Read Matthew 7
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
In Matthew 7 we find the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus’s teachings both call us to action in our faith and reveal the true character of God. Let’s look closer at His powerful words to us and how we should respond.
First, Jesus calls us to not merely hear but do. Discernment, motives, seeking, and practice are all important ingredients to how we walk as believers. Discernment causes us to not only check our own hypocrisy before we speak truth into someone else’s life (v. 5) but makes sure that our words are done in love (v .12). In Matthew 22:6, Jesus says that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. The audience would have been familiar with what not to do, but Jesus is turning them towards what to do. Discernment also allows us to see true teaching and discipleship, through the bearing of fruit and relationship with the Lord (v. 20, 23).
We seek the Lord actively as well. Ask, seek, and knock from verses 7 and 8 show an increasing intensity to our pursuit of Him. Proverbs 2:4 talks about searching for wisdom as if we were searching for hidden treasure. There is so much treasure and goodness awaiting those who faithfully pursue the Father. How we go about it is repeated in the final section of the chapter. Jesus says we must put it into practice (v. 24, 26). Paul exhorts us in the same way in Philippians 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me….put it into practice.” All believers must see that faith is not just hearing but actively living out what Jesus has called us to with wisdom and understanding.
Second, while our faith is active, our Father’s character and response is the greatest reward. He gives us good gifts (v. 11). James tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). The best gift we receive is Him. He sets us on a path that leads to life (v. 14). John’s gospel states that He gives us abundant life (John 10:10). That path is found through a door or a gate (v. 7, 13). If we open them we are assured to find Him!
In summary, while we may have to take active steps toward Him, rest in the fact that He is there waiting to lavishly love and extend grace to us. We don’t earn our way to Him, He gave the greatest gift of His Son, Jesus, first.
- What will you do differently to have a more active faith?
- What did you learn about God’s character from this chapter?
- What do we find when we actively seek God? (see: Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 8:17, Hebrews 11:6) Spend time thanking Him for who He is and how He faithfully responds to us seeking after Him.
“His doors are meant to open: they were made on purpose for entrance; and so the blessed gospel of God is made on purpose for you to enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall, but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.” Charles Spurgeon
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