June 30th, 2024 | Series: Sermon on the Mount – Part 3

This sermon discusses the challenges and significance of following Jesus’ teachings and living a life of genuine Christian character, using metaphors from the Sermon on the Mount to illustrate the narrow path leading to life.

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Good morning, friends. How are you doing today? Good. My name’s Alex. I’m one of the pastors here. If you’re visiting, we’re so glad to have you with us here today. There was a point. where I was not sure I would be here today. I like many British people have, still have my wisdom teeth. That’s why we have bad teeth.

They just messes things up a little bit, right? I’m going to take it out, it like, just crunches everything together. And so one of them got infected this week, and I was like, oh man I, Just don’t know what to do with this went and got some meds and the dentist said I really recommend we take this out just get it done with and so so Friday come and we’re gonna take him out and I was like, okay that’s fine booked it in and then started to do some reading and I started to see some of the like the results of getting your wisdom teeth out And so so I called and said hey, so I have to talk Coherently, preferably for 40 minutes on Sunday.

Do you think I’ll be able to do that? And they say everyone recovers differently, but, I would strongly urge you to rethink that plan. Some of the staff helpfully said, you know what, you should do it, because it would be so fun to see what you’d say after a bunch of drugs. And I’m like you think it would be fun, and I’m sure it would be funny for 30 seconds, maybe But then we’d end up on YouTube in the worst way possible.

I just don’t think it would be good So I’m glad to say I did not get them taken out on Friday. I am here coherent Undrugged and ready to preach. And so let’s see what Jesus says to us through this text. We’re going to take a kind of slightly meditative approach to this text. What that means is this, I’m going to read it again.

I’m just going to ask you to sit with it. If you’ve got a text in front of you, maybe you want to open to it. This is the NIV version. If you have a different version, that’s fine. And then we’re going to we’re going to roll through it fairly quickly to pull out the flow of these passages. And then we’re going to come back and we’re going to look at a couple of verses in detail and see what God might be saying to us through those passages verse 13 of chapter 7 Sermon on the mount remember everything that has been said before is important to remember at this point as we read 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, but only a few find it.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit. But a bad tree bears bad fruit a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire thus by their fruit You will recognize them not everyone who says to me lord will enter the kingdom Of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven Many will say to me on that day lord Did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform miracles?

And it will tell them plainly and never knew you, are away from me, you evildoers. Jesus, as we open this text, help us to hear your voice. God, would you comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? Would you bring us closer to you? Help us to live in your way, with your heart. Amen. Huh, I would, ah, did I do that?

Did you do that?

Someone give me a wave at the back if you did that. If I did that, it’s me. It’s you. Okay. Okay, we are in for a venture. You might get a few next slides right now. So you’re gonna, guys at the back, you’re gonna have to watch. And Aaron, do you want me to give that? And you, if you can fix that you’re a miracle worker.

There we go. We are coming to the conclusion of Jesus brilliant Sermon on the Mount. It’s the longest bulk of Jesus teaching. It’s the most ethically centered of Jesus teaching. Sometimes Jesus teaches in parables where we’re intuiting some of the ethics. Here he’s very direct. He takes parts of the Torah and he says, this is what I say to you this part of the Torah means.

He can, he regularly demands That we retreat from any sense of this is just an outward action and it reminds us that every outward action is also governed by some kind of inward motivation. Sometimes that inward motivation is to be pure, to live in his way with his heart. Sometimes, as we’ll see, it is false.

Some people have called the Sermon on the Mount the guide to human flourishing. A guide to human flourishing. So last week we started to come towards the conclusion, and in actual fact the conclusion proper starts this week. Last week we took this idea that God’s goodness, not your goodness, are central.

We read, What is sometimes called the most encouraging passage of not just the Sermon on the Mount, but of Scripture in general. We read where it says, ask, seek, and knock. We recognize the idea that actually we can come to this Father in prayer and we can ask of Him. He supplies our needs. And now we move in this beginning of the conclusion not to one of the most encouraging passages, but to perhaps one of the most intimidating passages, perhaps misused passages.

