Date: 11 October, 2015
Text: Matthew 7:13-8:1
Title: Watershed Words
This morning, we come to the conclusion to the sermon on the mount. Jesus is going to finish his sermon with shore stories which will be visualized by his hearers.
I've mentioned before that I enjoy reading. (Kay Lee is like me in that. She can be a book worm.) A book is a door into an imaginative world. God has given us great ability to imagine. He has also given us the gift of writing and speech. Those tools allow for us to share concepts without visual aids because of our imagination.
Jesus is telling short stories which have two opposing positions.
Have you ever heard of a watershed? When rain falls on the top of a watershed, depending on what side it lands on - it goes in different directions.
Jesus is preaching watershed words. He is telling tales of two different directions. You can't go both ways. You are either going one way - or you are going the other. Where do you find yourself this morning in these stories by Jesus?
And so, we begin his tales of two this morning with....
I. A tale of two gates.
ill. Walking through a wealthy neighborhood in Bonnyrigg and seeing some beautiful gates which led to beautiful homes. I have been in poorer neighborhoods where I know by the disrepair of the gate what I will find on the other side.
note: The gates of which Jesus speaks are the gates of Heaven and @#!*% . These are not so obvious. In fact, they are gates which appear deceptive because of our deceptive eyesight. If you make your decision based upon the gate - you will chose the gate to @#!*% every time.
A. The gate of @#!*% .
1. A gate of disobedience.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate:
exp. This gate has a warning sign above it saying, "Wrong way." "You are commanded to enter through the other gate." "Go to the narrow gate."
ill. You ought always to obey the signs. But, our world is not very submissive to authority and the pride of the human heart says, "I know better." Woman at Safari park killed by a lion because she wanted to get a picture of the lions with her window down. They showed the sign that would have saved her life. It clearly said, "Keep all windows up." She thought she knew better than the park management and her pride cost her her life.
app. Why would you let your pride make you think you know better than God this morning? God isn't going to jump into your way and stop you. He'll frankly tell you that you are making a huge mistake. But, you reject his mercy when you disobey the sign.
2. A gate of ease.
for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
exp. This gate looks good. It is huge.
ill. Pulling my caravan, I appreciated wide entrances. I didn't want to ding up my car or the aluminum siding on the caravan as I passed through the gate.
exp. People are so focused on the gate, that they don't care about what is on the other side. They know they have to go one way or the other and they don't want their fine things to get dinged up on the way through. So, they chose the way of ease.
app. Have you chosen the easy path? After all, you can go that way with all your filthy sins and nobody says anything against it. There is no self control required here. Nobody tells you how to get through this entrance and you can make all your own decisions *you think.
3. A gate of destruction.
that leadeth to destruction,
exp. Only a fool goes the easy way, when it ends in calamity.
ill. Some young people get through school cheating and it seems to work for them. But, when they get out where they have to prove their education they fail, because they took the easy way.
app. It may be easy for your flesh in life, but it will @#!*% (proper use) to your flesh for all eternity.
ill. Witnessing in Edinburgh to Alan - I don't care. I said, "Well, you will not be able to stand before God and say that you were not warned."
app. Friend, you can go in that gate - but you will pay for all eternity for it. God has warned you.
4. A gate of popularity.
and many there be which go in thereat:
quote: "The majority is always right." WRONG - If you have no knowledge of the Bible, here is a clue for you. The majority are ENTERING INTO THE GATE TO @#!*% .
exp. Human reasoning takes comfort in numbers.
ill. If you fail a class, if the majority of the class failed, you feel like it is ok for you to fail because so many else did. (Whether or not you worked hard - human nature finds comfort in numbers.)
question: But, If you are sinking on a boat, will you take comfort in the fact that everyone else is drowning just like you?
app. You won't fellowship in @#!*% . You'll just burn and scream together. What kind of fellowship can two people being burnded in eternal @#!*% fire have?
note: Friends, you don't have to go there. God doesn't want you to go there. You'll have to go against the majority to go to Heaven, but by God's grace you can go that way.
B. The gate of heaven.
1. A gate of accuracy.
14 Because strait is the gate,
exp. Only Jesus can talk you through this gate.
ill. The camel and the eye of the needle.
Matthew 19:24-26 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
app. Are you willing to turn towards a gate which it is not possible to go through accept by the miraculous power of God?
2. A gate of inflexibility.
and narrow is the way,
exp. We are told that a British value is tolerance. We are to respect other religions. How can you respect that which takes people to @#!*% . The way to Heaven is ONE WAY! It is Jesus Christ crucified and risen again for the salvation of those who believe in HIM ALONE.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Ac 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
app. The government can apply pressure to the gate of Heaven all it wants BUT IT WILL NOT CHANGE TO PLEASE THEM. It is an exclussive way through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. A gate of life.
which leadeth unto life,
question:What should I consider when looking at a gate? Should I consider how pretty it is and how fun it will be to go through it?
