Matthew Chapter Seven
Note: The following covers chapters 5-7.
He then gathers around Him those who were definitively to follow Him in His ministry and His temptations; and, at His call, to link their portion and their lot with His, forsaking all beside.
The strong man was bound, so that Jesus could spoil his goods, and proclaim the kingdom with proofs of that power which were able to establish it.
Two things are then brought forward in the Gospel narrative. First, the power which accompanies the proclamation of the kingdom. In two or three verses,  without other detail, this fact is announced. The proclamation of the kingdom is attended with acts of power that excite the attention of the whole country, the whole extent of the ancient territory of Israel. Jesus appears before them invested with this power. Secondly (chaps. 5-7) the character of the kingdom is announced in the sermon on the Mount, as well as that of the persons who should have part in it (the Father's name withal being revealed). That is, the Lord had announced the coming kingdom, and with the present power of goodness, having overcome the adversary; and then shews what were the true characters according to which it would be set up, and who could enter, and how. Redemption is not spoken of in it; but the character and nature of the kingdom, and who could enter. This clearly shews the moral position which this sermon holds in the Lord's teaching.
It is evident that, in all this part of the Gospel, it is the Lord's position which is the subject of the teaching of the Spirit, and not the details of His life. Details come after, in order fully to exhibit what He was in the midst of Israel, His relations with that people, and His path in the power of the Spirit which led to the rupture between the Son of David and the people who ought to have received Him. The attention of the whole country being thus engaged by His mighty acts, the Lord sets before His disciples-but in the hearing of the people-the principles of His kingdom.
This discourse may be divided into the following parts:--  The character and the portion of those who should be in the kingdom (v. 1-12). Their position in the world (v. 13-16). The connection between the principles of the kingdom and the law (v. 17-48).  The spirit in which His disciples should perform good works (chap. 6:1-18). Separation from the spirit of the world and from its anxieties (v. 19-34). The spirit of their relation with others (chap. 7:1-6). The confidence in God which became them (v. 7-12). The energy that should characterise them, in order that they might enter into the kingdom; not however merely enter, many would seek to do that, but according to those principles which made it difficult for man, according to God-the strait gate; and then, the means of discerning those who would seek to deceive them, as well as the watchfulness needed that they might not be deceived (v. 13-23).
Real and practical obedience to His sayings, the true wisdom of those that hear His words (v. 24-29).
There is another principle that characterises this discourse, and that is the introduction of the Father's name. Jesus puts His disciples in connection with His Father, as their Father. He reveals to them the Father's name, in order that they may be in relation with Him, and that they may act in accordance with that which He is.
This discourse gives the principles of the kingdom, but supposes the rejection of the King, and the position into which this would bring those that were His; who consequently must look for a heavenly reward. They were to be a divine savour where God was known and was dealing, and would be a spectacle to the whole world. Moreover this was God's object. Their confession was to be so open that the world should refer their works to the Father. They were to act, on the one hand, according to a judgment of evil which reached the heart and motives, but also, on the other, according to the Father's character in grace-to approve themselves to the Father who saw in secret, where the eye of man could not penetrate. They were to have full confidence in Him for all their need. His will was the rule according to which there was entrance into the kingdom.
We may observe that this discourse is connected with the proclamation of the kingdom as being near at hand, and that all these principles of conduct are given as characterising the kingdom, and as the conditions of entrance into it. No doubt it follows that they are suitable to those who have entered in. But the discourse is pronounced in the midst of Israel,  before the kingdom is set up, and as the previous state called for in order to enter, and to set forth the fundamental principles of the kingdom in connection with that people, and in moral contrast with the ideas they had formed respecting it.
In examining the beatitudes, we shall find that this portion in general gives the character of Christ Himself. They suppose two things; the coming possession of the land of Israel by the meek; and the persecution of the faithful remnant, really righteous in their ways, and who asserted the rights of the true King (heaven being set before them as their hope to sustain their hearts). 
This will be the position of the remnant in the last days before the introduction of the kingdom, the last being exceptional. It was so, morally, in the days of the Lord's disciples, in reference to Israel, the earthly part being delayed. In reference to heaven, the disciples are looked at as witnesses in Israel; but-while the only preservative of the earth-they were a testimony to the world. So that the disciples are seen as in connection with Israel, but, at the same time, as witnesses on God's part to the world (the kingdom being in view, but not yet established). The connection with the last days is evident; nevertheless their testimony then had, morally, this character. Only the establishment of the earthly kingdom has been delayed, and the church, which is heavenly, brought in. Chapter 5:25 evidently alludes to the position of Israel in the days of Christ. And in fact they remain captive, in prison, until they have received their full chastisement, and then they shall come forth.
The Lord ever speaks and acts as the obedient man, moved and guided by the Holy Ghost; but we see in the most striking manner, in this Gospel, who it is that acts thus. And it is this which gives its true moral character to the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist might announce it as a change of dispensation, but his ministry was earthly. Christ might equally announce this same change (and the change was all-important); but in Him there was more than this. He was from heaven, the Lord who came from heaven. In speaking of the kingdom of heaven, He spoke out of the deep and divine abundance of His heart. No man had been in heaven, excepting Him who had come down from thence, the Son of man who was in heaven. Therefore, when speaking of heaven, He spoke of that which He knew, and testified of that which He had seen This was the case in two ways, as shewn forth in Matthew's Gospel. It was no longer an earthly government according to the law; Jehovah, the Saviour, Emmanuel, was present Could He be otherwise than heavenly in His character, in the tone, in the essence, of His whole life?
Moreover, when He began His public ministry and was sealed by the Holy Ghost, heaven was opened to Him. He was identified with heaven as a man sealed with the Holy Ghost on earth. He was thus the continual expression of the spirit, of the reality, of heaven. There was not yet the exercise of the judicial power which would uphold this character in the face of all that opposed it. It was its manifestation in patience, notwithstanding the opposition of all around Him and the inability of His disciples to understand Him. Thus in the sermon on the Mount we find the description of that which was suitable to the kingdom of heaven, and even the assurance of reward in heaven for those who should suffer on earth for His sake. This description, as we have seen, is essentially the character of Christ Himself. It is thus that a heavenly spirit expresses itself on earth. If the Lord taught these things, it is because He loved them, because He was them and delighted in them. Being the God of heaven, filled as man with the Spirit without measure, His heart was perfectly in unison with a heaven that He perfectly knew. Consequently therefore He concludes the character which His disciples were to assume by these words: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." All their conduct was to be in reference to their Father in heaven. The more we understand the divine glory of Jesus, the more we understand the way in which He was as man in connection with heaven, the better shall we apprehend what the kingdom of heaven was to Him with regard to that which was suitable to it. When it shall be established hereafter in power, the world will be governed according to these principles, although they are not, properly speaking, its own.
The remnant in the last days, I doubt not, finding all around them contrary to faithfulness, and seeing all Jewish hope fail before their eyes, will be forced to look upward, and will more and more acquire this character, which, if not heavenly, is at least very much conformed to Christ. 
There are two things connected with the presence of the multitude, v. 1. First, the time required that the Lord should give a true idea of the character of His kingdom, since already He drew the multitude after Him. His power making itself felt, it was important to make His character known. On the other hand, this multitude who were following Jesus were a snare to His disciples; and He makes them understand what an entire contrast there was between the effect which this multitude might have upon them, and the right spirit which ought to govern them. Thus, full Himself of what was really good, He immediately brings forward that which filled His own heart. This was the true character of the remnant, who in the main resembled Christ in it. It is often thus in the Psalms.
