We’re going to continue what we started this morning. We are still in the book of Matthew but this time we’re going to be in chapter 7. Matthew 7 is actually the wind-up of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is speaking from a high place giving some very, very important instruction.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad
is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads into life, and few there be that find it.
The Greek there is a little more direct: Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads into destruction. So, many people take the broad way. They enter in by the wide gate and take the broad way but very few find the strait gate, which means the narrow way. This has to do with deception, of course.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of the false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Not only are there false prophets but also false apostles, false pastors, false evangelists, false teachers, false elders, false deacons, and false Christians. They all come in sheep’s clothing. Of course, sheep represent those who belong to the Great Shepherd, Christ Jesus. They don’t come looking like wolves. They come looking like sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. So in order to detect them you must be able to see beyond the outer fleece and be able to see the inside.
Matthew 7:16-18 You shall know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
So, to know them by their fruit, a false ministry or false teacher, false prophet, or false whatever, is to know them by their fruit. The good fruit is the fruit of the Spirit, which are the attributes of the Christ’s divine nature. Just because someone is doing a lot of good works doesn’t mean there is good fruit. They can look very religious, so right on, do a lot of good things, bring a lot of good sermons, do a lot of good praying, a lot of good deeds, a lot of good works but that doesn’t mean that the good fruit is there – the divine nature of the Lord. In fact, very, very few Christians go far enough in their spiritual growth to actually take on the attributes of the Lord.
Matthew 7:19-20 Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruit you shall know them.
Jesus is depicting Christians as trees. Now, let’s go back up to verses 13 and 14. I want to look at that again. Jesus said, “Enter in by the Strait gate.” Jesus said in Matthew 24:11 that many would be deceived, and those who are deceived are Christians. If they are not Christians, they can’t be deceived; they have nothing to fall away from. So those who are deceived are Christians, they became deceived. Jesus kept emphasizing the fact that “many” are deceived. Now, here in verse 13 Jesus says to enter in the strait gate or the narrow gate. He says, Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction. Then Jesus says that many Christians go in the broad way. They go through the wide gate into the broad way and it leads to destruction.
You might ask, “Why is the gate so wide? Why is the way so broad?” Because it has to make room for all the people going in; there’s that many. There will be whole church groups, maybe even whole denominations that go in the wide gate. We must emphasize this and get people to understand it. People read the Scriptures but they do not seem to understand that the majority of the Christian world is entering the wide gate and are going down the broad way that leads them to destruction. But Jesus said, “Enter in the narrow gate.” The narrow gate which leads into the narrow way is the way that leads into life. Then He adds at the end of verse 14: “Few there be that find it.” That needs to sink in! Very few Christians will find it! So, the broad way that enters into destruction has to be very, very wide and very broad because there is going to be so many Christians pouring in through there.
Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t like that. You know, practically every Christian who reads this would not count themselves as those who are entering the broad way. Every Christian would say, “Well, I’m walking with God. I’ve been born again.” The fact of the matter is: the majority of the Christian world has entered the wide gate and is going down the broad way and headed into destruction. I didn’t say that; Jesus did. I didn’t make it up. I read it right here.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven …
Now, Jesus had just given information about the narrow way that leads to life and the broad way that leads to destruction. More Christians are going into the broad way than the narrow way, because Jesus says very few will find the narrow way that leads to life. The broad way is the way of religion. See if you can grab hold of this. To enter into the strait gate and take the narrow way that leads to life, it is necessary to transcend religion because religion takes the wide gate.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.
Who enters into the Kingdom of Heaven? It is those who enter into the narrow gate. They take the narrow way that leads to life. They are the ones who enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But Jesus says that everyone that says, “Lord, Lord,” does not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. All that great multitude of Christians who take the wide gate and goes the broad way are constantly saying, “Lord, Lord.”
