Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 4)

(Matthew 6:24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Here’s an excerpt from Ellicott’s Commentary on Matthew 6:24:

“(24) No man can serve two masters.—Literally, can be the slave of two masters. The clauses that follow describe two distinct results of the attempt to combine the two forms of service which are really incompatible. In most cases, there will be love for the one, and a real hatred for the other. The man who loves God cannot love the evil world, and, so far as it is evil, will learn to hate it. The man who loves the world will, even in the midst of lip-homage, hate the service of God in his inmost heart. But there are natures which seem hardly susceptible of such strong emotions as love or hatred. In that case there will be a like though not an identical, issue. The man’s will will drift in one direction or another. He will cleave to one with such affection as he is capable of, and will hold the other cheap. God or mammon, not both together, will be the ruling power with him.”

(Matthew 6:19-21) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What is our heart serving? God or money? Both cannot be served, according to the Bible. God spiritually works in the believers, and makes it possible for them to enter the kingdom of Heaven through the strait gate and narrow way. Doing God’s will as a humble little child, not as a proud, carnally wise man who thinks he knows better than the omniscient God and His infinite wisdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is entered by being humble.

Jesus, as our ultimate example setter, was humble:

(Luke 22:41, 42) And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

(Philippians 2:3-11) [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled [5013] himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Matthew 18:1-4) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest [3187] in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble [5013] himself as this little child, the same is greatest [3187] in the kingdom of heaven.

Humility is the path to the Kingdom of Heaven:

(Mark 9:33-35) And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who [should be] the greatest [3187]. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.

To desire to be “first” (KJV) is to not be humble. The believer in Christ is to seek to glorify God, not himself.

(Matthew 6:5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

The Kingdom of Heaven is entered by denying self, taking up one’s cross daily, and following Christ in humility, not pride:

(Matthew 6:6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

(Luke 9:23) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

(Luke 6:46) And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

So, the Kingdom of Heaven is entered by hearing the Lord Jesus (in the Bible, God’s word and truth) and following Him. And we know that only those who are born of God will be able to hear and follow Christ in love (and thereby do God’s will unto eternal life):

(2 Timothy 3:1-5)  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(Philippians 2:3-11) [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Love is the proof test of whether a man or woman is born of God or not. No, not the worldly kind of love that condones sin. Rather, the kind of love that is expressed by doing righteousness without compromising what the Bible says about sin and moral conduct. Public opinion may change over time, but God’s holy word does not change.

The following passage contains what Christ will literally say to those on His left hand (according to the King James translation):

(Matthew 25:41-45) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.

In comparison, the false prophets (described as “ravening wolves” (KJV) in Matthew 7) will bring up prophesying and casting out devils as noteworthy things that they did, supposedly in Christ’s name. Their words will not align with the recorded words of Jesus, Who will bring up giving food and drink, clothing, taking in, and visiting in prison, the least (doing charitable acts of love towards the needy who have nothing to offer in return), as noteworthy things that were not done by the “goats” on His left hand. Whether those who will be on Christ’s left hand are called “goats” or “wolves”, all who are not in Christ, and not born of God, will be on Christ’s left hand on that fateful day.

Notice how the words of Christ are to be followed, and those who who would be rich and suppose that gain is godliness are to be avoided:

(Acts 20:33-35) I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

(1 Timothy 6:3-12) If any man teach otherwise, and
consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight [75] the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

(Luke 13:23, 24) Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive [75] to enter in at [1223] the strait [4728] gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

G75 – strive (3x), fight (3x), labour fervently (1x).

G1223- by (241x), through (88x),

G4728; Outline of Biblical Usage – narrow, strait

Here’s an excerpt from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible regarding 1 Timothy 6:12:

Whereunto thou art also called – That is, by the Spirit of God, and by the very nature of your profession. God does not “call” his people that they may become rich; he does not convert them in order that they may devote themselves to the business of gain. They are “called” to a higher and nobler work. Yet how many professing Christians there are who seem to live as if God had “called” them to the special business of making money, and who devote themselves to it with a zeal and assiduity that would do honor to such a calling, if this had been the grand object which God had in view in converting them!”

To “strive” to enter in through the Strait Gate and Narrow Way, is to flee coveting after money and the many foolish and hurtful lusts associated with it, and follow after righteousness. To follow Christ by doing what He has said, is to “fight the good fight of faith”.

Here’s an excerpt from Ellicott’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:12:

““The good fight,” more closely considered, is the contest and struggle which the Christian has to maintain against the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

Conclusion:

The Kingdom of Heaven is entered through the Strait Gate and Narrow Way, which is traveled by hearing Jesus and following Him by doing what He has said (in the Bible) and thereby do the will of the Father unto eternal life. Christ spoke the words of the Father. To follow Him is to follow the Father Who sent Him. Only believers who are in Christ, and born of God, are able to enter in through the Strait Gate and Narrow Way.

