THE GATE AND THE WAY
Heavenly Father, I want to hear Your Word to me. Let Your love possess me and constrain me to obedience.
Read Matthew 7:13–20
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior’ (Psalm 25:4,5). Amen.
Jesus’ Jewish audience was well aware that the broad, well-paved Roman roads, which brought benefits in peacetime, also allowed the Roman army rapid access to control, conquer, and destroy cities. They also knew that wide gates led to death. Multitudes of their ancestors, taken captive by enemy armies, had been marched into exile, passing through the triumphal gates of Nineveh and Babylon to face a life of slavery and death. Choosing a narrow path that leads to safety and life would seem a no-brainer! Yet why do so few people choose it?
The answer lies in Jesus’ claim to be both the gate and the way (see also John 10:7; 14:6). The very exclusivity and narrowness of Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God and life offends many people (v 14). So much so that some religious teachers and preachers try to diminish Jesus’ claim or distract or detract people from it (v 15). How can we discern who is teaching truth? Jesus is clear: true teachers/prophets live in obedience to God (v 21), so their lives reflect the nature of their heavenly Father (vs 18, 19; see also Galatians 5:22–24).
Give careful thought to Christian teaching in sermons, books, podcasts, and broadcasts. Does it direct you to Christ? Pray that all who preach and teach will obey Jesus’ teaching and reflect God’s character.
Dear God, I thank You for my church family. My prayer for us is that we believe the gospel and live it out in community. May others find Christ through our witness.