5/26 The Strait & Narrow Gate

King James Daily Bible Study Devotional
Message Title: The Strait & Narrow Gate
Date: Saturday May 26, 2012Today's Chapters: Nehemiah 7-8

Hello My Friend,

The house that I live in has long straight rooms, but they are very narrow, we often joke about it saying that Jesus wanted us to live in a straight and narrow house.
The word strait means, narrow, close, not broad, to put to difficulties. The path to the life that God wants us to live is strait, but it leads to Jesus who is capable of getting us through the difficulties. Without Jesus no one gets through the gate into the Kingdom of God. It pretty sad really, heaven is a huge place, full of streets of gold and mansions which Jesus is preparing for them, yet the place will be nearly empty as many will not be able to enter the strait and narrow gate.

And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:“ - Luke 13:22-25.

The walls surrounding Jerusalem were repaired, the city was huge and it still needed a lot of work, but very few people were in it. Armed guards stood at the only entrance into the city, the gates were open during the day, but once the gates were closed no one was allowed to go through the gates unless their names were found written in the register book. The register book was the Israelites only documentation that they were true Israelites that came from Babylon, anyone not found written in the book was considered an imposter and denied entrance. “
Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded. And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;” - Nehemiah 7:4-6.
The same way in which a person can enter the gate in Jerusalem, is the same way a person can enter the Kingdom of God. Whether Jew or Gentile, we must have our names written in the Book of Life or we cannot enter the gates to heaven. Many people will stand before Jesus to get the shocking news that they are denied entrance through those gates, likewise many will be surprised to be getting through them. Jesus said, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” - Matthew 20:16.

The ultimate purpose God had for His people returning to Jerusalem was more than just the restoration of the temple and the walls. These were man-made structures and powerless to protect the Jews from their enemies unless they knew God and obeyed His Word. Unfortunately the Book of the Law was written in Hebrew, which many of the new generation did not understand. However, thousands of Jews assembled at sunrise in Jerusalem day after day to hear Ezra and the Levites read and explain the Book of the Law so they could live by God's Word.

And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” - Nehemiah 8:4-6,8.
Until you receive Christ as your Savior reading God's Word is like reading a foreign language to you, thousands of theologians study the word of God teaching false doctrine and have gone straight to hell because they were not saved. However, there is just enough knowledge given to the lost from the Word of God to help them understand how to be saved. Reading God's Word does not save you, it is only by confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior that saves you. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” - 1 John 5:11-13.

After you receive Christ the Holy Spirit dwells in you and allows you to begin understanding what you are reading. While it is wonderful to read the Bible on your own it helps to get around godly, Bible reading, saved, and likeminded Christians to help you as you grow. As you grow you will discover things about yourself that you are ashamed of, which is what happened when some of the people listening realized they were living in sin. They felt so convicted they began to cry, but Ezra encouraged them not to cry, reminding them that God has already forgiven them.

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.” - Nehemiah 8:10-13.

So many people are afraid to approach God because they feel ashamed or rejected by Him over their current or past sins. We do not have to be afraid to come to God, it is good to feel convicted, it's the only way that we learn godly fear. Remember, we only have to ask Jesus to save us once, He died once for us, that means He saves us once. With that in mind we still have to repent of sin if we want to have a joyful relationship with God while here on earth. Accepting Christ as our Savior does more than save us from hell and get our names written in the Book of Life, His precious blood covers a multitude of sins. “
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” - James 5:19,20. Today's Psalm: 100:4 - “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Today's Proverb: 8:34 - “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Today's Prayer: God, Thank You for sending Your Son to give us a way to be able to live in Your Kingdom and be able communicate with You while I am still here. Lord, let Your Word be a light to my path and a lamp to my feet that I might learn, study, and follow Your commands, not because I have to in order to keep my salvation, but because I love You and want to give thanks to You for giving Your Son to me to die for my sins. Thank You Jesus for making such a sacrifice for me, I am nothing without You, Jesus and I thank You. Lord, keep me in the joy of my salvation, never let me lose sight of the life You gave me for giving Your life. I love You, Lord, and I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
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