The Strait and Narrow Way verses are THE most important regarding your Salvation.
As the above photo would indicate, the path to eternal life is strait and narrow indeed as Jesus tells us - we are hemmed in with the pressures of life, thorns and briers on every side but we are confident of His saving grace.
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitations of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushers. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35: 4 - 10.
If you look into these verses, you can see its meaning - Isaiah is foretelling the strait and narrow way and the joy to be found on realising it.
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.
Before we go any further, just read again the emphasised words, For God so loved the world . . . and think about it.
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' because of 'past conditioning' and what you may have been involved in or used to.
And because of that past conditioning of many, I understand to throw that away and believe what I'm saying isn't easy but if you read this article to the end and consider the scripture I will talk about, hopefully you will see that there is another way in scripture and Jesus established it. He made it so simple and has nothing to do with man made ways. I'm not going to say anything that isn't true, it's written in scripture and Jesus told us about it. 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 spiritually entered and leads home, the other is earthly and leads nowhere - and that's the truth of it.
To further simplify it for those who haven't understood what I've just said, 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. And many might think, If I don't go to church, how will I know about God? To answer that question in a simple way for understanding. Firstly, we have access to a Bible, which everyone can afford, and everyone, whether they went to a church or didn't, they knew, or had heard about God in some way beforehand, so belief comes first, even if it's minimal. Secondly, scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is gifted by Jesus, who will teach us all things if we just wait patiently for him to speak - or prompt us. You just need to recognise whichever way he does so and I'll add a little more further on. It all comes down to believing what Jesus said.
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.
Proverbs 14: 11 is clear: The 'house' of the wicked shall be overthrown but the tent of the upright shall flourish. When verse 12 is read with it, it doesn't need any explanation - There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death. Just because the idea of going to church seems right, that doesn't mean that it is right, it may seem right unto a man but not to God. And if you think further about it there are so many things that seem right but are far from it. These are the tricks of the devil. And God found it necessary to repeat verse 12 in 16: 25, so it bears thinking on.
It has already been said 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 and knowing the time that is left. I personally believe the Pope may be the false prophet as he has recently said in a video when he visited the US in 2015, that "all religions should combine into one". And you may want to think about that in a scriptural sense - a one-world-religion - which is really about regaining the power they once had. And those who know history, know what the catholic religion enforced on the world during the dark ages - the burning of many at the stake for refusing to follow their doctrine, which is forgotten but unchanged today. Briefly, the catholic church and state have been intertwined since the 10th century, arguing that divine authority is higher than state, which in itself is true and gradually over time their authority has been eroded - divine authority is not the catholic church. But that hasn't stopped the catholic church in wanting that 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. Which means a one-world-government and that too is all about regaining that power when the false prophet rises and he is given that power by the anti-Christ, then being indwelled by Satan in the second half of Tribulation. When Jesus returns at the END of Tribulation He will establish 'His government'. If the Pope does turn out to be the False Prophet, you will do well if you remember and act on what I'm going to tell you about 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 that Jesus told us about and established for our benefit is just as simple. And doesn't that simplicity make 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 coming days.
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. As mentioned, everyone now 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 requirement 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 - and that is not teaching. When you stop and think about it, a good Bible - and the Holy Spirit, is the only legitimate source of truth that isn't corrupted but you do have to be careful to get a good Bible as there are so many now available that are just translations of translations and some of those have been watered down as well. It's sad that we don't have access to the original texts but I think the 1599 Geneva Bible is a very good Bible available online as a free download 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 deceit of the clergy, which itself was mingled with politics and the corruption of the day - Catholicism being the dominant religion. A nice feature is the footnotes at the bottom of the pages 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 a very detailed explanation. Even if you're familiar with them, just take a few minutes to read them again and I hope you will seriously think about them and consider their true meaning.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
These two verses contain the simple instructions for salvation and they stand alone. Reading these two verses is clear to some but so many, have no understanding of the truth behind them. It was Jesus who told us about it yet most ignore it thinking churches are the only way - simply because they know no different. And I'll expand on them later. But it says nothing about churches in those verses, and there are volumes in them if you examine them. 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 - the easy way of the world, and there are doubts about it because the alarm bells are sounding – then it’s time to think about the strait gate. And we should all think again, am I going the right way? Jesus told us about the strait gate and He established it for yours and my benefit - they are a specific directive for salvation.
There are so many different ways these days, which just causes confusion, which one shall I go to? All to Satan’s delight. And that’s because most are only looking for one that suits their own needs. So many in the church 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 at the end. Now you might think the last part of that sentence is a bit much but look again at that verse, Jesus tells us it ends in destruction - and they're pretty strong words. Look again at the parable of the 10 virgins, Matthew 25: 1 - 13, it's pretty clear. 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. Nowhere in those verses does it say that and scripture doesn't either. 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. Just remember in verse 13, Jesus tells us there are only two gates. Only one can be right and Jesus told us about it and established it through His death for our benefit, the other is wrong and encompasses all of them, which are man made. There are so many who will refuse what I am saying by their own rebelliousness and blindness, and they are also refusing scripture too - even what Jesus said.
Just on the two gates - one leads to destruction - the other leads to life.
ONE IS EASILY FOUND - THE OTHER MUST BE SEARCHED FOR.
