Sermon on the Mount 7:13-23
For two weeks we are going to focus on the passage that was just read. I wish we had more like four weeks as our Lord Jesus possibly builds to the climax of the Sermon on the Mount. I am not at all prepared to say this is the most important section of the Sermon on the Mount, but it is way up there.
This week we are going to focus on what Jesus taught. We will focus on the details. Next week we will focus on how what Jesus taught applies to our lives.
My goal, I have been praying it is also God’s goal, is that you will be so challenged by Jesus teaching today that you will spend every day this coming week asking, seeking, and knocking, Matthew 7:7-8, what this passage means and how does it work in my life.
Jesus has taught so much about being a true child of God through the Sermon on the Mount. He has taught them to look within themselves to there very being. He has taught them what their being must be. He has also directed them to how they are to related to other people. And most recently again He had guided them in their relationship with God.
In a way Jesus has been teaching about relationships the whole time. I see primarily three types of relationships; with ourselves – who we truly are, with others, and with God.
Jesus is back to teaching us about ourselves. He is teaching us more about our spiritual lives related to how God’s kingdom works. Did you notice that Jesus is very direct in this passage? I believe He is so direct because what He is teaching is so important. There is one way and Jesus wants to make sure we don’t miss that way.
Verse 13 13“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.
Jesus begins with a command, not a suggestion. We do not get to choose where each gate leads or opens into. If we could choose how the gates worked and which one leads to where, we would be God.
We must enter through the narrow gate. This gate is not some common gate to a field or a garden, it is emphasis on the main gate or main entrance to a guarded city. Jesus is teaching there is only one entrance or way to eternal life, to a spiritual life.
In general we people seek the entrance of least difficulty, the one that seems most logical to nearly everyone. Jesus is making it clear the way of a disciple, of a child of God, is to only following Him. John 14:6 “I am the way”, He said. And the word road in verse 13 is the same word as in John 14:6.
Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. The word destruction is based on the word to be “cut-off or severed”. So the many who enter or go through the wide gate and the broad road go to eternal separation from God. The narrow gate alone leads to eternity with God.
Verse 14 14BUT (How) narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
Narrow in these two verses literally means small or not wide. But difficult has deeper meaning. This is actually a verb. So Jesus is teaching about what it will be like to travel this road. He is not saying you must have difficulty on this road, that we must work hard or something like that, but He is saying it is a difficult road to travel and few find it. Literally the verb means it is a pressing, constrictive road that is not easy. The easy road is the wide road that many take.
Jesus just taught in verses 7-8 7“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Why do few find the narrow gate and the difficult road? Because they do not ask God, seek, or knock. Jesus said everyone who searches finds in verse 8.
Contrary to the world’s understanding, God has not made it complicated to enter the narrow gate. But He does teach there is only one way to enter – His way!
Verse 15 15“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.
Another person was clothed in the Bible, but not in sheep skins. The same word for clothing is garment as in Matthew 3:4, John the Baptiser had a camel-hair garment.
Beware is another command from Jesus. In other words we must be on high alert and expecting false prophets. They seem so innocent on the outside, but inside they have intentions to literally snatch you up. Ravaging is the robber who takes from you. Paul used the same word about some people in the church in 1 Corinthians 5:11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
False prophets make bold claims that seem so right. Matthew 24: 4Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. They know what to say and how to say what makes sense. But in the end they only want to mislead people as they have been misled. These aren’t satan worshippers or atheists who share their true beliefs openly. These are deceivers who have been deceived themselves by the evil one who pretends to be an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Verse 16 16You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
Jesus is saying you will see them for what they are, you will know their true motives by testing what they teach. Recognize or know is not only in your mind, but it is more what you know by relationship through experience.
Remember these are people who look good on the outside only. So we must look or search deeper to test if they are false or not. And the “proof in the pudding” is not what they say, but what they truly believe that ends in their true actions. James 2 is a great example – faith by statement verses faith that leads to Godly actions. Jesus taught this in Matthew 23:27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. 28In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
If what they say does not match what they do, something is truly wrong.
Verse 17 17In the same way, every good(a) tree produces good(b) fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.
Verse 18 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.
Verse 19 19Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
I did a little research on trees. Apparently, good fruit and nut trees produce good fruit and nuts. But sick and untended trees produce little fruit that often doesn’t even look good.
Verse 17-19 there are two different kinds of good. The good tree Jesus taught is good from the inside out that leads to good fruit. But the good fruit good is an emphasis on how the fruit looks as well as what is inside.
