The televised game show, “Let’s Make a Deal!” with Monty Hall required the contestant to choose the prize behind door number one, or door number two, or door number three. There might be a car behind door number one and a chicken or a goat behind doors two and three.
Today, and every day, we stand at the “Y” in the road. To the left, the door is wide and the path is easy. To the right, the door is narrow and the path is steep and difficult. Jesus commands His disciples to “enter through the narrow gate” and promises that, though it is “difficult,” it assuredly “leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14). A decision is required. Go left or go right. Accept or reject. Enter the narrow way or follow the crowd down the wide and easy path that “leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13).
Jesus’ sermon abruptly moves to a discussion about false teachers. We must “guard against false prophets who come to (us) in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves”(Matthew 7:15). Here again, we stand at the “Y” in the road. We must choose between deceptions and truth. Our decisions have eternal ramifications. Who are these false teachers? “You’ll recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16). False teachers are like thornbushes. You’ll never pick figs or juicy purple grapes from a thornbush. “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). We must be fruit inspectors. We must judge between right and wrong. We must choose.
Again, the topic of Jesus’ sermon seems to bend. Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 7:21). Paul, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit wrote, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). There will be many who will testify before the judge, declaring that they have been religious enough and therefore worthy of eternal rewards. They will say, “I went to church every time the doors were opened ... I gave money when the offering plates were passed ... I’m better than the other guys ... I’ve earned my way to heaven.” Jesus, the righteous judge, will “announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me!’ ” (Matthew 7:23). On judgment day, Jesus won’t be looking for religious observance, but true relationship with the Living God.
Folks, it’s important how we choose. The wide and easy way is not the right way. The teacher of “easy-believism,” or “do this, don’t do that...” or “all paths lead to heaven,” are “ravaging wolves” (Matthew 7:15). “You are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
The prize behind door number one is eternity with Jesus in heaven. Every other door leads to eternal destruction.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.