Strive To Enter the Narrow Gate
What is the meaning of striving to enter in the narrow gate? Let’s turn to where YAHUSHA gave the command…
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.”
“To strive” means to give great effort. “To seek” means to make an attempt with much less effort.
At another instance, YAHUSHA gave a different command …
Matthew 11:28 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 – For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Do the two previous commandments contradict one another? Let’s take a look and see… The burden and yoke that is hard is sin (John 8: 34). YAHUSHA said that if we follow him, then we would be free from sin indeed (John 8:36). However, according to the meaning of the word “strive”, it apparently takes great effort to be a true follower of YAHUSHA.
Next question: What does it mean, “To enter in the narrow gate”?
John 8:31 – Then said YAHUSHA to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
As this study progresses, the importance of keeping YAHUSHA’s words will come into focus…
John 14:23 – YAHUSHA answered and said unto him, “If a man love me, he will keep my words.”
YAHUSHA’s ministry was very popular at the time of the fourteenth chapter of Luke. At that point, if YAHUSHA wanted his ministry to continue to grow, he could have “smooth talked the people”. But “being popular” apparently was not his goal!
Luke 14:25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 – “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. 27 – And whosoever doth not bear his stake, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
What did YAHUSHA mean when he said that in order to be his disciple, that we must hate our father and mother and wife and children, and even our own life? Since YAHUSHA was without sin, it wouldn’t seem that he was telling us to break the 5th commandment, which commands us to honor our father and mother. So then, what exactly is it that he was saying? To understand this, we must go to another place where YAHUSHA was speaking about the very same thing…
Matthew 10:37 – He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
It becomes clear that the meaning of the word “hate” means to “love less”… YAHUSHA was saying that in order to be his follower, it is necessary to love all non-believers less than they love YAHUSHA; and we are to love our spiritual brothers and sisters more than we love non-believing kin. For example….
Luke 9:61 – And another also said, “Rabbi, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” 62 – And YAHUSHA said unto him, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of YAHUAH.”
YAHUSHA was saying that the person who looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom. For another example…
Matthew 8:19 – And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, “Rabbi, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” 20 – And YAHUSHA saith unto him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath nowhere to lay his head.”
YAHUSHA seems to have been aware that the scribe was not willing to do what is required of him to be a true follower.
Matthew 8:21 – And another of his disciples said unto him, “Rabbi, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” 22 – But YAHUSHA said unto him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”
On the surface, this seems like a strange response. Had this man’s father just died, and thus needed to be buried? Or, was the man talking about waiting for his father to die, and then afterwards, he would follow YAHUSHA? We can only speculate.
But, concerning all the preceding examples of people who said that they were desiring to be a disciple, what are the practical applications? What is it that we need to see? How can one successfully carry out the commandment to “forsake all” and follow YAHUSHA? Let’s take a look at when YAHUSHA called his first disciples, to see if we might be able to find the answer…
Mark 1:17 – And YAHUSHA said unto them, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” 18 – And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
This was the call of Kepha (Peter) and Andrew
Mark 1:19 – And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 – And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
We can see that when these men were called, that they immediately followed. When YAUSHA called Matthew (Levi)…
Mark 2:14 – And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, “Follow me.” And he arose and followed him.
Notice how none of them said anything like, “I will follow you, but let me first (go and take care of anything of this world).” In the tenth chapter of Matthew, YAHUSHA is talking about the effect that he will have the order of things in the world…
Matthew 10:34 – “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 – For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 – And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
Just what did YAHUSHA mean by this, and what are those who want to be his followers to do, when this comes to pass? For it surely will come to pass in the life of all who accept the truth! For another witness, YAHUSHA said:
Luke 12:49 – “I am come to send fire on the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled. 50 – But I have a immersion to be immersed with; and how am I distressed till it be accomplished! 51 – Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 – For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 – The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
And in the next verse YAHUSHA said…
Luke 12:54 – And he said also to the people, “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately you say, ‘There cometh a shower’; and so it is. 55 – And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, ‘There will be heat’; and it cometh to pass. 56 – Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?”
