Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone 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.”
Our speech does not save us…..our works do not save us…..Jesus Christ saves us,…
…but once we are saved, we are to do the will of God.
That is,…..we are to know it….and do it.
Matthew 7:16-17, 20 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Here Jesus contrasts a good tree, and a corrupt tree.
The good tree…is one that brings forth fruit of righteousness
(righteousness is right living before God…..not in men’s estimation……but before God.)
Romans 6:22”But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.”
Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yeildeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Then there is the corrupt tree…..corrupt means rotten, spoiled.
(most of the Greek words when corrupt is used is warning of being spoiled….but here, it is already rotten….unable to produce righteousness….unable to bear fruit.)
Philippians 3:18-19 “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they are such that serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
The “belly” means “hollow”…..it is the inward hunger to be satisfied with things of this world.
John the Baptist had said, “ the axe is laid at the root of the tree….every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down….
(For the contrast is “good trees” and “corrupt trees”.
What the tree is……the fruit is.)
And how do we become “good trees”?
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
We must enter in at the strait gate. “Strait” here means “narrow with obstacles placed around it.”
That sounds hard to see and to enter.
Jesus says that “few there be that find it”….so it takes a diligent and willing heart.
We need a Guide….and Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to guide us into this Way….as we yield to His convictions.
Because there are obstacles are there, around the strait gate….obstacles put there by the world, and the Adversary of our souls….
…..and there are many things that get our eye off looking for God’s Way….
…..bright and shining things…..
…..piles of the newest things…..
…..emotional things…..which can get our eyes off God’s Way.
[Many see in this strait gate…..a reference to repentance….and the laying aside the things we carry….
….burdens, giving up sins, etc….
And although I do not disagree with the repentance….which is a change in our attitude toward our sin….(we do not love it any more….it has become a burden instead of a delight)…
….I believe that this burden gets taken care of at Calvary….it is rolled away forever, there.
And the power of our sins is dealt with by the Holy Spirit…after we are born again….by denying ourselves….and being obedient to Him.]
(I have mentioned before about Pilgrim’s Progress….So much practical instruction for those going to the Celestial City….and one of the first lessons is:
Christian has left the city of Destruction for he has read in the best of Books that the soul that sinneth it shall die…..and he knows he has sinned….he realizes he has a burden of sin, that would carry him to the lowest hell….
But where is Salvation from his sin?
He meets Evangelist who tells him of the Way of salvation….
…and by the instruction of Evangelist has headed toward the little light at “yonder wicket gate”….
He still has a great burden on his back, which Evangelist says will come off at the right time. [it falls off at the cross and rolls into Christ’s tomb…never to be seen again]
So Christian is going toward the light, but he gets “muddied” by falling into the Slough of Despond….a place where all the muck of sins we have done gathers in our minds….
……but he still diligently struggles toward the light….and “Help” comes and gives him a hand out.
Back on the way to the light….he meets a very finely dressed “gentlemen”.
Seeing Christian….and he wasn’t a particularly inspiring sight with mud still clinging to him, and a burden on his back….
Mr. WorldlyWiseman asks him where is he going in such a state. And Christian tells him….and he laughs!
“Don’t believe it”. He exclaims…..”it is a way full of trouble…look at what it has already done to you. You are a mess!”
Christian feels like a mess….and the burden is heavy….so he says…”but I am going to the wicket gate to get this burden off”.
[Really!? is that what he is doing? Is not salvation from his sins the reason for his going?
But he already has his eyes off salvation,…..and onto simple relief from his burden…how easy it is to get our eyes off of Christ.]
Well, Mr WorldlyWiseman tells him of another way of getting rid of his burden….
…….from a man in the town of Morality……a few towns over from Destruction.
Christians would even be able to bring his family…..it was a nice town….they could live well, and everything would be fine.
[There are many “fine” places in the world…..that have nothing to do with God, or His Word. Places that can trap those who live in them…..because they are so fine. There is only One Way to Eternal life….and that is through the strait gate….up to the Cross of Christ. He is Eternal life….and none other.]
So Christian had listened to Mr WorldlyWiseman (first mistake).
Then he stops and thinks about the relief from his burden (second mistake).
Then he turns from the Way he was sent and starts to follow his advice….but then….[Praise God] he begins to think that the he will die if he goes further…..
….but he is too scared to go back….or forward….
…till by God’s grace, Evangelist comes by…
….and he asks Christian….”how can you be out of the Way, already?”
[and have not some of us done the same? Praise God for His deliverance!]
Christian tells him what happened….
…..and Evangelist sharply corrects Christian….
….showing him the error of the speech of this WorldlyWiseman….”Anyone who leads you away from the light….or out of the way is an enemy of God.”
…..No one can take off your burden, except it fall off at the foot of the Cross.
Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
Christian cries out, “Is there any hope that I may go back…seeing I have so soon departed from the Way?”
Evangelist tells Christian that there is forgiveness……and to beware those who would lead you to mistrust the Word….that anyone who seeks to do that, is an enemy of God’s good.
Then he sends him back….
……so Christian, with diligence, gets to the Wicket gate….and in the Wicket gate……and to the Cross where his burden falls off.)
There are many obstacles by and to the Strait gate. Some from others, some from the Adversary of our souls,…….and some from us getting our eyes off of the Light.
Not everyone that says, “Lord, Lord”….shall enter into the kingdom of heaven….
….but he that does the Will of My Father in heaven.
And it is the Father’s Will that we follow after Christ….and His Word….all the Way.
For strait is the gate that leads to Everlasting life…..and few there be that find it.
By their fruits you shall know them….
What sort of fruit are we bring forth?