THE NARROW OR THE WIDE GATE
May 12, 2019
Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1: 9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
We’re continuing to study the verses which lead up to what Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches about false teachers. The scripture right before contains warnings to seek Our Lord and Savior along with an explanation of how to fulfill the Law and Prophets: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (MATT 7:7-12 New International Version)
Jesus Christ, in His Humanity, fulfilled the moral demands of the Law for us. This is taught in ROM. 8:2–3: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [in His Humanity] and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh… God’s Moral Principles are communicated in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel. Although these moral principles no longer apply to Christians today, they are communicated in the New Testament. As Christians, we have many more commandments than just the Ten Commandments and these commandments are for the entire world! In the Old Testament, there was a system of government in which priests ruled in God’s Name but that changed after Christ died on The Cross. Today, God works with each, and every one of us, One-on-one!!
A prophet had a twofold function. They revealed God’s Word and predicted the future. Jesus, in his prophetic ministry, fulfilled the role of a prophet. Jesus Christ’s Prophetic Ministry began when He started His Public Ministry at the river Jordan when the Holy Spirit came upon him at His Baptism. His Prophetic Ministry ended on The Cross, when He offered Himself up, as a Sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.
And now (drum roll, please), we are at the main verse of our study: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (MATT 7:13 New International Version) Through nine weeks of studying, you know without a doubt, that there are serious consequences to choosing the wrong gate or road. And based on what we’ve learned so far, it makes total sense that Our Lord first gives a strong warning about false prophets in the next verses: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (MATT 7:15-22 New International Version)
Jesus Christ covers a great deal about false prophets in those Words. He warns that false prophets are deceptive when He says that they present themselves as sheep, when they are actually “ferocious wolves”! You may remember the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”?!!! Our Lord goes on further to explain that a false prophet can be identified the same way any plant can be identified. All you have to do is look at what kind of fruit it bears. Grapes don’t grow on thorny shrubs. Figs don’t grow on thistles – which have a prickly stem with purple flowers on it.
These beautiful illustrations of nature, which Our Lord uses, really do an incredible job in helping us to see how false prophets operate. You’ve probably seen road signs warning you to watch out for falling rocks or to watch out for deer crossing the road. These road signs are put there to warn us of the dangers that are around us. In MATT 7:15, Our Lord and Savior puts up a road sign warning us to watch out for False Prophets. Andy why? It’s because if Satan is going to try to deceive people, he is more than likely going to do it through means of a false prophet. He is going to deceive us through someone who claims to speak for God but really isn’t!!
Let’s look more closely at the definition of a false prophet. In HEB 1:1-2 The Message Bible, we’re told God The Father spoke through the prophets: Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. These prophets included Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, David, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist. God The Father has also spoken to us through the Greatest Prophet of all, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As we’ve learned (especially when we studied Job), Satan always tries to duplicate what God does. A false prophet is someone who claims to speak for God but really isn’t. That’s why Jesus Christ warns us to watch out!!!
He also gives an extremely strong warning to false teachers in verses MATT 21-23 The New International Version: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Our Lord knows that some false teachers deceive themselves so much that they think they are actually serving Him, when in reality they don’t even know Him!! Good Works, as we have learned will NOT get a person into the Kingdom of Heaven. Personal belief in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ will. It is the only ticket in!!
False teachers “teach” that good works will save people. In these verses, Our Lord and Savior is stating that these false teachers arrogantly believe that they will go to Heaven because they called Him “Lord, Lord.” They are actually bragging that they prophesied, drove out demons and performed miracles. And what did Our Lord call them? He called them “evildoers!” His description fits many false teachers we see in churches and on television today. Do you understand the warning?
[to be continued]