The Ultimate Conclusion

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Welcome to the final week of what has probably felt like the longest sermon series ever!! Truth be told, it could have been much, much longer. I at least hope you got something out of it.
Today is also a special day because Christmas was just a couple days ago and the next time we meet it will be a new year. A lot of people are on travel right now. Some of our regulars are elsewhere with family, and some of you are here because you are elsewhere from your home and visiting family right here. Regardless of why are are here, welcome, and glad you are here.
In many churches, the Sundays surrounding Christmas are rather predictable. Either there is some kind of Christmas theme or there is at least one Sunday, or Christmas Eve service, where the message is about the birth of Christ. It usually promises to be a rather uplifting or at least mellow kind of message that is safe to bring guests to, because it probably won’t ruffle any feathers.
Well, that’s not what is going to happen today. And it’s not my fault.
You see, I had planned this series on the Sermon on the Mount back in March as I was filling out the calendar shortly after becoming the new pastor. And when I say that “I planned it”, it’s just a shorter way of saying that I prayed a lot, and pondered a lot, and wondered what it was that God would have me say to you over the course of several months, and what you’ve experienced since then is what He gave me, including the past six weeks as we covered the Sermon on the mount. And today’s message is no different.
And the reason why I bring that up is because I believe that months ago, or really forever ago, God knew that YOU would be here today, and so He planned this message just for you. And my hope and prayer is that His words will ring true in your heart today.
In fact, let’s ask Him to do that. Will you pray with me?
Our father, in heaven. You are the name above all names. Even before the world was created you knew this moment would come. You planned it long ago that these ears would hear what you have to say. I pray this morning that you open our hearts and open our minds to receive those words with gladness, knowing that you only say them because you so dearly love us. Thank you! Amen.
Hopefully now I have your attention, so let’s get into it.

Today, on the final Sunday of the year, and the concluding day of this series on the Sermon on the Mount, I am going to break with what I have done every other week, and I will not begin with reminding you of the conclusion which I preached the first week. Instead, today’s whole talk is about the expanded conclusion that I have not yet covered, but is so very, very important.
And just to keep it in context, especially for any guests today, I will quickly recap what we covered the previous six weeks.
The Sermon on the Mount is a long sermon that Jesus gives to his disciples from a mountainside. Many others were listening in, but it is directed at his followers. It covers 3 chapters in the gospel of Matthew, 5, 6, & 7.
He begins with the Beatitudes, which tell us what kind of people are truly happy. I did not cover that part in depth but will be talking a lot about that in the next series that starts NEXT WEEK called “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
Next, Jesus tells us that we ARE salt and light. Not that we should be, but that we ARE salt and light, the only salt and light of the earth. If we don’t preserve and we don’t shine, no one will and no one can.
Next, Jesus tells us how he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it – and then he gave six examples of what that meant which included several new ways of looking at old commands that basically made them even more impossible to follow. Which was exactly the point because what Jesus was getting at was not more external rules, but making it clear that what God wants is the right heart.
Next, Jesus talks about doing our good deeds in front of others for the wrong reason. He tells us that even the good things we do are not good if they are done for the recognition of others. And within that section he told us how we should pray and if you were here that week, you saw that this was more than just a prayer. I encourage you to watch it if you missed it.
Next, Jesus tells us not to worry – and He also tells us why. It’s all about getting your priorities right. It’s about seeking after God instead of the things of this world which are so temporary. Again, it’s an issue of the heart. And in this case it is also an issue of the mind, because what you are seeking is not based on what you want to seek – it’s based on what you actually are seeking, which can be measured by the contents of your mind, which will be made up of the things you feed your mind. I gave a challenge that week to start giving God equal air time, and I hope many of you are taking me up on that. It can truly change your life.
And last week I covered the often misquoted verses where Jesus addresses improper judging of others and how we can trust God to give us what we ask for as long as it’s within His will. Then he ended the long instructional part of the sermon with a simple statement that sums up everything we need to know about human relations: Just treat others like you want to be treated.
All of that was in one sermon by Jesus, requiring multiple sermons by the rest of us to try to understand it. I encourage you to go back and watch the previous messages or read the notes to get the full weight of it all. 
 
Today’s message is the full conclusion of that sermon in which Jesus makes the most important point of the whole thing.

