How to take the difficult road to heaven - Matthew 7:13-27
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(A1) In this short Sermon on the Mount (which is the most famous sermon ever given) Jesus tells us how to live in a way that God can bless here on earth and that will also result in spending eternity with God in heaven and not in hell. It's in Chapters 5 to 7 in the Gospel of Matthew, which is a book in the Bible.
(A2) Key things to know before beginning:
(1) We start at the end of the sermon because if we learn and do what Jesus teaches there we will get SO MUCH MORE from his Sermon on the Mount.
(2) The green text are direct quotes from the Bible. Unless otherwise noted they are from the NLT (New Living Translation) which is an excellent translation for reading. The purple text are quotes from other sources. And the red text are questions.
(3) When discussing the session in a group don't try to rush through the session in order to finish it, INSTEAD, focus on understanding and applying it. You can always pick up where you left off in your next meeting.
(4) You can view this study on BOTH your phone and computer (www.SermonM.com).
(B) What is Jesus' Warning? Take the Difficult Road. Why? How?
(B1) Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. (14) But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."
(1) According to Jesus, is there only one way to God’s Kingdom (heaven)?
(2) How many people go to hell?
(3) Is it easy or difficult to go to heaven?
(4) How many people go to heaven?
(5) Where do most go (many vs. few)?
(6) From MacArthur Bible Commentary: "Christ continually emphasized the difficulty of following Him. Salvation is by grace alone, but it is not easy. It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord, and a willingness to obey His will and Word." While salvation is by grace alone what does it call for?
(B2) In the next 3 paragraphs Jesus gives the 3 keys for taking the difficult and ONLY road to heaven.
(C) 1st Key: What to Believe - Believe Only Jesus' Teachings
(C1) Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. (16) You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (17) A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. (18) A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (19) So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. (20) Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions."
(1) In v15 (verse 15) what are we to do?
(2) In v15 why are we to beware of them?
(3) In v19 what will happen to those who do not produce good fruit (actions)?
(4) False prophets teach the wrong way to live and the wrong way to enter heaven and therefore people who follow them miss out on God's help here on earth and end up going to hell after they die. In v20 Jesus says we can identify the false prophets by their actions (what they teach, how they live, and their influence on others).
(C2) Nothing Can Be Added to the Gospel (Good News): Jude 3 "But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people."
(1) Does "once for all time" mean that the Gospel given in the New Testament is COMPLETE and that it will not be replaced or added to "for all time"?
(2) From ESV Study Bible: "by the time that Jude wrote his letter, “the faith” had already been fixed and established in the apostolic teaching of the early church, and therefore could not be changed, ... nothing more could ever be added to Scripture, since the content of the faith had been delivered “once for all.”" What does "once for all time" mean?
(3) 2 John 9 "Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. " CSB What does this verse teach?
(4) In Session 2 this Gospel that has been given "once for all time" will be studied.
(C3) Must Keep Believing ONLY the Gospel: 1 Timothy 4:16 "Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you."
(1) What happens if we don't keep a close watch on how we live (what we obey) and what we believe and teach?
(2) From ESV Study Bible: "Timothy’s perseverance in sound doctrine and practice will save him, i.e., it will lead him to persevere in the faith, confirming his salvation. This type of ministry will be effective in preserving his hearers as well." What will save Timothy? What will confirm our salvation?
(3) From CSB Study Bible: "Ultimately, salvation requires perseverance in faith. Romans 11:22 "Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off." In both quotations in (3) what does salvation require?
(4) Hebrews 3:14 "We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end." NIV What does this verse teach?
(C4) How to Protect Yourself: Acts 17:11 "And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth."
(1) How did the people of Berea protect themselves from false prophets?
(2) Be on the lookout especially for verses being taken out of context or whole doctrines based on an stretched interpretation of a single verse or verses that contradicts what is plainly taught throughout the New Testament.
(3) Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, ... Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." How many of Jesus commands are we to learn and obey?
(D) 2nd Key: What to Do - Serve Jesus As Our Real Master
(D1) Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. (22) On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ (23) But I (Jesus) will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws."
(1) Is calling Jesus ‘Lord’ enough to enter the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (heaven)?
(2) Who are the ONLY ones going to heaven?
(3) Who decides if we go to heaven?
(4) What did Jesus say to those who broke God’s laws?
(5) So, what is the 2nd key to going to heaven?
(6) From ESV Study Bible "An oral confession of Jesus as Lord does not always indicate a repentant heart." True repentance includes making Jesus one's real Lord and Master.
(7) From CSB Study Bible "True disciples affirm Jesus’s lordship, submit to his authority, and obey his commands. Jesus insisted that a person is confirmed as a true disciple not by prophecy, exorcism, or working miracles but by living a transformed life made possible by God. The disobedient lifestyles of lawbreakers are inconsistent with genuine discipleship. Jesus’s words, I never knew you, show that these were never truly disciples." What did you like about this quote?
