John 5:22,Romans 14:4,James 4:11-12. One of the reasons to be slow to judge is that the standard by which we judge others is the standard God will judge us. I might add that practically speaking it seems that there is a relationship in how we are judged by other. The harsher we are in our judgment the more harsh people tend to be in judging us. Other passages that give warning on this are found in James 3:1,Romans 2:1-2. This passage is cited most often as proof that Believers should never judge. That is not what is being said here. The passage is primarily dealing with hypocritical judgment and judging of motives. There are many New Testament passages that urge us to judge fellow believers. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.
Matthew 7:3-5 deal with being careful to judge yourself before judging others; it is the tendency of man to be self-righteous, and to lose sight of our own sinfulness (Luke 8:11-14,Galatians 6:1-5). This is how we first take the speck or splinter out of our own eye first. It is the only way we can see clearly, and acting as a brother and not a self-important superior (Psalm 51). The warning not to give to dogs what is Holy is to be careful who you share spiritual things with. Be sure that you are dealing with a genuine believer. Those who appear godly can become quite vicious when confronted with the truth of Scripture and mercilessly turn on you. Matthew 13:11-13. Once we are part of the kingdom and yield to the king we have the assurances of His care and provisions for us.
Jesus had gave His disciples a model prayer in 6:9-13. Now He assures them that God welcomes our prayers. As disciples we are exhorted to ask, assured that if we do we will receive, that if we seek, we will find, and if we knock the door will open. The tense is one of continual action We are not to cease praying, even if there is no apparent answer to our prayers. The word “everyone” here refers to “everyone” of my disciples. Even to his disciples there are certain conditions that Scripture speaks of:
Be a believer To come before the Father we must be children of God clothed in His righteousness.
Being obedient to the king and His Kingdom Law 1 John 3:21-22 “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Our motive must be right James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
We need to be submissive to God’s will 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Illus of leper Luke 5:12 “Lord if you are willing you can make me clean”
Be persistent, Luke 18:1-8 as the persistent widow and the unrighteous judge.
Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus compares the care of our Heavenly Father to our earthly fathers. He does this with three illustrations to demonstrate God’s care for His children by describing the characteristics of loving earthly fathers. That just as they can be counted on to be trustworthy and faithful, how much more is our Father in caring for us as His sons. If an earthly father will respond to the reasonable desires of his son, then surely our heavenly Father, who is the source of all goodness, will give good things to his come to them with their pleas. The first illustration is that of a son asking for bread, his father won’t give him a stone, secondly, if the son asks for a fish, the father will not give him a serpent. This does not mean that he will always give them whatever they ask. It means that he won’t give them anything that’s bad for them. He gives “good things” to those who ask him. Based on Luke 11:13 a different perspective on this teaching leads us to the conclusion that the heavenly Father will give his children the Holy Spirit and all his benefits which includes all that His children need. Our Father loves and cares for us, but he wants us to ask for the things we need.
Matthew 7:12 We are to be like our heavenly Father in our responding to others. Our love for others is built on God’s love for us, and flowing out that is how we deal with others. This statement was like one attributed to Hillel, the grandfather of Galmiel. “What is hateful to you do not do to others”. In fact, according to Jewish tradition this was in response to a request by a Roman ruler to explain to him the Law of the Jews while standing on one foot. This is what Jesus gives as the summation of the entire Law.
Matthew 7:13-14 – the narrow gate verses the wide gate: All mankind must decide to seek God or not. One road leads to life the other to eternal damnation. One road leads to light the other leads to or remains in darkness. This is what Jesus is teaching his disciples and all who are listening on the mount overlooking the Sea of Galilee. All mankind is without excuse. If we seek God we will find Him (Romans 1:18-21) There has always been only one way to approach God, His appointed way. When the Temple stood it was though the Temple and the appointed priesthood. 1 Kings 12:25-32; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:13-15 1 Kings 18:21.
There has always been two types of religion, man’s and God’s. One is of grace the other of works. One is religion and the other is a relationship with the Living God approaching Him in His appointed way. The way of God is free yet it costs us everything. He who loses his life will find it. Matthew 10:39. The destruction spoken of here is not annihilation but conscious torment (2 Thessalonians 1:9;Jude 1:6-7).
The concept of Gehennah originates in the Old Testament – The valley of Hinnon was a favorite location for worship for idolotors. It became associated as the locale for child sacrifices to Molech (2 Kings 16:3,23:10). Jeremiah prophesied God’s judgment would come because of this. The New Covenant makes a differentiation between Gehennah and Hades. Gehennah is the place of final judgment, and Hades is the intermediate place where the ungodly await their final judgment (Revelation 20:14), while Gehennah receives both body and soul (Matthew 10:28,Luke 12:5).
Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus alerts us to beware of false prophets. We can not only be deceived by false prophets, too often we can deceive ourselves. These are individuals who claim to be speaking for God but are in reality leading people away from God. Throughout the ages God has allowed false prophets to determine the faithfulness of His people to His Word (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). An example of the importance of obedience to God’s Word is found in the incident described in 1 Kings 13. A false prophet appears to be like a real one. He is a wolf in sheep clothing. A false prophet is more than wrong, he is dangerous. Peter and Jude calls them “unreasonable animals” 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10
There are three different types of false teachers, heretics, apostates, and deceivers. A heretic openly rejects the Word of God. The apostates are those who have turned away from the truth, and who lead others away with them. Deceivers however appear to be angels of light. Jude 1:4, Acts 20:28-32. False prophets are clever. They will not openly deny the essentials of the faith, they attempt to avoid dealing with them. They have a form of godliness but upon close examination are not. An example of the importance of knowing God’s Word is found in the incident described in 1 Kings 13. A false prophet appears to be like a real one. He is a wolf in sheep clothing. A false prophet is more than wrong, he is dangerous. Peter and Jude call them “unreasonable animals”. 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10.
False prophets will be judged “cut down and thrown into the fire”. This is an allusion to hell. The concept of Gehennah or hell originates in the Old Testament. The valley of Hinnon was a favorite location for worship for idolaters. It became associated as the locale for child sacrifices to Molech (2 Kings 16:3,23:10). Jeremiah prophesied God’s judgment would come because of this. The New Covenant makes a differentiation between Gehennah and Hades. Gehennah is the place of final judgment, and Hades is the intermediate place where the ungodly await their final judgment (Revelation 20:14), while Gehennah receives both body and soul (Matthew 10:28,Luke 12:5).
Matthew 7:21-23 Generally a false prophet will honor Himself and/or his teaching rather than the Lord and His Word. John 7:17-18 A false prophet can be identified also by the fruit of those who follow him. 2 Peter 2:1-4 Interestingly God has made provision for the gathering of these false prophets and their followers. The first group he deals with are those who talk but don’t walk the life of the kingdom. The second are those who are hearers and believers of the Word but are disobedient. These are professing believers, but who are not on the narrow road that leads to life. 2 Timothy 3:5, Matthew 25:1-12 gives us an illustration of those who missed the groom because they were not fully prepared. They thought they were prepared but were not. Having the right confession does not keep our lamps filled with oil. It is a life that is continually filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be continually filled with the Spirit. The true believer will be continually examining his life. 1 Corinthians 11:28,2 Corinthians 13:5. Continual walking in sin demonstrates that you are not in the faith. 1 John 3:6-10. Religious activity is a way we tend to deceive ourselves and this generally runs with the area of good works. If we think that we are going to heaven based on our good works we are deceived. Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 23. Some religious people look to feelings, experiences, earthly material blessings, name it and claim it professions of faith, and a myriad of other things. The profession of Jesus as Lord does not guarantee heaven. The ten virgins cried out Lord, Lord. Luke 6:46, John 8:31. Obedience is a demonstration that our Words of faith contain substance. King Saul is an example of the importance of obedience. 1 Samuel 15.
“I never knew you”. This was from the Hebrew word Yawdah, which was first used in Genesis 4:1. It denotes a life giving intimacy. Daniel 11:32,Nahum 1:7,John 10:1-14, Philippians 3:10. In other words The Lord responds to these people that they are not part of His Bride that they have not entered into an intimate relationship with their Husband the Lord. Jesus will say to those who claim to have known Him, that they have had no intimate relationship. Those that profess devotion to the Messiah are similar to Judas who betrayed the Lord with an intimate kiss. Those who continue to practice evil demonstrate that they do not know and are not known by the Lord. It is noteworthy that these who are not known by the Lord do amazing works in His name. Casting out demons, prophesy and miracles. It is possible that God allowed them to do these works. Numbers 23:5,1 Samuel 10:10, John 11:51. Satan, an angel of light may have been involved. Matthew 24:24,Acts 19:13-14,2 Thessalonians 2:8-10. It is also possible that some of these claims were just plain false.
In Matthew 7:24-28 we now have a comparison of those that are true hearers of God’s word and those who are disobedient. Both groups hear God’s Word but one obeys and the other disobeys. The difference is found in the illustration of house construction. By outward appearances the houses are near each other, and look alike. The difference is found in not what is seen outwardly but the unseen foundation that they are built upon. The wise man built on a solid foundation, which were the Words of God. That is he not only heard the words but obeyed and built his life upon them. 1 John 2:3-6. The foolish man builds on sand, which is essentially doing what is right in one’s own eyes. It is building using humanistic, self-willed, self-righteous and self-centered drawings. A person who builds on sand loves to hear God’s promises but ignores his commandments or building code. Both experience the same storms, but one house stands and the other falls. James 1:22, Proverbs 30:12. The conclusion of the Sermon on the mount is that the multitudes were amazed at his teaching. Amazed by the content and that he did not base his teaching on the authority of the sages. He taught on His own authority, for this is the King of the Kingdom.