Mat 7:13                          A Reality Check: The Many and the Few                                 5/4/2014

 

#1.       The Broad Way and the Narrow Way (Rom 9:13, 3:4, Ecc 7:20, Psalm 58:3)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Many and the Few (Mat 7:13-14, John 15:18-25)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Young People of Today (Amos 8:11-12, Hos 4:6, Mat 24:12, Luke 19:14, Mat 24:37)

 

 

 

 

 

·         God’s Judgment Against the Pride of Man (Rev 22:18-19, 14:10-11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

·         This is God’s Plan (Mat 7:14, Rom 9:11-18, Rev 22:19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Mat 7:13 (2X). As it always has been, people are very forgetful, especially when it concerns things that God likes and things that He does not like. The title of the sermon today is A Reality Check (2X). What does God like, and what does He not like? People become very callous about the things God does not like. These things should not be a surprise, because God has stated them very plainly in His Word, the Bible. But today let us review them again, as we find it in the Bible. We read here in Mat 7:13-14,

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:    Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Some corrections are in order, because the King James Bible uses some archaic words which are unfamiliar to the young people of today, and I am especially addressing this sermon to the young people of today. First of all, the word “strait” is an old English word for “narrow”. Secondly, the word “destruction” could be better translated by “perdition”. What difference does that make? “Destruction” conveys the meaning of annihilation, which means “poof, you are gone”, and that is not the meaning of the Greek word that is used here. The word “perdition” would be better to be used here. The word “perdition” means to be under the wrath of God. For example Judas Iscariot was “the son of perdition” (John 17:12). Also, Antichrist is called “the son of perdition” (2Thes 2:3). These people are doomed to eternal misery; they are forever under the wrath of God. Thirdly, the word “narrow” in verse 14 would be better translated by “troubled,” or “afflicted.” Putting all these substitutions into verses 13 and 14 we obtain for verses 13 and 14 the following words of God:

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to perdition, and many there be which go in there at:       Mat 7:14  Because narrow is the gate, and troubled is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

#1.       The Broad Way and the Narrow Way (Rom 9:13, 3:4, Ecc 7:20, Psalm 58:3)

There are two subject matters that God tells us about here in these two verses? The first is “The Broad Way and the Narrow Way.” The second is “The Many and the Few.” The first subject matter tells us about “the broad and easy way contrasted with the narrow and difficult way.” This is a favorite theme of the Arminian gospel. They portray it as if God has given mankind two choices for the way they take unto salvation: A broad and easy way which is the wrong way leading to perdition, or the narrow and difficult way, which is the right way leading to heaven. And so they conclude it is up to us to make the right choice. However, when we harmonize the Bible we realize that God does not give man two choices. In fact, He does not give man any choice. God has the human race divided into the elect and the reprobate, like He says in Rom 9:13, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Those who are loved by God, the elect like Jacob, are under constant care and supervision of God, and they are prompted by God the Holy Spirit to take the narrow way, no matter how difficult it may be. On the other hand the reprobate are prompted by God the Holy Spirit to take the broad way, which is really the easiest way, but it takes them to perdition, whatever that means.

At this point some people might object that God is acting unrighteously by condemning people who may not be worthy of condemnation. We must remember, however, that God is always righteous in all His actions. Righteousness is an inherent property of God. If God decides that certain persons will not receive eternal life, but instead spend eternity in some other place, then remember that a righteous God will always hand out a penalty that befits the crime. God will never hand out a penalty that is much greater than the person deserves, or a penalty that is smaller than a person deserves, because He is a righteous Judge. That is what righteousness entails. And so, we must leave the size of the penalty in the hands of God. He knows exactly how great or how small the penalty must be.

The question now centers on this: Is there a penalty to pay? Are all mankind guilty of sin? The answer is absolutely YES. We read in Rom 3:4, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” We read in

Ecc 7:20,  “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” We read in Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Who are these wicked babies? We all came into the world like these wicked babies. We all came into the world as sinners, and as soon as we were born we started a life of sin.