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? - One simple answer, human nature. There is only one way and it doesn't have any number of different names. And human nature is an odd thing, it is having the notion or idea of thinking what you believe is right but rejecting what is the truth because it isn't understood. 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. And 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, they would all be of one accord with each other? So why are there so many ways that just causes confusion? 1st. Corinthians 1: 10 - 13 tells us: Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye may be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptised in the name of Paul? Just think about those verses, God's chosen people got it wrong so long ago and nothing has changed today. 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. Yet it's in scripture but so many disregard it because they don't understand them. AND IT REALLY IS SO SIMPLE.
I'm asking that you think twice about this information before you dismiss it.
And further, ANY man made religion that preaches theirs is the only way – is a cult. That is a classic cult characteristic - and there are many who say it. Jesus has told us about this narrow way that leads to life - that He established through His death on the cross, 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 also meaning things like creative visualisations, the occult, the new age phenomenon's, scientology, and many others that I haven't named but I'm meaning every known religion, or way. So many are just searching for alternatives, which are all so dangerous and are leading many away from the truth. God's word was always the same yesterday, is today and will be the same tomorrow. So many 'have itching ears' and are just looking for something new, dismissing what was established by Jesus, which has been here now for so long and many are ignorant of scripture, with no knowledge of it - 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 way 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, the disciples were with Him and they all spoke about it later in different ways but very few in the crowds would have understood what Jesus was saying at that time and even though we now have the complete story in the N.T., so many still don't understand the true meaning of those verses. In 2nd Peter 1: 11, he makes it very clear and I like the simple way in which he explains it, For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you [by the Spirit] abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I love how Peter must have remembered Jesus' words after He spoke about the strait gate in His sermon - the first thing he remembered by these verses was that Jesus said, Enter ye in at the strait gate. How do so many not understand that? Peter had recognised that there is only one entrance - not multiple as the broad, or wide gate would imply and he was keen to impart that knowledge to others. Peter goes on to say that it is the Holy Spirit who ushers us in, or leads us in this narrow way into the everlasting kingdom. Who else would minister it unto us in that fashion?
Thinking again of the way Peter explains it in the above paragraph - the Spirit was given by Jesus shortly after His death, Acts 2: 2 - 8, the entrance was given at the cross, and is confirmed in the scripture in Hebrews that I've addressed further below to be ministered unto us by the Spirit from that point.
In Matthew 16: 18, Jesus is talking to Peter saying, And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. There are some who say the catholic church was established by Peter - even that he was the first Pope, both of which are not true, perhaps by misinterpreting this verse and nowhere in scripture does it say that. Just in case you've missed what I've said above - the church is not buildings, it is people. Jesus recognised that both Paul and Peter were exceptional disciples and if you look at the preceding verses 13 - 17, you can understand why Jesus said to Peter, upon this rock and Ephesians 2: 20 also makes it clear - And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
Jesus was also telling those around Him that He is the door to the sheepfold, John 10: 1 - and in another verse, 10: 9, He says a little more, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. And just as Peter understood what Jesus was saying, which is so clear when you fully understand these two verses on the strait gate, I cannot understand why others don't consider them. And just as those who heard Jesus say them didn't understand, little has changed in our day. To digress a little, we know that Jesus told us about the strait gate during His sermon and He made it available to all only through His death and work on the cross - not before, and in no other way. If you stay with me I'll be explaining that shortly but there is a little more to fill in first. And, we now know by the scripture in Numbers 11: 17 that the Spirit was on some of those before the cross but not yet IN all until after He had been raised. Acts 2: 1 - 4. And that was for a specific reason, for our better understanding.
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 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, which has many ways, none of which are the way that Jesus established through His death.
Well, 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. And their answer was no different than it is today, just a refusal of what Jeremiah was pleading with them for. Where is the good way has nothing to do with man made things. Even in O.T. times, as it is today, scripture is often 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, and is now with a polluted system, so it will be in the end with many unable to answer that question, where is the good way, because of spiritual blindness. And Jeremiah knew it then too.
Thinking of that verse in Jeremiah where no-one would listen and saying my people love to have it so, has made me think of how it is today with so many who will blindly defend the church system, or whatever denomination or religion, or way they follow unknowingly, and also Lazarus and the rich man - we know the story of how the rich man died, Luke 16: 19 - 31 and he was tormented and 'cried to Abraham' for relief but he was rebuked. He pleaded with Abraham for his brethren, that they would understand if one went to them from the dead and Abraham said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. And for many who don't read or understand scripture, this analogy is the same for those who won't accept the truth of the strait gate verses.
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, or church, or denomination, or religion they're in 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. To keep it simple. Jesus made it - He told us about it - but so many ignore and reject it.
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 - they don't know the truth - spiritual blindness, and unwillingness has them tightly bound. There are many in the broad way who would ask me, how do I know the church visible is the broad way? Quite simply without complicating it, there are so many of them with different names, teaching different doctrines - and that isn't what Jesus established at all. 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 - even if it's made difficult by others.
