The Strait and Narrow Way verses are THE most important regarding your Salvation.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but the world through Him might be saved.
He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3: 16 - 18.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. Revelation 3: 21.
The following is an important directive on salvation and an explanation of how Jesus told us to obtain it. And I should warn you, some things may be 'against the grain'.
Salvation and the strait gate are linked and there are many who think that salvation depends on attending a church, which is a man made institution - and THAT SIMPLY ISN'T TRUE. Jesus said, enter ye in at the strait gate - and not the broad way. So many cannot differentiate between the two gates, one is spiritual, the other is earthly - and that is the truth of it.
To further simplify it for those who haven't understood that last sentence, I'm meaning those who attend churches irrespective of denominations, many think whichever one they attend is the narrow way and the world is the broad way - and that is simply not understanding the true meaning of these two verses.
In parts of the O.T., it tells of the corruption of the leaders in the synagogues of those days and after the cross, nothing has changed in the church system. The visible churches that we see today are not the true church - we are the church, people - not buildings, God does NOT dwell in temples made with hands. Acts 17: 24. He dwells in your heart.
It has already been prophesied, in Revelation 13, that the false prophet will coerce ALL the fallen religions into one in the beginning of the 2nd half of Tribulation and that should be of considerable concern if you are presently in the church system. I personally believe the Pope may be the false prophet as he has recently said that "all religions should combine into one". And you may want to think about that for a moment in a scriptural sense - a one-world-religion, which is also about regaining the power they once had. Very briefly, the catholic church and state have been intertwined since the 10th century, arguing that divine authority is higher than state and gradually over time that authority has been eroded. But that hasn't stopped the catholic church in wanting their power back. The Pope has also called for a “New world order,” arguing that the world should operate under a single globalist system of governance. And that is all about a one-world-government. And when this comes to pass you might want to remember the strait gate.
God in His mercy has granted salvation to all who want it and He didn't make it difficult to obtain, He made it simple and the cost was to Him - not us. Now if our salvation isn't difficult or complicated, surely finding the strait and narrow way is just as simple. And doesn't that simplicity make good sense to you? If you think about it, man makes things complicated, God doesn't. After you've read this article and I sincerely hope you will read it to the end to fully understand it - you might dismiss it but I hope you will remember these paragraphs in the days to come.
In the early days of Christianity, most couldn't read or write and they couldn't afford a Bible because they were all hand written. The printing press wasn't invented until 1440, so you had to go to a church to hear the word and the churches knew that so they had a monopoly on you. These days, everyone can afford a Bible and the churches have had to resort to other methods to entice and keep you. They know that attending a church is NOT a requisite for salvation. Sadly, over time the visible churches have become 'watered down' and polluted by so much false doctrine and this is what the majority of today's churches have become, which practice 'feel good and don't upset me preaching' to keep their converts, which is not teaching. When you stop and think about it, a good Bible is the only legitimate source of truth that isn't corrupted - but you do have to be careful to get a good one as there are so many available that are just translations of translations. It's sad that we don't have access to the original manuscripts but I think the 1599 Geneva Bible is a very good Bible available as a free download (in modern spelling compared to the earlier 1560 version and is easy to read) and was written before King James 1st paid to have the KJV written as he demanded it in 1611 because he was the last Catholic King and he openly despised the Geneva Bible. There are many interesting things in the preface not found in other translations and there are a lot of 'firsts' attributed to it. It brought God's word to the masses relieving them from the corruption of the clergy, which was mingled with the politics of the day. A nice feature is the footnotes opens a clearer understanding of verses rather than references to other verses as in other Bibles. You can download it free and save it to your computer by clicking the following link:
Matthew 7: 13 & 14 are two verses that are one of THE most important parables regarding salvation that are strangely, the least understood. So many don’t really understand the truth behind them and I’ll write them here with an explanation.
13 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:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
These two verses contain the simple instructions for salvation and they stand alone. There's no way I can sugar coat this so I'll be direct from the start. If you are going to a church, which is the broad way and there are doubts about it because the alarm bells are sounding – then it’s time to think about the strait gate.
There are so many different ways these days, which just causes confusion, (all to Satan’s delight) which one shall I go to? And that’s because most are only looking for one that suits their own needs. So many in the system think theirs is the right way but lead nowhere, and millions to their astonishment will find that it ends in shipwreck on eternity’s shore. And most think there are many ways that all lead to the same place, and anyone with this mindset is in total ignorance of these verses. Yes there are so many ways but in reality, there are only two separate roads – and both are leading to different ends. It's either the strait and narrow way or it's the broad way - it's as simple as that. Have you ever wondered why all the religions in the world have given themselves a different name? That creates instant division - mine's better than yours. Why should it be like that? Now if you think that people don't think that, just ask them to come along to the one you're going to (if you're going to one) - most will not. That's the same as me trying to show you the truth and simplicity of the strait gate! Wouldn’t you think that IF they were all following the One God in the way they should, then they would all be of one accord with each other? So why are there so many ways? 1st. Corinthians 1: 10 - 13 speaks about this and is clear - is Christ divided? There is only ONE true way that is acceptable to Him and Satan doesn't want you to know it, or find it - he is the author of confusion, which is why there are so many ways, and because of human nature people are so blind to the simple truth.
AND IT REALLY IS SO SIMPLE.
And further, ANY man made religion that preaches theirs is the only way – is a cult. Jesus has told us about this narrow way that leads to life - we only have to ask God for the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things and it doesn’t involve going to a money making enterprise, or any other, which are all man made and some are far worse than others. Very briefly, because I don't want to give it too much space - I've emphasised and underlined 'or any other' and I'm meaning things like the occult, creative visualisations, the new age phenomenon's and many others that are all so dangerous and are leading many away from the truth. God's word was the same yesterday, is today and will be the same tomorrow. So many 'have itching ears' and are just looking for something new - when all that's needed is a good Bible - and the Spirit to help you understand it.
Have you ever wondered about these verses and not really understood them? The strait and narrow gate is a metaphor, that is, not visibly seen but nevertheless in this instance, very real and it is the Spirit who reveals and leads you in it - and this statement is probably the biggest obstacle for most. You cannot see the Spirit, yet we know he works in us - and we are told to worship God in spirit, which we do, John 4: 23, 24 - All things that pertain to God are in spirit. So why should the strait gate be any different? When Jesus spoke about the strait gate during His sermon on the Mount, there were few who would have understood what He was saying at that time and today, even though we now have the complete story in the N.T., so many still don't understand the true meaning of those verses. You can look up so many explanations of these verses on the internet and they all agree that there are indeed only two paths - the strait and narrow way or the wide and broad way but only a few understand these verses enough to show you HOW to enter the narrow way, they simply repeat Jesus' words - enter ye in at the strait gate with little more, thinking it's through the church visible - that doesn't feed the sheep - it leaves it a mystery.
To my mind, Jesus is responding to a question in Jeremiah 6: 16 which says: Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, [that is, look around you and see what's really happening] and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.
Even in O.T. times, as it is today, good scripture is ignored. Jeremiah 5: 31 says it all – The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof? As it was then with a polluted system, so it will be in the end with so many unable to answer that question, where is the good way, because of spiritual blindness.
