Last week we talked the two gates.
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Jesus is the narrow gate we must go through to enter the Kingdom
John 10:1 (ESV)1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
John 14:6 (ESV)6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
We start on the path to the Kingdom by denying ourselves
Matthew 16:24 (ESV)24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Our flesh doesn't die easily. It's a painful, continuous struggle to keep the flesh under the control of the spirit.
Luke 13:24 (ESV)24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Many people do not like the concept of a narrow path to God. They choose to believe that many roads lead to God, but Jesus says that the broad path leads to destruction
Now let’s look at the two trees and the fruit
Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV)15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
It isn't easy to discern a false prophet. We cannot decide whether or not a man is a false prophet by the way he looks. He may look like a meek and mild sheep.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (ESV)13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
A false prophet doesn't always tell lies. He often says many things that are true, but he doesn't give people enough truth to bring them to the light. He'll often emphasize a partial truth and neglect the teaching of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 6:13-14 (ESV)13 “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
2 Peter 2:1-2 (ESV)1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (ESV)20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’--22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
One way to determine whether a man is a false prophet is to watch the emphasis he puts on money and material things. The man who seeks gifts and money from the people is making merchandise of them.
2 Peter 2:3 (ESV)3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
People should give to God out of love for Him, not out of duty or pressure.
1 Peter 5:2 (ESV)2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
Another way to recognize a false prophet is to listen to his teachings to learn whether he offers special privileges or favors from God if you will follow his particular advice. False teachers draw people to themselves. True teachers give out the Word of God in simplicity and draw people closer to God rather than to themselves.
The fruit of a man's ministry helps us to determine whether he is a false prophet or not. If the fruit of a ministry divides the Body of believers, then that minister is working against the will of Jesus Christ for His Church.
John 17:11 (ESV)11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
If the effect of doctrine makes the Body unfruitful, then that sterile doctrine is false.
John 15:2 (ESV)2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
If the fruit of a ministry is strife or contention, then that fruit is bad. The good fruit of a true prophet's ministry is love. When the members of the Body of Christ love one another, then they are walking according to the Holy Spirit. The evidences of love in a ministry are unity and a building up of the Body
There should also be joy, peace, and other aspects of the love the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of believers.
Galatians 5:22-24 (ESV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Jesus Says That Everybody Who Calls On Him Is Not One Of His
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
No one will enter the Kingdom who doesn't acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but not all those who call Him "Lord" will enter heaven either.
False teachers (those who have prophesied in Christ's name, cast out demons, and performed many wonderful works) will be fully unmasked and judged. The mere performance of spectacular deeds (even supernatural ones) is not necessarily divine authentication.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (ESV)1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (ESV)8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Matthew 24:24 (ESV)24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
When teachers manifest arrogance, deception, unrighteous anger, slander, and falsehood, rather than humility, openness to correction, kindness, and truthfulness, it plainly shows that what they teach is not the wisdom that comes from above.
James 3:17-18 ESV But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
The judgment to occur in that day will determine who shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV)31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
If we call Christ our Lord, then we're implying that He is the Master of our lives. We should give ourselves to Him each day to lead us where He pleases. It's not up to us to decide what good works we should do for God. We're to submit ourselves to His will and obey His commands.
Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Jesus gives a warning to us about the foundation upon which our faith is built. The testings and storms that come show us the strength of our foundation. The structure we build, our relationship with God, is what others see. Sometimes we're fooled by a carefully maintained exterior, and we think that someone is solid and secure; but the testings of life prove whether the foundation is stone or sand. The firm foundation has been set deeply in the rock where the groundwork was laid. The house on the sand has been built without any preparation for the foundation.
Here’s what it says in Luke about the house that has a weak or no foundation
Luke 6:47-49 (ESV)47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
The foolish man is impatient. He wants to hurry and get his house built without waiting to lay a foundation. He doesn't listen to the advice or counsel of others who have been there for a longer time.
Proverbs 15:5 (ESV)5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
Many new Christians are like the foolish man. They want to become ministers or evangelists before they have taken the time to study God's Word and learn the basic doctrinal truths. The wise man carefully prepares his land and digs deep to lay the foundation He gets the advice of those who know more than he does and follows their counsel in building his house We build on the sand when we base our relationship with God on experiences that don't have a scriptural basis.
Many people have had life-changing experiences that weren't inspired by God. We build on the sand when we build our houses on other men s ideas or other men's philosophies. Men who live by other men's philosophies are easily led. They have built their structure on shifting sands. and they don't have any moral absolutes to guide them.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (ESV)11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw--13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
When our relationship with God is based on His eternal Word. then we have a solid anchor to hold us steady in any storm When we have thoroughly studied the Bible and are established in the Word, then we can rest in the strength of our foundation,
Matthew 16:16-18 (ESV)16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 7:28-29 (ESV)28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
The scribes' teachings were mostly quotations from other rabbis The scribes themselves didn't make strong declarations.
Jesus spoke with authority and power. He made positive declarations from a position of His awareness of Who He was. Jesus said He was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. He was the only Man who could ever say that. He knew that He alone could obey the law as God meant it to be obeyed. He knew that the prophecies of the Old Testament were written about Himself (Matthew 5:17).
Jesus contrasted the way the law had been taught, as rules that governed men's outward behavior, with the way God intended it. The teachers of the law had become self-righteous because they obeyed the law outwardly. Jesus taught that if a man broke the law in his mind, then he was guilty of sin. The law was never supposed to make men feel self-righteous, but to show them how impossible it would be for them to keep the law as God required. If the law could make us righteous, then God wouldn't have sent Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins.
Galatians 2:17-21 ESV But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
These teachings, in the Sermon on the Mount, were a direct challenge to the religious establishment, because Jesus was challenging the very basis of their righteousness Jesus also warned that even good works aren't righteous, as the motivations prompting them are fleshly.
He taught that our flesh wants attention and admiration from others, but the praise of men will be our only reward when our flesh motivates our good works.
Matthew 6:1-4 ESV "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
He told us that we're to respect and reverence God enough to give Him our total consciousness when we pray.
Matthew 6:9-10 ESV Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
1 Corinthians 14:13-15 ESV Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
He promised that God would supply all our needs if we put Him above everything else.
Matthew 6:32-33 ESV For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The Sermon on the Mount is to be applied as well as applauded, practiced as well as praised.