The strait and narrow way isn’t difficult to find once you know how and anyone can enter because IT'S IN YOUR HEART AND MIND, made available by Jesus and revealed by the Spirit once you've made a decision to follow Jesus - yet so many will say, that's too simple, or that can't be true. Well, Jesus made it simple and it IS true because He told us. I can't make it any clearer than that but there are some conditions. Anyone can enter, if you're serious about your salvation and as long as you remain a believer and continue in faith, 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. Just two words but so much to fully understand. 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 through His death to all who would diligently seek it in spirit. During His sermon on the mount, which was early in His ministry, He told us about it then but He didn't make it available until the cross, as mentioned above - to be 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. There are many who will say this way is hidden and secretive, well, it's neither - Jesus has already told us about it, you just have to find (realise) it and enter spiritually. Look again at 2nd Corinthians 4: 3, 4 and think about it. Solomon is talking about the broad way in Proverbs 14: 12, as mentioned above, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, (and doesn't everyone think their's is the right way) but the end thereof are the ways of death. How did Solomon know that? - By the Spirit. There are so many things that we all need to give up (excess baggage of every sort, which mean nothing at the end.) 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 by faith, through our heart and mind, 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 - it was Jesus who told us about it, nothing secretive, no useless rituals to observe, no cultish behaviour, nothing earthly to join, and nothing complicated. It's in your heart and mind - that's it, pure and simple, nothing more. I'm going to labour this point all the way through this article in the hope you will 'see it' because most are conditioned to believe what they hear in the church visible and is contrary to what Jesus said. So many are unknowingly denying scripture.
Jesus is not asking you to throw away faith - not at all, He is simply saying there is a narrow way, a better way, that leads to heaven and home. Think about prayer, it's done in spirit isn't it? You're not praying to an idol or something visible, we are praying to God in spirit and even though we can't see Him we know He is there. And that is by faith - and faith is in spirit - just as the strait gate is in spirit.
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 so clear - ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM.
If that were the only verse in the Bible, that verse says it all.
So many have read and know this verse but as with the strait gate verses, they still don't understand its true and simple meaning - just 6 words that is describing 3 things, and Paul said it clearer in this single verse than if I were to write volumes on it. Just think again about what he is saying, it's a one-line verse that describes the 'whole package' in a simple way and sadly, simplicity is something that so many won't accept, blindly preferring to have it convoluted in the church system - which by definition, is twisted and hard to understand. Where Paul says one faith, he is actually repeating Jesus' words - enter ye in at the strait gate. There is only one strait gate, not multiple or different ways. One is singular - how do people misinterpret that? I should write the next verse as well as they are connected - One God and Father of all, and through all, and in you all.
Seven characteristics of the true church of Jesus Christ:
1. One hope.
2. One body.
3. One faith.
4. One Spirit.
5. One Lord.
6. One baptism.
7. One God and father of all.
The church visible, which we can all see is just that. The strait gate is invisible - but just because it's invisible, that doesn't mean you can't find it if you're prepared to search with all your mind and heart, which is spiritual and not physical, which most can understand and simply means to give it serious attention - it's not difficult. Overcoming your own human nature in regard to this is what trips people up - thinking that's too simplistic, it can't be that simple? You just have to change your mindset and start to think in a spiritual way, not in an earthly way, which will increase by thinking and reading about Jesus. The definition of spiritual thinking is having the mind set on spiritual things that are above, the heart being filled with Holy desires and purposes. Once you've realised this has nothing to do with attending churches you will advance, and it's easier once you've learnt to recognise the Spirit working in you. And what I've just mentioned is the key to understanding it - thinking, reading, praying, continuing and the Spirit are all connected. Sadly, most who attend churches do so out of a self-image habit and nothing more. For well over half of them, it's just a lip service before others, which is less than lukewarm and thinking attending churches is enough, most not even reading His words, thinking the pastor knows all - let alone understanding the strait gate verses - that's the easy bit. God, Jesus and the Spirit are all invisible to us here but we know that they are very real - nothing ever happened without them and Jesus created the strait and narrow way, which wasn't here before He came. So if you can understand and believe that, surely you must be asking yourself, how do I find this narrow way that Jesus told us about? - It's not a question of finding it, which is earthly, it's about realising it, in your heart and mind, which is in spirit.
As I've already mentioned above if you read the Bible the Spirit will, in time 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 now, has the Spirit of baptism imparted by Jesus when you first believed, you only have to ask God for that same Spirit to reveal it, who will teach you. Ephesians 1: 13 says, In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. It says after that in this verse twice and is figuratively speaking, not to be confused as being later. Why would it be later? Other translations have it as when, which is more correct. There are two things that stand in your way of finding this truth, your own human nature and Satan. So why make it easy for him? 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 and got it wrong - 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 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's tricks, 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, perhaps not always through a church, it could be any number of ways and 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. And many will scoff at that in disbelief.
No-one just happens on the narrow way casually without persistent searching in your mind until you realise and accept that it's a gifted thing, as is the Spirit, which 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 right and perfect way because they know no different. There are many reasons why people put their faith in the church system. And the most popular reason, 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 ever since but most can't see it. AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM. Just think again of the last couple of sentences - 'churches have been around for so long' - Jesus didn't start them nor did He have anything to do with them. Yes they began with good intent but they have all degenerated to what they are now - and in most cases, entirely recreational, which is just entertainment. Seventy, even sixty years ago most went to church and because of what I've just said, most have left them. But Jesus established a simple way, free of corruption, for all who would seek it and as Peter told us, it is ministered unto us by the Spirit, which if you allow yourself to believe and accept it, you will soon benefit by realising it. It is something that most who know it have difficulty explaining - it is within.
