Saints of God Awake! There is much amiss …
The Strait Gate
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The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 23:13, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in”. The question then is, “how did the leaders of God people (which in today’s Church would be equivalent to the prophets, pastors, teachers and elders) shut up the kingdom of heaven so that men could not enter in”?
We hear the Lord say, “But in vain they (the leaders of Gods people) do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). And again we find the Lord Jesus saying, “Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour your father and your mother; and, Whoso curses father or mother, let him die the death: but you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever you might be profited by me; he shal be free. And you permit him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you” (Mark 7:7-13).
So, we find that “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” is how the leaders, the messengers, the stars of God’s people “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men” (Matthew 23:13) so that they (the men) who would, could not enter into the heavenly realm. Furthermore we discover that Jesus continued on to say, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte (one convert), and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). The inference being that once the leaders/teachers had taught someone their commandments of men and their traditions it was nigh impossible to show them the correct ways of the Lord. Let us now go forward into today’s Church.
We are, by grace, saved, justified and sanctified. Now, where do we go? One would think that because it is the same Lord that saved us all we would, generally, all be headed in the same direction; but, for the most part, this does not seem to be so. Why? The Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). This Truth is the crux of the matter. So, how do we become as a little child?
We must learn to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7). If I can’t trust my own understanding of things with regard to what’s right and what’s wrong, what is good and what is evil, how then can I go forward? We must go back to basics.
When we got initially saved what did we DO, we did nothing; we believed and received, and that, in and of itself, was the grace of God. So it is with all the things of God. We read, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Can we, by faith, believe and receive that Word, NOT just read that Word, but RECEIVE that Word.
In James we read, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and RECEIVE with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:21-25). To be a doer is to be a receiver. Many read few receive.
The Lord Jesus saw what was written in the Book concerning himself, and we recognize, by his agony in the garden of Gethsemane, that those things written were not pleasing to his humanity, so also is the Lord’s Word to us. The things written will take us to the cross and kill our Adamic man, so that we may participate in His death thereby being made partakers of his resurrected life.
Where should we start then? At the beginning of course! The first teachings of our Lord Jesus to his disciples are found in the Gospel of Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7 and in the Gospel of Luke chapter 6. That being said, when we read “bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:44 & Luke 6:28) do we receive that Word and, by faith, expecting that the Lord will give us opportunity to be completed in that Word by placing someone in our environment to curse us? For, he most certainly will for we know, “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
This is just a small example of what is meant by the Lord Jesus when he says, “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:13-16a). Why would the Lord Jesus voice a warning about false prophets right here? This strait gate teaching is portrayed as if it has to do with the salvation of the lost, and it could, but the essence of this teaching is spoken to believers. If one who professes to be somewhat in the Church does not enter in by this DOOR, he has not truly entered in at all, and therefore is a false prophet, teacher, overseer, elder, etc. BEWARE!
To be maligned, to be taken advantage of, to be falsely accused, and the many other things that can happen to us who are sheep, we need to SEE JESUS, for it all happened first unto him. The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Children of God it will cost you everything, but, if we will but by faith follow him we will discover that, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).
What I have just said is the Gospel for one who is born again. And, in order to say these things we see it written, “The husbandman that labors must be first partaker of the fruits” (2Timothy 2:6). This verse does not point to a preacher deserving to get paid, what it is saying is that in order to speak this Gospel one has to live it first. But, this is only for those who hear, for as we hear the Lord Jesus say, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).
And in closing we once again hear the Lord Jesus say, “Truly I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
The only way one can walk on this “water” though is to keep your eyes on Jesus.
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen and is become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty. (Revelation 18:2; 2Corinthians 6:17-18).
Babylon the great IS “the great city (which) was divided into three parts” (Revelation 16:19a). Which is the entire ecumenical system: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxism and Protestantism. These ARE the THREE PARTS into which this harlot is divided.
THIS IS THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, PREPARE YOU THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE STRAIGHT HIS PATHS. Amen