#384 - DO THE NARROW (1/7/21)
The narrow way must be entered through faith in Christ. It must be defended against false teachers. Today we see that It must also be lived; true salvation will always result in obedience to God .
“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)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
The narrow way is also about lifestyle. However, I hasten to add, too many rush on to lifestyle before they remember that salvation by the cross is fundamental and never to be forgotten. Having said that, It’s also about doing God’s will. Martin Luther wrote,
‘We are saved by faith alone but not by a faith that remains alone.’ (Martin Luther)
We are not saved by good works, but we certainly are saved for good works! The narrow way is not just about not sinning, it’s also about actively doing God’s will. Paul speaks of how becoming a Christian results in doing good,
‘But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.’ (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Jesus warns us that we can prophesy, cast out demons and perform miracles - sounds impressive - and yet be condemned by God! It’s not enough to look good on the outside and yet, privately, be living a life of sin. How serious are you about dealing with sin in your life? How serious are you about ‘doing the will of the Father’? How does the Holy Spirit want you to respond today?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - GET NARROW
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have a memorable experience of taking the wrong road or route?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus uses four illustrations (we'll cover three this week) to challenge the crowd that He's teaching - and us- to a decision: will we obey Him or not?
1. ENTER THE NARROW WAY
Please read Matthew 7:13-14
JESUS IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR
The narrow way is about Jesus being the only ways to salvation. Peter said to the crowds,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12
We cannot be saved from our good works. Paul taught,
‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 3:23-24
2. DEFEND NARROWNESS
Please read Matthew 7:15-20
We have to 'watch out' and learn to recognise wolves and those that are simply unhelpful. The 'flock' (local church) is defended in two ways:
God gives elders and other leaders who are to help the church to remain narrow. In our information age, it's important to prioritise the teaching of your local church elders.
Please read Acts 20:28-31
We must learn to defend ourselves. Church leaders and movements can go bad. It's important to pray for our leaders and talk to them if we feel uncomfortable with their teaching or behaviour.
3. DO - DO NARROW THINGS
We must enter, defend and do what's narrow.
Please read Matthew 7:21-23
These false prophets want us to abandon the narrow gate and road in favour of the broad. The broad way is living outside of the Lordship of Christ. The narrow gate and road is about obeying Jesus as His disciple. Those who truly know Jesus, will seek to obey Him.
I think that it's important to add that there's lots of teachers and teaching which is enjoyable but is simply a waste of time or promotes a 'self-help' approach to gaining success. Of course, there are no non-Christians from whom we can learn. However, Jesus wants us to be His disciple and to give our minds, predominantly, to learning from Him.
1. Did God Speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?
2. What is the narrow way?
3. How does one enter the narrow way?
3. How does one recognise false teachers?
4. How do you, or could you, give priority to learning from Jesus?
5. Jesus says that only those who 'do the will of my Father' will enter the kingdom of heaven.' We are saved by faith and not by works, so what does Jesus mean by this comment?
Serving, Investing and inviting
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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