Based on Jesus’ teaching, I have to be willing to check myself on a daily basis to see if I’m in line with what Christ expects of us, and I have to be willing to make changes in those places I am outside of His word. Remember the Beatitudes and the concept of being poor in spirit – humble before and submitting to God and His will. We’ve studied about the example we set for others and how hypocrisy can affect this example. Furthermore, we have examined the standard of righteousness defined in this sermon and the priorities we should have as followers of Christ.
“Lest You Be Judged”
Besides John 3:16, Matthew 7:1 is probably one of the most known verses in the Bible. What is Jesus saying here? Many use it as a way of diverting attention from negative aspects of their own lives, but Jesus goes on to talk about a standard of judgment in the subsequent verses. He talks about making criticisms about others when we have glaring error in our own lives. He is speaking to examining others without being willing to subject to self examination. I may set a standard for you to live by, but I may be unable to meet that standard I have set.
John 7:24 records Jesus saying that we should judge with righteous judgment. We are not forbidden from judgment, but outward appearances should not be the basis of our judgments. We cannot allow partial facts or opinion sway our stance on a person. Matthew 7:16 says we will know based on the product of one’s actions. Our judgments should be rooted in hard facts and concrete knowledge.
Pearls and Pigs
Beginning in Matthew 7:6, Jesus speaks about avoiding giving that which is valuable to those that will disregard the value. There comes a point in time when Bible study becomes fruitless with an individual. II Timothy 2:23 encourages avoiding valueless arguments. Titus 3:9 says much the same thing. This is speaking to individuals that do not value God’s word and just want to use it as a platform for contention.
God and His Children
Matthew 7:7-12 speaks to a principal that we are familiar with, and this passage concludes with what we would refer to as the Golden Rule. Romans 13:8 says our sole debt toward others should be love. Why is this? In Matthew 7, Jesus has spoken about the desire God has for us to obtain what we need, God’s dealings with us are dependent on our dealings with other people. Do we want to be listened to? Be a good listener. Do we want to be loved? Demonstrate love. Do we want mercy? Be merciful.
After Jesus has spoken about priorities, behavior, and righteousness, He ends on what we would consider to be a negative note. Beginning in Matthew 7:21, Jesus makes the point that not everyone will make it to Heaven. Some will fall away. Others will fool themselves into believing they are righteous (7:22). Have I fooled myself? Not everyone that is religious will be seen as righteous by God, and those branches not bearing good fruits (7:18-20) will be cut off.
What is the key? We must obediently do God’s will, and this does not mean we just go through motions. In these lessons we have looked at the type of person we should be, and, if we are not meeting that standard Jesus set forth, then we are falling short of Heaven. Hopefully, we will be like the wise man of Matthew 7:24-25, and we will withstand the storms of life because our hope and our priorities are focused on our Lord and our lives reflect that focus in all aspects.
lesson by Tim Smelser