Those today, in whatever belief they hold onto have all heard or read these verses at some time and many wrongly think that the road they're on IS the narrow way. This is cult thinking, NOTHING THAT IS OF MAN IS THE STRAIT AND NARROW WAY. Please, read that again and let it sink in.
Jesus created the strait and narrow way, it's NOT in the church system and never was. And He knew of the corruption of the religious leaders of yesterday, which is why He brought His disciples out of it. It has continued unchanged today, simply because it is man made. There are so many who unknowingly walk in the broad way in ignorance over the narrow way because they don't know the truth, spiritual blindness or unwillingness has them tightly bound. Is it of little wonder that Jesus said few there be that find it. Have you ever thought about why Jesus said that?
As a simple analogy of the different ways, imagine yourself standing on an overhead bridge over a 15 lane highway and looking at the people in these cars, you notice that most appear happy but some appear unhappy, so they change lanes, perhaps because the other lanes are moving faster and they become content for a while. (This is people becoming restless in whatever religion they’re in and change for whatever reason.) This is the broad way, the easy way of the world. Soon you notice a small off-ramp leading off this highway and every now and then, a car exits the highway onto a very narrow road, which is not an easy road with many twists and turns and hidden dangers. But once off this highway there is so much more to see and understand and the rewards are far greater than the broad way.
The strait and narrow way isn’t difficult to find once you know how and anyone can enter in because it’s in you, made available by Jesus and revealed or led by the Spirit once you've made a decision to follow Jesus but there are some conditions. Anyone can enter, if you're serious about your salvation - as long as you remain a believer and continue learning about Him through God's words, those are the very simple conditions. And it is a very difficult road to travel because we will be persecuted – but just remember that Jesus walked it before us and suffered all for our sake. He simply said – follow me. Before Jesus came, the Jews were teaching in their synagogues by forceful means and some, like Stephen, even suffered stoning to death and until He came, the strait and narrow way wasn’t even heard of, except by prophets like Isaiah who spoke of it. Isaiah 30: 21 says in part: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Which was the Spirit speaking and Jesus made it available after He came to all who would diligently seek it in spirit. And during His sermon on the mount, which was probably early in His ministry, He told us about it then but He made it available through the cross - revealed by the Spirit (it wasn't necessary before then simply because He was here) and it's been here ever since, the truth of it unknown to so many. Solomon is talking about the broad way in Proverbs 14: 12, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. There are so many things that we all need to give up (excess baggage of every description) and leave at the gate to enter the narrow way – A complete change of heart.
Just as the Spirit is given by grace, so too, is the strait and narrow way and we enter it by faith from within, with the Spirit's help, believing and remaining in Him, continuing in prayer, reading His word and doing whatever He asks, John 3: 16 - 18 and Ephesians 2: 8, 9. There's no mystery about it, nothing mystical, no useless rituals to observe, no cultish behaviour, nothing earthly to join, and certainly nothing complicated. It's in your heart - that's it, pure and simple, nothing more.
The first thing to know about finding the strait gate is that you have to realise it is NOT a physical place. If it was a physical place as in a building, there would only be one, the same one worldwide - but in fact, there are thousands and they are all different! There is only ONE strait gate which is universal and you access it through the Spirit in faith. All know there is only One God and One Jesus, so why are so many blindly conditioned to believe there is more than one way to heaven. Jesus never said that. Ephesians 4: 5 is clear - One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
The strait gate is invisible, the church visible is just that - but just because it's invisible, that doesn't mean you can't find it if you're prepared search with all your mind, which simply means to give it serious thought. God, Jesus and the Spirit are all invisible to us here but we know that they are very real and Jesus created the strait and narrow way, which wasn't here before He came - in O.T. times, the Spirit was on them but not yet in them. Numbers 11: 17.
If you simply read the Bible the Spirit will take care of the rest if you pray and ask God for the Spirit to give you a perfect understanding of what you read and how you should act and then eventually how you can help others. The Spirit will reveal and help you with your own particular gift of ministry that is given to all in time as we grow in spirit - 1st Corinthians 12. Being Spirit led through scripture and not by man, is how you grow and for so many this is a different way of thinking that is hard to accept. 1st John 2: 27.
Those are some of the conditions and you cannot access it without a full and positive commitment to these things. Everyone has the Spirit of baptism imparted by Jesus when you first believed, you only have to ask God for the Spirit to reveal it, who will teach you. And when you are aware of the Spirit working in you, which may not be evident straight away - just be patient and he will come, in fact, once you are aware of the Spirit working in you, whatever he teaches you, that IS the narrow way simply because he will only lead us in things that pertain to the narrow way. He certainly won't lead you into the broad way. In my own case regarding hearing the Spirit, it was slow at first, gradually bringing verses of scripture to mind little by little until I learnt to recognise him. Why did Jesus impart that knowledge through the Spirit to all who will avail themselves of it instead of handing that responsibility over to man? Well it was at first but that hasn't worked simply because man assumed that position - organised religion has declined so far from Jesus' teachings. Going to a church doesn’t guarantee salvation or finding the narrow way. No church will ever teach you the truth of the strait and narrow way - and even if they try, it won't be the full truth.
‘And few there be that find it’ can suggest this gate is hidden, 2nd Corinthians 3: 3 is a wonderful blessing and in 4: 3 & 4, it tells us who will never find it and why and is very blunt indeed. Those without a spiritual preparedness of mind and trusting in Jesus will not find it. The more we abide and remain in Jesus, the more it will attract Satan's attention and for some it is easier to slide backwards on a slippery slope with life's difficulties, than to press forward on a steep and rocky pathway. And human nature being what it is, it isn't easy - you either give in to Satan or resist him but there is no reward for giving in.
Many seek to find it but only a few will and most fail because of not seeking with all their mind and heart, which is faith and honouring the conditions. Remember when you first believed, you accepted Him in your mind first, then your heart – well this is no different. You won't find it if you don't believe it exists. You believe in Jesus, yet you've never seen Him - you cannot see the narrow way but you know it must exist because Jesus said so. Can you accept that, or is your mind still saying no? What you should be saying no to is man made things, and yes to what Jesus has graciously established for you in the most painful way.
No-one just happens on the narrow way casually without persistent searching in your mind until you finally realise and accept that it's a gifted thing, as is the Spirit and is within you after you’ve made a choice for God. And they are both spiritually connected. The Spirit doesn't always use spoken words, he causes you to know in spirit in your heart and when he speaks to your heart or prompts you, YOU WILL KNOW. The strait gate isn’t just down the street and around the corner in a building or in another town, simply because that is earthly, which is why it IS hidden to human reasoning but it is revealed to the genuine searching heart in spirit. So many just accept the first church they find or their friends go there, without ever knowing there is a perfect way because they know no different. There are many reasons why people put their faith in the church system, and the most popular - churches have been around for so long, nearly 2000 years so it must be right to belong to them, which is just a preconceived conditioning of mind either by yourself or someone else but that doesn't make it right, they were corrupted before Jesus and it has continued since but most can't see it. AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM. If more would see it as it really is and search for truth, which also includes understanding the strait gate verses - what it is, where it is and how to enter, with the help of the Spirit instead of following vain traditions - everything of man is vanity, help is only a sincere prayer away.
