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Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 11:52 AM
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the way and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Matthew 7:13-23

The first thing that I want to say by this scripture is that the way to life is narrow and difficult. It is something where we must crucify our flesh which is not an easy process. It is difficult for us to deny ourselves on a daily basis, and to take up our crosses, and to follow him. It involves resisting temptation, and that is not easy because any time temptation comes, it is because we are being drawn away by our own desires and enticed. Therefore to resist temptation we must fight against ourselves, against our very nature (of the flesh). The good news is that we have a nature besides that of our flesh which helps us to overcome in the midst of our battle. If we are consistently in a state of communion with God, I believe temptation will not even come because our desire is set toward Him and how then can our desire go in the direction of any temptation?

But there is also the demonic realm to think about. If it were a matter of simply dealing with our flesh, the Holy Spirit is able to do that and we would never have any desires toward temptation. But when a devil comes and tempts you, he is working on your flesh to make alive those desires toward sin. Therefore any time we are tempted, if we have been walking with God, the first step is according to James 4:7. We first submit to God by calling on Him to help us in the midst of our trial. Then we take authority over the demonic by commanding it to leave us in the name of Jesus Christ.


The second thing I want to relate to you by the scriptures at hand is what is spoken of in the next portion of scripture from what I have just related, which is that a tree is known by its fruit. To understand this in full will be convicting to the sinner, because Jesus is saying that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Therefore if you are bearing bad fruit of any kind you are not a good tree. Therefore if you are a bearer of bad fruit you must repent of your sin and ask God to not only forgive you, but to dwell in the deepest part of you and to permeate your entire being. If He does this...if you let Him do this, then you will be free of bearing any bad fruit and will only bear good fruit from thenceforth.

Notice that in the next section in question Jesus says that not everyone who says to Him, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of His Father in heaven. He goes on to say that the reason He will say 'I never knew you, depart from me' on that day is because the people in question are workers of iniquity (in the OKJV), those who practice lawlessness. I believe that the NKJV translation of this in rendering it 'lawlessness' is unfortunate because it is confusing to the rest of scripture. The scripture makes it clear that as born again Christians we are not under the law and that might be constituted as lawlessness. Yet Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle would pass from the law until heaven and earth pass away, until all is accomplished. He came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. Therefore, although we are not bound to the law, yet we are still subject to the law in our minds (Romans 8:7) and hopefully also in our hearts. If we are not subject to the law of God in the Spirit then we are not walking according to the Spirit, but to put it more simply, if we are obedient to the Spirit then we will not do anything contrary to the law of God, because His Spirit controls us. And if His Spirit does not control us then we are not true Christians but are only professors of the faith without a real born again experience that lasts to this day. Galatians 5:22-23 declares that if we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) there is no law that will come against such fruit and condemn us for evil.

Therefore the law is a tutor to lead us to Christ, and once we are come to Christ we are no longer under a tutor because we have been fully trained and will walk according to the training given to us by that tutor.

One other thing about the narrow way. Psalm 119:96 says that the commandment of the Lord is exceeding broad. Therefore to enter in by trying to keep the commandments of God is the broad way that leads to destruction. We are to enter in through the narrow way: Jesus is that door. Then, once we have entered, we find before ourselves a broad section of highway that is easy to walk upon. The difficult part of entering into that place is that we must crucify ourselves in order to get into that place.

There are basically two broad highways, because even after we are born again God wants us to keep His commandment to show forth that we love Him (John 14:21). One highway has no narrow gate upon it, that is the path of those who seek to enter in through law-keeping. The second path is narrow at the start and becomes so narrow that few can even enter by it, but at the very end of that narrowness and difficulty (which consists of dying to self) it broadens and becomes an obedience, not to the letter of the law, but to the Holy Spirit.

Continue to pray for the outpouring of God's Spirit on all flesh, and that the visible body of Christ may become the true body of Christ; in other words, that God will take hypocrisy out of the church. I pray this with you in the name of Jesus Christ.

