Read Matthew 7
Jesus continues teaching the basic principles of how to become and live as true Christians (Matt. chap. 7). The Golden Rule and the narrow gate (7:12-14). Jesus emphasizes the power of faith (chap. 8 — 9). Like sheep, people need a Shepherd. The harvest is great, the labourers are few (9:36-38).
It is generally assumed that heaven can be obtained on much easier terms than those prescribed here by our Lord. Many in our generation believe that one can be a good disciple without denying self, taking up his own cross and following the Jesus, the Son of God (Matt. 16:24). Few today believe that if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body (any activities that keep one from being or doing what would please God), ye shall live. . . . For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Rom. 8:13; Matt. 16:26)? Many are fully persuaded that a man can serve two masters and succeed in making the best of two worlds through compromise. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God (I John 3:10). Some believe that, because God is a God of love, surely the way is not as narrow (Matt. 7:14) as Christ declared it to be when He said: He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad (12:30).
This error is evident through Jesus' declaration: Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven (7:21).
Many assume that all we have to do in order to be saved is to respond to Christ's gracious invitation. Yes, by all means, but that is by no means the simple decision that some falsely present it to be.
Many go through an "easy access" gate of self-will and self-gratification; Jesus warned us what they find access to: Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (7:13). They do as they please and insist that as long as a person is sincere, it doesn't really matter what he believes. So sure are its travelers that if anyone should dare to disagree with them he is at once condemned for being uncharitable and narrow-minded. No self-denial has to be practiced to remain therein. The going is smooth and easy because it is all downhill!
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man (who is out of the will of God), but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12).
Thought for Today:
If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15).
For Matt. 7:23: See Ps. 6:8. Matt. 8:4: See Lev. 14:1-32. Matt. 8:17: See Is. 53:4. Matt. 9:13: See Hos. 6:6.
7:2 ye mete you measure out, give; 7:3 mote tiny, insignificant speck; beam such as judgmental unloving self-righteousness, pretending to have a character one does not possess; 7:6 rend to tear apart; 8:31 suffer permit; 9:9 receipt of custom tax collector's office; 9:10 sat at meat sat down to a meal; 9:36 fainted were distressed by the burden of the rituals and rules of the scribes and Pharisees; scattered abroad thrown down, confused, deceived, neglected by the self-righteous leaders who were more concerned about keeping their own position than helping others.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of our military worldwide • Staff: Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Rep. Karen Bass (CA), Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA), and Rep. Sean Duffy (WI) • Country: Bahrain (629,000) 11 islands in the Persian Gulf near Saudi Arabia • Major languages: Arabic and English • No evangelical work is permitted • 85% Muslim; 5% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 1% Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Recognize the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness and praise Him (Ps. 100:4-5).
Memory Verse for the Week: