About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 7:1-6     ch. 7:7-12     ch. 7:13-14   

  ch. 7:15-23    ch. 7:24-29

Judging Others (ch. 7:1 - 6)     


In chapter 7 verse 1 Jesus says “don’t judge”.  There’s lots of misunderstanding concerning this section of Scripture.  When Jesus says, “don’t judge” He’s speaking of a particular type of judging that is explained by the context.  For example in John 7:24 Jesus tells us to “judge righteously”.  So it is clear that there is a place for judging, as long as the judging is righteous.    


The last half of verse 1 says “or you too will be judged”.  What Jesus is saying here is that the way we judge others will be the way they judge us in return. The simple truth is that the way we treat others, will be the way they treat us in return.  Judging others is one aspect of treating others.


Verse 2 says pretty well what I just said. Jesus says, “for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.  The word measure means that by the standard we use to judge others, those same standards will be used in judging or measuring us in return.  That’s simple common sense. 


There is a measurement, or a standard by which we can judge.  This standard is not our standard but it is God’s standard. His Word is the measuring stick that  we use in  judging anything or anyone. This is righteous judgment.  We can and should judge righteously.  There are all sorts of things in the church that are not Biblical.  We have the right and responsibility to judge these things. A good reading of the New Testament will show countless examples of how we are to judge. 


Verse 3 and onward show the context in which Jesus is saying not to judge.  He asks why people try to pick a speck or sawdust out of another person’s eye when they have a plank or a log in their own eye.  This too is simple common sense.  A person who has a major problem in one area of life can’t help a person with the same problem in his life even if the problem is to a lesser degree. 


This is the type of thing we shouldn’t be doing.  We should not be judging another person if we have the same problem.  This is what verse 4 is saying.  Jesus asks how can we say to our brother, “let me take the speck out of your eye”. How can we say such a think when we have a worse problem ourselves? Well, we can’t. 


Verse 5 is important. Jesus tells His followers that if they try to take the speck out of their brother’s eye and have a log in their own eye, then they’re hypocrites.  Everyone should take the log out of his own eye before helping his brother.  We are to clean up our problem before we help others with the same problem.  Yet once we have cleaned up our problem, then Jesus says it’s okay to help the other person.  So at this point it is right to judge.


Verse 6 may be hard to understand.  It says, “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 then turn and tear you to pieces”.


We need to know who Jesus is talking to here and to whom He is talking about.  He’s talking to His followers, and He’s talking about the hypocrites He’s just mentioned above.  These hypocrites are the Jewish leaders who take what is holy and righteous and turns them into something that is unholy and unrighteous.  For example, they take praying, something that is good, and use praying to boast their own reputation. Praying is a pearl.  The pigs are the Jewish leaders.  They trampled on what God gave Israel as being holy, and then they turn on those who really serve God our of the goodness of their hearts.  They killed the prophets, and they killed the early Christians.


We should comment on the word “dogs” in this verse.  Large dogs were not household pets in those days.  They were street scavengers. The word “dog” was a derogatory word back then. It was a put down.  The Jews called Gentiles dogs, or street scavengers.  Now Jesus calls the Jewish leaders dogs.


I’ll also point out the word “pigs”. As Jesus was calling the hypocrites in the last phrase, He calling them “pigs” in this phrase. Of course pigs were unclean animals according to the Law of Moses.  So the inference here is that Jesus was telling the Jewish leadership that they were like unclean pigs and it wasn’t worth giving them the pearls of truth that He spoke.    


Ask, Seek, Knock (ch. 7:7 - 12)                           


In verse 7 Jesus teaches that if we ask, seek and knock, God our Father will respond to us.  In response to asking, God will give. In response to seeking, you will find, and you will find from God.  That is implied.  In response to knocking, God will open the door. 


Some people use this ask, seek, knock teaching as a general principle to live by, and in one sense of the word it is a good principle.  Yet I don’t think that Jesus was being as broad as that when He spoke these words. I think the context clearly shows that He is talking about His followers asking God, seeking God, and knocking on God’s door.  It’s all about us and God. 


Further to this is all about asking God for things pertaining to the Kingdom of God since this is one main aspect to the sermon on the mount.  Mark tells us, as I will show later, that what God really wants to give us is the Holy Spirit.  To me it is thus clear that the number one thing we ask for, seek for, and knock on God’s door for is the Holy Spirit.  


