“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

At once we are reminded of some of the outstanding characteristics of this Christian life to which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ calls us.

The first thing we notice is that it is a life which is narrow or strait at the very beginning.

Immediately it is narrow. It is not a life which at first is fairly broad, and which as you go on becomes narrower and narrower. No!

The gate itself, the very way of entering into this life, is a narrow one. It is important to stress and impress that point because, from the standpoint of evangelism, it is essential. When worldly wisdom and carnal motives enter into evangelism you will find that there is no ‘strait gate.’

Too often the impression is given that to be a Christian is after all very little different from being a non-Christian, that you must not think of Christianity as a narrow life, but as something most attractive and wonderful and exciting, and that you come in in crowds. It is not so according to our Lord.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is too honest to invite anybody in that way. It does not try to persuade us that it is something very easy, and that it is only later on that we shall begin to discover it is hard. The gospel of Jesus Christ openly and uncompromisingly announces itself as being something which starts with a narrow entrance, a strait gate.

At the very beginning it is absolutely essential that we should realize that. Let us look at this in a little more detail. We are told at the very outset of this way of life, before we start on it, that if we would walk along it there are certain things which must be left outside, behind us.

There is no room for them, because we have to start by passing through a strait and narrow gate. I like to think of it as a turnstile. It is just like a turnstile that admits one person at a time and no more. And it is so narrow that there are certain things which you simply cannot take through with you.

It is exclusive from the very beginning, and it is important that we should look at this Sermon in order to see some of the things which must be left behind. The first thing we leave behind is what is called worldliness. We leave behind the crowd, the way of the world. ‘Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’

You must start by realizing that, by becoming a Christian, you become something exceptional and unusual. You are making a break with the world, and with the crowd, and with the vast majority of people. It is inevitable; and it is important that we should know it. The Christian way of life is not popular. It never has been popular, and it is not popular today.

It is unusual, exceptional, strange, and it is different. On the other hand, crowding through the wide gate and traveling along the broad way is the thing that everybody else seems to be doing. You deliberately get out of that crowd and you start making your way towards this strait and narrow gate, alone. You cannot take the crowd with you into the Christian life: it inevitably involves a break.[1]

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


[1] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959-60], 479-480.

HT: Do Not Be Surprised…

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