“You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The [road that leads to destruction]ESV* is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14 NLT    *[highway to hell] NLT

I have become convinced that the wide and the narrow roads that Jesus talks about are not in regards to sin per se, but about our response to sin.  The Wide Road experiences sin in shame and condemnation and out of that experience works to rid itself of sin.

The Wide Road is where we put in good works and our own efforts to try and make ourselves right with God.  The Wide Road is where we participate in religion that appeases the gods, that focusses on self, that works to come clean.

“If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18b NLT

The Narrow Road, on the other hand, does not experience sin as condemnation and shame but as a matter-of-fact part of our humanity and our fallenness.  The Narrow Road despises the shame and condemnation and instead remains turned toward Jesus Christ the Saviour of our lives.

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2a ESV

On the Wide Road we continue to bring our sacrifices and our penance.

On the Narrow Road we rest in the work of Jesus Christ who is our sacrifice.

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life.  Human effort accomplishes nothing.”  John 6:63a NLT

“And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.  I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.”  Philippians 3:6b,7 NLT


“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.  For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 NLT

On the Wide Road we participate in rituals, we may tithe in order to remain in the protection of God (never what tithe is about), and we do good deeds to outweigh our badness (this is not the gospel).  On the Wide Road we believe in God but we have not yet put our faith in Him.

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life.  But the Scriptures point to me!” John 5:39 NLT

“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:9 NLT

In contrast, on The Narrow Road we stop trying so hard.

We understand that we CANNOT MAKE GOOD on our lives, Galatians 2:18.  On the narrow road we die to the law and we begin to live in Christ.  We take our focus off of ourselves and whether we are good or bad or right or wrong and we put our focus onto Jesus and we follow closely as His Holy Spirit leads us; we let God guide our steps.

On The Wide Road we demand perfection from ourselves and from others.  On the wide road, sin is the problem and we do all we can to cover over, to pretend it isn’t there, to fix it, to solve it, to come right in our own strengths.

“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.  For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself.  Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God.”  Romans 10:2-3a NLT

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.”  Luke 11:35 NLT


Yet, on The Narrow Road we know that sin is not the problem.

Does sin cause problems? Certainly!  Yet, sin is not the problem.

Christ took care of that problem over two-thousand years ago, and so on The Narrow Road we know that we do not focus any longer on our sin or anyone else’s sin — rather, we speak words of life and we give hope that, “You too can be free from the death cycles of being focussed on sin by coming into the saving work of Jesus Christ.”

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT

On The Wide Road this focus on sin and it’s knee-jerk response of being good, has us on a cycle of condemnation and shame and trying harder.

“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse.” Galatians 3:10a NLT

In contrast, those on The Narrow Road find that condemnation and shame no longer have any voice — these are mute in the great and holy, righteous, presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus despised the shame, so can we.

On The Narrow Road we rest in Jesus and we find life.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28b NLT

APPLICATION

For today’s application we are going to focus on the words that we speak.  We find that our words either honour or dishonour, and that honouring words are on the narrow path to life, but dishonouring words are found on the wide path to death.

Our words drive our actions and make solid our thoughts.  And so we want our words to be healthy and wholesome, uplifting and honouring and representative of God and his ways.  A deep respect for the Lord will show through the words that we speak.  Integrity and truthfulness are profoundly affected and built up (or torn down) by our words.

1.  Pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth.  Listen closely to what you are saying to others.  Are your words honourable or dishonourable?

Let me make a special remark about our words in terms of integrity and truthfulness.  We must be careful that we are not using our words to:

• boast or exaggerate
• make ourselves big
• promise things we have no control over
• put fear into others
• manipulate blessings from others

When we use our words in any of these ways we are not aligned to the heart of God.  This is not the way God speaks to us and it must not be the way we speak to others.  Our speech must be cleaned up and brought into truthfulness and integrity.

2.  Ask God to reveal to you where your words have been lacking truth and integrity.  As you learned in our First Study Focus, use the healing prayer model to come in repentance to the Lord.  But don’t stop there.

3.  Pay particular attention to your words and when the Spirit alerts you to any bragging or exaggeration then immediately stop speaking.  You are the only one who can control your words. Make this a priority.

4.  Slowly you can replace your words and ways of speaking so that truthfulness and integrity is evident in everything you say.  This is a worthy goal for all of us.

“He grants a treasure of comma sense to the honest.  He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT


SUMMARY – THE WIDE ROAD AND THE NARROW ROAD

There is an easy wide road and a difficult narrow way.  Matthew 7:13-14

The easy way = self-effort and religion.  Galatians 3:10, Luke 11:35

• keeping rules   Philippians 3:6b-7, Romans 10:2-3
• old wine skins   Luke 5:36-39

The narrow difficult way = resting in Christ. Galatians 5:1, Matthew 11:28

• allowing grace to change us  Acts 20:23, John 6:6
• our righteousness is all Christ   Isaiah 45:24-25, Hebrews 10:22

=>  Follow this with Relationship

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