Bible Lesson 103

The Gate & Road to Heaven

“Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV

God never gives us anything to do, unless He first gives us a route to take, and the power and provision to arrive at our destination. That has been true from the beginning of time. Think with me about the Creation, when God created Adam. Adam and Eve were created ‘innocent’, without sin and they would have stayed innocent if they had only taken the road that God gave them to take.

God had put them into a perfect paradise (Garden of Eden) and told then to take the road that would keep them away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they had stayed on that road, they would have lived forever, but like so many in our day, they wanted to explore that ‘road less traveled’, that road that God had said no to.

As a consequence of their ‘wrong turn’, it became our nature that we too want to disobey God, and that has caused mankind to do many things that make him a candidate for hell, both in life and in death. Think about Adam and Eve, before they disobeyed God and took the wrong road, a road that was forbidden to them on the penalty of death; and death, in this case, meant Spiritual death (separation from God) and physical death.

The moment they sinned they were separated from God and they began the punishment of physical decline and death. God drove them out of the garden and placed a cherub (angel) with a flaming sword to keep them from ever returning. Think for a minute about what must have been Adam’s thoughts about taking the wrong road. Now, think for a moment about how many bad roads you have taken, things you have suffered because you missed a turn, or took the wrong fork in the road.

Taking a wrong road always leads to a problem and we see that in Adam’s family after the fall and the curse of sin. Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel stayed on God’s path but Cain took the wrong road. There came a day of offering to God when Abel brought his offering of a sheep to God, but Cain brought some kind of vegetable to God. God respected Abel’s offering because it was a blood offering, but God did not respect Cain’s offering.

Note: I like to think that Cain knew what God required to cover sin’ was always blood, but Cain probably thought to himself that he could bring just anything convenient ( a turnip) and let God get blood from that. Cain discovered that God can indeed get blood from a turnip; but God requires his sacrifices to be an innocent, living animal from the flock or herd. It’s obvious that God had instructed these people about sacrifice and even demonstrated it for them in Genesis 3:21, so they knew the path or road that they were to go down; however, Cain took the wrong path. As a result of Cain’s intentional wrong turn, God put him on a different road for life. God told Cain ‘you are cursed from the earth, and it will no longer yield its strength to you’. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth and God set a mark on him, (Genesis 4:11-15).
You may ask, what is wrong with vegetables, why wouldn’t God accept Cain’s offering of vegetables’ Listen closely to the answer to that question, because it is the nature of fallen man to question God. God did not, and would not ever accept anything except what He had specified to be offered as a sacrifice. When God has spoken to anything, anything under the sun, that is the end of the discussion. He is the Creator and we are the creatures and we must be willing to obey all that He has commanded us to do.

When you read something in the Bible, it is not a suggestion or a recommendation, it is a command. As fallen, sinful, rebellious man, we are slaves to sin and the devil (John 8:30-47; John 14:21-24; Romans 6:1-6). How many of the billions of people born into this world have ever really realized that they were born and lived and died as slaves of Satan’ Not many and I am including those who have joined different churches and called themselves Christians. We are all, born on the wrong road and we just came to the knowledge of our desperate condition, turn around (repent) and get on the path that God has clearly defined for us (The Bible).

I know that many will say, well, we have to figure this out for ourselves and they are the ones who say, many roads lead to God. That is the devils lie and he has used it to lead untold millions, even billions to hell. He assured them that they were on the right road but it was leading them to hell and eternal condemnation.

In this lesson, we will open the Word of God and just take a few of the people that the Bible tells us took the wrong road and are in hell today for their error. We see that Cain had a family and we know very little about his line, and then Eve born another son and his name was Seth, and his name meant appointed or substituted, for Abel and Genesis 4:26 we are told that Seth had a son named Enosh, ‘Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.’ That tells us that Abel was a good road traveler, he followed God’s direction and now Seth would continue the godly line of humans.

People who are intent on being in the right relationship with God have always been in the minority in this sinful world and it was no different in the times we are exploring here. Men continued to go in at the strait or narrow gate, and strait there refers to a small opening in a rock surface that would require a good bit of effort to squeeze through, so they went in at that broad or wide gate that the natural world offers and glide down that wide highway that can be traveled with no effort at all; however, it leads to eternal terror and pain in hell. The Bible instructs us in Genesis chapter 6, ‘that it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth ‘.

That God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ Men had become so sinful and so enamored with sin that all they thought about resulted in sin. They were on the wrong road and they were going as fast as they possibly could, never fully realizing that they were treading above hell’s fires on a spider-web. I hope that you will pay particular attention to what I am about to say here; and that is that God has a line that we had better not cross because God can and does get enough from sinful creatures and God says in Genesis 6:6-7, that He was sorry that He had made man on the earth and that he was going to destroy them all with one exception and that was Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God said these people are not fit to inhabit My earth, so I will destroy them all. Think about that, because it is estimated that there were millions of people on the earth at this time and every one of them except Noah and his family was on the wrong road.