The salt of the earth is a different thing from the light of the world. The earth, it appears to me, expresses that which already professed to have received light from God-that which was in relationship with Him by virtue of the light-having assumed a definite shape before Him. The disciples of Christ were the preservative principle in the earth. They were the light of the world, which did not possess that light. This was their position, whether they would or no. It was the purpose of God that they should be the light of the world. A candle is not lighted in order to be hidden.
All this supposes the case of the possibility of the kingdom being established in the world, but the opposition of the greater part of men to its establishment. It is not a question of the sinner's redemption, but of the realisation of the character proper to a place in the kingdom of God; that which the sinner ought to seek while he is in the way with his adversary, lest he should be delivered to the judge-which indeed has happened to the Jews.
At the same time the disciples are brought into relationship with the Father individually-the second great principle of the discourse, the consequence of the Son being there-and a yet more excellent thing is set before them than their position of testimony for the kingdom. They were to act in grace, even as their Father acted, and their prayer should be for an order of things in which all would correspond morally to the character and the will of their Father. "Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,"  is, that all should answer to the character of the Father, that all should be the effect of His power. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is perfect obedience. Universal subjection to God in heaven and on earth will be, to a certain point, accomplished by the intervention of Christ in the millennium, and absolutely so when God shall be all in all. Meanwhile the prayer expresses daily dependence, the need of pardon, the need of being kept from the power of the enemy, the desire of not being sifted by him, as a dispensation of God, like Job or Peter, and of being preserved from evil.
This prayer also is adapted to the position of the remnant; it passes over the dispensation of the Spirit, and even that which is proper to the millennium as an earthly kingdom, in order to express the right desires, and speak of the condition and the dangers of the remnant until the Father's kingdom should come. Many of these principles are always true, for we are in the kingdom, and in spirit we ought to manifest its features; but the special and literal application is that which I have given. They are brought into relationship with the Father in the realisation of His character, which was to be displayed in them by virtue of this relationship, causing them to desire the establishment of His kingdom, to overcome the difficulties of an opposing world, to keep themselves from the snares of the enemy, and to do the Father's will. It was Jesus who could impart this to them. He thus passes from the law,  recognised as coming from God, to its fulfilment, when it shall be as it were absorbed in the will of Him who gave it, or accomplished in its purposes by Him who alone could do so in any sense whatever.
 It is striking that the whole ministry of the Lord is recounted in one verse (23). All the subsequent statements are facts, having a special moral import, shewing what was passing amongst the people in grace onward to His rejection, not a proper consecutive history. It stamps the character of Matthew very clearly.
 In the text I have given a division which may assist in a practical application of the sermon on the Mount. With respect to the subjects contained in it, it might perhaps, though the difference is not very great, be still better divided thus:- Chapter 5:1-16 contains the complete picture of the character and position of the remnant who received His instructions-their position, as it should be, according to the mind of God. This is complete in itself. Verses 17-48 establish the authority of the law, which should have regulated the conduct of the faithful until the introduction of the kingdom; the law which they ought to have fulfilled, as well as the words of the prophets, in order that they (the remnant) should be placed on this new ground; and the despisal of which would exclude whoever was guilty of it from the kingdom; for Christ is speaking, not as in the kingdom, but as announcing it as near to come. But, while thus establishing the authority of the law, He takes up the two great elements of evil, treated of only in outward acts in the law, violence and corruption, and judges the evil in the heart (22, 28), and at all cost to get rid of it and every occasion of it, thus shewing what was to be the conduct of His disciples, and their state of soul-that which was to characterise them as such. The Lord then takes up certain things borne with by God in Israel, and ordered according to what they could bear. Thus was now brought into the light of a true moral estimate, divorce-marriage being the divinely given basis of all human relationships-and swearing or vowing, the action of man's will in relationship to God; then patience of evil, and fulness of grace, His own blessed character, and carrying with it the moral title to what was His living place-sons of their Father who was in heaven. Instead of weakening that which God required under the law, He would not only have it observed until its fulfilment, but that His disciples should be perfect even as their Father in heaven was perfect. This adds the revelation of the Father, to the moral walk and state which suited the character of sons as it was revealed in Christ. Chapter 6. We have the motives, the object, which should govern the heart in doing good deeds, in living a religious life. Their eye should be on their Father. This is individual. Chapter 7. This chapter is essentially occupied with the intercourse that would be suitable between His own people and others-not to judge their brethren and to beware of the profane. He then exhorts them to confidence in asking their Father for what they needed, and instructs them to act towards others with the same grace that they would wish shewn to themselves. This is founded on the knowledge of the goodness of the Father. Finally, He exhorts them to the energy that will enter in at the strait gate, and choose the way of God, cost what it may (for many would like to enter into the kingdom, but not by that gate); and He warns them with respect to those who would seek to deceive them by pretending to have the word of God. It is not only our own hearts that we have to fear, and positive evil, when we would follow the Lord, but also the devices of the enemy and his agents. But their fruits will betray them.
 It is important however to remark that there is no general spiritualisation of the law, as is often stated. The two great principles of immorality amongst men are treated of (violence and corrupt lust), to which are added voluntary oaths. In these the exigencies of the law and what Christ required are contrasted.
 We must always remember that, while dispensationally Israel has great importance, as the centre of God's government of this world, morally Israel was just man where all the ways and dealings of God had been carried out so as to bring to light what he was. The Gentile was man left to himself as regards. God's special ways, and so unrevealed. Christ was a light, to reveal the Gentiles, Luke 2:32.
 The characters pronounced blessed may be briefly noted. They suppose evil in the world, and amongst God's people. The first is not seeking great things for self, but accepting a despised place in a scene contrary to God. Hence mourning characterises them there, and meekness, a will not lifting up itself against God, or to maintain its position or right. Then positive good in desire, for it is not yet found; hungering hence and thirsting after it, such is the inward state and activity of the mind. Then grace towards others. Then purity of heart, the absence of what would shut out God; and, what is always connected with it, peacefulness and peace-making. I think there is moral progress in the verses, one leading to the next as an effect of it. The two last are the consequences of maintaining a good conscience and connection with Christ in a world of evil. There are two principles of suffering, as in 1 Peter, for righteousness' and Christ's sake.
 Those who are put to death will go up to heaven, as Matthew 5:12 testifies, and the Apocalypse also. The others, who are thus conformed to Christ, as a suffering Jew, will be with Him on Mount Sion; they will learn the song which is sung in heaven, and will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (on earth). We may also remark here, that in the beatitudes there is the promise of the earth to the meek, which will be literally fulfilled in the last days. In verse 12 a reward in heaven is promised to those who suffer for Christ, true for us now, and in some sort for those who shall be slain for His sake in the last days, who will have their place in heaven, although they were a part of the Jewish remnant and not the assembly. The same are found in Daniel 7: only, remark, it is the times and laws which are delivered into the beast's hands, not the saints.
 That is, the Father's. Compare Matthew 13:43.
 The law is the perfect rule for a child of Adam, the rule or measure of what he ought to be, but not of the manifestation of God in grace as Christ was, who in this is our pattern-a just call to love God and walk in the fulfilment of duty in relationship, but not an imitating of God, walking in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Matthew》
Christ reproves rash judgment. (1-6) Encouragements to prayer. (7-11) The broad and narrow way. (12-14) Against false prophets. (15-20) To be doers of the word, not hearers only. (21-29)
Commentary on Matthew 7:1-6
(Read Matthew 7:1-6)
We must judge ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but not make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge rashly, nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. We must not make the worst of people. Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones. Some sins are as motes, while others are as beams; some as a gnat, others as a camel. Not that there is any sin little; if it be a mote, or splinter, it is in the eye; if a gnat, it is in the throat; both are painful and dangerous, and we cannot be easy or well till they are got out. That which charity teaches us to call but a splinter in our brother's eye, true repentance and godly sorrow will teach us to call a beam in our own. It is as strange that a man can be in a sinful, miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that a man should have a beam in his eye, and not consider it; but the god of this world blinds their minds. Here is a good rule for reprovers; first reform thyself.
