Monday, December 3, 2012

Narrow Is The Way

When my wife asked me to write a Bible study for CBSB, I wasn’t sure initially what I wanted to write about.  As the days went on however, God brought some things to the forefront of my mind, and it began to weigh on my heart that this was the topic I needed to share.  Today I want to talk to you about the wide and narrow path in Matthew 7:13-23.  These scriptures teach us that the whole of mankind are on two different paths, one path leading to eternal damnation, and one to eternal life.  I’d like to talk about what the Bible has to say about these two paths and how to know which path you’re on.

Matthew 7:13-14 "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: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."  The Bible teaches us that all of mankind is heading down two very different paths.  The Bible tells us that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many on this road of destruction, but very few are on the narrow path that leads to life.  Do you know which path you are on? 

Of the two paths, one leading to destruction, one leading to eternal life, verse 15 tells us that we need to "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."  We are told to beware of those putting on the badge that says “Christian” but there has been no change within, they are still “ravening wolves.”  I think that this verse describes those that think that if they just call themselves Christian, that they somehow are Christian and that they're somehow on the narrow path leading to eternal life.  Some folks put on the badge for good reasons and some not so good.  Don’t be fooled just because some man in a suite comes on the TV and preaches a beautiful message.  He may even ask you to touch the TV screen for a special blessing or for healing power.  Don’t be fooled!   There are a multitude of good-hearted Christians sending their hard earned income to a bunch of ravening wolves.  Now I’m not saying that every TV evangelist is a ravening wolf, but I’ll tell you right now that many are!  Many of those so called modern day prophets or apostles are just trying to figure out how to get money out of your pockets and into theirs. 

On the other hand not everyone out there that has put on the name of Christianity as a badge is out to rob you blind.  Some have good intentions.  But, even though they put these badges on for good reasons, they have never come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I’ve met many people that have put on the badge “Christian” but have never trusted Christ as their personal Saviour.  I remember a few years ago asking a deacon in our local church, when it was that he had accepted Christ as his Saviour.  The answer he gave was this:  “Well I was baptized in this here church in Texas as a child, then later I got baptized in this church down south and then I got baptized in a church across town, but then I got baptized in this church just for good measure.”  I’m sorry folks but getting into the water won’t put you on the path that leads to life, it just gets you wet!  Let’s look at Ephesians 2:8-"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Grace is unmerited favor.  It’s something that you just can’t earn.  God gives it to you freely.  Romans 6:23 also tells us that it’s the “gift of God.” 

Matthew 7:16 "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"  This verse tells us that we'll know them by their fruits.  Know who?  Christians and non-Christians, the sheep and the wolves, those on the narrow path and those on the path to destruction.   How do you tell the difference between a person who's just wearing the Christian badge and an actual Christian?  If verse 16 is accurate we can identify the real Christians against the wolves by their fruits.  Now you’re probably asking what will this fruit look like?  Look at Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."  The fruit is a “tree of life.”  I remember being shown a family tree once.  A family tree charts a family beginning with descendants of many generations past, and as the generations pass by, the tree gets larger.  We’ve probably all seen a family tree.  Think of the tree of life as a family tree.  A Christian comes along and leads someone to Christ, and then trains the new born Christian to do the same (Matthew 28:19-20), the new Christian then leads another to Christ and so on.  What you now have is a “tree of life.” Look at the rest of Proverbs 11:30 “…and he that winneth souls is wise.”  There’s no missing it, winning souls and beginning your own tree of life is the fruit of the righteous.  This is the real way to tell the difference between the sheep and wolves.  This is the way you will tell if a person is a real Christian or just wearing the badge.

“Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”  The wolves are NOT bearing good fruit.  The wolves are not leading people to Christ.  The wolves do produce followers but are leading them right down the path of destruction. 

Matthew 7:17-18“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Don’t ever expect a wolf to be leading anyone to Christ, it just isn’t possible.  Now listen, a good tree can’t help but bring forth good fruit.   A true believer can’t help but tell others about Christ.  A true believer just can’t help but tell the good news of what has happened to him or her.  Remember that nobody goes to pick apples from a thistle bush. 

