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Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:13-23 – The True Disciple

1 The way to destruction and a Narrow gate on the Way leading to Life

MT7:13 “Enter[1] by the Narrow Gate.[2] For the way to destruction is broad and roomy[3] and many are those entering by it.[4] MT7:14 For, narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life[5] and few are those finding it.[6]

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[1] Enter: The person described in the conclusion who ‘hears and does the teachings’ of the Nazarene as found in this sermon, is obviously a true or real disciple. The principles already laid out by the Nazarene may appear daunting to his audience, for it asks each one who will follow to go far beyond the Torah. It asks the would-be disciple to go beyond the letter to the spirit of the Law.

What is expected of the Nazarene disciple? Though this sermon does not dwell on doctrinal points of the Christ, it does allude to or infer several. These are called The Seven Principles and are outlined in the Lord’s Prayer. So, the Friend of the Nazarene would have to accept these primary points. The main thrust of the Mountain Teachings is ‘love your neighbor.’ The Nazarene Saint will have to become a New Person in dealings with neighbors: unselfish selflessness motivated by an interest which seeks the highest good of neighbor will characterize the ‘true disciple’ (For details see the book Nazarene Principles©).

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Serm...

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Sermon on the Mount Deutsch: Altpersische Miniatur mit Jesus (a.) bei der Bergpredigt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Narrow Gate: A gate may lead into a city or a home (Jeremiah 37:13; Acts 12:13, 14). The entrance to the Household of Faith is narrow and restrictive. The gate is the first element to enter such a Household. We might view these teachings of the Nazarene in his Mountain Teachings as part and parcel of this “gate” with its belief system and restrictive requirements, even demands, on that person who would desire ‘to follow the Lamb no matter where he goes.’ (Revelation 14:5) Though possessed of lofty requirements it is really the ideal of the New Person with the Transformed Mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:13, 15, 23, 24). The Nazarene is only asking that you be a decent and well-mannered human being. Even when an agnostic evolutionist is asked about the ideal person, a description of Christ (or that person of Jesus’ sermon) is forthcoming. Note Luke 13:24 and the effort needed to get through the narrow door.’ In Luke the ‘narrow door’ is in response to a question whether only a few are being saved. To this Jesus’ exhorts, ‘Strain every nerve’ (GDSP); or, ‘agonize the agony,’ if the literal Greek is favored. The “gate” seems to be that of the “sheepfold” and not a subject about the salvation of all humanity (John chapter 10).

[3] The way to destruction is broad and roomy: “Destruction” is often associated with Sheol or the grave in the Hebrew Bible (Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). It is that place all persons will enter with the possibility of escaping at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 2:13-15; Job 14:12-15). Those who enter the gate of the sheepfold or household of faith accept the ‘heavenly calling’ (Hebrews 3:1) and are transformed from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:1).

The way to Destruction is “broad and spacious” because it allows for a wide diversity of convictions and beliefs. The Narrow Gate must include the contents of the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings contained in Matthew chapters 5-7.

[4] Many are those entering by it: Paul teaches that “all” descendants of Adam go into Death and that “all” will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, some find “real life” during their lifetimes (1 Timothy 6:19). They are among the “few” in contrast to the billions who lose that opportunity described by Revelation 20:4, 6.

[5] Narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life: Various renderings: KJ: straight is the gate; KNX: how small is the gate; GDSP: the road is hard. The Mountain Teachings demonstrate the narrowness and rigidity of the Nazarene’s requirements for entrance into the Realm of Profession.

[6] Few are those finding it: Perhaps “find” applies to the ultimate attainment of the Kingdom of the Father. Note that Daniel 12:2, with reference to the resurrection of the Saints, “many” are mentioned. Whereas, Paul says “all” with reference to all Adam’s children (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The final tally of the Church will be “few” compared to the totality of those raised at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:5, 13-15).

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love

Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment

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Additional reading

  1. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  2. Obtain favour from Yahweh
  3. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still

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Further reading

  1. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Contrasts
  2. Two Gates
  3. Enter the Narrow Gate
  4. Life’s Narrow and Wide Gates
  5. 8. Doors and Destinations
  6. A Narrow Door…
  7. The Narrow Gate
  8. The Narrow Gate (by Jack Bailey)
  9. Daily Mass: The narrow gate. Catholic Inspiration
  10. The Protestant – Catholic divide – The Narrow and the Wide Gates
  11. Love, Entering the Narrow Gate
  12. The Narrow Way
  13. Religious Theology – The wide gate!
  14. Taking responsibility – the narrow gate that leads to life
  15. Difficult is the Way that Leads to Life
  16. Those Who Find It Are Few.
  17. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  18. against the stream
  19. How to choose between the wide and the narrow
  20. How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 3
  21. Guard My Feet Lord
  22. But Officer, It’s the “Spirit” of the Law
  23. How to be a spirit-of-the-law or hope-based leader
  24. You are a spiritual being: Act like one
  25. From nobodies to somebodies
  26. Day 16 – How much more valuable is a person?
  27. Matthew ch. 15
  28. The Path of Love
  29. footprints and deep mental paths
  30. The Renewed Mind: When the Impossible Seems Logical
  31. The Cost of Discipleship
  32. The Cost of Discipleship (discussion questions)
  33. Be serious, strive hard – January 12, 2017
  34. The Way home Psalm 56:3-4 Luke 13:22-30
  35. Navel-Gazing vs Finding the Real Cause of it All!
  36. Urgency
  37. Turnstile Salvation
  38. Awaken
  39. Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14
  40. The Crumb That Turns Stale With Time