Remember, it was Jesus Himself who told us about it. So why do people still continue to ignore it? You can liken it to the parable of treasure hidden in a field which says, Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Matthew 13: 44. So we see in this parable the treasure is the gospel story, a treasure without price but far greater than anything else and when a man finds it, he hides it in his heart with joy unspeakable. It is such a precious thing, he is willing to sell his entire worth to get it.
If more would see it as it really is and search for truth, which includes understanding the strait gate verses - what it is, where it is, even why it is, and understanding how to enter spiritually, which starts with a desire within and then with the help of the Spirit - instead of following vain traditions and blindly revering the salaried men in an earthly system, placing them in high esteem. Human nature is an odd thing and when people don't understand something, they reject it without further consideration. And that is exactly what most are doing with these two verses, believing in something that is man made.
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 by blind belief in the church system. And many in the broad way think what I'm saying is too simple, there must be more to it than that. Yes it is simple, which is how Jesus made it - Is anything too hard for the Lord? Genesis 18: 14. And Jesus made it simple for a very good reason because of the deception and falseness that was present in that time and He knew would continue today. Some even love the rituals which is just an unnecessary, theatrical show, - some 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 - which was a Jewish custom, and was two small leather boxes worn on the head and left arm that contained scripture that reminded them of the law. And they loved being seen by men as being devout, which, if you think about it, it hasn't changed across the religious spectrum. 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, which clearly is in spirit. Surely, that verse must begin to cause doubt about the church system? You don't have to go to a church to do what that verse is saying. 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. So many put their hope in what they hear in so called sacred buildings, some are beautiful to look at from the outside but that's all - Matthew 23: 27 tells the sad 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 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 but 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, which is just an outward show.
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. You don't have to go anywhere or join any affiliation or organisation to get it either. As a simple analogy, entering the strait gate is a 'solo' effort in spirit - the broad way or wide gate is 'en masse' in temples made with hands.
And here is the kicker in the next few paragraphs.
You cannot find the strait and narrow way while you are still entrenched in the broad way and believing in the church system. In verses 13 & 14 it mentions 2 gates that are diametrically opposed to each other. The 1st gate is spiritual and leads to home, the 2nd gate is earthly and leads nowhere as I've mentioned above. If Jesus had meant that the strait gate was found in a church, which He doesn't - why did He stress the opposite in the very next verse: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And Jesus said it better than I can. Jesus isn't meaning just a few, singularly, He is saying collectively overall - if He had meant there's only a few who aren't wolves, He would have said so 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 in this broad way during Tribulation, which will be coerced into worshiping Satan (in the anti-Christ’s body) by the false prophet into 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 but 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. Jesus told us about the strait and narrow way so long ago simply because He knew exactly what the anti-Christ and the false prophet would cause in the second half of Tribulation, which is what I've just said. And sadly for so many, they haven't understood His words that He told those before in His sermon on the mount, and even today they are still not understanding.
And you won’t be persecuted on the broad way, which ends up as the devil’s highway, particularly if you take the mark when it arrives early in the 2nd half of Tribulation and thinking God will forgive me. Most, if not all those in the system and the unbelievers will escape Satan's persecution during the Tribulation (because his efforts are directed at true 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 all those unbelievers and lukewarm believers - how much time has He given them? Nearly 6000 years! 1st Thessalonians 5: 9, 10 explains it, For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
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 a gift, given by Jesus to lead us in truth once we've learnt to recognise him, doesn’t it stand to reason he will reveal the strait and narrow way in us - the gift of 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 beginning 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. Just read that again - which the Lord pitched and not man - what is that saying to you? 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. And reading the entire chapter with chapter 10, we can see the falseness of it. These verses and the ones following explains why the strait gate wasn't given until Jesus' crucifixion, which abolished all before it. THAT IS REFERRING TO THE NARROW WAY.
And also 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. Then further in verses 14, 15 we read, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit [the Holy Spirit] offered Himself without spot to God, [and] purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. And 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. When Jesus gave up His Spirit on the cross, in that same moment, the veil was rent in twain - Matthew 27: 51 - and is the exact moment the entrance to the strait gate was given. It was given and established by Jesus and so many don't know the reason, and have never thought about it, yet this is important, significant scripture and it becomes clear when you join the dots. It was God who tore the veil, which was in pain and anger of what was before and what followed. And the earth did quake, and from the 6th hour to the 9th, the sun was in darkness. The darkness represents sin and we know that God cannot look upon sin. What was tradition before this event is now abolished but some things still continue. Remember what Jeremiah said in 5: 31 in part, and who he was talking to - and my people love to have it so. There is ONE God and there is only ONE way that is acceptable to Him. Again, Ephesians 4: 5, One Lord, one faith, one baptism. THAT IS THE NARROW WAY by His sacrifice.
Hebrews 10: 35 speaks of a wonderful encouragement, Cast not away therefore your confidence, [faith] which hath great recompense of reward. That is, by remaining and continuing in an unshakable faith, there is the promise of an unspeakable reward. And the next verse speaks of patience, For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [of salvation]
Hebrews is a beautiful book with so much to understand.
