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Do you like to make choices when there are many different options to choose from? In America, one might think that freedom = many options. As we near the end of our series, Summer on the Mount, Adam Tarnow walks us through Matthew 7:13-20, where Jesus teaches something that is very un-American. Not anti-American, but un-American, as Jesus says you only get two options for the most important decision you will ever make.
How to Never Hear, “Depart From Me I Never Knew You.”
Broad vs Narrow
The Golden Rule
Prayer Connected to Promise
Matthew 7:1-6 : Judging Others
Finding Freedom From Worry
Is Money Your Servant or Master?
The Lord’s Prayer
False Religion & Outward Righteousness
Radical Love of Real Disciples
What Jesus Says About Divorce in Matthew 5:31-32
The Murderer and Adulterer Within Me
Salt, Light, the Saved, the Savior and the Law
The Life that Flourishes
A Summary of Matthew 5-7
Good morning, Watermark Dallas! My name is Adam Tarnow. I'm excited to be with you guys this morning. To set up our time, as we continue in this Summer on the Mount series, I'll tell you guys a quick story of something that happened to me this week. On Wednesday, I was down in New Braunfels hanging out with some friends and left to drive back up here to Dallas around lunchtime. I got on I-35 and started heading north. I started to feel a little hungry and decided it was time to pull over and get some lunch.
I stopped at this little spot along I-35 that I believe is God's gift to Texas. I stopped at Buc-ee's. There are some fans in here, aren't there? Yeah! There are some Buc-ee's fans in here indeed. Can we all just agree that is I-35's only redeeming quality? If you're in here and exploring the faith and wondering whether or not sin exists in the world, all you have to do is get on I-35 and head south and you will see evidence that sin does exist in the world.
Praise God there is Buc-ee's! For those of you sitting in here who don't know what Buc-ee's is, this is a gas station/convenience store that is the size of East Garland. It is massive. It has everything. The reason we love Buc-ee's, or the reason I love Buc-ee's, is because Buc-ee's gives us options. That's what we want. Right? We want options!
When you come in and you want to get some gas, you don't want to choose from four rows of gas pumps. You want to choose from 156 different gas pumps. That is what you want. That is what we want. We love that. When you go inside, you want a bathroom that all of East Garland could use at the same time, and that's what Buc-ee's gives you, and it's spotless and clean.
You have all kinds of drink options. You have a wall of beef jerky, for crying out loud. Where else do you find a wall of beef jerky than at Buc-ee's? We love Buc-ee's because it gives us options. There are so many candy options. There are all of those popcorn options. That popcorn has colors I didn't even know existed as I walked around there. I love it. I never feel prouder to be an American than when I walk into Buc-ee's and it gives us options.
I start with that because the passage we're going to look at next in the Sermon on the Mount with the words of Jesus today is a very kind of unpopular thing. It's maybe un-American, if you will, because we Americans love our options and our choices, but I think, really, everybody loves options and choices.
What Jesus is going to be saying today is going to be viewed as a little bit unpopular, and the reason why is because what Jesus is saying is for the most important decision you and I make in our lives there are only two options. There are not rows and rows of options. There are not thousands of options. There are two. In the most important decision we make today and every day there are only two options.
What is this most important decision? This most important decision is…Where are you going to find life? When the New Testament authors talk about life, they'll use two different words. They'll use the word bios, which is physical life, and that's not the kind of life Jesus is talking about today. The other word they'll use sometimes if the word zóé, this abundant, spiritual life, this vibrant life. Maybe we would call it in 2019 this good life. Where are you going to find the good life?
When I say good life, I'm not just talking about health, wealth, and prosperity where we're all fit and happy and rich. It's not just that. It's a little deeper than that. This good life (the zóé we're all looking for that every single one of us wants) is largely filled with healthy relationships, a life of meaning and purpose where you know you're making a difference in the world and a difference in other people's lives, where you feel this call on your life.
Every day when you wake up it matters. That's what we're looking for. Then, when you die, you will spend eternity in heaven, where it's just perfect. That's what every single one of us wants, and Jesus knows that's what we want, and he wants that for us. He wants us to experience that zóé. He wants that for us, and he's saying you have a choice to make on where you're going to find that. There are only two options.
I think this next passage is so important, as all of these passages in the Sermon on the Mount have been important, because I think what some of us are going to realize this morning is that we've made the wrong choice. We thought we were chasing after the good life, and we realized we made the wrong choice. Of the two options, we chose the wrong one.
