Sunday, January 6, 2013

The wide gate vs. the narrow gate

The list of misconceptions Christians hold about the nature of the ministry of Jesus (God’s chosen and Anointed One, His Prophet) is varied, and is very long. And Jesus himself said that there is a “wide gate” most people choose to walk through that seems far easier to them, and that’s definitely the gate most people today choose. But that’s not the one he calls us to walk through. We are to pass through the Narrow Gate of obedience.

This “Wide Gate” belief today often manifests itself in the belief that we cannot possibly do all the good Jesus tells us that God, our Father and his Father, wishes us to do. In fact, to even attempt to obey God and God’s Chosen Prophet, Jesus, is seen by some kind of an affront to God.

This rather perverse doctrine, a house built on the shifting sands of man’s misinterpretation, makes Jesus a mocker of God, as if he were “teasing” us little human beings who couldn't POSSIBLY obey God, despite God’s direct commands to the contrary.

This leads directly to the lazy, Wide Gate of “Easy Believism” – a belief that all we need do for God is to nod our head in assent to empty affirmations that we do indeed “believe” in a God, but at the same time, adopt an aversion to the very goodness, righteous actions and pure hearts that God calls us to through the ministry of Jesus.

The fact is, when Jesus says “obey me” and tells us that if we continue in his word (which never passes away) we are “truly” his disciples, he speaks the Truth. To deny this is to deny Jesus.

As a fully human being, Jesus fully obeyed God. Thus, he becomes an exemplar for all of us, and his perfection – and call for us to follow and obey him completely – is a challenge laid down to us. And make no mistake: If Jesus perfectly obeyed, we may ALSO do it. It is not too hard for us.

If we pick up this challenge (by taking up our cross every single day and carrying it) and voluntarily put his easy yoke upon us, we shall be rewarded by God in the next life.

Jesus himself left us no doubt we could do this, and in fact commands it of his disciples. John, in his first letter, writes encouragingly that the one who SAYS he remains in Jesus should walk JUST AS HE WALKED. Jesus agrees.

Jesus came as a Prophet of God and as a perfect example in life and death of what God wishes us to be, and called on us to follow him in all things. That is it. That is the Gospel, or “Good and Beneficial Message.”

It calls for no further mysteries, no complicated Greek philosophies, no man-made, Lawyerly speculations or endless debates about others’ interpretations of Jesus' words or any imagined interpretations about him. It's AMAZINGLY simple. And yet billions are following the Wide Gate towards destruction by ignoring this Good Message by denying its very existence,  which is incredibly sad. / Thus endeth the sermon.

Scripture cited:

"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.” Matt 7:13-14

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matt. 24:35

“Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you are truly my disciples.” John 8:31

“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6

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