Commentary on Matthew 7:7-11
(Read Matthew 7:7-11)
Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask, as a traveller asks the way. Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls. Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asketh receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful.
Commentary on Matthew 7:12-14
(Read Matthew 7:12-14)
Christ came to teach us, not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do; not only toward God, but toward men; not only toward those of our party and persuasion, but toward men in general, all with whom we have to do. We must do that to our neighbour which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable. We must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves in the same case and circumstances with those we have to do with, and act accordingly. There are but two ways right and wrong, good and evil; the way to heaven and the way to hell; in the one or other of these all are walking: there is no middle place hereafter, no middle way now. All the children of men are saints or sinners, godly or ungodly. See concerning the way of sin and sinners, that the gate is wide, and stands open. You may go in at this gate with all your lusts about you; it gives no check to appetites or passions. It is a broad way; there are many paths in it; there is choice of sinful ways. There is a large company in this way. But what profit is there in being willing to go to hell with others, because they will not go to heaven with us? The way to eternal life is narrow. We are not in heaven as soon as we are got through the strait gate. Self must be denied, the body kept under, and corruptions mortified. Daily temptations must be resisted; duties must be done. We must watch in all things, and walk with care; and we must go through much tribulation. And yet this way should invite us all; it leads to life: to present comfort in the favour of God, which is the life of the soul; to eternal bliss, the hope of which at the end of our way, should make all the difficulties of the road easy to us. This plain declaration of Christ has been disregarded by many who have taken pains to explain it away; but in all ages the real disciple of Christ has been looked on as a singular, unfashionable character; and all that have sided with the greater number, have gone on in the broad road to destruction. If we would serve God, we must be firm in our religion. Can we often hear of the strait gate and the narrow way, and how few there are that find it, without being in pain for ourselves, or considering whether we are entered on the narrow way, and what progress we are making in it?
Commentary on Matthew 7:15-20
(Read Matthew 7:15-20)
Nothing so much prevents men from entering the strait gate, and becoming true followers of Christ, as the carnal, soothing, flattering doctrines of those who oppose the truth. They may be known by the drift and effects of their doctrines. Some part of their temper and conduct is contrary to the mind of Christ. Those opinions come not from God that lead to sin.
Commentary on Matthew 7:21-29
(Read Matthew 7:21-29)
Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man's work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ's doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces the main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Matthew》
 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you — Awful words! So we may, as it were, choose for ourselves, whether God shall be severe or merciful to us. God and man will favour the candid and benevolent: but they must expect judgment without mercy, who have showed no mercy.
 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
In particular, why do you open your eyes to any fault of your brother, while you yourself are guilty of a much greater? The mote - The word properly signifies a splinter or shiver of wood. This and a beam, its opposite, were proverbially used by the Jews, to denote, the one, small infirmities, the other, gross, palpable faults. Luke 6:41.
 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?
How sayest thou — With what face?
 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.
Thou hypocrite — It is mere hypocrisy to pretend zeal for the amendment of others while we have none for our own.
Then — When that which obstructed thy sight is removed.
 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.
Here is another instance of that transposition, where of the two things proposed, the latter is first treated of.
Give not — to dogs - lest turning they rend you: Cast not - to swine - lest they trample them under foot. Yet even then, when the beam is cast out of thine own eye, Give not - That is, talk not of the deep things of God to those whom you know to be wallowing in sin. neither declare the great things God hath done for your soul to the profane, furious, persecuting wretches. Talk not of perfection, for instance, to the former; not of your experience to the latter. But our Lord does in nowise forbid us to reprove, as occasion is, both the one and the other.
 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
But ask — Pray for them, as well as for yourselves: in this there can be no such danger.
Seek — Add your own diligent endeavours to your asking: and knock - Persevere importunately in that diligence. Luke 11:9.
 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
For every one that asketh receiveth — Provided he ask aright, and ask what is agreeable to God's will.
 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?
To them that ask him — But on this condition, that ye follow the example of his goodness, by doing to all as ye would they should do to you.
For this is the law and the prophets — This is the sum of all, exactly answering Matthew 5:17. The whole is comprised in one word, Imitate the God of love. Thus far proceeds the doctrinal part of the sermon. In the next verse begins the exhortation to practise it.
 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.
 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:
The strait gate — The holiness described in the foregoing chapters. And this is the narrow way.
Wide is the gate, and many there are that go in through it — They need not seek for this; they come to it of course.
Many go in through it, because strait is the other gate — Therefore they do not care for it; they like a wider gate. Luke 13:24.
 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Beware of false prophets — Who in their preaching describe a broad way to heaven: it is their prophesying, their teaching the broad way, rather than their walking in it themselves, that is here chiefly spoken of. All those are false prophets, who teach any other way than that our Lord hath here marked out.
In sheep's clothing — With outside religion and fair professions of love: Wolves - Not feeding, but destroying souls.
 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
By their fruits ye shall know them — A short, plain, easy rule, whereby to know true from false prophets: and one that may be applied by people of the weakest capacity, who are not accustomed to deep reasoning. True prophets convert sinners to God, or at least confirm and strengthen those that are converted. False prophets do not. They also are false prophets, who though speaking the very truth, yet are not sent by the Spirit of God, but come in their own name, to declare it: their grand mark is, "Not turning men from the power of Satan to God." Luke 6:43,44.
 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree good fruit — But it is certain, the goodness or badness here mentioned respects the doctrine, rather than the personal character. For a bad man preaching the good doctrine here delivered, is sometimes an instrument of converting sinners to God. Yet I do not aver, that all are true prophets who speak the truth, and thereby convert sinners. I only affirm, that none are such who do not.
 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire — How dreadful then is the condition of that teacher who hath brought no sinners to God!
 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.
Not every one — That is, no one that saith, Lord, Lord - That makes a mere profession of me and my religion, shall enter - Whatever their false teachers may assure them to the contrary: He that doth the will of my Father - as I have now declared it. Observe: every thing short of this is only saying, Lord, Lord. Luke 6:46.
 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?
We have prophesied — We have declared the mysteries of thy kingdom, wrote books; preached excellent sermons: In thy name done many wonderful works - So that even the working of miracles is no proof that a man has saving faith.
 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I never knew you — There never was a time that I approved of you: so that as many souls as they had saved, they were themselves never saved from their sins. Lord, is it my case? Luke 13:27.
 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:
 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
He taught them — The multitudes, as one having authority - With a dignity and majesty peculiar to himself as the great Lawgiver, and with the demonstration and power of the Spirit: and not as the scribes - Who only expounded the law of another; and that in a lifeless, ineffectual manner.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Matthew》
On the day of judgment, there will be some who claim to be Christians who will be turned away from God’s kingdom. They will be like counterfeit money when it reaches the bank. Suppose you are given a counterfeit bill in change at the store. Thinking it is genuine, you use it to pay for some gas. The station owner uses it to pay one of his employees, who uses it to buy groceries. From there it goes to the bank where the teller says, “I’m sorry, but this bill is counterfeit.”
The bill may have been used to do a lot of good while it was in circulation, but when it arrived at the bank, it was exposed for what It really was and put out of circulation. A counterfeit Christian may do many good works, but still be rejected at the gates of judgment.
