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Matthew 7; Luke 6:37-49 Listen
In this passage, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:
Important background information on this sermon by Jesus
This sermon by Jesus began in Matthew 5 and Luke 6:17 (see notes). There are certain aspects of this message from Jesus that must be understood as a groundwork for understanding the purpose and focus of Jesus' ministry - both here and elsewhere. Click here to read the section entitled, "All about the Kingdom message."
|1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
|37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
Big-time judges of others - that's what the Pharisees and Sadducees were...and mean spirited too! They were quick to point out the least little infraction of the Law, but were blatant violators of the very spirit of the Law (as we saw in Matthew 5, see notes). As a matter of fact, Jesus mentions the Pharisees by name in this discourse in Matthew 5:20 when he says, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."Jesus points out that they are not qualified to pass judgment on others because of this. Notice what Jesus says about them in Luke 6:39, "Can the blind lead the blind?" That's also the point of the analogy Jesus gives regarding the small splinter in one's eye (the one being judged) compared to the giant beam in the eye of another (the one doing the judging).
Let's itemize the concepts that Jesus touches in this grouping of verses from both perspectives - Matthew and Luke:
This passage has suffered significant abuse by the live-and-let-live crowd. They particularly like to isolate verse 1, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Isn't it amazing how many people have memorized that verse?) Pulling it completely out of the context in which Jesus spoke these words, they use it to criticize those who take a stand for righteousness among those who flaunt their sin. The point here is that the Pharisees practiced a false, high-profile, in-your-face righteousness. The Pharisees were, in fact, corrupt - not righteous. That's the context in which Jesus accused these Pharisees regarding their quick-to-judge practices. In fact, Believers are to take a stand for righteousness and shun Believers who practice sin. You can clearly see that principle in I Corinthians 5:11 (see notes), "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." But be careful; make certain that, while you're separating yourself from Christians practicing wickedness, you don't have glaring inconsistencies in your own Christian testimony.
Luke 6:38 has also been much misused by many of those who raise money for their own broadcast ministries. Verse 38 says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." In this same judge-not context, Jesus is telling the people that they should be generous with people instead of judging them. This is not a verse on giving your tithes and offerings to the church or any other ministry. As a matter of fact, Matthews rendition of this verse is here in verse 2, "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." When you read it in the context of the passage, it is plain to see the sense in which Jesus said those words. As a matter of fact, money doesn't appear to be the object of this verse at all; it's forgiveness along with friendly assistance - obviously so when you compare both accounts (Matthew and Luke). For additional insight regarding the point of this verse, read the section below on Matthew 7:7-12 (see below).
Only slightly veiled, Jesus compares the Jewish leaders to blind people leading others, and to scavengers (Matthew 7:3-6; Luke 6:39-42). While we tend to read right through these verses without realizing the full impact on the audience, there must have been at least a few red-faced Jewish leaders in the crowd that day as Jesus was speaking.
|7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
It's interesting to note that these six verses (7-12) on prayer are really given as an analogy to illustrate the point of verses 1-6 where Jesus is talking about being generous, not judgmental toward others. In other words, just as God is generous toward us as his children, we should be generous toward others. That's the point Luke emphasizes from this monologue by Jesus in Luke 6:38, and you can see it as well in Matthew 7:12 when Jesus says, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."
In the process of making this point, however, Jesus points out that God wants to meet our needs. Jesus here emphasizes the conversational aspect of prayer. He's referring to a comfort level that every Believer should have with God that causes them to stay in a constant state of prayer - asking, seeking and knocking. Jesus further compares that to how parents answer the persistent petitions of their own children. So...here's the point: Just as God loves us and wants the best for us, we should love others and want the best for them. When that is our attitude toward others, it will come back at us proportionately. And...with regard to persistent, conversational prayer with God, Paul has much to say on the issue to Believers on the subject when he says in I Thessalonians 5:17 (see notes), "Pray without ceasing." He likewise instructs another church in Colossians 4:2 (see notes) when he says, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
These comments are similar to those made by Jesus again much later in his ministry and recorded in Luke 11:1-10 (see notes).
|13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
I think that if you had been a Pharisee sitting there that day, verses 13 and 14 would have cut you to the quick. To whom do you suppose Jesus is referring as he warns against those who are taking this "broad way to destruction," the Sadducees and Pharisees? We know that Jesus had NO respect for their manufactured religious practices. It's the same today. The popular "religious" crowd presents the "broad way" while Jesus says in John 14:6 (see notes), "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." That's the "narrow way."
