BABYLON FORSAKEN
MINISTRIES
           
               
                                                "Come Out Of Her My People" -- Jesus Christ


         THE DIFFICULTY OF SALVATION
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THE STRAIT GATE - The Difficulty of Salvation



Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for 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.



I have often said that God has made the gospel
so simple that a child could understand it, and if
it was not this simple then men could not obtain
it seeing how ignorant we truly are. Yet the
simplicity of the Gospel does not dispel the
difficulty of it. The Gospel of Christ is not the
gospel of “easy believism” which is proffered
every where today. Often vast multitudes of men
step forward to make a profession of faith in the
person of Christ and they are assured by the evangelist
that they are now eternally secure. Often there is never
a word spoken about sin and the need for repentance,
only the hope of heaven which they are told may be
obtained by mouthing a simple prayer.

Multitudes and multitudes are dying today with the notion that they are ‘saved’ simply because at some moment in their life they followed some preacher in the sinner’s prayer. Friends does this seem like the strait gate that Jesus spoke about?

The word ‘strait’ means that it is difficult, in other words the gate that one must enter to be saved is very narrow and there are obstacles. It isn’t something that is easy. And the “way” Christ spoke about is narrow, that means it is pressing and distressing, truly it isn’t an ‘easy way’.

But there is a way that is easy, the gate is wide and easy to pass through and the road is broad and smooth, and there is really no pressure to walk it. It is the path to destruction and the great multitudes are walking on it.

WHO IS THIS GREAT MULTITUDE?

Matthew 7:21-23 ¶ Not every one 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.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


Here we find the ‘multitude’ who walked the path to destruction, and it may shock you to see that there are many professed Christians on that road. Christ is warning us that there would be a great multitude who would think that they have entered the ‘strait gate’, but were in reality on the Broad Road to destruction. They have professed Christ as Lord and they have worked in his name, yet their faith is shown to be the faith of devils. These very well could have believed all the historical facts about Christ [as Satan believes it all], but they have never come to repentance before God.

STRIVE TO ENTER

Luke 13:24  Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.


As we have seen the gate that leads to eternal life is very narrow and there are obstacles and it is actually an hard thing to enter it. Here we are told that we must ‘strive’ to enter it. To strive means to contend with an adversary..

One thing is for certain ‘seeking’ is not enough; the seeking must be turned into striving or one will never be saved. Jesus said:

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” – Luke 16:16


The term ‘presseth’ means to use force and strength. Thus a man with all his strength must push his way into the Kingdom.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force”. – Matthew 11:12


No man has ever fallen into the Kingdom, or wished his way into the Kingdom; the Kingdom must be seized with all of one’s force.

Truly these verses are painting a picture of someone who is storming a castle whose gate is wide open ready for you to take; but there are obstacles and enemies who are attempting to keep you from reaching it. And unless you come whole heartedly and with all your vigor you will not reach the castle’s door.


Do we have an adversary that wishes to keep men from the Kingdom of God? Of course we do, Satan is the Adversary; but he is not alone. We also have the world and our own flesh to contend with also. They all work to hold you back from the gate. And I feel justified in saying that the flesh is the greatest enemy to those who are seeking to enter.

I remember distinctly when I was about ten years of age that I encountered the enemy of my soul. I was young and knew nothing of Satan and his devices. I was visiting a local church and there was an altar call made and I was convicted in my heart that I should come to God. But there was a voice who spoke to me and said, “This is not for you, you are too young”. And because of that voice I kept my seat and refused to come to Christ.

Then when I was grown, at the age of about twenty I was invited to come to Christ and to be saved. At that time I encountered something I hadn’t as a boy, I encountered the sinful flesh and the wicked world. The flesh said, “If you come to Christ you must give up many pleasures”, and the world said to me, “You do not wish to give up your first love do you?” And thus I rejected Christ at that time, so that I might retain the pleasures of the flesh and to continue my love affair with the world.