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A look at materialism

In our Belgian ecclesiae this fortnight we take a look at that what keeps so many busy these times. After the financial crisis it may look as if many people are not any-more so interested to get capital gain, but be not fooled, they still aim to enrich themselves, but much more with material things they can hold onto or dispose when not any more of use or not any more in fashion.

Lots of people are interested to get the most recent new gadgets. That this pursuit of pleasure can crowd out godly devotion we clearly can see in the many church denominations which all lost church members. Most people are not any more interested in God and His commands.

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter in Tyre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a world where many have fallen victim to greed and selfishness. Because of the prevailing commercial climate, much emphasis is placed on wealth. Hence, a Christian does well to examine himself to be sure that he is not falling into the same trap that ensnared the commercial city of Tyre. Does he spend so much of his time and energy in material pursuits that he is, in fact, a slave of riches? (Matthew 6:24) Is he envious of some who may have more or better possessions than he has? (Galatians 5:26) If he happens to be wealthy, does he proudly feel that he deserves more attention or privileges than others do? (Compare James 2:1-9.) If he is not rich, is he “determined to be rich,” whatever the cost? (1 Timothy 6:9) Is he so occupied with business matters that he leaves only a very small corner in his life for serving God? (2 Timothy 2:4) Does he become so consumed with the pursuit of wealth that he ignores Christian principles in his business practices?—1 Timothy 6:10.

Could it be that we need to make immediate adjustments in this regard? Granted, some benefits are derived from bodily training and recreation. Yet, such rewards are small compared with everlasting life. (1 John 2:25)
Today, many are “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power,” and we need to turn away from such individuals. (2 Timothy 3:4, 5)

3 But know this, that in the last days+ critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power;+ and from these turn away. From among these arise men who slyly work their way into households and captivate weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-4, 5-7)

Those who place emphasis on godly devotion are

“safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:19.

On From Guestwriters there are several articles placed which show how Materialism is a snare to many.

We may deceive even ourselves, “thinking that godly devotion is a means of [material] gain.” Thus, we could be emboldened to take improper advantage of the trust shown by fellow believers. (1 Timothy 6:5) We might even wrongly conclude that it is all right to press a prosperous Christian for a loan that we are unlikely to be able to repay. (Psalm 37:21) But it is godly devotion, not the acquisition of material things, that “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Since ‘we brought nothing into the world and cannot carry anything out,’ let us more intently pursue “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” and allow ourselves to be ‘content with sustenance and covering.’1 Timothy 6:6-11.

A lifetime of hard work in the pursuit of a secular career or material prosperity will not necessarily mean that one will “see good” if it is done to the exclusion of spiritual things. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority it well can be we will miss the boat. Only seeing those things others have and wanting to have them oneself, might pull us in a black hole. The envy man has, brings him into the darkness of the world and blinds him to see the real true light.

Jesus described the consequences of misdirected effort in his illustration of the sower. Regarding the seed “sown among the thorns,” Jesus explained that “this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) Paul also warned of the same trap and added that those who pursue a materialistic course “fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” What is the antidote for such a spiritually ruinous way of life?

constant disputes about minor matters by men who are corrupted in mind+ and deprived of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.+ To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion+ along with contentment.* For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.+ So, having food* and clothing,* we will be content with these things.+

But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare+ and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+

11 However, you, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness.+ 12 Fight the fine fight of the faith; get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:5-6-11-12)

17 Instruct* those who are rich in the present system of things* not to be arrogant,* and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches,+ but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy.+ 18 Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous,* ready to share,+ 19 safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future,+ so that they may get a firm hold on the real life.+ (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavati...

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavation site – supposed palaestra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please do find to read:

  1. Luxury
  2. Summermonths and consumerism
  3. The business of this life
  4. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  5. London an exaggerated microcosm of the UK at large
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #6 Transport factor of immobilising financial growth
  7. Democratic downfall
  8. The Existence of Evil
  9. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  10. Being ‘broke’ a state of mind
  11. Less for more
  12. Less… is still enough
  13. Gender connections
  14. Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft
  15. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  16. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  17. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  18. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  19. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  20. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  21. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  22. Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others
  23. Hoarding Relationships and Things
  24. Forward ever backwards never!
  25. 30 things to start doing for yourself – #6 is vital.
  26. Watch out
  27. Stop and Think
  28. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  29. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  31. A bird’s eye and reflecting from within
  32. We all have to have dreams
  33. Material gain to honour God
  34. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  35. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  36. Bearing fruit
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  38. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  39. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone

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