Ephesians 2: 13 - 16 says, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [which was the veil torn] Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain, one new man, [all men] so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. Then further in Ephesians 3: 6, That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. The Jewish law had many commands and rules but Christ abolished that law. His purpose was to make two groups of people become one group of people in Him and in this way make peace. Christ put an end to the law through His body on the cross and by His sacrifice, both Jew and Gentile might become one. THAT IS HOW THE NARROW WAY IS.
The work that Jesus performed on the cross is far more than what most realise. Just think again about what I'm trying to say here - Jesus saw the one-sided corruption of the leaders, He knew it was wrong and He told those around Him about the strait gate in His sermon on the mount, which He would establish through His death. You could say that the followers of Jesus, when He was here, were in the strait and narrow way and through death, it became universally available. In John 14: 26, Jesus said, promising the Spirit: 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. The Spirit was given after Jesus' death to help the disciples teach about Jesus and to help everyone who believes today - we just need to recognise him. 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 WHERE THE NARROW WAY IS.
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 if we don't need anyone to teach us . . . That is a statement that so many are in complete ignorance of - preferring to believe, rather than check what they hear in churches, which isn't always the truth, instead of just placing themselves under the Spirit's control. Once you've learnt to recognise the Spirit's soft voice and obey him, he will never let you down. There are so many who know the Spirit is a gift from Jesus but still wonder why they've never heard him, yet it is so simple, the more you read the greater your chances are of hearing his 'still soft voice' and there's nothing to stop you praying and asking for him to reveal himself, you just have to get more serious about it. John is telling us these things through revelation from the Holy Spirit and who do you think John is talking about in verse 26? The Bible contains the truth of the matter and if you avail yourself of it, drinking it's goodness, 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.
Just a little on what I've said in the above paragraph, and thinking about the Spirit, every believer knows that hearing the Spirit is a spiritual thing - as is everything else, and if you believe or know you have the Spirit in you, he will reveal the strait and narrow way in all who are receptive to him, which is simply the truth in scripture. Unbelief is what keeps many bound and from what Jesus told us. If you take religion and churches out of it, you can now understand that the whole matter is spiritual. And that is the simplicity of the strait gate.
Thinking about 'drinking it's goodness' most don't associate 'drinking from the Bible' as an analogy of reading its words and John 4: 14 says, But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. That is a wonderful promise and encouragement from Jesus for all and the 'watering' that Jesus spoke of comes from God through the Spirit - John 7: 37 - 39. If you link what John and Paul is saying in the above verses with the strait gate verses it becomes clear. Strangely, most prefer to hear the words of man rather than the Spirit and this is simply lukewarmness.
The moment you believe in Jesus you receive the 1st part of 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 your 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 ever again, they are all erased - Isaiah 43: 25, which says: I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. And 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. And all believers sin in some form, even after making the decision to follow Jesus. Romans 10: 9, 10 and 1st John 1: 9. Repentance is changing your direction.
As just mentioned, 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. And if you think further, isn't that too all in spirit, the same as everything else is. Now you should understand and accept that water baptism was done away with when Jesus gave the Holy Spirit in the day of Pentecost who will baptise with the Spirit. 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. There are many denominations that still carry out water baptisms, which now, is neither here nor there overall and they are probably doing it as a 'feel good experience or ceremony' but nevertheless, it is ignorance of the verses mentioned in Matthew, which clearly dispels it from a physical thing to a spiritual thing.
And the seal, just mentioned, 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; [by not continuing] 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. For many who are deep in sin and thinking there's no way out, these verses and others, completely dispels that fear and that is a beautiful promise.
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. Further to that, there are many believers who haven't yet heard the Spirit, in whichever way he speaks or prompts, and if the truth be known, they are just lukewarm. And if they are honest with themselves, they know it's the truth - anyone who is in that condition will never 'hear' the Spirit simply because they haven't yet fully surrendered themselves. So think about the things you only do occasionally, prayer or reading His words. If you change that situation, you will have a better chance of hearing him. He will come if you are sincere.
I once asked someone who was a lay preacher, 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, look at Matthew 7: 15 again. 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, not what it is now with thousands of different ways, 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, which is faith. 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 the prime reason is to lead us in the strait and narrow way, which is the truth. Jesus created the strait gate through His death but He handed over the responsibility of leading us in it to the Spirit at that moment and not man. If you can get past this point, you will find it. Again, it's revealed by the Spirit in your heart and mind. Some might say why didn't Jesus explain these verses to avoid confusion. Whether He chooses to explain it further is of His choosing and that's what faith is - it's now up to us to believe Him. All I've done is expand on what He has already said. Some things are left to the Spirit to make you aware of the meaning - for a reason. If you look at these verses again they are specific in their meaning, that is, they are both a directive and spiritual in every context. In both verses, Jesus is specific. He said, Enter ye in . . . - that is the directive and also the spiritual in knowing and finding (realising) at the strait gate: - which is metaphorical and it's in your heart and mind - and then He tells us about the gate that is opposite and contrary - for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, (and the END thereof) - and many there be which go in thereat: - that is the warning. Then He begins verse 14 with Because - which means it's defining a certain thing and focusing on the reason, a strait and narrow way. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life. He finishes with - and few there be that find it. Which is sadly, all too true.
Verse 15 needs no explanation - it's clear enough.
There are two things standing in your way of finding the strait gate - one is your own human nature, which is being rebellious. If you just give in and let the Spirit have control. The other is Satan.
