Summary: This represents the choice between following Christ and not following Him.
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!