to life, you cannot live in the broad way, because it leads to a place called Destruction.
As of 2018, out of all the recognised beliefs, Christianity still has the highest percentage of believers numbering 2.5 billion followers out of the current world population of 7.5 billion. And of these 2.5 billion Christians, Jesus tells us few there be that find it! If the strait gate was to be found in churches, why did He say that?There is always a right way and a wrong way in everything.
Jesus has told us there are two gates; one is the strait and narrow gate which is puzzling and baffling to human thinking and you will be persecuted on this road, perhaps even to death. The other is the wide or broad gate, much more beguiling and easy, with all the trappings of piety and religiousness.
Salvation is a personal thing between you and God alone, not just following the crowds. No-one else can give it you, you can't give it to anyone else. As an analogy, the strait gate is a solo effort in spirit - the broad way is en masse in temples made with hands.
And you won’t be persecuted on that road (particularly if you take the mark in the 2nd half of Tribulation and thinking God will forgive me) which ends up as the devil’s highway. You can't find the strait and narrow way while you are still entrenched in the broad way and believing in the church system. In verse 13 it mentions 2 gates that are diametrically opposed to each other. The 1st gate is spiritual, the 2nd is earthly. If Jesus had meant that the strait gate was found in a church, which He doesn't - why did He stress the opposite in the very next verse. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Jesus isn't meaning just a few, singularly, He is saying collectively overall - there's nothing singular about that verse, it is all plural and is the very reason He made the strait gate accessible to all those who would earnestly seek it in spirit.
And just think, if you’re still on this broad way during Tribulation, which will be coerced into worshipping Satan (in the anti-Christ’s body) by the false prophet, you will be more likely to accept the mark because you are comfortable in the broad way - Revelation 13: 14 - 18. And doesn’t that tell you that the easy ways of the world is far removed from the strait and narrow way? I would ask that you think about this for a few minutes – The Spirit, which is already within us from the moment we first believed and is given to lead us in truth once we've learnt to recognise him, doesn’t it stand to reason He will also reveal the strait and narrow way in us, (which is also truth) if we’re prepared to receive it in faith with all our heart and mind? And again, why did He say few there be that find it - so many are blind to this last part of those two verses with little understanding of its cautionary warning because most can't or won't accept the simplicity of it. Jesus said, Oh ye of little faith to many on more than one occasion, and this analogy is exactly the same and this is the crux of the matter.
In John 14: 5, 6 Thomas says in part: and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Some will argue verse 6 and the strait gate out of context - that Jesus is found in a church and the strait gate verses are only figurative and not in a literal sense - as in entered spiritually. Hebrews 8: 2 says, A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. And further in verses 6 & 7, But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. And in 9: 8 it tells us, The Holy Spirit is signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. And the rest of this chapter makes it clear that salvation through the strait gate is NOT found in a church. Then continuing into chapter 10 and verses 19 & 20, which tells us: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath prepared for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. [By His sacrifice.] There is only ONE God and there is only ONE way that is acceptable to Him. Ephesians 4: 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY.
John 14: 26 says in part: If you ask for the Holy Spirit to teach you all things, he will guide you and bring all things to your remembrance. Wouldn’t you rather the Spirit to teach you about Jesus than someone in a man made institution, who is only human with faults - the Spirit will never lie to you. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY.
And 1st John 2: 27 says: As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and is truth, and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in Him. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY. And if we don't need anyone to teach us . . . . .
A simple way of putting it. The Bible contains the truth of the matter and if you avail yourself of it, studying it regularly and listening for and obeying the spirit, which is how you spiritually grow. If you seek the Lord through the truth in spirit, John 4: 23, 24 - THAT IS THE NARROW WAY.
The moment you believe in Jesus you receive salvation. Ephesians 2: 8, 9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast which begins with a simple prayer from the heart, saying that you believe in your heart that Jesus died for you and His blood has washed you clean and that you accept Jesus as your saviour. And then afterwards, acknowledge that you are a sinner and ask for forgiveness for all past sins. (Asking for forgiveness for sins doesn't constitute salvation, that is a separate thing but still, you must confess them. Confess them as a whole, you won't remember all of them.) And once confessed, past sins don't have to be spoken of again, they are all erased.