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? Man has wanted his own way even before that. I often wonder, is it rejected in ignorance, which is mostly defiance, or is it by not understanding, which is mostly blindness? 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 in ignorance and by lack of faith. To further simplify it with scripture from John 14: 4, 5 and 6. In verse 4 Jesus says, And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Then 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, they hadn't yet come to the realisation that it is in spirit - and so many today are not ready, or not willing to accept this simple way that leads home, doubt is replaced with ignorance. In this day and age, no-one has yet seen God or Jesus, and 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?
Jesus said, no man cometh unto the Father but by me, He is saying it is Him who will present us to His/our Father - and we have to get there first, which is through Him in the strait and narrow way in spirit. There is no other way.
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 too. 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 Jesus can be found anywhere, not just in churches and we see Jesus with our spiritual eye and if you can accept that Jesus created the strait gate, which has never been in the church system - it is in spirit as well. Jesus is clearly telling us there is only ONE way - through Him, in spirit - revealed by the spirit. 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 most of their lives but don't know it's the broad way - doggedly believing in the church system, which has two clear meanings - tenaciously and stubbornly, and won't be swayed no matter what I say - and it's their choice, convinced by that human nature failing that we all suffer to some extent. 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 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. Nor did He say, there are are hundreds of ways out there, you can choose whichever one you like! And then straight after He mentions the broad way! Jesus is clearly telling us there are two gates - one is entered spiritually, which leads to life, the other is earthly. Only two verses - Oh, but so much in them! Salvation is dependent on faith and knowing how to enter the strait gate - Seek and ye shall find. Yet so many aren't prepared to do it, but it is easy to do when you forget what is keeping you bound. John 10: 1 - 18 is clear enough and all should read it - particularly verse 16, which is a beautiful promise.
Belief comes first, finding, (or more correctly, realising it) 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 human nature thinking. There are some who may not understand what I am trying to say - as mentioned earlier, there is nothing baffling about it, nothing complicated, there is nothing to stop you from entering the strait gate - only your own disbelief in thinking there is something mysteriously hard about it because it transcends all human thinking. Well, it does not - it is simply in your mind and heart. Jesus didn't make it difficult, He made it as simple as possible to relieve you of what man would burden you with. Think about this - a question was asked of Jesus by a lawyer tempting Him and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Matthew 22: 36. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Now I'm using these verses as an analogy and all these things Jesus told the lawyer to do is in spirit, which is no different from entering the strait gate. And thinking further, the words that Jesus used, Enter ye in at the strait gate is really metaphorical, it cannot be entered physically - it is the Spirit that leads us in it - that is, through your own heart, your own own spirit and your own mind, which is exactly what Jesus told the lawyer - soul and mind being the same thing. So, if you do your part by reading about Jesus and believe, the Spirit will come to you and help you. It may not be instant, you just need to train yourself to recognise him. The Spirit is given to all who believe, not just a select few, you only have to do your part by casting away all doubt. And that is the biggest stumbling block for most.
There are many who might read this article and after considering what has been said and because it seems contrary to what you have been doing, may think, I've been going to church all my life, how can I change, even why should I change, or perhaps, what should I do now? All these questions can be answered if you put some time into thinking about the truth of the strait gate verses. And particularly if you didn't read your Bible you couldn't possibly know the Spirit if you were just relying only on what was preached - very simply, Jesus gave us the Spirit to teach us all things - far more than your pastor will or can - 1st John 2: 27. By changing your direction, making a firm decision to read more than you do and then pray that Jesus will send the Holy Spirit to you - little by little you can change. Then once having recognised the Spirit in yourself, he will open a clearer understanding of what you read and in time you will come to realise that he will only lead you in things that pertain to the narrow way, he certainly will not lead you into the broad way. It begins by submission, that is, being willing to submit to the Spirit's leading - and there's nothing to stop you praying about that. The Spirit is such a gentle thing and will only come to a responsive, willing heart - he will not come to a rebellious heart - and you can pray about that too. There has to be a change of heart. These are some of the things you must do if you want to know the Spirit working in you. Just don't expect it to happen overnight. And unless you have the Spirit already working in you, you need to do everything in your power to have the Spirit reside in you because it's the Spirit who leads you into the strait and narrow way. You cannot find it any other way. By saying to do everything in your power, I'm meaning to throw away the things that mean nothing and grasp more tightly the things that mean everything - salvation. And that means to devote serious attention to receive it - yes it is serious but it's not difficult. Romans 8: 14 says, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
There are two natures inside everyone of us that are constantly at war with each other, our human nature and our divine nature - which one will win?. . . The one you feed!!! Please, think about that last statement, it's meant to be convicting. How do you feed your divine nature? - getting closer to God by simply by praying and reading about Him. This is a good analogy of Romans 7: 15 - 25 and is essential reading for everyone.
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 by breathing the spirit of life into him and our physical body is just the vehicle that carries it around. (There are many who will debate what I've just said and I've covered that in another article, The Spirit of Life - God's Gift to Us, which you can find at the end of this article.) 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 just 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 now we 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. And in Jesus' own words, it ends in destruction. So many just don't understand what Jesus meant by calling it the broad way - the way of the world. They don't associate the broad way, that is, where they're going with destruction, yet Jesus said these very words. Think again about what Jesus is saying, the broad way is encompassing hundreds of ways, the strait and narrow way is just that - ONE. And Jesus said this is the path that leads to life.
