There are only two ways to live – one leads to eternal life and the other to eternal punishment. In this final passage from the Sermon on the Mount (7:13-29), Jesus concludes His message by drawing a line in the sand. Once one side are His citizens, on the other are those under His judgment. He provides four contrasting examples of a way that leads to life and a way that leads to judgment. We will see two roads (7:13-14), two trees (7:15-20), two claims (7:21-23), and two foundations (7:24-27). This passage provides that clear contrast of the Kingdom’s citizens with those that are not.
Two Roads: Wide and Narrow 7:13-14
Foolishly, many teach or believe that all religious roads lead to Heaven. Jesus makes it plain and simple, there are only two roads and only one leads to Heaven. Jesus describes two entry points to two different roads. The wide gate is easy because it includes many different kinds of external religion. The narrow gate is hard because it can only be entered through Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6). Many enter the broad gate and walk the pathway to destruction, and only few enter the narrow gate and walk the pathway to life.
Two Trees: Barren and Fruitful 7:15-20
Jesus begins by issuing the following warning, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). How does one discern whether one is a false prophet? The answer is by their fruits. Jesus talks about two different trees, which serve as a picture of two different kinds of teachers. One is barren while the other is fruitful.
Two Claims: False and True 7:21-23
The third contrasting pair is that of two claims. The first claim is a self-deceived person. They think they are saved, they profess to be saved but in the final analysis they are not saved. Their works are not driving by a desire to do the will of the Father; instead they are mere external acts parading their pride. In the last judgment, they will hear the chilling words, “I never knew you; depart form me, you workers of lawlessness” (7:23).
Two Foundations: Foolish and Wise 7:24-27
What is your life built on? Jesus made it very clear that there are only two foundations: the solid ground and the sandy ground. To build your life of the solid ground is to hear the Word of God and to do it (7:24). This is in contrast to the life build on mere externalism, which doesn’t submit to the will of God. When God’s judgment comes (“the rain”), the house built on the foundation of God’s Word will stand.
After Jesus preached this sermon we are told, “the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). Unlike the scribes who drew their authority from tradition, Jesus spoke with inherent authority (cf. Matt. 28:18).