Is the Jesus preached in the majority of the churches today the same Jesus of the Bible? Most “believers” today would say yes but when examining the actual words of Jesus written in the Bible, there appears to be some contradiction. It’s important to understand the words of someone’s instructions in order to properly follow those instructions. It would be no different than properly understanding directions in order to arrive at a desired destination or location. If the desired location is Heaven, let’s examine the directions to Heaven.
Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24) The Greek word for “strive” means to struggle, fight, labor fervently, to compete for a prize, to contend with an adversary, or to endeavor to accomplish something. The Greek word for strait means narrow because of obstacles. It could be read this way. Many will attempt to get into His Kingdom but won’t because of their failure to struggle, fight, or labor fervently and thus will allow obstacles to block and hinder their entrance.
Jesus said it another way in Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate (Gr: narrow from obstacles standing close about an entrance), and narrow is the way (Gr: afflicted and suffer tribulation on the journey) which leadeth unto life (Gr: “zoe” life by the Spirit), and few (Gr: puny in number) there be that find it.
Jesus said the road is narrow, the travelers few but those who traveled the narrow path would find life, eternal life. On the other hand, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Matthew 7:13). If only those on the narrow path will find eternal life and if eternal life with Jesus is our true desire, then wouldn’t it be wise to make sure we’re actually on the narrow road to life?
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He also said “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9) and “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
If we believe He is who He said He was, shouldn’t we seriously consider the words of the Master, especially if we call Him Lord and Savior, and examine whether or not we truly are of those He calls his followers and servants? The Jesus of the Bible said, If any man come to me, and hate not (meaning love less) his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26). Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27). Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33).
Jesus created the mold for a true disciple of his. The question is can we conform to His mold? Do we have a willing, moldable heart? Is He truly our master? Many in Jesus’ day desired to follow Him (Luke 9:57-62) but couldn’t because they weren’t willing to strive to enter at the strait gate and conform to his mold. What about those of us today? Remember Jesus said “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). There is no other access point into His Kingdom. It’s His Kingdom and His wedding. He reserves the right to set the criteria for entrance during His courtship with us. Are you coming in by the door or will you attempt to be a “wedding crasher” and look for another way?
Those looking for another way, an easier way, become susceptible to accept another gospel by another spirit from another Jesus. Paul warned the believers of the Macedonian church in Corinth not to follow any other Jesus; For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (Gr: suffer morally with him). (2 Cor 11:4)
The Living Bible reads this way; You seem so gullible: you believe whatever anyone tells you even if his is preaching about another Jesus than the one we preach, or a different spirit than the Holy Spirit you received, or shows you a different way to be saved. You swallow it all.
If someone says a “sinner’s prayer”, does that mean they will be “saved” forever no matter what they do or don’t do? Does saying “I do” to initiate a marriage mean we will always remain married? A married person must strive and labor fervently to fulfill the marriage commitment just as we must strive to enter the strait gate, resisting temptations, remaining faithful. A “sinner’s prayer” is the just the commitment, the “I do” if you will, to begin a new life, our marriage with Jesus. The rest of our life is a test of our obedience and faithfulness to Him as His bride.
If entering His Kingdom was as simple as mouthing a prayer or even being religious, Jesus would have said so. He painted quite a different picture which is why many walked away from him, unwilling to submit to the qualifications of entry (John 6:66). The real Jesus said “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall ALL likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). The real Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery to whom He defended and forgave her of her adulterous past, “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). There is a response and life of repentance that must follow His forgiveness.
The “real” Jesus said Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you (Matthew 7:21,22).
In other words, the real Jesus was saying you were serving the wrong Jesus. It wasn’t me. I, the real Jesus, never knew you. I, the real Jesus, said if you wanted to follow me, you must deny yourself, no longer live for yourself, pick up your own cross, commit yourself to your own death for me, then come follow me. You must have been following a different Jesus because it wasn’t me. I never knew you. For many shall come in my name (claiming to represent me), saying, I (Jesus) am Christ (the Messiah); and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5).
Jesus wouldn’t have warned his followers to not be deceived by those claiming to represent Him, including teachers, if weren’t possible. The enemy’s attempt with any false doctrine is to deceive and lead a believer astray. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Gal 5:8,9). No one is immune from deception. All of us must search for the truth like hidden treasure and beware of the leaven of the religious systems and false teachings of this day just as Jesus warned His followers during His day (Matthew 16:5-12).
Eternal life and where we spend it is nothing to take lightly. The consequences of receiving wrong directions would be eternally devastating, more than anyone can imagine. Were you led down the easy, widened path to salvation? Many will be deceived into believing they are following the real Jesus. Wouldn’t it be wise to examine this real possibility of deception?
Just imagine driving down a highway. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve seen any road signs. There’s no better time than now to pull over and check the road map. The map to Heaven is the Word of God and the directions to His Kingdom are God’s own words and not a man’s. Jesus’ words were very clear and straight forward, although difficult to hear and receive, they’re still the truth.
If we are truly seeking to enter into His Kingdom, we must enter under His conditions. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber (John 10:1). If we enter under another’s conditions, we will enter the wrong kingdom.
If you haven’t found the real Jesus or just aren’t sure, He is only as far away as our heart. And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18). A contrite spirit from the Hebrew means humble, broken-hearted for sin, and deeply affected with grief and sorrow of heart for having offended a holy God.
To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word (Isaiah 66:2). God is looking for a man or woman with a contrite spirit. Why? Because He’s looking for a place to dwell.
I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). Just as we enjoy our humble abode, God is looking for one too.