Broad Easy Conversion: the Wide Gate vs the Narrow Gate

In this day when compromise in the Christian church is growing worse and worse, this is an important sermon.  These notes are long, but worth your time.  Link to the full sermon is at the end of the notes.

Broad Easy Conversion

Matthew 7:13-29

What has led to so many false professing Christians? Shallow evangelism, followed by a man-made unbiblical tradition called the “altar call” is replacing biblical signs of conversion with man-made physical actions that anyone can perform. This has led to many false conversions, and therefore many false professing Christians. “Raise your hand, come to the front, repeat these words after me” you can do all these things and go to hell just as quickly as the person you are sitting beside because these things do not save. They have no saving merit at all. They are unbiblical.

To be truly saved, you need to be convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit, repent of your sin,that means turn from it, and trust in Jesus as your Saviour. Then afterwards you have a life of gospel holiness as a natural consequence of your conversion. Philippians 3:17-20

The false Christian’s slip is always showing. They are hostile to a holy life and governed by self-will or they are proud of their sin. They are consumed with a worldly mind-set. These are signs of a mere profession.

What is Christ’s teaching concerning the symptoms of the false professing Christian? Matthew 7, the sermon on the mount. It is right here that the Lord gives very plain teaching on the subject. This sermon is about the kingdom of heaven and the citizens of that kingdom. It is not a moral code for everybody to follow, that is impossible, it is not that. The sermon on the mount is a description of the citizens of God’s kingdom, true Christians and what they characterize in their life. He describes the blessedness of the citizens of the kingdom of God, what they are to be – salt and light, he describes their lifestyle, what God demands of them, the spiritual depths of the ten commandments. Christ tells us of the drastic sanctification or holiness of the citizens of the kingdom. The sermon tells us how they are to pray and give, their other worldliness in their character, they are not materialistic. Christians have respect for other people.

This sermon was just to Christ’s disciples, but by the time that Jesus is finishing the sermon, he is surrounded by many people who have gathered.. As Christ concludes his sermon he begins to apply it and begins to answer the very obvious question that many people are wondering about.. the question is “how can I get into the kingdom? how can I become a real Christian? and that is what Jesus deals with in his conclusion. And please notice that he does not say “raise your hand, come to the front, repeat these words”. Jesus did not say to them “it is all so simple and easy” no Jesus tells them just the opposite, he tells them the different between true and false conversion: Matthew 7:13-14

This passage about the two gates and two ways has been wrongly interpreted by many people for years. The wide gate and the wide way is not the world, it’s not the non-professing world, that is not the wide gate and the wide way. The whole context is the kingdom of God, the world never comes through a gate of conversion whether that is wide or narrow. The Lord is talking about entering the kingdom. The world does not make any pretense at all about entering the kingdom through any kind of gate. The Lord is talking about the difference between true and false conversion. He is talking about the difference between those who say they are in God’s kingdom and are going to heaven, and those who say they are in God’s kingdom but are not going to heaven. They came through a wide gate that was so easy, a wide gate of false conversion. Jesus is not talking about Christians and the world but he is talking about the difference between true and false conversion.

Look at verses 15 to the end of the chapter, Christ continually talks about the differences between the true and the false Christian. The two gates of conversion. The difference is:

1. True conversion is the “strait” gate, narrow, constricting, like a turnstile. This gate is so small that you can hardly get through, you must leave all your baggage behind to get through. Christ is emphasizing the difficulty of getting through the narrow gate. It’s a struggle, and is followed by a narrow way. A dangerous, difficult, mountain trail so narrow that you have to watch every step. It’s this way, says Christ, that leads to life and few there be that find it. That is how the Lord pictures true conversion.

2. False conversion is described as a “wide” gate, broad, very spacious. The emphasis is that you can just come through the way you are, you leave nothing behind, you are just the same after because the gate is so wide. Christ says after this is the broad way, an expansive way. Jesus says there are many on that way and it leads to destruction. This conversion is made easy because it is so wide. You can walk where you like, you don’t have to watch what you do or where you go in this false conversion..

They both present themselves as entrances to the kingdom of God. True conversion is narrow and difficult and God’s will is that narrow way that you walk on for the rest of your life. That is why the true Christian is very careful of how they live, what they do, where they go. Because they have to watch their step. They have to flee all appearance of evil like the new testament says, because they are on a narrow way. False conversion is a wide gate,”it’s so easy to come to Jesus”. Is it? So easy to become a Christian, you just raise your hand, you don’t have to leave anything behind, repeat these words after me and afterwards you can walk wherever you like. That is false conversion. This leads to destruction, this broad way.

Christ said that true conversion is not easy, it is not wide and there is a narrow path that follows it. False conversion is easy and wide and there is a broad way that follows it and you can do whatever you want. I have bad news, I honestly think that many evangelists have presented a big broad gate under the pretense of it leading to life, and afterwards there are thousands of professing Christians traveling along a broad way in their life, living as they please, not watching where they go or what they do, they have been told “you are still saved but you are not sanctified”. That is an excuse to make up for deficient evangelism. “They are saved but not sanctified” there is no such thing. The problem is that they never came through a narrow gate where all the baggage must be left out, and they are not on the narrow path that leads to life.

The problem is that many people have gone through the broad gate of “easy believism” and their unsanctified lives proves that they are on the highway to hell. But they are convinced that they are going to heaven. If you don’t believe this ask people who say they are Christians, how many were convicted of their sin, and how many said they just raised their hand, I came to the front, I remember the day. It was so easy. Christ never once says that conversion is easy, he says the opposite.

Christ continues his teaching on the difference between true and false by telling us about the false preachers and false teachers who lead people astray. V15 People that say different things from Jesus about conversion are false preachers and they are ushering people down that broad way.

What about you? did you come through the narrow gate where things were left behind? it wasn’t easy losing things that you held dear for the sake of Christ. That is true conversion. Are you picking your steps carefully along that narrow path of God’s will diligently, with the glory of God on your mind. are you on the narrow way that leads to life? or was it just a broad easy profession that has led you to a broad way where you don’t have to pick your steps at all. That is true and false conversion. The narrow gate is still open, the narrow way is not yet blocked. It’s difficult, you will fall sometimes, but it is a beautiful way.

You won’t be content with the broad easy false conversion if you have a hunger for the real thing. Today you can be truly converted. you can enter God’s kingdom right this day but the entrance is the narrow gate. To get through it you will have to cry out to God, confessing your sin. Then you can get through the narrow gate that leads to life. Someday that narrow gate will be closed, so do it today if you feel the Holy Spirit convicting you.
________________________________________________________________

These notes were made by myself from the sermon by Paul Dowling of Whiteabbey Congregational at Sermon Audio.. link below:

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=510761830

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