The question now becomes, why would everyone on the earth except one man insist on traveling in the wrong direction on the wrong road’ The answer is evident if we look around us in the world. People get on the wrong road because the gate is broad and enticing, and the way is wide and we can just slop around and still stay on the road’ and we had rather have an easy route for these few years that we spend on this earth than we had to squeeze through that strait gate and walk carefully on that narrow way that leads to eternal reward. We know that is the truth because Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, tells us it is in our scripture base for this lesson (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV). In the language of our day, verse 14 there says ‘Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there be few that find it.’

Think about what Christ was saying to us there and to better understand it we will compare how easy it is to walk on a 4-foot concrete sidewalk in some town or city. It is no trouble at all and we walk on them every day; however, if we think about how difficult it is to walk on a steel girder high above the city street as many ironworkers do in building skyscrapers, it becomes something that causes us to have to apply our focused attention on to do it. God is telling us in Matthew 7:14, that the Christian life is a life of focus, concentration, skill, and complete obedience to the Word of God the Bible.

God told Noah, that he was going to cause a universal flood on the earth to destroy all flesh on the earth because of their willfulness and disobedience. The man had filled God’s creation with corruption. God told Noah to prepare an ark that would save him and any who were on board and we all know or should know the account of the Flood in Noah’s time. So Noah got on that narrow road and it took him one hundred and twenty years to build his ark and as he built, he preached righteousness’.not his righteousness, but the righteousness of His God, and yet he did not have one single convert. Every person who passed by the Ark or heard about it in those 120 years was on the wrong road and they elected to stay on the wrong road until the rain started and it was eternally too late.

After the flood, as time passed the entire earth had one language and one speech, so they found much agreement when they decided to take the wrong road and reach God by their efforts (Genesis 11: 1-4). They began to build a tower that would reach into heaven, but God put a block in their road when He confused their language and they could not communicate with each other, and the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:7-8).

As people reproduced and began to fill the earth, God spoke to Abram in Ur of the Chaldea’s and told him to leave his home and family and go to a place that the Lord would show him and where God would make a great nation from him. Now, what would you do or for that matter what would I do, if God told us to uproot and move to a place that we did not know about’ That was the road that God gave to Abram, and Abram followed it through many challenges including going into Egypt because of a famine. Later Abram inherited the land of Canaan. Abram became rich in flocks and herds and power in that his family grew.

To make a long story, short, the Lord promised Abram a son, because he had no heir except a servant. Abram was past childbearing age and so was his wife Sarai, so they took a detour off God’s road to help God to give them a son, Sarai gave Abram her handmaiden he produced a child by her, who was named Ishmael, but God said no to Ishmael, and in their old age God gave Abram and Sarai the son of promise, and they named Him Issac, and Abram was on the right road again.

We will take a giant leap here and go and look at the nation of Israel after they came out of the land of Egypt where they were slaves for hundreds of years. They had been given Patriarchs, Prophets, and Judges to keep them on the road God had planned for them: however, they came to the point that they liked what they saw in the world and the nations around them, and they asked for a king. They had a king over them (God) but they got on the wrong road and wanted an earthly king and so they demanded a king (1st Samuel 8) and God told Samuel to let them have their kind but with the understanding of what their king would require of them (using them for his servants and in his army, he would take their fields and vineyards, and their tithes of everything).

Their first king was Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, and he got on the wrong road by disobeying God, in sparing King Agag, whom God said to destroy (1st Samuel 15). God rejected Saul and Then David who was in the line of Jesus Christ was anointed King of Israel. Israel’s kings were not very good, although some were, most were not. But enough about people that have long since died, let’s talk about us, and the roads we are selecting and traveling. There are many today who have taken the wrong road and because they never read the road signs (The Bible), they don’t even recognize that they are on the wrong road. You see, we are all born dead in trespasses and sin, blinded by the devil and we do his will which equates to the wrong road and the road which will lead us to hell. We never like to think of ourselves as slaves to anyone or anything but we are, unless and until, God intervenes in our lives to regenerate us, slaves to Satan and sin; and we can do nothing to knock, ask and seek, by recognizing that we are sinners and on the wrong road, until God calls us by His Spirit, regenerates us, and imputes the righteousness of Christ to us and His Holy Spirit in us.

If we want to know about how to get on the right road, we must read our Bibles and ask questions of people we trust and knock on the door of heaven with our prayers. If we seek God long enough and sincerely enough, He will find us. Our study of roads in the lesson is for one reason and one reason only, and that is so that we can recognize that we are sinners, without help or hope unless God will save us by His grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. We are saved by God’s Amazing Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We come to Christ loving Him more than we love anyone or anything on the earth. We come ready to die to self, and having known the cost of being His and being ready to pay that price (Luke 14: 26-33).