Jesus is an excellent preacher. And so what you’re going to see him do over the next couple of weeks is skillfully land the plane of his sermon through three metaphors. We’re going to look at two of those metaphors this week, but here are all three of them so you can track. We have gatened the corresponding roads, we have fruit, and we have houses.

Gates, and houses. fruit and houses. As Jesus summarizes everything that he has said. And so for this, I strongly recommend a piece of paper. that you may have in front of you. What I’m going to ask you to do is I’m going to ask you to fold it in half. There should be a pen in the chair in front of you.

And if there’s not, wave your hands like crazy and somebody will hand me one of these things that does work. And look at that! All is fixed, all is well. And what I want you to do is take this and you’ll have created yourself a very small book. With four pages. And in those middle two pages, I’m gonna ask you to write on the top of the left hand side, Yes.

And on the top of the right hand side, no. The front two pages the front page and the back page they’re yours to do with what you will. That’s a free gift to you, but yes and no on the inside if you want to doodle on the rest of it. Thank you. then doodle away. Maybe you want to draw the scene that Jesus is about to describe for us.

Enter through the narrow gate. Remember, we’re running through this fairly fast this time. For wide is the gate, and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. How many of you are residents of Colorado? Everyone, are you guys over here residents? Are you Colorado people as well?

Some of you, you got some, most of us from Colorado. How many of you have taken a trip down I 70 headed west? See a show of hands, many of us good. I want you to imagine with me something. You’ve made a plan for the day. It’s winter, and you’re gonna head up, and you’re gonna, you’re gonna go up, you’re gonna go up I 70.

I know it’s hard to imagine it’s winter now, but it is. And you’ve woken up. You wanted to be the traffic, but your favorite cup of coffee was too tempting. You stopped, you paused, and now you’re like in that, like that slog of traffic headed west on I 70. You realize there’s no time for bojos.

You’re gonna keep going, you’re gonna have to leave the pizza, and for later. No breakfast pies for you. Just you’re you’re I 70 warrior right now. And as you keep moving along, I 70 you just you in a rush to you. You around Idaho Springs, you jump on the express lane. You’re like flying along.

Everything’s good. You’re flying past everybody else. And then the express lane ends and you realize you’re gonna have to get across. So you do. And you’ve got in your mind this plan for you and whoever’s with you, maybe family, maybe friends, that today, there’s a storm coming in you’re skiing at Loveland.

Loveland is your destination, it means you get, you don’t have to worry about the tunnel, you get to Loveland, you get to ski all day, you get to jump back on I 70, you get to head home without too much worry about traffic. But it’s busy. And now the express lanes ended you’re like you’re there with a bunch of people, but you love Jesus So you’ve turned on Caleb.

You’re just bopping away to a lot of you know All those different things you’re just in the zone like let everything and then Suddenly you have this moment Where you see this sign And you’re like, Oh my goodness, 2 1 6 already? I was just lost in a movement. I was lost in the worship. And now you’re in the left lane and you’re flying along as best you can.

And then you’ve got to get all the way across to get into the right lane so you can take your exit. But there’s a load of drivers in the right lane from California and Texas. And they’re driving their two wheel drive Escalades, and it’s just not going well. And they’re just not interested in you, they’re blocking you off and blocking you off and blocking you off.

And you’re like, go back to California, go on. Go back there. I’m trying to get across to my narrow lane. But you don’t. And you miss it. And so then you find yourself pulled into the suck of the wide road that leads you through the tunnel. And what do you realize then? You’ve got this moment where you’re like, I wanted to go to Loveland, and now I’ve got to drive all the way down to Silverthorne.

I’ve got to loo back onto I 70. I’ve got to come all the way back up the hill to go through the tunnel again. And just as you’re about to get to the tunnel, you realize, tunnel closed. Game over. You’re stuck for the rest of the day. and you realize, darn it, narrow was the road that led to Loveland Pass, wide is the road that leads to Silverthorne.

