Summary: Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains the essential of being able to judge and discern false teachings and the road that will lead to eternal destruction.
Two Roads, Two Teachings
In our last study we looked at Jesus’ famous words from Matthew 7: 7: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” We saw how these words paint a portrait of a humble heart before God, one which persistently seeks God and His Kingdom, not through an exterior self-righteousness or works, but through a spiritual heart-change through the Holy Spirit by God’s Grace in Jesus.
Two LIFE ROADS and Destinations
Our text from God’s Word today begins at Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter (to make entrance into, in this case, it is into the Kingdom of God) through the narrow (steadfast and foundational) gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction (eternal ruin), and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow (a compressed way) that leads to life (zoe), and there are FEW who find it.”
Jesus tells us there are two roads in life with two destinations: One will lead to the Kingdom of God and one will lead to eternal ruin. There are two distinct gates: one is wide and easy and leads to eternal ruin: It is widely travelled. It is the way that most of the world is using on their earthly journey but it does not lead to God because it is NOT through Jesus Christ. It is the way of the crowd and of popular opinion, human thinking and doing, and it excludes FAITH and TRUST in the unseen True God and His Christ.
The Old Testament consistently pointed to the Holy Everlasting Creator God and His promises to provide a way for forgiveness, to redeem sinners from sin and the grave, and to provide everlasting life. Jesus appears here with THE command of God: Enter through THE narrow door, opened by ONE Shepherd, the ONE and only way, the one and only Savior. Jesus is the Gate by which you enter God and His Kingdom: "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7)
The WAY that leads to eternal life is the Lord Jesus Christ: Following Him will include self-denial, exclusiveness in serving Him and in forsaking all others (which is really a picture of marriage of Christ and His True Bride). Following Him will include rejection, suffering and persecution. It is the way of faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. It is by Holy Spirit revelation, it is spiritual in nature, and by God’s Word and power alone. (It is by God’s grace, not earned.) The way of the Lord Jesus calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord, and a willingness to obey Him and His Word.
It is not the way of comfort, and convenience or the glory of self, but it’s the way of sacrifice, worship, devotion, and obedience ALL for the Glory of the God who has saved us in through the Lord Jesus. We must obey and follow Jesus’ declaration of being the ONLY way to Life and into God’s Kingdom. In John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
False Teachers and Their Fruits
Jesus warns in verse 15: "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, (they may be dressed like a true prophet) but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (inwardly they are creatures who will devour you spiritually.) 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? (These are both luscious and healthy foods, but you won’t find them attached to evil. Thorns and thistles are the result of sin and evil in Gen. 3)
17 "So every GOOD (Godly and pure) tree bears GOOD fruit, but the bad (rotten and putrid, diseased) tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does NOT bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
We looked at the beginning of Chapter 7 in which said Jesus said: “Judge not,” but here we find that we HAVE to judge and discern between teachers and their teachings: We do NOT judge their HEARTS, but we definitely have to judge and distinguish between the TRUE and the FALSE teachings. It may well be that false teaching includes a false Gospel. If someone has a false teaching, it can be forgiven, but teaching a false Gospel means that the teacher hasn’t even been forgiven or he would be producing good and pure teaching according to the Gospel of Grace.