#2.       The Many and the Few (Mat 7:13-14, John 15:18-25)

God tells us also that we came into the world eager to choose the broad way, the way to eternal damnation. No man volunteers to go the narrow way to eternal life. Everyone has an excuse for not choosing the narrow way. However, no man is free from sin. We all are in need of a Savior who will save us from our sins and from the consequences of our sins. But since we are all totally depraved and no one wants Christ to rule over them, we all are hopelessly lost for the Kingdom of God, except if God will perform the miracle of salvation within us. Will God do this for everyone of mankind? NO! Because we read in Mat 7:14, “Few there be that find it.” The few that find the narrow way to eternal life are the few whom God elected unto salvation before the foundation of the world. There is no one else who will be drawn to follow Christ on the narrow way. These few are the ones whom God the Holy Spirit draws to follow Christ on the narrow way. At some point in their earthly life they begin to be drawn to Christ and they are drawn to follow Christ in a painful way. That means they are going to suffer painful troubles, like the Lord Jesus Christ suffered pain and troubles. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, John 15:18 (2X). The Lord prepared His disciples that they will be persecuted and that they will suffer pain and troubles. If we are truly Disciples of Christ, then pain and troubles are surely going to come. We read in John 15:18-25,

John 15:18, ¶  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

John 15:20-23  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  John 15:21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.   John 15:22  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.  John 15:23  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

John 15:24  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Look at this now from the mathematical point of view. What is the probability? Or some people say What is the chance? That anyone of us finds the narrow way to eternal life? The answer is ZERO. This probability was zero before Christ came to earth in the flesh as well as after Christ came in the flesh. In other words, finding salvation from the Old Testament was just as difficult as finding salvation from the New Testament. Some people imagine that the New Testament language is easier than Old Testament language, and so they conclude that it is easier to be converted in the New Testament time than in the Old Testament time. That is not so. In either case, we need the input of God he Holy Spirit to find the true Gospel. Without the wisdom from God the Holy Spirit it is impossible to find the true Gospel. Let us look now at the many and the few in the parable that the Lord Jesus told in Matt 7:13-14. It is remarkable that the Lord did not include a time element in there. From the many and the few, how many are the few? The answer is there were very few in Old Testament times as well as in New Testament times. Their number depended on the illumination by God the Holy Spirit. People were as stupid in Old Testament times as they are at present, and visa-versa. Look at the days of Noah, and consider that God only saved eight people out of the entire world’s population of perhaps two million. Was God out of control then? Did God wring His hands in despair that the whole world was sinning out of God’s control? Absolutely not! God was in control all the time. You cannot dethrone God from His sovereign position. Our God was a sovereign God all the time. God created this lopsided world-population to teach us that salvation is by election only; salvation is by grace alone. We are confirmed in this understanding By God Himself, who recorded in Gen 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Please understand that when we read in Gen 6:6, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart,” we do not take this to mean that God was out of control, but rather that God is regretting that He must take revenge for the sins committed, for our God is a righteous God.

And so, how many are the few in the parable of the many and the few? The answer is: Very few! That is why we read in Mat 7:14, “Few there be that find it.”

#3.       The Young People of Today (Amos 8:11-12, Hos 4:6, Mat 24:12, Luke 19:14, Mat 24:37)

Let us now come back to the main topic of this sermon: A Reality CheckI may be a little more skeptical than most parents are today. If you ask the young people of today where their ambitions lie, and if you want honest answers, not lies, and if you are able to make them loosen up and shed their inhibitions, you will get answers that make you tremble for the world to come. The world to come will be a world full of tribulations; not the kind of tribulations that most people are afraid of, but tribulations that in God’s eyes are of the worst kind. God did not lie when He prepared us for these tribulations when He spoke of the Last Days as He said in Amos 8:11-12,

Amos 8:11,  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:

Amos 8:12,  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.

