Calvary Road Baptist Church

“CERTAIN DESTRUCTION”

Matthew 7.13

I trust you have your Bible with you today. My plan is to take you through a considerable number of separate verses, and the best benefit to you, of course, will be to not only hear God’s Word read aloud but to see the actual text of scripture.

Turn, if you would, to Genesis 3.6: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Created sinless and in a state of spiritual innocence, we see here the record of Eve’s and then Adam’s first sin. By all appearances, they sinned because they wanted to. God told them not to sin, but they wanted to, so they did. They did what they wanted to do. Now turn to Genesis 4.8: “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” Of course, this is the record of the very first murder. Cain actually took the life of his younger brother Abel. Why do you suppose he sinned in this fashion? Was he forced? Was he somehow compelled to do what he did? Did he have no choice? The sad reality is that he did what he wanted to do. Look at the first half of Genesis 4.19: “And Lamech took unto him two wives.” Do you have any idea why Lamech took two wives, when God’s ideal is one man for one woman? He took two wives because he wanted to, pure and simple. No one forced him to take two wives. We can presume that no one urged him to take two wives. For some reason he was of a mind to take two wives, so he did what he wanted to do. Look at Genesis 9.21 and see what Noah did after the floodwaters receded and he had vacated the Ark and planted a vineyard. He got drunk. Surely, no one made him get drunk. We can reasonably assume that he was aware as he was drinking the wine that it was affecting his judgment and coordination, yet he continued to drink to the point of drunkenness. Why did Noah do that? He did that because he wanted to, the result being that he was passed out in his tent with his nakedness uncovered. The next verse, Genesis 9.22, reveals that Noah’s son Ham, when he observed the nakedness of his drunk and passed out father, went ahead and told his two brothers. He did not cover his father. He did not take steps to preserve any remnants of his dad’s self-respect in the eyes of his brothers or the women. He decided to tell. Why do you suppose he did that? Why did he make sure his two brothers knew about his father’s foolishness and embarrassment in that way? He did what he did because he wanted to. In Genesis 10.9, we are told that Nimrod, the man who was responsible for organized resistance against God’s command to go forth and replenish the earth “was a mighty hunter before the LORD.” Why did he contest God’s directive? Why did Nimrod consolidate his power and make use of idolatry to build an empire? He did what he did because he wanted to. Why did Esau grieve his father and mother and marry two Hittite women?[1] Why did Joseph’s ten older brothers sell their little brother into slavery?[2] Why did Achan disobey God’s warning when the children of Israel entered the Promised Land and take gold, silver, and clothing from the captured city of Jericho?[3] Like the men before him, he wanted to. No one coerced him or persuaded him. In fact, he was forbidden. However, he wanted to do what he did, so he did.

Do you ever think about doing what you want to do for no other reason than because you want to? It is a matter that bears a great deal of reflection, don’t you think? Especially when you consider the consequences of doing what you want to do. Do you suppose Adam gave any thought to the implications of willfully sinning against God and bringing death upon each of his billions of descendants, all because he did what he wanted to so? Could it be that Cain, doing what he wanted to do and slitting his brother Abel’s throat was the eldest son imitating his father? Dad did what he wanted to do, so I did what I wanted to do. Do you suppose Lamech felt any sense of responsibility concerning his children’s hurt and confusion that resulted from his decision to become a bigamist, the tension and indignation resulting from the child of one woman being embittered about the treatment given to one wife over the other? After all, it is impossible to treat two people in exactly the same fashion. Consider Noah, Ham, Canaan, and Nimrod. Noah gets drunk and exposes himself. Ham sees his father exposed in a drunken stupor and proceeds to dishonor him. Noah wakes up and upon learning what has happened reacts angrily and curses Ham’s son, Canaan. You get drunk and show yourself, yet you angrily denounce your grandson? Suppose there is some connection with all this to Nimrod’s activities, considering of course that Nimrod is the grandson of Ham and the nephew of the grandson Noah cursed? Is all of this worth doing what you do just because you want to do it? Consider Achan. He was told, along with everyone else, to keep his hands off anything seen in the city of Jericho, yet he stole garments, silver, and gold and hid it all in his tent. He did what he wanted to do, but his actions involved his wife and children, who became accomplices in hiding the forbidden things, and who lost their lives along with Achan when they were stoned to death for disobeying God’s command. It is quite one thing to do what you want to do so long as it involves no one else, yet the ten eldest sons of Jacob did what they wanted without asking their little brother if he wanted to be thrown into a pit. So much for doing what you want to do because you want to do it.