Most who go to church went there long before they ever knew about these verses and by the time they read them they are well down the wrong road and refuse to believe it's the broad way. And many in the broad way think what I'm saying is too simple, there must be more to it than that - some even love the rituals which is just a symbolic, unnecessary show and with entertainment to attract the young, which has nothing to do with proper Christian teaching - yes it mentions in various Psalms about singing praises to the Lord, which is metaphorical and Ephesians 5: 19 explains it more clearly. Further to that, look at Matthew 23: 5, which is pretty scathing - But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments. Jeremiah 29: 13 was written firstly for the Jews and it clearly says the search is in spirit and is beautiful to read: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. - Keep knocking and praying and the door will be opened. It is so simple that many bypass it unawares and can spend the rest of their lives looking for God and Jesus in all the wrong places - Acts 17: 24, 25 - because so many put their hope in so called sacred buildings. Some are beautiful to look at from the outside but that's all - Matthew 23: 27 tells the truth. Those in the broad way think they're in the narrow way, saying it’s only the unbelievers who are in the broad way, yet in fact, the unbelievers are not trying to enter anywhere, so how do they explain that? When you enter through the narrow gate in faith spiritually, which leads to life, you cannot live in the broad way, because it leads to a place called Destruction.
As of 2018, out of all the recognised beliefs, Christianity still has the highest percentage of believers numbering 2.5 billion followers out of the current world population of 7.5 billion. Just think, world population is 7.5 billion - only 2.5 billion Christians, and so many are just lukewarm! No wonder Jesus tells us few there be that find it!
If the strait gate was to be found in churches, why did He say few there be that find it??? There is always a right way and a wrong way in everything.
Jesus has told us there are two gates; one is the strait and narrow gate which is puzzling and baffling to human thinking and you will be persecuted on this road, perhaps even to death, which Jesus has already told us about. The other is the broad or wide gate, much more beguiling and easy, with all the trappings of piety and religiousness.
Salvation is a personal thing between you and God alone, not just following the crowds. No-one can give it to you, you can't give it to anyone else. As a simple analogy, entering the strait gate is a solo effort in spirit - the broad way is 'en masse' in temples made with hands.
You cannot find the strait and narrow way while you are still entrenched in the broad way and believing in the church system. In verse 13, it mentions 2 gates that are diametrically opposed to each other. The 1st gate is spiritual, the 2nd gate is earthly. If Jesus had meant that the strait gate was found in a church, which He doesn't - why did He stress the opposite in verse 15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Jesus isn't meaning just a few, singularly, He is saying collectively overall - there's nothing singular about that verse, it is all plural and is the very reason He made the strait gate accessible to all those who would earnestly seek it in spirit. Doesn’t that tell you that the easy ways of the world is far removed from the strait and narrow way?
And just think, if you’re still on this broad way during Tribulation, which will be coerced into worshiping Satan (in the anti-Christ’s body) by the false prophet in a one-world-religion, who will also try to coerce you into taking the mark, you will be more likely to accept the mark because you are comfortable in the broad way and there is absolutely NO forgiveness for taking the mark - Revelation 13: 14 - 18. Then in 14: 9, 10 it tells us a little more, in verse 10 it mentions 'without mixture' and simply means without mercy.
And you won’t be persecuted on the broad way, which ends up as the devil’s highway, particularly if you take the mark early in the 2nd half of Tribulation, which is closer than you think, and thinking God will forgive me. Most, if not all unbelievers will escape Satan's persecution during the Tribulation (because his efforts are directed at believers) but sadly, they will find to their dismay, that comes to an end at the end of Tribulation when God pours out His wrath on the unbelievers - how much time has He given them? 1st Thessalonians 5: 9 explains it with a lot more.
I would ask that you think about this for a few minutes – The Holy Spirit, which is already within us from the moment we first believed and is given to lead us in truth once we've learnt to recognise him, doesn’t it stand to reason he will also reveal the strait and narrow way in us, which is also truth, if we’re prepared to receive it in faith with all our heart and mind? And again, why did He say few there be that find it - so many are blind to this last part of those two verses with little understanding of its cautionary warning because most can't or won't accept the simplicity of it. Jesus said, Oh ye of little faith to many on more than one occasion, and this analogy is exactly the same and this is the crux of the matter. The next few paragraphs may help you to understand it.
A few verses in Hebrews 8: 2, which clearly defines it and says, A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. And further in verses 6 & 7, But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. And then in 9: 8 it tells us, The Holy Spirit is signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. THAT IS REFERRING TO THE NARROW WAY.
And in 9: 11, 12 it says, But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. The rest of this chapter makes it clear that salvation through the strait gate is NOT found in a church. Then continuing into chapter 10: 9 & 10, He said, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And in verses 19 & 20, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath prepared for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. [By His sacrifice.] There is only ONE God and there is only ONE way that is acceptable to Him. Ephesians 4: 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY.
John 14: 26 says: But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you - this is Jesus speaking to John, promising the Spirit. And also in John 16: 12, 13 it says: I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. I believe verses 12, 13 in John 16 is connected to Daniel 12 where he is informed of the times and in part of verse 4 - But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: And in 8, 9 which says, And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. I have digressed a little in this paragraph but it is all connected and wouldn’t you rather the Spirit to teach you about Jesus than someone in a man made institution, who is only human with faults - the Spirit will never lie to you. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY.
And 1st John 2: 27 says: As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and is truth, and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in Him. And we don't need anyone to teach us . . . That is a statement that so many are in complete ignorance of - preferring to believe what they hear in churches, which isn't always the truth, rather than placing themselves under his control. Once you've learnt to recognise the Spirit's soft voice and obey him, he will never let you down. John is telling us these things through revelation from the Holy Spirit and who do you think John is talking about in verse 26? Put simply, the Bible contains the truth of the matter and if you avail yourself of it, studying it regularly, which is how you spiritually grow and listening for and obeying the spirit. John 4: 23, 24 says But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father requireth even such to worship Him. God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. - THAT IS WHY IT IS A NARROW WAY.
If you link what John and Paul is saying in the above verses with the strait gate verses it becomes very clear.
Strangely, most prefer to hear the words of man rather than the Spirit.
The moment you believe in Jesus you receive salvation. Ephesians 2: 8, 9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast which begins with a simple prayer from the heart, saying that you believe in your heart that Jesus died for you and His blood has washed you clean and that you accept Jesus as your saviour. And then afterwards, acknowledge that you are a sinner and ask for forgiveness for all past sins. (Asking for forgiveness for sins doesn't constitute salvation, that is a separate thing but still, you must confess them. Confess them as a whole, you won't remember all of them.) And once confessed, past sins don't have to be spoken of again, they are all erased.
That is mercy undeserved! It's only the sins committed from today onward that we need to quickly confess and repent of daily before they grow into larger issues. Romans 10: 9, 10 and 1st John 1: 9. Repentance is changing your direction.