I think we're going to realize as we go through this and unpack this next section of Scripture that we've chosen poorly, and by the grace of God we can remedy that choice. We can get back moving in the right direction, as we're going to see today. If you have your Bibles, let's jump on in. We're going to go back into the Sermon on the Mount.
This summer we've been walking through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7. This is actually message 14 in this series, so we've been walking through this, and the sermon is now about to change. It's about to change as we go through these last couple of sections, because Jesus is now getting ready to land the plane.
He's getting ready to close the sermon. He's done teaching, and now he's doing what all good teachers do. He's looking at his audience and saying, "Now is the time to make a decision." He's driving toward application. He is making it so clear that his teaching is not just to be admired; his teaching is to be followed. It's to be followed, so he's looking at the audience, and he's going, "Now is the time for you to make a decision as to what you are going to do with all of this I've just said."
I'll just break this up into three points. He's going to tell us we have a choice to make. He's going to give us a caution of some people we might see as we walk through this life. Then, he's going to give us a clue to let us know whether or not we're moving in the right direction and if we really have found life indeed. Here we go. Matthew, chapter 7. We're going to be in verses 13 through 20. Here is what Jesus says in chapter 7, verse 13.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Let's hit pause there. This is what Jesus is saying. He's looking at the audience. He's about to close the sermon. He's going, "Now is the time to make a decision."
1._ You have a choice to make_. He uses a metaphor. He says, "There are two roads and two groups of people on these roads, and these roads lead to two very different destinations. You can choose the wide road, and there are a bunch of people on the wide road. That's the easy road because it's wide and there are all of these people there. It may be a good time and you may feel secure knowing there are all of these other people around you as you walk on this wide road," but he makes it very clear this wide road leads to destructions. That's the destination of that path.
Or you can choose the narrow path. The narrow path has fewer people. It's probably a little bit harder, but at the end of that narrow path and while you're on that narrow path you will findzóé. You will find life. He's saying that you need to make a choice. You need to make a decision as to which direction you want your life to go.
Jesus is reminding us here the path you choose matters. The path you choose matters, and the reason it matters is because your direction determines your destination. The direction your life is moving in determines your destination, and Jesus wants us to choose the direction of that narrow path of following after him. That's what is going to lead us to the destination we all want (that good life). We know this. We know this inherently, that your direction determines your destination.
Let me just use a silly little example here. I talked about New Braunfels just a few minutes ago. Let's just assume that I won the lottery, so I bought Schlitterbahn. I want all of us (everybody in this room today) to go down to Schlitterbahn. We're going to finish up the church service. I'm going to say, "Have a great week of worship." Then, we're all going to go out and get in our cars, and we're going to drive down to New Braunfels and spend the day there at the heavenly Schlitterbahn down there.
We're going to get in our cars. We're going to get on the Central Expressway, and we're going to head south. When we get near downtown, we're going to have a decision to make. Are you going to hop on over to Woodall Rodgers and get on I-35 South so you can start heading south toward New Braunfels, because I-35 is the way you get down there, or are you going to say, "I'm going south, and New Braunfels is south, so I'm just going to stay straight"?
Central will turn into I-45, and then you're going to go straight on down I-45, and you're not going to get to heavenly Schlitterbahn if you stay on I-45. Where are you going to be? Humid Houston. That's where you're going to be. We know this. This is simple. Your direction determines your destination. If you're moving in the wrong direction, it is not going to get you where you want to go.
Listen to this. If you're on I-45 heading south but you want to be in New Braunfels, it doesn't matter how fast you drive. It doesn't matter who is in the car with you. It doesn't matter what music you're listening to. It doesn't matter what podcast you're listening to. It doesn't matter what kind of car you're in. It doesn't matter what lane you drive in. It doesn't matter how often you stop to use the restroom or get something to eat. It doesn't even matter if you hit the Buc-ee's just north of Houston.
If you are on I-45 South, you will not end up in New Braunfels, because your direction determines your destination. Jesus is saying, "I want you to choose the right direction. I want you to have this life, and this life is to follow me." He didn't just say this here in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount. If you go over to the gospel of John, he said it there, and he uses the same language of gate and road and way.
Look at what he says in John 10:9. "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." You will find life. You will have this reconciled relationship with God, and you will be able to walk through life in a reconciled relationship with him, and you will find that life indeed. "I am the gate. Enter through it."
In John 14:6, he says, "…I am the way and the truth and the life." There's that word again. "No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus, as he's closing this sermon for that audience and for this audience and all of us in here today, is saying the most important decision you're going to make in life is which path you're going to choose, and your direction determines your destination. He wants you to follow him on that narrow path.
