Jesus instructs the disciples about people questions
Sermon on the Mount: judging others; sense; prayer; treat others; narrow gate; wise and foolish
Very Broad topic outline of Matthew 5-7
- Matthew 5 instructs the disciples about moral questions and answers.
- Matthew 6 instructs the disciples about attitude and motivation questions and answers.
- Matthew 7 instructs the disciples about people questions and answers.
A quick glance at Matthew 7
- Do not judge, Matthew 7:1-5
- Do not give what is holy, Matthew 7:6
- Ask, Matthew 7:7
- Treat people, Matthew 7:12
- Enter by, Matthew 7:13
- Beware of, Matthew 7:15
- Therefore everyone who hears, Matthew 7:24
- The result, Matthew 7:28
Matthew 7:1, Principle
- Do not judge, lest you be judged, Matthew 7:1. This refers to personal condemnation of other people—we have our own sins and failures. It is a warning against self-righteousness.
- Do not judge is present active imperative, 2 plural of krino + the negative = Do not judge.
- To openly pass judgment or condemnation on someone else because of sin, find fault, criticize.
- The disciples will be tempted to judge others and when they do, they will be self-righteous just like the Pharisees.
Matthew 7:2, Results
- The judgment or verdict that you give refers to your decision about the other person, your verdict.
- That same verdict will be pronounced on you by God.
- The standard “measure” that you use on another will be the standard that God applies to you (James 3:1-2). Similar to Matthew 6:14-15.
Matthew 7:3-5, Reason
- No one is perfect. No one is without sin. And, generally the person who tends to fault finding and criticism and judging has more and larger failures than the one he is judging (speck—karphos , a speck, chip, chaff, small piece of straw; and the log—dokos , a bearing beam in a roof or house, a beam of a door).
- Self-righteousness is the root of the problem (hypocrite).
- See Luke 6:39-42 for the same.
- Deal with your own weakness before you try to correct another person.
Matthew 7:1-5, Effects of Judging
- God will discipline me.
- I will be unhappy.
- People will shun me.
- Other people will be hurt.
- Judging within a church group causes anger, fighting back, gossip, and church splits.
- Judging parades sins before unbelievers and damages the gospel opportunities.
Matthew 7:1-5, Application
- Judging another means to openly tell someone they or someone else is guilty of sin when you do not have that right or authority. That is God’s job. Do not take God’s place and condemn or pass judgment on someone else because of sin. All of us sin and fail. God is the only one who is qualified to condemn others. He is perfect. We do not know all the facts. He knows all things. God is better qualified to judge.
- Furthermore, do not be critical of other people’s failures and sins. Critical people are unhappy people. Critical people are usually self-righteous people. Critical people are usually controlled by their sinful natures, not the Holy Spirit. And, they are proud people (Matthew 7:1-2; Romans 14:1-13; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).
- Is there ever a time to make a critical decision about anyone, or to make a judgment about someone? Verse 5, says there may be a time to make a judgment about another, but only after you are free from sin and failures, and this requires fellowship and living by the Holy Spirit.
- Galatians 6:1 is the New Testament passage for instruction about humbly helping another believer recover.
- This does not mean that we should accept all ideas and all people uncritically or without thought.
- Matthew 7:6 requires careful thinking.
- Matthew 7:15-20 requires careful thinking and decisions.
- Philippians 3:2 requires knowledge and the correct evaluation and decisions.
- 1 John 4:1 requires biblical knowledge and good decision making.
- Business owners and managers, parents, coaches, pastors, and others in authority have the right and responsibility to evaluate and judge within their sphere of authority (Matthew 18:23-35 illustrates this).
- Even Timothy, with more authority than pastors, was instructed to have witnesses before he could render decisions when evaluating elders of the young churches, (1 Timothy 5:19).
- Apostles had the necessary authority to evaluate and make judgments while the church was beginning (Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 5:5).
- When in doubt, don’t judge.
- Always pray for the person you think needs spiritual correction. God will do the correcting in his way and use you if he wants to use you.
Matthew 7:6, Do not give what is holy…
- Dogs in biblical times were often marauders and scavengers. Dogs were also used to guard sheep. Isaiah indicates they were unclean animals (Isaiah 66:3). Dogs have no reverence for sacred meat. They simply devour that which God considers holy.
- Dogs picture people who have no reverence for God and God’s message. They reject the disciple’s message of the Messiah and his kingdom. When these people show their identity, do not continue to give what is holy to them—God’s holy word.