Salvation is in two parts, firstly while here on earth, which is positional, we remain here as a witness to others then fully after death - (if it's before or during Tribulation or if we're raised alive at the end.) Upon believing, you immediately receive God's seal with the promise of the Spirit at the same time who will baptise with the spirit, which also negates water baptism. Just on baptism, John baptised many in water and even baptised Jesus, saying he was unworthy to baptise Him. But Jesus said to him, suffer it to be so now as He knew and John possibly knew, the Holy Spirit would shortly be given, who will baptise all believers with the Spirit, Matthew 3: 11 - 15, which now completely absolves man of that responsibility. Also in John 3: 5, where Jesus answered a question from Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Jesus was saying at that time to obey John and be baptised in water because He knew that the Spirit, yet to be given, will put an end to water baptism. And the seal is secure until the day of redemption, IF you remain a believer. God's seal and the Spirit are two very different things - God's seal indicates His ownership and is placed upon you so that all angelic agencies can see it, both good and bad. But don't ever think that it's secure no matter what - it's only secure if you continue. But that isn't to say you can't regain your salvation, Romans 11: 23, 24 is clear if you are sincere, which is what I've just tried to say but these two verses in Romans just mentioned explain it more perfectly and cannot be argued against - Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
The Spirit is a gift, given to all and dwells within you, which is anointing and the more you place yourself under his leading, teaching and even correction, the more you will benefit. And it is never too early for that. I can honestly say that there have been times when I have experienced his timely and merciful correction, which wasn't pleasant but for my own good.
I once asked someone, why are there so many different religions in the world and I was surprised at his answer – “Because we have freedom of choice”. Well, the only 'freedom of choice' that we have is whether we believe or not!!! And thinking about it now I should have said – if Jesus was here right now and standing beside us, how would He have answered that question? I’m sure His answer would have been very different. He has already told us ‘enter ye in at the strait gate’ and there is only ONE strait gate that leads to life and there is none other. But so many don't see it as a directive. If we can’t agree that the strait and narrow way is NOT found in any church, then you have to ask yourself, why did Jesus tell us about it and where is it???
The broad way encompasses ALL the ways of man that are in the world and are contrary to Ephesians 4: 5. If you are still in doubt, Matthew 7: 15 may convince you. And there is a good reason why Jesus said this immediately after the strait gate verses, because that verse is directly tied to the strait gate verses to cause you to think and most have all become a business with salaried pastors - their bread and butter depends on you, if no-one came, what would they do?
There was a time when I used to wonder – there is only one God, so there can only be one true way and I eventually realised it’s the strait gate and it's been here for 2000 years! As it is written, and it was Jesus who said it because He established it, enter ye in at the strait gate, let’s just imagine that there weren’t any churches anywhere, where would it be?. . . That’s right - it’s in you through Jesus in spirit. It's not a tangible or visible thing, you cannot touch it, you cannot see it, it is not without - it is within.
Have you ever wondered why the Spirit was given? I've already mentioned above a couple of very good reasons, particularly in John 4: 23, 24 and also in John 14: 26 and 1st John 2: 27, which are about the Spirit teaching us so that we may grow spiritually. Of course there are many more and another prime reason is to lead us in the strait and narrow way, which is the truth. Jesus created the strait gate but He handed over the responsibility of leading us in it to the Spirit and not man.
When man tries to find his own way to Heaven by ignoring these verses in favour of a way, any way, that is of his own making he is in fact ignoring and rejecting Jesus who created the strait and narrow way - remember the tower of Babel? You have to forget that churches even exist and start again - spiritually. Now if you can accept that the strait and narrow way was created by Jesus, and that it wasn't here before He came because of 'hardness of heart' back then, what is it saying about man made institutions today, which have changed very little? It is still hardness of heart in those who won't accept it by lack of faith. To further simplify it with scripture from John 14: 4, 5 and 6, Thomas asks Him in verse 5, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Thomas, and Philip too, was in doubt of the narrow way even though they and the others had heard it spoken by Jesus previously - and so many today are in doubt as well.
As an aside, I once heard of an old gravestone that read:
Friend, pause as you pass me by - As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, you too, soon shall be - Prepare for death and follow me.
And someone wrote the following under it:
To follow you I am not content - Until I know which way you went.
Which bids the question - Where will you spend Eternity?
In this day and age, no-one has yet seen God or Jesus, and John tells us in verse 6, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me, which is in spirit - how can it be otherwise? Then down in verse 22, Judas (the brother of James) saith unto Him, Lord, how is it that thou will manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? And in the next few verses Jesus explains there is a difference between those - who will love Him will keep His words and my Father will love them and we will come unto them and make our abode with them. And there are those who won't. And further, in verse 26, Jesus gives us a clear indication that God will send the Comforter in Jesus' name, who will teach us all things, which is by faith. Hebrews 11: 1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And isn't faith in spirit? That alone suggests the strait gate is also found in spirit. Just think, if Jesus were here right now, would there be a need for the entrance to the strait gate to be spiritual? Some will argue verse 6 and the strait gate verses out of context - that Jesus is found in a church and the strait gate verses are only figurative and not in a literal spiritual sense. But as we see Jesus with our spiritual eye and if you can accept that Jesus created the strait gate, which was never in the church system, then it is in spirit as well. Jesus is clearly telling us there is only ONE way - through Him - in spirit. And if you've read this far it should be clear by now. Break it down and think about it.
There are so many in the broad way who have been there for most of their lives but don't know it's the broad way - doggedly believing in the church system and won't be swayed no matter what I say - and it's their choice. The parable of the 10 virgins is but one example.
Salvation and the strait gate are linked - you cannot attain one without the other. There is nothing secretive about the strait gate, nothing complicated, the scripture is there for all who would seek it and Jesus doesn't want anyone not to find it, just the opposite - But He wants us all to know that salvation is ONLY through the strait gate. There is NO OTHER WAY. Did He not say enter ye in at the strait gate? That is a specific directive. He didn't just casually say - Well if you like, you can enter in at the strait gate, as if it was unimportant. And then straight after He mentions the broad way, Jesus is clearly telling us there are two gates - one is entered spiritually, the other is earthly. Salvation is dependent on faith and knowing how to enter the strait gate - Seek and ye shall find. So many aren't prepared to do it.
John 10: 1 - 18 is clear enough but very few understand it.
Belief comes first, finding and entering the strait gate comes next, with the Spirit's help, (it is spiritually entered - not physically) - so allow him to work and change your thinking. To further simplify it, please consider this. Our earthly bodies are primarily made up of 2 things - our material/physical body and our spiritual body. This life-force that is within us is our spiritual body, which God implanted at birth, just as He did with Adam and our physical body is just the vehicle that carries it around. When we die, it's only our physical body that dies, the life-force returns to God. Ecclesiastes 12: 7 says, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit can and will communicate with us through our own spirit, once we've grown some, if we allow ourselves to be receptive to it - God knows our spirit and our spirit knows God - as it was Him who gave it! Therefore, no-one in all honesty can say that God doesn't exist and that's the choice we are all given, whether to believe or deny Him. And we now know the strait gate is NOT a physical place - if we understand the strait gate verses, the strait gate is a spiritual place and it must be entered spiritually. The broad way is indeed a physical place and is earthly. This is the reason He says few there be that find it.
You cannot enter the strait and narrow gate through the wide and broad gate as everything about the broad way is contrary to the strait gate - it ends in destruction. So why did He say there are two gates? Quite simply, to warn us, there is only one true way. It really is simple when you break those verses down and think about it. Finding the strait gate is dependent on His Spirit being in you, or by him making you aware of it as it is him who leads you in it. Romans 8: 9 tells us in part - If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ in them, they do not belong to Him. This scripture doesn't need to be feared, it just means to repent and follow Jesus more closely and the Spirit will be given to you. Why do men put their faith in what other men say, which is only sometimes the truth, when we have the recorded words of Jesus in the Bible and in His grace He has given us the Holy Spirit who will teach us and lead us in it? What more do we need? This is why I say read and think about the strait gate verses again, they are contrary to each other. Hopefully this makes sense to you.
