Walking the Long & Narrow
Bible Text: Matthew 7:13-14 | Speaker: Thomas Vasquez | Series: Guest Speakers, Standalone Sermons | Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life and few who find it. /// Matthew 7:13-14
Is a verse that really sums up our walk with our heavenly father. This is true in any form of ministry that you serve in as well. We have the choice to walk in the path that will lead us to everlasting life, which in return will grow and mature us, or we can take easy street that will lead to our demise. It’s a tough choice and one to be made daily. Reading it, doesn’t sound like it’s tough does it? Gee, do I want everlasting life, or do I want to destroy it like others do? Should be a no brainer, right? You better believe, the path we are called to walk will have its difficulties. I don’t say this to try and strike fear in you, but just something to really keep in mind when challenges start to show their faces.
One thing to always keep in mind is this, ministry is not just a position you see yourself in here at church. Ministry is any relationship where you get the opportunity to share the love of Jesus. The love of Jesus is more than being able to make people feel ok or better about themselves. The love of our father is correcting and caring for another in a selfless manner. It begins with a godly revelation. “God told me I’m to be a pastor, I’m to teach and preach”, that was the dream he gave me about 9 years ago. The one thing he taught me however is this. Your goal should never be a position you think you should be in. Your goal should be, to be as obedient to God so he can position you where you would never position yourself to be. Let’s examine.
You encounter the goodness of the father, you get hit with the Holy Spirit and BOOM! Ministry needs to happen and begin, right? Not necessarily… You see, an encounter as powerful as that, is something to recognize and tell people about. The love that just tsunami’d your life is worth spreading! But the actual “position” if you will, happens in a process. We can see the process in the biblical lives of Joseph, David & Paul… Joseph, began with a dream* (Genesis 37). David, through a prophet* (1 Samuel 16). Paul, a personal encounter with Jesus* (Acts 9). Paul was just brought to his knees during a nice little stroll. Whether you received a dream, heard the voice of the father or had a vision. That’s the moment we realize God has laid out a path. It’s your choice to walk it. Just aheads up, this path WILL have its difficulties. Not just anyone can walk it, gotta have a good grip. Endurance through perseverance is what I would like to talk about. It’s something that we all learn through time, but over the course of time, we just need to have a focus alignment. In these stories of Joseph, David and Paul we see that Endurance and Perseverance had to be in play with their lives. We see this characteristic in any disciple, apostle, prophet and Jesus!
Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. /// James 1:12
Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. /// Galatians 6:9
And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. /// Romans 5:3-4
Let’s visit another verse before we move on.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. /// 1 Corinthians 12:27
Let’s do some reflecting on the “Body”, the “you” that it is talking about, us as a unified church. Have you ever wondered, why did God refer to us as the “body”? He could have given us any title he wanted to, the Guardians of the Galaxy would have been pretty cool or the Buffet of the Lord… Game changers in Jesus. He could have called us the X-Men! Know what I mean? No, we are the “Body”. When you’re young you can take things for granted. (stay up late hours of the night, eat hot wings*) If your Body is lacking endurance, how do you build endurance? By improving your cardiovascular system (delivery system) so your heart and lungs supply oxygen and energy to your muscles. Stamina comes from building those muscles to handle the demands placed on them.
So, you see, if your body is out of whack, put it to work a little! What is the best way to build endurance? Staying active would be a good start. Get up and do something, go jogging, walk the dog, move around, grab a weight, do a pushup and so on. But what about injuries? The longer you live, the longer it takes to recover, right? So how does this relate to the “body” that we are reference to, in 1 Corinthians? Capstone, are you tired? Does it hurt to move sometimes? Not talking about the physical right now. When you go to speak or teach, the drive just isn’t there? What about just showing up to church? You can sense a little fatigue in our body. The flame that set you ablaze on the path in ministry, feels like it is a small ember? It is time to reignite that flame. It’s not time to give up but to endure and persevere. It’s time to take action and time to move in the spirit. You either hit a wall or life threw something at you and it hurt you, right? You heard a lie and someone else went along with it and now your belief has been shaken?
To touch a little more on Matthew 7:14, about running into some difficulty in our path, because we are all on this path. If you accepted Christ, you are on this path. Now with trials, temptation and every challenge that we are currently facing, we should be asking “God, where are we as a body in our journey?” Here’s a visual: we are stories high, with a bar in our hand, walking a tight rope, the tight rope of course was the long and narrow. The bar is a balance bar, what it represented was the word of God, His truths, Prayer, Faith and His Spirit. Below is the safety net which is His Grace, Mercy and Love (because he knows we fall). But His mercy will catch you, his grace is waiting and his love is always there. But what is it, after the fall, that leads us back up to the beginning? A ladder right? Our relationship with a father, that will be with us and give us strength to endure whatever life throws at us, and perseverance we receive through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
There are no short cuts to building Endurance, other than staying active and having patience to see the results. It’s the same with our spiritual growth. We need to Endure and Persevere. Every one of you has a calling and have a unique gift, all of you do, don’t let life stop you. Don’t allow lies to hold you back. You know your destination, God will get you there, if you hold on! Might take a little time, and you will fall from time to time, but you’ll get there if you Endure and Persevere. Stick to the course as Joseph did. Worship through your battles like David and be loyal to our father like Paul. Brothers and sisters, Walk the Long and Narrow!
1 Samuel 16
1 Corinthians 12:27
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