Chapter 7. Answer to Prayer
One Sin Vulnerable to Commit
One Thing Vulnerable to Forget
I. Do Not Judge Others
II. Ask and It Will Be Given
III. Hear the Word and Do the Word
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
To Judge Or Not To Judge (7:1-6)
1. A favorite saying of many people is "Judge not, that you be not
a. Frequently quoted whenever someone is pointing out the sins or
faults of another
b. The impression is that we should never make moral judgments in
what we see in others
2. Is that true? Is that what Jesus meant when He said this?
a. Are we never to make moral judgments about the right or wrong in
b. If we see wrong in others, can we never point it out?
3. I am persuaded that Jesus' statement is often misused, that Jesus
a. There are times when we must judge
b. There are times when it is appropriate to point out the faults in
["To Judge Or Not To Judge", that is the question before us. The proper
answer comes from a closer look at Jesus' words in Mt 7:1-6. First note
how His words are frequently misused...]
I. HIS WORDS OFTEN USED TO FORBID "ALL" MANNER OF JUDGMENT
A. SUCH AS ADVERSE OR UNFAVORABLE CRITICISM...
1. Like pointing out a fault in someone else
2. Even if it be truly "constructive" criticism
B. SUCH AS THE EXERCISE OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE...
1. Exercising discipline of any sort does require "judging"
others as to their moral or spiritual condition
2. Since such "judgment" is involved, some feel verses 1-2 rule
out any sort of church discipline
C. SUCH AS EXPOSING THOSE WHO TEACH ERROR...
1. Admittedly, it requires making a judgment in order to consider
whether someone is teaching error
2. Therefore, some people, in light of verses 1-2, believe we
cannot speak out against those who teach error
[Is that what Jesus means? Must we remain silent when we see people
overtaken in a fault, bringing reproach upon the name of Christ, or
blatantly teaching error? Let me suggest that...]
II. JESUS DID NOT RULE OUT "ALL" FORMS OF JUDGMENT
A. NOTE THE "IMMEDIATE" CONTEXT...
1. Which reveals that in some cases "proper" judgment must be
2. Mt 7:6 implies judgment is to be made as to who are "dogs" and
who are "hogs"
a. Otherwise, how can we know when not to give that which is
holy to "dogs"?
b. Or how can we know when not to cast our pearls before
3. Mt 7:15-20 implies that we must make judgments in determining
who is a false teacher ("by their fruits you will know them")
B. CONSIDER THE "REMOTE" CONTEXT...
1. Which speak of times when judgment must be made!
2. Elsewhere, Jesus taught people to "judge with righteous
judgment" - Jn 7:24
2. Christians have a responsibility to "judge those who are
inside" the local church - 1 Co 5:9-13
3. We are taught by the apostle of love (John) to "test the
spirits" (which requires making judgments) - 1 Jn 4:1
[There is no contradiction here, for as we continue with our text, we
III. JESUS DEFINED WHAT "KIND" OF JUDGING HE IS CONDEMNING
A. JUDGING WHEN ONE IS BLIND TO HIS OR HER OWN FAULTS...
1. Read carefully Mt 7:3-5
2. Jesus is saying "that is it wrong for anyone to concentrate
his attention on the speck in his brother's eye, and while
thus occupied, to ignore the beam in his own eye" (Hendriksen)
3. Just Paul taught the necessity of proper "introspection" when
helping others - Ga 6:1
B. JUDGING WITHOUT MERCY AND LOVE...
1. "The Lord is here condemning the spirit of censoriousness,
judging harshly, self-righteously, without mercy, without
love, as also the parallel passage (Lk 6:36-37) clearly
2. James warned against making judgments without mercy - Ja 2:13
a. If we make judgments without showing mercy, then no mercy
will be shown when we are judged!
b. Just as Jesus said in verse 2...
1) "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged"
2) "With the same measure you use, it will be measured back
[The implication is not we should never judge, but when we do judge,
remember that we shall be judged by the same standards we use! Let
mercy and love temper our judgments. Finally...]
IV. JESUS IMPLIES THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE "MUST" MAKE JUDGMENTS!
A. IT IS "AFTER" WE HAVE CORRECTED OUR OWN FAULTS...
1. First, we must remove the "beam" from our own eye - Mt 7:5
2. When we have done so, we are able to see, discern (judge), and
be of help to others who are overtaken in their faults
3. Indeed, "the law of Christ" requires us to! - cf. Ga 6:1-2
B. AGAIN, WE MUST JUDGE BETWEEN THOSE "WORTHY" AND THOSE WHO ARE
"HOGS & DOGS"...
1. Note carefully Jesus' words in Mt 7:6
a. Some are not worthy of that which "holy"
b. Some are like "dogs" and "swine"
-- Determining who is which requires "judgment" upon our part!
2. With those who are receptive, we are to be long-suffering in
trying to help them come out of their error - cf. 2 Ti 2:24-26
3. But for those who are not, we are not to waste what is good
and holy on them!
a. Cf. the instructions of Jesus to His disciples - Mt 10:
b. Cf. the example of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia
- Ac 13:42-46
1. The kind of judging forbidden by Jesus is that which LENSKI calls:
"self-righteous, hypocritical judging which is false and calls
down God's judgment on itself."
2. This is the kind of judging that was also condemned by James when he
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil
of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and
judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of
the law but a judge."
"There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who
are you to judge another?"
3. May God help us to refrain from such judging...
a. To be more apt to remove the "beams" from our own eyes
b. To then be more useful in helping others with their problems
But to say we should never judge, is to abuse what Jesus teaches, not
only in this passage but elsewhere as well!
Speaking of judging, are you preparing yourself for the day in which
you will be judged by the Lord? - cf. Jn 12:48; 2 Co 5:10
The Virtue Of Perseverance (7:7-11)
1. Why do some people...
a. Succeed in having their prayers answered?
b. Have a greater understanding of the Bible?
c. Reach more souls for Christ?
-- Is it skill, genius, or luck?
2. The answer is suggested by Calvin Coolidge:
"Press on! Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with
talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus talked about the virtue of
a. Especially in its relevance to prayer
b. Giving us motivation to persevere in our service to God
[Our text is Mt 7:7-11, in which we find Jesus teaching about...]
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF "PERSEVERANCE" (7-8)
A. PERSEVERANCE IS IMPLIED IN THESE VERSES...
1. By the tense of the Greek
a. It is the present tense, which most often stresses
b. Literally, then, Jesus is saying:
1) "keep on asking," and it will be given to you
2) "keep on seeking," and you will find
3) "keep on knocking," and it will be opened to you
2. By the progression of the terms themselves
a. "asking" is one level of inquiry
b. "seeking" suggests a step up, as one goes about to find
what they ask (asking plus action, Hendricksen)
c. "knocking" is another step up, as one persists in finding
that which they seek (asking plus action plus persevering,
B. PERSEVERANCE IS PARTICULARLY RELEVANT...
1. To the matter of "prayer"
a. As later implied in Mt 7:11
b. Jesus often stressed persistence in teaching on prayer
1) In the parable of "The Persistent Friend" - Lk 11:5-8
2) In the parable of "The Persistent Widow" - Lk 18:1-8
2. To the matter of "Bible study"
a. Many people give up too soon in their Bible studies
b. But those who persevere in their studies are the ones who
benefit from the blessings God's Word provides - Psa 1:1-3;
3. To the matter of "evangelism"
a. Many do not bear fruit because they give up too soon
b. But we reap what we sow; the more persistent we are in
sowing, the more we will eventually reap
[If we desire success in any venture, but especially in prayer, Bible
study, and evangelism, then we must adopt "The Virtue Of Perseverance."
To encourage us to do so, Jesus goes on to provide...]