That is mercy undeserved! It's only the sins committed from today onward that we need to quickly confess and repent of daily before they grow into larger issues. Romans 10: 9, 10 and 1st John 1: 9. Repentance is changing your direction.
Salvation is in two parts, firstly while here on earth, which is positional, we remain here as a witness then fully after death - (if it's before or during Tribulation or if we're raised alive at the end.) Upon believing, you immediately receive God's seal with the promise of the Spirit at the same time who will baptise with the spirit, which also negates water baptism. (Just on baptism, John baptised many in water and even baptised Jesus, saying he was unworthy to baptise Him. But Jesus said to him, suffer it to be so now as He knew and John possibly knew, the Holy Spirit would shortly be given, who will baptise all believers with the Spirit, which now completely absolves man of that responsibility. Matthew 3: 11 - 15.) And if you remain a believer, the seal is secure until the day of redemption. God's seal and the Spirit are two very different things - God's seal indicates His ownership and is placed upon you so that all angelic agencies can see it, both good and bad. The Spirit is a gift, given to all and dwells within you, which is anointing and the more you place yourself under his leading, teaching and even correction, the more you will benefit. And it is never too early for that. I can honestly say that there have been times when I have experienced his timely and merciful correction, which wasn't pleasant but for my own good.
I once asked someone, why are there so many different religions in the world and I was surprised at his answer – “Because we have freedom of choice.” Thinking about it now I should have said – if Jesus was here right now and standing beside us, how would He have answered that question? I’m sure His answer would have been very different. He has already told us ‘enter ye in at the strait gate’ and there is only ONE strait gate that leads to life and there is none other. If we can’t agree that the strait and narrow way is NOT found in any church, then you have to ask yourself, why did Jesus tell us about it and where is it???
The broad way encompasses ALL the ways of man that are in the world and are contrary to Ephesians 4: 5. If you are still in doubt, Matthew 7: 15 may convince you. And there is a good reason why Jesus said this immediately after the strait gate verses, which is because most have all become a business with salaried pastors - their bread and butter depends on you, if no-one came, what would they do?
There was a time when I used to wonder – there is only one God so there can only be one true way and I eventually realised it's been there all along, it’s the strait gate!! IT'S NOT A TANGIBLE OR VISIBLE THING. And if you still haven’t got it, I shall apologise for my bluntness. YOU CANNOT TOUCH IT, YOU CANNOT SEE IT, IT IS NOT WITHOUT - IT IS WITHIN. As it is written, and it was Jesus who said it, enter ye in at the strait gate, let’s just imagine that there weren’t any churches anywhere, where would it be?. . . . That’s right - it’s in you through Jesus in spirit.
Have you ever wondered why the Spirit was given? I've already mentioned above a couple of very good reasons in John 14: 26 and 1st John 2: 27 and both are about his teaching us so that we may grow spiritually. Of course there are many more and another prime reason is to lead us in the strait and narrow way, which is the truth. Jesus created the strait gate but He handed over the responsibilty of leading us in it to the Spirit and not man.
When man tries to find his own way to Heaven by ignoring these verses in favour of a way that is of his own making, (remember the tower of Babel?) he is in fact ignoring and rejecting Jesus who created the strait and narrow way. You have to forget that churches even exist and start again - spiritually. Now if you can accept that the strait and narrow way was created by Jesus, and that it wasn't here before He came because of 'hardness of heart' back then, what is it saying about man made institutions today, which have changed very little?
There are so many in the broad way who have been there for most of their lives but don't know it's the broad way - doggedly believing in the church system and won't be swayed no matter what I say. The parable of the 10 virgins is but one example.
Salvation and the strait gate are linked - you cannot attain one without the other. There is nothing secretive about the strait gate, nothing complicated, the scripture is there for all who would seek it and Jesus doesn't want anyone not to find it, just the opposite - But He wants us all to know that salvation is ONLY through the strait gate. There is NO OTHER WAY. Did He not say enter ye in at the strait gate?