Do most people think of the effect on others of doing what they want to do? Do you think of the effect on others of doing what you want to do? When you do what you want to do, does it matter to you if it affects your brother or sister, your son or daughter, your husband or wife? It matters to them. Turn back to Genesis 3.5, to consider what the serpent said when Satan used him to tempt Eve to eat the forbidden fruit: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Think about the serpent’s deceptive proposition for a moment. Adam and Eve, the serpent suggested, could do what they wanted to do and be as gods. That just makes sense, does it not? What a god does is what he wants to do. Is that not correct? A slave, a servant, a serf, a mere creature, fulfills the will of his master, his lord, his god. However, one who does what he wants to do is functioning quite like deity, behaving in precisely the fashion the serpent suggested, doing what he wants to do because he wants to.

Consider the implications and you find yourself reflecting on that person who does what he wants to do by going where he wants to go, saying what he wants to say, and believing what he wants to believe. This is the guy who stays home from church because he wants to, dates one of the many available women at work despite his status as a married man because he wants to, and chooses not to honor the LORD with the first fruits of his income because he wants to. Will there be disastrous consequences from this approach to life? No, because he is a god and gods do what they want to do without bad consequences. Everyone knows that a god is answerable to no one. We now turn to Proverbs 14.12 or Proverbs 16.25. Either passage is acceptable, since the two are virtually identical: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” These are two of the concise warnings found in God’s Word that warns of someone who does what he wants to do, says what he wants to say, and believes what he wants to believe. Conduct yourself as though you are a god, unaccountable and unanswerable to anyone, and the end of you will be the ways of death. I am not suggesting that you may not enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.[4] However, God’s Word points out that the end of such an approach to life, such a philosophy of ignoring God and pretending He does not exist, and that His creatures have no obligation to honor Him, serve Him, and seek His guidance, is certain destruction.

Though I have set before you a number of examples of those who have gone their own way, doing what they wanted to do without consideration of God’s will, I could have listed hundreds of illustrations from the Bible, and thousands from my own observations. Even better than the illustrations already considered are the words of the Savior.

Turn to my text for today, Matthew 7.13, which forms a portion of the Lord Jesus Christ’s sermon on the mount: “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.”

This verse can be understood in three parts. The first part is what Jesus directs you to do, “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” That is what He determines for you to do, what He would die on the cross and rise the third day to enable you to do to be reconciled to God and to have your sins forgiven. The second part reads, “for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction.” Here the Lord Jesus Christ is illustrating by means of two mental images a profound truth. Think of it as a gate that leads from outside to inside or from inside to outside, and it is very wide (making passage through it extremely easy). As well, think of it as a way, a path, a road if you will, that is so broad that there is no restriction of impediment to your passage over it. Of course, the effortless approach, the unencumbered passage, the direction of life you can take with virtually no thought given, will lead to destruction. You will burn in Hell when all is done. The final part of the verse reads, “and many there be which go in thereat.” Most do this. The great majority end up this way. All of the heathen. Every one of the pagans. The totality of the false religionists. And most of the professing Christians. You do not want it to be this way. You try not to think of this as being true. However, Jesus said it Himself, so it must be true.

May I apply this verse under three headings?

First, WHAT YOU DO

I have spent considerable time this morning providing examples of men and women who simply did what they wanted to do. Surely, you can see from the text before us and the imagery of the wide gate and the broad way that such refers to those who do what they want to do. Understand that those whose lives are characterized by doing what they want to do will end in destruction, certain destruction.

You see, those who come under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit when the Word of God is preached and come to Christ are not those who do only what they want to do.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not go to church.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not have read God’s Word.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not have sought God in prayer.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not have honored the Lord with the first fruits of their increase.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not have labored under the guiltiness of their sins, but would have forcefully quenched the Spirit of God and grieved Him away.

If they had done only what they wanted to do they would not have come to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and reconciliation with the God who created them.

People who do what they want to do do not come to church on Sunday nights or Wednesday nights, do not listen to the preaching of God’s Word with interest, and do not interact with God’s people before and after the services.