Matthew 7:19 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
Look closely at the wording of this verse.  It doesn’t say that a tree that produces little or no fruit will be cast into the fire, but a tree that doesn’t produce “good” fruit.  Remember a good tree can’t help but produce good fruit just as an evil tree will produce evil fruit.  A true believer will produce good fruit.  Now a true believer may produce little fruit at times, but he will still produce good fruit rather than evil fruit.  

Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.   And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  This is the final judgment for those on the wide path.

Matthew 7:20 "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."  I’m always hearing people say that God looks on what’s on the inside of a person and that’s true that He does.  But we as humans can’t see what’s on the inside of a person.  All we have to go by is what we see on the outside.  The outward appearance of a Christian is a direct manifestation of what has happened on the inside.  Let me give you an example of how you can know a Christian by their fruits.  I know a man that has called himself a “pastor” for many years.  The man has never been to Bible college or seminary, he has never pastored a church, never been ordained by the local new testament church, but still calls himself a pastor.  He believes that you should never speak about hell because you “can’t scare folks into getting saved.”  Someone one once asked him to describe heaven and he admitted he knew absolutely nothing about the subject of heaven (he even brags about this).  In all the years I’ve known this man he has never lead a single person to Christ, I’ve never know him to ever attempt it.  He has though taught several that it’s ok to tattoo your body, drink and live like the world.  “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  Based on his fruits, I don’t believe the man has actually come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  We on earth are going to know Christians by their fruits, and non-christians by their fruits.

Matthew 7:21 "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."  The wide path is full of mankind wearing a label or a badge saying Christian.  They're walking down the wide path that leads to destruction saying 'Lord Lord' and saying 'I'm a Christian' but they have never come to that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Let’s examine that last phrase “but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.”  Some of you reading this will probably say that He’s referring to the Ten Commandments or to the Mosaic Law.  But Christ doesn’t say the “Commandments of God” or the “Law” he says the “will of my father…”  Just what is the will of God the Father?  Christ answers that in John chapter 6:39-40: And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  The will of God the Father is to believe on Jesus Christ!  Now here is a great truth of the Bible, God’s will is that we believe on Christ.  God’s will is that once we believe on Christ, God gives us to Christ and Christ is responsible for our everlasting life.  I’m not responsible for keeping my salvation, that’s been entrusted to Christ.  Christ has always, and always will follow the will of the Father.

Matthew 7:22 "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?" That “day” refers to the day of judgment.  See Revelation20:11-15 (see scripture above).  And on that day of judgment many will ask, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works?'  Think about all the modern day prophets out there.  They’re out there prophesying, speaking in tongues, preaching, healing the sick, and yet Christ is going to look at them and tell them "I never knew you."  “But we did such wonderful works in your name,” they’ll say.  Don’t forget what Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us “…Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  I wonder how many well intentioned individuals are walking that wide path to destruction trusting that their works are getting them into heaven.  What are you putting your faith into today? 

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Notice that term in verse 23 "I never knew you"It isn't that "I knew you once and forgot you", He isn’t saying “hey you once had salvation and lost it.”  No Christ is saying that He never knew them.  They never came to that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and yet the Bible tells us they did wonderful works, they healed the sick, prophesied, and yet Christ has never known them.

As you read these verses, you realize that these people were shocked to find out that they were in that broad way of destruction.  They stood before Christ thinking that they had for all this time been in that narrow way that leads to life doing all these wonderful works for God.  They were surprised by Christ's Words, when He says "I never knew you."  Notice that He says "depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  That word iniquity means sin.  How in the world could prophesying in the name of Christ, casting out devils in the name of Christ, and all these wonderful works, be considered sin or iniquity?  Attempting to work for your salvation is iniquity.  By rejecting God’s free gift of salvation and attempting to do it all on your good works is sin.  The wide road of destruction is filled with those attempting to work their way to Heaven.  God looks at those works as works of iniquity.  

So my friends, I’ll ask you again, which path are you walking?  If you’d like to know more about Salvation, click HERE.  If you’d like to learn more about God, click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting. I hadn't thought of it this way before. Thank you for sharing with us!


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