This is not Prosperity Teaching.  The whole context of the Sermon on the Mount is all about living righteously.  In the last chapter Jesus tells His followers that if they seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, then the basics of life will be given to them from God.  It’s in this context Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock. There is a progression here, from ask, to seek, to knock.  This suggests to me a persistence in seeking from our Lord.  We may not get what we’re seeking for right away, and what we’re seeking for should be concerning the Kingdom of God .


In verse 9 Jesus says that if your son asks you for bread, you won’t give him a stone.  This is pure common sense.  In verse 10 Jesus continues by saying if your son asks for fish, you won’t give him a snake.


In verse 11 Jesus states why He just said what He said.  Simply put, if we who are evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will God give us even better gifts to us.  One thing we learn here is that Jesus views us as evil, even those who follow Him.  As I always say, this is what Paul taught in the first two chapters of Romans.  All mankind, every human being is evil in his heart.  This is not the predominant thinking of the world.  Worldly thinking is that we’re all pretty good.  There may be some bad people in the world, but for the most part we’re good.  This is not Biblical thinking.  If you compare yourself with others, you might well be pretty good, but we are not to compare ourselves with others. God doesn’t.  He compares us with Him, and in that light, we’re evil.  In every human being there is the potential for evil when given the opportunity. Remember the last section.  We judge things by God’s standards not ours. 


Our heavenly Father will and can give us good gifts.  Whatever He decides to give us is His choice.  We can’t twist His arms.  He may or may not give us our personal requests, but you can be sure that if your request is for  the building of His Kingdom, He will answer.


One thing to note here is that Luke adds a couple of words. He states that Jesus said that our Father in heaven would give us the Holy Spirit.  This is what our Father really wants to give mankind.  His Spirit is what unites us with God.  This is the most important gift of all.


In verse 12 Jesus tells us to do to others as we’d like them to do to us because this simple command sums up the whole of the Law and Prophets.  Jesus is in fact commenting on the Old Testament here and the Law of Moses.  He is simplifying every Law down to one simple fact, and that is to do others as you’d like them to do to you.   Really, this is all New Testament Christians need to know about the Old Testament Law.


You might think that verse 12 seems a little isolated from the rest of this section, but you have to remember that Jesus’ thoughts do connect with what He’s just said. He’s just talked about giving, as in, parents giving to children and God giving to us.  So when He speaks of doing to others as we’d have them do to us, it’s all about us giving to others.  Once again, the whole premise of the New Testament is about giving, as in, God giving His Son and in turn we giving ourselves to His Son.    


The Narrow And Wide Gates (ch. 7:13 - 14)


The following two verses have been well discussed in Evangelical circles over the years.  Jesus is speaking about a gate and a road here.  In verse 13  He says that we should “enter at the narrow gate”.  Then in verse 14 He tells us that once we’ve entered the narrow gate, there’s a narrow road that we need to stay on. 


The narrow gate and road is contrasted with a wide gate and a wide road.  This wide gate and road leads to destruction, while the narrow gate and road leads to life.


To understand this analogy we need to first look at the word “enter” in verse 13.  We are told to enter something through a narrow gate.  What are we to enter.  It’s my thinking that since Jesus has been teaching on how to live in the Kingdom of God , we enter the Kingdom of God through this narrow gate. 


If we enter into the Kingdom of God through this narrow gate, then what is the gate?  The narrow gate is simply the gospel of Jesus.  It’s narrow in the sense of the word because there is only one way into God’s Kingdom, and that’s through Jesus the gate, or as John 10 says, “Jesus the door”.  There is absolutely no other way to get into the Kingdom God.


The road just past the gate that travels through the Kingdom of God is just as narrow as the gate.  Staying in the Kingdom of God is in fact the same as getting into the Kingdom in the first place, and that’s through the gospel of Jesus.  It’s through trusting in Jesus alone to get us saved and through trusting Him alone to keep us saved.. 