Next, WHAT YOU ARE

Understand that there is a reason why you do what you want to do. You do what you want to do, rather than what God wants you to do, because you are sinful, with sinfulness being exhibited in a variety of ways in scripture. I will mention two ways sinfulness at this time. First, sinfulness is exhibited in self-centeredness. Before Adam and Eve were sinners, they were oblivious to their nakedness. However, once they sinned they were very aware of their nakedness, because for the first time they were self-centered. People who are self-centered do what they want to do because they see themselves as all that matters. Therefore, you will not do what God wants you to do. Second, sinfulness is fundamentally opposed to God. There is only One who is most important, most lovely, most desirable, most gracious, most to be admired and esteemed, and that is God. Yet your sinfulness cries out for attention, demands satisfaction, insists on expressions of your importance and submission to your will instead of God’s will. This is even exhibited by regular church attendees who sit under the preaching of God’s Word, yet they do not submit to God’s will. In a conflict of wills between them and God, they will make a show of submission to God’s will, but the reality is that their will must prevail. They must, ultimately, do what they want to do and not what God wants them to do, which is respond to the gospel of God’s grace by coming to Christ.

For that destructive cycle to be broken, several things must happen: First, the sinner must stop doing what he wants to do, always what he wants to do, ever what he wants to do, so he will come under the means of grace. It may be a gospel tract that is read, an invitation to church that is accepted, a witness that is listened to, or perhaps an online sermon that is viewed. When each of those things takes place, the sinner does what he does not want to do, but what God has providentially challenged him to do. Second, when this exposure to God’s Word takes place, after the initial information is learned and when the challenging response is grasped, when the sinner grasps enough of the truth to respond to Christ in faith believing (and the time this takes varies with individuals), the sinner yields to the will of God and does what he had not previously wanted to do. He comes to Christ. With each sinner, the conscious thoughts vary considerably. However, with each conversion the Holy Spirit works the same miracle when the sinner’s faith lays hold of Jesus as the Father draws him. The result is conversion. However, mark it down so you understand it well. Conversion takes place when one does not do what he normally wants to do, but instead does what God wants (if I may use the word “does” to describe coming to faith in Christ).

Finally, WHERE YOU WILL GO

Do only what you want to do, believe only what you want to believe, read only what you want to read, keep company only with those you want to keep company with, attend church only where you want to attend and only when you want to attend, and your end will be certain destruction. Do you have any doubt that destruction is a reference to eternal damnation in this verse? The word destruction translates two Greek words, thn apwleian, meaning “the destruction,” referring to something very specific. It is a form of the name of the angel of the bottomless pit mentioned in Revelation 9.11, Apollyon, the destroyer.

This destruction Jesus speaks of concerning the ultimate end of you who only do what you want to do, say what you want to say, believe what you want to believe, go where you want to go, is not Hell. This speaks of eternal torment, the endless punishment of the damned, the lake of fire. I counsel you to think about “the destruction” the next time you decide to skip church because you do not want to attend, the next time you pass on reading God’s Word because you do not want to read it, or the next time you sit inattentively while God’s Word is preached without you listening. It is the eternal place of punishment Jesus has decreed for those of you who are as gods, doing what you want to do.

Do you now have an idea why parents do well to raise their children to wake up when parents decide it is time to rise, to go to bed when their parents decide it is bedtime, and to impose upon their children a loving but firm environment in which yielding to another’s will is required? It is folly for parents to allow their children to dictate bedtimes and what foods will be eaten. It is folly for parents to put up with temper tantrums and fits of rage. When children are allowed to behave in this fashion without correction, they continue what was begun in the Garden of Eden, doing what they do because they want to. Not for a moment setting aside the importance of the means of grace and a most godly testimony in the home, parents do well do train their children to submit to the wills of others. Raised in such a fashion, children are somewhat less likely to imagine themselves gods at the center of their private universe, and may be someone more inclined to recognize the propriety of not so much doing what you want to do as doing what God wants you to do.

My unsaved friend, I urge you to consciously set aside your insistence on doing only what you want to do in favor of doing what God favors you doing. It may well be that you will ultimately come to Christ.



[1] Genesis 26.34-35

[2] Genesis 37.23-24

[3] Joshua 6.19; 7.21

[4] Hebrews 11.25



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org