Making a Decision for Christ – Matthew 7:13-14

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

If you have been following along you know that I have been using D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons from his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount as my reference. Hence, the main points and teaching are from his book (which are his sermons); and then I bring some of my own ideas into it. This sermon is much like the previous one, using the same text, but we go deeper into the meaning of it. In these two verses of Jesus’ sermon, we will discuss now the meaning of entering into the Christian life, based on His description here of the narrow gate as well as the narrow way. And we will also discuss a few things that will go along with the entire process of becoming a Christian. Please be attentive now to the following four principles on this subject.

1. Becoming a Christian demands a decision and a commitment.

When a person begins to understand some of the teachings of Christ and when God begins to tug on his heart so that he desires to follow Him, the gospel demands that he make a decision right then to leave whatever he is doing (and all of the old life) and go follow Him. You may remember how it was with Jesus’ first followers. Jesus met Peter and his brother Andrew on the beach of the Sea of Galilee as they were casting their nets into the sea. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” What did they do? Did they think about it? No! Scripture says, “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Apparently, they knew enough about Jesus and had heard enough of His words to know that they wanted to be around Him and to learn more of Him. So they were not hesitant when the opportunity came to follow Him.

2. Look for the narrow gate and go through it.

Having made a firm decision to be a Christian, the next step is to look for the way of entrance. It is described by Jesus as a strait (or narrow) gate. And so, it is not very public or visible or even desirable by many. It is small and unpopular; yet to the one seeking it, it will be desirable, because Jesus will be there, waving at him to come in. and he will be excited to enter.

Now there have been many who think that they want to be a Christian and they have somewhat committed themselves to that goal; yet when it came to actually entering into it (the Christian life) they did not. Why?  Because they did not put the effort into looking for it—for the narrow gate. As verse 14 says, “Few are those who find it.” This implies that they were not looking very intently—or maybe not at all. Perhaps they were looking for the wrong kind of gate. They may have envisioned it as a very large and majestic gate. Hence, they may have passed by the narrow gate without even knowing it.

3. Talk to yourself regarding what you have done and what things are different.

(This is something I wouldn’t have thought of, but Lloyd-Jones includes it; and now I think it is a good thing to do.) So, after a person has decided to enter, and he does find the way and enters in, and so gives his life to Christ, he will probably begin to ask himself certain questions: what did I just do? Who am I now? So, the point is that a new Christian should be always reminding himself every day that he is a child of God, a unique person and belonging to the family of God. Also, he should remind himself that Christ has died for him and that he is going to heaven and that he is just passing through this world, with its many temptations and trials.

4. For those who are disbelieving and doubtful.

Here in our text Jesus shows us two different ways and where they lead to. He is trying to take away the reasons for not entering in by the narrow gate. The obvious reason He gives is that the broad way leads to destruction—hell.

Some may reason that there are two choices to make: to take the narrow way or the broad way. However, if you examine other Scriptures, you will discover that by man’s nature he is already on the broad road, and God’s wrath is already on him (Jn. 3:36).

Another thing to consider is that since all (all those who have not believed) are already traveling on this broad road leading to destruction, that they know nothing of the narrow way that leads to life. And so, they may be satisfied with their life, having seen no other way. For this reason the Christian must do all he can to warn the unbeliever to where he is going, also he must tell him about a better way, a narrow way, yet a way that leads to life.

My High School Years: Facing Temptation

My School, West High School

One thing that was sadly lacking in my life was someone to come along side me and counsel me in the area of sexual temptation and dating and marriage. I think young people really need that guidance, especially in those high school years, when their bodies and thoughts are swiftly moving in that area.  All through high school I wasn’t at all seriously thinking of marriage or even dating. In fact, I purposely set my mind toward God and bringing people to Christ any way possible, especially through Hi-C club, the Christian group I was involved in.

Then again, when my guard was down, which was too often, I couldn’t keep my eyes and my mind off of girls. And I didn’t exactly know how to handle it. I didn’t feel ready or bold enough to ask girls on dates, but still I had eyes and an imagination. Sometimes, at a weak moment, I longed to see as much as I could. I remember going to the beach just to see as much skin as I could. And I was a Christian! What was I doing? Well, in those days, much of the time I was just very rebellious.

And then along came Joy.  A girl named Joy. The first time I remember seeing her was while I was in band practice playing my trombone. She would be looking at me through the glass classroom door and smiling and waving at me. And it was a little embarrassing, because I really didn’t know her, and some of the kids noticed that she was trying to get my attention.

I really wasn’t attracted to her and she wasn’t that attractive. But she seemed to really like me. So, I invited her to our Hi-C group. I figured that as long as I had her attention, maybe I could get her saved. She started to come to our group, but I kind of knew that she was just interested in me.

One evening after group I walked her home; and when we got to her house, she really laid one on me—she kissed me. My first reaction was repulsion; her breath stunk of stale tobacco. But then, without warning, the feeling hit me. I felt something deep down in my soul. Instantly, I was in seventh heaven, and I wanted more. We kissed again, and I felt even better. But when I went in for a third time, she said she had to go. That was okay; I knew I would be back and I was still flying high. I ran all the way home. I was in love. For the first time in my life I was really in love. 

I can’t remember exactly what I did next. All I remember is that I wanted more kisses from her.  So, I tried to see her more. Even though I was always busy after school with sports and Hi-C clubs, I always had her in the back of my mind—especially her kisses. I longed for her, but it seemed that things were reversed. I was wanting her more than she was wanting me. I was going full steam ahead and she was putting on the breaks. I remember sitting in her house one time. Her mom was home, busy with house work, and me and Joy were sitting—in separate places. I was sitting on her couch watching TV—I think. And she was sitting in another chair reading a book. She was like my sister, always reading. I would be just sitting and she would be sitting and reading. All I could think of was when I was going to get another kiss. I have no idea what she was thinking. It was a strange relationship.

One day she opened up to me about her life. It wasn’t good. She had been—and maybe still was—on drugs; and she also had sexual relationships. I started to think that maybe pursuing her wasn’t the best idea. Yet I wasn’t ready to give up on her. I felt that I really loved her, and so, I doubled down on praying for her. Sometimes I prayed for a long time with tears, begging God to save her. I remember those prayer times. In fact, even now, fifty years later, every time I think of her, I pray for her salvation. Yet I have no idea where she is or if she is even alive.

Toward the end of my senior year, I got the itch to work. It didn’t take me long to find my first job at Minneapolis Floral, just a couple blocks from the school. It was a fairly easy job. I mainly just swept the floors, especially around the people who were trimming and arranging flowers to be sent out to weddings and funeral and such. I think I had that job for only a couple of months.

The next job I had was in a foundry, which was located in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. It was a lot harder, but it paid more. I think I made $2.50 an hour. I stood all day long in front of a grinding wheel, grinding and smoothing off little medal parts. What those parts were used for I had no idea and I didn’t care. Oh, my back and shoulders would just ache after a few hours of work. But it was work. Soon I got use to it. I think I only had the job for about a month. They were sorry to see me go, but I had to leave to serve my country.

A few months before I went to work, it must have been just at the end of my senior year, I remember walking down the sidewalk with a friend of mine, a wrestling buddy, on my way home from school one day. We were talking about what we were going to do next. He suggested going into the service, maybe the Marines. That was the first time I had thought about the service, but that thought kind of intrigued me. I wasn’t thinking at all about war; I was thinking more about really getting into shape and “becoming all I could be.” Something like that. Well it didn’t take me long to decides on the Marines.

Looking back on it, I think it was how God provided a way for me to escape from the temptations I had for Joy, and what would have been a very wrong path.