II. A MOTIVE FOR PERSEVERANCE (9-11)
A. GOD DELIGHTS TO GIVE GOOD THINGS TO HIS CHILDREN...
1. To illustrate, Jesus gives a simple argument (from the lesser
to the greater)
a. I.e., men give good gifts to their children who ask
b. How much more so, will our Father in heaven!
2. Jesus stressed this Fatherly attribute of God in His sermon
a. In regards to our physical necessities - Mt 6:31-32
b. And now in regards to things that are good for us - Mt 7:11
B. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN REGARDS TO PRAYER!
1. As Jesus promised to His disciples in Jn 15:7
a. Conditioned upon our abiding in Him
b. Conditioned upon His words abiding in us
2. As the apostle John wrote in 1 Jn 5:14-15
a. Conditioned upon our asking according to His will
b. Which assumes we know His will for us (i.e., His word is
abiding in us)
3. And as James wrote in Ja 4:3
a. Presuming we are not asking for personal and selfish gain
b. But many do not enjoy God's favor, simply because they do
1. To persevere, then, is a noble virtue, especially in regards to
a. We have a Father in heaven who is not untouched by the persistent
pleas of His children
b. Providing we do not ask amiss, persistent prayers will not go
2. If we desire to receive, find, and have doors opened to us, then let
a. Keep on asking
b. Keep on seeking
c. Keep on knocking
...not only in regards to prayer, but in all ventures worthy of
Christians (e.g., Bible study, evangelism)!
Have you asked, sought, or knocked today...?
The Golden Rule (7:12)
1. Have you ever found yourself in a situation...
a. Faced with the need to make a decision on the spur of the moment?
b. Wondering what is the right way to act?
c. Unable to recall whether the Bible specifically addresses the
moral dilemma in which you find yourself?
2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus provided a helpful tool in such a
a. A quick and easy way to know what to do
b. Something that is easy to remember
3. It is found in Mt 7:12, and is commonly called "The Golden Rule"...
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Mt 7:12)
[But what is "The Golden Rule"? Was Jesus teaching anything new or
original by what He stated? Well, in a way it was something new...]
I. THE "GOLDEN" RULE VS. THE "SILVER" RULES
A. MANY HAVE TAUGHT THAT WHICH IS SIMILAR...
1. The HINDU religion taught:
This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to
thee would cause thee pain. - The Mahabharata
2. The BUDDHIST religion taught:
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. - Udana-Varga
3. The JEWISH traditions taught:
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the
entire Law; all the rest is commentary. - The Talmud
4. The MUSLIM religion taught:
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother
that which he desires for himself. - Hadith
5. The BAHA'I faith teaches:
He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for
himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil. - The
Book of Certitude
6. Some other sources:
a. Do not that to thy neighbor that thou wouldst not suffer
from him. - Pittacus of Lesbos (650-570 BC)
b. What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to
others. - Confucius (551-479 BC)
c. Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by
others. - Isocrates (436-338 BC)
d. "Tzu-kung asked, `Is there a single word which can be a
guide to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said,
`It is perhaps the word "shu". Do not impose on others what
you yourself do not desire.'" - Analects, 15.24
e. Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your
betters. - Seneca (4 BC-AD 65)
B. JESUS' "RULE" WAS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT...
1. Jesus requires you to do something favorably to others, while
the others only prohibit you from doing something unfavorably
a. Jesus: Do unto others what you want them to do to you
b. Others: Don't do to others what you don't want done to you
2. Note the difference...
a. With the others, all that is required is that you don't
harm other people
b. With Jesus, what is required is that you show kindness to
3. Jesus' rule is truly the "Golden" rule
a. The others are "Silver" rules
b. Of value, yes, but not as much as "gold"
4. The only ones that come close to teaching exactly what Jesus
a. That found in Hadith, the traditions of Islam; but then,
much of Islam is based upon what Jesus taught 600 years
b. That stated by Seneca, who lived about the same time as
Christ (I wonder if he had been influenced by the teachings
[So what Jesus taught was something new compared to what many teachers
had taught prior. But in another sense it was nothing new; rather, in
a simple and easy to remember statement, Jesus gives us...]
II. A GUIDELINE FOR RIGHTEOUS CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHERS
A. ONE IN HARMONY WITH THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS...
1. As we have seen earlier in the sermon (cf. Mt 5:20-48)
a. Jesus taught a standard righteousness that contrasted with
that of the scribes and Pharisees
b. But it was in harmony with what the Law actually revealed
2. This one "rule" summarizes what the Law and the Prophets were
3. Just as the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself"
summed up the Law according to Paul - Ro 13:8-10
B. A SORT OF "POCKET KNIFE" OR "CARPENTER'S RULE"...
1. That is, something that is always ready to be used
2. For example, even in an emergency, when there is no time to
consult a friend, teacher, or book for advice, "the golden
rule" can be guide for proper conduct
3. Treat others as you would be treated, and it is unlikely you
will ever do the wrong thing
III. SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW TO APPLY THIS "RULE"
A. IN TEACHING THE LOST...
1. Imagine what it must be like to be told you are wrong, or in
2. Wouldn't you want to be told in a loving and patient spirit?
3. As you would have others try to persuade you to change
religiously, so treat those you seek to convert - cf. 2 Ti 2:
24-26; Ep 4:15
B. IN CORRECTING ONE ANOTHER...
1. No one likes to have their mistakes, errors, etc., point out
2. When necessary, wouldn't we prefer to be approached with a
meek and patient spirit?
3. As you would have others offer you constructive criticism, so
give it to them - cf. Ga 6:1-2
C. IN TREATING OUR FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, ENEMIES...
1. Everyone likes to have loving families, good neighbors, and no
2. Applying the golden rule will not only transform ourselves,
but may also transform those around us!
a. Sibling rivalry would cease
b. Neighborly squabbles would be non-existent
c. Enemies would become friends
3. Don't limit the application of the Golden Rule to religious
1. "The Golden Rule would reconcile capital and labor, all political
contention and uproar, all selfishness and greed." Joseph Parker
a. Such would be the impact on our society if more followed Jesus'
b. But let's start close to home, and let the Golden Rule transform
our own lives and those closest to us!
2. "We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it
to life." Edwin Markham (1852-1940)
a. This reflects what is true with most people; they know the rule,
but don't live by it
b. If Jesus is truly our Lord, then His "golden rule" will govern
Are You On The Right Way? (7:13-14)
1. Everyone is on a spiritual journey as they travel through life...
a. Whether religious or not, we travel a spiritual path
b. Every day we make choices that affects the direction in which we
2. Many people think that the paths we can travel are many...
a. In one sense that may be true; there are all kinds of religions
b. But in another sense there are really only two paths or ways
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke of these two ways - Mt 7:
a. Each with its own beginning, each with its own end
b. One way is heavily populated, the other is traveled by few
4. Where are you in your spiritual sojourn?
a. Are you on the right way?
b. Are you heading in the right direction?
[To answer such questions, let's look closely at what Jesus said. Note
I. THERE ARE TWO GATES
A. THE WIDE GATE...
1. "for wide is the gate..." - Mt 7:13
2. This "gate" represents the beginning to the "way" that leads
3. It is described as "wide"; evidently it is a gate which:
a. Allows many to enter with no sacrifice on their part
1) It does not require giving up anything
2) One is allowed to bring along whatever "baggage" they
a) E.g., materialism
b) E.g., prejudice, hatred, an unforgiving spirit
c) E.g., believe whatever one wants to believe
b. Is therefore chosen by most people
1) For there are no restrictions concerning belief and
2) It is also opens the way to "the path of least
B. THE NARROW GATE...
1. "Enter by the narrow gate.." - Mt 7:13
2. This "gate" represents the beginning, or starting point, to
the "way" that leads to life
3. Why is it "narrow"? Because it is a gate which:
a. Requires self-denial and obedience - cf. Mt 16:24
b. Has no room for...
