Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
-Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV) emphasis added
I used to struggle with this verse. All my days as a young child and even in the past few years as I have grown as an adult I didn’t understand what Jesus meant in these two simple verses. I could see multitudes of people around me claiming to know God and to believe in Jesus. I mean, I live in the Bible Belt, grew up in church, have been to countless conferences, and seen salvation after salvation. I kept thinking that the “narrow road” Jesus spoke of was just “narrower” than the broad road to destruction.
How wrong I was!
Jesus said exactly what He meant, as I have learned He always says what He means. I was just to afraid to see that He was speaking the truth;
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I was too afraid to admit to myself that the people I love; family, friends, coworker, even fellow church attenders are going to hell!
This is where those same people I mentioned might not stay with me. I knew when I started writing this I might lose those very people I love. Please do not think I am standing on a pedestal looking down on everyone around me.
God has recently brought me to my knees, flat on my face, tears pour from within me as He showed me how wrong I have been about the so called “Christian” life I have been living.
It began a few years ago when we helped start a small town church. I was 21, young, and as they say in the south “On fire for God”. (I see now I was just more vocal about God than most 21 year olds and NO where near on fire). We met one Sunday in our new building as usually. We ate breakfast and fellowshipped as normal, but this Sunday was about to be the beginning of a long and overdue wake up call for me.
I told you I had been in church my who life; I’ve helped with the children’s ministry, been a youth leader, and even taught a class on sharing your faith. I thought that everything I needed to learn about the bible my pastors would teach me. That’s why that Sunday I got a rude awakening.
As the service started, Stewie stood before the crowd and told us we were going to partake in the Lord’s Supper. I knew this was the plan since I ran screens for our small gatherings. No big deal I had taken part in a few of these. Take the bread, take the grape juice (in the South it’s grape juice). No big deal.
Stewie said something that day that now haunts me:
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you are telling others about the Lord’s death until he comes.
So a person who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Look into your own hearts before you eat the bread and drink the cup, because all who eat the bread and drink the cup without recognizing the body eat and drink judgment against themselves.
That is why many in your group are sick and weak, and some of you have died.
-1 Corinthians 11:26-30 (NCV), emphasis added
There is a physical consequence to not seriously looking within ourselves before partaking and asking God to forgive us. If we do not take this covenant seriously we could become sick and even die. It is not to be taken lightly.
After he read this he said something I have never heard from a pastor before: “If you are not right with God, if you have not asked for forgiveness of your sins, if you are not going to take this seriously, I urge you to not take part.” And that day several refused to partake!
Many pastors today are not urging their congregation to take this seriously, even though the consequences could be death!
As I said before this was only the beginning of my journey to the realization that those around me claiming to be true followers of Christ might actually be going to hell.
For now I will leave you in suspense. In part 2 of I May Lose Everyone I Love Over This! I will use Matthew 25 to explain how I first came to realize that the path is truely narrow.
God will speak to us. Show us your great and mighty power. Guide us and make our paths clear. Give us the knowledge and wisdom to see and hear you. And open our hearts and minds to you and change our lives.