Strive to enter the narrow gate

Sibongiseni Khumalo
We thank the Lord for the way in which He worked during the Youth Conference. We continue to pray for the young people who were here, that as they return home, the community and their parents will see their changed lives.

Dietmar Joosten
I was with Ms Dube, the Lord’s servant. She asked me whether we couldn’t give each of the young people who had come to the conference cabbage seedlings to take home. The young people took hold of this idea of planting cabbages at home. They were so receptive and immediately put into practice what they were told. With adults the response could be: “I’m wasting my time with just 5 seedlings”. This was such an example to me. I said, “Lord, fill me with Your zeal and fervour to do that which You command me with all my strength.” Especially, to sow God’s word. Young people are so eager to preach the Word, but older people have so many aches, pains and complaints.

We told the young people to plant their 5 seedlings and then to sell them. Then buy more seeds or seedlings and start a business. I am reminded of how often Rev Stegen encouraged us to plant avocado trees or macadamia trees. If we had done so and planted 10 a year, how much wouldn’t we be reaping now? We so often think things will just come to us. Nothing is for free. We must work for things.

Prepare the soil for your seedlings. Put on a little fertiliser or manure. Cow manure is good if it is mature and decomposed. Mix it into the soil. Using a stick, make holes in the soil. Plant the seedling in the hole. Make sure the roots do not bend. Cover the plant and leave a small depression around for the water. Give the plant a cup of water per day. As it grows increase the amount of water. Look after the seedlings as you would a baby. Nurture and care for them and they will grow. The best time to water them is in the morning.

If out of the 3000 people who attended the conference, a few do what they are told it will initiate something in their hearts and lives and we will have achieved something. This is the seed you sow for the future. This could be the seed for the future for the welfare of our country. I pray for the young people that they will do as they have been instructed. To plant seedlings is one thing, but to persevere day by day that is another.

Michael Ngubane
It is very clear that God is present in this place. I feel sorry for you if you do not recognise what God is doing. There are people in this unfortunate position: where they should see, they do not, where they should hear, they do not. You can be in this service but you do not hear what is said. You may be smartly dressed but that does not mean that you have grasped what is said. There is something lacking in your life. Jesus should enter your life and do His work there. I pity you if you have a grudge in your life. That grudge destroys you. A grudge kills you. It is of no help to anybody. It only destroys.

We thank the Lord for the way in which He is working.

Please give our young people from here a round of applause for the hard work they did during this conference. They put their whole heart into the work. We noticed it and God did as well.

The Lord blessed us through the theme of the conference: The narrow/small gate and the narrow way. May the Lord have mercy on us that we will desire and love to walk on this narrow way and enter through the small gate.

24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:24 – 30

Strive to enter through that narrow door.

Some deceivers say, ‘Once you have raised your hand and can say that you have received Jesus as your Lord and your Saviour, that is enough. You are a child of God and on your way to heaven.’ Some even say that it does not matter how you live because you received the Lord as your Saviour. This is a cheap Gospel.

Jesus gives us a different message. He tells us what type of people will enter that place. Jesus says it is those who persevere. The way to heaven is not an easy way. The Lord Jesus told us that only a few will be saved. This is important: only a few will be saved. This can worry us that only a handful will receive that grace. We may think if only so few will be saved, does it even help me to try? If only a few will be saved, where does that leave me? Will I pass or fail?

Jesus told His disciples plainly: strive to enter the narrow door. No matter what it costs, no matter what it takes, Jesus encourages us to strive. Even though only a few will be saved, let us strive to enter through the narrow door. It will not just happen. It will not be automatic. We must strive to obey God and to do what He tells us. We need to pray, “Lord, be merciful and help me that I will be part of that small group.” It is clear how things go on the broad way and how zealous people are in the world for their things. Satan is not satisfied with the group he already has, he is hunting you as well. He wants you in his group. He does not care whether you are in the service, carrying your Bible, or whether you sing. He will find a way to steal you from the midst of God’s people.

You can ask the question: What about me? Where do I stand? What can I do with so many temptations?