And the fact that He said few there be that find it, which is true enough but it does NOT mean that you can't or won't find it if you're prepared to earnestly seek it - on the contrary, it's only those in ignorance of the truth behind these verses who won't find it because they don't know how - and in many cases, don't want to. There are many who know that salvation is a gift from God through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross but they aren't prepared to put in even a 'minimal effort' to gain it - minimal effort being reading the Bible - they can accept His gift only if it doesn't involve change in their own lives. Some will find what I've said offensive because they've still got the 'blinders on' but it's only offensive to those who don't understand the simplicity of it. It can be such a hard thing for many to accept, yet so amazingly simple for others. To recap, we have the Spirit who teaches us truth and will reveal the narrow way by the truth and we have our Bible. And let go of man made things. Can it be any simpler than that?
I mentioned above that salvation is in 2 parts, firstly when you first believed and then fully after death, either if that's before or during Tribulation - or if raised alive at the END. Salvation must be in 2 parts simply because we are still here after salvation is given. The first part is an interim or probationary period to demonstrate that our faith is either genuine - or that it isn't. So if you believe that you are given salvation while you are alive - which means it must be spiritual and in two parts as mentioned, and because salvation and entering the strait gate are both connected, I think that entering the strait gate may also be in two parts - you enter it here first in spirit and secondly when Jesus says at the end, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.
And please, think about your salvation - you CAN lose it - also as mentioned in the paragraph above. And there are many who will preach you cannot lose your salvation once it's given, which is a lie but it's ONLY if you turn away, as mentioned above and don't return before your death, or taking the mark in the Tribulation that causes it. Man has sinned since Adam and will continue to do so - our human nature is predisposed to it but IF you confess daily and repent and continue, that is what keeps you safe. Thinking further, I mentioned Hebrews 9: 11, 12 above but let's focus on the last part of verse 12 - having obtained ETERNAL redemption for us, which by definition, eternal means existing forever; without end. There are some who misconstrue the word eternal thinking there are no conditions associated with it - just think about what it cost Jesus to obtain it for us, He paid the highest price for it with His life and He gave it free to all in His grace, the only condition is that we continue in that grace and by respecting that gift. As a very simple example, if you enrolled in a year long course but you only turned up for the first lesson - would you expect a pass at the end if you didn't continue - or finish? There are many verses about finishing what you've started and one that comes to mind, which is an inspiration for all - 2nd Timothy 4: 6-8, For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only but to them also that love His appearing. I think everyone can understand that. We can be either eternally alive and grateful, or eternally dead. It's simple - throw away faith and you throw away your salvation.
Romans 11: 22, 23 that I've written above is clear and all should know it - it should also dispel the false doctrine of OSAS - Once Saved Always Saved. That is a man made saying and it isn't the right way to think about it. It should be OSSS - Once Saved Stay Saved, which is far better. Entering the strait gate is also conditional upon genuine faith by growing through His words first. In the strait gate verses Jesus didn't say it would be easy, if it was without any effort no-one would have to strive to find it. And He qualifies it in this verse from Luke 13: 23 - 24, Then one said to Him, Lord are there few that be saved? And He said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Strive (or agonise) means to devote serious effort to finding (realising) it - and then to enter in - which can only be entered spiritually in faith. Even though it is simplistic in achieving it we must strive against the difficulties the world will throw at us and there are many, all designed to thwart the search. And most of it comes from your own defiant mind - it's easy once you've put your mind in subjection to Him, which is obedience. Remember, Satan doesn't want you to find it and he will put every hindrance in your path to stop you. Salvation through the strait gate requires our earnest effort, our urgent attention and our careful self-examination.
An excerpt from John Bunyan's book The Strait Gate that I found online narrows it down even more perfectly and I like how he puts it. I hope it helps:
So that when he saith, 'Strive to enter in,' it is as if he should say, Blessed are they that shall be admitted another day to enter into the kingdom of heaven; but they that shall be counted worthy of so unspeakable a favour, must be well prepared and fitted for it beforehand. Now the time to be fitted is not the day of judgment, and the day of grace is not then, but now. Therefore, strive now for those things that will then give you entrance into the heavenly kingdom. John Bunyan understood those verses in 1676 and the entrance to the heavenly kingdom is through the strait gate and it is spiritual.
So again, we see by this excerpt that salvation is in two parts, firstly when we believed, which is probationary and finally on death, whether it happens either before or during Tribulation, or if we're raised alive at His coming at the END of Tribulation. And in saying that the first part is probationary simply means a trial period that determines whether you continue in faith until your end and no-one knows exactly when that is.
In Hebrews 10: 25 it says: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. In this verse where Paul said - as the manner of some is, I believe he was referring to apostates of that time - the last half makes it clear for today.
In Matthew 18: 20 Jesus says: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. I think these verses (and others) are clear enough that attending a church is not a requirement for salvation - and that sweet fellowship with two or three like-minded people will be to your mutual benefit.
If you’re willing to make an effort by giving some time to reading the Bible (and/or ichthys.com) and after you’ve grown a little, the Spirit will come to you – and that’s a wonderful thing. I have mentioned before, in other articles, about having a preparedness of mind – that simply involves reading your Bible as much as you can, even 10 minutes a day, which is the only way you can spiritually grow. Not only is it 'part and parcel' of the narrow way, you will need to be spiritually prepared to survive Tribulation.
Even though we are told we receive the Spirit when we first believe, yet some don't know why the Spirit is dormant in them and wonder about it because they simply haven't yet learnt to recognise 'his still small voice' - so ask God to send him. There are some who still don't understand and being lukewarm is the prime reason - thinking that reading the Bible isn't necessary, as long as you believe. Well they've never heard the Spirit and probably never will. You have to do your part. We all need to 'go the extra mile' with some effort to realise it. Even Satan knows the scriptures and believes but what hope has he?
In this world, which is full of distractions, junk and 'noise' and all things that saturate your mind, which is just clutter and the Spirit will not compete with that. If you want the Spirit to come to you, you must de-clutter your mind by not giving any space to what is of no value.
In other words, keep Jesus as your focus.
John 10 is a beautiful chapter and I particularly like 2 verses: 16, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. That last part is singular tense, not plural. And also in 27, My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. There are many who think that verse 16 is meaning something other than what it says - it refers to the strait and narrow way, as do other verses in this chapter. The Spirit will NOT come to you if you only make half-hearted attempts in fulfilling the conditions. How can you expect the Spirit to come to you if you don't commit to learning about Jesus? This is particularly true for 'first time' believers - babes in His grace, and it takes a little time for them to reach spiritual maturity and be aware of and recognise the Spirit working in them so that they too can become a help unto others. It is often the young immature believers without a strong grounding in faith who will come under 'heavy fire' from the one who would steal it away from them and as mature believers, we need to shelter and guide them until they can stand in the battle. Babes in Christ will suffer the devil's attacks much more that a 'seasoned veteran' until they become secure in faith.