1) A consuming desire for earthly goods - Mt 6:19-20
2) An unforgiving spirit - Mt 6:14-15
3) Self-righteousness - Mt 6:1
-- As Jesus has already stressed in His sermon on the mount
[These two "gates" are only the starting points. Let's now take a
closer look at the fact that...]
II. THERE ARE TWO WAYS
A. THE BROAD WAY...
1. "...broad is the way" - Mt 7:13
2. The way that leads to destruction is broad because it allows:
a. Any behavior one desires
b. No need for reformation or changes in one's "lifestyle"
3. Many people love this path
a. They think they are "free"
b. They believe they are "open-minded"
c. They view themselves as "tolerant" of others in this same
B. THE CONSTRICTED WAY...
1. "...difficult is the way" - Mt 7:14 (NKJV)
a. "...narrow the road" (NIV)
b. "the way is narrow" (NASB)
c. "narrow is the way" (KJV)
-- The picture is one of a narrow and difficult path between
2. The way that leads to life is "difficult" because it requires:
a. A righteousness that exceeds that of many religious people
- Mt 5:20
b. A change in our behavior - cf. Mt 5:21-7:12
3. Because of its difficulty, many choose not to travel its path
a. They think it too "confining"
b. They think it is too "narrow-minded"
[As Jesus describes the two gates and the two ways, He also reminds us
III. THERE ARE TWO GROUPS
A. THE MANY...
1. "There are many who go in by it" - Mt 7:13
2. We have seen reasons why this is so:
a. The entrance is wide: "Come as you are! No changes
b. The way is broad: "Make your own rules! Believe what you
want! Do what you want!"
3. This is the way people travel by default; unless they are
actively seeking the narrow path, this is the one they will
B. THE FEW...
1. "there are few who find it" - Mt 7:14
2. As proven true so often in the past, only few will be saved
a. E.g., the millions lost in the flood vs. the eight saved on
b. E.g., the hundreds of thousands lost in the wilderness vs.
the two who entered the promised land
-- So Jesus warned on another occasion - Lk 13:23-24
3. That it must be "found" suggests effort must extended
a. As Jesus said in Lk 13:24: "Strive to enter through the
b. Even then not all will be saved: "...for many, I say to
you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
-- Not just effort, but the right kind of effort - cf. Mt 5:6;
[Finally, we note that Jesus tells us that...]
IV. THERE ARE TWO DESTINATIONS
1. "...broad is the way that leads to destruction" - Mt 7:13
2. Paul wrote of the "everlasting destruction" that is to come
- 2 Th 1:7-9
a. Upon those who know not God
b. Upon those who obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ
3. John described it as "a lake of fire" - Re 20:15; 21:8
-- A most sobering thought are these words of Jesus: "...there
are many who go in by it." - Mt 7:13
1. "...difficult is the way which leads to life" - Mt 7:14
2. This "life" is the "everlasting life" received at the judgment
- Mt 25:46
3. It is the "gift of God", given at the end - Ro 6:22-23
a. To those who have been set free from sin - cf. Ro 6:3-7
b. To those who became slaves of God and of righteousness
- cf. Ro 6:17-18
c. To those who bore the fruit of holiness - cf. Ro 6:20-22
-- Another sobering thought are these words about the way that
leads to this life: "...there are few who find it." - Mt 7:14
1. So we have seen that Jesus describes:
a. Two gates
b. Two ways
c. Two groups
d. Two destinations
2. Are there many roads that lead to heaven?
a. Many people like to think so
b. That all religions lead to heaven
c. That it really doesn't matter what you believe or do, as long as
you are sincere
3. But according to Jesus...
a. There are only two roads (ways)
b. One leads to life, i.e., heaven
c. The other road, filled with many people with many different
beliefs, leads to destruction!
4. Are you on the right way, the only way, that leads to life?
a. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes
to the Father except through Me." - Jn 14:6
b. The way that He provides is a narrow one, for He requires that
people keep His commandments - Mt 28:19-20
Will you be among the few, or the many? Let Jesus direct you along the
narrow way that leads to eternal life!
Watch Out For Wolves! (7:15-20)
1. Many people like to think that you can trust religious leaders...
a. Ministers normally rank high in polls concerning people you can
b. People will often accept whatever a preacher, priest, or rabbi
says as the truth
2. Yet Jesus told His disciples to beware of false prophets - Mt 7:
a. They may appear like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves
b. We need to be able to identify them, knowing what to look for
3. Are you concerned about false prophets today? You should be!
a. The great diversity of teaching suggests that many are being
b. We need to be reminded of the danger, and know how to spot any
"wolves" that might come our way!
[With the words of our Savior in Mt 7:15-20 fresh on our mind, I wish
to use this opportunity to remind us to "Watch Out For Wolves!" Let me
first re-emphasize the point that...]
I. THERE WILL BE FALSE PROPHETS
A. AS PAUL WARNED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS...
1. To the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:28-31
a. Telling them to take heed
b. For even from among themselves would men arise, misleading
2. To the church at Corinth - 2 Co 11:13-15
a. Referring to false teachers present even then
b. Appearing as ministers of righteousness, even as Satan
appears as an angel of light
3. To the young preacher Timothy - 1 Ti 4:1-3; 2 Ti 3:1-9
a. Warning of the apostasy that would come
b. Describing the character and tactics of those who would
B. AS DID OTHER NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS...
1. Peter, in telling of the rise of false teachers - 2 Pe 2:1-3
2. John, in calling for people to "test the spirits" - 1 Jn 4:1
3. Jude, in writing of some who had already come - Ju 3-4
[With so many warnings, this is not a subject to take lightly! But how
can we spot such "wolves" when they appear so disarming (like sheep)?
Thanks to Jesus and the Word of God...]
II. WE CAN IDENTIFY FALSE PROPHETS
A. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR LIFE...
1. We can know them by their "fruit" - Mt 7:16-20
a. What is truly in their heart will eventually come out
b. For from the heart proceeds any sin that may be there
- cf. Mk 7:21-23
2. Thus false teachers and false prophets are often betrayed...
a. By their greediness (e.g., as manifested by their lavish
b. By their immorality (e.g., as manifested by adulterous
c. By their lust for power (e.g., as manifested by religious
-- Given time, the true character of many false prophets will be
exposed by the fruit of their life!
B. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR TEACHING...
1. Taking notice of their methods
a. Working secretly - cf. 2 Pe 2:1
1) Their ministries (especially finances) will be shrouded
2) Rather than being open to one and all - cf. 2 Co 8:20-21
b. Appealing to covetousness - cf. 2 Pe 2:3
1) They draw people with an appeal to what people often
covet (such as health and wealth)
2) Rather than preparing people for what Christians can
expect - cf. Ac 14:23; 2 Ti 3:12
c. Using deceptive words - cf. 2 Ti 3:13; 2 Pe 2:3
1) Twisting the scriptures to support their message (just
as Satan did in trying to tempt Jesus)
2) Rather handling the word of God rightly - 2 Ti 2:14-16
2. Taking notice of their doctrine
a. How they twist and pervert the scriptures - cf. Ga 1:8-9
1) Their gospel may start out right, but becomes twisted
along the way
2) Their teaching often expressed in the terms of man, not
b. How they teach that which is clearly contrary to the
scriptures - cf. Deu 13:1-4
1) Even if they appear able to perform signs and wonders!
2) The final test is how their teaching compares to the
word of God and that of His apostles - cf. 1 Jn 4:1,6
1. It is not necessary to judge the hearts of those who claim to speak
a. We need only to be "fruit-inspectors"
b. The fruit of their life and teaching will become apparent soon
-- This is how we can "Watch Out For Wolves!"
