The narrow road Matthew 7:13-23
by, Mar 11th 2010 at 04:26 PM (18118 Views)
I could write a small book on the Matthew 7:13-23 passage alone. I have seen Christians react one way or another to this passage..either they see many other Christians as not following this narrow path and not truly knowing who Christ is but simply throw around His Name, believing only they are on that straight and narrow path or they react with fear and think they must somehow work harder using 'works' to assure their salvation. Neither response is correct though. What they need to do is work on their relationship with Christ and take a good hard look at themselves too.
The first part of this passage,
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate
and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many
enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the
road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
I believe this was also a prophecy concerning the Jews who Jesus came to first. While He preached for three and a half years to them only a few actually believed. Their unbelief was very painful to Jesus too.
41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
We read in the gospels how time and time again the Jews rejected His message..until final He utters these terrible words:
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”
In the next part of Matthew 7 Jesus goes on to say this:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in
sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick
grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17
Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree
bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and
a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does
not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
He was speaking not only about the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees but also about anyone that would lead the flock astray which was happening then and continues to happen today. These wolves in sheep clothing tear the sheep apart with their false teachings and lead them away from God. After Christ ascended back to Heaven many came claiming to be the Messiah and lead many to their deaths. Josephus, a Jewish historian that lived during this time recorded the events that took place in his book the "War of the Jews". http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/index.htm Here quoted by Adam Clarke in his bible commentary on Matthew 24 where Jesus again warns His followers of false prophets, those pretending to be Him:
Verse 4. Take heed that no man deceive you.
The world is full of deceivers, and it is only by taking heed to the counsel of Christ that even his followers can escape being ruined by them. From this to Matthew 24:31, our Lord mentions the signs which should precede his coming.
The FIRST sign is false Christs.
Verse 5. For many shall come in my name
1. Josephus says, (War, b. ii. c. 13,) that there were many who, pretending to Divine inspiration, deceived the people, leading out numbers of them to the desert, pretending that God would there show them the signs of liberty, meaning redemption from the Roman power: and that an Egyptian false prophet led 30,000 men into the desert, who were almost all cut off by Felix. See Acts 21:38. It was a just judgment for God to deliver up that people into the hands of false Christs who had rejected the true one. Soon after our Lord's crucifixion, Simon Magus appeared, and persuaded the people of Samaria that he was the great power of God, Acts 8:9,10; and boasted among the Jews that he was the son of God.
2. Of the same stamp and character was also Dositheus, the Samaritan, who pretended that he was the Christ foretold by Moses.
3. About twelve years after the death of our Lord, when Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, arose an impostor of the name of Theudas, who said he was a prophet, and persuaded a great multitude to follow him with their best effects to the river Jordan, which he promised to divide for their passage; and saying these things, says Josephus, he deceived many: almost the very words of our Lord.
4. A few years afterwards, under the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea, impostors of this stamp were so frequent that some were taken and killed almost every day. Jos. Ant. b. xx. c. 4. and 7.
So while this is not a new thing by any means a quick check on the internet shows those in most recent times who claim to be Christ: wikipedia.org
* Jim Jones - Claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Akhenaten, Buddha, Lenin, and Father Divine. Organized a mass murder suicide at Jonestown, Guyana.
* David Koresh - Born Vernon Wayne Howell, was the leader of a Branch Davidian religious sect, proclaimed that he was "the Son of God, the Lamb.
* Marshall Applewhite - Applewhite posted a famous Usenet message declaring, "I, Jesus—Son of God—acknowledge on this date of September 25/26, 1995: ...". This was two years before he and his Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide to rendezvous with a spaceship hiding behind the comet Hale-Bopp.
* Inri Cristo - A Brazilian man who claims to be the second Jesus.
* Hong Xiuquan – Self-proclaimed "little brother" of Jesus Christ. He formed an army that fought in the Taiping Rebellion, which ultimately caused the deaths of over 25 million people.
* Ahn Sang-hong – South Korean man worshiped by World Mission Society Church of God
* José Luis de Jesús Miranda – Organizer of Growing in Grace who claims that the resurrected Christ "integrated himself within me".
* Sun Myung Moon – Founder of the Unification Church, who considers himself the second coming of Christ, but not Jesus himself.
* Benjamin M. Swinbanks - Self-proclaimed resurrection of the son of God. Known better over the years by his followers as the "Swinny Christ".
* Jung Myung Seok – Founder of Providence Church, who also considers himself the second coming of Christ, but not Jesus himself.
* Ariffin Mohamed – Also known as "Ayah Pin", the founder of the banned Sky Kingdom in Malaysia. He claims to be the incarnation of Jesus, as well as Muhammad, Shiva, and Buddha.
