On the Mount Christians Lesson 7
Final Commands for Kingdom Citizens
7:13-14 ENTER THE NARROW GATE
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The Two Ways
What two kinds of lifestyle are described in this passage?
Those who have found the strait gate and narrow way which leads to life is contrasted with those who are on the broad way that leads to destruction.
This passage is often used when talking about how to be saved, but does the context allow such an interpretation?
No, the context is commands for Kingdom citizens (Christians) those who are already saved. The narrow gate is describing their outlook, lifestyle and service it is not showing how to be saved, but the contrast between those who are on the narrow way and those on the broad way.
What is a strait gate? Is this different from a straight gate?
Strait is the same word used for the Straits of Gibraltar. It does not mean running parallel it means narrow, tight and constricted.
What kind of living, choices, goals, etc, should we then prepare ourselves to follow or choose that our way will lead to life?
Our life and its choices will be constrained and defined by the boundaries set forth in God’s Word. Our narrow way is the way of life.
Application: What are some examples of this kind of living?
What way am I walking in my walk with Christ, the church, my family, my friends?
If I interpret this passage as how to be saved then it is about legalism and not about grace, but if it is about our walk of life after salvation then it is not about my efforts to be saved or stay saved, it is about the life I lead which continually brings and leads to more life.
7:15-23 BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The Two Trees
What are the two trees?
The good tree which brings forth good fruit and the corrupt which produces evil fruit.
How can we reconcile this passage with Jesus’ forbidding us to judge?
The judgment Jesus talked about was warning against the negative attitude and judgmental nature of the self-righteous. This passage is telling us to discern between true and false prophets.
Who is Jesus warning us about?
False prophets, not fellow believers or Christians. These are leaders and as such must be open to scrutiny.
What is the test of a prophet, teacher or leader?
Their fruit is the criteria for our judgment. That which is the product of their ministry and life.
What kind of fruit does Jesus say is not valid for this judging?
Prophecy, casting out of demons and miracles.
Ironically, what “fruit” do people today use for judging someone to be a prophet?
The very things Jesus said not to use, telling the future and so called miracles.
Can we use this passage to judge someone else’s salvation? Are we commanded to judge whether a person is lost or saved according their fruit?
No, in fact such action would violate Jesus first commands in this section about having a judgmental attitude toward others. This command is specifically about false prophets, it does not allow you to condemn a brother or sister because they are not produce fruit as they should.
What is the only way we can judge another’s salvation?
We can only judge their testimony of accepting Christ. Even if they are not living as they should or walking the narrow way we cannot know their heart when they accept Christ nor can we see the future to see that they may wall repent. We can and should warn them of their sin and even discipline them in our local body if need be, but even then it is the sin we are judging and not a person’s salvation.
Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand…. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
What is the final end of the corrupt tree and the false prophet?
Every tree that does not produce good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. False prophet and workers are told to depart from the presence of Christ.
Based on this passage, what then is the final test of a prophet or servant of God?
A true relationship with and true calling from Jesus Christ.
7:24-27 BUILD ON THE ROCK
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
The Two Houses
What are the two houses Jesus describes?
The house on the rock and the house on the sand.
What makes the difference between the two houses?
The house on the rock built by the wise man is founded upon the teaching of Jesus Christ. The house on the sand, built by the foolish man, ignores the teaching of Jesus and builds upon another foundation.
In this concluding illustration, what do the houses represent?
They are lives, how we live them and the choices we make in building them.
What is the rock?
The teachings of Jesus Christ as the foundation of our life. Jesus Christ himself who is often called the Rock in scripture.
Matthew 16:18 … upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
What are the floods?
Trials, troubles, tribulation that come in every life.
What is the sand?
Any foundation or basis of life, other than Jesus teaching.
Application: How can we, in a practical way, build on the rock? What actions must we take, what practices must we implement in order to make sure the foundation of our lives?
Matthew 5,6 and 7 rightly are understood as the most important description of the Christian life in the New Testament. Not only have they shaped Christians but even the world that Christians live in, but they must always be kept in the context of Christ’s coming Kingdom. It is not meant to be the marching orders for the church, that is the great commission, but it is the description of a child of God, a citizen of the future kingdom of Heaven and how they should live, act and think until that kingdom and its King Jesus Christ is founded upon this earth.
Until then we act as ambassador and representatives of the kingdom, showing the world by our words and works, our life and lifestyle, the nature and walk of a Christian. With the lives we lead we will prepare others to enter the Kingdom and eagerly look for the returning King.