Belief comes first, finding and entering the strait gate comes next, with the Spirit's help, (it is spiritually entered - not physically) so allow him to work and change your thinking. To further simplify it, please consider this. Our earthly bodies are primarily made up of 2 things - our material, or physical body and our spiritual body. This life-force that is within us is our spiritual body, which God implanted at birth, just as He did with Adam and our physical body is just the vehicle that carries it around. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit can and does communicate with us through our own spirit if we allow ourselves to be receptive to it - God knows our spirit and our spirit knows God. And we know the strait gate is NOT a physical place, the strait gate is a spiritual place and it must be entered spiritually. The broad way is indeed a physical place and is earthly. This is the reason He says few there be that find it.
You cannot enter the strait and narrow gate through the wide and broad gate as everything about the broad way is contrary to the strait gate. Finding the strait gate is dependant on His Spirit being in you, or by him making you aware of it as it is him who leads you in it. Romans 8: 9 tells us in part - If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ in them, they do not belong to Him. This scripture doesn't need to be feared, it just means to repent and follow Jesus and the Spirit will be given to you. Why do men put their faith in what other men say, which is only sometimes the truth, when we have the recorded words of Jesus in the Bible and in His grace He has given us the Holy Spirit who will teach us and lead us in it? What more do we need? This is why I say read and think about the strait gate verses again, they are contrary to each other. Surely this makes sense to you.
And the fact that He said few there be that find it, which is true enough but it does NOT mean that you can't or won't find it if you're prepared to earnestly seek it - on the contrary, it's only those in ignorance of the truth behind these verses who won't find it because they don't know how - and in many cases, don't want to. There are many who know that salvation is a gift from God through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross but they aren't prepared to put in even a minimal effort to gain it - they can accept His gift only if it doesn't involve change in their own lives. Some will find what I've said offensive because they've still got the 'blinders on' but it's only offensive to those who don't understand the simplicity of it. It can be such a hard thing for many to accept, yet so amazingly simple for others. To recap, we have the Spirit who teaches us truth and will reveal the narrow way by the truth and we have our Bible. And let go of man made things. Can it be any simpler than that?
I mentioned above that salvation is in 2 parts, firstly when you first believed and then fully after death, either if that's before or during Tribulation - or if raised alive at the end. Salvation must be in 2 parts simply because we are still here after salvation is given. The first part is an interim or probationary period to demonstrate that our faith is either genuine - or that it isn't. Please, think about that - it means you can lose it - Romans 11: 22, 23 is clear enough. Entering the strait gate is also conditional upon genuine faith by growing through His words first. In the strait gate verses Jesus didn't say it would be easy, if it was without any effort no-one would have to strive to find it. And He qualifies it in this verse from Luke 13: 24, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Strive (or agonise) means to devote serious effort to finding (realising) it - and then to enter in. Even though it is simplistic in achieving it we must strive against the difficulties the world will throw at us and there are many, all designed to thwart the search. Remember, Satan doesn't want you to find it and he will put any hindrance in your path to stop you. Salvation through the strait gate requires our earnest effort, our urgent attention and our careful self-examination.
In Hebrews 10: 25 it says: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. In this verse where Paul said - as the manner of some is, I believe he was referring to apostates of that time - the last half makes it clear for today.
In Matthew 18: 20 Jesus says: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. I think these verses (and others) are clear enough that attending a church is not a requirement for salvation - and that sweet fellowship with two or three like-minded people will be to your mutual benefit.
If you’re willing to make an effort (by giving some time to reading the Bible and/or ichthys.com) and after you’ve grown a little, the Spirit will come to you – and that’s a wonderful thing. I have mentioned before about having a preparedness of mind – that simply involves reading your Bible as much as you can, even 10 minutes a day, which is the only way you can spiritually grow. Not only is it 'part and parcel' of the narrow way, you will need to be spiritually prepared to survive Tribulation.
Even though we are told we receive the Spirit when we first believe, some don't know if the Spirit is in them because the 'idea' is foreign to them and they simply haven't yet learnt to recognise 'his still small voice' - so invite him to reveal himself. There are some who even think that reading the Bible isn't necessary - as long as you believe. Well they've never heard the Spirit and probably never will. And we will all need to 'go the extra mile' with some effort to realise it. Even Satan knows the scriptures and believes but what hope has he?
In this world, which is full of distractions, junk and 'noise' and all things that saturate your mind, which is just clutter and the Spirit will not compete with that. If you want the Spirit to come to you, you must de-clutter your mind by not giving any space to what is of no value.
