In this passage, Jesus sums up His Sermon on the Mount and gives them a conclusion. This conclusion includes some warnings for the listeners.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them. 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 who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:12-23
Take great care to…
come to Jesus
There is one gate and one way that leads to life. Jesus. All others lead to ruin. This is countercultural today because it is exclusive. There is no other way to life. However, Christianity is radically inclusive at the same time because Jesus says anyone can come to Him. He is the only way but all are invited. The grace of God is God coming before us and doing what we could never do for ourselves. We will never be perfect, but the grace of God functions as our guardrails. You won’t fall off the narrow path into a ditch. God’s grace will hold you.
listen to Jesus
There will be people who claim to be speaking for God, but they are not. They will be deceptive and dangerous. Their character, words, and influence will show their intentions and heart. What influences you? Do you walk away with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control? We need to guard who gets access to us because what we take in bears fruit in us. Do they sound like Jesus? Do they look like Jesus? Do you look more like Jesus as a result of their influence in your life?
know and obey Jesus
Doing the will of God does not just mean doing good works. It means believing that Jesus is the Messiah and believing in Him for salvation. We can’t stop at just knowing God because Jesus doesn’t. To experience a relationship with God is not just to know Him but also to obey Him as a response. Doing for God outside of relationship with God is deadly. You can deceive your own heart into thinking you are in a relationship you are not in. Doing for God while in relationship with God is vital.
I am loved apart from anything I do.
What I do really, really matters.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3