Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
This has been called the Golden Rule. It is found, in various forms, in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Greco-Roman ethics. These, however, state it negatively. Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you. By stating it positively, Jesus taught us to be proactive in caring for those around us.
A young man was on his way to a job interview when he saw a lady with a flat tire. He was wearing his best suit, and did not have the time, but he felt compelled to help her anyway. This made him late for the interview, but the interviewer was also late. When she arrived, he was happy to see that she was the lady with the flat tire. And, yes, he got the job.
This verse is also helpful for maintaining good relationships. If I need to correct my children, I want to do it in a way that I would like to be corrected. If someone needs money, I try to give it anonymously, since that is how I would like to receive it. And if someone offends me, I try to make excuses for them, since that is what I would like others to do for me. The Golden Rule is nothing less than relational genius.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
In a single verse, Jesus contradicts the overwhelming consensus of popular theology. Among those who believe in heaven and hell, the vast majority believe that most people go to heaven, and only a few go to hell. Hell is a place for axe murderers and child molesters. Everyone else goes to heaven by default. In fact, I have never been to a funeral where the dead person was not assumed to be in heaven, no matter how they lived, or what they believed.
But if Jesus is right, almost everyone goes to hell, and only a few go to heaven. When God destroyed the world with a flood (Genesis 7:1-23), everyone perished except Noah and his family. Likewise, when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-29), everyone died except Lot and his daughters. Majority view is not a reliable guide to heaven and hell.
When Jesus spoke of the narrow gate, he was referring to himself. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved (John 10:9). And, No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6), he said. Likewise, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12), said Peter.
When Jesus spoke of the narrow road, he meant the way of obedience. Antinomianism is the idea that, since we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), we can live like the devil, and still go to heaven. You probably do not believe that, but you may have been tempted by it.
One of my friends was invited by a young woman to spend the night with her. He declined on the grounds that he was a Christian. She explained that she was a Christian too, and if they asked forgiveness in the morning, all would be well. But this attitude suggests she was not a Christian at all. [S]mall is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:21 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 who is in heaven.
When Jesus returns, many will greet him with Lord, Lord, as though they were his friends. But Jesus will not be fooled. He knows that many who claim to be his friends, are not really his friends. Perhaps they were acquaintances, but they were never his disciples. To them he will say, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matthew 7:23). Since the word Lord means master, we should not call Jesus our Lord, if he is not our master.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:8-10), wrote Paul. The best indication of what you believe is not what you say, but what you do. You cannot get to heaven by being good, but you will not get there without it.
Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
The test of a house is not how it looks when the weather is fine, but how it holds up when the weather is fierce. Many years ago, a hurricane blew several homes off their foundations, but one was left standing. The owner explained that his house was built according to the highest standards, and was bolted to the foundation. Likewise, whoever bolts their life to Jesus Christ, and lives according to his word, will survive the storms of life.
Reflection and Review
How can the Golden Rule improve your relationship with your parents or spouse?
Why do most people go to hell?
How can we build our lives on the words of Jesus Christ?