51. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. -Matthew 7:13-14
Friend, if you can ‘take or leave’ obedience to Christ’s commands, you cannot have assurance that you are a born again Christian. When Christ speaks of the narrow way, He is speaking of His way. I had a coach once who often said, “It’s my way or the highway.” When it came to playing that sport, we had to do exactly what he asked us to do in the way that he asked us to do it, or we were off the team. Friend, in the Christian life it’s either Christ’s way or the highway to Hell. You must come on His terms of repentance and faith. You are a sinner whose only hope is Christ’s blood shed to take away your sin. You are turning from being the boss of your own life and confessing that from now on ‘Jesus is Lord.’ As Roman 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” There is no other way for you to be saved, only Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
52. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. -Matthew 7:15 Context: Matthew 7:15-20
Many people are so hungry for meaning in their lives that they are susceptible to those who would manipulate their emotions and call it the work of God in their lives. Much time and money is spent to get people to believe that this or that movement is from the miraculous hand of God. I hope you understand that most ministries that are on television or radio pay for the airtime to put themselves on the air. Thank God for solid Bible preaching ministries that are out there! But be on the lookout for “Wolves in sheep’s clothing,” false preachers who want to “fleece” gullible, non-discerning sheep out of their hard-earned money. Jesus said “look for the fruit.” False prophets and teachers always start sounding good, but over time they will encourage you to be dependent on them for the way you view God, salvation, and success in the Christian life. Biblical faith always encourages you to stand under the authority of God’s Word, not the authority of this or that teacher. Don’t be deceived by men or women in expensive clothes that ask you to give money to the Lord but give you their address. Jesus died for the church, not Brother Fleecesheep’s TV Miracle and Deliverance Ministry.
53. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. -Matthew 7:21 Context: Matthew 7:21-23
Note here that true disciples of Jesus are not characterized by the kind of outward show they can put on, but by doing God’s will, by doing the things God wants them to do as recorded in the Bible. Jesus will say “Depart from me,” or “Get out of My face,” to everyone who really practices lawlessness most of the time, even if they claim to know Jesus! God wants us to be people who “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8).
54. Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. -Matthew 7:24-25 Context: Matthew 7:24-29
Always remember this: Jesus Christ and His words are the rock we are to build our lives upon! Why is it that so many trailers blow away during hurricanes and tornadoes? It is because they have little or no foundation. Beach houses often blow away during hurricanes. Why? Because they were built on sand! These houses can look beautiful and be very impressive, but storms wipe them out. People often build their lives on faulty foundations: the way they look, who they are dating or married to, the job they have, the things they possess, their health. All of those things can be taken away from them by things beyond their control. If you build your sense of identity around circumstantial things that a storm of life can take away, you will always simply be up and down according to your circumstances, and if the storm is big enough, it will wipe you out! But if your sense of identity is built on Christ and His Words, you will be ready for the inevitable storms of life. Other things can be taken away, but Christ is in your life to stay! Jesus doesn’t promise the believer they won’t face storms, but that His presence in their life will get them through life’s storms!
55. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28 Context: Matthew 11:28-30
Keith Green sang a song that had the following lyrics, as if sung to the believer from Jesus: “My son, my son, why are you striving, you can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you; I did it all when I was dying, rest in your faith my peace will come to you; because when I hear the praises start, my child, I want to rain upon you, blessings that will fill your heart, I see no stain upon you, because you are My child, and you know Me, to Me you’re only holy, nothing that you’ve done, remains, only what you do for Me!” Precious brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not a burden to work for a good boss. Satan works you hard and mocks you in return. Jesus has given you rest through faith in Him and showers you with His love! Rest in Him today!