Many people are tempted because they put themselves in the way of temptation. They are so close to the world and the place of temptation. How can the devil miss his opportunity to tempt you when you are so close? If you love worldly things, what will prevent the devil from tempting you? If you love the music of the world and make opportunities to listen secretly when nobody is around, why shouldn’t the devil tempt you?

The Lord Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Some people serve the Lord, but not with all the strength that God gives. You are a sluggard. You withhold some of your energy. You are lazy when it pertains to God’s things. This laziness will make you lukewarm.

God’s word tells us that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord… will enter the kingdom of heaven. But only those who do the will of God the Father.” Many say that they have chosen the Lord as their Saviour and Master, but it ends there. It is obvious that they are sluggards. They do not even take the time and effort to read God’s word to feed their souls. If they are asked how much time they spend on things of God versus things of the world – one finds they spend hours on world news. How much time do you spend reading world news compared to the news of heaven – the place we are aiming for?

Others spend their time visiting people to hear the latest stories. I am not saying that we should not visit anyone, but watch out for those who constantly visit people, as if they follow a timetable. Watch what kind of spirit they pass on. How much time do you spend on God’s work every day compared to the time you spend visiting? Those who are being visited, watch out that you do not become a rubbish bin for gossip stories. You will not make any progress spiritually.

Where does that leave me if so few will be saved? But you spend your time on wasteful things, on visiting which leads nowhere, instead of praying or interceding. Where will you get the time for that if you spend it on other things? Look at the life you are living now. In which group does it put you? Through the life you are living can you say, by the grace of the Lord, I am on the way? How diligent are you regarding the things of God? What do you do the whole day? In which struggle do you find yourself? Does the life that you lead show that you are found amongst the few who will be saved, or are you obviously on the broad way? We should not be condemned by prostitutes and people of this world, when we say we serve the Lord. We need to strive together with the Lord.

In the movie The Narrow Way, something comforts me. When you enter the dark forest, the Lord Jesus says that He is with you. Even if you stumble in that dark forest, you can call on Him and He will give you his helping hand. We should walk where Jesus walked. We should place our foot where He places His foot - even though there are thorns. If I put my foot where He put His, I will be able to walk that way. Even if there are many ways and you are perplexed, the Lord is there to say, “This is the way, walk in it.” Many people are confused and they do not know which way to take. The heart-breaking thing is that they eventually take the road that goes downhill into destruction. When they ask for advice, they do not ask the Lord Jesus but rather ask others who lead them astray and point them in other directions.

Strive to enter the narrow door. It is not our way. It is not our door. Not anyone will be able to get in there anyhow, it is according to God’s will. We need to strive and persevere to enter that gate.

This reminds me of Jacob who wrestled with God. When dawn was about to break, he did not want to let go of Him - even though the angel said he should. Jacob would not let Him go unless He blessed him.

I want to go through that narrow gate. I want to be in that city which has that narrow gate as its entrance.  The devil blinds us. He does not want us to see that gate which eventually leads to the city which cannot be described in human words. Therefore, Satan leads so many astray. He deceives and blinds people so that they cannot see the narrow door, lest they enter.

We must live fervently for the Lord. We should be on fire for Him. None of us ought to be spiritually lazy and slack in the ways of God. We should not be people who become weary spiritually.

We are privileged to be part of this revival and that should inspire us to reach new heights, be on fire for God and live and work for Him. No one should be spiritually lukewarm. No one should be busy with the things of the world. Where is there time for that, when we see the state the world is in? No young person should be busy with things of the world. Nothing else brings about lukewarmness besides sin. Nobody should be busy with pornography instead of the things of God. Nobody should be taking in the things of the world when there is such a great need. Where do you get time for that?

People know so much about different websites and apps, but ask them about the word of God and they know nothing. Ask him about a verse or a book in the Bible, he does not even know that such a book exists. Why? He does not spend time on God’s word. How much could God do in our midst if everyone spent time on their knees with God’s word?

Sometimes when you are with a group of people and you ask someone to pray, the people all look at one another - nobody can pray. Is it perhaps because you do not know who to pray to? If you pray to the living God it should not be a problem, there should be no hesitation because He is your Father, your Saviour. God does not call us to be a lukewarm church, without a vision, headed nowhere. God does not call us to rest on our laurels when there is such a great task ahead of us. If you are not busy with the things of God, you will be busy with the things of the world.