(8) Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." Who will Jesus have removed from his Kingdom?
(D2) What it means to call Jesus Lord - Mark 8:34-37 "If any of you wants to be my follower, you MUST give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake AND for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?"
(1) In v34 what 3 things MUST we do if we don't want to lose our souls (go to hell)?
(2) In v34 can ANYONE, regardless of what they have done in the past, become a follower of Jesus if they give themselves to doing these 3 things? This is why Jesus’s message is called "Good News". It's available to anyone regardless of what they have done in their past. Session 2 is all about this "Good News".
(3) Do you think that to "Take up our cross" includes us being open about being a Christian even if people will think less of us or persecute us?
(4) What does it mean to "follow me"? Does it include following his example and teachings?
(5) In v35 how are these 3 requirements in v34 summarized?
(6) In v35 who and what must we give up our lives for?
(7) From Believer's Bible Commentary "There is always the temptation to save our life-to live comfortably, to provide for the future, to make one’s own choices, with self as the center of everything. There is no surer way of losing one’s life. Christ calls us to pour out our lives for His sake and the gospel’s, dedicating ourselves to Him spirit, soul, and body. He asks us to spend and be spent in His holy service, laying down our lives, if necessary, for the evangelization of the world. That is what is meant by losing our lives. There is no surer way of saving them." Which sentence impacted you the most?
(8) In v35 what does Jesus say will happen to us if we don’t spend our lives SERVING Jesus and SERVING the spreading of the Good News?
(9) So is this surrender and serving Jesus in Mark 8:34-37 a good summary of what it means to call Jesus Lord in Matthew 7:21?
(E) 3rd Key: How to Do Them - Learn and Obey All of Jesus' Teachings
(E1) Matthew 7:24-27 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. (25) Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. (26) But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. (27) When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."
(1) In v24 if we don't want our house to collapse what must we do to build it on the solid rock?
(2) From CSB Study Bible "The adjectives wise and foolish describe a person’s spiritual and moral state, not his intellect ... the storm that destroys the house on the sand is a picture of divine judgment. Hence, the person who hears and acts on Jesus’s teaching is prepared for judgment. The one who hears but doesn’t act on Jesus’s words will be destroyed in the storm of judgment." What does the storm represent?
(3) Is Jesus telling us how to avoid having Jesus tell us Matthew 7:23? "I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws."
(4) From The Gospel of Matthew by R. T. France pg 296 "... has left Jesus' hearers with a simple but demanding choice: to hear and ignore, or to hear and put into practice. It is a make-or-break choice with eternal consequences. And as we noted in v21, it is Jesus himself who is the key to this choice; it is his words (and not, as one might have expected, God's words) which must be done. Indeed, to do Jesus' words here seems to be the equivalent of "doing the will of my Father in heaven" in v21. To ignore his words, therefore, will result in total spiritual disaster." What happens to those who hear but do not put Jesus' words into practice?
(E2) How to have God's word change us - James 1:22, 25 "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. ... (25) But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do." NIV
(1) From ESV Study Bible "In James, the “law” and the “word” are two different ways of describing the same reality."
(2) From the MacArthur Bible Commentary on "that gives freedom": "Genuine freedom from sin"
(3) In v25 if we want to have our lives blessed by God what four actions must we do?
(4) How can one "look intently into the perfect law"?
(5) How can one do "continues in it"?
(6) How can one do "not forgetting"?
(7) Are you willing to crave out some time each day to do these four actions so your life will be characterized by being blessed?
(E3) Teach Others to Obey All - Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, ... (20) TEACH these new disciples to OBEY ALL the commands I have given you."
(1) From NLT Life application Study Bible "We are to go—whether it is next door or to another country—and make disciples. It is not an option but a command to all who call Jesus “Lord.”" What does Jesus command each of us to do?
(2) How many of Jesus’ commands must ALL Christians learn and obey?
(3) How many of Jesus' commands must we teach our disciples to obey?
(1) What is Jesus' Warning?
(2) What are Jesus' 3 keys to stay on the difficult road to salvation?
(3) Do you want to do Jesus' third requirement (learn and obey all of Jesus' teachings) by studying his teachings that he just gave in this sermon?
(F2) Add to Home Page: Put the Table of Contents web page on your phone's home screen so you can easily access the Sermon on the Mount Study.
Apple: View that page in the Safari browser, then press the share icon, select "Add to Home Screen", and name it "SermonM".
Android: View that page in the Chrome browser, then press the 3 dots, select Add to home page, and name it "SermonM".
(F3) Who do you know that needs to know this?
(F4) For next week read Session 2 and answer the questions beforehand.
(F5) Support each other in prayer
(1) Share one thing you are thankful for this past week.
(2) Share 1-2 personal prayer requests for everyone to pray for this week.
(3) If you have time pray for the requests.
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