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If Only These People Will Change

"If all the sleeping folks will wake up, and all the lukewarm folks will fire up, and all the disgruntled folks will sweeten up, and all the discouraged folks will cheer up, and all the depressed folks will look up, and all the estranged folks will make up, and all the gossiping folks will shut up, and all the dry bones will shake up, and all the true soldiers will stand up, and all the church members will pray up, and if the Savior of all will be lifted up . . . then we can have the greatest renewal this world has ever known." --Richard Cardinal Cushing (Eric S. Ritz, as cited in Weekend Encounter 8/20/09)

The small gate is the entrance to the narrow way, the way which leads to eternal life. That gate is our Lord Jesus Himself. In the words of the Savior: “… Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep… I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture… I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:7,9,11).

In another place, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). God’s only provision for man’s salvation and entrance to the Kingdom is through faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah and our Savior.

But why is the gate small and the way narrow? Simply because it is restrictive. It is not that the gate is poorly marked, for Jesus publicly pointed out that He was God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins and entrance into eternal life. The gate is narrow only because it is exclusive and restrictive. Men can approach God only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:11ff.). Furthermore, men enter into the Kingdom one at a time, as through a turn-style. This is because men must be saved by a personal act of faith. We are never saved in clusters, but individually. To be saved men cannot add to or take away from God’s one way of salvation. As a friend of mine says, “You can go to heaven God’s way, or you can go to Hell any way you want.”

The picture which is given here is not that of a choice between a broad white way with lots of fun and a narrow, dark, uninviting alley. Actually, He is giving a picture of a funnel. If you enter the funnel at the broad end, it keeps narrowing down until you come to death, destruction, and hell. But you can enter the funnel at the narrow part. That’s where Christ is—He is the way, the truth, and the life. He says, "… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). And the longer you walk with Him, the wider it gets. Remember that in Ezekiel’s prophecy (chap. 47) there was a river flowing out from the throne of God which began as a little stream and widened out until it became a great river. That pictures the life of a child of God—it gets better every day. This is what our Lord was talking about.

So everybody's eternal destiny is gonna be based on not what they say, but what they do - not on what you claim, but on whether or not your claim is supported by a life of obedience and love toward God and Christ. Hell is filled with people who will claim a relationship with the Lord.

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