Matthew 7:13-23 (The Narrow Gate and the Broad Road)

Mat 7:13-14 What do these verses teach us about the two paths that confront each one of us in this life?  Contrast the beginning and end of each.  What is it about the path that leads to destruction that deceives people to suppose they are going the right direction?  What does this teach us about the common justification by those who are on this path that “so many people cannot possibly be wrong”?  Is there true safety and security in numbers as they suppose?  Cf. Luk 13:23-24.  What does the “wide gate” that leads to destruction teach us about the common assertion that it is a good thing to be all-inclusive in matters of doctrine and spiritual truth?  Cf. Joh 14:6.  What does Jesus mean that the gate is “small” and the way is “narrow” that leads to life?  Hint: what does the KJV translation “strait” mean?  Hint: think about a person who is in “dire straits”[1]; cf. Joh 15:20, Act 14:22, 2Ti 3:12.  Because the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, how many does Jesus say find it?  What does this teach us about the danger of measuring spiritual success in terms of numbers?  Is there an equal danger of making the path to life narrower than God intended—so narrow in fact that in religious pride we suppose that only people who agree with us on every matter will be saved?  Cf. Rom 14:1-12.  Is the path we are on wide and broad or is it small and narrow?  Are we guilty of making the narrow path too narrow?

Mat 7:15-20 Who is it that leads the “many” on the “broad” road to destruction?  What part of Mat 7:15 explains how they are able to mislead people and so many willingly follow them?  See also 1Th 5:3, Jer 6:14, Eze 13:10, 2Pe 2:18-19.  In spite of their outward appearance and gracious speech, what is the true nature of false prophets?  Cf. Rom 16:18, 2Pe 2:3.  Does a false prophet know that he is a false prophet?  See Mat 15:14, 2Ti 3:13.  Does Jesus say that we shall know them by their doctrine?  How does He say we shall know them?  What examples of good trees / good fruit and bad trees / bad fruit does Jesus give?  Are we a grape or fig, or a thorn or thistle?  What does Jesus mean that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor a bad tree good fruit?  See Mat 7:16.  What does this teach us about the importance of being born again with an entirely new nature?  What is the end of bad trees that do not bear good fruit?  See Mat 7:19.

Mat 7:21-23  Who does Jesus have in mind as calling out to Him ‘Lord, Lord’ in these verses?  See Mat 7:13,15.  Does Jesus say it is those who possess correct doctrine and know the Father’s will who will enter the kingdom of heaven?  Who does Jesus say in Mat 7:21 will enter the kingdom of heaven?  Cf. Mat 12:50.  What does it mean for one to do the will of the heavenly Father?  See Joh 6:28-29, 1Th 4:3, 5:18, 1Pe 4:1-2, 1Jo 2:15-17, etc…  Is it a given that we will automatically know what God’s will is?  See Eph 5:17.  What all is involved with knowing the will of God that we may do it?  See Psa 25:4-5,8-9,12-14, 40:8, 143:10, Rom 12:1-2, Col 1:9, 4:12, Heb 13:21.  What contrast in Mat 7:23 does Jesus make with those who do the will of God?  What does this teach us about the importance of all the fullness of the law that He has been expounding upon in this sermon (cf. Mat 5:17,20-22,27-28, etc…,)?  What is the outward appearance of those whom Jesus turns away in Mat 7:23?  See Mat 7:22; cf. Mat 7:15.  In that day will it be just a few who thought they were saved because of their outward form of godliness?  See again Mat 7:22.  What do these verses teach us about the danger of accepting others as true servants of God based upon their religious appearances?  Should we accept as evidence of true salvation—including our own—such appearances, even if they be miraculous?  Cf. Num 23:4-5ff, 2Pe 2:15; Act 19:13-16; 2Th 2:8-12.



[1] The Greek word that translates “narrow” in Mat 7:13 and “small” in Mat 7:14 (NAS) comes from a verb that means to sigh or groan; it means narrow when used in a spatial sense, and afflicted when used to describe a person’s state of being; “narrow” in Mat 7:14 is a different Greek word that means to press or afflict, as it is usually translated.

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