In Matthew 7:12-29, we have reached the end of the first set of Jesus’ teachings. He does not let his hearers off easy. Not in the slightest. He requires that hearers must be doers and the doers must be open to the way of Jesus. Jesus is not searching for adherence to principles, but hearts ready to respond with a transformed heart and to live according the Golden Rule.
Graciously, Jesus gives us the heart to follow him, but even that requires us to respond to his gift. “In each of the four basic warnings—two gates and roads (7:13–14), two kinds of prophets (7:15–20), two kinds of disciples (7:21–23), and two foundations (7:24–27)—a choice must be made: Are you with Jesus or against him? There is no middle ground, no other choice, and a decision must be made—a decision with eternal consequences” (Michael J. Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary).
These passages can be troubling because they call out deep fears in us. Are we on the inside or the outside of the kingdom? Remember, he is talking to a mixed crowd of disciples who would be tempted to keep their traditions and foundations built on the the status quo without allowing Jesus to be the fulfillment of all they had learned. Also we are warned that we cannot use Jesus for our own means while relying on another foundation. Check out the message, “Do You Follow? A Warning and A Response” here.