“Lord, do this for me. Lord, do that for me. Bless my project.” They always pray, “In the name of the Lord….” It is the way of religion. But Jesus says it’s not those who say, “Lord, Lord,” that will enter into the kingdom of heaven but those who do the will of the Father which is in heaven. Those who take the broad way are doing their own thing, going the way they want to go according to their own way of thinking and their own feelings. But those who take the narrow gate would not take it except for one thing – it’s the will of God and they know it, because that way is strait. Who wants to take the strait gate and go the narrow way? You don’t have room enough to function. It is a narrow way. It’s almost like you are hemmed in. You find you can’t do the things you would. It’s kind of like when Jesus told Peter, “Peter, when you are young you do the things you want to do, but when you grow old or when you become mature, someone else will gird you and you will do the things you would not have done before” (John 21:18). Taking the strait gate that leads to the narrow way is a way of confinement. It restricts what you would do in your own flesh nature according to your own way of thinking. It is then that you learn how to do the will of God. So, those who enter the strait gate are the ones who have set their heart to do the will of the Father. All the others are still calling Him “Lord.”
Matthew 7:22-23 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?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.
Now, we are still talking about Christians. I don’t think I have to tell you what Christian groups are prophesying, casting out devils and doing many wonderful works. It doesn’t take much brain activity to figure out who they are.
You can say, “Well, we don’t do any of that. We don’t believe in prophesying. We don’t believe in apostles and prophets, and we don’t believe Christians can have devils so we’re not casting any out and those wonderful works they’re talking about, we’re not involved in that kind of stuff.”
Well, that means you haven’t even grown to the place of these. When Jesus said, “I never knew you”, He wasn’t saying He never knew them at all. “I saw you. I saw you enter that wide gate. I saw you go down that broad way. I heard you saying, ‘Lord,’ and I saw you and I knew you. But I haven’t known you in this narrow way. You haven’t entered into the strait gate that leads to the Kingdom of God.”
Are we saying that prophesying is wrong? Are we saying that casting out devils is wrong and many wonderful works is wrong? No, we are not. What we are saying is that the will of God that enters into His Kingdom transcends even that. We are saying that if we are going to take the narrow way we must move in more than fundamentalist Christians who don’t believe in those things. We also have to transcend the ones who do. It is not those things that are wrong. It is a matter of being totally submissive to the Lord ship of Jesus Christ.
Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate…
“Well, I tried to enter that strait gate and it’s kind of narrow, straight. I can’t seem to get in there. I’ve got my backpack on and I have a lot of things that I care about and I want to take with me that I’m sure God wouldn’t have a problem with, but I can’t make it in that strait gate with all this extra baggage.” Start throwing it off. Start shedding it. Strive to enter the strait gate. It’s easy to walk through the wide gate and go down that broad way. Man, they got plenty of room. You don’t have to worry about rubbing shoulders with anyone, but Jesus says, “Strive. Work at it. Strive to enter in at the strait gate.
Luke 13:24 … for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
I want you to think about that. The majority of those who are entering through the wide gate and are going down the broad way are just taking it. They probably haven’t even seen the narrow gate. But this is the way their human nature leads them and they are taking it. Now Jesus says, “Strive – work at it – strive to enter in at the strait gate. Many will seek to enter in and not be able.” That means that many Christians who have the insight and the revelation that the strait gate is the one they should take and that narrow way is the route they should go and they strive to enter in because they know it is the right thing to do and they cannot do it. Do you follow what I’m saying?
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. The Lord is trying to tell us here that if you want to follow Him down that narrow way, in the will of God, and enter into life eternal, then it means that you are going to have to shed a lot of self – self-centeredness, selfishness, all the things of self. All that extra baggage you are carrying, it has to go. Deny self, take up your cross and follow Him. That doesn’t mean you get a chain with a cross on it and put it around your neck. To take up the cross means you are willing to do some dying. You are going to die to your self-will. Every Christian who has the revelation they need and want to take the strait gate will not be able to do it. They can’t bring themselves to the place where they can deny self. “I’ve tried and I can’t do it! Surely the Lord is going to feel sorry for me and help me.” Over in Hebrews Paul says, “You haven’t resisted unto blood yet.”
The Lord is saying, “Strive to enter in.” Too many Christians never have any awareness of the narrow gate or the narrow say to start with and are just automatically going down the broad way. But many are the ones who do see it and know that is the way they should take. They cannot do it because they can’t bring themselves to deny self and to take up their cross and to die out to the things that are holding them back.
Bless you, folks. We love you much. Take it to heart. Don’t be among the big group. Be among the few who find the way to life. Amen.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose