BE FORWARNED! THE FOUR WARNINGS OF JESUS IN THE CONCLUSION OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT — MATTHEW 7:13-29
"And it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:27) Every life without Christ is a tragedy for even the best of them ends in death and then eternal punishment. The Lord gives us a free will to choose what we want but ultimately (eternally) He chooses the consequences of our choices.
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7)
Jesus shows us four critical choices in this passage: 1) the narrow (and difficult) gate/road or the wide/broad (popular and easy) gate/ road; 2) the true or false prophet; 3) the true or false disciple; and 4) the wise or foolish builder.
1) The narrow (and difficult) gate/road or the wide/broad (popular and easy) gate and road — the first and most important choice is choosing the narrow gate — Jesus Himself is that gate ("door" — John 10:9) and the only way to salvation (John 14:6). There really aren’t "many roads that lead to God" as so many people believe. Yet though Jesus is the only way to the Father, the door is open to "whosoever will" for all who call upon Him will be saved. (Romans 10:13) Even then we must follow Him as Lord down the narrow road of discipleship, which though difficult in this life, leads to everlasting joy — eternal blessings and rewards. Jesus walked the "via doloroso" (the road of suffering) and calls us to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21). Compare "everybody does it" to "few find it" (v.14) and you see the contrasts between the narrow that leads to life and the broad road that leads to destruction. People who go along with the crowd simply don’t realize or believe that their end is destruction.
2) The true or false prophet — Jesus tells us not to judge others wrongly but in these verses He calls us to be "fruit inspectors" for "by their fruit you will know them" (v.16). Warnings about false teachers and false prophets abound in both the Old and New Testament. We are not to just listen to what someone says, we are to look at the life of that person to see if they bear the fruit of the Spirit (godly character) and not the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-24) "Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ (The Leader) is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:7, 8) He only spoke the truth and His life showed it. He had perfect integrity. To become more like Him we are to know the truth, obey the truth and speak the truth. "Ezra was determined to study the LORD’s Teachings, live by them, and teach their rules and regulations in Israel." (Ezra 7:10) "Christian" books, radio stations, even pastors and leaders can lead us astray with such false teachings as the prosperity gospel, universalism (everyone goes to heaven) etc. Beware of what you take in and like the Berean’s search the Scriptures to make sure what they say lines up with God’s Word and Jesus Christ the True Prophet.
3) The true or false disciple — "external signs" do not always mean an internal life-change (salvation). Jesus says these people are not His — "I never knew you". This is a strong claim for His Deity as the omniscient God who knows the inner recesses of a person’s heart and the Judge who banishes "evildoers" (unbelievers) from His presence. The Lord may channel His power through an unbeliever to save and help His people but the true state of that person will be revealed at the judgment. Or "spiritual power" may come from sources other than God including the demonic world and human creation. (Acts 19:13-16; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Revelation 13:13-14) Too many Christians look for the spectacular and neglect the unglamorous day to day obedience in the midst of trials and suffering. But Jesus said His true disciples "obey the will of my Father".
4) The wise or foolish builder — "the religious establishment in Jesus’ day was advocating a form of surface righteousness that masked an unstable foundation of hypocrisy." (Wilkins – The NIV Application Commentary) This is still true today. Surveys show that a large majority of the people in America say they are Christians but other surveys show that only 2-3% read their Bible regularly. Being a member of a church and even regular attendance can still be only "surface righteousness". The difference between the wise and foolish builder was that the wise hear God’s Word and puts it into practice whereas the foolish hear God’s Word (at church, etc.) but don’t put it into practice. James says we actually deceive ourselves if we are only hearing and not obeying. (James 1:22) In the parallel passage in Luke 6 Jesus tells us that the wise builder "dug down deep" to build his foundation on solid rock (Jesus is the Rock of Salvation). God wants to dig down deep in our lives, our souls and root out sinful attitudes and motives and long-standing hurtful personality traits (versus – "that’s just the way I am"). He desires truth in the inmost part (Psalm 51:6) and not just outward actions that may appear righteous to others. Otherwise our lives will "fall with a great crash" — either now in this life and/or eternal separation from the Lord (for unbelievers) and suffering loss at judgment seat of Christ (for believers).
Jesus Christ is anti – status quo. He calls us to change – for His glory and for our eternal good.