Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
The Narrow Gate
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its 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 7:12-14 NLT
My Thoughts: Has any child ever escaped hearing about the Golden Rule from their parents? If so, I’m so sad!!! It truly is one of the most powerful and loving verses for which we can model our lives!
The Golden Rule was not just spoken by my Mother it was expected behavior for her children, and with five kids, it was necessary! Before one of us would start to toss an ugly word or throw a punch, my Mother would say, “I want you to stop right now and think about what you are about to say or do…, is that how YOU would want to be treated? Remember what the Golden Rule says!” I can’t say it kept us from misbehaving 100% of the time, but it sure did make us think!
We were introduced to the Golden Rule in a new way one morning when my Mother was walking her three oldest children to school while pulling the younger two behind in a wagon. I remember seeing a child with a cast on her arm trying to maneuver herself out of the car with her mother’s help.
My sister and I were very curious and we wondered aloud what happened to her. Squatting down to our level, Mother softly said, “Girls, I better not find out either of you asked that child what happened to her, do you hear me? The only thing you are allowed to do is ask her what you can do to help her. What happened to her is none of your business, but it is always your business to help. That’s the Golden Rule.”
Suddenly the Golden Rule had a whole new meaning for me and my sister; it wasn’t just about behaving, it included kindness, respect, and compassion. I loved it then and still love it today.
When I look at the conflict in our world I can’t help but wonder how many have never heard the Golden Rule? What if everyone who is reading this blog committed to not only make this Rule a priority in their life, but also agreed to tell someone about it and encourage them to take the same challenge? I truly believe over time it would change our world from being inwardly focused to a world where we are more outwardly focused! Let’s do it!
As popular as the Golden Rule is our next set of verses is very unpopular, even with many believers, but the message is quite clear. Let’s look at these words again:
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its 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
I’m going to get right to the point and tell you that Jesus Christ is the narrow gate. The Bible specifically tells us that there is no other way to salvation or to enter into God’s Kingdom than through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NLT
When people are presented with this truth, usually disbelief, anger, or indignation will follow. It is not popular to believe that Jesus is our only hope, and our only way into heaven. Because this is an unpopular truth, the road to that gate will be difficult, but always remember, The Lord is with you every step of the way!
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
I once saw an interesting video from a pastor who randomly questioned a large number of people “how do you get to heaven?” While there were many responses, the primary answer we heard was you had to be a good person. I found that interesting because who gets to determine what defines a ‘good person?’
The Bible says:
“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 3:10-12, 23 NIV
So if none of us are good and we are all sinners, how in the world do we get into heaven?
We have the answer in our verse: through the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ! The following verses give more specific instructions for how we are to do that:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans 10:9-13 NIV
The best and most important decision we will ever make in our life is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we can enter through the narrow gate. If you need help making this decision, please bless me by asking and I will be delighted to pray with you about giving your heart to Jesus!
On the flip side, we read some harsh words in our verses today that tell us the “The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”
I can’t think of a better visual description of this verse than the entrance to some of the rides or shows in Disney’s theme park. There may be anywhere from five to ten gates to enter into each event. However, people will run and pour into those first two to three gates and end up standing in a long line to get in. But if they go into one of the last gate openings they will most likely be first in line and get very good seating when the gate opens! Yet people will practically run each other down to get into one of those first gates. It’s one of the oddest things I have ever seen.
That’s what I think of when I read this verse, people mindlessly following other people in large numbers like clueless sheep:
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6a NLT
When we follow our own way or the ways of most people just because it’s what “everyone else is doing” we may be following the highway to hell.
Let’s take a good hard look at who we are following today. Is the way we are going leading to the highway of hell, or are we following the path that leads to Jesus Christ and everlasting life?
Closing Prayer: Father God, let our hope be in Jesus Christ, who made His identity and mission clear as the narrow gate; He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. He offers us what we have no power to provide for ourselves: a restored relationship with you Lord. We also gain knowledge of what is true, and a life that will never end. We praise you Lord, for this miraculous truth! We also ask that our hearts be softened to use the Golden Rule as a way of life and change the direction of conflict in our world back to a foundation of love for each other. We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.