What I am going to cover today is something you probably won’t hear covered very often in the modern church, and especially the prosperity-gospel kind of church. And unlike the “don’t judge” and the “ask, seek, knock” passages we covered last week, these are almost impossible to misunderstand even if taken out of context, and it doesn’t take a lot of cultural background to follow what Jesus is saying either.
Basically, after speaking at length about how to “live right” by specifically pointing out all the ways that the religious elite were “living wrong” despite “looking right” Jesus finishes it up with four very specific, very bold, and very clear statements about what “living right” is really about – that cut right through all of our pretense to the very heart of every human being.
These bold passages, like no other, truly epitomize what the writer of Hebrews says about the Word of God.
Hebrews 4
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
And here we are not only dealing with the written or spoken word of God. We are dealing with the very person who is himself the word of God.
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So, let us not approach the word today with anything but open hearts with an attitude of obedience. Which means we must pre-decide that what God is about to tell us, what Jesus is about to tell us, what the Word is about to tell us is absolutely true, regardless of how I feel about it, regardless of what society says about it, and regardless of what I may have believed before this point.
And I cannot stress this point enough, because what we will be discussing today is the most important topic of all. And I don’t want any of you going into another year being on the wrong side of what Jesus is about to say.
So, with that in mind, let us listen to our Lord.
Matthew 7
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Throughout the SOM Jesus has been explaining how there is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things.
  • That there are right motives and wrong motives.
  • That there is a right way to behave and a wrong way to behave.
  • There is a right way to judge and a wrong way to judge.
  • A right way to give and a wrong way to give. 
  • A right way to pray and a wrong way to pray.
  • There is even a right way to think and a wrong way to think.
And as he concludes, he makes it clear that it’s not just that the world is divided between right and wrong ACTIONS and THOUGHTS, but that humankind itself is divided into TWO CAMPS: Those who are IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, and those who are NOT. 
In fact this whole sermon and really everything recorded about what Jesus said and did points to this one undeniable and terrifying fact: 
 
That there are ONLY TWO PATHS. 
 
One leads to ETERNAL LIFE.
 
One leads to ETERNAL DEATH.
 
And every single human being is on one of these paths.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
The picture Jesus is painting here is not as if we are all standing on the outside of two gates and have not yet entered either one. We are all already on one of these paths.
And it is even more clear by his wording that we are all by default on the wide path because in order to get through the narrow gate, you have to find it first. And Jesus says that only a few will. 
Ironically, despite what Jesus says here – MOST PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH.
But if what Jesus says is true, then we must conclude that many who think they are in the right, are actually in the wrong. 
So, the obvious question that demands an answer is “How do I know which path I am on?”
To which Jesus responds with three answers.

