THE HIGH WAY
- and -
THE LOW WAY
Rev. John W. Gerald
I. THE GOLDEN RULE
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Good relationships depend upon honest and fair dealings. There should be no surprises coming out of our agreements with one another. Other people should be able to depend upon what we say and what we do. Double-speak undermines confidence and disrupts friendships.
II. A CLEAR CHOICE
Matt. 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
It is easier to follow the crowd and go along with the flow, than to buck the stream and resist the temptation to be like others in their deeds.
It is harder to do what is right than to do what is wrong. It is unpopular to take a stand for Jesus when Jesus is not popular in your social crowd. We have the carnal nature resisting us at every turn.
III. A HARD CHOICE
Matt. 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The strait gate represents shedding our worldly sins and ambitions, our pleasures and our ungodliness. It represents repentance and commitment to the LORD Jesus Christ. The narrow way represents our walk with Christ in holiness of life, which is the way of eternal life . It is the way of salvation through our LORD Jesus Christ. It is not easy to take this way and to stay in it. Satan resists us all the way.
IV. HOW TO DISCERN FALSE PROPHETS
Matt. 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The best way to detect a false prophet is to know the Bible, God’s word, and see how he measures up to it. To be safe at all times, we must seek a place close to our master’s sheltering arms, and abide in it. We must not look for a gospel that pleases us, but for one that conforms to God’s word.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
False prophets are like ravening wolves in that they do not seek to save, but to destroy. They have a personal interest in getting you committed to their cause. It is not about you, but about them. It is either to increase their numbers for a good showing, or to get your money to enrichen their coffers. Your concerns are not at the top of their list. Satan’s servants are diligent in their work to convert souls to his side. His appeals are convincing and compelling, and he has lots of promoters for his cause. Advertisers believe that "sex sells", and Satan sells his wares by any and every means possible. He appeals to the lust of our eyes, to the pride of life.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
V. NATURE OF THE TREE
Matt. 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
In this parable the LORD is drawing the likeness of people to a tree. The nature of the tree will affect the kind of fruit it bears. We are all sinners until we are changed by the grace of God through our LORD Jesus Christ. We can not bear good fruit in this state. The sinful nature in us will produce corrupt fruit through us. The only way for us to become a good tree, bearing good fruit, is through faith in our LORD Jesus Christ. We must be born again. The corrupt nature must be changed through the crucifixion of self and by the new birth in Christ.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Each tree produces fruit according to its own nature. Man, in like manner, produces fruit according to his own nature. A man, while the nature of Christ is in him, can not produce evil fruit. But without the nature of Christ in him, and while he is in his own carnal state, he can not produce good fruit.
VI. THE TREE IS JUDGED BY ITS FRUIT
Matt. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
It will not be left up to man to judge a person’s destiny. God will be the final judge of every man. We must be fruit bearing trees! Our fruit must be born of the HOLY SPIRIT. We will be rewarded according to our works, but we will be judged according to HIS works on the cross. That is why all our being must be in Him. We can not stand on our own!
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
VII. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAYING AND DOING
Matt.7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
What we do is more weighty than what we say! Many will draw near to him with their mouth, but their deeds will separate them far from him. The works of Christ begin with faith and obedience to God’s word.
John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Matt. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
All of our good works are but filthy rags when they are done in the flesh. Our works count for God only when we believe in him and keep his word. Works of righteousness can only be done by a righteous person. Christ works his own works through us when we are committed to him. Total commitment is required!
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
We can not be good enough, nor can we do enough good in the flesh to get to heaven. We do not gain entrance into heaven by good works, but by the new birth. We must be born into the family of God, to enter into His kingdom! Only children are heirs. A stranger does not inherit. We inherit as brothers and sisters of Christ because of His death upon the cross. We can not earn our way in, He earned it for us!
VIII. THE SURE FOUNDATION
Matt. 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
All who hear his words and trust in Christ are building upon the sure foundation. That building can not be destroyed by the assaults of Satan.
IX. SHIFTING SAND
Matt. 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
There is a big difference between hearing and doing! Most church people have heard the word, at least until recent times, but not all have taken heed to it. It would be terrible to know what to do before disaster comes, and not to do anything about it until it was too late. The greatest disaster of all is the loss of one’s own soul. We know that we should repent before it is too late, but have we done it? It may be too late too soon for you!
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
X. THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS
Matt. 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
The words of Jesus are completely authoritative! There is no higher authority. Are you waiting for a stronger voice, a louder appeal? Satan screams at us, but he is telling us that it is useless, we need not try any longer. He would push us over the edge into eternity without God! Jesus appeals to our reason; Satan appeals to our fears. We must turn from the low road to the high road before it is too late! "LORD, help me walk the high road!"