The Difficult Way To Life (7:14) INTRODUCTION 1. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke of two ways... a. The way to destruction - Mt 7:13 b. The way to life - Mt 7:14 2. In describing these two ways, He pointed out the contrasts... a. The way to destruction is broad, and many chose to follow it - Mt 7:13 b. The way to life is difficult, and there are few who find it - Mt 7:14 [If we desired to be saved, to experience eternal life, there will be hardship along the way. As we use this lesson to contemplate "The Difficult Way To Life", we note first that...] I. WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED A. WE HAVE BEEN WARNED... 1. By Jesus in our text and elsewhere - Mt 7:14; Jn 15:18-20;16:33 2 By Paul to his fellow disciples - Ac 14:22; 2Ti 3:12 3 By Peter in his epistle - 1Pe 4:12 -- Jesus and His apostles have given full disclosure that the way to life is difficult B. WE HAVE MANY ENEMIES... 1. Satan himself, who seeks to devour - 1Pe 5:8-9 2. People who think us 'strange', who may ridicule and ostracize us - 1Pe 4:3-4 3. The lust of the flesh, with its bad habits - 1Pe 2:11 -- Without and within, there are forces at work making the way to life difficult [Forewarned, what should our attitude be? Though the way to life is difficult...] II. WE SHOULD NOT BE RESENTFUL A. WE ARE TOLD TO REJOICE... 1. By Jesus in His sermons - Mt 5:10-12; Lk 6:22-23 2. By James in his epistle - Jm 1:2 3. As did the apostles, when persecuted - Ac 5:41 -- Jesus and His apostles say that we should rejoice. Why? B. BECAUSE IT MAKES US STRONGER... 1. Which is why Paul gloried in his tribulations - Ro 5:3-4; 2 Co 12:10 2. Which is why James told us to rejoice in our trials - Jm 1:2-4 3. "In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us." - Rainer Maria Rilke -- Can we begin to see why God would allow the way to life to be so difficult? [So rejoice, not resent, when trials and tribulations befall us on the way to life. What may appear to be stumbling blocks may in fact be stepping stones to victory. Especially as we consider why...] III. WE SHOULD NOT BE DEFEATED A. WE HAVE GOD ON OUR SIDE... 1. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to endure - 1Co 10:13a 2. He will provide a way of escape, enabling us to endure - 1Co 10:13b 3. This includes strength to stand strong a. His Spirit to empower the inner man - Ep 3:16; cf. Ro 15:13 b. His armor to protect, and fight the good fight - Ep 6:10-13 -- Through God's providence and provision, we have the ability to be victorious! B. WE HAVE JESUS TO INSPIRE US... 1. He provided an example of suffering, for us to follow - 1 Pe 2:21 2. We should look to Him, as we seek to endure - He 12:1-4 3. Even as Stephen did, emulating His forgiving spirit - Ac 7:54-60; cf. Lk 23:34 -- Through Jesus' example, we have the inspiration and motivation to succeed! CONCLUSION 1. This is not to say we will never misstep along the way to life... a. As Christians we sin - 1Jn 1:8,10 b. When we stumble, we have mercy and forgiveness - 1Jn 1:7,9 2. So as we travel on the way to life, finding it at times to be difficult... a. Let's not be surprised b. Let's not be resentful c. Let's not be defeated But as the writer to the Hebrews penned in his epistle... "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:" "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;" - Heb 12:12-15 And as Paul confessed in his epistle... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Php 4:13 Note: The idea and main points for this study came from a daily devotional written my cousin and brother in the Lord, Gary Henry. Visit his website at WordPoints.com to find lots of good material!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016