* Ayya Vaikundar – According to Akilattirattu Ammanai, the scripture of Ayyavazhi, Narayana, who was one among the trinity in Vaikundar was the one who incarnated as Jesus.
* Matayoshi Jesus – In 1997 he established the World Economic Community Party based on his conviction that he is the God and Christ.
* Apollo C. Quiboloy – A Filipino pastor who claims to be the Christ. He has also marked Bro. Eli Soriano as being condemned to hell.
* Arnold Potter - Schismatic Latter Day Saint leader; called himself "Potter Christ".
* Sergei Torop – a Russian who claims to be "reborn" as Vissarion, the returned Jesus Christ. He founded the Church of the Last Testament and the spiritual community Ecopolis Tiberkul in Southern Siberia.
* Georges-Ernest Roux – Founder of the Universal Christian Church, now named Universal Alliance, clamed to be Jesus, then God, called the "Christ of Montfavet" or "Georges-Christ".
* Suma Ching Hai - A meditation teacher who claims to be an incarnation of Avalokitesvara and a living reincarnation of the Buddha and Jesus Christ.
* John Nichols Thom - Cornishman who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and his body temple of the Holy Ghost. He was killed by British soldiers at the Battle of Bossenden Wood, on May 31, 1838 in Kent, England.
This is not the complete list either. How shocking is it to see these people are in every nation in the world, speaking different languages that have managed to fool the flock who isn't heeding Christ's words in looking at their fruits! Too many have grown so fearful of judging others that claim to be believers, that they have thrown discernment aside and literally believe anyone. They follow these men rather then following Christ. A couple of years ago I saw a news story on José Luis de Jesús Miranda who also claims to be the antichrist by the way..he has a huge following!
In 2007 the Dallas Morning News reported that De Jesus "preaches to followers in some 35 nations, mostly in Latin America, and has 287 radio programs and a 24-hour Spanish-language TV network."
De Jesus has gained attention in Puerto Rico in particular, where his denomination has opened centers in Guaynabo, Arecibo, Yabucoa, Ponce and Hormigueros.
In early 2007 he acknowledged others' claims that he was the Antichrist and explained that the term is true. It applies because people are no longer to follow the "Jewish teachings" of Jesus of Nazareth, but rather to follow the Apostle Paul's teachings through De Jesus. According to De Jesus, "Antichrist" means "no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh".
Most recently, followers have shown their support by getting "666" tattoos on their bodies. "666", De Jesus explains, is not a sign of the devil (he preaches that the devil was destroyed), but the number of the Antichrist.
De Jesus and his followers celebrate Christmas each year on April 22, as this is the day De Jesus was born and therefore they claim it is the "real" Christmas.
For most of us this is just dumbfounding that people are not just following him, but getting 666 tattooed on their bodies. Yet people believe him! While most false prophets..false preachers aren't this obvious, we need to heed Christ's warnings and always, always check their fruit. We do this by simply comparing their teachings against God's Word, the bible.
The debate rages still today among Christian over who are true Christian preachers...who are false or true prophets. Sadly many Christians continue to follow false prophets despite the fact their prophecies have failed time and time again. Or despite their obvious teachings that goes directly against the bible. They think if the prophet or a preacher is right about a few things they must be ok..but this is exactly how satan deceived Eve in the Garden. He mixed the truth with a few little lies and she believed him and we see what happened next!
And lastly the most terrifying words of all from Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will
enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the
will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to
me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your
name, and in your name drive out demons and perform
many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never
knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Adam Clarke explains this the bestnote: Clarke uses the King James Version bible)
Verse 23. Will I profess
I will fully and plainly tell them, I never knew you-I never approved of you; for so the word is used in many places, both in the Old and New Testaments. You held the truth in unrighteousness, while you preached my pure and holy doctrine; and for the sake of my own truth, and through my love to the souls of men, I blessed your preaching; but yourselves I could never esteem, because you were destitute of the spirit of my Gospel, unholy in your hearts, and unrighteous in your conduct. Alas! alas! how many preachers are there who appear prophets in their pulpits; how many writers, and other evangelical workmen, the miracles of whose labour, learning, and doctrine, we admire, who are nothing, and worse than nothing, before God, because they perform not his will, but their own? What an awful consideration, that a man of eminent gifts, whose talents are a source of public utility, should be only as a way-mark or finger-post in the way to eternal bliss, pointing out the road to others, without walking in it himself!
Depart from me
What a terrible word! What a dreadful separation! Depart from ME! from the very Jesus whom you have proclaimed in union with whom alone eternal life is to be found. For, united to Christ, all is heaven; separated from him, all is hell.
There is power in the Name of Christ Jesus but many take that and abuse it..use it to their own selfish gains, rather then following the will of God. These passages need to be taken very, very seriously. Even when the apostles were traveling around planting the first Christian churches a man tried to 'buy' the power of God from them.
9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”