Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
“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.”
When my children were young, they attended an afterschool program at a daycare facility. One afternoon upon my return, the director brought my youngest son to me who sported a bandage on his knee. He held his down as they approached, so I got down on one knee to hug him. I asked my little buddy if he was okay and he nodded racing off to find his brother and sister. The director shared that he had cut his knee on the fence surrounding the school attempting to get a ball that had gone over the fence. Inquiring why he would be allowed to climb the fence, she assured me that he and the other children were instructed many times that they were not to climb over the fence. There was a gate on the far side of the playground that a worker or a child with permission to do so supervised by the teacher could safely retrieve lost items. However, my son had tried to jump over the fence without being seen but before he could make it the metal fence had sliced open his knee. When asked what happened, he told the woman that “the fence jumped out and bit him while he was walking by.” He stuck with this story for the longest time unwilling to admit that he was being disobedient and that’s how he was injured. Knowing my son, he would probably still tell you the same thing today. Life is full of boundaries set in the natural and loosing governed either legally, morally or ethically. Over the years, laws have been revised and reformed based on who is elected to office, which has led to some pretty ridiculous legislation but this message is not of a political nature so let’s move on. The Law of God was given so that we could remain in right standing with God. It is a list of His Expectations for His People. Clearly we have all fallen short of the Law of God and hence the Glorious Standard offered to those who adhere to it. (Romans 3:23) There is nothing that I can do to make it right once I have sinned because God’s Law is based on perfect justice. God is just. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Everything that God does is good and fair. The world that we live in is not fair. It is compromised and infiltrated by evil. This is not some spooky interjection, but true revelation. Life is not fair. Bad things happen to good people because of sin. But I have great news for you today! You can enter God’s Kingdom. You can have right-standing with God the Father today – right now. But the gateway to life is “very narrow”. The road is difficult. The Lord says, “It’s my way or the highway.” The highway to hell is broad with a wide gate engulfing many people each day. But there is a narrow road with a single gate that only a few will find. Will you be one who becomes a gatekeeper?
John 10:1-10 (NLT)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Jesus Christ is the Gate of Salvation. He divides the life you are living from the rich and satisfying life that He purposed you to have. The gate protects what He has for you from being stolen from you. There is no sneaky business where your inheritance with God is concerned. No one can get over the fence, they must go through the Gate. He is the Only Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. You can’t get to God without going through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6) Jesus will not allow the enemy to come life a thief ready to steal, kill and destroy what God has prepared for you. Nor will you be able to have the promises and prosperity of God by trying to sneak into righteousness with God by crawling over or under the fence which is His Word, Commandments and Truth. This is for your own protection. If you could somehow manage to do so, then you would be subject to judgment. Grace is not a blanket placed over the barbs that keeps you imprisoned in sin and allowed to experience freedom while remaining captive. Grace is the gate that frees us from the penalty of sin allowing us to truly live up to God’s Glorious Standard justified (just as if) we had not committed the first one. So for those of you (and me sometimes) who try to take shortcuts to righteousness other than repentance – that fence will cut you just like my son who tried to get what he wanted his way rather than choosing obedience. The fence did not cut him to punish him. It was protecting him but he chose to ignore it. There are obstacles in our life that are not meant to stop our progress but promote our success and guide us. When we try to go around, climb over or slither under them – we become like the thief who is trying to steal something that they have no right to. I could stop right here and go no farther. This is a deep and penetrating Word for us all. We have become so good at moving in and out of God’s Grace that we do not know what it is like to have a rich and satisfying life choosing mediocrity instead. We must live our life as gatekeepers rather than grace rustlers.
Freedom in Christ is does not restrict, but is insures that we will have everything God promised us according to His Word. If God’s Word is true, unchangeable and undeniable, then it would seem logical that His Instructions are valid. This is not a new idea. Jacob saw the Gateway to Heaven in a dream lying in the cold reality of life. He had stolen his brother’s blessing and his much bigger, stronger, more powerful man was ready to kill him for it. His parents sent him to live with his uncle for his own safety and he had nothing but what he could carry in his flight. God met him in the desert sleeping on a rock with a vision of the stairway between Heaven and earth. “As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD…” (Genesis 28:12-13) Jesus Christ is the Gate. He always has been and always will be. We must be the gatekeepers of our life.
