Hello, there! I’m Christopher, which you should have known if you saw my cute little green logo. So, let me not distract you from the following post. I hope you like it! I’d love to hear your thoughts after you’re done reading it! Enjoy!
So, many of us know the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” right? Jesus taught the people listening, and us Christians living today, many things about the Christian walk and faith. And he ends the sermon with something profound: he proposes to the listeners, past and present, a decision to follow him.
So, in the first part of this conclusion, Jesus says in Matthew 7:13 and 14, “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.”
I just want to read this from D. A. Carson real quickly, “The ‘narrow’ gate is clearly restrictive and does not permit entrance to what Jesus prohibits. The ‘wide’ gate seems far more inviting. The ‘broad’ road is spacious and accommodates the crowd and their baggage, the other road is ‘narrow’ and restricting, because it is the way of persecution and opposition . . . .”
I really like the line that says that the narrow gate restricts what Jesus prohibits. And that should tell us something. We should put away sinful desires way when we walk through the narrow gate. If we didn’t do so, chances are that we aren’t true Christians because we are still holding onto worldly things when Jesus told us to put them away.
Many people are going on the broad way to hell. That wide road is more appealing to us humans. But when we hear what is at the end, then that should make us want to turn away. But many don’t. It is very important to note that the majority is never always right. In this case, they are wrong.
Very few people are traveling on the “Narrow Way to Heaven.” I wrote a post on my website, talking about that us as Christians can be considered “Lonely Outsiders.” It seems like we’re only a few forgotten people on earth and are treated as outcasts. But then, after further thought, I realized that we aren’t that lonely after all! We have other friends in Christ! Lonely? No, I don’t think so!
Also, persecution will always be following us. Trouble is always looming behind us. We just are constantly being bugged. We don’t have that much elbow room. The narrow way is not easier to walk upon than the wide path.
Those who go on the broad way may have it easy, but those of us on the “Narrow Way To Heaven” have it the hard way, but we know which road is better. There are two ways to go. Which one are you on: the “Narrow Way To Heaven" or the broad road that leads to hell? There is only one way to God; make sure you’re on the right road.
Matthew 7:15-20 says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Remember the devotion I wrote that was about words? Well, in it I said that one who is a Christian should not be saying bad or mean things. (And I fail at that at times.) James himself said in chapter 3 verses 11 and 12: “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
When one becomes a Christian, we are able to see the fruit he produces. When one isn’t a Christian, we’ll be able to tell because of the bad fruit he’s producing There are some fruit that you might not correctly recognize if you were a distance away. So if you get closer, then you will be able to correctly identify it.
Likewise, there are many false prophets and people who claim to be Christians, but really aren’t. Their fruit may seem good, but, we will be able to tell in time. Or, for some, right away. We should be on our guard by listening to their teachings and their life outside the church. Whenever you are in doubt, ask God for wisdom and He will reveal the answer in due time.
One of the false teachings around was that works saves you. We know that this is false, but many people were and are fooled by it. We know that it’s false because of the fruit the teachers produce aren’t good and God said that this works theory is not right. But that was what the Pharisees were teaching. Obey all these laws, and you’ll be saved. But that’s false.
But, not just the leaders of the church should be careful of the way they act. Us, the normal members of the parish, we should be careful in the way we act. But if any true believers makes mistakes, yet it is no excuse that they did wrong, you should be able to tell that they are genuine believers because they sincerely asked for forgiveness.
Let’s move on and read Matthew 7:21-23, which says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
So, words come into play here. The false teachers will play around with our minds by using the Christian vocabulary. But that won’t help them, for Jesus is saying that anyone can say to him that Jesus is good and whatnot, but don’t mean it or confess it.
You see, we must not be just hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word. We need to do what the Word says.
In fact, the words Jesus spoke were mainly directed at the Pharisees! They weren’t members of the flock, they have not maintained the fruits of righteousness, and were hypocrites.
You see, when we become Christians, our words are not the only things that change. Our hearts change!
But the false teachers are using words to persuade others, and some may fall in their trap. In fact, just like Satan and his angels, they can perform miracles and great signs and wonders. But remember what Paul said in 1st Corinthians 13:2, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” We need God’s love inside us. With God’s love, we care for others and try to do the right thing. And with God’s love, we will make our fruit shine.
But Jesus is very smart, of course. He knows which people are just professing with their lips or with their hearts. And he will shift the wheat from the chaff. I’m not sure about you, but I want to be with Jesus! I want to be sure my heart is following Jesus! We need to make sure that our hearts are following what God says to do. Are they? Or are we just professing with our lips?
Now Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus tells us to go on the right road and bear good fruit, so when our work is tested, it will stand firm.
As we read, one builder properly built his house. He knew how to make it secure and so on. Another builder didn’t care. He just wanted a house. He wasn’t paying any attention to the fact that he was building poorly, he just wanted a house. And what happened? The well built house stood firm while the other one was wiped away.
In the walk of life, we need to make sure that we are building our lives on Jesus and his Word and make sure we obey Him. But the other people in the world don’t care. They all have their own plans how to build their houses. But those plans are right. They will fail them. Their houses will collapse and fall down. But those who built their lives on Jesus will stand firm.
Jesus is ending this sermon with these strong words. He is telling us that we should obey the things he teaches us. His words are not to be admired, but obeyed. As Christians, we should listen carefully to what Jesus tells us, and we should obey him! In that way, we will be building our lives on a firm foundation.
The work we have made will be tested on the day of judgment. Will our work stand firm? Will it collapse? Only those who are building their lives on Christ and his Word will their houses stand firm.
I could ask a question. Like what is 2 plus 2? And I could receive all kinds of answers. Five! Thirteen! Twenty-seven! One hundred and sixty-four! But, no, none of those answers are right. Only one is right. And that answer is four. So many answers, but only one is correct.
Likewise, there are so many possible answers how to build a house. But only one right way. Only one type of those houses will stand firm on judgment day.
So, are we building our lives on Christ? Or are we basing our life on the things of this world? I hope we are following God and what he wants us to do.
Remember I was talking about the Pharisees and their false teachings? Well, their teaching is washed away. The teaching was false, and, thus, didn’t have a solid foundation.
Jesus’ words are not for admiring. We need to obey them. We need to see what we should walk with God and follow him.
Joshua 24:14-15 says, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the god scour forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
A special thanks to these people who wrote commentaries which helped me prepare this sermon. They are:
D. A. Carson who wrote the Matthew section in “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Abridged Version (New Testament).”
Warren W. Wiersbe who wrote “Be Loyal: Matthew.”
Craig L. Blomberg who wrote “The New American Commentary: Matthew.”
J. Dwight Pentecost who wrote “The Words and Works of Jesus Christ” and “The Parables of Jesus.”
Grant R. Osborne who wrote the Matthew commentary in the “Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament” series.
Simon J. Kistemaker who wrote “The Parables.”
Hello again! I’m so happy you finished reading my post, and, boy, do I hope you liked it!