These are the kind of tribulations that the young people are facing today and in the near future. They will lack interest in learning what the Word of God says. They will have a lack of knowledge concerning the Word of God, the Bible. They will not know what to do about it. God says in Hos 4:6,

Ho 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

If God will forget our children it means that He will not give us the wisdom to raise our children in a God-glorifying way. I am not speaking of every individual going down the tubes, but I am speaking of a general trend. On the average, it means that both we and our children are heading for a spiritual state of stupidity that will prepare the world for Judgment Day. That is not a nice subject matter to talk about. Today I am not trying to be nice, but I see the wolf coming, and since I am your pastor, not a hireling, I am warning you that something very unpleasant is in the works. God is sovereign, and it is God who is doing it, but you, the people of the world and of the church are not innocent bystanders. You are the willing instruments that God is using to accomplish His program. You are also the very willing instruments that Satan is using, trying oppose the plans of God. Fortunately Satan does not know the plans of God, and neither do we. What am I seeing that is developing today?

From the secular viewpoint there is nothing that we can detect that is alarming. Young people are graduating from their high schools and the dropout rates are perfectly normal. But their attitudes toward God and Christ are different than they were in the past. The main reason for this is that they were raised in a time period when the true Gospel was already scarce, and the false gospels were shaping the lives and the souls of most of the young people of today. The result is that the people who are listening and believing these false gospels are not saved. Most young people are not saved. They have no love for Christ. They have learned the facts of the true Gospel, of the fall of man and the resulting total depravity of man, and of Christ crucified as an atonement for our sins, but these things have not touched their soul. They have learned them as historical curiosities. The Lord Jesus told us very plainly about these things by saying in Mat 24:12,

Mat 24:12, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

It is their love for God that shall wax cold. God is not real to them. The Word of God is just like another history book to them. They do not trust it as if these words came from God. They think that if they believe all the historical facts they will be saved. Nothing is farther from the truth. I know for I have been there. I believed the Ten Commandments; I believed the twelve articles of faith that are used in the Heidelberg Catechism; I believed the Bible stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the histories of their lives, and their son’s lives: I believed all the Bible stories that they are telling our children. I believed all the stories about the life of Jesus. But was I saved? No! What I believed were stories about a people who lived a long long time ago in a land far far away, but did those stories touch my heart? No, because I was not saved. And these again are the stories they are telling our young people today. And since they are not saved, the love of many shall wax cold. Ask many of our young people if the things that they are doing are done out of love for Christ. For example, is Christ in the forefront of their mind when they engage in free sex before they get married? Is Christ in the forefront of their mind when they use illicit drugs? Is Christ in the forefront of their mind when they commit homosexual acts, or even if they approve of homosexual acts? Is Christ in the forefront of their mind when they contemplate abortion? Do they realize that abortion is murder? Do they laugh when people tell jokes about adultery? And so on, and so on. The main issue is here: Do they mind if God is displeased with their actions? Let me answer this question for them, for this is indeed the main issue for most of the young people of today. God is no longer in the picture. They abandoned God at least ten years ago when the young people stopped praying in schools. And so, why would God now come to the rescue? They do not want Christ any more. In their hearts they are saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14). That is sad. The one Person who is able to do something for them they have abandoned. And now there is no one who can bring them again to peace with God. And so, they are drifting from one jail into another, and they are drifting from one false gospel into another, and they are drifting from one sex partner to another, and they are drifting from one ceremonial hoopla to another. Nothing matters any more. Is God out of control? No! God is sovereign, and God is not out of control. We must say that this is the grand design that God had in mind when He decided on a scenario for the end times. Did He not say in Mat 24:37,