There are those who SAY they subscribe to the precepts of scripture, but who also are open to the value of other contrary religions...alternative means whereby one might supposedly obtain eternal life. As a matter of fact, Evangelical Christians are often demeaned and even ridiculed for taking the position that one can only go to Heaven by trusting Jesus Christ as one's savior. When faced with intense questioning on my position, I simply quote John 14:6 (see notes), "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." It simply cannot be stated more clearly...requires no explaining or interpretation; it is what it is. There's nothing like quoting the clear words of Jesus when answering questions on eternal life.
Who are these false prophets Jesus is talking about? (Matthew 7:15-23; Luke 6:43-46)
| 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
| 43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Now for the transition from the "broad way to destruction." (see verses 13-14) Could it be that here Jesus is calling these Jewish leaders false prophets? Well, let's see, "Ye shall know them by their fruits..." (verse 16). Jesus has been talking about their fruits; they were corrupt (they faked their righteousness). As a matter of fact, Jesus mentions the Pharisees in this discourse in Matthew 5:20 (see notes) when he says, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Everyone agrees that the fruits of a false prophet are corrupt because of spiritual corruption. And what happens to those who are spiritually corrupt? See verse 19 (hewn down and cast into the fire), and just analyze the fruit (verse 20). Isn't it just classic Jesus how he was able to categorize these Jewish leaders with the false prophets without actually saying so directly? You should notice that Matthew 7:15-20 corresponds to Luke 6:43-45 from two different accounts of the same message that day. The in-your-face application for this corrupt-fruit analogy is found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Luke 6:46; since Matthew was more graphic and detailed with his rendition of the closer, let's consider his words here:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
But these Jewish leaders had really, really good resumes, right? Oooooo! Look again at verses 21-23; a lot of religious people are in for a surprise! Could it be that a righteous-looking resume isn't what God is looking for? God is looking for a heart surrendered to Him. Even though these Jewish leaders appeared as "sheep," they were actually "wolves" who did not have the best interests of the common, everyday Jews in mind. Hmmmmm...is Jesus really calling these very religious leaders "wolves?" Absolutely! To verify, let's look closely at the wording of Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Both verbs "call" (Greek: kaleo) and "do" (Greek: poieo) are second person plural verbs, the equivalent of our southern expressions "y'all call" and "y'all do." In short, Jesus is actually addressing the guilty people of this passage right there in his audience.
One more thing: notice Luke 6:45, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." That corresponds to the message of Holy Spirit leadership of Believers in Galatians 5:22-23 (see notes), "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." The very condemnatory words of the Jewish leaders in Jesus' day were actually self condemning. Evil men speak evil things; God-led men speak godly things; it's just that simple.
In conclusion, a warning about heeding what they had heard (Matthew 7:24-29; Luke 6:47-49)
| 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
| 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Jesus' message was packed full of spiritual indicators. So here's the invitation: Do you go on as you were, or will you respond to the call for true holiness, a holiness of the heart? Notice what Matthew says about the teaching of Jesus on this occasion in verse 29, "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Jesus gave them house-built-on-a-rock teaching as opposed to the house-built-on-sand teaching of the professional teachers, the scribes.
If it needs to spelled out more clearly, here it is: The Jewish leaders were religious, but had no foundation for their religious practice. Jesus is issuing an invitation to establish one's faith on the rock of the truth of God's Word through Jesus Christ.