In this world of materialism it’s easy to find or invent a multitude of reasons for not reading your Bible, which is really your own rebelliousness but just remember, it’s Satan who puts up the ‘detour sign’ and we all need to be aware and overcome that. Human nature being what it is, finding the time to read can seem like a chore – I’ll do it tomorrow and it keeps on repeating, all to Satan’s pleasure. I’m also guilty but we can all find 10 minutes or so a day that creates a habit and once you’ve developed the habit the Spirit will come to you – that is, if you are willing to submit to his leading. The more often you read, the more God will be inclined to send His Spirit. If you don't play your part, can you expect the Spirit to reside in you? Satan will always try to drive a wedge in between us and God and he will do that by whatever means and one of the worst ways he discourages us, is from reading the Bible because he knows the Bible is the only source of legitimate truth and he doesn’t want us to know it, not even in the smallest measure. And it takes a determined effort on our part to resist this attack - most are oblivious of it, and if we give in to this sort of attack we WILL slide backwards. We must get rid of the wedge before it’s driven in too far. And if we allow it to continue it may and can end in apostasy. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.
One of Satan's favourite tricks is to cause you to look back on past sins and telling you that you've failed, which only halts forward progress. ALL sins that are confessed are dealt with and forgiven and we are all tempted to look back in guilt, but there is absolutely no value or reward in that. Remember Lot's wife - she looked back after she was told not to and paid the penalty. And we all sin IN SOME FORM EVERY DAY, hence the reason for daily confession, which we are told to do, asking for forgiveness and move on - if you keep Jesus as your focus you eventually won't look back. Correction may either be severe or light depending on the circumstances but whatever it is, it is by His mercy and it's for our own good. And in Hebrews 8: 12 it tells us, For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Where on earth, can you get that kind of mercy?
There are two natures inside everyone of us that are constantly at war with each other, i.e. our human nature and our divine nature - which one will win?. . The one you feed!!! This is a good analogy of Romans 7: 15 - 25 and is essential reading for everyone.
In this late age of Laodicea, (which is the last age of human existence before Jesus returns at the end of Tribulation followed by the 1000 years of the millennium) it's difficult to find a church that is teaching truth according to scripture, which more and more are realising. And if the churches themselves are failing it only adds to the lukewarmness of our own day. It is no longer what the Bible says, which is what it should be but it is now more of 'what will contribute to growth' and they don't care how that happens. When money enters any system, so does corruption. Remember what happened to Ananias and his wife Sapphira in Acts 5, which is really about lying caused by greed. Of course, there are many who say that giving money to churches is a good thing if they use it in a responsible way but that is really the responsibility of governments who should be taking up that mantel. It is sad that the first churches that started off so well have now degenerated to the point where not many trust them any more, which has led to a mass exodus from churches in this day and age and not just in this country. That is not to say that there aren't genuine Christians in the churches - there certainly are and God knows who and where they are and they too have the Spirit imparted to them because it is promised - if they will recognise and heed him. Jesus alone determines whose name remains in His Book Of Life.
What I'm saying here is that most haven't had the strait gate verses properly explained to them, if at all and just adds to lukewarmness. And many will rightly say that the strait and narrow way is through Jesus, which it is but it isn't through the visible church - it's through the Spirit. And this is the point that most are missing. I'm only trying to show the relationship between Jesus, the Spirit and the strait gate and the truth behind these verses that most are ignorant of and that there is always a better way in everything. This is why I believe it’s better to get a good Bible and trust in the Spirit - and start reading it together with ichthys.com beginning either in the Peter’s Epistles Series as they’re not overly long or in The Satanic Rebellion. For most people the Bible alone isn’t enough, we all need a good teacher to explain it and for me, along with the Spirit who will never lie to you, the best teacher on earth is ichthys.com and it may be for you as well – and I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed. If you'd like to visit it, just click the following link and it will take you there -
Save it to favourites, you will be going back to it many times! The reason I trust ichthys.com so much is because he doesn't try to conform scripture to his doctrine, he conforms his doctrine to scripture and he lets scripture do the talking. I'm sure you will understand what I'm really saying here. You might think that ichthys is just another one of those 'run of the mill worthless internet offerings' - NOT SO!!! This man has given so much effort to this work, which you will quickly see and if you just give it the time it deserves you will certainly benefit from it. When I first found ichthys, I was looking for information on the End Times on the net and I quickly looked at it and it seemed inconsequential - that is, there were no glossy photos or razzmatazz - (hype) and I passed over it searching for something better but something was dragging me back and it took some time before I found it again. I should have saved it to my computer there and then.
A quick ‘crash course’ in reading the Bible at the last minute is definitely not recommended but at least it's better than nothing, remember the parable of the sower and I encourage you to read it - Matthew 13: 3 - 23. You need to prepare spiritually now as there is a day coming when it may be too late and no-one knows the day of our departure from this world as there is nothing permanent about our lives this side of Heaven. For those spiritually prepared there will be much 'work to do' to help many when these days arrive, we should always be on the lookout and listening for the bleating of a 'lost sheep' and you never know when God will bring one across your path - our job is to plant the seed, God will do the watering and He will do the increase through the Spirit. And each and every one of us is given at least one spiritual gift of ministry to help us in that and it tells us about them in 1st Corinthians 12. The verses below in Amos and Acts are a clear indication of how the churches are failing in this day and age.
Amos 8: 11 - 13 says: Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. That says it all doesn't it.
And if you're unsure what faint means in that verse - it means to give up.
Acts 4: 12 says: Neither is there salvation in any other: [worldly religion] for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. And also needs to be properly understood.
These verses are linked, the verses in Amos tell us that finding the truth being taught in the last days will be difficult simply because of the fallen state of the church visible at that time and the verse in Acts is confirming the same with many thinking you must attend a church for salvation. The false prophet will deceive many in that time. Because of the short time left and the continuing downward spiral of society, Jesus has already warned us to be careful where we place our trust - Jeremiah 23: 16 is applicable for today and 2nd Timothy 4: 3, 4 are good examples.
And the false doctrine of the catholic church blatantly states: There is no salvation outside the catholic church, which is designed to cause fear. And there are others who say it too. Once having cast away the things that are earthly, we now belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. And John 4: 23, 24 which I've already written above and as with the strait gate verses, these verses should dispel everything that is earthly. In John 10: 7, 8 it says: Verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: Sadly, in this present age, which will get worse in the days to come, I think it would have been better if it were to read, All that ever came before Me [and after] are thieves and robbers as in Matthew 24: 4, 5. Pilate examined Jesus before the crucifixion but he couldn't find any fault with Him and in John 18: 36 Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence. That is, to establish the avenue which Jesus created for salvation - the strait and narrow way and He made it so simple for all and most importantly, free from man's corruption. And also in Colossians 1: 26, 27 which says, Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. The problem with those in the church system is they unknowingly believe the strait gate verses are part of the system when it clearly isn't - it stands alone. As already mentioned above the strait gate is entered spiritually, not physically - I can't put it any plainer than that. If we could totally rely on man-made institutions for guidance to salvation - and if they were doing what is expected of them, there would be no need for the Spirit (and I say that in an analogous way) but because of man's reliance on what is preached to them instead of listening to the Spirit, our own human nature is at fault. Which again is why so many just don't understand why the Spirit is dormant in them. Think of the two things that I've mentioned in this paragraph, Jesus created the strait gate and gave us the Spirit to lead us in it - we also have the Bible. And as mentioned, what more do we need?
