Matthew 7:13-20 NASB
¹³Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. ¹⁴For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
A Tree and Its Fruit
¹⁵Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. ¹⁶You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? ¹⁷So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. ¹⁸A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
¹⁹Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ²⁰So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Only Jesus is the Way to eternal life.
Whoever brings a different message is a false prophet.
The Lord Jesus also shows here that with Him it is a decisive choice.
Are you willing to enter through the narrow gate into the kingdom of God and live? The gate and the way leading to life are narrow.
Or do you prefer the wide gate and the wide road? But then you choose your downfall!’ (Matthew 7:13-14).
On the broad way you have little delay, because you just take everything you like with you. You hold onto what you have.
Oh yes, you also can be religious on that road. But you will be trying to bend God’s law to your own hand in order to still be yourself. You don’t let the LORD determine your life, you want to do that yourself.
Just think of the many priests, scribes and Pharisees who put themselves in the center, gave themselves an important place, and did not want to go after Jesus (Compare Matthew 6:1,2,5; 23:1-7; See also Matthew 19:16-22).
It is completely different when you choose the narrow gate and the narrow way.
Then you let your life be determined by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 23:10). Here we speak of ‘narrow’ and ‘small’ because obedience to His teaching costs self-denial and sacrifice. Following Him also brings suffering (cf. Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).
As mentioned above, the broad way can be very religious. But you are dealing with false religion there.
That is why Jesus calls us in Matthew 7:15-20 to be careful that we are not dealing with false teachings and false piety, with false prophets.
How confident they may appear, and how inspiring they may be, they come in sheepskin, but they are a mortal danger to the flock (cf. Ezekiel 22:27,28; Zephaniah 3:3,4; Matthew 23:13-15; Acts 20:28- 30).
The example of the grapes and the figs is chosen precisely because these noble fruits have nothing to do with thorns and thistles as the representatives of pernicious weeds (cf. Genesis 3:18).
With the words ‘cut out and cast into the fire’ (Matthew 7:19), Jesus ties in with the preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:10). A repeated warning for every bad tree.
How necessary it is to listen only to Jesus, to His teaching!
- What does Jesus say about “fruits” in John 15:1-8?
- Thank the Lord Jesus for warning us.
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