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. So why did He say there are just two gates? Quite simply, to warn us, that there is only one true way. This is the difference, you can choose the one true way, entered spiritually in faith, which leads to life - or the broad way, entered physically, the way of the world, which ends in destruction. As an analogy, think of finding yourself alone in a room that is a terrible place and it has two doors, side by side. Above each door is a sign but you have no idea what they mean, one sign says the small way, the other sign says the large way. You hear a loud voice coming from a speaker saying, through one of these doors is life - the other is death - you have to choose! . . .
Please, take a few moments to think about that - if you don't realise the gravity of that analogy, I'll say it another way. Life is a question of values, what do you value most? In this instance, it's life over death - it's a simple choice that we all have to make but there is a strong and deep consequence for both choices.
In the early days after Jesus' death, people were ignorant of scripture and spiritual things, preferring things they could physically see and perceive, and hear, rather than putting their faith in a spiritual thing, particularly when it concerns yours and everyone's salvation. That is the free choice we are all given, and nothing has changed.
So we must first understand the reasons that Jesus established this simple way. It was Jesus who spoke these words for yours and my benefit to free us from religious tyranny, - you may not like my choice of words here, so I'll use another which everyone now is familiar with - autocracy, which is what it was back then and in some cases, no different today. Yet so many refuse to accept the simplicity of it, preferring to hear the words of man instead of reading the Bible, the only acceptable truth - and that's it in a nutshell.
There are so many religions that will tell you to your face that theirs is the only way to heaven - and those that don't still believe it anyway. You may remember I spoke earlier about there being so many different ways, all giving themselves a separate name and years ago people were pretty dogmatic about that but over time, those strong beliefs of 'mines better than yours' attitude have been a little more relaxed with many attending different churches these days. But still, this way of thinking and behaviour is keeping so many from understanding the strait gate verses.
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 is beginning to make 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, Jesus created it and He wants you to find/realise it, 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 we all hope to hear, 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, Once Saved Always Saved, which is a lie but it's ONLY if you turn away, as mentioned above and don't return before your death, or by 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 in faith, that is what keeps you safe. But don't think that you won't fall to other sins, or the same ones time after time - just remember Satan is a master deceiver and he will never stop and even if he sees you continuing, he will still try but if he sees you stumbling or faltering, he will quickly take advantage because he hates us. Jesus' disciples used the word continue on many occasions, so it's important that we do it, and do it strongly. If you try your best to remain strong, his attacks will diminish. You'll understand what I'm saying if you read James 4: 7, 8. 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 will always 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 respecting that gift by reading about Him. It's an easy condition isn't it? 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. Everyone can understand that. So we can either be eternally alive and grateful, or eternally dead and sorrowful.
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. 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 (by 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. Just as young children are obedient to their parents, shouldn't we as adults, be obedient to our Father? Being adults doesn't absolve any from that. 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 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.
The church system, driven by money is keeping so many bound. Not in a physical way but in a spiritual way. And they will never tell you the truth about the strait gate verses, they might tell you the verses but they will skirt around the truth of them. So many churches have departed from teaching, and preaching is far from teaching. It is becoming more difficult finding a church these days that adheres to good teaching principles, which will only get worse in the short time that is left.
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 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 strong preparedness of mind – that is simply reading your Bible as often as you can, even 10 minutes a day is enough, you can read a lot in an hour but you will forget what you read in the first minute by trying to absorb too much and you will retain more in small amounts rather than hours. This is the only way you can spiritually grow and try to be constant in small amounts rather than lengthy periods. Not only is it 'part and parcel' of the narrow way, you must 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'. 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. Praying before reading and ask God to reveal him is the answer. We all need to 'go the extra mile' with some effort to realise it. Even Satan knows the scriptures and believes them but what hope has he? Satan was the first entity to sin and he can never be forgiven for his violations and because God made man in His likeness and loved us, Satan is jealous because God considers us His children. And that was the very reason why Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to that cross on our behalf to save us. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15: 13. It will help us all if we keep this thought close in our hearts in the days ahead.
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 verse 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. If you look at this chapter and verses in its proper context and understand it, Jesus is saying from the 1st verse to verse 15 and particularly in verses 12, 13 that alert us to why He established the strait and narrow way because of the corruption then and now, that many skip over because it's offensive but the truth is in them. I've already mentioned the verses just now, I won't write them here because they aren't pleasant, you can look at them yourself, I want to concentrate on the lost sheep verse. So let's look at what Jesus is saying here, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: by saying other sheep, He is talking about 'the lost sheep' that are outside His fold and He knows who they are and He will bring them. Then Jesus says, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; He is confirming that He will do it which is pretty clear when you understand it and if we look at the last part, He is telling us and there shall be one fold and one shepherd, which is exactly what Paul said in Ephesians 4: 5 - I'll write them here again because they mean so much to me, One Lord, One faith, One baptism and is not what it is now in the churches visible with so many different ways. There are those who will say "that's how it will be at the end in heaven" without understanding the strait gate verses and as I've already said above, why do so many think there are many ways here that all lead to the same place at the end, when in fact, they do lead to one place but not where they're thinking.
