This morning we looked together at the concluding comments on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:13- 23. It was great to hear so many engaging with this text that is challenging.
There were three parts to it that we looked at:
1. Matthew 7:13-14
‘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.’
Here is a stark contrast – destruction or life. There is no middle ground. There are only two roads. Christianity makes this difficult and offensive truth claim that there is only one way to God – John 14:6 Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life – no one come to the Father except through me. Here is the truth proclaimed by Jesus that there are no alternate ways to God. There are not a number of paths to God of which Jesus is one – He is the only way. Pluralism doesn’t like this – it doesn’t like an idea that there is a monopoly on truth. So many will look at Christianity as exclusive an intolerant. BUT any argument against Christianity is an argument for an alternate truth – and that is in itself exclusive. Not also the gates – Wide – it’s inviting and easy – the go with the flow, drifting without thought. We are told that in order to find life we have to turn away and find the alternate path. The only other option – and it is a difficult one, and few will find it.
2. Matthew 7:15
‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.’
The warning for the church to all of us is that there are those who will pretend to in. Who claims to know the way, but are leading people astray. The scripture both Old Testament and New Testament are full of warning against these people who distort the truth – and of the harm, they can do to the life and the health of the Church. So we are called to be discerning – to check what is been said against the Scriptures – and to look at the lives that these people are living, And that includes your church leaders – check what is been said. Test it challenge it if you believe that it is not in accordance with the word of God.
3. Matthew 7:21-23
‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
This is a scary one isn’t it – those who think they are in who all the marks of being a true Christian – they know who Jesus is, they are involved in his service – they are enthusiastic in their proclaiming who Jesus is, they seem to have the gifts of the Spirit. BUT despite this, Jesus says ‘I never knew you.’ These are those who to all appearances appear to be our brothers and sisters in Christ – but Jesus says they are not. What is missing? Maybe it is self-examination. Although we say Jesus is Lord, is he really? Have we really surrendered to his will, and live in obedience to him? NOT perfection, not someone who seems to live the moral life, but the person who is teachable, the person who knows that Jesus is the only way, and that salvation has nothing to do with what that person can do to earn it, but an acknowledgement that Jesus has done it all – we cannot save our selves, Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast”. Look out for pride and conceit – look for humility and teachability. Those who know Jesus has demonstrated his love and grace for them – and their life is one of thankfulness for that truth. It’s not where people are at, it is where people have come from and the change in them and the knowledge God is continuing to change them. And an active pursuit to build that life with Jesus
Have you felt troubled or are you trouble about where you stand? Here are some verses to rely on – I’ve mentioned on, Ephesians 2:8-9, but hold on to these truths too – John 10:27-28 ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:I give them (you) eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand’ Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” John 3:16-18 (a) ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, …’ 1 John1:9 “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
You are dearly loved – you are valuable to God, he gave his Son to die for you and when you “ you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Friends keep working at your relationship with Jesus – read the Bible, pray, listen, take time to be quiet and press into him.
God has promised he will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6