Imagine this: We are looking for the perfect present for the most special person in our life. We walk into a store and there is a large room with shelves on every wall. On these shelves are boxes; different sizes, different shapes, different labels, different colors, and all are beautifully wrapped with gorgeous paper and preciously tied ribbons except for one.
This one box is different. It's just very common looking, it's nothing really fancy, it's wrapping is less than attractive, the paper is worn and the ribbon ripped. Which are we likely to grab? One of the beautiful boxes, of course! But wait, we forgot to ask one thing; What's inside the boxes? We begin to open the beautiful boxes, and find that they are all full of sawdust! But the one box, that plain and simple looking one, within we find it to be full of all types of treasure, jewelry, gold, precious stones. There is also a piece of paper entitling us to go to any jewelry store in the world at any time we want, and pick out anything in the store for FREE! For the rest of our lives!
Now, which box do we want? Do we want the beautiful boxes or the plain and simple one? Just as we reach for the box filled with treasures, we notice that there is a 'warning label' attached! To the one who chooses this box also comes criticism, persecution, and possibly death!
What I am describing with this illustration are the two religions of this world! Two? Aren't there hundreds? Not really, when reduced to their common denominator we find there are only two. There is God's and there is man's. God's is of faith; man's is of works. God's is of grace, man's is of law. God's is of the Spirit; man's is of the flesh. God's leads to heaven; man's leads to hell.
Man's religion is like the pretty boxes with ribbons and bows, but inside there is nothing but worthless sawdust. God's glorious gospel stands alone, unattractive, and repulsive to the natural man! But yet it contains treasures that will last for all eternity!
Read: Matthew 13-27
In our text this morning we find that we are called upon to make a choice. Everyone here this morning will make that choice, and it will be evident by what we do.
I. There Are Two Gates. v13-14
A. 'Enter ye in at the strait gate'
1. The word 'enter' is an imperative verb.
a. It conveys a sense of urgency.
b. It is a demand for action right now!
c. It isn't enough to stand and observe the gate…one must enter!
2. It is important that we enter in the right gate.
a. There is only one gate that opens to the narrow way.
b. There is only one correct choice to be made here.
(John 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
(John 10:1) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
c. Christ is the gate…there is no other way to heaven!
3. A person will not just stumble through the gate.
a. "Few there be that find it."
(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.
b. No one is accidentally saved.
c. We must make a conscious decision to place our faith in Christ.
(Jer 29:13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
B. "Broad is the way…"
1. It suits the carnal mind.
a. Some folks are proud of the fact that they are broad-minded.
b. That simply means that they have no standards or guidelines by which to live.
c. There is plenty of room for the world, and its philosophy.
2. It is a crowded way.
a. "Many there be which go in thereat"
b. Sometimes in a large crowd a person can be pushed or carried along with very little effort.
c. It is an easy path to travel, one that is well worn by the multitudes who have gone on before.
3. It is a fatal way.
a. "That leadeth to destruction"
b. It isn't marked properly; our enemy is the master of deception.
(Prov 14:12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
c. He makes the gate look like it is the door to heaven…but nothing could be farther from the truth!
C. The choice is ours.
(Jer 21:8) And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.
1. Which way will we choose?
2. Will we go along with the crowd, or will we choose to follow Christ?
3. Our choice makes all of the difference in this world and in the world to come!
II. There Are Two Identities. v15-20
A. How do we identify someone who makes the correct choice?
1. We cannot tell just by looking.
2. Many make an outward show of spirituality, but…
3. Within they are wolves in sheep's clothing.
4. Paul said that even Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light!
B. Jesus said, "Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them."
1. Some will bear good fruit…
2. Some will bear evil or corrupt fruit…
3. Those trees, which do not bear good fruit, will be destroyed.
C. What kind of fruit are we bearing in our lives?
III. There Are Two Professions. v21-23
A. False profession.
1. Some call Him Lord, but do not do His will.
2. They may even do good works in His name, but …
3. Jesus said, "I never knew you…"
B. True profession.
1. He that doeth the will of the Father will enter heaven.
2. Christianity is not just a matter of the lips…it is a matter of the heart!
(Rom 10:9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
3. Have you made a true profession of faith in Christ?
IV. There Are Two Foundations. v24-27
A. One is on shifting sands.
1. These are they who hear, but will not obey.
2. The structure stood for a time, but…
3. It could not withstand the storms!
4. A person may choose the sands of this world upon which to build, but it will not last!
5. Their life will come crashing in upon them.
B. One is on the solid Rock.
1. The man who makes this choice is considered to be wise.
2. With the proper foundation, Jesus Christ, his life will be able to hold up to the trials and difficulties that will come.
3. This represents the one who will hear the Word of God, and will choose to obey it!
So what will we choose? Will we choose God's way or man's way? It is up to us. We are challenged to choose the strait gate and the narrow way. We must choose to bear good fruit in our lives; to serve Christ with our hearts; and to build our lives upon Him and the principles of His Word.