And John 11: 52 says a little more: And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. This verse in John is also as mentioned above in Ephesians 2: 13 - 16. He isn't going to do that after in heaven, no not at all, He is meaning before. In verses 7 & 9 and others, Jesus tells us He is the door of the sheep - doesn't that tell you that the door is the strait gate? Until you grasp what Jesus meant in verses 1 - 15, the strait gate will remain a mystery.
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. Also in verse 27, My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.
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? And that doesn't mean committing to attend churches. 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 attack. Human nature being what it is, finding the time to read can seem like a chore – It's all too easy to say 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, earthly 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. Isaiah 7: 9.
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 looking back is really not yet wanting to give up former things. 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 are looking forward and 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. Isaiah 43: 25 says a similar thing. Where on earth, can you get that kind of mercy?
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 about lying and greed. And Matthew 10: 8 says in part, freely ye have received, freely give - do you know how many times that scripture has been twisted by the clergy? They leave out the first part of this verse because it says something very different when it's read as a whole verse. Of course, there are many who say that giving money to churches is a good thing if they use it in a good way but that is really the responsibility of the world's governments who should be taking up that mantel. It is sad that the first churches that started off so well have 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 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 revealed by 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, rather than man - 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. It is also a grace ministry, which means it is unpaid, he won't accept money for doing God's work and that's a good and acceptable thing. 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. And that just shows how easily the Spirit's voice is missed if you're not paying attention.
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. In saying our job is to plant the seed, I mean to try very hard to do that in love, not by argument. 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 but so many still choose to ignore it.
These verses are linked, the verses in Amos tell us that finding the truth according to scripture, 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 many are unaware of the false doctrine of the Catholic church, which blatantly states a lie: There is no salvation outside the Catholic church, which is designed to cause fear and should give anyone reason to further think on. And there are others who say it too.
Hebrews 12 is a good chapter for both edification and conviction and the first two verses say a lot - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This is what these verses mean to me and I hope you will think on them as I do - so great a cloud of witnesses, so many that we read of have already finished their race, they have taken their place and they are watching us complete our race and that 'cloud' is growing all the time. Briefly, they are the spirits that God installed in everyone at birth - but only the spirits of those believers who have gone on before us, now returned to God, are the ones who are anxiously watching us. And as we finish 'our race' we take our place alongside of those before us. - Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, the first two words, 'let us' is saying we aren't alone in this race. He will help us if we just remain steadfast in continuing as He knows there will be many obstacles to overcome. It may not only be sin that hampers us on our quest, some habits and pastimes too, not necessarily a sin, can also be a detriment to finishing this race. The more weight we carry [sin] in this race will only impede us on our way to the finish line. Many times we've fallen under that weight but we must not be distracted from the goal, that is, to finish. Every time we fall we must cast it off, pick ourselves up and continue, which, sometimes it's not easy because of our own guilt but by praying and asking for forgiveness, He will delight to heal us. - Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. I've emphasised the words here so that we can have no doubt as to His meaning, we must keep our eyes firmly focused on Him and He will help us. He is the author of the strait gate, it was Him who established it through death, it is Him who will finish it, in life. - Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, Remember that Christ endured the cross and He did it with joy - a difficult thing to understand for you and me - could we do it? He did so with joy knowing what was on the other side for Him. He also did it with joy simply because He would save many. We too may have to endure many setbacks and enduring also speaks of continuing. Enduring is all about continuing and finishing this race that we've begun with joy and will come with patience, it's a long distance race, perhaps over many years, not just a quick sprint. As this race calls for endurance, we must prepare for it by throwing off whatever will hinder or impede our progress, there are many times we will fall but as long as we keep trying, He knows our motives are true. No matter what out lot is, if we just continue and endure, He is waiting at the finish line to award us our prize, and there is no better prize. - despising the shame. In those days, being put to death because you were a sinner was considered a shame on ones character, the worst to endure. And is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Revelation 3: 21 says, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I overcame, . . . a beautiful reward, don't we all hope and strive to be an overcomer, even as He overcame - yes Jesus had two natures, a human and a divine nature but He will help us if we just surrender our own stubborn human nature to His will. I can only hope to see Him from afar.
Once you've cast away the things that are earthly, you now belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. John 4: 23, 24 which I've already written above, as with the strait gate verses, should dispel everything that is earthly. John 10: 7, 8 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. So many don't really understand what Jesus was saying in the emphasised parts of that verse, His Kingdom is not from hence. That is, not from here. Jesus came here to establish the avenue which He alone 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 Colossians 1: 26, 27 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, they don't fully understand the meaning in these verses, thinking it is the church system and they unknowingly believe the strait gate verses are part of the system when they clearly aren't - they stand alone. Again, if we break these verses down into individual groups it becomes clear. 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. There were those who refused it, as there are now. 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 through His death - 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 don't need to save all of them as they are all here - if you'd like to have them, simply save this one. I constantly review and update these articles as the Spirit teaches and whenever I review them, if you've saved them they are updated on your computer as well. You may even want to forward them to friends.
Rather than skip this well known Hymn, even if you've heard it before, listen to it gain, it will mean something to you.
- 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.
- The Spirit of Life - God's Gift To Us
This article is about the natural and spiritual timeline of man from Birth - to death. And how God made Adam from clay and then breathed life into him, and is exactly what He did to us, which is the very life within us. But so many are blind to it.
- 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Johnson 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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 Living in hope on planet earth. 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."