Let Your Life be Directed by God’s Word

Matthew 7:12-28

Jerry A Collins




v                  What is the essence of the golden rule?

v                 What is the significance of the judgments announced here?

v                 Why are there always two alternatives?


As members of the Kingdom of God, just how ought we be our attitude toward all people? Generally speaking, what is our basic posture to be toward everyone? Whenever you deal with anybody about anything, frame it with the golden rule. Let that set the parameters for the attitude with which you will make movement toward another person. It seems that Jesus uttered this principle at different times and in different settings. In Luke it comes in the context of loving our enemies. First, we note that this is a positive command. In the negative form it would say do not do anything to anyone that you would not want him to do to you. This negative form would teach; if you do not enjoy being robbed, don’t rob others. If you do not enjoy being cursed, don’t cure others.   Jesus says, if you enjoy being loved, love others. If you like recognition, recognize others. The difference is profound. The positive form requires much more from us. The negative allows me to retreat so none are offended but nothing good is accomplished. The positive is more demanding, more engaging. I cannot withdraw from others and neither can I leave them unaffected. By why do this? Certainly not so that they will do it for me. Jesus does not say that nor should we expect it. There is no axiom here like honesty pays. Rather, such Kingdom living sums up the Law and the Prophets. It is behavior that conforms to the requirements of the Kingdom of God. This is life in the Kingdom. This exemplifies what a person’s attitude and resultant behavior must be. So in all your dealings with anyone about anything, begin here. Let this be the framework within which you act and behave toward others.

Now, it may be that the main body of the sermon has ended. The emphasis from here on is on making a decision or a series of decisions. Is it the kingdom of the world or the Kingdom of God? Is it what the prevailing culture promotes of what the Kingdom righteousness demands? We have four contrasts by which we can test our decisions and determine what they will produce. There is not a third alternative. Jesus speaks of two paths, two kinds of fruit, two claims and two foundations. Using these pairs, Jesus insists there are only two directions and only two—no more.


To enter means to make a definite and deliberate decision. And there are two options and only two for everyone—a narrow gate to life to a few and a broad gate to destruction for most. There is a wide gate and a wide way and there is a narrow gate and a narrow way. So the idea is that each gates leads you down a different path somewhere.

(1) The narrow gate is Jesus Christ who also says I am the door…if anyone enters by me, he will be saved Jn 10:9. This is the gate leading to the path of eternal life. It has to be entered one by one. And there are only a few who will enter. There will be many believers collectively from every generation who will be with the Lord (Rev 7:9) but from each generation there will be a minority. It will not at all be the popular gate nor favorite  path. (2) The wide gate is the easy way for all. There is no difficulty associated with the gate or path. It is a broad way because it appeals to the sin nature. It eliminates the judgment of God, making His commandments optional, with little of no accountability for earthy behavior. This is the path of destruction and many, including every person from whatever age—the majority will be ruined forever. The word destruction conveys utter ruin and complete loss. So, the true kingdom of heaven will always have a narrow gate. If everybody is flocking to it, it is probably something that gratifies the flesh.


False teachers have existed as long as God has had true ones. They point people to the wide gate that leads to destruction.

(1) They impersonate a shepherd. They look like they are a protector of the sheep feeding and caring for them. Instead they are ravenous wolves looking for the vulnerable to deceive—slaughter. Their denial of God is a denial of judgment as was often the case with OT false prophets. Jeremiah said they fill people with vain hope saying it will be well with you—peace, peace when there is none Jer 8:11.

(2) They are exposed by the results of their teaching. From one perspective a false prophet can look like a real one. Even their initial fruit can appear genuine. But the nature of a false prophet cannot be hidden indefinitely. Sooner or later he will be seen for what he is. So we are encouraged to spot them by evaluating the fruit they produce. The fruit the Lord looks for is a life developing into conformity to kingdom living here in this sermon. It may take time for the ‘fruit test’ to bear fruit—but that is the nature of the tree analogy. Fruit-bearing takes time. So, we must be intolerant of false teachers by exposing them for who they are because they will keep their followers out of heaven.


Doing the will of God narrows the gate, identifies good and bad fruit and trees. Wide gates and false prophets may seem good, they do religious things, miraculous things, do thing s in the name of Christ, but thy do not do the will of God. They may have an impressive service record and they clearly expect admission into that final consummation of God’s kingdom. But whether now or on that day the day of judgment, these self-deceived people will be exposed and eventually Jesus will disown them. He will banish them forever from His presence. A lot of things are done and taught in the name of Jesus and many false and deceiving things. The Father’s will is not simply to be  admired, discussed, praised, debated or analyzed but it is to be done! So, base all you believe and do on the Bible only. This is the only source of God’s will we have.


We move from saying and doing to hearing and doing. Both bring eternal destruction. Like the sayer and the doer, the hearer and the doer go on with their building and to a casual observer mite not seem much different. But the difference is in the foundations which are not seen—hidden from view. That is, until, a violent storm exposes the fatal flaw. The question is not did they hear, or respect, but did they do what they heard. Exposure can come thru your circumstances or it mite come on the day of judgment. Either way the Word of God has not been decisive and your unbelief has been exposed.

1. Jesus threatens the disobedient with judgment in each case—ruin, burning, rejection, destruction. Since there are only two ways, one of them leads to you utter eternal ruin. It is real.

2. Truth matters because it is God’s truth—His Words to be believed and obeyed. Error is of the devil, deceives and destroys. So take this warning seriously and follow the truth of the Kingdom.

3. Christianity is not just a set of moralistic high ideals. This is not a set of ethical rules but the very character of life in God’s kingdom. Which gate? Which road? Choose.

So, Jesus was not ordinary or predictable but taught with absolute truth and amazed.