2. Of course, this presumes that our knowledge of God's word is
a. To know what to look for in the life of a false prophet
b. To know what to listen for in the teaching of a false prophet
-- Otherwise we will be no different than Israel, of whom God said:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." - Hos 4:6
Are you equipped to identify a wolf in sheep's clothing if you saw one?
Who Will Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven? (7:21-23)
1. Most people believe they will go to heaven when they die...
a. Their hope is fostered by the comforting words of many preachers,
priests, and rabbis
b. Their hope is based upon the idea that heaven is for all
believers, or for those whose good works outweigh the bad
2. But are such hopes well-founded?
a. Will most people go to heaven when they die?
b. Is salvation based upon good works? Is it based upon faith only?
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus gave some ominous warnings...
a. Few, not many, would be saved - Mt 7:13-14
b. Many religious people, including some believers in Jesus, will
learn that they too will be lost! - Mt 7:21-23
4. With Mt 7:21-23 as the spring board for our study, I wish to address
the question: "Who will enter the kingdom of heaven?"
[Before considering this question, perhaps this is good opportunity to
answer another one first...]
I. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
A. THE TERM "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
1. Is synonymous with the "kingdom of God" - cf. Mt 4:17 with
2. Refers to God's kingship, or rule, from heaven
-- The kingdom of heaven is focused in the Person of Jesus
Christ, and is especially manifested where He rules in the
hearts of men - Lk 17:20-21
B. IN BRIEF, THE "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
1. Is spiritual in nature - Jn 18:36; Ro 14:17
2. It began when all authority (rule) was given to Jesus - Mt 28:
18; Ac 2:36; Ep 1:20-23
3. Today, it includes the Lord's church on earth (for those who
submit to the Will of Christ are added to the kingdom) - Co 1:
13; Re 1:9
4. In the future, it will involve the "new heavens and new
earth," where we will be with God and Jesus for eternity!
- Mt 13:40-43; 2 Pe 3:10-13; Re 21:1-22:5
-- The kingdom of heaven was "inaugurated" on the Day of
Pentecost, and will be "culminated" when Jesus returns to
deliver it back to God - cf. 1 Co 15:23-28
C. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IN OUR TEXT...
1. Appears to have the future aspect of the kingdom in view
a. Note that Jesus says "in that day..." - Mt 7:22
b. An apparent reference to the day of judgment - cf. 2 Ti 1:
2. Thus Jesus is talking about who will enter the kingdom in its
a. Of which He spoke on other occasions - Mt 25:31-34
b. Of which Peter wrote in 2 Pe 1:10-11
[What a wonderful blessing, to have an abundant entrance into "the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"! But this
leads me back to our text (Mt 7:21-23), and to the main question of our
II. WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
A. NOT EVERYONE WHO PROFESSES JESUS...
1. "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the
kingdom of heaven"
2. There are some who teach that as long as one believes in
Jesus, they will be saved
a. That salvation is by "faith only"
b. Even though the only time "faith only" is found in the
Scriptures, it says: "You see then that a man is justified
by works, and not by faith only." - Ja 2:24
3. But there is such a thing as "an unsaved believer"...
a. The demons believe, but are not saved - Ja 2:19
b. There were some who believed in Jesus, but were not saved
- Jn 12:42,43
c. Jesus described a true disciple as one who not only
believes in Him, but does what He says - Jn 8:30-32
-- Let no one think that just because they "believe" in Jesus,
they have a free ticket into heaven!
B. NOT EVERYONE WHO DOES MANY GOOD WORKS...
1. "Many will say to Me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we
not..." - Mt 7:22
2. Here were people who not only believed in Jesus, but believed
a. Prophesied in His name!
b. Cast out demons in His Name!
c. Done many wonders in His Name!
-- I.e., they thought they had been empowered to do such
3. Such good works certainly did not earn their way to heaven
a. Indeed, salvation is by grace, not meritorious works - cf.
b. Good works had not saved Cornelius, he still needed to be
told what to do to be saved - Ac 10:1-5; 11:14
4. Indeed, sometimes what we may think is a good work is without
a. Jesus condemns these as those "who practice lawlessness"
- Mt 7:23
b. Literally, those who act without authority
1) It was not that they did something condemned by Jesus
2) It was that they did things for which they had no
-- We might be very religious, and do many things in the name of
Jesus, yet He might still say: "I never knew you; depart from
[Who then will be saved?]
C. ONLY THOSE WHO DO THE FATHER'S WILL...
1. As Jesus said, "...he who does the will of My Father in
heaven." - Mt 7:21
a. Here is the dividing line: those who DO the Father's will!
b. As James would write later, it is the "doer of the work"
who is blessed in what he does - cf. Ja 1:22-25
2. Is this legalism?
a. No! Legalism is salvation by perfect law-keeping, believing
that one earns salvation by the merit of what they have
b. Salvation by grace does not preclude the necessity of
1) We simply need to recognize that our obedience does not
earn or merit salvation
2) When all is said and done, we are still unworthy! - cf.
3. The Father's will, while it offers salvation by grace, does
a. Only those who obey from the heart will be delivered from
sin - Ro 6:17-18
b. Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey Him
- He 5:9
c. Christ will come in judgment against those who obey not the
gospel - 2 Th 1:7-9
1. Who will enter the kingdom of heaven?
a. Not those who profess to believe, but do not obey
b. Not those who think they are doing many religious things, but
c. Only those who do the Father's will!
2. This is why we must take an earlier statement in Jesus' sermon so
a. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." - Mt 6:
b. We must make the finding of God's will and rule the number one
priority in our life!
3. What is the Father's will? It begins with...
a. Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ - Ac 20:21
b. Confessing Jesus as Lord - Ro 10:10
c. Being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38
-- Followed by a life of faithful service to Christ, confessing our
sins along the way - Re 2:10; 1 Jn 1:9
Are you doing the Father's will?
Building To Withstand The Storms (7:24-27)
1. 1998 was quite a year for natural disasters in the state of
a. There were killer tornadoes, devastating fires, destructive
b. Impacting the lives of many people
2. Such disasters proved to reveal much about contractors...
a. We learned that some builders were unscrupulous
b. Failing to build according to code, many homes and buildings were
3. Jesus made a parallel between storms and buildings at the end of His
sermon - Mt 7:24-27
a. As He sought to encourage people to act upon His sayings
b. Contrasting the difference between those who were doers and not
4. In this lesson, I wish to address the following questions...
a. What do the "houses" of the wise and foolish builders represent?
b. What "storms" is Jesus talking about?
c. How can we "build" so as to be able to withstand the storms?
[Let's begin by identifying the "houses"; I suggest that...]
I. THE HOUSES REPRESENT OUR LIVES
A. EACH OF US IS BUILDING A "LIFE"...
1. A life that will eventually face the vicissitudes of life
2. A life that will respond to the many ups and downs that come
B. WE ARE BUILDING THESE "LIVES" UPON A FOUNDATION...
1. The foundation is whatever teaching, doctrine, or philosophy
to which we subscribe
2. It may be a philosophy or doctrine adopted from others, or
[We cannot escape the fact that we are "builders." The question is
whether we will be wise or foolish builders. The tests that will
determine are called "storms"...]