TO HATE OUR OWN WICKEDNESS

Luke 14:25-26  And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

A great multitude were following Jesus and he turned to challenge them, to let them know that this was not an easy road; and to thus thin the ranks and to weed out those who were not truly committed to him. And he said that except a man hate his closest family members and even his own life, he could not be his disciple. Many today merely interpret this to say, “we must love Christ most”, but in reality he is telling us that we must hate with a righteous hatred. We must hate the sin and the wickedness that is in man, no matter the person, but especially the sin and wickedness that abides in our own heart. You see, a man who loves sin cannot love Christ. And here is the greatest struggle in coming to Christ, in entering the strait gate, it is turning from sin in our hearts.

GODLY SORROW WORKETH REPENTANCE

And here is the blessed work of the Gospel upon the hearts of men. There on yonder cross we see the darkness of sin contrasted with the supreme love of God. It is there that men might realize the love of God and actually fall out of love with their wickedness. Again we cannot love both. If any man love the world or the sinful things of the world then the love of the Father is not in him.

When the glorious gospel shines into the heart it is there that men begin to sorrow over their sin, to hate their sin, and to hunger and to thirst after the righteousness of God. Then men see themselves as evil, as sinners, wretches fit for hell and then they are able to hate their lives and are willing to take the cross that Christ offers. You see sorrow is not repentance, but Godly sorrow always works repentance.

TAKE THE CROSS

LUKE 14:27  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.


Here is the cruel instrument of death that Christ gives to all who would follow him. It is to be taken up daily and the old man kept nailed to it. Oh how the flesh hates the cross of Christ. It longs to live and to work all manner of wickedness, but Christ says NO, except you give up that life of sin you shall never have the life of eternity. You must be separated from you sin, if you wish to be united with God. Your sins must be pulled out of their hiding place and hung up in the light of the Sun. Or you cannot be saved.

YOU MUST FORSAKE ALL

LUKE 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.


Oh how the religion of the world tells men that some sin can be retained, that some rebellion can be tolerated! And so goes a great multitude who profess to have Christ as Master, carrying with them the spear, the nails, and the thorns which pierced him.

Paul spoke of them as he wept, saying they were enemies of Christ, whose god was their own lusts, who mind things of the world. - Philippians 3:18-19

Truly they have never entered the strait gate, they are not walking the narrow way, they have never seen the monstrosity of their sins, nor have they known the love of Christ. They have simply ‘believed’ the facts and have thought religion good. They profess with their mouths Christ as Lord, but their very works do testify against them.

THE RICH YOUNG RULER, NO ROOM FOR BAGGAGE

Matthew 19:20-22  The young man saith unto him, All these [commandments] have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.


The rich young ruler was a religious man, a moral man, a seeker, who was loved by Christ. Yet he had a great sin in his life and that sin was idolatry. He loved his wealth. The Master peered into his heart and saw the idol of mammon set up there and then proceeded to take him to task. “Give away your false god and then come and follow me”. Notice that Christ did not say, “Come and follow me, and we will work on your greed later”; but rather the sin had to be first dealt with. You see without repentance no man can enter the gate, and if a man does not enter the gate, he cannot follow Christ.

You see the rich young ruler was a ‘seeker’, not a ‘striver’. He was willing to search, but he would not contend. He was willing to give a little for it, but unwilling to give all. Do you see the struggle for salvation? It is not complex, but it is hard. It is hard for men to choose Christ over their cherished idols, but they must to enter the gate. There is no room for baggage, there is no room for idols of any kind. All must be forsaken, and you must enter the gate naked and alone.

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL –

John 4:15-19  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:  For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.


Here Christ sought out this women and offered her the water of life. When she showed she was interested in it, Christ showed her the gate to it. How? He first pointed out her sin. She was an adulterous fornicator, living in a sinful relationship. Why point out her sin? That she might repent of it. Her idols were men, and except they were forsaken she could not be saved. This is vastly different from the sermons preached by men today. Who would never say a word about a sinner’s sin, or command them to repent that they might have Christ.

