Our scripture this morning is Matthew 7:13-20.
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. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Jesus tells us there is only one way to enter God’s Kingdom, “through the narrow gate” (v. 13). That is Jesus Himself. Later He says “No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus came by God’s will to show us His love and the way to salvation. While the road is difficult (v. 14), He is there to guide us and walk it with us.
Jesus warns us that there will be those who will try to mislead us. We must be discerning and watchful. He says that “just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (v. 20). People may say one thing but do another and Jesus wants us to be on guard against their attempts to influence us.
Jesus never hid the truth that “every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire” (v. 19). There will be judgment on the Day of the Lord and those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior will be separated from God for eternity. Don’t let worldly things and wily sin divert you! Everlasting life is promised to those who believe and obey.
Gracious God, in Your mercy You sent Jesus to save us from our own failure. Bless us to be the messengers of His return, sharing Your love with all the world. Amen.