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Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 3)

To enter in the kingdom of Heaven through the strait gate and narrow way, is to follow Christ by doing righteousness, which is the fruit of being born of God. The Bible indicates that those who do not righteousness (no good fruit) are children of the devil:

(1 John 3:10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

(John 15:1-6) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered [3583]; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

(1 John 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

(Matthew 13:3-8) And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered [3583] away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

(Romans 8:5-9) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

To follow Christ, is to have Him as your foundation (because without Him, we can do nothing). Christ was not the foundation of the false prophets who He never knew. So, this all goes back to the foundation (Christ).  The foundation is ultimately what keeps the “house” from falling, not the building of the house itself. Rather, the building of the house doesn’t fall because of the foundation that supports and strengthens the building, and keeps the house from falling and being destroyed:

(Matthew 7:24-27) 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: 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. 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: 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.

Some teach that even a genuinely born again believer can harden his or her heart to the point that such a person falls away from the truth and departs from the faith altogether by willfully rejecting Christ and His shed blood. Can a born again believer live a life of not abiding in Christ and have no good fruit at all? I don’t get that impression when i compare the above passages:

(1 John 2:27-29) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Does 1 John 2:27-29 give any indication that a born again believer can become unborn? The impression i get is that what sort of child a man or woman is, will manifest, whether he or she is a child of God, or a child of the devil:

(John 8:44) Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

(1 John 4:6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We can say that Christ is the strait gate and narrow way because to follow a false prophet who does not follow Christ, is to be entering through that same wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction that the false prophet is on. The blind lead the blind to the same ditch that they themselves shall fall into:

(Matthew 15:13, 14) But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

But how do we receive Christ as our foundation in order to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven through the strait gate and narrow way? By believing on Him:

(John 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

(John 3:36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Christ is our ultimate example setter. He followed the Father and walked in love, and believers, by God’s grace, are to follow Christ and walk in love:

(Ephesians 5:1-9) Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

(1 John 3:16, 17) Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

(Galatians 5:22-26) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Those who follow Christ by walking in love, or walking in the Spirit, are those who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven:

(Matthew 25:34-40) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.

Luke 17:10 says:

(Luke 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Here’s an excerpt from the Geneva Bible Study regarding Luke 17:10:

“{5} So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

(5) No matter how perfectly we may keep the law, it deserves no reward.”

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

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Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 2)

There are a number of people in the “Free Grace” movement who teach that to do the “will” of the Father is to simply believe on Christ for salvation. And that good fruit (sanctification) has nothing to do with the “will” of the Father, spoken of by Christ, in Matthew 7:21. I could mention a few names of people who teach as such, but i’ll just mention the most well-known name that i know of. One well-known person of note who teaches as such, is David J. Stewart, who i like and don’t wish to show any disrespect towards. I’m posting this in the spirit of correction (i’ve attempted to contact him through e-mail, but there’s no way to do so. He has no contact info on his website). So, with that said, here’s some of what he said regarding Matthew 7:21 at (www.jesus-is-savior.com):

“Matthew 7:21-23 plainly tells us that those false prophets standing before God in judgment had failed to do God’s will concerning salvation. That’s exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “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.” John 6:40 tells us the will of the Father; but first let’s look at another Scripture that is often misunderstood…

1st John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Taken by itself, 1st John 2:15-17 almost seems to teach that salvation requires giving up the sinful world and the lusts of the eyes and flesh to be saved; but that is not the case at all. We read in 1st John 2:17 that whosoever DOETH THE WILL OF GOD abideth for ever. So what is the will of God concerning salvation? I’m glad you asked.

John 6:40 plainly tells us in black-and-white what the will of the Father is to be saved…

John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

There you have it… the way of salvation is to BELIEVE on the Son of God. We see Christ in the Scriptures, as Jesus taught in John 5:39…

John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which TESTIFY OF ME.”

The Word of God testifies of Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnate Word (John 1:1-3,14). Jesus’ name is “called The Word of God” in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is precious!”

John 6:40 irrefutably and incontestably proclaims that the WILL OF THE FATHER for salvation is to believe on the name of Jesus Christ. Thus, the false prophets in Matthew 7:21-23 had never trusted upon the Lord.”

It may seem irrefutable and incontestable, but let’s look more closely at John 6:40. I too, used to think that John 6:40 applied as the appropriate definition of how the Father’s “will”, in Matthew 7:21, should be interpreted. But then it hit me one day, that the “will” of the Father, as defined in John 6:40, is not an applicable definition. Here’s why: Using the very same verse (John 6:40), here’s definitive proof that such an interpretation of Matthew 7:21 is not possible. In Matthew 7:21, we see the “will” of the Father spoken of in relation to doing that will:

(Matthew 7:21) 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.