I fear today that many in the Church world are mere convicted sinners, pagans and rebels who have never entered the gate. They have prayed some ‘prayer’ and believed some ‘facts’, but they have never repented of their sins. Because of weak preaching which gives men false assurance they are comfortable with their idols and they despise anyone would challenge their sin. They are on the broad road to destruction, and except they come to repentance they will enter eternity with the words, “I never knew you”.

Are you like this my friend? Have you a cherished sin in your life? Something that you have held unto through out your profession of faith? It matters not what it is, God requires it of you. Want you come now to Calvary, confessing and forsaking your sin, that you might have the true assurance of salvation?

FAITH VERSUS REPENTANCE?

Some men would pit faith and repentance against one another as if they were enemies. But they are not at variance, but in fact they are like twins. Where faith is born, repentance must be born also. They are joined at the heart, at the foot and at the hand, and they cannot be separated. One is never without the other. Without faith, no one repents yet no one with faith is without repentance.

If a man says that he has come to faith, yet he has not come to repentance, what type of faith has he? It is the ‘faith’ that is called dead and devilish by the Apostle James and it cannot save a person. How can one turn to the true and living God without turning from his idols? It is simply impossible [Acts 26:20, 1st Thessalonians 1:9]. To turn to the glorious Savior is to turn from the darkness of sin. To enter in the gate of life, is to step out of the land of the dead, to receive his wondrous salvation is to be delivered from the power of sin.

If you wish to cling to your sins, then Christ is not the Savior for you; and he will not be your Savior unless you are willing to depart from iniquity. He will not force you to give up your sins, but with one hand he will offer you eternal life, in exchange for your instruments of war. He will give you love,  peace and joy for the spear, the thorns  and the nails; but you cannot have his gift, unless you are willing to depart from your rebellion.

And this is why it is hard for men to be saved, they love their darkness, they love their idols, they love the very things that are destroying their souls.

THE GREAT ERROR OF MODERN EVANGELISM

And now we come to the error of the modern church, it grades itself not on its purity and love for Christ, but rather on the number of men who attend the services. In the eyes of God, great numbers have never been the mark of greatness, yet these Pastors and preachers work to fill up their Cathedrals, so that they can be called great by men. And how do they fill their Churches? Not by seeking a true outpouring of the Holy Ghost by which sinners may be converted, but rather by making the ‘strait gate’, the easy gate. They work to make the ‘narrow way’, the Broadway. You see the ‘strait gate’ will only be entered by the few who will strive to enter, and these men do not want the ‘few’ who are willing to enter in the right way, but rather the great multitude, who will enter only on their own terms.

These false prophets are sometimes hard to spot, seeing how they continue to speak about Christ, his Divinity, his Sonship, his death for our sins, and his wonderful resurrection. They speak much about the ‘love of God’, about ‘heaven’ and the ‘free pardon’, and they sound so close to the real thing; but they leave something out. They leave out the word “REPENTANCE”, they leave out the rebuke of  “SIN”. They leave off the fact that for one to be saved he must turn from his sin.

And so the Churches are being populated by men and women who have never been broken over their sins, who have never seen the monstrosity of their sins, and who still are in love with their sins. They are accepted into the fellowship because they have been lead in the  “sinner’s prayer”; which is often a VAIN thing, in fact it is always vain IF there is no repentance! For God heareth not unrepentant sinners.

THE FRUIT OF THE BROAD GATE

Matthew 7:21-23 ¶ Not every one 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.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.



Here is the fruit of such evangelism: it creates the ‘multitude’ who walk the path to destruction carrying the banner of Christ. And Christ is warning us that there will be a great multitude who would do such, who would think that they have entered the ‘strait gate’, but were in reality on the Broad Road to destruction. They have professed Christ as Lord and they have worked in his name, yet their faith is shown to be the faith of devils. These very well could have believed all the historical facts about Christ [as Satan believes it all], but they have never come to repentance before God, they continued to work their iniquity. And on that great judgment morning he promises that they shall be rejected with the words, “I never knew you”.You see dear reader these people had never entered the strait gate, but they tried to climb up some other way.

