By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens
Focal Passage: Matthew 7:13-21, 24-27
Robert Frost wrote a poem about two roads converging in the woods. One had been much traveled and the other not so much. He chose the one less traveled and was a better man for it. Several years ago as I was beginning my full-time ministry in another state I was befriended by a group of pastors. As I attended their meetings all seemed well until I realized that what they believed was contrary to the truth conveyed in the Bible. About 40 years ago our family was able to purchase our first house. We were so excited about being homeowners. There was one thing that was needed at our new home and that was a shed for my lawn mower and other things. I purchased a metal shed and began to erect it according to the plans. However, in spite of all my good work there was one thing I failed to do and that was level the foundation. I use these three illustrations to introduce our lesson focus for this week. Jesus reminds us that living the Christian life involves making decisions.
The first decision is what are we going to do with Jesus. He died on the cross for our sins, rose from the grave that we might have life through Him, and offers us forgiveness if we repent of our sin and follow Him. However, many choose not to follow because they think that His demands are too hard. They would prefer to travel the “much traveled” road rather than the narrow, steep demanding way Jesus lays out for us. The old expression, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” (never have understood what that means) applies here. Paul said in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” When we come to Jesus He makes us new (II Corinthians 5:17), the old life is put away and we begin walking the path Jesus lays out for us knowing that “… He is with us always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
Secondly, Jesus admonishes us to beware of false prophets who are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their one desire is to destroy and lead us astray from the truth of the Gospel. He said we will know them by their fruit, every bad tree will produce bad fruit and be cut down and thrown into the fire to be consumed. However, every good tree will produce good fruit and is profitable for the kingdom.
Thirdly, Jesus said that we need to be careful to build our spiritual lives on a solid, level, secure foundation, so when the storms of life blow against it, it will stand strong and firm. What does that foundation look like? I Corinthians 3:11 reminds us: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus loves us enough to give His life as the once and only sacrifice for our sins. He calls upon us to believe in Him.
Romans 10:13 instructs: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It is from this point that we are to travel the narrow road, bear good fruit for the Kingdom, and build our lives on Jesus, the solid foundation.