Mat 24:37,  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

What does it mean, “But as the days of Noe were?” Does it not mean that as wicked as the days of Noah were, so in like manner shall the days of the end time be? But do people believe this? And God is deliberately moving this world in that direction. And who are the first ones to experience this deliberate move away from God? It is the young people that are in the churches. The young people who are so confident because they have believed their pastor who told them: “No! You do not have to examine yourselves. You are saved already, and do not doubt that your salvation is not sure.” That is tragic! Young people want to repent and turn to God, but their advisors are drawing them away from God. What is the problem here? The problem is that people do not believe God. They do not take Mat 24:37 seriously. They believe that his world is not as wicked as it was in the days of Noah. And so, they are ignoring that part of God’s message. There is no fear of God! And when the Last Day rolls around the wakeup call comes too late. They consider that since the majority of them go to church God did not mean to address the young people of today; He is probably addressing the young people of sometime in the future. They will not heed the warning that this is God’s plan for today.

·         God’s Judgment Against the Pride of Man (Rev 22:18-19, 14:10-11)

The world continues as before, not realizing the abundant idolatry that is taking place and growing in the churches. For example, all the churches are ignoring the deadly warnings of Rev 22:18-19. Let us hear these warnings again. If we read Rev 22:18 we are warned for adding to the Word of God.

Rev 22:18, For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

“This Book” refers to the whole Bible, not just the book of revelation, for the Bible is One Book. The words “If any man shall add unto these things,” do not mean that it was a custom for people to add to the words of God but now it is forbidden. That is not how the Bible came into being. God dictated to holy men of old what He wanted written in the Bible, and they wrote the entire Prophecy, or the entire Epistle, not just part of it and then added something more later. And thus the words, “If any man shall add unto these things,” means paraphrased, “If any man claims to have received an additional revelation from God, he is lying.” God declared in Rev 22:18 that He is no longer bringing additional revelation. In fact we can narrow it down to an audible revelation from God, for God is continually guiding us with His Holy Spirit. This prompting by the Holy Spirit is not called additional revelation from God, but it is the normal way God guides us in this world. And thus, “If any man claims to have received an additional revelation from God, he is lying,” and then a stiff penalty follows declaring how great a sin this is. What is that penalty? God says in Rev 14:10-11, “They shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.”

Why is there such a stiff penalty for a sin which most people consider a misdemeanor? In God’s eyes such a sin is not a misdemeanor, but it is very serious. It is a lie which draws people away from the true God, into another gospel which serves another god. The Bible is a reflection of the perfect mind of God, and if we add to the words of the Bible, we have changed this reflection of the perfect mind of God and we have created another god. That is why God is very angry at people who have added to the words of the Bible. It is idolatry at the very core, and idolatry is the sin which God hates most. The same can be said for the next verse. We read in Rev 22:19,

Rev 22:19, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Again the penalty is as stiff as for the sin of adding to the words of this Book. When people are denied entrance into the holy city, they are denied entrance into the New Jerusalem, which is the holy city of God in the New Heaven and the New Earth. And since there are only two destinations in the life hereafter, the other place for people who are denied entrance into the New Jerusalem is Hell. And even though most things in the Prophecy of Revelation are not to be taken literally, Hell is a super terrible place; it is a place of eternal torment. Why would a good God want to deal with a place called Hell? It is meant as a deterrent to the sins which God hates most. God has warned the human race that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and this refers to the spiritual death, which is the second death in the Lake of Fire, or Hell. But since God is a righteous Judge He must exercise His right to cast people into eternal Hell. And when people say that a good God would not do such a monstrous thing, they are taking words out of the Bible, and we already know why such a sin would receive such a great penalty.

When someone says that he knows when Christ will come again, he is in fact taking words out of the Bible. It is the sin of Rev 22:19, because God has stated many times in the Bible that no man knoweth the day or the hour. Therefore, if someone derives from the Bible that he knows the day or the hour when Christ comes again, what has he done? He has used his human intelligence to eliminate, or to override the statements that God has made concerning this event. His pride got in the way. But God is wiser than any human being; and if God has said that no man knoweth the day or the hour we should rest our case, and not be trying to know better than God, for that is equivalent to eliminating words out of the Bible.

