Jesus' Warning: Take the difficult road - Matthew 7:13-27
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(A2) Open the session with prayer. Ask God to open your mind and tell him you'll do Psalm 119:34 "Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart."
(A3) In this 16 minute 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. There is nothing more important for anyone to know and to follow than Jesus' teachings in this sermon.
(A4) 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) The more thought you put in to answering the questions the more life change you will experience.
(4) You can view this BOTH on your phone and computer (www.SermonM.com).
(B1) What is Jesus' Warning? Take the difficult road. Why? How?
(B2) 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) In verse 13 how many people does Jesus say are going to hell?
(2) In v14 (verse 14) how many people does Jesus say are going to heaven?
(3) So, according to Jesus, where are most people going after they die?
(4) Where do most people think they are going after they die? (surveys show less than 1 percent think they are going to hell)
(5) At 95% of the funerals you've been at don't they always say "He/she is in a better place"?
(6) Who do you think is right, Jesus or most of the people?
(7) In v14, if we want to go to heaven (God's Kingdom) which road does Jesus say we must take and stay on?
(8) Does Jesus place any restriction on who can go on this difficult road or is this difficult road available to ANYONE regardless of what they have done before?
(9) 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?
(10) After giving us this life changing warning Jesus proceeds to give his 3 requirements for entering heaven.
(B3) What is required to enter heaven? Luke 13:23-24 "Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, (24) “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail."
(1) In v24 what is required to enter God's Kingdom?
(2) From John Wesley commentary: "Strive as in an agony. So the word signifies otherwise none shall enter in. Barely seeking will not avail".
(3) From NLT Life Application Study Bible: "Finding salvation requires more concentrated effort than most people are willing to put forth. Obviously we cannot save ourselves—there is no way we can work ourselves into God’s favor. We “work hard to enter” through the narrow door by earnestly desiring to know Jesus and diligently striving to follow him whatever the cost." In this study note what does "work hard to enter" mean?
(4) In v24 how many who are trying to enter heaven fail?
(5) In v24 why do they fail?
(6) If we are not working hard what does that mean?
(B4) In the next 3 paragraphs Jesus gives the 3 requirements for taking the difficult and only road to heaven.
(C1) Jesus 1st Requirement - Believe Only the Gospel
(C2) 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).
(C3) 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) 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?
(C4) 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) 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?
(5) 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?
(6) Revelation 2:10 "Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. ... But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life." What does this verse teach?
(C5) 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) When we listen to someone teaching, does Jesus want us to search the scriptures to see if their doctrine (set of beliefs) is supported by the Bible?
(D1) Jesus' 2nd Requirement - Serve Only Jesus
(D2) 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 will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws."
(1) In v21 who will Jesus allow to enter heaven?
(2) In v23 who determines who gets into heaven?
(3) Is Jesus showing himself to be God by saying he is the one who determines who goes to heaven?
(4) Do you think the people in v22-23 "believed in" Jesus?
(5) Some of the things the people in v22 might say include "I came to church, I lead Bible Studies, I gave money, ..."
(5) In v23 who will Jesus not allow to enter heaven?
(6) From Enduring Word "This warning of Jesus applies to people who say “Lord, Lord,” and yet their spiritual life has nothing to do with their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man just as any other might." What must impact our daily life?
(7) From ESV Study Bible "An oral confession of Jesus as Lord does not always indicate a repentant heart." What will one have if Jesus is really their Lord? (note: true repentance is similar to making Jesus one's real Lord and Master)
(8) From ESV Study Bible "False disciples may exercise power in Jesus’ name but their activities are meaningless because they deceive themselves and other believers, desiring attention for their own spectacular displays. Mighty works are not proof of the Father’s will since they can come from sources other than God, including demons and human contrivance" Why are mighty works not proof of the Father's will?
(9) 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 do true disciples affirm? Who enables us to live a transformed life? What is inconsistent with genuine discipleship? Were the people in v22-23 ever true disciples?
(10) 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?
(D3) 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 summarized?
(6) In v35 who and what must we give up our lives for?
(7) "give up your life for ... the sake of the Good News" means the focus of our lives must be on making disciples Matthew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations ...". Agree or disagree?
(8) 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?
(9) 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?
(10) 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?
