Intro: Ill. Jesus spoke of there being 2 possible pathways through this
life. In Matthew 7:13-14, He said that there is one pathway that leads unto life and
another that leads unto death. Jesus makes it crystal clear that when we enter the narrow
way, we are saved by grace and are headed to Heaven, while all those who remain in the
broad way are headed to Hell. Now, as Christians, we can never enter into death, John
5:24, but we can find ourselves walking on the wrong pathway. If you believe that becoming
a Christian means that you cease to sin, then you have a rude awakening ahead, 1 John
1:8-10. While we have literally passed from death unto life as the Bible says, a dead,
ineffective and fruitless spiritual life will always be the result of walking the wrong
pathway. On the other hand, to walk in the right pathway is to live a life that is
pleasing to the Lord. It is to be fruitful and effective in all that we do for His glory.
It is to experience that abundant life of which Jesus spoke, John 10:10. These verses that
we have read this evening tell us all that we need to know about the difference between
the two pathways we can choose to walk in life. Now, I don't know a lot about you folks,
but I am confident that no one here wants to be a spiritual failure. Therefore, let's look
together at these verses this evening and see the lessons that can be gleaned as we think
about Walking The Right Pathway.
I. THE PATHWAY OF SPIRITUAL DISASTER
( Also know as The Flesh Life)
A. v.17 THE FLESH IS OPPOSED TO THE SPIRIT
(Ill. There is a warfare going on in your life - Ill. Paul, Rom. 7:15-25) (Ill. The flesh
seeks to hinder prayer, study, witness, faithfulness, obedience, ECT.) (Ill. The Christian
life is not a playground, it is a battlefield! - 1 Peter 2:11)
B. v.19-21a THE FLESH IS OPEN TO ANY SIN
(Ill. Man is capable of anything that can be imagined and much that cannot!)(Ill. Susan
Smith; O.J. Simpson, ECT!) (Ill. Never say, "It will never happen to me!" 1 Cor.
10:12) (Ill. Peter - Mt. 26:33-34; David - 2Sam. 11:1-15) (Ill. The flesh is capable of
anything - without exception! - Ill. Rom. 7:18)
C. v.21b THE FLESH IS ORDAINED TO JUDGMENT
1. The lost sinner will face Hell - Rev. 20:11-15; Psa. 9:17
2. The lowdown saint will face the judgment seat of Christ - 2 Cor.
5:10; Rom. 14:12. And, the Lord's chastisement here - Heb. 12:6-8; Rev. 3:19; Rom. 8:6.
(Ill. The great secret that Satan wants to hide is - 1 Cor. 11:31!)
3. Ill. To prevent you from getting the wrong idea, God is not saying
that a slip in any of these areas will prevent you from getting into Heaven. The verb
"do" in this verse indicates an ongoing lifestyle. In other words, if you life
is given to these activities, then you are hell bound. If you have slipped, or happen to
slip here from time to time, it isn't alright, but it should be repented of and if it is,
it will be forgiven by God, 1 John 1:9.
II. THE PATHWAY OF SPIRITUAL DELIGHT
(Also know as The Spirit Life)
A. v.16 THE SPIRIT GIVES US VICTORY OVER OUR LUSTS
1. To walk in, means to surrender to - John 16:13; Eph. 5:18 (Ill.
We will be lead by either our flesh, or the Holy Spirit. Which one wins depends upon which
one we yield to - Ill. Rom. 6:16 - Therefore, either my flesh will win, James 1:14, or the
Spirit will win, Gal. 5:16.)
2. The Spirit will defeat the flesh if we will allow Him to - 1 John 4:4
(Ill. 1 Cor. 10:13 - We still have a say in what we allow in our lives!) (Ill. We
need to avoid places, people, things, images, music, anything that brings temptation to
us! If we mess around with it, we will give in to it! Pro. 6:27!)
B. v.18 THE SPIRIT GIVES US VICTORY OVER THE LAW
(Ill. Still commanded by God's law, (Word), but no longer condemned by
it!) (Ill. This verse declares the truth that the Law was made for those who walk after
the flesh. When we are yielded to and walking in the Spirit, the Law serves no purpose in
our lives. Because, we automatically have a desire to fulfill the Law of God as it is
written in our heart, 1 Tim. 1:9.)(Therefore, for the Saint, the Law of God is not a
condition to be met for salvation. Rather, obedience to it is an indicator of our love for
Jesus Christ, John 14:15; 21. Regardless of what you say about Jesus, your life shows
whether you love Him or not!)(The threat of judgment is removed when we live a Spirit
filled life -Col. 2:13-14; Eph. 2:14-16; Rom. 8:1) (Simply stated, we do not have to
remain in the tug of war pictured in verse 17. We make the determination as to who we are
surrendered to in our lives.)
C. v.22-25 THE SPIRIT GIVES US VICTORY OVER THIS LIFE
(Notice, the flesh produces "works" - A life of labor (active)
- Pro. 13:15. The Spirit, produces fruit - (passive) - A life of leisure
- Fruit is a natural result of abiding in the vine - John 15:1-5. The fruit never branch
never struggles to produce its fruit. As it abides in the vine and allows the life of the
vine to flow through it, the fruit is automatically produced on the branch. In the life of
the believer, the Spirit always produces fruit, Matt. 7:20. By the way, these are
characteristics which are to be present in the life of every believer, without exception!
Just like evil works characterize the lives of the lost, the fruit of the Spirit is proof
of one's salvation.