First, he tells us how to know the difference between a true and false prophet. Because if you are following a false prophet, you can be sure that you are on the wrong path.
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 
What is a prophet? In short, it is anyone who speaks for God. Today’s equivalent would be pastors, preachers, and teachers of God’s Word. Jesus is referring to anyone who claims to be called by God to tell people about Him and what He says. A prophet is not necessarily someone who can predict the future, though some prophets in scripture could do that.
And Jesus says “Watch out for false prophets.” A false prophet is simply someone who claims to speak for God, but does not. It’s someone who claims to teach the truth, but is really teaching lies.
Jesus calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I found an interesting thing about that analogy as I was studying. Typically, we picture a wolf in sheep’s clothing like this (picture of wolf in a sheep costume). But this is a misunderstanding.
Wearing sheep’s clothing is not wearing a sheep costume, but wearing clothing made of what the sheep produce – wool. Which is exactly what was common of a Shepherd. In those days you really could tell a lot about a person by their clothing. They didn’t have multiple outfits hanging in their closet and filling their drawers like we do. Most of them wore their profession so that you could often tell what a person did by their clothing. This was especially true of prophets, shepherds, and priests. Prophets often wore very rugged clothing as a sign that they have sworn off all earthly comforts and status, and so people who wanted to appear to be a prophet would wear prophet clothing. Shepherds often wore clothing made from wool or lambskin, which came from their sheep, and hence it was sheep’s clothing. 
So, a wolf in sheep’s clothing is not someone trying to pretend to be one of the sheep, but trying to pretend to be the shepherd.
Pretending to be the loving leader and caretaker of the sheep. Because sheep don’t follow other sheep, they follow the shepherd.
Jesus is saying that false prophets will totally look the part, but on the inside they are ferocious wolves who mean only to lead you astray and destroy you. This is why Jesus tells us to beware, watch out for, be cautious of these false prophets or else you will be led astray.
But the good news is that Jesus not only warned us to watch out. He also tells us what to look for to know the difference.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
The illustration of fruit is common in the New Testament. The fruit of a tree or plant is what defines it. The fruit that is produced reveals what is true about the very nature of the tree. All the way down to the DNA. If the DNA is that of an apple tree – it will produce apples, not oranges.
And that is exactly what Jesus is talking about here with the good tree and the bad tree. A good tree will bear good fruit. A bad tree will bear bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. It’s an EXCLUSIVE-OR logic statement.
A true prophet will produce truth, and a false prophet will produce lies. But not just any lies. They are in sheep’s clothing remember. They look like the real thing, but they are not. Their lies are what Paul refers to in Ephesians 4 when he speaks of “Lies so clever they sound like the truth.” 
That’s what the grapes and figs thing is about. In those days and in that region there was a common thorn bush called a buckthorn that had little black berries on it that could easily be mistaken for grapes. And there was a thistle  that had a flower that from a distance would look like a fig. What he’s saying is that just like that thorn bush and that thistle can fool you into thinking they are really grapes and figs, these false prophets can fool you as well if you don’t look close enough at their fruit.
But looking closely is only half the solution. When you do look closely, you yourself will need to know the difference between grapes and buckthorn berries. Between truth and lies.
At this point in Jesus’s sermon, I’m sure his listeners, like us were hoping that he would expound on that good and bad fruit. That he would give them a list of things to look out for. But he doesn’t (other than all the things he said in this sermon leading up to this point). So, what does that mean?
It means it’s up to us to know enough of the truth to be able to discern the difference between it and a lie.
And how do we know the truth?
 
Well, we have it right here in this book. But it only helps you if it’s also in your head. And not just in a tiny little compartment reserved for “God stuff”. It needs to permeate every aspect of your thinking. And that can only happen if you do what Paul says in Romans 12:2.
Romans 12
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And you renew your mind by putting more of God’s Word in it than you put of the World’s Word. Then you will be able to TEST and APPROVE God’s will, which is TRUTH.
With that said, here is the best list of things to watch out for…
The fruit by which you can tell a true prophet/teacher from a false one can be boiled down to two things:
Their walk and their talk.
Their talk is what they teach:
Do they teach the Word of God or the word of Me?
AND
Their talk is what they DON’T teach (which can often be more telling than what they do teach).
Do they teach ALL of the Word or only part?
What do they leave out?
Their walk is how they live.
BUT IT’S NOT: “Does their lifestyle match their message?” (because if their message is wrong, it’s not a very good measure)
BUT RATHER: “Does their lifestyle match God’s message in His Word?”
Basically, it all hinges on God’s Word.
And if you don’t know God’s Word, then you won’t know the truth from a very clever lie, and you may very well find yourself unknowingly following a false prophet. And Jesus says, BEWARE!

But even more important than what prophet, pastor, or teacher you follow is who your heart ultimately follows.  And what Jesus covers next reveals how to know where you stand.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
This is the kind of statement that leaves us speechless.
 
Combined with the earlier verse about the narrow gate and the wide gate, this statement like no other makes it clear that there are only two camps. Those who are IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT. And not only are there few that enter, here Jesus is saying that many who think they have entered, have not.
Let’s take this verse by verse.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
That statement of saying “Lord, Lord” ACTUALLY IS a statement of belief in who Jesus is.  “Lord” was a common title of respect in those days, but to emphatically proclaim “Lord, Lord” was something more than respect, but actually calling Jesus = God.
But Jesus says that is not enough. 
Now, how could that be true if what I’ve repeated over and over from Romans is true?
Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
I’ve quoted this verse every week and I’ll probably quote it many more times because it is the recipe for salvation. It is true that if you believe in your heart that Jesus died and rose again and then confess Him as Lord, you are saved, you are in the kingdom of Heaven.
So, if that is true, then why does Jesus say that not everyone says to him “Lord, Lord” will enter?
It’s because “saying” and “confessing” are not the same thing. That is true both in the English and in the Greek.
In Matthew, the Greek word “Lego” (λέγω) is used, which is simply to say, or speak.
In Romans, the Greek word “Homologeo” (ὁμολογέω) is used which means:
to voice the same conclusion, i.e. agree (“confess“); to profess (confess) because in full agreement; to align with (endorse)
To say “Lord, Lord” is just that – to simply say – nothing deeper than words on lips. At the very best it is a mental acknowledgment of the truth of Jesus’ lordship.
To confess is to say something that you are in full personal agreement with, full personal alignment with, to say something that is true about yourself. 
Thus, to confess Jesus is Lord is to confess that Jesus is YOUR Lord, YOUR Master, YOUR King and that your will is enveloped in His.
 