- In English and in Greek the words for judging can mean condemnation (openly passing judgment on someone else) or discrimination (the ability to see distinctions between good and bad). In verses 1-5 Jesus warns against openly condemning others. But though we must not judge others, we need to wisely decide the difference between good and bad, or to discriminate between good and bad. Discrimination is a good word, though greatly misused today.
- So, in verse 6 Jesus teaches about the need to evaluate people and their response to God’s word and to make decisions based on that evaluation.
- Jesus uses to illustrations. Both were understandable by the disciples. Dogs and pigs were well known to people at that time.
- The disciples were not to openly condemn others, but were to evaluate and discriminate to whom they spoke God’s word.
- Holy offerings and pearls were sacred or very valuable to people in Jesus’ and the disciples’ ministry.
- Holy is the word ‘agion. It refers to something set apart for God’s, use such sacrificial animals used for the temple ministry. Leviticus 22 says unclean people are not to contact sacrificial offerings of meat.
Matthew 7:6, Do not throw your pearls…
- Wild pigs roamed the Jordan Valley. Pearls were small size gems. Pearls were and are of great value, but the pigs did not appreciate pearls. They looked like acorns which pigs ate. Pigs would not recognize or value pearls, but instead trample them as they rooted for food because they were inedible. (Margarites is the word meaning pearl. We have the name Margaret.)
- The pearl, then, stands for something of great value and here represents God’s word given by the disciples. Jesus tells them to carefully preach the message to people who may be interested in hearing it. The disciples are not to take time with those rejecters and hecklers.
- Even Jesus discriminated and did not answer Herod Antipas in Luke 23:9.
Matthew 7:6, Do not throw your pearls…Application
- The disciples were to continue to preach the kingdom message.
- While they were not to openly judge others, they were to wisely think of their audience and discriminate between those who were ready for the message and those who would have nothing to do with it.
- They were to leave those who rejected and ridiculed the message. They were not to waste time on them.
- We today can take the same application. Do not waste time on those who want to argue and who are not interested in the gospel. Once they have been given an opportunity and have clearly made their decision against the Lord, you are to leave them behind and go to other people.
Matthew 7:7-8, Imperatives
- How do we view God?
- The verbs, “ask,” “knock,” and “seek” are all in the second person plural present active imperative.
- The present imperative gives general or repeatable instructions.
- Jesus tells the disciples to be persistent in prayer. They are to ask again and again.
- Taken together Jesus instructs his disciples politely, persistently, and diligently.
Matthew 7:7-8, Meaning
- Ask indicates the simple request. You ask according to need and desire. A polite request of God.
- Given and receives indicates the answer to the request.
- Seek means to look for something. It seems to emphasize the need for guidance and opportunity.
- Find indicates that guidance prayer has been answered.
- Knock indicates the diligence to take advantage of an opportunity that you have sought.
- Opened indicates the opportunity has presented to the one knocking or praying for an opportunity to serve.
- Acts 4:29-31 illustrates the meaning of ask, seek, knock.
Matthew 7:9-10, Illustration
- What father will give his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread? No reasonable father.
- What father will give his son a snake when he asked for a fish? No reasonable father.
Matthew 7:11, Conclusion about God or Father
- Our understanding of God determines our thinking about prayer.
- Not a reluctant stranger to bully.
- Not a malicious tyrant who enjoys watching us struggle and be disappointed.
- Not an indulgent grandfather.
- Yes, creator
- Yes, majestic
- Yes, does everything right
- If human fathers, who have sinful natures—the point here is not depravity—answer requests of their sons….
- God our Father, who is perfect, will do no less. We can depend upon it.
- Note “give what is good.” God only wants to give good from his perspective. He has the final say on what to give and what to with hold. What he gives is good for us.
- He delights to give good gifts (James 1:17)
Matthew 7:7-11. So what? Application
- How do we view God our Father?
- Pray persistently. Since God our Father instructs that his disciples persistently make requests to him for what we desire, we should do so.
- Pray persistently for human needs and desires, for divine guidance, and for the recognition and use of opportunities for service.
- Does the disciples’ prayer agree with this section on prayer? Yes.
- Trust God to give good to us, not bad.
Matthew 7:12 Treating Others
- The context.
- Do not judge others.
- Think carefully about others.
- Pray to our heavenly Father.
- The negative statement is common, and is much less demanding. It amounts to “do nothing.”
- Jesus positive command is much different than other statements made through out history.