As I've been thinking about this passage, anticipating this is where we were going to be in a few weeks, and as I've been thinking about this narrow path and this wide path, I've just been thinking about my own life. Some of my story I've shared from this stage before. I became a follower of Jesus right before my twenty-first birthday. I was in college.
A friend of mine had been sharing the gospel with me for a couple of years, and I thought I had found the path to life in college. I thought I was going to show up to college and just make it the best four years of my life, and there were a bunch of other people on that wide road, and I thought it was fun. My friend was over on this narrow road, and he kept telling me, "I don't think that's life. I don't think that's life. I think you need to follow Jesus."
I looked at his life and I looked at mine, and I saw his was wildly different than mine. I said, "I want what you have," and by the grace of God my eyes opened, and I got on that narrow path and started to follow Jesus. I can stand up here now and tell you guys 23 years later that was the greatest decision I ever made, and I'm so grateful by God's grace he opened my eyes to follow after Jesus and to be on that narrow road. It has changed every aspect of my life. All of my relationships have changed. My understanding of my purpose in life has changed.
There is a meaning every day when I wake up, and that's because of Jesus, but at the exact same time, after following Jesus on that narrow path for 23 years, I can also tell you it has been one of the most difficult decisions I ever made. It is hard on the narrow path. There are times when it is incredibly lonely. There are times when I feel alone out there. I feel like I'm the only one who is trying to live in a certain way when I compare myself to the rest of the culture.
It is so difficult and so hard to fight sin and to work hard to reconcile relationships and to think about serving other people. That is difficult sometimes, and I just get worn out on that narrow road from time to time, and when I start to get worn out, I start looking over at that wide road, and I start dreaming about what it would be like over there. It seems like they're having a lot of fun over there.
In my mind, I start to do some of these mental gymnastics where I go, "Do you know what I bet I could do? I bet there is a third option. I bet I can have one foot on the wide road, and I bet I can have one foot on the narrow road. I bet I can go over there and just dabble a little bit. It seems like a lot of fun. It seems like there may be some life over there."
Do you know what I basically think I can do? I think I can walk two roads at the exact same time. I think I can be like Jean-Claude Van Damme. Let's just assume for a moment maybe there is a third option where you can keep one foot in each world. Can we also agree that is the worst of the three options?
The reason it's the worst of the three options is you have too much Jesus to really enjoy the wide road, and you have too much of the wide road to really enjoy Jesus. That's the worst of the options. There are two options. There is the wide road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to what we want. That's where the life is found. Jesus is letting us know the most important decision we'll make is to follow after him on that narrow path. He keeps going with…
2._ A caution for us_. Let's go back to the text. In verse 15, he says, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." Let's pause here. He has this caution for us now against these false prophets. A prophet is somebody who has a relationship with God. They have a relationship with God. Therefore, now, their life teaches something. Their life teaches sometimes through their words and oftentimes through their actions.
A prophet is somebody who has this relationship with God and their life and their words line up and what they teach lines up with God's heart and God's intentions. Their words and their actions line up with God's Word. That's what a prophet is. It's somebody who has this relationship and teaches in accordance with God's Word.
What Jesus is saying is there are some false prophets out there. There are some people who either don't have a relationship with God; therefore, they're not teaching things that line up with God's Word or God's heart or God's intentions, or they do have a relationship with God but they're just skewed in what they think is true or what they think is the path toward life.
Either the way they live or the words they share do not line up with God's Word, and Jesus is reminding us to watch out for these people. They're there. Paul picked up on this in Galatians. This is what he says in Galatians, chapter 1, as he's writing to this church. He says,
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!"
What is this gospel Paul is talking about? It's the good news of what God has done to accomplish salvation through Jesus Christ, and anybody who teaches anything that is different than the gospel of Jesus Christ, that heaven is a gift and this relationship with God is a gift through Jesus Christ, is a false prophet.
False prophets are everywhere. If you go home today and turn on the television, go up to some of those upper channels and you will see a bunch of people who are false prophets claiming to be followers of God telling you to follow this path toward health, wealth, and prosperity. There are tons of false gospels and false prophets who are out there, but they're not just on television. They're walking around everywhere. They're here. Some of you in here today this morning are false prophets.
