Saturday, 12 May 2018

Why Many Who Try to Enter The Narrow Gate CANNOT Enter

Jesus told people to "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).

This teaching of Jesus is truly a frightening one. He said that many of those who professing to follow Him will not be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When they knock on the door, asking Him to open the door to them, and expecting Him to welcome them, only to find out that He tells them to depart for they are workers of iniquity:

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
(Luke 13:25-27).

This is truly frightening.  

Many of those who claim to follow Christ, the vast majority of them, are not true followers of Christ. For many of the sought Him, not because they truly loved Christ, but because of ulterior, or wrong motives. Many who are seeking Jesus are seeking what they can get from Him, not to obey Him and His teachings, as their Lord and Saviour.

Seeking Jesus is not the same as following Jesus. Seeking Jesus is simply to look for Jesus, whereas following Jesus requires one to obey Him and His teachings. 

The person who merely seeks Jesus but does not follow Jesus will often know much about who Jesus is, and His teachings. However, he or she will not truly understand the teachings of Jesus. He or she will obey the teachings of Jesus to some extent, but resist the teachings of Jesus that he or she find hard to accept. 

These hard teachings include the teachings that one cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24), one must totally deny oneself follow Christ (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34), and that one must love Christ far more than one's family members to truly follow Christ (Luke 14:26).

The resistance towards Christ's teachings that many professing followers of Christ manifest not necessarily in heated arguments or profane cursing in response to such teachings. Such resistance often manifests in an inability to truly understand what Jesus was teaching. When hearing such teaching, they will attempt to soften His teaching to justify themselves and to make themselves feel comfortable with His teachings. They will genuinely try qualify, exceptionalise, or twist the meaning of His teaching, when being confronted, rebuked or reminded of His hard teachings, all without realising it it because they cannot accept His teachings.

Many professing Christians, when confronted about a hard teaching of Jesus will accuse you of being "harsh" or "legalistic", the real reason being that they cannot accept it. They cannot understand His teachings, simply because they are not His. As Jesus said:
He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God (John 8:47).

Only the true followers of Christ hear His voice. Those who are not His followers cannot hear His voice:
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
(John 10:25-28)

Many professing followers of Christ are like the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-23, and in the parallel accounts of Mark 10:17-27 and Matthew 19:16-22. They are seeking Jesus, but they are not following Him. They obey Him only when it is benefits them or when it is convenient. Such obedience is disobedience. It is rebellion.

There are many in the Church who have a false guise of righteousness by regularly going to church, attending prayer groups, and adhering to 'conservative' moral values, but are inwardly full of rebellion against Christ. They are full of pride, arrogance and hypocrisy, manifest in their smug attitude towards those they perceive to be inferior to them, and their despicable neglect of the needy. 

Jesus, in speaking about separating the sheep and the goats, said that the sheep are His sheep, not simply because they did not commit sins, especially gross sins like murder, adultery, fornication, homosexuality,  blasphemy and damnable heresy. Rather, He said they are His sheep because they were full of love, manifested in their care for the needy:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
 (Mathew 25:35-40)

What makes one a follower of Christ is determine more by good works done for Christ, rather than simply refraining from sin. Rejecting and hating sin is what a true follower of Christ would do, and it is not simply refraining from doing evil that makes one a true follower of Christ. 

It is only by loving Christ,  and producing the good fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that demonstrates one is a true follower of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Remember what Jesus said:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

(Matthew 7:16-23)

Repent from your sins. Turn to Jesus Christ today. Live a life that follows and obeys Jesus Christ.