Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jesus' Sermon On The Mountainside: Is The "Narrow Gate" Legalism?

How often do you deny yourself in the course of an ordinary day?

How often do let go of your own rights, as you view them, for the sake of what’s better for someone else?

People, as a rule, don’t like discipline and self-sacrifice, so this narrow way is often accused of being legalism.

What have you accused as being legalistic, recently?

Legalism exalts law above grace.
* Legalism elevates human rules and traditions to the level of divine law.
* Legalism binds God’s people where God has left them free and this was the Pharisees’ way – they counted on their scrupulous observance of God’s law and their own added regulations to earn their way into the kingdom of heaven, and condemned everyone who did not do as they did.

The Pharisees’ way certainly looked like the narrow gate.

How discerning are you about the difference between the narrow gate and the wide gate?

Legalism majors on the minors and minors on the majors, it is really adhering to the letter of the law to the exclusion of the spirit of the law, which makes it doable for the few very disciplined people, and just about too hard for everyone else.

The narrow gate Jesus is talking about is totally the opposite. He is the gate, and through Him God puts His Spirit in us to obey His word completely, in spirit and in truth.

Compared to Jesus’ gate, legalism becomes the broad gate, because it is doable without the Holy Spirit living in you.

Humbling yourself to Jesus’ strict authority, and willingly obeying even the spirit of His commands will be hard.
* Denying yourself,
* Disciplining yourself,
* Self-sacrifice for the sake of others,
* Giving up your rights for someone else is hard.

But Jesus’ road leads to life.

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