Jesus came the first time to offer the grace of salvation through Him in spirit. He is coming again to raise those in Him and for judgement on the world.
So what do we know about the strait gate:
1. Jesus created it - for all who would seek it in spirit.
2. Strait is another word that means narrow and difficult - the Spirit will help you.
3. Jesus said this is the gate that leads to life. Strive to enter spiritually, it is invisible and there is none other.
4. And He said few there be that find it - because of man's indifference.
And the broad way:
1. It is man made - visible with many denominations.
2. It is a broad and easy road to travel - with little difficulty.
3. It is wide and many will go in thereat - it looks inviting from outside but they are full of dead men's bones.
4. In the end - it leads to Destruction.
It's pretty clear which one is the safest road, even in difficulty and to repeat - in reality there are only two separate roads and both are leading to different ends. The strait gate verses say nothing about entering it through the church visible simply because the entrance is spiritual. The Broadway is the opposite - earthly.
A couple of lines from a popular song Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
For those who remember this song there are a number of scriptural connotations in it but these two lines are the most significant to me.
FOOTNOTE: If I have managed to change your previous views of these two important verses and their true meaning by what I have written here, then I rejoice in that. But if perchance there is still some doubt as to what I've tried to convey, then I invite you to read a short publication, The Strait Gate, written in 1676 by John Bunyan, a well known Christian author and pastor. He also wrote another more famous book that most would know in 1678, The Pilgrim's Progress and it was when I found The Pilgrim's Progress online that I also discovered The Strait Gate book, which was well after I had written this article and I was very surprised at the similarities in what John Bunyan had written about the strait gate all those years ago. If you simply Google the titles and the author it will take you straight to them and I promise you won't be disappointed, they are both excellent and in my view, necessary reads.
If anyone is interested and would like to read more of my articles, rather than searching for them, just click on any of the titles below the hymn and it will take you there. These articles are about salvation, some more direct than others but all will be of benefit to you. And if you deem them worthy and true, you might like to save them to 'favourites' for future reference. You may even want to forward them to friends.
- Chronological Timeline of the Events in Tribulation
AND SO THE END BEGINS . . . .
- Read Your Bible - Doing So Leads to Life.
There are so many today who sadly, don't read the Bible and have no idea of the beauty it contains.
- THE RAPTURE PRINCIPLE: Is It Before, During, or After?
Many have differing views on this and I think the reason people believe something is because they heard it first from someone else and most believe the first thing they hear if it seems to be true. But you should examine it yourself before you agree.
- A Short Essay On Faith
Faith is not a physical thing that you see on people at first glance but you can see the evidence of it in them by their actions. And faith is a trait that should never be hidden so don't be afraid to show it. By your actions someone else may benefit
- The Workings of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit is a gentle thing and he will come to all who earnestly seek him.
- Do You Know What Time it REALLY is?
So many are just drifting in this world on a windswept ocean without a thought of the rocks ahead that are so close. And with so little time to alter course and steer a safe passage - now is high time to think about salvation.
- SIN - The Wages Of Sin Is Death.
Sin is a subject not many are willing to address, thinking I've still got time to fix but no-one knows the hour of their departure. The past is where you learnt the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson, don't give up in the present.
- END OF DAYS - Just How Close Is Tribulation, Have You Any Idea?
It is so sad that so many are completely unaware of the days we are living in and of what is coming in just a few short years. And even worse, much less care. Was it Jesus who coined the term 'If they only knew.'
- The Genesis Gap.
Was there a world in existence before the flood of Noah? Look a bit closer, scripture will reveal it.
- This Is My Commandment That Ye Love One-Another As I Have Loved You.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- ETERNITY - Have You Ever Wondered, Where Will You Spend Eternity?
If you lived in the Sydney area in the 50's & 60's there's a very good chance you saw this word in yellow chalk on street corners. It was also seen in Newcastle and Wollongong.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on October 22, 2020:
Thank you for reading and commenting on this article and I totally understand your defence of the institution you follow - I was once there too in a similar situation.
That was until I began to question my own beliefs.
As mentioned in this article, not many understand the true meaning of those two verses, yet if you just stop and rethink your direction and consider fully what these verses are saying with the Spirit's help.
Those verses speak for themselves - I've just tried to explain them in the way they are intended, particularly when you think of the time when Jesus said them and compare it to today.
I hope in time you might revisit them as I like your attitude.
Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on October 22, 2020:
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light. No one goes to the Father except it be through Him. I followed your link from my article to this one and I understand why you wrote what you did in the comments.
God is the ONLY source of truth. Jesus taught us that if we ask Him anything in His name that He will reveal it to us. The Bible is just the beginning. God wants to speak to us through His Holy Spirit. If we accept the written word in Scripture, He can write more on our hearts with the Spirit.
If a church claims to be the Lord's church, we can ask God if it is true. Jesus set up His Church in His day which includes, among other things, 12 apostles who preached the word to all who would listen and organized believers in churches.
There was no Bible back then. Thanks to the Catholic church we have a Bible to read in these last days. Christ used part of what we call the Old Testament to teach His followers.
Salvation comes through Christ alone. He does have organizations on this earth that better prepare people than others to accept Him and promote good. It is our responsibility to find out where they are, and use them to spread Jesus Christ and salvation through His Atonement.
Anything more than this may cause us to stray away from becoming humble, kind, easy to approach, loving, and other qualities Christ has. He promises those of us who accept His way of living to be joint-heirs with Him in the Kingdom of God. What other king shares his power with his servants than Jesus and adopts them as his equals?
I love Jesus because He loves us enough to make us like Him through His Atonement and share His eternal life with us. That is the true joy of knowing Jesus.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on July 28, 2020:
Thank you for reading and commenting - it is much appreciated.
So many in the visible church system don't understand the simplicity of these two verses and not realising that it is man who has made things complicated - before and even after Jesus came. And the cost was to God, not us. And it really IS, SO SIMPLE.
If only people would think more deeply on theses TWO VERSES, they might realise the gift of salvation, won at the cross, contain the simple instruction for salvation. It was Jesus who created the strait and narrow way and it isn't in the church system and never was.
So many are putting their hope in so called sacred buildings - as you rightly say, they are looking on man and denominations and religions for salvation and ignore the very next verse.
I will echo and reinforce your thoughts - "Go back to the Bible" as it's the only source of legitimate truth. going to a church won't guarantee salvation or finding the strait and narrow way but it is revealed to the genuine searching heart.
My best regards Olusegun,
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on July 28, 2020:
Good exposition on the strait gate and the narrow way. Knowing this would help believers in focusing on the real God who has called us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, and we would not look on man, neither denominations nor religion. It is the high time we all return to the basis, “Go Back to the Bible”.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on February 27, 2019:
Thank you for reading and commenting on this article - what you say is certainly true, it is scripture being revealed and playing out before our eyes. And as you have also said, many have lost their way, which is so sad.
I am curious to know what it is you spoke of in the two paragraphs after your opening paragraph?
I sincerely hope this article was of benefit to you and I would also encourage you to look at ichthys.com - as other than the Spirit, you won't find a better online ministry and as I say to others, save it to favourites, you will be going back to it many times.
Again Dana, thank you and best regards,
Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on February 26, 2019:
What an informative article here and much food for thought. There's a lot to comment on but I'll narrow it down to what jumped out at me the most. First let me begin by saying I am a product of a line of people who served the Lord, My fraternal great grandfather was a preacher and his son a deacon. My maternal grandmother was an evangelist.