- Jesus gave a general principle rather than a list of rules that attempted to cover every situation. Note Leviticus 19:18 in which the summary is given in the positive.
- What are some practical every day ways to treat people?
- Take others into account
- Other Scripture. Matthew 22:37-39; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:32.
- Doctrine of Love your Neighbor
Matthew 7:12, Treat people, how?
- If we view God rightly, we shall treat people rightly. Exodus 23:4; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 15:7–8; Proverbs 24:17; 25:21; Luke 6:31.
- Matthew 22:39, the second paragraph of the summary of the Mosaic Law, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5.
- Doctrine of Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- Two great commandments in Matthew 22:36-40.
- Doctrine of Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 7:13-14. The Narrow Gate and the Wide Gate
- The important thing to decide in these verses are the meaning of narrow gate, wide gate, destruction, and life.
- First, to whom is he speaking? Look at the entire context for this. (Primarily to his disciples?)
- You enter is the aorist imperative, second plural.
- Gate refers to the place of entrance, and here in this illustration it refers to choice of kind of life one wants to live. I do not think the context or words refer to faith or eternal life or unbelief for God’s judgment.
- The disciples and the listeners have a choice. Do they want to choose life or death? Volition or free will again is prominent. Look back at Deuteronomy 30:15-20 for a similar statement. Volition and physical life are emphasized, not eternal life or heaven.
- Jesus is appealing to the disciples and others to follow the right kind of life at that time. It is not primarily a gospel of forgiveness call.
Matthew 7:13-14, Destruction and Life
- Destruction and life are determinative. What is the context? Is Jesus talking about forgiveness of sins and eternal life? It seems not. He is talking about how the people live. Again, I refer you to Deuteronomy and the entire OT theology.
- Destruction is apoleia. It is used 17 times in the NT. It has the meanings of destruction, waste, ruin and most often refers to ruin and physical death. See Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4; John 17:12; Acts 8:12; Philippians 1:28; 1 Timothy 6:9 and others.
- To what does life refer? The word is zoe (zoe) in the dictionary form. Here it is the accusative after the preposition eis (eis). Life is used many times in the NT and most have the adjective “eternal” associated. Others refer to life in the now for those listening.
- Such passages as Luke 16:25, John 10:10, Acts 17:25, 1 Corinthians 3:22 and 15:19, 2 Corinthians 2:16, Galatians 2:20 (verb), Philippians 1:21-22 (verb), Hebrews 7:3, James 4:4 emphasize life here and now.
- The evidence is not as clear by word usage, but the context seems to determine that the primary meaning in the passage is life in the here and now—though it may go into eternal life. Stan Toussaint, in Behold the King, “Even in this passage there is an emphasis on discipleship” (page 116).
Matthew 7:13-14, Meaning
- Jesus is primarily talking about discipleship—about following him. Jesus is telling them that they make choices on what kind of life they will live, and the right choices are difficult and unpopular.
- Fewer people choose to follow him. But those who do will have the best purpose, satisfaction, and lasting kind of life. Those who follow the popular way—such as the Pharisees—will end up in a destructive life and physical death.
Matthew 7:13-14, So What?
- What kind of choices have I made and do I now make? Do I choose to follow Jesus Christ and God’s word, or do I choose to follow other gods and the world’s viewpoint.
- These are choices made in faith, because the right choices do not always seem right at the time.
- So, for us, the choice is to live the Christian life or the world kind of life.
- The daily plan of God, the believers walk, and other doctrines come into mind for application.
Matthew 7:13-14, Doctrine of Disciple
- The words translated make disciple or disciple.
- J. Dwight Pentecost (14) writes….
- Disciples of different people.
- Genuine, false, secret, and superficial disciples.
- Good characteristics of a disciple include…
- The method for making disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.
- A city on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).
- Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor (Matthew 13:57).
- If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit (Matthew 15:14).
- A student is not above his teacher (Luke 6:40)
- The worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7).
- Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather (Matthew 24:38).
- You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again (Matthew 5:13)?
- Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed (Matthew 4:21)?
- Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles (Matthew 7:16)?
- Physician, heal yourself! (Luke 4:23)
Matthew 7:15-23 (15) Warning about False Prophets
- Matthew 7:15, the warning about false prophets. They act appealing and sound appealing, but the message destroys the lives of people.
- Sheep’s clothing. Outer appearance.
- Wolves. Inner destructiveness.
- Jesus says to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:11-12).
- Paul also warns against destructive Counterfeits in Acts 20:29-30.