A simple way to think about a false prophet is this. Do you know what they are? They're posers. I grew up in the Stranger Things era when that actually was happening, and that's what we called people in middle school who pretended to be skaters but they weren't really skaters. They were posers. A poser is somebody who talks the talk but they do not walk the walk. They're a fair-weather fan. They're a fake. They're a bandwagon fan.
Do you know why there are so many false prophets and so many fair-weather fans and so many posers out there? Because it is way easier to be a poser and to be a fair-weather fan than it is to actually be a follower. You can fool anybody. It is so easy to fool people. I saw this firsthand in my own life just a little over a week ago.
A little over a week ago, my family and I had an amazing opportunity to take a family vacation. We got to go out to the West Coast. We are huge baseball fans. We've been trying to see all 30 Major League ballparks, so we're trying to tick those off and see some of those. We got to go out to the West Coast in southern California.
We got to go to San Diego and see the Padres. Then, we went up to Anaheim and saw the Angels played. Then, on Thursday night, August 1, we got to go up to L.A. We got to go to Dodger Stadium. It was the first time at all of those ballparks for me. We got there on that Thursday night game at Dodger Stadium. We got there a little early and were watching batting practice, just taking in the views of that stadium. It was so fun!
The game started, and it was kind of a magical night. Highland Park's own Clayton Kershaw was pitching. In the first inning, Cody Bellinger, the All-Star outfielder who is probably going to win the National League MVP, hits a home run. It was 75 degrees, for crying out loud, on August 1. I mean, it was a magical night. It was a magical night.
The innings kept going by. The game was moving along pretty quickly. It was the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Padres were beating the Dodgers 2-1. A couple of things start to happen in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs and bases loaded. This kid I had never heard of, a rookie who had just gotten called up a few games ago, whose name was Will Smith…
By the way, his walkup song was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which I thought was genius. That's what you have to do if your name is Will Smith. Anyway, this guy, Will Smith, comes up to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs and bases loaded. Then, this happened. Watch this.
It was amazing! Literally, right before that pitch he hits over for that grand slam, my 10-year-old looks at me and goes, "What if he hits a grand slam?" I was like, "That would be crazy!" Then, that pitch goes, and he hits that, and if that camera angle would have gone over to section 46, row 3, what you would have seen was me.
The second Will Smith hits that I just go up. I'm like, "Yes!" That ball seemed to be moving in slow motion, and like the rest of the crowd, I'm like, "Go! Go! Go!" I watched that center fielder jump up to try to rob that, and I see that ball land over there, and I, along with 42,000 of my closest friends, lose my mind. I'm like, "That's amazing! That's amazing!"
I did what only happens at sporting events. These people all around me who I've been ignoring for 90 minutes are suddenly like family. I'm high-fiving all of these people going around. I look over. I'm high-fiving my family. This drunk guy comes running down the row to my 8-year-old to give my 8-year-old a fist bump. I'm like, "Fist bump the drunk guy! Let's go! This is amazing!"
In that moment, just taking a snapshot, I looked like I had been a Dodger's fan my entire life, but I hadn't. I had been a Dodger's fan for about six innings. It is so easy to be a fair-weather fan. It is so easy to fake it. I had everybody fooled all around me. It's easy to fake being a fair-weather fan at a sporting event, but you know where it's really easy to fake it and where it's really easy to be a poser. It's really easy to be a poser at church. That's where it's easy.
You can fool a bunch of people, especially in Dallas. Show up. Sit in the row. Listen. Talk about it a little bit. Hang around a little bit. Start to learn some Christianese. Start to learn some buzzwords. Learn how to love on people and how to struggle well or whatever the buzzwords are. Learn how to do all of that stuff. Join a Community Group. Learn how to navigate a Community Group.
Kind of confess your sins. Kind of share things. You'll learn all of the sound bites. You'll learn how to say enough just to not be on the hot seat for that week. Send your kids to camp. Give some money away. Don't drink or smoke or cuss in public. Eat a lot of Chick-fil-A. Go see Need to Breathe every time they're in town. Claim The Lord of the Rings is your favorite movie series.
Whatever it is, it is so easy to just fake it. It's so easy, and Jesus is telling us that we need to watch out. We need to watch out for that. You could make the argument that America is largely full of false prophets. There was a Gallup poll that came out a few years ago. It determined 76 percent of the American population identifies themselves as being a Christian.
Then, Barna Group did a study a couple of years ago as well trying to drill down a little better on that asking how many people actually believe and live like a biblical worldview. For the purpose of their study, the biblical worldview was, "Do you believe that an absolute moral truth exists? Do you believe the Bible is totally accurate in all of its principles it teaches?