I’ve spent way too much time working on that over the last couple of days. This is Jesus story, a wide road and a narrow road. Jesus describes a journey that few will take because it is both hard to see and difficult to walk. Hard to see. and difficult to walk. This journey that he describes will lead to life, while all other roads lead to destruction.

Will lead to life. All of the roads lead to destruction. I got to do something really fun the other day. I had a few, like a free half a day. And so a good friend of ours at South John Larson, he took me out doing some of this stuff up at Rainbow Falls. It was a lot of fun. Just. tearing up and down these hills with him.

He’s the guy that wears the great Hawaiian shirts and the awful Green Bay Packers shirts. So just if you’re watching out for him, you’ll see him somewhere. And there was this moment as we were doing this where I had stopped to take a picture and the guy that was leading us had paused on this side road that we were supposed to take.

I didn’t see him, I just flew past just going downhill, just, just sending it down there. I don’t know what destruction I was heading to, but suddenly I heard this guy beeping on the horn behind me don’t go that way, they had to loop me back around. This seems to, again, illustrate what Jesus is talking about.

There is a road, a journey on that road that, that leads to life or to destruction, depending on the pathway you take. On that journey, there will be some, who have bad intentions inside, but cover it up on the outside. Jesus metaphor of a journey requires that we recognize that we don’t know who is on that journey with us.

It’s a metaphorical journey. Some who say they are journeying that way will not be. Some who we don’t know about will be taking that same journey with us. There’s a whole bunch of people, some honest, some, according to Jesus, not so honest. He describes them as false prophets or wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. And do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Just by their fruit you will recognize them I wanted to read this to you in the message version by Eugene Peterson is really illuminating sometimes when the Translation is very much a first century kind of conversation and beware of false preachers who smile a lot I’m aware of the irony

Yikes Dripping with practice sincerity Try not to do that. Chances are that they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma. Look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.

These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Man, Eugene, wow. That’s powerful stuff. Heh. Not everyone, continuing in the NIV version, who says to me Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?

Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers. Again, back to the message. Knowing the correct password, saying Master, for instance, isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious dis is serious obedience, doing what my father wills. I can see it now at the final judgment, thousands strutting up to me saying, Master, we preached the message, we bashed the demons, our super spiritual projects had everyone talking.

And do you know what I’m gonna say? You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourself important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of there! It’s like a, it makes it like a baseball empire. Throwing a guy out of the game. According to Jesus, there are some people on the journey whose intentions are not good.

He describes them as wolves in sheep’s clothing. People that are always hungry to get what they can off other people. He says we won’t always recognize those people, but he does give us this code that enables us to determine who those people are. He says look for fruit. The struggle is this. Sometimes we don’t know what he means by fruit.

Sometimes we think fruit is achievement, is standing up and talking well, of doing great works, and he says it’s not that. Sometimes we think fruit is all sorts of things. And yet he gives us a code to what fruit really is. He says, fruit is character. Fruit is living in my way with my heart. Fruit is living out the words that he has taught.

Fruit is a genuineness of heart. Fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, honest, gentleness, self control, as we’ll learn from Paul. He says, whatever you don’t be caught up in anything that doesn’t have that. When you hear someone who seems like they talk well, When you hear someone who seems to have achieved great things, don’t look for that.

Don’t let that be your guide. Only trust that when it comes with character, like Jesus character. Stanley Hauerau says this. Jesus claimed that by our fruits we will be known making, Jesus claims that by our fruits we will be known, making impossible any attempt to separate the content of the Christian belief from how we must live.

To believe that this man Jesus is the Christ requires that we become his disciples. Christology and discipleship are mutually implicated. They go together. which entails that no account of the truthfulness of Christian belief can be abstracted from how lives are lived. It’s not what you say, it’s who you are that with Jesus seems to count.

Hold on to that because it’s going to be so important as we unpack some of the first part of this passage in just a moment. Jesus describes a journey that few will take because it is both hard to see and difficult to walk. This journey will lead to life. While all other roads lead to destruction, on that journey there will be some who have bad intentions inside but cover it up on the outside.

