Matthew 7:13-23 - Chapel
You have two gates to choose from
one of the gates is covered in thorns, is difficult to see, it is very small and it is seems as though it hasn’t been opened in years
The second gate is well marked, it is easy to see, it is much larger and it is used regularly so it is no problem to open.
Which gate would you choose?
Of course most here would pick the second gate because its easy to see and easy to use.
The truth is that scripture teaches us that that obvious path isn’t always the best one to choose.
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. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 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. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In the very first verse we have read verse 13 we find an account of Jesus talking about a gate and a choice we all have to make.
He presents us with the same decision that I just did
except in the context of Jesus’s explanation there is much more at stake.
Jesus said at the start of verse 13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate, and broad is the wa, that leadeth to destruction”
That means that the path to sin is a much easier path to walk then the path to Christ
Its easy to live a life that leads to our own destruction
in fact we can go a step farther because in verse 15 Jesus warns his listeners “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”
See the truth is many of us have a misconception about these false prophets.
We believe them to be people who’s only mission in life is to destroy the message of Jesus’
Though at times this can be true the truth is that most false teachers began as people who heard the word of God and maybe even believed it correctly but was led astray for one reason or another.
Maybe we can go as far as to say that most false teachers probably think at a glance that they are doing what they are supposed to do.
I tel you this to say that any of us can be deceived
Any of us can be led astray
Even the strongest of Christian are susceptible to the devils temptation
but Jesus continues and he says in verse 16
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
So according to our Lord in these verses the fruit that someone bears is a direct indication of the hidden corruption that may be within them
I tell you these words because I want you to know this
(especially for middle school and up)
False teachers are still among you today
There your friends, their in our churches, and in some cases we may seem them everyday.
Keep in mind that you aren’t living your life for what they say is right
You are living your life for what Christ says is right.
Me and a few of the 7th and 8th graders were having a conversation yesterday that kinda sparked this message
In that discussion we talked about how people can put on an image that seems really good to us
It looks good on social media, it looks good in our churches and it looks good to the small rural community that we live in.
The truth is that a lot of those people claim to be living their lives for Christ but as Christ says in Matthew their fruit indicate something else.
The things they do away from church or the things they do on the internet or the things they do each day when they aren’t around other christians indicate another person dwells inside of them
Jesus continues in verse 18
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Meaning if your living for Christ your fruit will be that of a Christian and if you are living apart from Christ you may put on a good image but that doesn’t mean that you are doing as you should
This message can be subdivided for everyone here
You fit in one of these categories most likely today
you are saved and you bear good fruit, this means that you should be watching closeley for the false teachers and you should be working hard to stay on the straight and narrow so that you may continue to bear the good fruit that you should.
you are unsaved and you are putting on a good image, this is a sad life to lead I have been there. If this is you then you and you feel that gut wrenching feeling of your heart falling through your stomach when I say that and you know that are doing nothing more then putting on a good front then today is the day to make that right.
I know I was that person who went to church and pretended to be someone I wasn’t I knew in my heart I wasn’t right with the Lord. I knew I was living in sin and my fruit showed something different then it should be.
Yall don’t have to wait another minute I don't care if you stand up in the middle of this message and say I need to make things right this very second
Don’t wait to fix it don’t worry about the ones here fix it now
I know there are ones here who know in their heart they’ve been putting on a good image but they aren’t where they need to be
I want to look at these last verses together.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
The truth is that if you aren’t saved you will fall with your fruits
this means your sin will come back to bite you and you will stand in judgement for this sin
and I think the most frightening words in scripture may just be these in verse 20-23
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Don’t wait another minute I am going to give you an opportunity to make it right now
You feel it in your gut
The frieghtening thought of not knowing where you are in regard to your salvation