What Are Three Results of Jesus’s Teaching?

Summary: Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount with three illustrations of two ways. One way leads to eternal destruction while the other way leads to eternal life. Jesus describes the disciples who have an eternal destiny with Him, the ones He knows by name.


In my last post, I talked about the golden rule and how it makes us less selfish. In this post, I will conclude the Sermon on the Mount by talking about three ways Jesus drives obedience to His teaching home.

One thing I spent most of my time preparing sermons and Bible studies are the illustrations and applications. I don’t know if I’m just not that creative that I can come up with a few of each, or if I have a hard time envisioning the applications to my messages. Jesus does not have that problem. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives three illustrations that apply one major principle to His sermon.

He gives three illustrations that focus on two different approaches or ways. We will talk about these illustrations to end out our study of Jesus’s sermon. The most poignant part of His application is the people who believe they are working for Him but find out that He never knew them. We will look closely at Jesus’s applications to His sermon.

When I read the last parts of the Sermon on the Mount, I continue to be struck by Jesus’s illustrations and application. Many of us view the Sermon on the Mount as the crucial teaching of the New Testament, with everything else as footnotes. Certainly, the rest of the New Testament is just as important, but Jesus’s sermon challenges us to live the way He has taught. So, as we conclude Jesus’s sermon, we will see how important it is to live the way He has prescribed. Let’s get started.

The Two Gates (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus’s first illustration of why His teachings are important is a call to go through the narrow gate. He talks about the wide gate and the easy way that lead to destruction. Many people find this easy way. But if you enter through the narrow gate, you will have eternal life.

Either because of the narrow gate is harder to find or the way is hard, fewer people find and follow it. But this is the way to life over destruction. The life here Jesus refers to his eternal life. These two gains and two ways lead to opposite destinies. I don’t know anyone who wants to follow the road that leads to destruction.

Though many may seek the result of the narrow gate and hard road, few find it. Few travel it for long. And few reached its destiny. I’m reminded of G. K. Chesterton who said, ““The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” People don’t like to do things that are hard, and we are always seeking shortcuts to get the job done easier and faster. But most jobs require time, effort, and patience.

Doing the right thing is harder than the wrong thing. It requires a will, determination, and courage to follow it through. Sometimes people are maligned and chastised for doing the right thing. The world expects us to do the wrong thing because that’s what it does. So, when Jesus talks about the eternal destiny being through a narrow gate and a rough road, it makes sense that few people find it and follow it.

Many people are aware of this narrow gate and rough road today. They know about what Jesus taught, or at least have an idea. And yet, not many people try Christianity, and even fewer continue to follow Christ’s teachings when life gets hard. They are seasonal Christians at best, living a different lifestyle during the week.

Jesus calls us between the two Gates and two ways to choose the gate and road that leads to eternal life. They will not always be easy. They will not be popular. But this gate and road lead to eternal life, to a place at Jesus’s side. You will not get rewarded in this life. But you will receive the inheritance Jesus has promised. In those difficult times, remember Jesus’s promises, your inheritance, and the reward Jesus gives at the end of the road.

The Two Fruits (Matthew 7:15-20)

Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, we have discussed what Jesus means when he talks about judging others. He tells us not to judge others, but we understand that to mean we don’t judge others putatively, or criticize others. I mentioned in that post that it could not mean we don’t judge others at all.

This passage is why I mentioned that. Jesus talks about knowing false prophets by their fruit. I would argue you can not just judge the fruit of prophets, but of anyone. But you are not judging the person with criticism. You are looking at the result of their life, their character and deeds. This is what Jesus means by fruit.

Fruit in the Bible refers to both character and actions. We can look at the results of a person’s life and speech. Doesn’t agree with what they do? This kind of judgment doesn’t judge the person. It judges the result of their actions and speech. We would be fools to ignore those who speak one way and do the opposite. Can you trust a person who says they will be at this time and place and not be there?

Such judgment of fruit keeps us from being fools ourselves. Jesus describes false prophets as wolves in sheep’s clothing. They look innocent and trustworthy on the outside, but they will stab you in the back with their actions. We must be aware of false prophets so we don’t fall into the lies they tell. In the same way, we must be aware of people who bear bad fruit. If we don’t pay attention to what people do and say, we will be the fools.

I suggest to you that Jesus was comparing Himself with the false prophets and teachers among the Pharisees. He was telling the truth in His sermon. Look at the results of Jesus’s character and deeds. Did He ever speak falsely? Did He ever do evil? Yet, the Pharisees led people astray, judged them with impunity and criticism, and attacked their followers and judge them harshly. That’s why Jesus was so rough with them. People who should have known in practice the truth were leading people astray.