So that’s the overview. Back to the beginning, we’re going to spend some time looking at just a couple of verses really closely. Jesus describes a journey that few will take because it is both hard to see and difficult to walk. These are the I’d love us to focus on for the next. Few minutes. Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction.

After reading the encouraging verses from last week, aren’t these verses more challenging? They’re certainly not verses that are particularly possible, they’re verses that don’t fit with a society today that struggles with anything that is binary. We really have a focus today for the most part in general culture that says it’s okay to be deeply passionate about something.

It’s okay to be single minded about something. So long as your single mindedness doesn’t impact me or anybody else, there can’t be a universal truth because what is true for me is true for me. And what is true for you is true for you. In the face of that, Jesus words sound harsh. They sound difficult.

There’s always moments perhaps where we say, Jesus, could you not say that if you could, if I was your PR rep, I would say I don’t know how that is going to come across in today’s world. The ask, seek, knock stuff plays really strong, but enter through the narrow path. What do you mean by that?

That sounds. non inclusive. George Eliot, the writer from Victorian England, Victorian era novelist, said this. It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view. Now, I actually believe that there’s some truth in that when we’re thinking about things like philosophy. The word perhaps is a great word to practice when you have a particular philosophical belief, when you have a particular political belief, to be able to look at it and say, perhaps I’m right, perhaps I’m not, is a wonderful gift.

But if that idea that you can’t have narrow views comes to say that there can’t be a universal truth Jesus would say something different. He speaks of a narrow path that is particular. It’s not exclusive in the fact that it’s not accessible to anybody, but it is exclusive in the sense of it is the only path, according to Jesus, that leads to life.

One of the things we’ve reflected on over and over again throughout the Sermon on the Mount is we, if we choose Jesus as our rabbi, are really saying yes to his wisdom and knowledge not to us selecting which parts of his teaching that we would like. If you are like me, there’s probably parts of Jesus Sermon on the Mount that you’ve read and you’ve said, I don’t love that.

If I were writing this, I wouldn’t have said that. And yet, what I get to do over and over again is to say Jesus, I’m trusting you to have wisdom that is greater than mine. When you say things like this, hard as they are, I get to trust and follow you in the midst of that. So here’s a question, in the midst of that hard saying, what does Jesus mean?

Because it’s sometimes really easy to read it and just assume based on our background knowledge that we know some of this. So I’m going to give you a few little bits of language that I hope will be helpful to you. The first is his use of the word narrow, as we’ll see in a moment. He actually uses narrow twice, but in Greek it’s two different words.

If you have any kind of background like mine, you maybe grew up with the impression of narrow as almost being like the tightrope idea. I spent years thinking of a narrow road, particularly as me walking on the edge of something, maybe like a balance beam, with this constant fear that if I toppled off, I’d fall to destruction.

That’s not the word for narrow that Jesus uses. Jesus uses a word for narrow that might be defined more by this image. This is a road in Cornwall in England. There’s all of these roads that this is a two way. road in Cornwall in England. Cars go both ways. So when you get to this point when you’re the car here and they’re the car there, you just back up until you find a space where you can squeeze together.

The motto of the county is teaching you that your car isn’t as wide as you think it actually is. It’s like you learn all this kind of stuff, but that idea of being hemmed in Of being narrow by the sense of there’s a narrow space to walk because of the things around it Not because you might fall off the side of it is the language for narrow that Jesus uses.

It’s a particular road a Particular space that you have to enter it if you choose to obey Jesus teaching then you are going to follow a narrow road. Second moment of language is this whole idea of the wide gate. In some early versions of scripture, in some early teachings from this passage, this verse isn’t actually in there.

Because the question is do you have to pick a wide road, or are you on it just by nature? And so actually, it works better language wise if that isn’t there, but it’s in the NIV, so I kept it in. Are you just on the broad road, or do you pick the broad road? Is maybe a philosophical question we don’t have time for today.