Agape and Phileo in Christ Jesus,

Geoffrey Primanti

mikebr
Jun 27th 2008, 01:08 PM
Does it say anywhere in scripture that we must crucify our own flesh. Crucifixion is the only form of capital punishment that a man cannot do to himself.

I AM crucified with Christ. It has been done. Its not my work its his. He is the vine I am simply His branches. I bear the fruit that He alone can produce.

walked
Jun 27th 2008, 01:11 PM
Does it say anywhere in scripture that we must crucify our own flesh. Crucifixion is the only form of capital punishment that a man cannot do to himself.

I AM crucified with Christ. It has been done. Its not my work its his. He is the vine I am simply His branches. I bear the fruit that He alone can produce.

My reborn/alive Spirit can crucify my fallen/dead flesh.
My flesh can not crucify itself.

Kahtar
Jun 27th 2008, 01:28 PM
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Luk 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 07:34 PM
Please read my post more carefully. If you are in Christ then your flesh has been crucified, you do not sin (see 1 John 3:9). If you are not in Christ then Jesus said, "Deny yourself and take up your Cross and follow me." Even if you are in Christ this is His mandate, but if you are in Christ then it is done, not something you must do, although it is something you must maintain.

I said that once you have come through the narrow door, which is Jesus Himself, the way is broad. But until you come to Him, the way is narrow and difficult. Notice that in the original scripture it says that the way to life is difficult. How do you account for this difficulty? Why is it difficult? I tell you it is because in the process of entering in the flesh must be crucified. If you want a scripture reference, try Romans 8:13. Also Romans 6:6 and 7 speaks of crucifixion of the flesh as past, which indicates to me that it had to happen at some point in those who are saved, and if it hasn't happened in you, then it needs to happen.

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 07:36 PM
Also the vine/branches analogy is separate from the analogy of "a tree is known by its fruit," in Matthew chapter 7.

mikebr
Jun 27th 2008, 08:00 PM
Please read my post more carefully. If you are in Christ then your flesh has been crucified, you do not sin (see 1 John 3:9). If you are not in Christ then Jesus said, "Deny yourself and take up your Cross and follow me." Even if you are in Christ this is His mandate, but if you are in Christ then it is done, not something you must do, although it is something you must maintain.

I said that once you have come through the narrow door, which is Jesus Himself, the way is broad. But until you come to Him, the way is narrow and difficult. Notice that in the original scripture it says that the way to life is difficult. How do you account for this difficulty? Why is it difficult? I tell you it is because in the process of entering in the flesh must be crucified. If you want a scripture reference, try Romans 8:13. Also Romans 6:6 and 7 speaks of crucifixion of the flesh as past, which indicates to me that it had to happen at some point in those who are saved, and if it hasn't happened in you, then it needs to happen.

How do you maintain it; by keeping the law? ....the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me.

When I stopped trying to do anything myself is when I started bearing the fruit that comes from Him. For He is Love, Peace, Joy, Longsuffering, etc All I do is walk in what He has done and continues to do. If you are doing anything in your own self ......that is the flesh.

mikebr
Jun 27th 2008, 08:02 PM
Also the vine/branches analogy is separate from the analogy of "a tree is known by its fruit," in Matthew chapter 7.

That in no way changes the fact that I am a container and He is the source. He produces the fruit I simple bear it. If I am bearing His fruit people will know Him not me.

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 08:32 PM
You maintain it by resisting temptation and by continuing to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13)

I agree that anything we try to do in and of ourself is of the flesh, although His Spirit becomes one with our spirit when we are born again (1 Corinthians 6:17), and therefore His will in us also becomes our will if we are in Him. Granted He is the source, but we need to take our part in it. 1 John 5:18 says, "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who is born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him."

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 08:36 PM
That in no way changes the fact that I am a container and He is the source. He produces the fruit I simple bear it. If I am bearing His fruit people will know Him not me.

The point I am making by the Matthew passage is that a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit. A good tree does not bear bad fruit and a bad tree does not bear good fruit. If you want to insist on the vine/branches analogy and want to mix metaphors, then a good tree is one that is actually a branch in the vine, and a bad tree is a branch outside of the vine.