(D4) No other master - Matthew 6:24 "No one can SERVE two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." NIV
(1) Who must be our one and ONLY master?
(2) What other two words in this verse describe what our attitude towards God must be?
(3) Jude 4 "The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Jesus is both our "only ________ and Lord"?
(4) From NIV Zondervan Study Bible "A slave, owned entirely by one master, cannot serve two masters, and both God and money are masters that make all-consuming demands. Money: Greek mamōna (“mammon”) refers to material possessions that have become an idol." What can become an (devastating) idol to us? An idol is anything you serve in the place of God.
(5) From NLT Life Application Study Bible "Their desire for money and what it can buy far outweighs their commitment to God and spiritual matters. Whatever you store up, you will spend much of your time and energy thinking about. ... Can you honestly say that God, and not money, is your master? One test is to ask yourself which one occupies more of your thoughts, time, and efforts." How can we tell if Jesus is really our Lord and Master?
(6) Matthew 6:33 "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Nine verses after Matthew 6:24 Jesus says the key way to serve God and be devoted to him is by doing what two things? What is his incredible promise to us if we truly do them?
(7) If we are hindered in any way from serving Jesus as our ONLY master what must we do with what is hindering us?
(8) Take a minute and determine if anything is hindering you and how you'll remove it.
(E1) Jesus 3rd Requirement - Obey All of Jesus' teachings
(E2) 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 e the equivalent of "doing the will of my Father in heaven" in v21. To ignore his words, therefore, will result in total spiritual disaster." How we respond to Jesus sermon has what type of consequences? If we ignore his words what will happen to us?
(E3) What will take out many who started to follow Jesus - Luke 8:11-15 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word.
(12) The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.
(13) The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation (this is added from Matthew 13:21 -->or they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word).
(14) The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.
(15) And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest."
(1) In v13 what did the rocky soil people "don't have" that caused them to be taken out by temptation, problems, or persecution?
(2) Is not having deep roots comes in part from not doing v15 (clinging to God's word)?
(3) In v14 what controls the thorny soil people?
(E4) From the Believers Bible Commentary on Luke 8:11-15 "Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God (i.e. the truth of God-His own teaching).
(12) The wayside hearers heard the word but only in a shallow, superficial way. It remained on the surface of their lives. This made it easy for the devil (the birds of the air) to snatch it away.
(13) The rock-hearers heard the word too, but they did not let the word break them. They remained unrepentant. No encouragement (moisture) was given to the seed, so it withered away and died. Perhaps they made a bright profession of faith at first, but there was no reality. There seemed to be life, but there was no root beneath the surface. When trouble came, they abandoned their Christian profession.
(14) The thorny ground hearers seemed to get along nicely for a while, but they proved that they were not genuine believers by their failure to go on steadfastly. The cares, riches, and pleasures of life took control, and the word was stifled and smothered.
(15) The good ground represented true believers whose hearts were noble and good. They not only received the word but allowed it to mold their lives. They were teachable and obedient, developing true Christian character and producing fruit for God."
(1) In each of the 4 types of people their response to God's word determined their faith. What was each type of people's response to God's word?
(E5) 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?
(E6) Not Only Obey All But to Teach All to Others - 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) If we are not teaching others are we disobeying this direct command from Jesus?
(F2) Brief Summary
What is Jesus' Warning?
Take the difficult road. Why? How?
(1) Believe Only the Gospel
(2) Serve Only Jesus
(3) Obey All of Jesus' teachings
(F3) 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".
(F4) Who do you know that needs to know this?
(F5) Possible sermons to listen to:
Keep believing only the Good News
- Watch or Listen to "False Teaching is a Trap" by Jonathan Pokluda · Nov 15, 2015 - 42 minutes
Serve only Jesus
- Watch or Listen to "Lukewarm and lovin it" by Francis Chan Oct 1, 2006 - 40 minutes
Obey All of Jesus' teachings
- Watch or Listen to "The Spiritual Disciplines: Spending Time in God's Word" by Jonathan Pokluda · March 9, 2014 - 51 minutes
- Watch the 5 minute video "What's The Best Bible Translation?" by Todd Wagner - January 13, 2014
(F6) For next week read Session 2 and answer the questions beforehand.
(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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