But this road is broad, it’s spacious, it allows you to go almost anywhere you want. It allows you to make decisions for yourself. It allows you to live as you would want to live. And then finally there’s this word destruction It’s the road that leads to destruction that word there is a polygon quite often in scripture It means death quite often in scripture.

It means some kind of eternal permanent death Sometimes in scripture it means wasteful like the language used when they pour the perfume on Jesus feet Same term there. It’s a hard word to handle a destructive word. And then he comes back to the second use of the word narrow, which again is not narrow.

Actually, I’m actually really confused as to why the NIV translates this because they use small, which is the same word that they translated narrow back up there. And then they use narrow here. And that word is actually better translated difficult. I was out walking this morning and I happened to meet a neighbor that I hadn’t seen for a while And she opened a garage as we were talking and as I opened it, I saw this sign narrow rough road I’m like, oh my goodness that’s a sermon for me.

Just look at this picture this is the road that Jesus describes when I was living in Michigan. We lived on a dirt road off another dirt road. And when it had got to a point where it was unkept, it was full of ruts, I would fly in on my little Acura that was about 25 years old with no brakes.

And you would fly into this road and it would just dun over the bumps and then you’d go to turn a corner and it would potentially either roll or it would go into a ditch or just ground to a halt in a big pothole. It was all up for grabs on that road but it was that kind of road.

that Jesus is describing. This road is tight, yes, but it’s also difficult. And maybe you’ve experienced some of that. Following Jesus is difficult, has its challenges, it isn’t an easy call that he calls us to. And yet this road leads to life, or Zoe. So that’s some of the language pieces are used. So again, maybe I’ll ask the question.

So what does Jesus mean? And fairly quickly, there’s maybe three readings. I would give you exactly what he means here. All of them, I would suggest a true, some of them are on the surface and some of them are a bit below. We struggle as Westerners to see more than one answer. And yet in Hebrew culture, it’s very comfortable to have more than one answer to a question.

So when Jesus describes a narrow gate and a narrow road that leads to life, that I would suggest most of us would say we want to be on in this room, and maybe you’re figuring that out as you go, and we’ll talk about that. I would suggest there’s three readings. The first one is this. He is that gate, and he is that way.

And so on the side that you wrote yes on your paper, I’d encourage you just to write one, Jesus is the way. Or just Jesus, if you like. Maybe you’ve seen an image that looks something like this, and I would say that kind of encompasses this view. Their road is wrong, it’s not the right type of narrow road, but the idea that it’s a road that reflects Jesus work for us is absolutely a part of the text.

Especially because Jesus will later say similar things that remind us of that. In John 14 verse 6, Jesus answered, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. In John 10 9, which isn’t on the screen, he says, I am the gate. Those ideas are written later than this, but those ideas definitely seem to be where Jesus teaching is going.

It’s absolutely a wonderful reading of this text, that Jesus worked for us, his rescue of us. It is the narrow road. It’s his pathway of salvation. You and I are rescued because of God’s cosmic yes to this world in Jesus. So if you’ve read this text this way for a long time, I’m absolutely fine with that reading as a good basis for this text.

But! There’s something else that we may easily miss if we jump simply to that reading. We’ll get there in just a second. R. T. France of this says, The first contrast is stark and clear between destruction and life. This is not a matter of more or less successful attempts to follow the lifestyle of the kingdom of heaven, but of being either in or out, saved or lost.

The two routes lead in opposite directions and their destinations are totally apart. Without using these words, This saying sets before us the radical alternative of heaven or hell. It’s more of Jesus Exclusivity he’s claimed that I am the way and there isn’t another one. You’ll be presented I’ll be presented with all sorts of different possibilities of ways During our lifetime.

I was doing some work on the internet Just prepping this the other day and I came across an offer You of a different way to Jesus way. See if you can see how it’s different. If you only knew the true power you possess, you would never look at the world or yourself the same way again. I agree with that first part.

