TEXT: Matthew 7:13-22
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.
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?
J.C. Ryle said, “We may well tremble and be afraid, if our faith is that of the multitude. If we can say no more than this, that ‘we go where others go, and worship where others worship, and hope we shall do as well as others at last,’ we are literally pronouncing our own condemnation. What is this but being in the broad way? What is this but being in the road whose end is destruction? If so, our faith at present is not saving faith. We have no reason to be discouraged and cast down, if the faith we profess is not popular, and few agree with us. We must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in this passage: The gate is narrow.”
By way of introduction, Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Zuck, editors of the Bible Knowledge Commentary said on this passage, “Elaborating on the Golden Rule, Jesus presented the clear way of access into righteousness. The righteousness He demanded does not come through the wide gate and the broad road. Rather it comes through the small gate and the narrow road. In light of the whole sermon, it was obvious Jesus was comparing the wide gate and the broad road to the outward righteousness of the Pharisees. If those listening to Jesus followed the Pharisees’ teachings, their path would lead to destruction. The narrow gate and road referred to Jesus’ teaching, which emphasized not external requirements but internal transformation. Even the Lord Jesus acknowledged that few would find the true way, the way that leads to life, or to heaven, in contrast with ruin in hell. After presenting the true way of access into His anticipated kingdom, Jesus gave a warning about false prophets. He referred to these advocates of the broad way as ferocious wolves who appear harmless as sheep. How can one determine the character of false teachers? He need only look at the fruit they produce. Grapes and figs do not grow on thornbushes or thistles. Good fruit trees produce good fruit, but bad fruit trees produce bad fruit. In Jesus’ evaluation, the Pharisees were obviously producing bad fruit; the only thing to do with bad trees is to cut them down and destroy them. If they do not fulfill their purpose for existence, they should be removed. Those hearing this sermon must have wondered about the religious leaders, who seemed to be good men, teaching spiritual truths about Messiah and His kingdom. Jesus made it clear they were not good for they were leading others astray. Even if they were doing supernatural deeds—prophesying in His name, driving out demons, and performing many miracles, they were not obedient to the Father, continually doing His will. They would be refused admission to the kingdom because Jesus had no personal relationship with them.”
Perhaps, in our new politically correct society, you’ve heard the terms, “speak your truth,” “this is my truth,” and other such pretentious phrasing being used more often. The embrace of such indefinite and noncommittal terms is a byproduct of our culture’s rejection of absolutes. It’s no longer acceptable to speak of “the truth” without acknowledging that someone else who has had a different experience has a right to claim that their “truth” is the truth for them. While a hesitance to state things in binary terms is in vogue today, Jesus possessed no such inclination. He routinely stated things in terms of truth and falsehood, darkness and light, death and life. And that is what we have in this passage.
In verses 13-14, Jesus speaks of two gates and two paths which lead to two very different destinations. Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Since there are false prophets in the world, we must be careful of deception. But the greatest danger is self-deception. The scribes and Pharisees had fooled themselves into believing that they were righteous and others were sinful. It is possible for people to know the right language, believe intellectually the right doctrines, obey the right rules, and still not be saved. Jesus used two pictures to help us judge ourselves and others. The two ways are, of course, the way to heaven and the way to hell. The broad way is the easy way; it is the popular way. But we must not judge spiritual profession by statistics; the majority is not always right. The fact that “everybody does it” is no proof that what they are doing is right. Quite the contrary is true: God’s people have always been a remnant, a small minority in this world. The reason is not difficult to discover: The way of life is narrow, lonely, and costly. We can walk on the broad way and keep our “baggage” of sin and worldliness. But if we enter the narrow way, we must give up those things. Here, then, is the first test: Did your profession of faith in Christ cost you anything? If not, then it was not a true profession. Many people who “trust” Jesus Christ never leave the broad road with its appetites and associations. They have an easy Christianity that makes no demands on them. Yet Jesus said that the narrow way was hard. We cannot walk on two roads, in two different directions, at the same time. The two trees show that true faith in Christ changes the life and produces fruit for God’s glory. Everything in nature reproduces after its kind, and this is also true in the spiritual realm. Good fruit comes from a good tree, but bad fruit comes from a bad tree. The tree that produces rotten fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Wherefore, by their fruits you shall know them”. The second test is this: Did my decision for Christ change my life? False prophets who teach false doctrine can produce only a false righteousness. Their fruit (the results of their ministry) is false and cannot last. The prophets themselves are false; the closer we get to them, the more we see the falsity of their lives and doctrines. They magnify themselves, not Jesus Christ; and their purpose is to exploit people, not to edify them. The person who believes false doctrine, or who follows a false prophet, will never experience a changed life. Unfortunately, some people do not realize this until it is too late.”
Don’t let the world deceive you. You can’t customize the path to Heaven. You can’t take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and think you will reach a certain destination. You can’t get on a train to Las Vegas and think you’ll end up in Paris. You have to make a decision about which path you will follow, which gate you will enter in at.
Jesus’ words are a knife’s edge to a world which embraces uncertainty and the false idea that everything is relative. Like the Old Testament prophets, He requires us to make a choice between the one true God and idols, between God and money, between the narrow path and the broad way. He tells us what path to choose — “enter ye in at the strait gate” — but He leaves the choice up to us. We don’t get to determine our options. We have only the two that Jesus sets before us. And, any choice other than the strait gate is a choice for the broad way.
William Cowper wrote in his hymn, “The Narrow Way”:
What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when ‘tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end,
One only leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,
Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask or hope to find
Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be
The bright reward of faith and love.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.