- Sermon Notes
1.Prior to their entrance into the Promised Land, Moses recited the terms of the Law to the nation of Israel. He concluded his remarks with a strong exhortation, a call to action, a single choice with two different outcomes.
Deuteronomy 30:19, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants
2.In similar fashion, Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount with a strong exhortation, a call to action, a single choice with two definite, different outcomes, outcomes that impact this life and the life to come.
3.Like Moses, Jesus wants us to make the right choice, to choose life, but He leaves the choice to each of us.
4.Let’s discover the choice Jesus has set before us so that we may have a life that is rock solid, built on the Rock, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
2.In His message, Jesus explained how we may enter the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 5:20, Jesus declared that a person had to be absolutely perfect to enter the kingdom of heaven. He said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
3.Now, the scribes and Pharisees were hailed as the standard of righteousness. But Jesus declared their standard fell short because they only focused on an external obedience to the Law.
4.God’s looks deeper, into the heart! Our Father desires a true righteousness where obedience flows from a heart that is filled with faith because it has been transformed by His love and grace through Jesus.
5.In Matthew 7:13-29, Jesus concluded His message with four vivid pictures to help us understand the choice He has set before each of us along with the corresponding consequences.
I. Choose Life (13-20)
- There are only two gates and two paths. One leads to life and the other leads to destruction. We must choose which one to live our lives by.
A. Jesus is the only way that leads to life
1.Jesus is the narrow gate and the narrow way.
2.Here, Jesus literally commands us to enter through Him, to stay on His way, so that we may enter into true life, enjoying His presence now and forever. John recorded similar words.
John 10:9, I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
3.Jesus also said that few are those who find the narrow gate and way. His way is the way of faith, the way of self-denial, the way of true and everlasting life. As it did during His ministry, Jesus statement runs counter to the culture in which we live.
a.The world says we should be all-inclusive and tolerant of every doctrine and every belief, even if they are mutually exclusive.
b.This is what Jesus called the wide gate and the broad way. It is the popular path, the easy street, where you can bring all your baggage; your pride, selfishness, vanity, and sin and be accepted, even applauded for your fleshly ways.
c. But what if the world is wrong? What if the majority has it backwards? Does popularity or ease confirm which way is right?
Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
d.Or to put it another way, how do we know Jesus is the right way, the only way?
e.Answer: The resurrection of Jesus confirms that He is the Messiah.
Romans 1:3-4, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord
f.Therefore, one must confess Jesus as their Savior if they want a relationship with God and desire to enter the kingdom of heaven.
APPL – God loves us. He values our lives. He wants us to choose life and that life is found only in Jesus and only through Jesus. We can’t walk two paths at the same time, nor can we walk in two different directions at the same time. Choose life! Choose Jesus!
John 1:4, In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
B.Only those who abide in Jesus bear good fruit
1.Because the way that leads to destruction is popular, Jesus warned against false prophets in verses 15-20, those who appear as sheep but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Here, He is specifically calling out the scribes and Pharisees at that time, but the application is for our day as well.
2.The dogs and hogs mentioned in verse 6 are easy to spot because their dirty habits are obvious. Wolves are dangerous because they are so deceptive and hard to find. The Apostle Paul tells us why this is so…
2 Corinthians 11:13-15, For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
3.But Jesus said that we can test the fruit to know if someone is good or bad because a good tree only produces good fruit, never bad and a bad tree only produces rotten or diseased fruit, never good.
4.In fact, only those who abide in Jesus will produce good fruit, His true disciples.
John 14:5, 8, I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
- APPL –What kind of fruit will Jesus’ disciples bear?
- The fruit of the Holy Spirit will be seen in their lives.
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- The fruit of their lips will proclaim the true Gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4, Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, … For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
APPL – What if you have been bearing bad fruit… what should you do? Enter the narrow gate, walk on the narrow path… choose Jesus!
APPL – What kind of fruit will false prophets or false professors bear?
2 Peter 2:2-3, 13-15, Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray
- Rotten doctrine
- Denying the Gospel of grace through Jesus
Galatians 1:6-8, I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
- Denying Jesus is the Christ, God in human flesh.
1 John 2:22, Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:2-3, By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
APPL - I believe we are witnessing a cultural shift like never before in our world’s history. Truth is aggressively resisted and declared to be a lie while lies are hailed as the truth. The Apostle Paul warned us that this would happen in the end times so that we will not be led astray.
2 Timothy 4:3-4, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
APPL – We must test the fruit! Examine your heart to see if you are in Christ and examine the teachings of others so that you will not be led astray. Be a Berean!
Acts 17:11, Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (NIV)
II.Build Wisely (21-29)
Whether due to arrogance or self-deception, there will be those who will be very shocked by what the Lord says to them when they stand before Him according to verses 21-23.
A.Do the Father’s will
1.Notice in these verses that Jesus declared that all will stand before Him and give an account of their lives.
2.Some will stand before Him, and declare, “Lord, we prophesied, we cast out demons, we did miracles… let us in!”
a.But prophetic utterances and miracles are not necessarily a confirmation that someone has a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.
b.Satan’s workers can and will perform false signs and wonders.
Matthew 24:24, For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
3.But Jesus will declare, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
APPL – These are sobering words. Jesus knows those who are His.
John 10:14-15, I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
- He knows His sheep and His sheep do His Father’s will. What is the Father’s will? That we receive forgiveness by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and follow Him, walking in His ways!
John 10:27-28, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
APPL – God is not impressed with lip service! God is serious about His Word and He has declared there is only one way to Him and His kingdom, through Jesus Christ. Those who are truly His will obey His command and receive His Son. The choice is ours… life or death!
B. Act upon our Savior’s Words
1.In verses 24-27, Jesus declared that both builders heard His words. They each had a choice. They could either act upon His words and build wisely, using His words as the foundation their lives, or ignore His words and build haphazardly.
ILLUS – Building a home on Texas soil
2.By going through the narrow gate and walking the narrow way, you will have life.
3.By testing the fruit in your life and avoiding the rotten fruit of false teachers, you will have life.
4.By doing the will of the Father and acting upon the words of the Savior, you will build your life on a firm foundation, you will have life, a life so strong that even when the rain falls, and the floods come, and the winds blow, your house will stand because it has been built on the Rock. Because Jesus is rock solid, you will be rock solid. Luke gave additional insight.
Luke 6:47-48, Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
ILLUS – Grandma Dodd finishing well
Build your life on the Rock. Don’t be haphazard about your life. Your life matters. Build wisely. Only one foundation will stand firm during the storms of life.
The choice is yours…
Joshua 24:15, But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (NIV)
Matthew 7:13-29 NASB