Sold Out
Jun 27th 2008, 08:40 PM
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; " Titus 3:5

"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Galatians 3:1-3

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 09:24 PM
Dear Sold Out:
(please read all the way through before you respond)

If it's a choice between Jesus and Paul, I choose Jesus. And He said,

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will in no wise pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20)

He also said, "He who has My commmandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves me will be loved of My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

The apostle John said the following: "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:3-4)

I ask you, Sold Out, do you yourself keep His commandments? Keep in mind that Jesus is God, if you don't believe this you will die in your sins, probably because you abide by the New Testament only, not realizing that Jesus is also the God of the Old Testament, and His commandments are across the board.

In answer to the scriptures you posted, I am going by Romans 8:13, no I am not being made perfect by the flesh, I am continuing to resist sin by the power of the Spirit. God has given the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

The washing of regeneration frees me from the power of sin, which John defines as the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), or as lawlessness.

And if you continue reading the passage in Ephesians that you quoted, you will see that being saved by grace through faith produces good works, if we are not producing good works it is a sign that we are not saved by grace through faith, see also James 1:22-23 and 2:17-26.

Sold Out
Jun 27th 2008, 09:37 PM
I agree that a person who has accepted Christ should (and I stress should) produce good works. It truly is the logical next step in a Christian's life.

The reality is most don't. For many reasons...like the parable Jesus gave in Matthew 13 about the various kinds of seed/soil. The last two deal with Christians. One took root and grew, but the thorns choked (cares of this world) but the last one fell on good ground and produced (good works).

"7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

I think where we may not see eye to eye is that you believe salvation is Jesus plus good works. I believe it's Jesus only. I didn't do anything good to have salvation, therefore I can't do anything good to keep it.

Good works and righteous living determine our REWARDS not our destination.

If you add requirements in addition to the cross of Christ, then he died for nothing. Otherwise he could have stayed in heaven and avoided crucifixion and instead sent down a rule book for us to follow.

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 10:10 PM
Dear Sold Out:

There is a sense in which righteous living does determine our destination. I know that you are taking the same tack that Paul used, and i don't condemn you for it. Likewise i hope you won't condemn me for using the same tack as James. He wrote: (James 2:24) "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."

In context, James was saying that if you say you have faith and are not producing works you're simply a liar. We come to salvation through the narrow door, that is Jesus Christ. The law is our tutor to lead us to Christ, and when we are no longer under a tutor it does not mean that we do not lilve by the teachings of that tutor, we have been fully trained by him. Having been trained by the law we have come to Christ and do not depart from keeping His laws once we are born again. But we keep His laws in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. We keep the commandments of God, we are not lying when we say that we know Him.

But we keep the commandments at a much deeper level than if we were going by the letter. The letter says, "Do not kill, or you are in danger of the judgment" the newness of the spirit is a born again disposition to not even get angry (see Matthew 5:21-22).

The washing of regeneration keeps us from going against God's laws. There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore if we walk according to the Spirit we will also fulfill the law (Romans 8:4), or rather, the law will be fulfilled in us by no other thing than the love of God itself (Romans 5:5, 13:8-10).

Kahtar
Jun 27th 2008, 10:11 PM
I just went back and read every post of GoG's, and did not find anywhere that he suggested or implied that salvation is Jesus plus good works. Quite the contrary, in fact.Seems what is being written is not being read.

Gift of God
Jun 27th 2008, 10:18 PM
I missed a part about what you wrote, and what i am about to say may blow you away based on my previous post, but I also believe that salvation comes by Jesus alone. However, if we believe in Jesus we will go by His teaching. Believing in Jesus is not the same as simply saying you believe in Jesus. Read Matthew 5:1-8:4. I have begun a practice of reading this passage every day, and it has revolutionized my thinking. It is the core of Jesus' teaching. If you do this I think that God will even show you my perspective in time.

Sold Out
Jun 27th 2008, 10:38 PM
Dear Sold Out:

There is a sense in which righteous living does determine our destination. I know that you are taking the same tack that Paul used, and i don't condemn you for it. Likewise i hope you won't condemn me for using the same tack as James. He wrote: (James 2:24) "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."
).

