Life is made up of many decisions. Some are simple. But even simple decisions can be difficult. Like what flavor of ice cream do you want. Two children asked the lady at the ice cream counter why they only had chocolate and vanilla ice cream. She said, “If you knew how long it took people just to make up their mind from these two, you wouldn’t want any more choices.”
It is said that on top of a hill in a Midwestern state stands a courthouse so situated that raindrops falling on one side of the roof travel by way of the Great Lakes into the Atlantic, while drops landing on the opposite side find their way through the Ohio River and the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Just a breath of wind one way or the other may determine whether a single raindrop will end up either in the Gulf or in the Atlantic.
Even so, one single decision is enough to determine a person’s life and even eternal destination. At the end of the greatest sermon ever given, Jesus asked His listeners to make a decision. This is life’s ultimate choice. Jesus is drawing a line in the life of His listeners and saying, ‘Will you cross this line and make the decision to follow Me?’
Jesus uses four illustrations to show what this eternal decision actually means. Each illustration presents a choice, a consideration as you make that choice, and a criticism about that choice.
What road will you travel on? (Matthew 7:13-14)
- The Choice: Will you take the wide or narrow road of life? There are only two roads to choose – one seems easy, the other hard. They are entered by only two gates – one is wide, the other narrow.
- The Consideration: Most people choose the wide road. Each way is traveled by only two groups – many and few.
- The Criticism: Don’t all roads lead to Heaven? No. Each road ends at only two opposite destinations – destruction and life.
What prophet will you listen to? (Matthew 7:15-20)
- The Choice: Will you listen to the true prophet or the false prophet?
- The Consideration: You can tell false from true messengers, not by their words, but by their life.
- The Criticism: Aren’t all ministers God’s messengers? No. False prophets disguise themselves as God’s messengers.
What destination are you moving toward? (Matthew 7:21-23)
- The Choice: There are only two final destinations, Heaven or Hell.
- The Consideration: Not everyone who does good deeds is going to Heaven. Good works are not required for Heaven.
- The Criticism: Aren’t all good people go to Heaven? No. Only a relationship with Jesus will get a person to Heaven (John 14:6).
What foundation are you building your life on? (Matthew 7:24-29)
- The Choice: There are only two two foundations to build you life, sand or rock.
- The Consideration: We must not only hear, we must obey. To obey God is to believe in Jesus.
- The Criticism: Does it really matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere? Yes it matters. You can be sincerely wrong. Are you building your life on Jesus, the rock?
The Devil would like you to think that you are okay as long as you are doing some good things. He would have you believe that God would never send a good person to Hell. But he wants to deceive you until it is too late. Make the right choice today.
Following their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers telegrammed their family and told them all about it. They informed them that they would be home in time for the holidays. Their family reported all this to the local newspaper. The following week the article was entitled, “Local bicycle merchants will be home for the Holidays.” The newspaper editor thought what was newsworthy was the boys were coming home. But what has been remembered is the short air flight. That is similar to the thinking of many good people today. They are concerned about their good works. But God is looking at the one area of obedience: Turning to Christ for salvation.
You can read my other Sermon on the Mount articles: Life Redefined: Sermons from The Sermon on the Mount.