And I say woe to the men who preach a broad gate to the people! Who refuse to rebuke sin and to call men to repentance! Surely blood shall be on their hands.

YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU ARE SAVED

1 John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

When you think of this great multitude who will hear Christ command them to depart from him, you must take note that these people  thought they were saved, they were sure that they had laid hold of eternal life, yet they had received a false assurance. I would think that many of them were relying on some past experience. Maybe they were baptized as an infant. Maybe they came to an altar at the age of eight. Maybe they prayed the sinner’s prayer with some street evangelist, and though their life afterwards was not much different than the world, their minds would run back to that past experience for assurance. Maybe before they left this world they were worried about their soul’s condition, and felt condemnation for their sins, and some preacher came to them and told them all was well, that they were on their way to heaven. Either way they were sure they were saved, when they were not.

Some may consider this and think: “God does not want men to be sure of their salvation”. But in fact he does want you to be sure about it. But he doesn’t want you to base your assurance upon some unbiblical principle. The Bible tells us that we can “Examine our own selves to see if we are in the faith”. We can search the Scriptures to show ourselves approved. And what must be held up to scrutiny is our current life, not what we were, but who we are today.

The First Epistle of John was written for this purpose, “that we may know that we have eternal life”. There are Ten Tests that John has given us, but we will only take the time to think about three of these.

THE SAVED LOVE THE BRETHREN

1st John 3:14 ¶ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.


To be saved one must be indwelt with the Spirit of GOD, and the first fruit of the Spirit is Love, for God is love. And if God dwells in us, then love must dwell in us. Especially love for our brethren in Christ. To love a fellow Christian as a child of God, a member of Christ, and because he has his image stamped on him is evidence of conversion for no man can do this, unless he has received the grace of God.


THE SAVED OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS

1st John 2:3-4  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Conversion places the love of God in our hearts, and if we love then we must obey.
The Apostle Paul taught that “love fulfills the law” [Romans 13:10] and the law is fulfilled in love [Galatians 5:14].

No one should think that he loves God or his brother if he lives in habitual disobedience. As John later wrote: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1st John 5:2-3

In the truly converted Love motivates the believer to obey. Foremost in the thought of the twice born is not the pursuit of holiness, but rather the love of the Savior. Seeing Christ has said, “if you love me you will keep my commandments”, and seeing that by disobedience we grieve his Spirit and injure him afresh. It is foremost the love for our risen Lord that causes us to obey, yet the process is a work of sanctification upon us; it is a work of holiness, conforming us into the image of Christ, within whose bosom was the law, and his desire was to do the will of the Father. Those who refuse to yield to the Commands of our faithful God are faithless, loveless and are liars if they say that they know him.

THOSE WHO CONTINUE IN SIN

1st John 3:5-10  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.


If we remember that to enter the ‘strait gate’ one must come to repentance we know that if we live in willful, even habitual sin, it is proof that we are not saved. If the Holy Ghost lives in us then we cannot live in habitual sin. Those who do so are not children of God, but rather children of the devil no matter their profession. True Christians have repented of their life of sin, and in them the very presence of Christ dwells, which convicts them over sin, and empowers them to overcome sin. Their affection for Christ will not allow them to continue grieving his Spirit. And the chastening rod of the Father will always be there to correct his children.

Dear friend, how can we say that we have been ‘saved’, and yet remain slaves to Satan? What have we been saved from? Christ comes to save his children FROM their sins. To deliver them from the bondage of the devil, and to release them into the glorious light of his gospel. Those that remain slaves of Satan, cannot be twice born children of God.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER


Those who are saved have entered the ‘strait gate’. They have believed the facts of the Gospel in their heart, and it has wrought repentance in them. Their repentance is evidenced by their labors of love and their obedience to the commandments, and the purity of their life. Yes men may know that they are saved, but let them be certain to base their assurance upon the Biblical Principles.


               
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