- John does the same in 1 John 4:1-6.
Matthew 7:16-23 Identifying False Prophets
- Matthew 7:16, false prophets show they are false because their predictions do not come true.
- Matthew 7:17, good trees = good fruit; bad trees = bad fruit.
- Matthew 7:18, the reverse is not true. A good tree does not produce bad fruit and a bad tree does not produce good fruit.
- Matthew 7:19, an illustration: the farmer removes the bad trees.
- Watch the prophet. You can tell if he is true or false by his prophecies (1. biblical) and the outcome (2. come true).
- Matthew 7:21, works and false claims will not make one a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 7:22, prophecies, exorcisms, and miracles are not the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 7:23, righteousness is the key and that righteousness comes only from God through his son.
- Deuteronomy 13:1-6 says that the prophet’s message must agree with other biblical revelation.
- Deuteronomy 18:20-22 adds that the prophet’s message must come true or he is a false prophet.
Matthew 7:16-23, So what?
- Acts 17:10-11 relates that men from Berea searched the Scriptures and compared biblical revelation with Paul’s message and found Paul spoke the truth.
- God’s word is the standard by which we test what people teach.
- Therefore listen carefully with our Bibles open, in fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit leading us, trusting God to teach us.
- Listen to our pastors and teachers expecting to receive spiritual food. Give them the benefit of the doubt. God has placed them in the church to equip us, not so we can set ourselves above them (Ephesians 4:11-12; Hebrews 13:7-9).
- If something does not appear clear or correct, ask questions or set it aside until further study and thought.
- We should be teachable.
- Showmanship, predictions, seeming miracles do not indicate that God is speaking through a man.
Matthew 7:15-23, False Prophets. Counterfeits to the Faith
- Doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1)
- The devil’s communion table (1 Corinthians 10:20-21)
- Disguised apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- Different Jesus, Holy Spirit, and gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
- Spirituality and growth by human effort (Galatians 3:2-3)
- Satan’s power, signs, and false wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10)
- False gods (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5)
- Pharisaic righteousness (Matthew 5:20; 23).
Matthew 7:24-25. The wise response
- All who hear and act on what Jesus said may be compared to a wise man, one who builds his house on a rock.
- Hear—listen with attention and faith
- Act—apply or do what he said to do
- Rain, floods, winds could not damage the house because it was firmly build on the right foundation.
- The foundation held.
- The disciples foundation was Jesus’ teaching.
- Our foundation is God’s entire word.
Matthew 7:26-27. The foolish response
- All who hear and do not act on what Jesus said may be compared to a foolish man, one who builds his house on sand.
- Hear—listen but little attention and faith.
- Not act—does not apply or do what he said to do.
- Rain, floods, winds damage the house because it was built not on the right foundation, but on sand. Sand moves and shifts with rain, floods, and wind. The foolish had the wrong foundation—human ideas, religions traditions.
Matthew 7:28-29, the amazing response to Jesus’ teaching. His so what?
- The people (more than the immediate disciples) were amazed at his teachings. His final lesson drew many people into his ministry.
- Why? For (gar, gar) is a word that introduces and explains. As one having authority. What does that mean? The people sensed that what he said was truth. They recognized him as speaking from God. The Pharisees spoke from tradition; what they said was obviously from God.
- He has shown that he is the one who proclaims, interprets, and teaches God’s word.
- The theme of authority now comes into focus. From here on Jesus will be demonstrating is Messianic authority and observers will be challenging his authority.
- His authority comes from who he is and what he says.
- Jesus’ authority in Matthew 7:29; 8:9; 9:6, 8; 10:1; 20:25; 21:23, 24; 28:18.
- Paul also talks about authority and the Bible teacher: 1 Thessalonians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:10; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Titus 2:15; and others.
Matthew 7:24-29, What’s the point?
- Jesus knew the Bible. He explained it clearly. The people who wanted to know God’s word got what he was saying.
- Application for today: Authority in Bible teaching comes from
- Familiarity with God’s word
- The ability to explain God’s word
- Obvious accuracy with God’s word. Jesus did all of these.
- Bible teachers today often gain authority from personality instead of 1-3. Dogmatic people teach with dogmatism. Unconfident people teach with a lack of confidence.
- Clear and accurate teaching will remain long after the teacher leaves. Personality teaching or wrong teaching eventually fades.
- Bible teaching should
- Hold people’s attention
- Be understood
- Be applied or used correctly.