Every day, normal people from all around the world are learning how to tap into something deep within their body, a long forgotten method that has been veiled in secrecy, and they are becoming supernatural. Okay, maybe agree with that a little less. They are able to manifest wealth, Find their soulmates, have mystical experiences, awaken psychic powers, and much, much more.

And all this is made possible by a small, pea sized, pine cone shaped organ at the base of your brain. I don’t know if you guys knew this, but I found this out yesterday. And it’s considered by many cultures around the world to be our third eye. It’s such a significant breakthrough that the powerful nation leaders are trying to prevent you from having spiritually enhanced abilities and enlightenment because they want to maintain control.

The government wants, needs you to depend on them. A secret 30 second method, just 30 seconds and you get everything you need, opens a mystical gateway inside of you and unlocks unlimited abundance and prosperity and all you need to do is buy their supplement and that will give you everything that you need.

There are all sorts of ways and you and I get to determine based on the person that is representing those to them is this the way that I want to follow? And so when we look at Jesus and his character we determine do I believe him when he says I am the way? I am the way to life, not death. I am the way to heaven, not hell.

But there’s another aspect of this teaching which is so important to him. And that’s the idea that his way is the way. This passage is in the context of Jesus spending the last two chapters of scripture unpacking life in the way of Jesus. His understanding of how to live the best human life possible, how to live a life that is closest in reflection to the life God, his Father, intended us to live.

And so when we talk about following in his way, this is the kind of thing that we’re talking about. In Matthew 16 later, he’ll say, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. To a first century person, the idea of following a rabbi was quite literally to put your foot where they had put theirs, to continue to follow them on the journey that they had set for you, the path that they had laid out.

And this too is an incredibly important part of understanding what it is to walk in the narrow path. Way in John 14, Jesus will say, anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My father will love them and will come, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.

These words you hear are not my own. They belong to the Father who sent me. The reason I want to emphasize this part is there’s just a chance that when we move the idea of what is this narrow way to simply, it’s Jesus. Then we don’t recognize that following Jesus is not just making a one off decision but a continual process of living out the Sermon on the Mount as a constant practice Dietrich Bonhoeffer the German writer theologian pastor said this to give witness to and to confess the truth of Jesus But to love the enemy of this truth who is his enemy and our enemy with the unconditional love of Christ You That is the narrow road.

To believe in Jesus promise that those who follow shall possess the earth, but to encounter the enemy unarmed, to prefer suffering injustice to doing ill, that is the narrow road. It is an unbearable road. This is where you start to feel that sense of narrow, not just as like tight, but difficult, hard.

A decision that over and over again, you may say, am I? Am I, is this the right road? Is this where I’m supposed to be going here? This is challenging, difficult teaching. It’s not talking here about a one off decision. It’s not talking here about just His work, but our decision to follow in His path, His way of being. Under number one, Jesus is the way. I’d love you to write, His way is the way. Number two, His way is the way. And then there’s a third thing that I think he asks of us. A third suggestion. Surrender to him on his way is the way. Surrender to him is all you need to write. Because I would suggest that in terms of our Christian growth, there is our decision to follow Jesus.

There is our learning to live out the principles that he teaches in things like the Sermon on the Mount. And then there was this constant journey of relationship to him, which may not be about obeying explicit commandments, but about learning to know his voice and learning to do what he asks you to do.

About learning to know his voice and doing what he asks you to do. The writer Ronald Rollheiser suggests that there is a couple of journeys that we make as followers of Jesus. The first journey as we begin to follow him is fairly short. It’s those moments that perhaps you’ve experienced as a follower of Jesus where Jesus fairly quickly begins to put your life back together.

Maybe you start to quickly obey some of the principles he’s taught in the Sermon on the Mount. You’re not perfect at them, but your heart seems to change. There’s maybe instances where you get to see that. Before I followed Jesus at about 19, I used to curse all the time, and then suddenly there was this moment after following him where I was like, I don’t know what happened, but my language has just changed significantly in just a short period of time.