To confess Him as Lord is not just to acknowledge that He is who He says He is, but that YOU YOURSELF have decided to submit yourself to His rule.
Hence Jesus says:
Not everyone who acknowledges who I really am will enter the Kingdom, but only the one who actually does the will of my Father in heaven.
It’s not the one who ONLY KNOWS THE KING, but the one who OBEYS THE KING that will enter the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
And before you start thinking this sounds like you can earn your way to heaven, the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and really the rest of Scripture make it abundantly clear that we are saved by GRACE, not by WORKS, but salvation does RESULT IN GOOD WORKS. 
THUS IT IS CLEAR
 
OBEDIENCE DOES NOT GET YOU INTO THE KINGDOM. 
 
IT IS THE EVIDENCE THAT YOU’RE ALREADY IN.
Because when you make Jesus your Lord, He comes in and takes over. He makes you a “New Creation” and he gives you a “New Spirit.” He removes the chains that held you in slavery to your sin nature and he gives you a new nature that now desires to do God’s will because it is God’s very spirit, the Holy spirit that takes up residence in your heart, your soul.
 
And this monumental change on the inside cannot help but cause a change that is visible on the outside in the form of doing God’s will.
 
You can read all about this in Romans 7 and 8.
Here Jesus is saying that many will acknowledge his rightful claim to Lordship, but will not actually make him their Lord. But they will think that they have because they said all the right words...
Scripture is very clear that it is not enough just knowing who Jesus is. Just believing in him as a factual historical person, or even believing in him as the son of God is not enough. The demons believe that, and tremble.
You can believe every word of the Bible, and still be on the wrong path if you don’t actually apply it to yourself.
Salvation is a two-fold reality that is spelled out in
Romans 10:9-10
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
It is BOTH believing in who Jesus is AND confessing Him as your Lord.
And this action that will create in you a new heart that will then bear the fruit of obedience to God’s will.
 

 
That verse, when understood in the context of all of Scripture makes perfect sense. But this next one can be a bit confusing…
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
The day he is referring to is the final day, the day of judgment. He’s saying that on that day, many will be surprised to find themselves there because of all the good deeds they did. And not just good deeds but seemingly miraculous deeds in His name.  But clearly, Jesus is not impressed.
The question that puzzled me was how could they do said miracles if they were not true followers? Well, one answer I found refers to the fact that in the days of Jesus, the medical profession was quite archaic and many of the cures of the sick were seen as miracles and even as driving out demons. But it is also just as likely that some actually were able to do some of these things, but not by the power of Jesus. It is referenced several places in Scripture where signs and wonders were performed by evil people under the power of demons. And it is that very thing that will deceive the whole world in the end times as Jesus predicts later in Matthew.
Matthew 24
24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.
And Jesus has only these words to say to these liars…
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Interestingly, the Greek word here translated as “tell them plainly” is the same Greek word from Romans 10:9 translated as “confess” (homologeo).
Seems somewhat ironic that in response to our failure to confess Him as Lord, He confesses us as unknown to Him.
This matches what Jesus later says in Matthew 10.
Matthew 10
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Unfortunately, our modern use of the word “acknowledge” is not strong enough for this. We equate “acknowledge” to a simple head nod from across the room.
That term translated as “acknowledge” in this version is actually the same Greek term – HOMOLOGEO – we earlier saw as “confess”. A more literal translation would be:
32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
Again, what Jesus is looking for is not just a head-nod, but that you claim you are in complete agreement with and complete harmony with Him, His will, His way, His rule.  To do anything other is to deny all of that, and Jesus says that when we deny him by failing to truly claim Him and His rule, that He will deny us as well. 
 