John 10 is a beautiful chapter and I particularly like 2 verses, 16: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And also in 27: My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. There are many who think that verse 16 is meaning something other than what it says - it refers to the strait and narrow way, as do other verses in this chapter. The Spirit will NOT come to you if you only make half-hearted attempts in fulfilling the conditions. How can you expect the Spirit to come to you if you don't commit to learning about Jesus? This is particularly true for 'first time' believers - babes in His grace, and it takes a little time for them to reach spiritual maturity and be aware of and recognise the Spirit working in them so that they too can become a help unto others. It is often the young immature believers without a strong grounding in faith who will come under 'heavy fire' from the one who would steal it away from them and as mature believers, we need to shelter and guide them until they can stand in the battle. Babes in Christ will suffer the devil's attacks much more that a 'seasoned veteran' until they become secure in faith.
In this world of materialism it’s easy to find or invent a multitude of reasons for not reading your Bible, which is really your own rebelliousness but just remember, it’s Satan who puts up the ‘detour sign’ and we all need to be aware and overcome that. Human Nature being what it is, finding the time to read can seem like a chore – I’ll do it tomorrow and it keeps on repeating, all to Satan’s pleasure. I’m also guilty but we can all find 10 minutes or so a day creating a habit and once you’ve developed the habit the Spirit will come to you – that is, if you are willing to submit to his leading. The more often you read, the more God will send His Spirit if you invite him. If you don't play your part, can you expect the Spirit to reside in you? Satan will always try to drive a wedge in between us and God and he will do that by whatever means and one of the worst ways he discourages us, is from reading the Bible regularly because he knows the Bible is the only source of legitimate truth and he doesn’t want us to know it, not even in the smallest measure. It takes a determined effort on our part to resist this attack; we must get rid of the wedge before it’s driven in too far and if we give in to this sort of attack we WILL slide backwards. And if we allow it to continue it may and can end in apostasy. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. As an analogy, it's too late to learn to shoot a rifle after the war has begun.
One of Satan's favourite tricks is to cause you to look back on past sins and telling you that you've failed, which only halts forward progress. ALL sins that are confessed are dealt with and forgiven and we are all tempted to look back in guilt, but there is absolutely no value or reward in that. Remember Lot's wife - she looked back and paid the penalty. And we all sin IN SOME FORM EVERY DAY, hence the reason for daily confession, which we are told to do, asking for forgiveness and move on - if you keep Jesus as your focus you eventually won't look back. Correction may either be severe or light depending on the circumstances but whatever it is, it is by His mercy and it's for our own good. Hebrews 8: 12 tells us, For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Where on earth, can you get that kind of mercy?
There are two natures inside all of us that are constantly at war with each other, i.e. our human nature and our divine nature - which one will win?.... The one you feed!!! This is a good analogy of Romans 7: 15 - 25 and is essential reading for everyone.
In this late age of Laodicea, (which is the last age of human existence before Jesus returns at the end of Tribulation followed by the 1000 years of the millennium) it's difficult to find a church that is teaching truth according to scripture, which more and more are realising. And if the churches themselves are failing it only adds to the lukewarmness of our own day. It is no longer what the Bible says, which is what it should be but it is now more of 'what will contribute to growth' and they don't care how that happens. When money enters any system, so does corruption. It is sad and a shame that the first churches that started off so well have degenerated to the point where not many trust them any more, which has led to a mass exodus from churches in this day and age and not just in this country. That is not to say that there aren't genuine Christians in the churches - there certainly are and God knows who and where they are and they too have the Spirit imparted to them because it is promised - if they will recognise and heed him. Jesus alone determines whose name remains in His book.
What I'm saying here is that most haven't had the strait gate verses properly explained to them, if at all and just adds to lukewarmness. And many will rightly say that the strait and narrow way is through Jesus, which it is but it isn't through a visible church - it's through the Spirit. And this is the point that most are missing. I'm only trying to show the relationship between Jesus, the Spirit and the strait gate and the truth behind these verses that most are ignorant of and that there is always a better way in everything. This is why I believe it’s better to get a good Bible and trust in the Spirit - and start reading it together with ichthys.com beginning either in the Peter’s Epistles Series as they’re not overly long or in The Satanic Rebellion. For most people the Bible alone isn’t enough, we all need a good teacher to explain it and for me, along with the Spirit who will never lie to you, the best teacher on earth is ichthys.com and it may be for you as well – and I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Save it to favourites, you will be going back to it many times!