When very conservative churches and denominations decide to place a very high value on the documents that they call “the Confessions” because they believe that these Confessions are without error and are written very faithfully, and they adopt these Confessions to circumscribe the faith that they hold, what have they done? They have adopted these Confessions as standard bearers of their faith and made them equivalent to the truths from the Bible. This means that they have added to the words from God, and are guilty of violating Rev 22:18. We can clearly see their error when we consider the Belgic Confession. This confession was written by one man, Guido de Bres. In spite of all the adulation this document received, we must reject the notion that this one man received so much wisdom from God that his writings can be adopted without error for the doctrinal statements for what the church believes. This is again a violation of Rev 22:18. And so, we can bring up many more examples of this kind, but we must move on with “The Many and the Few: A reality check.”

·         This is God’s Plan (Mat 7:14, Rom 9:11-18, Rev 22:19)

      It is God’s plan that this world becomes more and more wicked, and at the same time they cannot see what their own wickedness is. That is the meaning of Mat 7:14, where God says,

Mat 7:14, “Because narrow is the gate, and troubled is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

What happened to the many? They have drifted away into idolatry, into worshipping other gods, and they do not realize their own idolatry. This is hard to understand without specific examples. And so, let me give you an example of one of the idolatries that is presently conquering the world. It is the theology of Jacob Arminius a sixteenth century theologian who was the cause of the Synod of Dort, which was held in the Netherlands in the city of Dordrecht. The god of Jacob Arminius is a responsive god, whereas the God of the Bible is a proactive God. A responsive god is a person who does not take action until he is asked to do so. On the other hand, a proactive God takes action long before the need arises because He is a God who is sovereign, and omniscient, and all wise, knowing the end from the beginning, and knowing whom He shall save, and knowing whom He shall leave in their sins. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:11 (2X). People who worship the god of Jacob Arminius are called Arminians. People who are worshipping the sovereign God of the Bible are called Christians, because that is the God whom the Lord Jesus Christ worshipped. This God of the Bible said in Rom 9:11-18,

Rom 9:11, (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, (unto Rebecca:) “The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

Rom 9:14  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

It is clear, is it not, that our sovereign God pours His favors upon those whom He favors, and He hates those whom He does not favor, like Esau. This is the theology of the Bible. But the theology of Jacob Arminius rejects this. In the theology of the Arminian gospel god loves every human being in the world. And the Arminian god takes all people into heaven who take the action to ask him, and who take the action of repenting from their sins, and who take the action of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they are called “Believers.” This is the “Free will gospel”; those people believe they are saved by their own free will. But our sovereign God takes people into heaven who are called “Saints,” because like Jacob they were chosen by God from before the foundation of the world. Can you see how our language reflects whom we are serving? The Arminians have taken the sovereignty of God out of the Bible, and as a consequence they have taken many more passages out of the Bible to make their gospel more attractive. Are Arminians saved? Ask God. And God says NO! They are not saved because they violate Rev 22:19, and God is not a liar. God is true to His Word.

This is just one example to show how our present world is constantly drawn into idolatry through the Arminian gospel. This is utter wickedness, but most people do not see it the way God sees it. And when Christ comes again on the Last Day the people in the churches and outside the churches have a reality check. There are the many who thought they were saved, but they are not. And the few who were despised and scoffed at by the many are actually the only ones who are saved.

But we do not have to wait until the Last Day to find out who holds the truth. By the grace of God we can know if we are still full of pride or if we give God all the glory. If we are not saved we are still full of pride. If we are saved we want to give God all the glory. But this desire did not come out of ourselves, it is the gift of God, lest anyone should boast.

Yes, we can know this in our time, before the Lord comes again.

Amen.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.