Some have concluded, based on John 6:40,  that the “will” of the Father, in Matthew 7:21, has to do with believing on Christ, and therefore, the meaning has nothing to do with doing Christ’s sayings (sanctification). So, instead of the context (verse 24) being looked to for the meaning of verse 21, some look to John 6:40 for the meaning. If this non-contextual interpretation is biblically sound, then the Bible will confirm that conclusion. Let’s carefully read and compare both verses to see if this interpretation is, in fact, valid:

(Matthew 7:21) 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.

(John 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Notice how John 6:40 reads. Is the Father’s “will” that man believes? Or is His “will” that all who believe, may have everlasting life? Notice, in Matthew 7:21, that the Father’s “will” is something that is done by those who shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But notice, in John 6:40, that what man is to do to receive everlasting life (believe on Christ), is not what the Father’s “will” is specifically about, in the verse. Rather, the Father’s “will” is specifically that all who believe, may have everlasting life (according to the KJV translation). Believing is not what the Father’s “will” is specifically about in John 6:40. The Father’s “will” is specifically about His reaction to faith, not about faith itself. It took me awhile to notice this. When we carefully discern this nuance it becomes clear that the Father’s “will”, in John 6:40, has no connection to Matthew 7:21.

So, what is the proper definition of what the Father’s “will” is, in Matthew 7:21, if John 6:40 is not an applicable definition? As usual, the context has the answer:

(Matthew 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth [4160] the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Just three verses later, we read:

(Matthew 7:24, 25) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth [4160] them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 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.

What sayings was Christ referring to, in Matthew 7:24? Everything He had said previously in chapters 7 and 6, all the way back to verse 2 of Matthew chapter 5, where we see that Christ began to teach His disciples:

(Matthew 5:1, 2) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

So, to follow Christ by doing His sayings, is to also do the Father’s sayings:

(John 14:24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Christ did the Father’s will perfectly and spoke the Father’s words. So, by extension, believers are to do the Father’s will when they follow Christ by doing what He said:

(Matthew 7:22, 23) 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Christ never knew the false prophets who will be rejected instead of welcomed by Him on that day. Christ knows those to follow Him by denying self for His sake and the gospel’s (not for their own sakes. Born again believers know that salvation is by grace):

(Mark 8:34-36) And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

(Matthew 23:12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

(Luke 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

The false prophets will do the opposite of saying they are unprofitable servants. They will expect to be welcomed by Christ into the Kingdom of Heaven because of their “many wonderful works” that they supposedly did in Christ’s name:

(Luke 9:23) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

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Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 1)

What is the strait gate and narrow way? This is a very important question, because without entering through the strait gate and narrow way, no Christian will inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. So, it’s essential to understand what the strait gate and narrow way is. In Matthew 7, we see that the strait gate is spoken of as, or in relation to, the narrow way that leads to life that few find. In contrast, many attempt to enter in the Kingdom of Heaven through the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction. In Matthew 7, the false prophets are referred to as “ravening wolves” (KJV), so let’s start by looking at how a “wolf” is defined in the Bible:

(Acts 20:28-35) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves [3074] enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Notice that the words of Christ are to be remembered by those who oversee and feed the flock. Men who do not follow Christ will attempt to draw the flock away from following Christ, towards following them instead. And we can infer, by the context, that such motivation is for personal gain rather than for the sake of others.

Compare with Matthew 7:13-18:

(Matthew 7:13-20) Enter ye in at [1223] the strait [4728] gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [727] wolves [3074]. 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 [4550] tree bringeth forth evil [4190] fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

G1223 –  through (88x),

G4728 – Outline of Biblical Usage: narrow, strait

G727 – rapacious:—extortion, ravening. Outline of Biblical Usage – rapacious, ravenous, a extortioner, a robber

G4550 –  Outline of Biblical Usage: rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless

Notice the context, where we see that a corrupt (rotten) tree brings forth evil fruit and cannot bring forth good fruit. The false prophets shall be known by their fruits. Notice that the passage doesn’t say that they may or may not be known by their fruits, but rather, the implication is that they shall be known by their fruits:

(1 John 3:10)  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

The wolves are not entering through the strait gate and narrow way. They come in sheep’s clothing, looking like sheep in appearance, but inwardly are “ravening” (KJV) wolves who will harm the flock through their own selfish lusts. We see by the Strong’s definition and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, that the Greek word for “ravening” can mean ravenous (extremely hungry), but it can also mean rapacious in terms of extortion for personal gain, which seems to be what is implied. Perversion from the truth in order to gain riches from the flock seems to be, at least in part, the implication when we compare Matthew 7:13-18 with Acts 20:28-35. The wolves do not follow Christ. They’re led by the lusts of the flesh (rather than by the Spirit of God). Therefore, the manifestation of their evil fruit is how the sheep can know that such men are false and to be fled from rather than followed:

(Luke 6:43-49) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart [2588] bringeth forth that which is evil [4190]: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

A good tree is known by his good fruit, and an evil tree is known by his evil fruit. We also see evil fruit in view, in Matthew 7:13-20 (above). The false prophets brought forth evil fruit (because they were not born again and Christ never knew them). They were never truly branches of the Vine (Christ) that bears good fruit. Rather, their fruit was evil fruit.