II. THE STORMS ARE THINGS WHICH THREATEN OUR WELL-BEING
A. THIS MAY INVOLVE LITERAL STORMS...
1. Such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc.
2. Which may take away all we own, perhaps even our loved ones
3. How we respond to such tragedies will reveal the quality of
a. Will we be emotionally devastated?
b. Will we be able to stand strong, willing to continue on
B. IT MAY ALSO INVOLVE FIGURATIVE STORMS...
1. Such as illness, loss of loved ones, financial setbacks
2. Which may take away our health, family, possessions
3. Again, how we respond to such tragedies will reveal the
quality of our "building"
a. Will we be emotionally devastated?
b. Will we be able to stand strong, willing to continue on
C. THEN THERE IS THE FINAL "STORM" OF LIFE...
1. That of death and the final day of Judgment - cf. He 9:27;
2. Which will be the truest test of our "building" (i.e.,
character) - cf. 2 Co 5:10-11
3. The Lord will describe the kind of "builder" (or servant) we
a. E.g., "Well done, good and faithful servant..." - Mt 25:21
b. E.g., "You wicked and lazy servant..." - Mt 25:26
[The longer we live, the more "storms" we are likely to face; and there
is the final "storm" that none can escape! How can we be sure to build
our lives so as to withstand the storms?]
III. OBEYING JESUS IS THE KEY TO WITHSTANDING THE STORMS
A. BEING A "HEARER" ONLY IS NOT SUFFICIENT...
1. Such is foolishness, building on a shaky foundation that will
not stand the test of storms - Mt 7:26-27
2. As James wrote, one is deceiving only themselves - Ja 1:22-24
3. Like the unscrupulous contractor, the storm will reveal the
true quality of one's character
4. As Moses said, "...your sin will find you out."- Num 32:23
B. WE MUST "DO" WHAT JESUS SAYS...
1. Those who "do" what Jesus said will be those to withstand the
storms - Mt 7:24-25
2. Because their lives (houses) are built upon the "rock" (a
3. As James went on to write, it is the doer who is blessed in
what he does - Ja 1:25
C. HOW THE SAYINGS OF JESUS HELP US WITHSTAND THE STORMS...
1. His saying regarding where to lay up treasure - Mt 6:19-21
a. In which we are told to lay up treasure in heaven, not on
b. If we heed His words, our hearts will not be distraught if
earthly treasures are stolen or lost
2. His saying regarding what to seek first - Mt 6:33
a. Calling upon all to seek first the kingdom of God and His
b. By heeding His words, we need not have anxiety for the
3. Indeed, His sayings provide the basis for a solid foundation
in which to build a life...
a. That will avoid being misled by false prophets - Mt 7:15-20
b. That will stay on the straight and narrow way that leads to
life - Mt 7:13-14
c. That will fulfill the Law and the Prophets - Mt 7:12
d. That will receive what good gifts God desires to give His
children - Mt 7:7-11
e. That will not be judged by some inconsistent standard
- Mt 7:1-6
f. Where the necessities of life are provided for - Mt 6:30-34
g. Free from materialism and anxiety - Mt 6:22-29
h. With treasure that cannot rust or be stolen - Mt 6:19-21
i. With acts of righteousness that are well-pleasing to God
- Mt 6:1-18
j. With righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and
Pharisees - Mt 5:20-48
1. Yes, this is a life that can truly withstand the storms!
a. Whether it be the literal or figurative storms of every day life
b. Or the storm of the Day of Wrath and Judgment that is yet to come
2. What kind of foundation are you building your house (life) upon?
a. Heed what Jesus is saying, and your life will be solid
b. Be listeners only, and your life will be as shaky as sand!
Just as Jesus is the Rock-solid foundation of the church (1 Co 3:11;
Ep 2:20; 1 Pe 2:4-6), so let Him be the Rock-solid foundation of your
He Taught As One Having Authority (7:28-29)
1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus astonished the people with His
a. He astonished them in the synagogues - Mk 1:21-22; 6:2
b. They were astonished by His sermon on the mount - Mt 7:28-29
2. What impressed the people was that "He taught as one having
a. Unlike the scribes, who simply interpreted the Law
b. Jesus spoke as One had the right to make the law!
1) E.g., "But I say to you...But I tell you..." - Mt 5:22,28,32,
2) E.g., "Take heed...You shall not be...Do not..." - Mt 6:1,2,5,
3. The question might be raised, "Did Jesus have the authority to speak
a. He may have taught with authority, but was it His to do so?
b. Should we, who read that which He taught, give heed to obey what
4. At a time when many do not heed the words of Jesus...
a. Not only those in the world
b. But, sadly, even many who profess Him to be Lord
...the authority of Jesus needs to be recognized and followed all,
but especially by those who claim to be His disciples
[In this study, we shall review the authority that Jesus has, beginning
I. THE INHERENT RIGHT OF JESUS' AUTHORITY
A. BY VIRTUE OF BEING THE CREATOR...
1. All things were made through Him - Jn 1:1-3; He 1:2
2. All things were made by Him and for Him - Co 1:16
-- As Creator, Jesus has the authority to expect and demand
whatever He desires of His creation
B. BY VIRTUE OF BEING THE HEIR...
1. As prophesied, Jesus would be given all things - Psa 2:8
2. As the Son, Jesus has been appointed heir of all things
- He 1:2
-- As the Heir, Jesus has authority over that which has been
C. BY VIRTUE OF BEING THE REDEEMER...
1. Jesus has redeemed us from our sins - 1 Pe 1:18-19
2. This He has done with His own blood - Ep 1:7; Ac 20:28
-- As our Redeemer, He certainly has authority over those who
have been purchased by His blood!
[As Creator, Heir, and Redeemer, Jesus has both the inherent right and
the earned right to speak with authority. Dare we living today not
recognize such authority? Consider others who gave voice to...]
II. THE RECOGNITION OF JESUS' AUTHORITY
A. HE WAS WORSHIPPED BY ANGELS...
1. When He came into the world - He 1:6
2. As He sat on the throne of God - Re 5:11-12
-- Angels deemed Him worthy to receive power (authority)
B. HE WAS RECOGNIZED BY DEMONS...
1. They acknowledged He had the authority to destroy them - Mk 1:
2. They obeyed His rebuke - Mk 1:25-26
-- Demons, even when possessing power of their own, could not
resist His authority
C. HE WAS PRAISED BY THE REDEEMED...
1. Those before the throne and the Lamb ascribed salvation to God
and the Lamb - Re 7:9-10
2. Even as John praised Him for having authority over the kings
of the earth - Re 1:5
-- If we are among the redeemed, should we not also recognize His
[Finally, let's note...]
III. THE EXTENT OF JESUS' AUTHORITY
A. HE HAS ALL AUTHORITY IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH...
1. As announced by Him prior to His ascension - Mt 28:18
2. As received when He ascended to sit at God's right hand
- Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22
3. Including ruling over the kings of the earth as King of kings
and Lord of lords - Re 1:5; 1 Ti 6:14-15
B. HE IS HEAD OVER THE CHURCH...
1. He is the head of the body, the church - Co 1:18
2. Even as He is the savior of the body - Ep 5:23
3. As the Head, He has delegated His authority to His apostles
a. Promising His Spirit to guide them into all the truth - Jn
b. Commanding them to teach others to observe all that He
commanded - Mt 28:20
c. Proclaiming that whoever receives them, receives Him - Jn
1. As revealed in the New Testament, Jesus clearly has all authority...
a. Which must be confessed in order to be saved - Ro 10:9; Ph 2:9-11
b. Which will be confessed at the Judgment - Ro 14:10-12
2. The key issue, then, is what we do in light of this authority...
a. Will we listen to Jesus and heed Him who speaks with such
b. Will we as His church allow His apostles to lead and guide us
through the authority delegated to them?
Those willing to accept Jesus as Lord, will do what He says (cf. Lk 6:
46); as prophesied by David, they will freely volunteer in the day of
His power (Psa 110:1-3).
May we all honor and accept the authority of Jesus Christ!