Jesus said we will recognize false people by their fruits. When we look at the character and deeds of each person, we will be able to recognize patterns and see if their words, actions, and character match. This is integrity. Are they leaving people astray? Are they saying one thing and doing another? This by its very nature is judgment. To judge the person with impunity is not a judgment of the person, but of their fruit.

The character and deeds of each person show you whether they are good or bad. Spiritually healthy people bring forth good fruit, and spiritually unhealthy people bring forth bad fruit. The trees, or people, who do not bear good fruit will come to a disastrous end. This is no different from Jesus’s teaching on the two gates and two ways. Unhealthy character and deeds lead to destruction. We are not to judge for a person’s end, but we must take stock of a person’s character and deeds to avoid falling into their traps.

Jesus teaches on fruit in another place in the Gospels. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says that we as His disciples are branches, and He is the Vine. We cannot do anything without being connected to Him in relationship (John 15:5). We must abide in Jesus to bear fruit that lasts. The same distraction comes to the branch that does not bear good fruit. By being connected to Jesus in relationship, and following His teachings, we will be good trees that bear good fruit.

And so, we will please Jesus in all we say and do. Twice in Jesus’s sermon He tells us we will know good and bad people by their fruit (Matthew 7:16, 20). When we follow Jesus’s teaching, we will follow the right road through the right gate, and we will judge people by their fruit to know if they are on the same road. Jesus’s teaching is the narrow gate and hard road. But it also comes from the Good Shepherd, the ones who helps us produce good fruit.

“I Never Knew You” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Another result of following Jesus and His teachings is that we have relationship with Him. We do not just talk about Jesus. We walk with Him and him, and He knows us. Jesus talks about not knowing people who called him, “Lord, Lord.” They appeal to all the things they did for Him, but they didn’t know Him. His statement, “I never knew you,” is the opposite of what He says to those who know Him, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25: 23).

We cannot just do good things for Jesus. We must have a relationship with Him. It’s the difference between being obedient servants to Jesus and doing good things to receive praise from people. These people claim to do things, “in Jesus’s name.” I can think of the seven sons of Sceva who cast out demons in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches (Acts 19:13). The demons said they know who Jesus is, and they know who Paul is, but they don’t know these seven sons.

Israel’s history is littered with false prophets. We still have false prophets today. Some people do mighty works in the name of Jesus, but it’s all about them getting the notoriety. The church of Ephesus in the seven churches of Revelation had lost its first Love, but it was doing many great things for Jesus (Revelation 2:2-4). We must not confuse activity in Jesus’s name with our relationship with Jesus that gives us the power to do great things for Him. We must know Him first, and let the works flow from our relationship with Him.

The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27)

Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount with the illustration of two builders buildings two houses, with two different results. One builder built his house upon the sand. As obvious as it seems that doing so would cause problems, the house cannot stand against the wind and grains because its foundation is not solid.

People who live on the coast with beach houses probably read the story with more insight than most of us. I have watched History Channel shows that talk about how to build a structure with a firm foundation, taking past all the sand to get to the stronger foundation beneath it. Doing the extra work of digging to a good foundation takes time and effort. People who follow Jesus’s teaching take the time and effort to get their lives right with His teaching. It costs them. But the result is better than the easy way out.

The other builds his house on solid rock. It has a firm foundation and is not so easily ripped apart by the storm. When the storms of life hit us, if we do not have the firm foundation of Jesus’s relationship and teachings, we will be dashed on the rocks. Our lives will be 20 part by the adversity and controversy. We cannot expect to survive the storm. But Jesus gives us a clear path to victory.

Once again, notice the different destinies of the houses. One house is destroyed by the storm while the other stands fast in the adversity of life. The extra time and effort the builder took to build the house on the rock gains strength in the storm from the Rock. All that effort does not go to waste. We must listen to Jesus’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount to be prepared for the storms of life. Only He is the Rock on which we stand and succeed.

Growth Challenge

Who do you listen to for teaching and encouragement when the storms of life hit? Do you have your house firmly planted on Jesus your Rock? Will Jesus say, “I never knew you,” or “Well done, My good and faithful servant?” How are you living your life? We must live our lives to glorify Jesus. His is the only gate and way that lead to eternal life.

Up Next

Now that we have concluded teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, we will turn to look at God’s goals in our spiritual formation.

Image by D. from Pixabay

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