Dear friends, I am getting my next Sunday School lesson ready and it is from the heart of the Lord Jesus. It is ‘The Narrow Way’. It is a hard way; it involves pain and rejection. If you have believed the prosperity preachers, you are probably not on that narrow way. Please read on.
The narrow way is found in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 7:13,14. It is the words of the Lord Jesus, part of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’.
‘Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
‘Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’
The Lord told his disciples: ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ Matthew 16:24
There is no fun involved with a cross. No joking around. It is deadly serious.
Yes, there is great joy in knowing the Lord Jesus and following Him, and there are many wonderful things that happen, but if you do truly know Him and follow Him, you will encounter suffering. I am writing this so that it will not seem strange when it comes your way.
When the suffering does come, it is your chance to shine, to overcome it. How? By continuing to believe in the Lord Jesus! That is what overcoming is! Not giving Him up, not denying Him.
This is not a ‘feel good, quick bless up’ message. If you love Jesus, you will certainly encounter troubles and extreme heartaches.
Some people will reject you and it will hurt so much you will think you cannot stand it, but you can, because the Holy Spirit will help you. He is alongside every believer.
‘If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own…but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.’ John 15: 18,19
And now the worst part of all - families and loved ones. Can there be any greater pain than when a family member, or someone very close to you, someone you love and have nurtured, someone you have been kind to, someone you have sacrificed for – when someone like that turns against you.
It happened to Jesus! His own brothers did not believe in Him until after the crucifixion! One of the Twelve betrayed Him. His close friend Peter denied Him three times!
Jesus said we should expect the same treatment!
Luke 12:51 ‘Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.’
Luke 12:53 ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’
The narrow way involves a cross. The Lord Jesus told the rich young man: ‘Take up the cross and follow me.’ (Mark 10:21) Sometimes the narrow way is full of pain.
The Lord warns of false prophets, who will direct you to the broad way that will end in destruction.
Matthew 7:15, 16 ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.’
Are your favorite teachers plundering you and getting rich off the gospel? They are wolves, dear friends.
Matthew 7:21 ‘Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.’
Matthew 7:22,23 ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?
‘And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matthew 7:24,25 ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the wids blew and beat on that house and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.’
Matthew 7:26, 27 ‘Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.’
And so dear friends, please check yourself, that you are really on the narrow way that leads to glory, not on that seductive broad way taught by preachers who teach ‘kingdom now’ while picking your pocket.
And for those of you beloved believers who are in the furnace of affliction now, as many are, please hold on. I am crying as I write this; I know how much it hurts to be rejected and misunderstood.
One day we will meet up, you and I, and God has promised in advance that He will wipe away every tear.
‘’…God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes…’ Book of Revelation 21:3,4
How to teach all this in Sunday School
If I get a chance to give this ‘Narrow Way’ teaching in Sunday School we will do it like this. I will give them the choice of making a poster of it or doing a piece of artwork about it that they can take home, or we can do both.
I always take a roll of plain wallpaper, cut a big piece off to make a poster, and let them work on it while I read the scriptures to them and talk about it.
I will show them a picture of the famous ‘Broad and Narrow Way’ poster and we can make our own version. I will have many of the relevant scriptures already printed out, and we can stick them on the poster.
Or they can each have a poster sized sheet of paper and do their own poster. If they choose, they can make a miniature one on a paper plate, which I also always take with me.
I cannot draw, but anyone can do stick men and curvy lines that make two roads for the stick men to walk on.
At the end of the narrow way path you can depict Heaven, the Golden City. Anyone can draw a square and color or paint it yellow and draw radiating lines of yellow light from it. We like to rub Pritt stick on it and sprinkle golden glitter, or stick fake jewels on it.
At the end of the broad way, just wavy lines of red and orange for the fires of Hell is all you need to do.
The whole time we are doing the artwork, we are talking about the lesson, what Jesus said, what they can expect, how to deal with it. So you see, this deadly serious subject will not be hard to teach and they will be glad to learn it.
I know this, because some very dear and godly children are already experiencing suffering by being rejected.
Finally, 1 Peter 4:12 ‘Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.’
I hope this helps some of you, and hope that some of you out there might be able to do this teaching at your churches or in your families.
I would love to hear that someone out there will try this. You can use the poster idea for almost any Bible teaching, and the children just love it and produce some great creative things. It just sets them free to learn in such a happy way.