Do you believe Satan is real and not merely a symbol? Do you believe a person can't earn their way to heaven by trying to be good or do good works? Do you believe Jesus lived a sinless life on earth? Do you believe God is the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator of the world who still rules the universe today?"
That study indicated that 9 percent of the American population actually believes and tries to live by that. It's so easy to be a false prophet, so Jesus is warning us. He's giving us this caution for a couple of reasons. First, so we're not surprised when we run into them while we're out here, but he's also looking at this audience saying, "Watch out for these people."
There has to be a part there where we do some self-introspection. We have to ask ourselves, "Is this me?" Are you faking it? Are you just talking the talk but there is no substance there? There is no heart change there. Are you just faking it? Are you just playing a game? Are you a fair-weather fan or are you following after Jesus?
In the most important decision we make, there are two choices: the narrow road and the wide road. We have this caution. We have to watch out for false prophets. Some of you may be going, "How do I know who a false prophet is? How do I know if I'm on the wide road or the narrow road?" I love that's how he closes up this section we're going to be in here this morning. Let's jump back into the text in verse 16.
3._ Jesus gives a good clue_. Verse 16: "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" The thorn bush and the thistles were kind of these thorny scrub brushes that wouldn't produce any good fruit. Of course, grapes wouldn't come from those or figs from those. The audience is tracking with Jesus going, "No, those bushes wouldn't produce that good fruit."
In verse 17, Jesus says, "Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Meaning, it is not fulfilling its purpose so it's useless. "Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
How do you know if somebody is a false prophet or if you are a false prophet? How do you know if you're on the right path or if your direction is moving toward the destination you want? You inspect the fruit. You look at the fruit. What I love about what Jesus is saying here with the fruit is that you cannot fake fruit. You can't fake it. The tree is either healthy or it's not healthy, and if it's not healthy, it will not produce good fruit. It cannot be faked.
What is the fruit? Well, we can just go right on back to Matthew, chapter 5, verse 3, where the Sermon on the Mount started. All of the teaching we've been talking about over the last 13 weeks… This is the fruit of somebody who has a reconciled relationship with God. If you were to go back to the Beatitudes where we started, are you poor in spirit? Do you understand that you're spiritually bankrupt? You bring nothing to this relationship with God. You have nothing. Are you poor in spirit?
Do you mourn that inadequacy? The fruit is that you're meek. The fruit you would see if you're connected with God is that you hunger for that connection. You show mercy to other people. As you keep moving on in chapter 5, you reconcile your conflicts. You don't let anger rule and run your life. You don't give into the lusts of the flesh. You keep your commitments. You don't seek revenge when people hurt you.
You move into chapter 6. You don't live a way that tries to impress other people with your religious activity. You have a healthy relationship with money and possessions. Your life is not run and ruled by anxiety and worry. You live dependently on the Lord. You proactively seek to love other people. If you fail at any of these, you admit your fault and you take the log out of your own eye. That's the fruit. That's what lets you know that you're on the right path or that somebody is a true prophet.
Paul summarized it this way in Galatians 5:22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." That's the fruit. Let me be really clear. This is not a to-do list. It's not a to-do list to go out of here and just try to do all of that stuff. That list is not a to-do list. That list is not something that is very difficult for you to do, though.
It's not difficult for you to do that. It's impossible, which is why Jesus in John, chapter 15, says it this way. "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself…" **You can't do this by yourself."…it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."** It goes right back to that choice. Jesus is saying, "If you want life, follow me. Remain in me. Stay connected to me. If you stay connected to me, the result of that (the byproduct of staying connected and following me) is going to be fruit."
That fruit is going to provide nourishment, and it will be evidence that you are on the right path. Fruit is how you will know. Just one reminder here. Fruit does not grow overnight. Fruit grows over time. Jesus didn't say, "By their branches they will be known," or "By their leaves they will be known," or "By their flowers they will be known." Those types of things can grow pretty quickly. Fruit takes a while. Fruit doesn't grow overnight.
This may surprise you. I don't really know a lot about trees and how long it takes fruit to grow, so I did some research. This is true that fruit takes time. If you were to go home today and plant an apple tree, it would take two to five years before you started to see good fruit. If you planted a cherry tree, it would be anywhere from three to seven years. A fig tree would be one to two years. An olive tree would be two to three years. A peach tree is anywhere from two to four years. The list just keeps going on and on. A plum tree would take three to six years.
