There is a chill in the air in southern Illinois today and it feels wonderful! My windows remain open, but as I sit here this morning I have my robe wrapped around me, a hot cup of coffee by my side, and the Word of God in front of me! What more could I ask?
This morning we are coming up on the closing verses of the Sermon on the Mount. Beginning with today's study, our Lord will present a series of contrasts to make us aware that there are only 2 forces at work in this world; that of good, and that of evil. Our discernment will need to be sharpened in order to know those who are on the narrow path with us. Jesus will tell us in just a few verses: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. But first, the verses known as The Golden Rule.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. I remember when I was young in the Word I tried to do a Bible search on these verses. I had always heard it quoted as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." When I tried to find it nothing would come up in the search engine. I even tried searching with the words The Golden Rule, still nothing. How could something I had heard all my life not be in the Scriptures?? It was there in principle, just not in the words I had heard it.
What a wonderful world this would be if we all adhered to this basic concept! Jesus has stated repeatedly in this discourse that He did not come to destroy or contradict the law but to fulfill it. This one phrase fulfills "the law and the prophets" message completely. The Ten Commandments are covered by it; and the commandment Jesus gave of loving our neighbor as ourselves is also covered. His teaching was not in opposition to the law and prophets, but simply fine-tuned the message of unconditional love.
Jesus' message is a positive one of "do ye even so to them" as opposed to the negative message of "do not do". We are to constantly be in the "do" mode; always working to bring peace and edification to those around us. If I return the same ill treatment someone gives to me, I have then surrendered my power to them. They are now in control over me and my emotions. But, if I give back good for evil, it renders them powerless over me. The entire situation is defused and calmed.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Here we have a contrast between the "strait" or narrow gate and the "wide gate, and broad" path that leads to "destruction".
The gate is wide that allows all manner of sinfulness to enter. Those who pass through this gate are led by the flesh and not the Spirit. The broad way allows many variances off the path. There is no hedge to guide the traveler and to keep them from falling into the gutter. This way will be crowded with "many" who will coax others to follow them into destruction. There will be those who live in open hedonism, and those who shield themselves in hypocrisy.
"Strait" or narrow is the gate that leads into life everlasting. Only those that come by the way of Jesus will find it. The path to the strait gate is narrow and structured. The traveler on this road must be focused on the path ahead; there is no room for variance here. But God...!!! In His mercy and grace has hedged this path for us. Those who trust in and follow the true Way will be in no danger of falling into the gutter of destruction. The Bible tells us in John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. There is no other gate; no other path; no other way than that of the Son of God. The world will believe there are many ways to find God, but there is only one Way; our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed day!