You may have come here for help. You received help, got a job and now you no longer see the need to attend a service. Be on your guard against the things that will make your love for the Lord Jesus grow cold.  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22,23

We need to strive, to persevere, to go forward with the Lord Jesus because of His love for us. Has the Lord done nothing for you that you live the kind of life you live? Strive, persevere to enter the narrow gate. This is what you should be busy with every day, every minute.

Paul says, I die daily. I must die to my ego. I must die to my flesh. I must die to my sin. God’s will ought to be done in our lives. If this happens, then God’s fire will burn in our lives. We ought to press on, serve the Lord Jesus, look for opportunities to serve Him. God’s word says that people will come from the east and west, from the north and south and enter in and recline at the table but the children of the kingdom will be cast out. (Matthew 8:11) This stirs the heart. “Oh God, have mercy on me that I will not have the form of godliness, but my life does not show that I have been through God’s mill, that I have been ground and my ego crushed.” The flesh wants to lead us into sin and God crushes that if we say yes to Him. It should be clear that these people have a goal to serve God and time for nothing else. Is it like this with you?

The reason why there is no spiritual growth is because there is spiritual laziness. We need to be reminded about when it is time for a service. We need to be reminded to do this and that because we do not do it unless we are pushed. You have become lukewarm or even ice cold if it is like that. You may have been called to preach the word but what is consuming you? Are you busy with the things of God?

When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Luke 13:25

The owner of the house will get up and shut the door. He will shut the door! Who is the Master of the house? Remember what happened when Noah built the ark and the people mocked him and said, “What are you busy with?” But when the ark was finished it began raining. It rained for 40 days and nights and then they realised that something was happening and decided to go to Noah whom they had thought was such a fool. Even if you are regarded as a fool while you are serving God, why care about that, because Jesus will give you a reward. How many people have fallen from the faith because of peer pressure?

Jesus Himself will shut the door. They will cry and say, “Please open, but He won’t.” The very ones who called you a fool will be shut out.

Let us not grow slack. Let us not be taken up by the things of the world. Jesus, the Master of the house, will rise and shut the door. Once that door is shut, there will be no reopening, no mercy for those on the outside. When the door is shut, where will you be? Inside or outside the gate?

A person’s deeds will be tested. Our preaching will be tested. Was it hypocritical, a big show, or was it the truth? All the things you do will be tested. They will be weighed. Were you faithful in what you did or were you negligent? A doctor, a teacher, whatever your profession - how did you do your work? It will be tested.

When Jesus sent His disciples to go and preach the word, they returned with a wonderful report of victory about how it went. They explained that even the demons had submitted to them. They thought that the Lord would be so pleased and Jesus said, “It is good, but here is the wonderful thing – that our names are written in the Book of Life.” Are our names written in the Book of Life?

It was not so important that the demons are driven out or that they submitted, but that our names are in the Book of Life. Child of God, where is your name? In the Book of Life or the Book of Death? The truth will come to light. The judges will say yes or no. The Master of the house will rise and shut the door. Then all we did will come to light– in truth or hypocritically.

The door is narrow, some say it is a door of gold. If that door is so glorious, how much more glorious is that which is behind it? Will you be distracted by the dust and muck of this world or be busy with the things of heaven? If you have been busy with dirt, stop it and get rid of it.

The truth is: the Master of the house will rise and shut the door.

Dietmar Joosten
This has been a wonderful word. To strive also means to force yourself through the narrow door. You must forget yourself, your own feelings, your own hurt. If you go according to your these, you will never get through that gate. If you force yourself through, you must take your own brain, feelings, what you think is right and wrong and lean totally upon the Lord.

You may have heard things from others and these things keep you busy. You will not be able to enter that narrow gate until you stand up and find out whether what you heard is true. Many will go lost because they heard things, but they never tested and proved whether it was true. The Lord told us – test and prove everything according to His word.

In Revelation the Lord says, “I stand at your door and I knock.” If you do not open your heart to God so that He can change you and that a fire will burn in your heart, the day will come when you knock, but because of your hard head you could not bow and the door will be closed.