The reason I trust ichthys.com so much is because he doesn't try to conform scripture to his doctrine, he conforms his doctrine to scripture and he lets scripture do the talking. You might think that ichthys is just another one of those 'run of the mill worthless internet offerings' - NOT SO!!! This man has given so much effort to this work, which you will quickly see and if you just give it the time it deserves you will certainly benefit from it.
A quick ‘crash course’ in reading the Bible at the last minute is not recommended, remember the parable of the sower and I encourage you to read it - Matthew 13: 3 - 23. You need to prepare spiritually now as there is a day coming when it may be too late and no-one knows the day of our departure from this world as there is nothing permanent about our lives this side of Heaven. For those spiritually prepared there will be much 'work to do' to help many when these days arrive, we should always be on the lookout and listening for the bleating of a 'lost sheep' and you never know when God will bring one across your path - that is our job and each and every one of us is given at least one spiritual gift of ministry to help us in that and it tells us about them in 1st Corinthians 12. The verses below in Amos and Acts are a clear indication of how the churches are failing.
Amos 8: 11 - 13 says: Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. That says it all doesn't it.
Acts 4: 12 says: Neither is there salvation in any other: [worldly religion] for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. And also needs to be properly understood.
These verses are linked, the verses in Amos tell us that finding the truth being taught in the last days will be difficult simply because of the fallen state of the church visible at that time and the verse in Acts is confirming the same with many thinking you must attend a church for salvation. The false prophet will deceive many in that time. Because of the short time left and the continuing downward spiral of society, Jesus has already warned us to be careful where we place our trust - Jeremiah 23: 16 and 2nd Timothy 4: 3, 4 are good examples.
And the false doctrine of the catholic church states: There is no salvation outside the catholic church, which is designed to cause fear. And there are others who say it too. Once having cast away the things that are earthly, we now belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. And John 4: 23, 24 says: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the father in spirit and in truth: for the father requireth even such to worship Him. God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. Along with the strait gate verses, that should dispel everything that is earthly. In John 10: 7, 8 it says: Verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: Sadly, in this present age, which will get worse in the days to come, I think it would have been better if it were to read, All that ever came before Me [and after] are thieves and robbers but I understand His grace. Pilate examined Jesus before the crucifixion but he couldn't find any fault with Him and in John 18: 36 Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence.
That is, to establish the avenue which Jesus created for salvation - the strait and narrow gate and He made it so simple for all and most importantly, free from man's corruption. And also in Colossians 1: 26, 27 which says, Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. The problem with those in the church system is they unknowingly believe the strait gate verses ARE part of the system when it clearly isn't - it stands alone. As already mentioned above the strait gate is entered spiritually, not physically - I can't put it any plainer than that. If we could totally rely on man-made institutions for guidance to salvation - and if they were doing what is expected of them, there would be no need for the Spirit (and I say that in an analogous way) but because of man's reliance on these things instead of the Spirit, our own human nature is at fault. Which is why so many just don't understand why the Spirit is dormant in them. Think again of the two things that I've mentioned in this paragraph, Jesus created the strait gate and gave us the Spirit - we also have the Bible. And as mentioned above, what more do we need?
So what do we know about the strait gate:
1. Jesus created it - for all who would seek it.
2. Strait is another word that means narrow and difficult - the Spirit will help you.
3. Jesus said this is the gate that leads to life - strive to enter spiritually, it is invisible.
4. And He said few there be that find it - because of man's indifference.
And the broad way:
1. It is man made - with many denominations.
2. It is a broad and easy road to travel - with little difficulty.
3. It is wide and many will go in thereat - it looks inviting from outside but they are full of dead men's bones.
4. In the end - it leads to Destruction.
It's pretty clear which one is the safest road, even in difficulty and to repeat - in reality there are only two separate roads and both are leading to different ends. The strait gate verses say nothing about entering it through the church visible simply because the entrance is spiritual. The broadway is the opposite.
A couple of lines from a popular song by Led Zeppelin, Stairway To Heaven.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.