That’s phase one. But then he describes a second phase that lasts the whole of your lifetime, where you and I, as followers of Jesus, learn to give our life repeatedly away, to surrender our will. to his will in every given moment. This is what I think we might say. This passage is also about in second Corinthians five, we read for Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died and he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again, this is what we’re invited into.

A recognition that Jesus worked for us, asks that we surrender each and every moment of our lives, not simply to obeying the Sermon on the Mount, although that itself takes a lifetime of work, but to partnering with His Spirit who constantly calls to us and says this is the way, walk in it. It may feel awfully at times like a narrow road, awfully like a road that asks more of you than you want to give and yet this is the beautiful truth that in the midst of that what he gives us in return is himself, his presence with us.

Stephanie Gretzinger, the writer, asks this question in one of her songs. Is it even sacrifice if I trade the world for you? Is it even really a cost? Is not the beauty of Jesus worth anything that we might offer in return? I think all of these three combined in this truth across the whole of this passage, saying yes to Jesus means saying no to many things.

When you say yes to him, a savior, as Lord, It means saying no to all sorts of other ways that you might be offered. Some that will seem just as wacky as some small gland that will open up in limited wealth and all of those different things. Some that will mean saying no to a different way of being discipled.

And you have options in terms of who disciples you. If you don’t let anything else disciple you, just Colorado itself will you in a specific way. And if you say yes to Jesus, Then you’re actually saying no also to preference, saying no to, I get to determine where my life goes. Those invitations are all narrow roads, but all worth the journey.

So as a question of meditation, I’d like to ask you this, which way do you choose? Aaron’s going to sing a song over us. I’m not going to ask you to sing it. I’m just going to ask you to pause and you should on your page have three yeses to Jesus, to his way, and to surrender. And as he sings, I’m just going to ask you to contemplate.

Do you say yes to Jesus? Are there other ways that you might pick? Other ways that you’re still weighing up? But are you in on Jesus as the person who offers you rescue? Offers you new life And you might jot down some things that mean saying no to Some other ways that you may be have explored Are you saying yes to?

His way he’s teaching his sermon on the mount his other teachings Are you saying yes to living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus? and then if there’s some ideas you might just shut down some things that I mean saying no to and Then there’s that final one Where is he asking you to surrender?

What is it that you’re holding that he says this isn’t a bad thing? It’s not a sin thing It’s just not your thing It’s not yours to have right now. I Have a different way for you to go different journey to take that could be a Relationship could be a new job could be a new contract Could be a new house.

Could be the desire to move somewhere else. Could be the desire to stay here. This isn’t a me thing. This is a you thing. You get to feel that out. You get to say, God, how can I surrender more to who you are and what you have for me? You might phrase it like this, Jesus, I’m already in on you. I have nowhere else to go.

You’re the only way I see in terms of my eschatological future, my salvation, my redemption. And I’m so in on your teaching, doing everything I can to live out the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus. But there’s this sense in me of what I want for my future, what I want my life to look like maybe this week, this month, this year.

I’m just now surrendering that to you. This is my heart. This is what I ideally want. But you get to decide. Show me the narrow way. And for you, I’ll walk the narrow way. Because that is so preferable to anything else this world can offer.

Jesus, as we contemplate in this room, for those of us that have never chosen Jesus, for He’s chosen you as our Savior, give us the courage to make that decision. To see you as the way, the truth and the life. For those of us that know there’s this conscience way of sin in us, maybe this angst against a particular way, part of your teaching.

Maybe something we’ve read during the Sermon on the Mount, we’re like, no, not doing that. Help us to surrender to discipleship under you as our Rabbi. To live out your way, with your heart, And then maybe finally there’s a dream

Maybe in that third column you want to reflect on some of the things that you feel Jesus has led you away from some knows You’ve received Reflect back on the path where you’ve walked Maybe it’ll give you courage for the journey ahead Welcome to the narrow road This road is tight hard going at times But it leads to life

Leads to Jesus. Incredibly, this God of the universe journeys that road with you.

God help us listen to you in this time. Amen.