February 18, 2019 ● 19-13
Matt. 7:13-14: Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Eph. 4:15: but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
Heb. 6:1: Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.
2 Pet. 3:18: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Recently my wife and I drove down to Marion to have dinner with our daughter Katherine and her three sons, our grandsons, Theo, Henry, and Oliver. We met them to celebrate Ollie’s third birthday. On the way down we noticed the northbound traffic on I-57 north at Dix was really backed up due to a semitruck that had slid off the road the day before due to ice.
The side of the road was a mess with parts of the trailer and its cargo all over the side of the highway. Highway crews and law enforcement were trying to clean up the area but it was a real mess, not to mention it was raining. When we left Marion coming home we discovered through the joy of our map app that northbound I-57 at Dix was completely shut down because work crews were trying to pull the trailer off the side of the road and move it out. We decided to take I-64 out of Mt. Vernon towards St. Louis, then off on Highway 51 north through Centralia to get home. There were two roads for us to get home – I-57 or I-64 and Highway 51.
Matthew 5-7 is known as the Sermon on the Mount. This great sermon is simply Jesus teaching on how to live as a Christian. Beginning with 7.13 through the end of the chapter, Jesus used three word picture comparisons to wrap up this teaching: the two roads, the two trees, and the two builders. Verses thirteen and fourteen give us the picture of two roads and two gates: the wide gate and the broad way, and the small gate and the narrow way. In these two verses Jesus taught about discipleship: the small gate and narrow way are a picture of the road of the disciple, the follower of Jesus Christ. This road and gate are a picture of the person who takes discipleship seriously and walks the road on the pursuit of spiritual maturity to the day he meets Jesus in glory.
The wide gate and the broad way are a picture of the person who may claim faith in Jesus Christ but never grows as a disciple. For this person, discipleship is something someone else does, maybe the pastor (because hey, that’s what they pay pastors to do, right?), or the Sunday School teacher or deacon or missionary. However, this person believes he does not have the time for all this discipleship stuff and frankly cannot think of where in her schedule she could fit it.
The truth is, every Christian is a disciple. The moment a person places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ he becomes a disciple of Christ. A disciple is simply a follower of Jesus, a pupil, a student of Jesus. The disciple follows the master, learns from the master, listens to and obeys the master’s teaching. The disciple, in time, becomes a maker of other disciples; that is what we have been called to do, that is our commission as Christians. Because every Christian is a disciple, the question is, what kind of disciple are you, am I, are we?
We are either obedient disciples or disobedient disciples; we are either growing in our relationship with Christ or we are not. And if we are not growing, if we are not obedient, if we are not pursuing the kingdom of God and His righteousness as Jesus taught in Matt. 6:33, are we truly disciples? Has there really been a change of heart, has there really been transformation?
How are we to understand the road of the disciple Jesus teaches about in Matt. 7:13-14?
- The maturing disciple is the picture of the road;
- Intentional pursuit of discipleship is the plan for the road. This pursuit must be:
INTENTIONAL – you must pursue spiritual maturity in your life;
PRACTICAL – the Word of God must lead to application in life;
CONTINUAL – you must constantly seek growth in Christ on a daily basis.
- The presence of spiritual fruit is the proof we are on the road.
There are four important lessons Matt. 7:13-14 teach us:
- Discipleship is both an expectation and a choice. God expects His children to grow, and that growth is dependent on whether we pursue it or not.
- God has given us everything we need to pursue spiritual maturity.
- No one is exempt from growth in spiritual maturity.
- God saves us as disciples who make other disciples.
I want to encourage you to allow God’s Word to equip you as you walk the road of the disciple. Time is not the issue, we all have twenty-four hours in a day, no more and no less. The question is, are we being good stewards of that time that God gives us?
Let the following portions of Scripture help you in your pursuit of spiritual maturity:
John 15:5-8, 16; Rom 12:9-21; Col. 3:1-17; Phil. 3:7-10