Sermon Notes – Ben Snyder
Scripture: Matthew 7:13-29
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The Narrow and Wide Gates
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.
True and False Prophets
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.
True and False Disciples
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!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
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.”
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.
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How can we tell if we (or anyone else) are good people? How can we be good people? It has little to do with the method; it’s all about the results. Our ‘good’ is judged by the product of our lives; our ‘good’ lives or dies by our reputation. We’ve all known that person. They have been a “good person” all their lives and then there comes that one thing, that one choice, that one poor plan, and they lose their shine, they lose a large part, if not all, of their ‘goodness’ in the eyes of those in their lives. At least, that is what people tend to think.
Thankfully, God does not judge us solely on our actions but also on our hearts, on our faith, love, charity, kindness, peacemaking. Our actions, however, stem from our hearts, our spirits, flowing outward from what is inward. Therefore, we need to be careful what we put out there into the world, what we do as Christians. In bearing that name, we represent Christ, which means that with everything we do we re-present Christ to those around us. Are we presenting the Christ that we claim to love, follow, and serve? Are we true to Christ’s teachings? Are we loving, kind, just, gentle, patient, peacemakers, disciplined, helpful? What are the fruits of our labors?