Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:9-23
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Strait—narrow, wide enough to admit one. People prefer wider leniency and where others are going. Christ is the way: follow Him no one else. Wide and broad—easily entered and easily traveled along. Way is as narrow as the entrance—walk circumspectly.
Find it—come across it, discover it after a search.
Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Few saved—being saved, on the way to salvation.
Strive—contend, struggle, agony, wrestle, implies the difficulty in being saved. Seek to enter—desire, crave, demand. The way is hard, merely seeking is not enough. More than an intention.
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Grieved—disgusted with, wanted to spit them out. When Israel knew God was displeased, they hardened themselves further rather than repent. Not known—took no knowledge of my ways, didn’t catch on. Rest—Promised Land and ultimately eternal deliverance.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Departing—to withdraw, stand apart. Faith unites with God, unbelief separates.
Exhort—call to one’s side, beg, entreat, encourage. Today—not tomorrow!
Deceitfulness—trick, stratagem fools you into not responding to God. End—unlike Israel who quit before they got to the Promised Land.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Believed not—disobeyed, didn’t do what they were told. Could not enter even though they desired to do so. Theyquit, called it good enough, never saw the end.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Don’t doubt the promise, it’s still there. Go get it! Come short—fail, lack, miss out.
Mixed with faith—fully digested, not obeyed, not put into practice.
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Unbelief—disobedience. Quote in Psalm 95, still a shot for Israel. If the rest only meant the Promised Land, why is David still talking about a rest? The restoration of all things back to when God completed creation and declared it good.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Labor—strive diligently. Unbelief—disobedience.