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Greatest Sermon Ever 23: Is Christianity Narrow-Minded
Richard Root
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Greatest Sermon Ever 23: Is Christianity Narrow-Minded Jul 19, 2020
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Richard Root Matthew 7:13-14 Sunday Online
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Sermon -Sunday Online -2020/07/19 11am -Richard Root -"Greatest Sermon Ever 23: Is Christianity Narrow-Minded"

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The Sermon on the Mount – 23. Is Christianity Narrow-Minded
Matthew 7:13-14

• We want to look this weekend at one of the more controversial and often misunderstood statements Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Mount. This is what he says.
“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.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
• This picture of a narrow gate touches on a really deep concern that lots of people have about religion in general and Christianity in particular: that Christianity is narrow-minded.
• Christianity, some claim, produces unthinking, irrational followers; blindly compliant to authority; intolerant of others.
“It is impossible to live at peace with those we regard as damned.”
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau.”

The Paradox of Jesus Life
• If you examine the life and teachings of Jesus, you notice a strange paradox. On the one hand, Jesus makes statements that are outrageously exclusive:
this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6)
• And yet, this man who made claims that were staggeringly exclusive pursued relationships with people that are breathtakingly and scandalously inclusive.
o It’s almost like Jesus thinks a relationship with him is now transcending human religious categories.
o It’s like the narrower Jesus gets in his devotion to God the more broad-minded he is in his love for and relationships with other human beings.

Beyond Tolerance
• The word tolerance has a kind of minimalist quality to it. It comes from a Latin word, tolerantia, which means to put up with or to endure.
• Jesus does not command tolerance. You are not made by God to be tolerated. You are made by God to be celebrated.
• In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus doesn’t say,
Tolerate your enemies.”
He doesn’t say,
Put up with those who persecute you, let alone people who just think differently.”
• Tolerance is a very good thing as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Tolerance is better than intolerance, but tolerance alone is a pretty low bar.
“You can tolerate somebody without loving them, but you cannot love somebody intolerantly.”
• Tolerance is built on the claim that every human being has dignity and has equal worth. That is an absolute claim.
• The cure for arrogance and intolerance, which are horrible sins, is not that we should give up on truth and embrace uncertainty. The cure is that we embrace humility.
You can be right and humble. It’s possible. You can be uncertain and arrogant.

The Narrow Gate of Obedience
• What then is Jesus talking about in this passage from Matthew 7:13-14?
o The narrow gate is not narrow-mindedness.
o The narrow gate is not doctrinal correctness.
o The narrow gate is not religious intolerance.
The narrow gate is doing what Jesus said to do!!
• Obeying creatively, intelligently, joyfully, falteringly with relaxed hands and un-gritted teeth, obeying the one who has thoroughly mastered life and death, the one who knows.
Obeying him in all things is the narrow gate.
• Be utterly narrow in your devotion to Jesus and incredibly broad-minded in your interactions and love and tolerance of people radically different than you.
• And remember when you go through that gate, no matter how narrow the path, no matter how dark road, you are never alone.

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