The Bible often uses an analogy comparing two ways, two paths that people can take in their spiritual journey. In the Garden of Eden, God presents Adam and Eve with two ways, and two trees, one that’s fruit is life and the other that’s death. At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses presents Israel with two ways, “See, I have set before you life and death, good and evil.” Then Joshua, having led the people into the land of promise, presented them with two ways, to serve either foreign gods or the true living God: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In the Proverbs we are again presented with the two ways: the way of folly and the way of wisdom.
You see, God is always bringing His people to the proverbial fork in the road, the moment of decision, the parting of the ways. And in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus once again presents us with The Two Ways.
In this passage from Matthew 7:13-29, we’ll organize our thoughts around three questions:
- What are the two ways? The Way of the Pharisees versus The Way of Jesus. The wide, easy, and popular gate that leads to destruction is the Way of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes & Pharisees are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re the diseased tree with the bad fruit. They’re the ones with the religious resumes that will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But the narrow, hard, and unpopular gate that leads to life is the Way of Jesus. He’s the authentic sheep, the true prophet of God who you can trust and follow. He’s the good tree with life-giving fruit. And on judgement day you will be known to Him and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And if you build your life on His Word, the house of your life will stand through the storms of life.
- What tells them apart? Religious Moralism versus the Gospel of Jesus. Do you see how different this is? When the storms of life come and beat against the life of a Religious Moralist their world collapses. The Religious Moralist can’t handle much pain and suffering in life. In contrast, when the storm comes, a Gospel Person drives the pylons of their foundation even deeper into the Rock which holds them fast. The hardships of life serve to anchor and tether us increasingly to the person of Jesus, who is our only hope in life.
- What is at stake? Impermanent Life versus Indestructible Life. One way looks broad and easy, but it ends in destruction. You get eaten alive; the fruit is rotten; there’s no Kingdom of Heaven; and the storms of life will wipe you out. The other way looks hard and narrow, but it leads to life. Jesus is a guide you can follow; the fruit is life-giving; the Kingdom of Heaven opens wide; and the storms of life serve to secure your soul.
- Which gate will you choose?
- Which guide will you follow?
- Which fruit will you eat?
- Which righteousness will you pursue?
- Which foundation will you build?
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