YAHUSHA’s ministry would be as a fire that devours! And indeed it is, even to this day! YAHUSHA said that if we keep his word, then we are his disciples indeed (John 8:31). Let’s look at some other things that YAHUSHA said that we must be willing to do to be His followers…
Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, “Good Rabbi, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 And YAHUSHA said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, YAHUAH.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.”
20 And he answered and said unto him, “Rabbi, all these have I observed from my youth.”
21 Then YAHUSHA beholding him loved him, and said unto him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the stake, and follow me.”
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And YAHUSHA looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of YAHUAH!”
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But YAHUSHA answereth again, and saith unto them, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of YAHUAH!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of YAHUAH.”
It seems apparent that entering the narrow gate is giving up any and all things that are near and dear to ones heart, if it is coming between them and YAHUAH. It appears that a pattern is forming here. Anyone who wants to follow YAHUSHA the Messiah, must be willing to give up anything that separates them from YAHUSHA! YAHUSHA said:
Matthew 5:29 – “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Gehenna. 30 – And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Gehenna.”
What YAHUSHA seems to be saying is that we must be willing to give up anything and everything that will keep us from life!
Philippians 3:7 – But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for the Messiah. 8 – Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of the Messiah YAHUSHA my Master: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win the Messiah, 9 – And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of the Messiah, the righteousness which is of YAHUAH by faith: 10 – That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 – If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
YAHUSHA warns that anyone who wants to follow him must first “count the cost”…
Luke 14:28 – “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 – Lest, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all that see it begin to mock him, 30 – Saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'”
But, what about a person who finds themselves in a situation with unbelieving kin, and they decide that it is just “too hard” to give up the “family”, can’t they make an agreement with their unbelieving relatives, so that they can be a disciple of YAHUSHA, and still stay in a compromising situation?
YAHUSHA continues to expound on the cost of being his disciple…
Luke 14:31 – “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 – Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 – So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34 – Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 – It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Paul backs up YAHUSHA…
2Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 – Or what harmony has the Messiah with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 – Or what agreement has the temple of YAHUAH with idols? For we are the temple of the living ELOHIYM; just as YAHUAH said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their ELOHIYM, and they shall be My people. 17 – Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says YAHUAH. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. 18 – And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,” says YAHUAH Almighty.
2Corinthians 7:1 – Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting being set apart in the fear of YAHUAH.
The time that a person should realize that they have a problem, in regards to their family and the truth, is when and if they see the following. Let’s look at it again, where YAHUSHA said…
Matthew 10:34 – “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 – For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 – And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 – He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 – And he that taketh not his stake, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 – He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
This would seem to include compromising with people who refuse to come out of Christianity or those who follow pagan religious celebrations!
Concerning the command, to enter the narrow gate, it is presented in Matthew from a different angle.
Matthew 7:13 – “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in by it: 14 – Because narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
The following shows that the sword was present between and his brothers in the flesh…
John 7:2 – Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 – His brethren therefore said unto him, “Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 – For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world.” 5 – For neither did his brethren believe in him.
Continuing on in verse 6…
6 – Then YAHUSHA said unto them, “My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. 7 – The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
Although YAHUSHA’s brothers, James and Judah (Ya’acob and Yahudah) did finally become believers, there was division in the beginning. If we are YAUSHA’s followers indeed, then the world will hate us…
John 15:16 – “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 – These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 – If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 – If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
YAHUSHA’s brother, in the book of James, gives another witness…
James 4:4 – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with YAHUAH? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of YAHUAH.
Besides those who seek to enter in, and are not able, there are also “deceivers”. The seekers are those who want to follow YAHUSHA, but are not willing to “pay the price”; and then there are the deceivers…
Matthew 7:15 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 – Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 – Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 – A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 – Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 – Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Have you ever found yourself, at times, bringing forth good fruit, and at other times bringing forth evil fruit? I know I have and that is not good! Being in such a state would make one guilty of being “double minded”!
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
In Jeremiah, false prophets and the false shepherds are spoken of…
Jeremiah 10:21 – For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought YAHUAH: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Jeremiah 23:16 – Thus saith YAHUAH of hosts, “Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of YAHUAH.”
17 – They say still unto them that despise me, ‘YAHUAH hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walks after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.'”
This is one of the biggest problems in churchianity, people trusting the arm of man, rather than the word of YAHUAH! Some of the things that you are likely hear from these false guides are, “The law is done away with, we no longer are required to keep it, anyone who keeps the law is under a curse” This seems to be a common theme heard from those who cling to the false name.
YAHUSHA shows the difference between those who are blessed with those who are not…
Matthew 5:11 – Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 – Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Luke 6:26 – Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Let’s look at an example that YAHUSHA gives comparing himself to false shepherds…
John 10:1 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 – But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 – To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 – And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 – And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” 6 – This parable spake YAHUSHA unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
YAHUSHA starts with a parable, saying that the sheep hear the shepherds voice, and a stranger the sheep will not follow. He also says that the porter (one sharing the truth) opens the door to the shepherd (gives the sheep access to the shepherd). He then explains the parable…
John 10:7 – Then said YAHUSHA unto them again, “Truly, truly I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 – All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 – I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
YAHUSHA is not only the shepherd, but he is also the door and the straight gate! Continuing on, The thief comes to steal and kill, YAHUSHA comes to give his life for the sheep…
John 10:10 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 – I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 – But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. 13 – The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep. 14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
An example of the influence that false shepherds have can be found in Genesis 3…
Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which YAHUAH ELOHIYM had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath ELOHIYM said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'”
The word subtle is strongs #6175 – ahroom: cunning…skill employed in a crafty manner, as in deceiving, craftiness, guile
2Corinthians 11:14 – And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 – Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
Matthew 24:3 – And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” 4 – And YAHUSHA answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 – For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Messiah; and shall deceive many.”
Where YAHUSHA says, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Messiah; and shall deceive many,” has been interpreted in different ways. Some believe that YAHUSHA is saying that many will come saying that “they” are the messiah. There are others who believe that the word “in” should actually be translated “against”, as many will come against the name of YAHUSHA. Still others believe that it means that many will come saying that YAHUSHA is in fact the Messiah, and deceive many. The fact of the matter is, all of these things have taken place!
So, not only are there deceivers using false names (thus they are against the name YAHUSHA), but there are also those who use the true and correct name, but are still deceivers!
Jeremiah 2:5 Thus saith YAHUAH, “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6 Neither said they, ‘Where is YAHUAH that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?’ 7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not, ‘Where is YAHUAH?’ and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.”
We can begin to see why the road to destruction is wide, and many enter in there at. So, YAHUSHA is the good shepherd, and his sheep hear his voice…
Revelation 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
And to that we can say, “HalleluYAH!!!!!”
Let’s now look at a promise in His Word concerning those who do enter in the narrow gate…
Hebrews 6:10 For YAHUAH is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the set apart ones, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
We should also remember what Shaul said concerning the battles that we enter…
Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armor of ELOHIYM, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The point is, that we do have to fight, but not in a worldly way, but a spiritual battle. We must keep in mind, that there are more people who do not love the truth than those who do, this includes religious people!
2Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 – And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Having itching ears means not wanting to hear truth, but wanting to hear things that will satisfy their flesh! Many admire the words of YAHUSHA, but they fail to live them. We must pray that we can be accounted worthy to follow YAHUSHA indeed!!!!
2Thessalonians 1:11 – Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our ELOHIYM would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 – That the name of our Master YAHUSHA the Messiah may be honored in you, and you in him, according to the favor of our ELOHIYM and the Master YAHUSHA the Messiah.
We need to pray for one another!
Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his yoke, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the glad tidings, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the splendor of his Father with the set-apart messengers.”
To be ashamed of YAHUSHA and his words, that means his real words! For another example of having to give up the things of this life, only this time the reward that comes with overcoming…
John 12:24 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. 25 – He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 – If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
That is not to say that we will not have trials and tribulations, because the true followers of YAHUSHA will surely be tried!!
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of YAHUAH, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of YAHUAH. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Some might think that this study will drive people away, but let’s look at what YAHUSHA did…
John 6:60 – Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”
And then in verse 66…
John 6:66 – From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
But the thing that should encourage us….
John 6:67 – Then said YAHUSHA unto the twelve, “Will ye also go away?” 68 – Then Simon Kepha answered him, “Rabbi, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 – And we believe and are sure that thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living ELOHIYM.”
YAHUSHA said in John 16:33…
John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Mark 4:24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”