Psalm 84:10-12 (NLT)
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the House of My God than live the good life in this world. This is easy to say but not so easy to do. This world is full of distractions. Man has convoluted the True Word of the Living God to make it work for them personally. We want God’s Glorious Standard of Living like a robber wants the money in a bank. But we fail to see that our inheritance belongs to Children of God not those who are using grace as a means to rob the Lord. Grace is supposed to enable us and empower us to do the Will of God not excuse our lack of interest and fortify our freedom to sin. We must begin to monitor what is coming and going in and through us. God is our Light and Salvation. He shields us as a loving parent and overprotective father, but He has given us a free will. We can do what we please. He will withhold no good thing from the righteous but everyone is struggling to get their piece of the rock. Those who trust in the Lord will have joy and peace. They will be satisfied. The will know contentment. They will be loved and able to love from the vast overflow in their life as God pours out His Unfailing Love on them and it is too much to contain. It begins with the Word. You must write God’s Word on your heart to avoid sin at all costs. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21) It will cost you some things in this life to follow the Lord. It is called a narrow road for a reason. Sometimes you are going to walk alone naturally, but He will never leave you or forsake you. When we built this house, I wrote scripture on the foundation. This is God’s House that He permits us to live in and love in. The Lord has given us His Word to guide, promote and protect us. Use it. It is a powerful weapon in our fight against the enemy to get his filthy hands off our stuff. If you want to be victorious in this life and experience the prosperity of the righteous, you must find the Gate whereby the righteous enter and work to remain inside it. Every gate swings open and shut leaving us with a choice do we go in and stay or go in and out. To live in the Presence of God is to enter the Gate and remain there leaving sin and darkness behind choosing faithfulness and confident hope at all costs. (Psalm 118:19-21) Joy and favor flow in the lives of the gatekeepers who choose to stay close to the Gate. (Proverbs 8:33-35) Religion will lock the Gate but His Grace, Mercy and Love through it wide open again. You are called to live a life of love because He loved you first. (Isaiah 60:10-14) If we monitor our life including every attitude and activity measuring it to the standard of Christ and His Love, we will be good gatekeepers who prosper right where we are. Your life should not restrict others from this life you have found but you should be a gatekeeper who continuously waves at those passing by to come in! (Isaiah 62:10-11)
Mark 13:31-37 (NLT)
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
Co-workers, friends and family held a fundraiser for our son who is fighting cancer. At the event, a man was talking to my husband about our son’s condition. He told my husband, “You know his condition is terminal.” My husband was taken aback by his comment as we are fighting for life here and such a statement is not in our vocabulary. At first, I was angry but thankful that the man was talking to my husband not me. I found it offensive and rude to say such a horrible thing. But the Holy Spirit finally softened the blow by reminding me that we are all terminal without Jesus Christ. The only way to change our condition and find life is to find Jesus Christ. He is the Gate to Life. What if we all lived like we were terminal? Kids who do not have a good prognosis are given a chance to live out their dream through the “Make A Wish” Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network both excellent and worthy causes. The only thing worthy of our faith is God’s Word. That’s it. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is the life giver, dream maker, vision fulfiller, body healer, deliverer, redeemer, demon chaser, real deal, but we ignore Him until life becomes “terminal”. We can’t pay our mortgage so now we need Him to be our Provider. We cannot find a cure so now we need the Great Physician. We cannot make it through another day so now we begin to look for the Way. What if you knew the last day of your life? Would it change the way that you live? Would it shuffle your priorities? What if you knew Jesus Christ would return at this time next week? Would it change the way you live? Would you revamp your priorities? Are there things you would stop doing? Are there things you might start doing as well? The Lord is showing us the connection between Heaven and earth. He stands at the door to your heart knocking and inviting you to enter a real and relevant relationship – marriage and covenant with the Son of the Most High God! We are to live as gatekeepers watching for the Return of our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ! It’s time to live like we are waiting on someone who is really coming! It is time to serve Him like He really is our Savior and Lord! We must tell all who pass through our life that Jesus is coming! We must live like we believe it. We must wake up! We are all terminal with only a set time to make things right! We must watch and be ready! We are the gatekeepers!
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the LORD’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The LORD of Heaven’s Armies—He is the King of Glory.