Salvation is not a makeover of the old person; salvation involves a dying to self just as Christ died on the cross. Then we are raised to walk as a new creature, in newness of life (Romans 6:1-14). God will have nothing to do with the old creature except to plan and provide the redemption of their soul. When God saves us He rebirths us in His Son Jesus Christ; and makes us new creatures, with the old things of the flesh passed away and all things being new in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17). Are you tired of living for the devil and doing things that adversely affect you, your family and your neighbors’

If you are not saved that is exactly what you are doing, you are hurting everyone around you. Are you tired of taking two steps forward and three steps back’ Are you tired of being a slave to darkness and sin, would you like to walk upright in the perfect light of God’ Are you willing to trust Christ to live your life through His Spirits leadings’ Can you abdicate the throne of your life and follow the road signs that God has erected in His Word the Bible’ Are you willing to have a faith that believes in the face of supposed reality and trust God to accomplish what He has said He will accomplish in your life’ If you can answer those questions correctly, then you are close to being saved. You will know for sure that God has saved you when the Holy Spirit and He alone gives you that assurance.

I am not saying that when you surrender your life to Christ that everything is going to be the way that you want it to be because Christ has that newness of life that will sometimes be hard. After all, Christ is making you into a stronger person, a person who will be fit for heaven. So many people in the world today are selling their birthright for a mess of wormy pottage, we accept the wrong road and most of the time that is the low road that leads us to a life without real peace, shattered families, alcohol, drugs and life that falls very short of God’s creature.

I am telling you this morning that what you need to do is to stop and read the signs and know where your life is going. If you are not satisfied with less than the very best then you need to know about the ‘Amazing Grace’ of God. The only way that you will ever know that Grace that saves is to read and study the Bible and pray for God’s illumination, or hear a faithful preacher or teach expound it for you. God has a plan for your life and He tells you that plan in the Bible. He sets before everyone, as our scripture for this lesson makes clear, two gates, one narrow and one wide, two ways or paths, one broad and one narrow, two destinations, heaven or hell, and the destinations each has an eternity for us to stay in that destination.

We all will live for eternity and we each follow the road that will lead us to our destination. Those who enter that strait or narrow gate and walk that narrow or difficult way will spend eternity in the presence of Christ our Lord, in a paradise where there will be no tears or pain, no cripples or deaf or blind and nothing that will disturb our tranquility. All others, those who go in at that wide gate and walk that broadway because it requires nothing from us or ask nothing of us’.will end up in eternal flames and pain and suffering in a place of darkness and we will be conscious that we did not have to come there but there are no second chances, only utter pain, and suffering for eternity.

It is my prayer that you will come to your senses and turn around and ask God to give you that road that leads to heaven. You don’t have to go to hell unless you refuse the only way that leads to God and through His Son Jesus Christ. I believe that we are living in the last days I know that we are over 2000 years closer to the end of the world than we were when Jesus Christ was crucified. America and Americans have been confused by men who preached peace, peace when there is not peace.

We have preached the fear out of God and the reality out of judgment and hell. We have accommodated people’s desire to do their own thing instead of doing what the Bible says we must. There are still those, and these are the ones we are reaching for in these lessons, who want to know how to be saved. There are more in 3rd world countries that desire God and Christ and redemption more than they desire life itself. Those are also the ones we strive to convince.

I was struck recently by the thought in a song written by a Ugandan pastor that was titled ‘O How the Grace of God Amazes Me.’ It is by God’s grace alone that anyone will ever be saved. I want to share it with you and recommend the book by the same name, written by Sinclair B. Ferguson, and published by Reformation Trust Publishing. You may come to realize that God’s Grace is what you need to get on the right road and travel that path that leads to heaven.

‘O How the Grace of God Amazes Me.’
By Emmanuel T. Sibomana

O how the grace of God
Amazes me!
It loosed me from my bonds
And set me free!
What made it happen so’
His own will, this much I know,
Set me, as now I know,
At liberty.

My God has chosen me,
Though one of naught,
To sit beside my King
In heaven’s court.
Hear what my Lord has done
O, the love that made him run
To meet his erring son!
This has God wrought.

Not for my righteousness,
For I have none,
But for His mercy’s sake,
Jesus, God’s Son,
Suffered on Calvary’s tree—
Crucified with thieves was he–
Great was his grace to me,
His wayward one.

And when I think of how,
At Calvary,
He bore sin’s penalty
Instead of me,
Amazed, I wonder why
He, the sinless One, should die
For one so vile as I;
My Saviour!

Now all my heart’s desire
Is to abide
In him, my Saviour dear
In him to hide. My Shield and buckler he,
Covering and protecting me;
From Satan’s darts, I’ll be
Safe at his side.

Lord Jesus, hear my prayer,
Your grace impart;
When evil thoughts arise
Through Satan’s art,
O, drive them all away
And do you, from day to day,
Keep me beneath your sway,
King of my heart.

Come now, the whole of me,
Eyes, ears, and voice.
Join me, creation all,
With joyful noise:
Praise him who broke the chain
Holding me in sin’s domain
And set me free again!
Sing and rejoice!

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob