Sheep, Goats, and Wolves (Mt. 7:13-23)

Matthew 7:13-23 CSB “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. “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 in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ’”

Verses thirteen and fourteen are well known verses to most of us, some of us probably even have them memorized, but have you ever stopped and really pondered what Jesus was saying here?

The Word narrow as defined from the Hebrew in the Vine’s Dictionary means; “to groan, or narrow writing. It is used figuratively in Matthew 7:13-14, of the gate which provides entrance into eternal life. Narrow because it runs counter to natural inclinations.” …. “The way is rendered narrow by the divine conditions, which make it impossible for any to enter who think the entrance depends upon self-merit, or who still incline towards sin, or desire to continue in evil.”

Does that make the way seem a little more narrow than you originally thought? God is holy and His wrath is just. Salvation is not easy believism with no life change. The American church has embraced a broad road concept of salvation, yet the Scripture says the broad way leads to destruction.

The way is “narrow because it runs counter to our natural inclinations”. This is Romans chapters six through eight. There are fruits, proofs of genuine faith in Christ, it is to live like Christ. And make no mistake about it, living like Christ is not touting a social gospel that is championed by the media and supported by Hollywood celebrities.

Charles Spurgeon said, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats”.  This is by and large the current state of the American church. Believers like myself were drawn into unbiblical prosperity, health and confession teaching. We have been looking for our best lives now, not realizing that ultimately means we’d probably be in Hell because no matter how good we have it here, nothing can compare to heaven. Preachers are teaching series based from psychology and not the Bible. Men are twisting Scriptures making us the focal point of every Bible story, it’s about our dreams and not God’s glory. People are lulled into a false sense of security because they prayed a prayer yet didn’t have a changed heart.

That’s why Jesus warned against false prophets. That’s why Paul’s pastoral letters to Timothy dealt with false teaching. It’s why Jude who wanted to write about our common salvation ended up warning against false teachers. We are heaping up teachers to tickle our ears and the so called prophets keep getting it wrong.

Matthew 7:15-23 CSB  “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. “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 in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ’”

The wolves among us are shedding their sheepskins, openly promoting racial division, reparations instead of redemption and making skin color inherently sinful. They are saying we must interpret Scripture through other ethnic lenses, they are twisting Scripture and adding commands God did not give. They are embracing social justice over Biblical justice. These wolves look like the world because they are of the world. Reverence in worship is missing because those leading us don’t reverence a holy God. Some are so busy chasing signs and wanting dreams they have abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture simply because they had an experience.

Friends, the Bible says the devil comes as an angel of light. Wolves wear sheepskin because we would recognize them if they didn’t. The devil’s opening line was hath God said. If you hear a preacher say the Bible isn’t really saying blank. RUN! That’s a wolf! It’s an agent of satan to get you off of the narrow path and on to the broad path to lead you to destruction.

There are plenty of church leaders saying things that sound good, but when they’re saying the same thing as celebrities and the media elite, we should pause and see what’s going on. Don’t be fooled by false gospels, social justice and new perspectives on Scripture. Read the New Testament, make a study of each book, read chapters again and again, get them deep within your heart.

Not everyone who claims the title Christian is a sheep. There are goats and there are wolves and it is important for us to have discernment. We can’t just listen to people’s claims, we must listen to their words and observe their actions. We must also realize a hard truth, just because someone once walked the narrow path doesn’t mean they haven’t or can’t stray into a ditch or even start walking on the broad path. It’s time to be more discerning, to hold fast to the Word of God, and preach the Biblical Gospel of Christ Crucified.

Recommend Bible Reading:
Romans 6-8
Galatians 1-3
2 Timothy 1-3
2 Peter and Jude

Recommend Books:
Ashamed of the Gospel: John MacArthur
30 Days to Understanding the Bible: Max Anders
Stand Firm: John MacArthur
The Religious Affections: Jonathan Edwards

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