Matthew 7

Judging and measuring out 1
Invitation to ask 7
Golden rule and the two gates 12
False Prophets 15
Two Houses 24

These are the last parts of Jesus' sermon on the mountain given near the beginning of His ministry.
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.1 ¶ Judge not, that ye be not judged.
 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
.3  And why beholdest thou the mote [speck] that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
 4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
 5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
.6  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
   1 - Judge not This statement is sometimes taken to mean we should not evaluate the character of someone who, for example, we might choose as a special friend. Judgment here is assigning spiritual condemnation. The words, "judge," and "condemn" are from the same Greek word, kree-no.
   While avoiding harsh treatment of sinners, we are not to neglect the "beam." The lesson is that to be effective, we must be pure before God ourselves.
   6 - Pearls before swine In the context of judging, we are cautioned against the opposite danger of assuming everyone, with no matter what evil behavior, is good.
   Jesus is certainly not recommending that we withhold the good news of salvation from sinners.
.7 ¶ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
 8  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
 9  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
 10  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
   7 - Ask Would God give us a purple Jaguar (automobile) just because we asked? Not likely. Notice verse 11. It is about "good" gifts. And God knows what is good for us. How about victory over tobacco? Certainly, but not necessarily without a struggle.
.11  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
.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.
   11 - If ye ... how much more Doing good things. God's good things for us emphasize the importance of helping and sharing. 
   12 - Do so to them The too often forgotten "golden rule." How is this the law and the prophets (the Old Testament)? I'll let you think. On self-worth, see note.
.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:
 14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
   13 - The gate We choose the way we want. If we find ourselves often on the broad road, we may can go back and enter the right gate. The way of self-denial (below)
   14 - The gate and the path We enter the kingdom of heaven by two characteristics. The gate is our justification (being forgiven) and the path is our sanctification (being cleansed). We need both re2006b-is.
   14 - Few You and I may be among them. Going to church is not enough. Only four left Sodom (and one didn't get very far) ge1832. Only eight entered the ark 1pe0320.
.15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
.16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
.17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
 19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
.20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
15 - By their fruits Here is an example of the proper kind of judgment. See on verse 1 above. A prophet is one who speaks for God or who pretends to. Spiritual leaders need to be judged. If their fruits their behavior and the quality of those they lead is evil, then they are false prophets. The warning continues in verse 21.
.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.
.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?
.23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
   21 - Saying Lord, Lord Some are excluded from the kingdom of heaven who call on the Lord Jesus. They may be great evangelists even giving people the supposed "holy" spirit. Jesus also said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4). While not saved by obedience, the lack of doing God's expressed will means exclusion from heaven! Also some who have been righteous workers for God may turn away from Him and be lost re0311.
  22 - That day Or "the day of the Lord." mt2531, is0211, jl0201, jl0314, am0518, zp0115, mal0317, lu1012, 2th0110, 2ti0408.
.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.
.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:
 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.
.28  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished [filled with amazement] at his doctrine:
 29  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
  24 - These sayings This is the conclusion of Jesus' sermon on the mountain.
  24 - House on a rock The rock is Christ and the word of God which teaches of Him. The Jewish leaders ("scribes" in v29) may were likely among those pictured here. They would have been busy writing the supposed wisdom of the Pharisees and others which differed so sharply from what Jesus had just explained.
   Of course the principle of the two houses is important for all of us. It's a grand principle of following God's way of love and happiness or Satan's way of evil. I'll copy below my response to someone not so sure Christianity is a good idea.
  28 - Astonished See on lu0432.
  29 - He taught with authority Probably few realized He was the Messiah from heaven. Would you have chosen to listen to this new teacher?

To a lady from a Caribbean Island (and relating to verses 24-27 above),

Why follow Christ?
   You have posed some serious and important questions. I appreciate the opportunity to share a few quick ideas about the joy I know in Christ. First, however, knowing Christ is a growing experience. Peter said, "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. . . ." (1 Peter 3:17, 18). We may not feel all the joy and peace right away, and doing things God's way may not, at first, seem natural.
   The decisions you face are a little like building yourself a house. Jesus told the the following story:
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matt. 7:23-29, NKJV).
   The sand was an easier place to build and close to the creek. No hauling water up the steep hillside. And what if a flood comes? Why worry about that.

Image from Corel. See home page.
Self-denial - commitment
   Jesus also said,  "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23). "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply [perhaps], after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish." (Luke 14:27-30).
   Anything worthwhile takes commitment. Of course, Jesus didn't want to discourage people. He wanted them to be serious about following the way of happiness. "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." (John 10:9-13). In the end, there are only two masters and only two destinations.
Will we really be happy in our eternal home?
    Why doesn't the prospect of a 'milk and honey' heaven  hold an appeal? I agree that apples and peanuts might be nice once in a while, too. In other words, we might not be happy just sitting in an easy chair listening to the angels sing forever. Actually heaven is much more. Notice the picture in Revelation:
   "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. . . . . He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Rev. 21:4-8).
   Even considering what and who is not going to be there, makes heaven a place where I want to be. Then add in solid, beautiful friendships. We'll have eternity so there will be time to meet new people and spend quality time with different ones in different places. I like how the Adventist author, Ellen White describes our heavenly home: "Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body." And Paul says, ". . . Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Cor. 2:9).
Unpardonable sin
   "How do I know when the Holy Spirit has left my life?" This is a sobering question. Listen to Paul telling Timothy how to help people who feel like you do: "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Repentance is a gift. If a person rejects the heart desire to repent to the point of a permanent decision for the path of evil, then for the Holy Spirit to continue His appeal would bring unnecessary discomfort. This permanent decision is the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:31) because a sin isn't pardoned when pardon is not desired. I'll pray that God will give your courage and hope as you turn your heart to Him asking for His leading in your life.
   God told Adam and Eve that disobedience would bring death. They chose to listen to the deceptions of Satan through the serpent thus accepting him as their lord instead of the creator God (Gen. 3). The evil one has thus claimed that this world is his (Matt. 4:8, 9). Sin did bring death. Jesus stepped in and died in our place. This means that doing nothing is a choice to continue the life of evil which we do naturally. A conscious choice for God's way of happiness then opens the door to eternal life instead of eternal death.
   The choice is for the way God knows will bring happiness or the way of Satan which is deception and hatred and hurting people.  After Moses had spent 40 years with the children of Israel and had passed on to them the ways of peace which God had required, he told them: "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." (Deut. 30:15-20).

   So please take a little time to read some of the Bible passages I've suggested and just have a little talk with God. He promised that whoever comes to him would not be cast out. (John 6:37). If you don't have any great feeling of being drawn to Christ, just tell him, and ask for the gift of repentance which brings the happiness that the world doesn't understand (Phil. 4:7). Reach out in faith.
   May God bless you with His love and wisdom,

tw

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