Not So Random Thoughts 18

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

I wonder how many people hear or read through these words and pass on by them in a thoughtless manner. I wonder how many people have heard or read through these words and since they have prayed a prayer or walked an aisle they never even gave these passages a serious thought. How many people have been told that if you pray this prayer you should never doubt your salvation and as such they blow off passages like Matthew 7? There are perhaps multitudes that have been inoculated against the truth of Christ because of a false teaching of the gospel and of assurance. Yes, it is true, wrong theology can inoculate people against the truth of Christ and the Gospel.

Do people really believe that they must enter through the narrow gate and the narrow way? No, they are simply told that they must believe or walk the aisle. The idea that they must enter through a narrow gate and walk a narrow way is unheard and would be unwelcome. Yet the Lord Jesus tells us without equivocation that the gate is wide and the way is broad to destruction. In other words, it is easy to be on the way to destruction and think that you are on the way to life. Yet Jesus tells us that many are on that road to destruction. On the other hand, we are told that the way to life has a small gate and a narrow way. There are few who find it.

The text goes on to tell us to beware of false prophets. Part of what a false prophet does is to tell people that they are on the way to life when in fact they are on the way to destruction. One of the major reasons that there are so many people on the way to destruction is because of the many false prophets we have had and still have. False prophets are selfish and greedy men. They want the honor of being followed so they are not going to tell people that they must go through a narrow gate and follow a way that is narrow. The false prophet, though indeed some may be strict in their external practices of religion, is one that follows the way of self rather than the way of Christ. The false prophet speaks smooth things and does not want to disturb people who are on the way to destruction as they might stop their tithing or their honoring him.

The Sermon on the Mount has been honored as a system of morality and good teaching, but it appears that the passage quoted above is ignored. It does not easily fall into a system of morality and it is not easy teaching. In fact, it obliterates it. Those who go through the motions of an easy religion should be shaken. Those who go through an extreme form of external religion should also be frightened. This passage is speaking to religious people who are aware of eternal things to some degree and it is telling us that the vast majority of religious people are on the way to destruction. The text is not telling us about the careless or the indifferent, it is telling us about those who are in the way of true religion in some way.

What is the problem? Can it be true? Is it still true in our day? Can it possibly be the case that the vast majority of professing Christians are lost and on the way to destruction in our day? What does this say of the prophets or preachers who have such easy ways of salvation? What does this say of those who have such easy and popular messages? What does this say of those who are unwilling to issue a warning to people about what a false profession is? Can we really believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and not take to heart His strong words in this passage? Does it shake us up just a little? Will we just go on in our easy lives with an easy religion? If so, then it sure appears that we are on the broad road.

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