I grew up knowing about the Lord but in 2004, an event caused me to have my own relationship, not taught to me, but through a confession, repentance and indwelling of the spirit.
Even with my new salvation I had a hard time renewing my mind and understanding why I had to truly guard my mind and make a conscious decision to stay on the narrow path. I had to remind myself, It is, and will always be a conscious decision on my part to do so. As a free-willed human being, the temptation would always be there, but now I had a helper who helped me with my weaknesses and I didn't have to bare my weaknesses alone.
Understanding it is our responsibility to care about our brothers and sisters who are still struggling in darkness in my opinion is the first sign of Christian like character.
There are many who don't understand the bible or the meaning of the gospel. This world is coming to an end and there is no sense hoarding riches. People needed to realize that when the world was created everything we needed was also provided. When God said He was finished He was finished and the world is full of homelessness, hunger and disease because we lost our glory once sin entered into it.
The wages for sin, as you stated and, the bible tells us is death. The flesh is sinful and lustful and will die but the spirit can be saved.
" Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’"
Jack, many people truly do not believe, and some who did has lost their faith. We start out on fire but trials and tribulations cause some to doubt. Yet, They're hurt, hungry and thirsty. Unfortunately, they're turning to the one thing that angers God the most. Idol worship. The stars, the televangelist's, the athletes, then we become disappointed when we find out they're just like us real people with real problems.
The church is not a building made by hands but saved souls that the spirit works through. What the true church needs is more revivals to refresh the weary who has lost their fire. Get out of the grandiose buildings and get dirty on the streets teaching to those in need.
We need to become bold; the church should follow the laws of the land, but not be so politically correct to where we are now too afraid to speak our truth. We can't be too judgmental, and need to leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit. However, at the same time, care enough to be bold and use our voice when the Holy Spirit is trying to use our mouth to save someone. There's a thin line between understanding when to mind your own business and understanding that helping the Holy Spirit do the work of the Lord, is the business of us all.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on November 24, 2018:
Thank you for reading this article, I very much appreciate your honesty, time and thoughts spent here. The broad way does not include repentance of any substance - 'do what you like' is the way for them but most wouldn't admit to that. I like your analogy of eating from the tree of good and evil all over again - certainly true.
I agree that the O.T. is pointing to Jesus and it is indeed beautiful and profitable reading - I guess I am really only talking about my own experiences. When I first picked up a Bible in my late 20's I started from the beginning just as you would any book but it was too deep for me and I understood very little at that time and I didn't get very far before I put it down.
It was some time later that a friend suggested starting in the N.T. and follow up with the O.T. and I personally found that a help for myself - perhaps others may not benefit by my experience. I would also admit that mentally I was not in a good state at that time (my reason for picking up the Bible in the first place) and I wasn't going to any church nor did I have anyone to guide me but I enjoyed reading about Jesus.
But that was 50 years ago and a lot has certainly changed in my life since then. Salvation is the ONLY thing that really matters - everything else is just dross.
Once again Tammy, thank you for reading it and may God bless you too.
Tamarajo on November 24, 2018:
I agree Jack that seeker sensitivity isn't very effective in bringing others near in a genuine relationship with Christ. I have noticed that the part about repenting is largely left out of the seeker sensitive message. Yet, in Scripture you rarely see the Gospel preached without it. We are seeing the fruits of that broad way Gospel that is reminiscent of the book of Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes which is essentially eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil all over again. Lord have mercy!
I do differ with you on the Bible reading suggestion that the New Testament should be read first. I sincerely believe that the arrangement of Bible text is for a purpose. The OT contains the elementary principles, examples, and connections that will be necessary tutors to what will be understood in the NT. The Old is the foundation of the New. I have learned so much about the New by the examples in the Old. It was the only text the early Christians had and the New calls it a profitable read.
It all begins in the beginning and that's where we should start. I can't remember who quoted this but they said "if you can't get past Genesis 1 you might as well not read the rest" God introduces Himself and expounds on his purposes right there. The elementary seeds for the rest of all Scripture starts there. All the other narratives will follow the pattern and point to the Messiah that will be discovered in the New.
You once again covered a lot of good ground that we all need to hear.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on October 21, 2018:
Thank you for your valued comment and also for reading it.
Unfortunately, and it really is sad that this article is an indictment of the present church system and very few, if any, are not part of this corrupt system, which is only going to get worse as the day draws closer.
If I may make a small comment on your comment - and please don't think I'm being critical of your comment - far from it, and I think I know what you mean by it. Laodicea isn't a church of any particular denomination so to speak, Laodicea is meant as the last 'age' that we find ourselves in and all the man made religions are part of it.
I hope this explanation is helpful to you Maria and again, thank you so much for it.
My best regards,
Cristina Santander from Manila on October 21, 2018:
You have just made a great expose on the present situation of the church system. I believe indeed that the dominant church of the endtimes is Laodicea. Thanks for sharing these great thoughts.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on June 28, 2018:
Thank you for reading this article and for your thoughts - all of which, you are right.
So many caught up in this materialistic world that is soon coming to an end and the worst thing about that, they care even less.
Keep pressing forward to the goal!
Heather Johnson from California on June 28, 2018:
I do believe that there are many false prophets leading the churches and leading people astray. I also believe that some pastors simply aren’t heeding the Holy Spirit. I am very picky when it comes to attending churches. I listen to what The Spirit tells my heart. If I don’t feel The Holy Spirit’s presence, then it’s not the church for me. I do believe that we as believers are the church, it does not have to be a physical building. It is good for baby Christians to have guidance from a mature Christian, but not necessary. As it says in this verse of scripture, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” 1 John 2:27
It is good that we are not alone though, and surround ourselves with other believers. I do believe it is still good to tithe too, even if you don’t attend a church. For me, I ask God where He wants to use my tithe and then follow Him accordingly. Whether it’s to a family on the street, a church I’ve never even attended, or friends in need, it’s all Kingdom work when it’s God’s will you are following. And I have come to find that it’s true, you can’t out tithe God. He will always bless you more than you give, maybe not right away, but in due season. As it says, ““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts;”
If you tithe, He will bless you AND rebuke the devourer (AKA money suckers).
Anywho, way off topic with your article. Getting back to what you were saying. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way... yes there is only one straight and narrow path and that is Jesus. And one can go to church and still not be saved... it truly is a matter of the heart and only God knows what’s in our hearts. I find comfort in knowing that no sheep will be lost. Christ will not return until he’s gathered all His sheep. So whether someone’s sitting in church and not really saved or someone is sitting at home and is saved, if they truly are one of His sheep, they will come home eventually.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on June 17, 2018:
Thank you for your response to this article, (you might like to visit my END OF DAYS article for more) it's just so sad that so many think it's a mystery and complicated - it isn't complicated at all, man makes things complicated. It is so simple when you think about it, God doesn't want anyone to lose their salvation, which was a free gift by His dear Son for all and if people would only see the simplicity in those verses and really consider it again and what they are actually saying.
Thank you too, for the verse you included - so encouraging to know He is with us to the very end, which isn't that far away.
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on June 17, 2018:
overall this is a very good article.
I have several on these scriptures from Mt and Luke, and I like to add this scripture to show the way to enter the narrow gate
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."