When He says “I never knew you” that is not to say He does not know who you are. He created you. Of course he knows you. What he’s saying is that he never knew you intimately because you never let Him in.
And after this, Jesus closes it up with a final but extremely revealing statement that is also a warning.
24 “Therefore
(In light of all that I have just said – the last three chapters worth of this single sermon, but especially in light of what I just said about the narrow and the wide gate, the true and false prophets, and the true and false disciples)
everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
My friends, in just these 15 verses Jesus has made it clear that there are definitely only two gates,
two paths,
two camps,
two types of people.
  • And one is right and the other wrong.
  • One is true and the other false.
  • One leads to life eternal and the other leads to destruction.
  • One results in good fruit, the other to being thrown in the fire.
  • One leads to a welcoming into the kingdom of heaven, the other to being sent away.
  • One results in a  house that will stand, the other to a great crash.
And the other thing that He made clear is that the path to life is narrow and small, while the path to death is wide and broad and that many, many, many will it be that take the wider path to their own demise. And even worse is that many will actually believe they are on the narrow path, when they are not.
Here Jesus is saying that there is ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY among MANY WRONG WAYS.
It is not “all roads lead to Rome”. It is not “coexist.” We are not all worshiping the same God – the very notion of all of that is the exact definition of the WIDE GATE. A gate so wide that all beliefs and philosophies are allowed through. And Jesus is saying plainly that all these roads do lead to one place, but it isn’t Rome, and it isn’t life.
He is also saying there is ONLY ONE TRUTH among MANY LIES.
Truth is not relative. It is not dependent on your point of view or on your feelings. Truth is absolute and there is only ONE truth, and anything contrary to it is false and a lie. There is TRUE and there is FALSE. There is nothing in between. 
And if this seems exclusive and narrow minded, then listen to what Jesus says later…
John 14:6
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In the Greek he literally says “I MYSELF am the ONLY way, the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life…”
Jesus himself is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. It doesn’t get any more narrow than that.  No one comes to the Father, no one gets in the kingdom, no one has eternal life except through HIM.
And as we have seen in the passages we covered today, that the only way to go through Jesus is to allow Him to go through you. To allow Him full access. To CONFESS Him as Lord, not just SAY He is Lord. To give Him permission to take his rightful rule in your heart. To allow him to change you from the inside, all the way down to the DNA level of your soul – so that you cease being a bad tree only capable of producing bad fruit and you allow him to make you a good tree that will then produce good fruit which is to do the will of His Father in heaven.
My friends, this is so important.
Of all the things there are to talk about from this great book. All the great stories, the great life lessons, the great wisdom, the great promises of God, and expressions of His love. Of everything that  preachers could preach on, this one thing is the absolute most important of all that you get right.
And it’s not just me that says so. It’s Jesus. We read his very words, and like I said at the beginning they are very clear.
 
There is a narrow way that leads to life, and a broad way that leads to destruction.
 
I didn’t make the rules. Jesus did. But he didn’t only make the rules.
 
He also made the way. 
Without Him there would only be the wide path. There would only be the one gate. For all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard of perfection. All of us like sheep have gone astray. All of us have chosen our own way over his. And all of us deserve our wages. And the wages of sin is eternal death. The end of the wide path is destruction.
But thanks be to God! Some 2,000 years ago, God gave us the ultimate gift – God the Son – who came to earth and became one of us, one of his own creations. And he didn’t come as an earthly king in pomp and riches, but came as a servant being born in a dirty stable. But that didn’t stop the angels from singing “Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace, good will toward men.”
The creator of the universe condescended himself by coming down to us, so that we would not have to try to go up to Him. But he didn’t stay a baby. He grew and became a man, and for three years he walked the countryside telling people of the good news, setting things right, speaking truth, shining a light in the darkness. But we would not have it. And so we put out that light. We killed him just as surely as if we were the roman soldiers who nailed him to that tree. Because he was pierced for OUR transgressions, crushed for OUR sins. The punishment that brought us the peace that the angels sang about at his birth was on HIM!  And as he bled on that cross for you and for me he shouted “It is finished!”
And in that act he paved the WAY, the narrow way, with His blood. 
But he didn’t stay dead, or that would be the end of the story that no one would even know and the WAY would never be found. No, instead on the third day Jesus rose from that grave. Having paved the WAY with his death, Jesus opened the GATE with his life. And it is now there for the finding for all those who seek it.
And salvation is promised to those who  believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord!!