The Narrow WayBro. David Chancellor
5/3/2009 6:00 PM
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it
A strait place is closed in and tight. That word is the same as the word narrow. The meaning for both is found under "afflict" in the Vine’s dictionary. The narrow way is a way in which outside forces will work on you to turn you away from what’s right. Pressures will come and work on you to try to stop you in your pursuit of eternal life. You have to keep going even though the pressure’s on you. We can overcome by God’s grace.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
If we want the kingdom of heaven, we should expect some pressures to come against us. We’re not out to cause a fight or to get in people’s faces. There are blessings to be found in persecutions for righteousness’ sake. Pressures will come to try to turn you aside. Jesus suffered before we did. If he could bear those things he went through by his grace we can bear what comes to us.
Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.
"And it shall turn to you for a testimony." All these things press on you, and because of it, you have a testimony before others. Let God use the trouble to bring glory to himself. He’ll bring you through to victory. God may call on us to stand under pressure so that he can shine through us to the world. He wants us to endure with grace. That’s what patience is all about: enduring gracefully. There are things that bring happiness in this way, too.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Jesus was explaining why the pressures and suffering come. You’re not the first to suffer. You don’t fit with the world and because of this the world will put pressure on you. God planned that we go among them so that they would see him and turn to him. Jesus suffered first. If we suffer because of following him, we can find comfort in the fact that we’re enough like Jesus that they noticed.
1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
If trouble comes because you’re doing good, don’t think it’s unusual. Let God’s glory rest on you. If the trouble is your own fault, deal with it and get on the right way. When pressures come, stay on your knees and let people see God shine through you.
2 Corinthians 1:3-12
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift: waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Paul was thankful that God was his help. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." The way had pressed in on Paul to this degree, but he had his trust in God. We need to keep our trust in God. We can’t handle the pressure on our own. We need to pray for each other. We wall will go through things in life and need to encourage and strengthen each other. There is consolation in suffering. God encourages us and gives us help to go through. Paul found grace equal to the pressures of the way. We want everyone to be able to find grace to make it through. It can turn the trouble into a testimony to those that are watching. Others need to see Jesus and his grace in us. Count on God to help you stand. He will help you to overcome and enjoy eternal life.