Isn't passing through a gate just a matter of very few moments?
Or should I carefully consider what is on the other side? Expecially if I will live on the other side of this gate for ALL OF ETERNITY?
note: Your life is very short - but once you get through the gate -you are there for all eternity.
· LIFE IS SHORT.
Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
· @#!*% IS FOREVER.
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
· HEAVEN IS FOREVER.
Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
app. Praise God - everlasting life is on the other side of what may be a difficult gate. But, by God's grace - it is worth CHOSING HIS WAY.
4. A gate of discernment.
and few there be that find it.
exp. You won't go to Heaven by accident. If you don't seek God's way, you will never find it.
ill. 88 year old man adrift in the North Sea close to an oil platform. These rescue workers are constantly going out searching. What would you think of a rescue crew that passed once over an area and gave up. Isn't a person's life worth a diligent search?
app. What is your soul worth to you today? Isn't it worth a diligent search after God? Shouldn't you put some effort into finding the way of life? You won't be one of the few without that effort.
II. A tale of two types.
A. Sheep or wolves?
15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
exp. Jesus has just told about the two eternities. How can someone discern what is true religion and what is false?
ill. Watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and the wolf would literally dress up in sheeps clothing -makes for a funny cartoon. The wolf tries to get close to the sheep by looking like it - but it's purpose is to devour the sheep.
warning: False prophets look good. They look like sheep. You would defend them because of their outward appearance.
II Corinthians 11: 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
app. So, I can't judge a false prophet by HOW HE LOOKS - BECAUSE THEY LOOK GOOD. So, what can I do?
B. Grapes or thorns/ figs or thistles?
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
exp. What is the fruit of their ministry or life?
ill. You woudn't go into a field of thistles expecting to gather figs. Or go out among thorn bushes seeking grapes. (brambles yes but not grapes)
app. Think about what you are seeking and make sure that you go to a place that has what you desire. Look at the fruit of the life of the leadership of that ministry. Look at the families that are attending that ministry? Is what you are seeking found in their lives and ministry?
C. Good tree or corrupt tree?
1. The fruit will be just like the tree.
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
ill. Orange and Lemon trees in back garden in California. Ovocado tree as well. How do I know what kind of trees we had? Because of the fruit.
app. The fruit reveals the tree. (In every life.)
2. It can not be otherwise.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
exp. You can try to fake it - but you can't do it.
ill. Catholic priests have revealed much about catholicism. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.
app. Be a fruit examiner.
2. The tree reveals the
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.
exp. God isn't going to say, "Well those false prophets meant well." They are not producing fruit unto everlasting life and they are going to be cast into the fire of @#!*% themselves.
app. But, God has given us the ability to discern them by their fruit.
III. A tale of two eternities.
exp. You may think, but those false teachers are sincere. Or those people in those false religions are so sincere. But, sincerity is not the requirement for entrance into God's Kingdom.
A. The abode of the blessed.
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.
exp. The only way in is by obedience to the will of God.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
B. The abode of the damned.
exp. Wanting to go to heaven is no qualification for going there.
I've not met any rational person who said they want to go to @#!*% . All will say that they hope to go to 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?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
ill. I've talked with many who say, "I'm an elder. I do a lot for the church. I've been a Christian since I was a child when I was Christened." I HAVE DONE MANY WONDERFUL WORKS IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
app. Don't equate religion with salvation. God has not asked you to do a lot for Him. He has commanded you to obey the Gospel.
IV. A tale of two houses.
note: So what is going to stand up in life and eternity?
A. A house on rock.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
note: Jesus has given us precious truth in this sermon on the mount. In SPIRITUAL REALITY he was giving us good material for building our lives. If we take His Words and apply them to our lives. We're ready for the storm, the flood and the wind.
app. How strong is your life, your family, your eternity? Oh, if it is not founded on Jesus, you will find no stability. You can put on a brave face, but in the quiet of your heart, you know that there is no true strength.
B. A house on sand.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
ill. Only a fool would build a home on sand dunes.
exp. Have you blown off the sermon on the mount? Is it good for others, but not good for you? When the storms come, your house will fall apart. You have no REAL foundation. You can prop up your home for a while but it will not stand and GOD TELLS YOU SO.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
1 ¶ When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
Jesus has given us watershed words. Some people took them in and walked off the mountain with Jesus. Others went another way? Which way are you going this morning?
1.) The wide gate or the narrow gate?
2.) False teachers or good teachers?
3.) Eternal judgment or eternal life?
4.) House on rock or house on sand?