The Sermon on the Mount was groundbreaking. As I have said before, the Jews would have left there with so much to talk about. How fortunate that God ordained some along the way to keep track of Jesus’ words, and to take notes so that we can see them in black and white and make sense of the context much easier.
When we read about the two gates in Matthew, we don’t realize that the passage contains such a heavy meaning! Such a simple illustration made my Jesus is telling us so much. I think the depth of it passes over us!
Let’s unpack it!
Entering by the Broad or Narrow Gates
What do we learn about the broad and narrow gates?
How do we begin on the narrow way?
Jesus is the gate that we enter through, and we enter by denying ourselves. Full stop. Isn’t this next to impossible? Undesirable, too?
Notice, there is only one path that you can enter to actually get to Almighty God.
Many Ways to God
It is popular today to agree that there are many ways to God, but here in Matthew Jesus tells us there is only one. Notice, also, that He states that many enter the broad gate. But when He speaks of the narrow gate, He doesn’t speak of entering. He says few will find it, so to me this implies of those few that do find the gate, not all will enter.
Something more about the gate that is narrow. We enter one at a time, not in groups. It is not by groups or popularity or families or churches that we enter. We must each choose to leave behind whatever might hinder us. We cannot take anything through the gate with us. It simply won’t fit.
Knowing a False Teacher When You See One
All throughout the New Testament, the authors warn us of false teaching. Jesus was the first. He is keeping us busy with our actions and teaching us how to love. And as we mature, we will begin to discern the good and the bad.
What is the mandate here?
To establish the good from the bad. To be on the alert. We cannot generally tell a false prophet by the way he looks. He will look like a sheep. Meek. Mild. He will speak the lingo of the sheep. It will take a well-trained disciple to spot him. We must stay close to the shepherd to learn from Him. This is via prayer and the Bible. A key problem the church has with spotting a false prophet is that he will speak many truths and twist other truths so they sound true.
A false prophet doesn’t focus on salvation or teach wisdom. He often focuses on money or material things. Today a lot of false prophets focus on miracles, healings, signs and wonders. People want to experience God instead of know Him. This requires heightened emotion and mass hysteria. They are threaded along by hype and thrill and the need for another fix. Ultimately, False prophets draw people to themselves.
The Good and Bad Trees
When we come to the parable of the two trees in Matthew 7, the “good” tree would better translate to a “valuable” or “productive” or “healthy” tree. This gives us a better image, or contrast, between the two trees. One is producing fruit. One isn’t, or isn’t even able. It is a sick tree and it needs attention and quickly!
Jesus says something startling next. And this passage has made many stumble over its meaning. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” Follow what He is saying. In this passage, Jesus is in the midst of wolves.
We need to protect ourselves, and one another. Sheep go the way together. Safety in numbers. We need to stay close together and help one another. Sometimes what we might have to say to a brother might not be popular, but if we love him, we will speak the truth in love.
Intimacy with God
Something more: believing the right things isn’t enough. Knowing the right things isn’t enough, either. We can know about God without knowing Him! To know Him, to be intimate with Him requires us to submit. If we submit to Him, we allow Him to take us where He pleases, even if we can’t see or don’t like the way. This is Christ as Lord. This is how He will recognize us, by our obedience.
Some today are under the impression that all will be saved, but I believe in this text Jesus is teaching the opposite.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…