Monday, March 25, 2024

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of The Gospel

Monday, March 25, 2024

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. Matthew 7:13-20

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of The Gospel 

As we continue in our study on The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against the easy road and the hard road, one leading to life and one leading to destruction. He then warns us of false prophets who will try to lead us down the easy road of destruction. Pastor Jim told us about six different kinds of gospels that people believe and how they can lead us away from the road that leads to life.  

Six Gospels:

Forgiveness only – Be forgiven; creates following Christ as an option; Only have to pray a prayer-it is a one-time event, not a lifetime commitment to be a disciple of Christ. 

Left – help the needy; no transformation or eternal life; accommodation to culture; Biblical truth is optional. Can’t really know we are saved, and we are all going to heaven anyway. 

Prosperity – claim your rights; give me what you promised and that I am entitled to; God management; If God doesn’t answer my prayers it is because I don’t have enough faith or didn’t pray hard enough. Works based salvation.

Consumer – Meet my needs. The church exists for me – I do not exist for the church. Self-indulgence; addiction – desire. Go to church to consume only.

Right – I am always right. Theological swagger; exclusiveness; detachment; if you do not agree with me, you are wrong. And you are not going to heaven.

It is easy to see how believing the wrong gospel can lead us away from abundant, transformative life in Christ.  The five gospels above are the hollow bones of Christianity with absolutely nothing that helps us grow in our relationship with him. They are watered down ideas of the gospel that leave us unfulfilled and stagnant in our faith. Discipleship and following Jesus is not optional in the Christian life, although we have made it optional. 

Kingdom – Follow me, transformation through a relationship with Jesus. Become apprentices of Jesus, learning to live and love like him.

The kingdom gospel – the gospel of Jesus Christ – is to be invited into an eternal, never ending relationship with the King of Kings. We follow him, becoming his disciple and being transformed by him. We can then go and make more disciples for his kingdom.

Jesus then goes on to tell them to beware of false prophets who are ready to lead us down the easy road that leads to destruction. He says we can recognize these false prophets by their fruit. If we are living The Jesus Way, not only will it be evident in every area of our lives, but there will also be fruit in our lives. Fruit is the evidence of a growing, transforming relationship with God. We are always growing through the process of sanctification, but as we are growing, we are to be living out His word in our lives - producing fruit. Coming to church and hearing a sermon every week is not enough if there is no heart transformation and no fruit.

It is not merely the wicked, the bearer of poison berries, that will be cut down; but the neutral, the man who bears no fruit of positive virtue must also be cast into the fire. (Spurgeon)

Jesus makes it clear that we have a job to do as his followers. Our job is to love God, love others, and make disciples. We are not to be saved, and then sit back and enjoy being a Christian with no thought of how God wants to use us to glorify him and advance his kingdom.

We should always be mindful of fruit (or lack of it) in the lives of those we follow and listen to. We should pay close attention to what they say and if it lines up with God’s word. The fruit we bear in our lives because of our relationship with Jesus is the Fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5: 22-23 Paul tells us that the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we are living The Jesus Way, this fruit will be evident in our lives. Others will see something different in our lives and want it and we will want them to have it. It is a natural outcome of a transformative relationship with him. Living out the Fruit of the Spirit with our lives is a living sermon to those around us every day. 

What do you believe?

Have you been living in one of the five gospels that do not bring transformation into your life?  

What about the fruit in your life? What fruit will you be known by? 


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