Summary: The entry points of faith, the results of the faith choice, and the solid and enduring life that is built on faith.
Jesus calls on those who would follow Him to be prepared to forsake the broad gate of unlimited personal choice for a narrow gate of choice shaped by the plan and purpose of our holy God. Our vocational choices, our choices regarding possessions, our choices in relationships, our sexual choices - every choice we make - He asks that we fit that choice to His desire for life. While limiting our options may seem undesirable to us initially, Jesus promises that in the end the narrow gate will lead us to a fuller life.
The second major point of this passage concerns what is produced in our day to day life, the kind of fruit that our words and actions produce.
Our internal reality will become evident in what we say and do!
We have spent weeks considering Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. The repeated emphasis is on inner reality versus external image. Here we are reminded, what you are inside; how you think and what you value, will show up in the way that you live. In Galatians 5:16-24, we read....
...live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want..... The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Have you entered the narrow gate of submission to God’s will and experienced the renewal of the Holy Spirit? It will show! Your life will be fruitful with love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
If your life is characterized by discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, drunkenness, etc. then you need to go back to the beginning point. You need to ask yourself if you have in fact, truly accepted the Lordship of Christ and given the Holy Spirit freedom to begin to transform your life.
Dr. Haddon Robinson writes-
"Some people are attracted to Christianity because they have a leaky faucet that they want God to fix. Perhaps they struggle with a destructive habit and they would like to tap into God’s power to help them break it. Or maybe they have broken relationships that they want God to mend. But they learn from this Sermon on the Mount that God is not a plumber. Leaky faucets are minor league stuff to Him. God wants to tear the plumbing out entirely and deal with the well from which the water flows. He wants to change what comes out of the faucet, not merely stop its leak." – The Solid Rock Construction Company, pg.122
Have you given Him the kind of permission that allows Him to invade every secret corner of your mind bringing your most basic ideas into line with His plan and purpose for you? I hope you are starting to grasp that this is no simple, easy weekend project. Being shaped into person that brings honor to the living God is an ongoing work with potential for tremendous results.