There’s a reason why the road is wide
It has to be, because so many people choose it! Jesus speaks the following words during his famous “sermon on the mount.”
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
The road has many names and many adjectives and most of them begin with the word “easy,” but Jesus calls us to something more. He calls us out from the comfortable church pews and baby food sermons onto the road less traveled … the narrow way. Walking this road will require a constant traveling companion — the Holy Spirit. We need Him to guide us and help us in discerning truth from the false doctrines that are out there in full force and competing for our soul. We are so quick to sit under someone’s teaching (and that’s not all bad), and have them interpret the Word of God for us. They do the work and we sit for an hour and leave with a little morsel of “truth” to chew on for the week ahead. But what if it’s not truth? What if it’s just a “sugary drink” that satisfies for the moment, but doesn’t truly nourish. What if it’s a clever diversion that sets you on a destructive path?
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:18-27
It’s not that it’s wrong to sit under someone’s teaching. It’s just that you shouldn’t need it, and it shouldn’t be the only way you consume or work out the scriptures in your own life. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is just that, and when Jesus left this earth, God gifted the Holy Spirit (which Jesus was really excited about — John 16:5-15).
What often goes missing in the “truth” that is peddled by the false teachers?
- Jesus as the only way to the eternal life
- Believing in God without repenting of sin
- Being a “good” person without believing in Christ
It’s not good enough to be “good.” And who is the judge of “good?” The truth of scripture says that there isn’t one of us that’s good (Romans 3:10). We all deserve the ultimate penalty for our sin (Romans 6:23), but God made a way in Jesus’ death on the cross (the second half of that Romans 6:23 verse). We must believe in Jesus and what He did and in the Father who sent Him, and we must confess that we are sinners. It is biblical, and it is the only way (the narrow way).
So here’s the bottom line … as a believer, or as someone who is seeking Jesus, don’t just take a pastor, preacher or teacher at their word. You have to test what they say against what the Bible says. The ancients did it, and it’s more important than ever that we do it too.
As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Walk with the Spirit. Examine the scriptures every day. Live rooted.