First of all James is addressing CHRISTIANS in that chapter (my brethren) is not speaking of saving faith, but of serving faith.

If you believe that righteous living plays a part in your salvation, then you had better pull out the verses from your bible that say we are saved APART FROM WORKS. (Ephesians 2:8.9, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:1-4)

If you can be good enough to get to heaven, then you don't need Jesus.

Gift of God
Jun 28th 2008, 02:33 AM
First of all James is addressing CHRISTIANS in that chapter (my brethren) is not speaking of saving faith, but of serving faith.

That doesn't even make any sense. James says, "you see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." if this is talking about a serving faith, then a man is not justified by serving faith only, but I say to you that a man is justified by serving faith which is a saving faith. A faith that is not a serving faith is not a saving faith. Faith is faith, to make a distinction between serving faith and saving faith is nonsense; they are one and the same. And he may be addressing Christians but not every Christian is born again. Can a true born again Christian be convicted by the law as a transgressor? (see James 2:9)The Holy Spirit, who is the origin of the law, convicts of sin and righterousness and judgment. I guess you are saying that true born again Christians will be judged, and this is contrary to John 5:24, although it does say in Hebrews and Psalms that "The Lord will judge His people." I believe that God is saying by this in its context of Hebrews 10 that those who call themselves the people of God and yet who commit willful sin will be judged by God, whereas those who truly believe in the Father will not be judged, because they do not commit willful sin.

If you believe that righteous living plays a part in your salvation, then you had better pull out the verses from your bible that say we are saved APART FROM WORKS. (Ephesians 2:8.9, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:1-4)

None of those passages, in their proper context, are contradictory to my view. I don't really feel like going into detail as to why right now, but if you catch me on a good day I may explain it to you. The author of Hebrews writes, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14)

And Paul says in Romans the following: "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life." (Romans 6:22)

If we are set free from sin and this results in everlasting life, which is what this verse says, then righteous living does play a part in salvation: it is the first thing that mjust take place before we are saved, the aspect of righteous living must take root in our lives in us having been set free from sin and having become slaves of God; the result of this is fruit unto holiness; and the result of this is EVERLASTING LIFE.

If you can be good enough to get to heaven, then you don't need Jesus.

That is a lie from the pit of hell. I need Jesus to make me good enough to enter heaven. Do you honestly think there are sinners and sin in heaven? If there is sin in heaven then it's true that I can't be good enough to enter heaven. I don't have to be, I can have my sin in heaven, and there is no need for me to repent, which is contrary to scripture. But if there is no sin in heaven then my sin must be removed from me before I can enter in, only Jesus can remove my sin through the power of His blood, making me good enough to enter into heaven. Once I am made good enough, it's true that I don't need Him for that purpose any more, but that doesn't mean I don't love Him, and also need Him as a wife needs her husband. I am part of His bride, of course I need Him. He continues to make me holy through the operation of His sovereign will, even as it is written, "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:17) The principle is this, if all things consist in Him and the very molecules of creation are sustained by Him, how much more does my holiness consist of His maintenance by the Holy Spirit?

Gift of God
Jun 29th 2008, 04:34 AM
I agree that a person who has accepted Christ should (and I stress should) produce good works. It truly is the logical next step in a Christian's life.

The reality is most don't. For many reasons...like the parable Jesus gave in Matthew 13 about the various kinds of seed/soil. The last two deal with Christians. One took root and grew, but the thorns choked (cares of this world) but the last one fell on good ground and produced (good works).

"7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."


Do you believe that the three unfruitful types of soil are true believers? Or is the only true believer the one who bears good fruit on good soil, 30, 60, and 100-fold?

Never mind, I see your answer to this question, and I disagree with you. Only the last type of ground is a true believer.

Gift of God
Jun 29th 2008, 10:59 PM
Narrow is the way to life, and few there be that find it. One could go so far as to say that the majority of people who call themselves Christians are not saved, especially according to the context, where Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

PS ********bump********