Matthew 7:13 “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.
These two verses are familiar to Christians. We are taught that the small gate and the narrow road refer to Jesus Christ—the only way to the Father. In this light let us now look at related verses from Luke.
Luke 13:23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, (24) “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (25) Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
Jesus teaches that many people will try to enter through the narrow door—referring to himself—but will not be able to. Who are the people who try to enter through Jesus Christ? Among others, it must refer to those who profess to be Christians. Many “Christians” will try to enter and will not be able to. The Lord will refuse them entrance to his house, telling them that he doesn’t know them. What might prevent them from entering the kingdom of God? To find out, let’s now continue with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 from where we left off above.
Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Jesus commands us to watch out for false prophets. This is important because they can cause us to miss the narrow road if we believe them. They look like servants of God, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves seeking to devour their prey, which biblically are in fact sheep. Are there servants of God in the Church today who make a good living fleecing the flock? Are there ministers disguised as servants of righteousness today who in reality serve Mammon? These “wolves in sheeps’ clothing” are not difficult to spot.
(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.
Look at the personal life of the minister. Does he or she live as Jesus did? Or does he try to live like those who possess earthly wealth? What kind of car does he own?
Has he or she been divorced while in ministry? Is there any hint of impropriety—whether sexual, marital or financial—in his personal life? By their fruit you will recognize them.
What will happen to these false prophets?
(21) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ (23) Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
These false prophets may have experienced the supernatural and many miracles in their ministries. They might be well-known. Their ministries could be taking in millions and millions of dollars in offerings each year, resulting in an enviable lifestyle for themselves. But Jesus does not know them. They will not be able to enter His kingdom.
What happens to believers who follow these false prophets?
(24) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (26) But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (27) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Anyone who does not heed Jesus’ words and his warning to watch out for false prophets might fall with a great crash. Whatever this may mean for a believer, it is obviously to be avoided at all costs.
(28) When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, (29) because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
With this teaching on false prophets, Jesus concluded his “Sermon on the Mount.” The crowds were amazed at his teaching.
Are you amazed by his teaching? Or perhaps you would rather choose to disregard his warning and continue believing the promises of the false prophets and following them. If you do, you also may end up serving Mammon instead of God, and being one of the many “Christians” who try to enter through the narrow door, but will not be able to.
Matthew 11:15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.