On Track to Glory


    On the Track to Glory

Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus had recently begun his Galilean ministry. He seemed to be like rambling around in unsystematic fashion from a collections of fragmentary reflections from His knowledge of the Word with the Sermon on the Mount[1]where He shares the Beatitudes – blessed are those who are poor in spirit; blessed are the meek; blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the merciful; blessed for the pure in heart; blessed are the peacemakers; blessed are those who are persecuted; blessed are those who are insulted

He then talked about Salt and Light; He talked about the fulfillment of the Law;  He talked about murder; about adultery; about divorce, about Oaths; about an eye for an eye; about loving your enemies; about giving to the needy; He talked about prayer, about fasting, He talked about not to worry; about judging others, about ask, seek, knock, and, He talked about the narrow and wide gates.” [2]

He then talks to them about a tree and its fruit, and finally in that rambling, He give a parable about a wise and foolish builder.  What was Jesus doing with his ramblings?  He was sharing some collections of fragmented reflections from His own God experience and the Word of God from his youth for the purpose of getting people to realize the way to glory, to eternal life, to the eternal presence of God; down-to-earth practical ways of living as one who travels his way to heaven, knowing that we can’t follow all of those guidelines, but they are great goals and  objectives to follow.

Jesus looked at his disciples (students, interns), I said a lot to you here today, but I want you to listen up for this is important, and He said to them: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” You have the way, the track on which to get to glory, the narrow road to heaven. As I told you earlier, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”[3]

 It’s kind of like a railroad track.  A railroad track has a destination; it is a narrow road.  A train can only reach the determined destination if it stays on track.  If the train runs off the track, you have mass destruction. You know from television news that the derailment of a train can be pretty messy; cars ramming into each other in disarray, contents spread all over the place, fire, and destruction everywhere; toxic fallout, and life maimed and killed along the derailment.  It is an ugly picture.

So. what is Jesus saying to us about staying on track?  Staying on track is important.  Don’t get sidetracked with the world’s ideas, with every which way to get you to heaven.  It just won’t happen. How do you know when people are on track – people who are aboveboard, honest, honorable, serious, truthful, transparent, moral, have integrity, right conduct, they might be said to be on the straight and narrow, like a train who stays on a railroad track.

A person who travels by train is cramped, defined, limited, precise.  On the other hand, one who travels by car, or some other means can do side trips, see a lot of different places, do whatever they want to do, but remember that the broad way is the way to destruction. 

For example, there are 4200 (give or take a few) religions around the world. Each of those religions have a set of guidelines that are pretty good for one to live by, but there is only one way (one track to glory) to die by. Jesus said it, “I am the way, the truth, the life, and NO ONE comes to the Father except through me!

Now let’s see, why are some excluded from heaven? It’s a choice.  It’s by taking the wide gate, the broad road.  It is by doing our own thing.  It is by preferring the darkness of the world.

It is NOT because a mean and hateful God keeps people out of heaven. People keep themselves out of heaven.  God wants everyone to be in heaven eternally. “For God so loved the world (everyone in it) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”[4]

No, God never excludes one from heaven, it is by one’s own choice to excludes himself; it is that they prefer the darkness; selfish motives, pride, ego, wanting their own way, traveling the broad road. They are accustomed to darkness and prefer it; worldly living a habit of lies, stealing, cheating, dishonesty, immorality, shady character, acting under the cover of darkness, disloyal, and hypocritical.

The Lord teaches that the judgment that excludes the unrepentant is due to the Lord recognizing their preference and consigning them to the outer dark they prefer.[5]  They cannot stand the bright light of heaven where the truth of God radiates, vividly and intensely, leaving no shadow.  One who loves darkness, who lives in darkness, will get his wish – darkness.  One who spends eternity with the darkness of hell is by his own choice, not the choice of God.

Indeed, the Lamb of the Light is the city of God![6] The sad truth is those prefer darkness would be most miserable in heaven. For those who hate the truth see the truth as hateful and irksome, and those who prefer the darkness experience, rather than the light as a harsh experience would not be happy in heaven.

We see this frequently today when secular people denounce their opponents of faith as hateful and phobic and want to exclude them from their world.  Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.[7] If our treasure is what we value most, is the world, then our heart is in the world.

If our treasure is God and the things of heaven, then our heart is there. As most of us know, this is the great human drama. A very honest question that even Church-going Christians must ask is, “Do I love God more than this world?” The honest answer for most is that we struggle to love God most of all.

Many look to the world around us today, if not most, are obsessed with the things and priorities of the world and have marginalized God; some have marginalized Him completely. Their treasure and preoccupation is here, and so also is their heart. Our god is ourselves.  We believe we are our own god – our pride, ego, our own will, our own actions motivated by our pride and ego. Far fewer are those who long for God and have their life directed to him and the things of heaven.

And therefore, we must constantly ask the Lord to fix and redirect our hearts to God in the direction toward heaven, toward getting up back on track for glory. 

The idiom on the straight and narrow is derived from the passage in the Bible, Matthew 7:13-14: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” On the straight and narrow is often used to describe people who have reformed themselves from a previous, immoral or ungodly lifestyle or a false religious idea.

Again, the only way to glory is straight and narrow – through accepting his shed blood for my sins, and in faith believe that Jesus takes us home to heaven.  We are human, humans are sinful, we humans are not perfect, we cannot be perfect, we cannot fulfill any religious law or guidebooks.  Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, Taoism, Scientology, and many of the other 4200 religions have some great principles of life, but all depend on fulfilling the laws of the religion (if one is broken, all is broken) and we are not capable to do it within ourselves.  We just don’t have the capacity to be perfect. 

Only Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the only One perfect, can pay for my sins. He did that on the cross by dying for me – not for himself – but for me so that I may be perfect in God’s sight – He became my substitute, his death was for me, so when I stand before the Judgment of God, and have to say, “Father, I’m guilty of all the ugly things I’ve ever done,” my advocate, Christ Jesus stands up and says to God, “Father, my client is guilty, but I paid the penalty for all of his guilt, so I stand before you today that my client is righteous before the Judgment bar of God.
What an advocate. He stands guilty for me; He paid my penalty; I deserve an eternal punishment in hell; but He just stood before the Judgment bar of God and announced that I have innocent and are admitted to glory. 

How could anyone refuse that offer, to repent of my sins and accept Jesus’ as my advocate.


[1] Matthew chapters 5-7

[2] Matthew 7:13-14

[3] John 14:6

[4] John 3:16

[5] Matthew 22:13-14

[6] Revelations 21:23

[7] Luke 12:33

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