1. Love - God and man - Matt. 22:37-39; 1 Cor. 13:1-3.
(Ill. There is a proper recipe for life. In English, we conjugate our verbs as follows: 1st.
Person: I am; 2nd Person: You are; 3rd. Person: He is. Most other
languages like French, Italian, Latin, and German all conjugate their verbs the same way.
Therefore, we would say, "I love, you love, he loves." Hebrew, however, has a
different approach. In fact, it is totally the opposite. There verbs are conjugated this
way 1st Person: He is; 2nd Person: You are 3rd. Person: I
am. This is the way Jesus taught us to love isn't it? He is to be first, my neighbor is to
be second and myself is to be last.)
2. Joy - Constant delight in God - Neh. 8:10; 1 Thes
(Ill. A Hindu trader in India once asked a
missionary, "What do you put on your face to make it shine?" With surprise the
man of God answered, "I don't put anything on it!" His questioner began to lose
patience and said emphatically, "Yes, you do! All of you who believe in Jesus seem to
have it. I've seen it in the towns of Agra and Surat, and even in the city of
Bombay." Suddenly the Christian understood, and his face glowed even more as he said,
"Now I know what you mean, and I will tell you the secret. It's not something we put
on from the outside but something that comes from within. It's the reflection of the light
of God in our hearts.")
3. Peace - When the Spirit rules in our lives, we will
experience peace in three areas of life: with God, with others and with our self - Phil.
4:7; John 14:27.
4. Longsuffering - Willing to accept and bear injury -
Matt. 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:32.
5. Gentleness - A sweetness of attitude - Easy to get
along with and easy to please. That is, not always griping and complaining, but ever kind
and sweet. Gentleness is merely the attitude of kindness.
6. Goodness - A willingness to do good and help others
- Matt. 7:12. Literally, this nothing but Christian love in action - 1 John 3:18; James
7. Faith - Ability to trust in God and to be trusted by
God and man - Mark 11:22; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23; 1 Cor. 4:2.
(Ill. Every child of God should be faithful God. Not because the
preacher says so, but out of love for the Lord. When Louis Lawes became
warden of Sing Sing Prison in 1920, the inmates existed in wretched conditions. This led
him to introduce humanitarian reforms. He gave much of the credit to his wife Kathryn,
however, who always treated the prisoners as human beings. She would often take her three
children and sit with the gangsters, the murderers, and the racketeers while they played
basketball and baseball. Then in 1937, Kathryn was killed in a car accident. The next day
her body lay in a casket in a house about a quarter of a mile from the institution. When
the acting warden found hundreds of prisoners crowded around the main entrance, he knew
what they wanted. Opening the gate, he said, "Men, I'm going to trust you. You can go
to the house." No count was taken; no guards were posted. Yet not one man was missing
that night. Love for one who had loved them made them dependable. Christ has revealed the
Father's grace to us "while we were yet sinners" (Rom. 5:8). Because of what He
did on Calvary, we have been freed from sin's bondage and the condemnation of the law.
Unlike those prisoners, we don't have to return to confinement. Yet the same motive that
kept them from running away should also account for our faithful service for Christ. May
our love for Him, more than fear, shame, or even duty, be the reason we want to do what's
8. Meekness - Restraint - Power under control. Not
using one's power in the Lord for evil or for revenge. The meek Christian does not throw
his weight around. Ill. Meekness is not weakness! Jesus was meek - Matt. 11:29; Moses was
"very meek" - Num. 12:3; yet neither of these men would be considered weak.
9. Temperance - Self Control. Refusing to do those
things you have in your power to do. 1 Thes. 5:22. This is an attitude whereby the life is
searched and made to submit to the will of God in Christ Jesus. All weights and hindrances
are laid aside and besetting sins are dealt with, Heb. 12:1-2. This is the opposite of the
majority of lives. Most people feel that they are allowed to live as they please. However,
the opposite is true! Every child of God is commanded to render his life as a living
sacrifice - Rom. 12:1-2.
(Ill. These things can never be truly counterfeited by an unbeliever. It
is absolutely impossible for an unsaved person to possess all the fruit of the Spirit.
Note: These are not fruits (plural), they are fruit (singular). You don't get one and then
another. God expects them to be present at all times. All of these things are to be
present in the life of the believer all the time. How is that possible? Only by learning
to rest in the Vine and by yielding to Him.)
10. v.24 - The Christian who flirts with the flesh is in effect playing
with the dead, Col. 3:3, "ye are dead.."; Rom. 6:2; 7; 14! (Ill. The Holy Ghost
will defeat our flesh and give us the victory over it as we surrender to Him! We are to so
live as to give abundant evidence that we are alive in the Spirit and dead to the flesh.)
11. v.25 - If we say that we are saved then we should seek to walk like
the Bible says that a saved person should walk and that is by His will and in the power of
His Holy Spirit. Because if you are saved, then you are alive in the Spirit, whether you
walk there or not! All God is saying is that we are to act like what we are. (Ill. All
others members of creation understand this truth, wouldn't it be a blessing if men could?)
(Ill. 1 John 2:6)
Conclusion: Judge your life by the results it is bringing to pass. Are
you bearing fruit to the glory of the Lord? Are you producing the works of the flesh?
Regardless of your answer, you can begin, right now, being the Christian God wants you to
be. All you have to do is "abide in Him". (Ill. The ease with which the branch
abides. We make it harder than it is. Surrender and the battle will be finished!) Now,
having with all that I have said on the table, on which Pathway do you find yourself?