Jesus seemed always to classify people in two categories. He taught that there are two roads of life—the broad road and the narrow road. He said there are two destinies in life. He did not give a third alternative. He did not give any middle road. He said it’s either one or the other.
He said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
You cannot be neutral about eternal life, but a lot of people try to be. They try to ride the middle road—but there is no middle road. Jesus said it’s one or the other. He said if you’re not on the narrow road that leads to eternal life, then you must be on the broad road that leads to destruction. Every person is on one or the other.
Which road are you on? The broad road or the narrow road? One leads to destruction and hell; the other leads to a full life here and now and eventually life to come in Heaven. Which is it? It’s one or the other.
And I want to tell you, if I did not know which road I was on, I would make sure, no matter what it cost.
Notice that the broad road is a wide road. In other words, you can enter the wide gate and carry with you all your sins. You can carry your selfishness, your prejudice, your hate, your lust, your intolerance, your bigotry. There are no restrictions, no inhibitions, no rules.
The extremes of humanity are on this broad road. There are the immoral, the dictators, the murderers. But there are also some moral people and even church people on this road. The Bible says, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me’” (Matthew 7:22-23). They were on the broad road all along.
And all those people who tried to keep one foot in the world and one foot in Heaven, those who tried to ride both roads—all of those people are on the broad road, in the sight of Christ.
This broad road is also a crowded road. Jesus said there are many who go in by it. I think one of the greatest sins is conformity. We always hear, “Everybody else is doing it.” No other reason except everybody else is doing it. Conformity. Nobody has the moral courage anymore to stand alone.
If everybody in your room at school cheats, dare to stand alone and get a C if necessary. If everybody in your office lies, and if all the other salesmen tell lies in order to sell a product, or they cheat on their income tax, or they pad their expense account, dare to stand alone. If all the other employers are getting by paying as little as they can pay to their workers, dare to stand alone and be above board with those who work for you. If everybody in your community has racial prejudice, dare to stand alone and look through the eyes of Christ.
God doesn’t judge us by what others are doing. If you give your life to Jesus Christ, you may be the only one in your fraternity, in your sorority; you may be the only one in your place of business; you may be the only one in your room at school trying to live for Jesus Christ. But if you will take your stand for Christ, God will honor you and bless you, and He will open doors for you that you never dreamed.
This broad road—not only is it crowded and wide, but it’s deceptive. The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Everybody’s got an idea about how they are going to get to Heaven, how they’ll be forgiven by God. Some might say, “Well, I’m sincere. If you’re sincere, won’t that get you to Heaven?” No, it won’t. You can be sincere and wrong. There are a lot of people who are sincere in their religion, but they’re wrong.
And some say, “Well, I’m going to follow my conscience.” But your conscience is no safe guide. Your conscience can be hardened, it can be dead, it can be seared. You have sinned so much against the Holy Spirit that your conscience is no longer sensitive, and it’s no longer a safe guide. Your conscience will mislead you.
And others say, “If I try to do my best and live by the Golden Rule, I’ll eventually get to Heaven.” But the Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). You can’t work your way to Heaven. You can do good works all of your life, but you can’t build up enough good works to get to Heaven. The only way you can get to Heaven is through Christ, who died on the cross and who shed His blood for your sins.
You don’t deserve to be saved. I don’t deserve God’s salvation and forgiveness. I don’t deserve the love of God. But God’s grace and God’s mercy was extended to me and to you. And now I am a recipient of that which I did not deserve. God says, “I’ll forgive your sins. I’ll wipe out the past. I’ll start all over with you if you will come to the cross and give your life to my Son, Jesus Christ.”
And finally, the broad road is a fatal road. It leads to destruction. The Bible says, “The way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Hell is separation from God. It’s in a place of outer darkness. You will be alone, separated from all that is good and right and holy. Alone in outer darkness, separated from God forever.
Tonight, you could be killed on the freeway, or you could die of a heart attack. We never know. Our moment may come at any time. Which road are you on?
Now let’s look at the narrow road. Jesus said at the entrance of this narrow road is a gate. Thank God, there’s a gate. Thank God, there’s a way off the broad road.
Suppose some soldiers are in a foreign country, and they are captured. And then they’re told about a little narrow gate that leads up a rough path. It’ll be suffering and hardship, but eventually they will get out and be saved. I believe every soldier would say, “I don’t care how narrow the gate is. If I can squeeze through, I’m going.”
Today, many of you are on the broad road, in Satan’s prison. But thanks be to God, He has provided, by the death and resurrection of His Son, a gate.
But Jesus warned that it is a narrow gate.
Many people will say that you ought to be broad-minded about it. They will say, “Isn’t it narrow to have all those rules and regulations and discipline?”
Suppose a mathematician says, “Let’s approach mathematics with a broad mind. Two plus two equals four, but that’s too narrow. It could be four and a half, or let’s say even five. Let’s have a little flexibility in the mathematical formulas.”
Or let’s say a chemist goes into the laboratory and says, “Now let’s be broad-minded.” And he gets this and that, and he puts it all together. He’s liable to blow up the university. No, a chemist is narrow-minded. A mathematician is narrow-minded. There are rules and regulations for mathematicians and chemists, and there is also a narrow gate to Heaven.
Jesus has outlined the road and the way and the method of getting to Heaven. Are you going to decide to go your own way? How utterly foolish!
I tell you, if you’re not on the narrow road, you get on it before this day is over. Go through that narrow gate at any cost; be sure that you’re on the narrow road that leads to eternal life.
The moment that you receive Jesus Christ as Savior, it doesn’t mean that you complete the journey immediately. It means that you start. It means that you’re born anew. It means that you go through the gate. You get on the right road and you start in the right direction.
On this path there will be problems, difficulties. It’ll be rough. It’ll be crooked at times. But it’ll always be leading upward. And God will give you strength and grace and power to live that life. And the moment you enter that narrow gate—when you say yes to Jesus Christ—the Bible says you become a partaker of eternal life.
But here is the tragedy: Jesus said there are few who will find it. Today you have an opportunity of being in that small minority who will enter that narrow gate and find eternal life. By faith you can receive Him. You can come to the cross, find forgiveness of your sins and find a new life.
What do you have to do? You have to be willing to renounce your sin. You can’t drag all your old sins and bad habits through the narrow gate. It’s too narrow. You’ve got to be willing to leave them behind. I said willing; I didn’t say you could do it. I said you’ve got to be willing. And if you’re willing, God will give you the strength to turn from your sins.
And then by faith you receive Christ as your Savior. It is by faith that you receive, that you commit your life to Christ.
Give your life to Christ. It doesn’t mean that you give up your career and your business. It means that you go back into your career, go back into your business, and live for Christ—unless it’s something dishonest. Make the choice. Turn from the broad road to the narrow road today.
Photo: Russ Busby/BGEA