Anabaptist Group Dynamics
Commands of Jesus
Difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals
Hutterite Sermon Prefaces
Marriage (Ulrich Stadler)
Living Word (Ulrich Stadler)
Modern views of Anabaptists
Mysteries of the Kingdom of God
April 14, 05
Dec 28, 05
Apr 16, 08
Apr 23, 08
Apr 30, 08
May 07, 08
May 14, 08
June 18, 08
Secret of the Strength
Sermons by Eli Hofer
The Writings of Ulrich Stadler
The Church and
the Narrow Path
To Vote or not to Vote
Way of the Lord
People of the Living God
In Thess. 2:10, the apostle Paul writes of a certain people “that perish,
because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved.” It is
certainly true that failing to have a love of truth has always existed among men
from the time of Cain (Gen. 4) to this present day. However, in this last
century, the enemy, through ungodly men, has raised a great cloud of deceitful
teachings that have undermined the very foundation of the Christian faith.
Today, men think that one may choose what he wants to believe; he may choose how
he wants to live; he may choose how he serves God. Such people are deceived.
Jesus taught there are only two ways from which man may choose. One way leads to
life, and it is called the narrow way. The other way leads to death, and
it is called the broad way. There is no bypass, and there are no detours.
Everyone on earth is traveling in one way or the other. Today, few men hear
about the strait way. Whatever happened to the teaching of the strait gate and
the narrow way?
Several decades ago, it was easy to find a minister that talked about the strait
gate and the narrow way. Sin was sin, and sinners were on their way to the lake
of fire. To them, repentance meant to stop doing things considered evil, such as
going to the movies, dancing and (ugh!) smoking. Women wore skirts below their
knees, and most did not smoke or curse.
Then the pressures of the “great depression” changed everything. The
entertainment world of Hollywood expanded to radio shows, and the “Big Band Era”
flourished. Evangelistic parties with their entertainers and spell-binding
preachers with their circus-sized tents, ladled out their sop to the troubled
masses. Then came World War II and television. Everything changed again. Moral
standards plummeted. The “strait gate and narrow way” message was modified to
“receive Jesus and join the church of your choice.” More and more the practices
of the broad way travelers became permissible for those wanting life. “Religion”
became acceptable. Holiness faded from view. The National Council of Churches
was formed. Now brotherly love and fellowship would replace doctrinal teaching.
After all, weren’t we all headed for the same place? Well, not exactly.
There was still “the strait gate and narrow way.” It had not changed. All of the
religious trappings and ritualism attached to the “wide gate and broad way”
still did not lead to life. They were just more sop to ease a man’s conscience.
The “strait gate and narrow way” was not instituted by any religious
organization. It was a teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it carried a
warning. “Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the
way, that leaded to destruction, and many there be which go in there” (Matt.
7:13), strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and
few there be that find it” (v. 14). This is plain speech. This is Jesus
speaking; Jesus the creator; Jesus the King; Jesus, who is coming soon to reward
every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27). Men choose the wide gate and
broad way because the narrow way that leads to life is too confining; it
requires too much.
There are many wide gates scattered up and down the highways, and every village
has several gates from which men may choose. Some are very hush-hush where all
is quiet and formal. The gamut runs to the opposite, with its heavy metal noise
makers and its flirting, joke-telling actors, called pastors. If one searches a
little, he can find a gate that does not challenge his lusts and does not
disturb his way of life. All of the broad ways permit viewing the TV or internet
where anyone can find X-rated movies with its nudity, sex and filth along with
the violence and glamour. There are plenty of signs and voices along the broad
way that assure the traveler that heaven is at the end of the road. He is not
told that between the end of the road and heaven is a deep abyss with fire and
In Luke 13:24-27, Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many,
I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able, when once the
master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to
stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and
He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye
begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in
our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart
from Me all ye workers of iniquity.”
Herein is a solemn warning by the Lord Jesus. “STRIVE (put forth the utmost
effort) to enter in at the strait gate.” Why did He order us to strive? Because
by nature we do not want God or holy living. He said strive because effort is
involved. We must “set our affections on things above and not on things on the
earth” (Col. 3:2). “And he said to them ALL, if any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
The strait gate and narrow way has nothing to do with joining a church, but it
does demand true repentance. It demands dedicating oneself to walk in the
teachings of Jesus. Therefore, the narrow way is not crowded; there are few
passers seeking the heavenly city.
Beware of the hucksters who hand out free passes to “life.” They attach no cost
to the broad way. They teach salvation is free; just believe and be saved.
Believing for salvation involves much more than mental acceptance. Faith without
works is dead. Those in the narrow way are producing evidence that they love
Jesus (John 14:21) and are in THE WAY that leads to life (Rev. 22:14). They are
lovers of truth. They shun the pleasures of unrighteousness (II Thess. 2:12).
Take note in Luke 13 that the “many” that are outside the door are not
considered “ungodly,” but they are religious. They say, “We have eaten and drunk
in Thy presence.” Are they saying that they took part in the communion service?
At the least, they are claiming fellowship with the Lord. They also say, “Thou
hast taught in our streets.” That word “streets” means broad ways. They
confessed that they were in the broad way, but even there the Lord gave them the
call to turn to Him; to seek His ways. God is always faithful.
How can one be sure that he is in the narrow way that leads to life and not in
the broad way that leads to destruction? The narrow way requires practicing
the teachings of Jesus. He said that hearing and doing His sayings is like a
wise man building on a rock (Matt. 7:24). He said, “IF you continue in My word,
then are ye My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). He said, “IF a man love Me, He
will keep My words” (John 14:23).
“Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven, but he that DOETH the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:2