Verse 20 20So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
I believe Jesus is comparing people that are bad inside verses those that are good. And the bad ones might look good on the outside, but they can’t hide what they produce. Because what all of us “produce”; what we do, what we say, how we live, what we truly believe, etc. comes from who we really are. Matthew 15:18
If we follow Jesus and enter through the narrow gate and take the difficult road then we are made good by God’s grace – Jesus Himself as our Savior.
But if we go any other way or think we can go through any other gate – we will be cut off from God forever. And we might even think we are good, but we are not truly good and our lives will prove it. This week I challenge you to examine yourself honestly before the Lord, 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless you fail the test.
Verse 21 21“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 in heaven.
Jesus taught in 7:8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. The word everyone is the same word in verse 8 and verse 21. Is Jesus contradicting Himself? No way.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord Everyone of the people who call Jesus Lord think they are His followers, think they are Christians or they are outright liars. By calling Jesus Lord it is to be a declaration of ownership. A servant or slave calls the person who owns them their lord. But we can say just about anything we want to say, it doesn’t make it true unless it is true.
Is it enough to think we are followers of Jesus when we call Him Lord? Jesus is teaching our words are not enough. Please don’t take this idea lightly. Jesus is teaching the disciples and the crowds on that hillside, not every one who think they are going to heaven, is truly going to heaven.
This is not Jesus accusing anyone. He is not condemning anyone. I don’t believe He wants this statement to be true, but it is true. In John 3:16For 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. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
When Jesus taught that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord I believe Jesus was directing this statement to everyone individually. Therefore He is directing this statement to me as well. And His goal is to teach me, you and everyone how to enter the narrow gate and go the difficult road. He is teaching how to truly declare Jesus is my Lord and it be true, not just words.
Do I think I am going to heaven? Am I truly going there? I am confident the answer is yes because I believe in the name of God’s one and only Son. I have choosen the narrow gate and the difficult road. But I believe I have more evidence than only my words that this is true. More on this next week.
Are you asking this of yourself yet? Do you think you are going to heaven? Are you confident you going there? God has done everything, but force you to be able to say with confidence – YES!!!
The key, I believe, is when our statement of faith and beliefs is the same as our produce – our fruit. The fruit must be the will of My Father in heaven.
Verse 22 22On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? ’
So which day is “that day”. I believe it is the day of judgement when Jesus returns (Matthew 24:29-31, 25:31-46). The people Jesus described did “good” things. They did amazing things in Jesus name, but somehow they weren’t the will of My Father in heaven, they weren’t God’s will.
Is my goal going to be reached for this message? Do you feel compelled, that you want and even need to study this for yourself this week? Or will we end soon and your heart not be moved to action? I don’t know what that action must be, but I hope a part is to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.
Verse 23 23Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
Jesus taught on the judgement day He will declare publicly – He will announce. ‘I never knew you
Never means never. Knew is the past tense of know by experience with the person. It is knowing someone well enough to call them friend. Jesus is saying we never really met.
Depart is a command from Jesus meaning literally – go away. And He says go away, not because He wants to say so, but because He must. He must because the person was literally – working lawlessness so they are a law breaker. The word lawless can also be translated disobedient or sinful depending on the context.
Does Jesus know you? I believe this is the vital condition upon which all of the Sermon on the Mount is based.
Next week we will dig more into the application of how this all work in our lives.
My primary goal has been to proclaim the Word of God according to God’s will. My secondary goal today has been that you have so many questions now, that you are so hungry for the answers, that you can’t wait until next Sunday. And you don’t have to wait. I don’t believe waiting is even an option. Waiting would mean you are not asking, not seeking, and not knocking yourself. Did Jesus teach the disciples to wait for anything before they started asking, seeking, and knocking?
There are two parables I encourage you to study this week along with asking, seeking, and knocking. The first is the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:1-14. The second is the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. I hope also you will not stop with just these parables this week. If you will study these parables this week I believe you will see why I strongly suggest them.
Does Jesus know you? I believe He wants to know you, as does His Father. 1 Timothy 2: 3This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Does Jesus know you? If you have placed your faith in Jesus, have chosen to follow Him, then the answer is a confident YES. If this is true then you are on the difficult path and have gone through the narrow gate. If this is true then the product, the fruit, of your life will be good, will be God’s will.
Is your fruit good? What is the good fruit of doing God’s will? Jesus said in verse 21 that only if we are doing God’s will are we on the difficult path to the kingdom of heaven. What is God’s will? My challenge to you this week is to keep asking God what is His will. My challenge is to keep seeking God’s will this week. My challenge is to keep knocking.
Pray continually Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Prayer is asking, and praying continually is a big part of keep asking.
Opening the Bible is one way to seek, and opening the Bible and searching it regularly is a big part of keep seeking.
Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Seek the Lord with all of your heart this week. If by next Sunday you realize you have done little or no seeking, something is wrong with your heart.