Fruit doesn't grow overnight. Fruit grows over time. Jesus is saying that the most important decision we're going to make is where we are going to try to find life. He wants us to follow that narrow path and not that wide path. He wants us to be aware there are going to be some false prophets out there, or we ourselves may be false prophets, and the evidence to know if you're on the right path or if somebody is a false prophet is to look at the fruit.
I'll close with this one last thought. What I love about the way Jesus is wrapping up this sermon is he is simplifying life for us. He's simplifying things. We were joking a few minutes ago about Buc-ee's and how we love all of the options and we love all of the choices, but we also feel something else when we get back in our car after Buc-ee's and get back on I-35. You also feel a little exhausted.
Researchers have found out that we probably make upward of 35,000 decisions a day. There is some growing evidence that all of these choices we want that we think are making our lives better are not making our lives better. They are making us miserable. When you have 1,000 choices and you choose one, you're not satisfied with just that one. You're thinking about the 999 you didn't choose. We're starting to be exhausted with all of these choices.
What Jesus is doing is a favor. He's going, "There are not thousands of choices. There are two. There are two choices." What he's basically doing is like one of those jokes we'll share with one another every once in a while. There are two types of people in the world. Do you guys know those two types of people in the world? Those who drink Coke and those who drink Pepsi? There are two types of people. Those who put the ketchup on their fries or next to their fries. There are those who recycle and those who lie about recycling. You guys know all of those. Right?
In my mind, when I'm reading the end of the Sermon on the Mount, I'm like, "That's basically what he's doing here." He's kind of saying there are two types of people in the world: those on the narrow and those on the wide. If he were wrapping up this sermon in this room here this morning, he would say, "There are two types of people in this room right now. Not three, not four, and not five, but two."
There are some of you in this room this morning who are on the narrow path. You have chosen to follow Jesus. God in his grace and mercy has opened your eyes. You understand you're a sinner in need of a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ, and you have made the decision to follow on that narrow path. If that's you, I just want to let you know it is worth it. Keep it up on that narrow path.
I know that path is difficult sometimes. I know you feel like a stranger and alien in this culture. I know it's hard to raise your kids in a different way. I know it's difficult to handle relationships differently than the world handles them. I know it's difficult at times to think about your money and your resources and your time and all of your life in a different way. I just want to let you know it's worth it. It is worth it.
I love how Todd reminds us as followers of Jesus Christ that this narrow path that is difficult is our hell. This is as bad as it gets on this narrow path. When we die, we have perfection. There are no more tears as we spend eternity with Jesus. If you're in here this morning and you're on that narrow path, it is worth it. Keep it up!
Not everybody in here this morning is on the narrow path. There are a lot of you who are on the wide path. If that's you and you're on the wide path, I just want to be a friend, and I want to just let you know and remind you of the words of Jesus. That path leads to destruction. I know you have dreams and aspirations for your life and where you want your life to go, and you think it's the good life.
I just want to let you know, if you're on the wide path and you're following anybody other than Jesus, there is not going to be any happily-ever-after in your life without Jesus. I know you think that wide path is bringing you life, but I think what you know is what I knew when I was 21 years old, that the wide path doesn't bring the life.
That's why you're constantly looking for the next hit, the next thing, the next adventure, the next adrenaline rush, the next purchase, or the next relationship: because you haven't found what you're looking for, because it's not there. If that's you and if you're on that wide path, I want to let you know the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ is available to you today. You can repent. You can turn your back on that wide path. You can place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and get on that narrow path.
When you do that, you'll find that zóé. You'll find that good life you've been looking for. It will be difficult at times and you'll feel lonely at times, but it's worth it. Over time, you'll start to see some fruit. You'll be like, "This is the good life. This is what I want." If you're in here and you're on that wide path, I implore you to place your faith in Jesus. If you're on that narrow path, continue on. It's worth it. Amen? Amen. Let me pray for us.
Lord, we thank you for your love and your grace and your mercy in our lives. We thank you that you don't want us to live a life that is going to head toward destruction, so you have sent Jesus to die for us. God, we are so grateful. We are so grateful that the narrow path is available still to everyone today. God, I pray we will not be found to be false prophets. I pray, as we follow the narrow path and as we spend time with Jesus, fruit will produce, that it will be a blessing to other people in our lives, and it will ultimately bring you the glory you deserve.
For my friends in here this morning right here on that wide path, Lord, I pray you would convict them. I pray now they will place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and get on that narrow path. I'm grateful that the grace and mercy is available for them as it is available for all of us. We thank you, Jesus, for the way you love us. Amen.