Paul makes this clear in all of his writings.  We are saved by faith, and we live our lives after being saved by faith.  This means we trust Jesus to get us saved, and we also trust Him to keep us saved.  There’s no other way to stay saved.  This was the biggest problem of the early church.  The Judaizers wanted Christians to keep the Law of Moses so they could stay saved.  This is not the gospel of Jesus.  There’s only one way to stay saved.  There’s only one way to stay in the Kingdom of God .


Now Jesus contrasts the narrow gate and narrow road with a wide gate and a wide road.  This gate and road belongs to the kingdom of men or the kingdom of satan .  In the long run, the two kingdoms are one in the same.  In the world’s thinking, there’s all sorts of ways into the Kingdom of God , or so they think.  So they preach tolerance.


Jesus says that the narrow gate and road lead to life, while the wide gate and road lead to destruction. Life means life eternal, and destruction refers to the eternal Lake of Fire , the fire of God’s judgment.


Jesus also says that there will be few that find this life because the gate and road are too narrow for most people’s liking.  These words have been debated because one segment of the Christian population suggests that there will be more people in heaven than in hell. They point to the large group of people found in the book of Revelation.


Some suggest that to understand what Jesus is saying here we should think in terms of how many people have lived in human history.  Though the crowd of saints in the book of Revelation is great, it might be a small number compared to the number of humans throughout history.  Others suggest that Jesus isn’t really talking about eternal destiny in these verses. Instead of viewing the words life and destruction as being in eternity, they view them as being in the present.  That is to say, to find real life now, we need to live as Jesus tells us to live.  Some Christian live on the straight and narrow, while others wander off a bit and miss the life God wants for us now.  Then those who walk on the wide road now end up in bad times in this life.  At this point I have no conclusive argument either way.


A Tree And It’s Fruit (ch. 7:15 - 23)


In verse 15 Jesus says, “watch out for false prophets…”   It is thus clear that there will be false prophets. There’s no doubt about that, but Jesus tells us something about these false prophets.  Jesus tells us that they dress up in sheep’s clothes, meaning they look like sheep.  He goes on to say that inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  They’re not just wolves, but ferocious wolves. They’re really evil. 


The thing we learn here is that false prophets look like Christians. Sheep in New Testament terms is one analogy for Christians. False prophets on the surface appear to be nice Christian people. They will fool you if you have little understanding of the gospel truth. They live among Christians.  They’re found in the church.


Though false prophets look like nice Christians on the outside, they’re far from that on the inside. They are out to destroy and take people captive in their own thinking and lifestyle.  This is why knowing the truth of the gospel is so important.  Unless you know Scriptural truth you may not recognize a false prophet when you see him. 


Another way to recognize a false prophet is found in verse 16. Jesus says that you’ll know these men by “their fruit”.  He goes on to say that people don’t pick grapes from a thorn bush or figs from thistles.  In verse 18 Jesus says that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit.


In short the fruit a plant produces is a direct result of what kind of plant it is. Paul speaks of the “fruit of the Spirit”.  Such fruit as love, joy and long suffering comes from the Holy Spirit, but the false prophet does not produce that kind of fruit, even though on the surface you might think he does. Once you bite into the fruit you soon discover it’s rotten inside.  Once you get to know the false prophet you’ll soon see that he has other motives in mind, and these motives are evil, and self serving.


In verse 19 Jesus says that “every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’.  In context Jesus is speaking of false prophets.  He is not speaking of true Christians that may produce some bad fruit at times.  Christians with some bad fruit aren’t cast into the fire, but false prophets that always produce bad fruit and never produce good fruit are thrown into the fire.  The fire here that Jesus speaks of I believe is the Lake of Fire spoken of in the book of Revelation.


In verse 21 Jesus says that “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”.  This verse often makes Christians afraid.  They wonder if they might be one of those who calls Jesus their Lord but when they meet  Him face to face they will not be known of Him.  But once again, these words spoken by Jesus are in the context of false prophets and false teachers.  It’s these men that Jesus is speaking of not knowing.  It’s not the Christian who wants Jesus to be his Lord but struggles.  This should dispel the fear for many uncertain Christians who have wondered about this verse in relation to their salvation.


The last half of verse 21 says that those who do the will of Jesus’ Father will be received by Jesus at the end of this age. We need to understand what Jesus means by “the will of His Father”. The basic will of God that applies to all men equally across the board is to trust in Jesus as Lord and Christ.  This is evident throughout the gospel writings. 