Also notice the similar language of Luke 6:43-49 (above), when compared with Matthew 7:21-27 (below):

(Matthew 7:21-27) 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 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: 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. 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: 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.

So, we can infer, by Matthew 7, that such false prophets are wolves who work iniquity in the sense of doing selfish works of the flesh for personal gain (in contrast is working righteousness in the sense of doing selfless works of the Spirit in service to the sheep):

(Luke 9:23) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Their fruit was evil fruit because they were corrupt (rotten) trees, even though they will claim to have prophesied in Christ’s name. He will tell these false prophets that He never knew them. They will expect to be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven because of their many wonderful works. But instead, they will find out that their many wonderful works were done with the wrong motivation behind them and were not good fruits of the Spirit:

(Matthew 7:18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(Luke 6:43-46) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

So, being a good tree has to do with the heart, not just the actions. To do those things that Christ says (follow Him), from the heart.

Christ did the Father’s will and spoke His words:

(John 14:10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

(John 12:49-50) For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

(John 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will [2307], but the will [2307] of the Father which hath sent me.

Believers are to do the will of the Father by doing Christ’s sayings:

(Matthew 7:21-25) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth [4160] the will [2307] of my Father which is in heaven. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth [4160] them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [4073]: 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 [4073].

Christ is the Rock:

(1 Corinthians 10:4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock [4073] that followed them: and that Rock [4073] was Christ.

To do Christ’s sayings, is to do the will of the Father:

(James 1:22-27) But be ye doers [4163] of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer [4163] of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

(1 John 2:15-17) Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth [4160] the will [2307] of God abideth for ever.

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

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Can Someone Be Born Again and Have No Fruit at All? (Further Examination of This False Teaching)

Again, some (not all) within the “Free Grace” movement believe something that is not taught in the Bible. Some have embraced the notion that it’s possible for a born again believer to never bring forth any fruit during the course of his or her entire lifetime after conversion. That’s right…some believe that it’s possible for a born again believer to not do a single good work (no fruit). They base this on a wrong interpretation of the Parable of the Seed and the Sower, claiming that those on the “stony ground” became born again believers. But what the Bible says is in opposition to such false teaching.

The Bible says:

(John 8:34-36) Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [1401] of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

G1401 – Outline of Biblical Usage: a slave, bondman, man of servile condition

(1 John 3:6-11) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Here we see that anyone who does not righteousness is a servant (slave) of sin and is a child of the devil. Do these passages support the idea that it’s possible for a born again believer to bring forth no fruit at all during the course of his or her entire lifetime? The above passage indicates that whosoever does not righteousness is manifesting that he or she is a child of the devil. We become children of God when we become born of the Spirit (born again). The false teaching that a born again believer can live a life of doing not righteousness and manifest the opposite of what he or she is become, is deception.

(Romans 6:20-23) For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Notice what this passage is indicating. Before anyone is made free from sin (born again), they are a servant (slave) of sin. So, it doesn’t matter how good any of us lived our lives before we became regenerated (born again). The bottom line is we were in bondage to sin. No matter how much we may have tried not to be, we still sinned. We were not made free from that bondage until we became born again. An unregenerate man or woman can no more live a life of no sin, than a born again believer can live a life of no good works (fruit of the Spirit). All born again believers will bring forth fruit because it’s their nature to do so. But again, Mark 4:8 indicates that the fruit varies greatly. The flesh is still there, even though the Holy Spirit is now working in the believers. But the Bible is clear that all born again believers will bring forth fruit without exception.

(Ephesians 2:8-10) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

(Philippians 2:13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Notice that God works in the believers, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The very will of the believer to do good works (fruit) is inspired by God who works in every born again believer.

As we saw in a previous post, self examination is biblical. The Bible indicates that love is how believers know (not just hope) that Christ is in them, and they are in Him. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. So, it’s wise to examine yourself to see if you’ve experienced the love of God towards others, in your life. To believe that you’re saved, and later find out that you weren’t when it’s too late, would be a terrible tragedy with eternal consequences.

(John 11:25-27) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

(1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

(Romans 10:8-11) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Conclusion:

The Bible indicates that all born again believers bring forth fruit (do righteousness). And, while the amount of fruit can vary greatly, none do not bring forth any fruit at all. Rather, all who are born again are become servants (slaves) of righteousness. They are no longer servants (slaves) of sin. No born again believer in the Vine (Christ) brings forth no fruit.

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