Some people get concerned about this as well.  They feel that they miss God’s will in their lives so many times, and how can they ever be accepted by God and Jesus at that last day.  Well, we know that our salvation does not depend on what we do, that is our good works.


Concerning the will of God, there is the general will of God that applies to all men, as I’ve just mentioned, and that is to simply put your life in the hands of Jesus.  Then there is the personal will of God that varies from person to person.  Jesus may have one person do something and another person do something else.  It’s my thinking that the will of God spoken of here is the general will of God that applies to all, meaning trusting Jesus.  We often mess up on the individual will of God, yet still trust Him in His general will.


The false prophet does not put his trust in Jesus.  He neglects this general will of God, and that is why he ends up in the Lake of Fire .  That’s the only reason why people end up in eternal punishment.  It is not the individual sins, or missing God’s personal will that sends people to eternal damnation.  It’s rejecting Jesus that sends people to the Lake of Fire .


In verse 22 Jesus tells His listeners that there will be many on that last day of judgment that will tell Him that they’ve prophesied in the name of Jesus, they’ve cast demons out of people in the name of Jesus, and they’ve done miracles in the name of Jesus, but Jesus will tell them that even though they did these things, He doesn’t know them.


You might ask, “how can people do these things in Jesus’ name and still be rejected by Jesus at the end”?  Remember, Jesus is still speaking in the context of false prophets here who dress in sheep’s clothing.  These false prophets do many things in the name of the Lord,  The “name of Jesus” means doing whatever you do as Jesus’ representative”.  These men claim to represent Jesus, yet in fact, Jesus never sent these men out to represent Him and that’s why He doesn’t know them. These men say they represent Jesus.  They may be part of the church community.  They may prophecy or preach – both words mean the same.  The may even cast demons out of people and perform miracles because really they’re satan’s representatives.


So once again, to the true disciple of Jesus, we don’t have to worry about Jesus not knowing us on that last and great final day.  We may mess up at times, but He  will know us.


The last words of this section says, “away with you, you evil doers”.  Jesus will send these people away, far away into the Lake of Fire .


It is thus important to know that false prophets come to us as nice Christians.  They are within the church community, or at least in the religious community.  They claim to represent either God or Jesus, but in reality they belong to the devil.  We need to know the truth to see their error.  We need to judge or discern the fruit from these people’s lives.


The Wise And Foolish Builders (ch. 7:24 - 27)


In verse 24 Jesus says that anyone who hears His words and puts them in action is like a man who builds his house on a rock.  We see two things about Jesus’ words here, and that is, we hear His words, and we put them into action.  Many of us hear the words of Jesus but fewer of us put them into action, but this is what New Testament thinking is all about.  The New Testament is all about action, all about doing.  We tend to hear only not do what we hear, but Jesus says that this is not wise.


In verse 25 Jesus states why this man is wise in building on the rock.  When the rain storm comes and when the floods rise, his house is safe because it was built on the solid foundation of the rock.  It could not be destroyed by the storm.


Of course Jesus is the rock and He’s speaking about our lives being founded in Him.  The analogy does not suggest that if a storm comes, it suggests that “when” the storm comes.  Storms of life will come that will challenge our life’s foundation.  Only if we’ve built upon Jesus will our lives withstand the storm.


Verses 26 and 27 are just the opposite to the last two verses.  Jesus speaks of a man who builds his house on the sand, a shaky foundation at best.  When the storms comes the house is destroyed.  Once again, we take this analogy to be the storms of life that will come our way.  If we’ve built on a shaky foundation we will not survive the storm.


Verse 28 tells us that Jesus is now finished speaking on the side of this hill.  The last four verses were meant to be an exhortation to do what He had just said.  


The people were amazed at Jesus because He spoke with authority, something they weren’t used to.  The Pharisees and Jewish leadership were taught not to quote God directly.  When they spoke they quoted from other scholars.  They never said “thus says the Lord”.  They did not presume to know God’s will directly from Him. They only quoted from commentaries, you might say.  Yet Jesus did not speak this way.  He told the people plainly what the will of God was.  He did not back up what He said from commentaries.  He spoke as if He was speaking the truth directly from God, as He was indeed doing.


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