THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 7

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.

"Judge NOT!"
To be a "fruit inspector" is one thing, but to "judge" is quite another. Later, in verses 16-20, we'll discuss being a "fruit inspector." However, here, let us deal with the term "judge." The word used in the context of these verses obviously means "to offer a verdict about someone's life that is condemning."

Many years ago, there was a female novelist who wrote under the pen name of George Eliot. One of her most famous lines was, "The touchstone by which men try us is most often their own vanity." The intention of that statement is closely connected to the context in which Jesus speaks in this passage of Scripture. We often "try" others according to our own scale. And we must admit that any scale other than Christ is flawed.

First, we ourselves are sinners....all of us (See Romans 3:23). Were it not for the love and grace of God Who has called us to salvation, we would all be condemned to an eternal death. NONE of us, on our own merits, are WORTHY of eternal life. Therefore, we are incapable of judging others on our own scale.

Second, we are not omniscient: God IS. We can not know all the intrinsic facts about someone's life.

And third, aside from telling others about the Savior, we cannot help someone come to a position of receiving eternal life. It is impossible for us to remove the "mote" from someone elses eye, because we ourselves have a "beam" in our own eye. Human effort alone cannot bring us to a position of salvation.

Paul says in Romans 14:10, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." James writes also of this in James 4:11, "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

Let's just face it: we are ALL "fault-finders." It is part of our human nature. And sadly, we do it because we want to exalt ourselves. We want to find fault with others and soothe our conscience thinking "he is not better than me." But the context of this message in these verses is to CORRECT that attitude.

We are to exhibit a LOVING attitude toward others and not a "fault-finding" attitude. And we are to exemplify a "servant's attitude" as disciples of our Lord, Jesus (See Matthew 18:3-4).

"That ye be not JUDGED!"
If a person's attitude reflects a "fault-finding" mission concerning others, then others will produce the same attitude toward them. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." We are all similar to magnets with positive and negative poles. We must remember that positive poles attract and negative poles repel! Let your positive pole lead your attitude toward others.

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.

It's very interesting that Jesus would follow the interdiction of judgmental attitudes with this decree. "Swine" were particularly repulsive to Jews, and "dogs" were considered very low beings. One might ask, "without being judgmental, how can one determine if another is related to these?" Dogs have no understanding of good or bad, holy or unholy. If you give them something to eat, they just eat it. Also, swine have no conception of clean or unclean.

Therefore, if a person will not receive the gospel as clean and holy, we are not to spend much time with that person. Present the gospel. If it is received, then help the person come to know Christ and grow in Christ. But if they refuse, go somewhere else. There's no judgmental attitude there. It is simply a principle laid down by our Lord in order to "redeem the time" we have available on this earth.

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?

Here is the principle of prayer for discernment. Pray in sincerity, and you will be given guidance. James speaks of this in James 1:5-6. God's door is always open to pour out heavenly wisdom to those who seek His guidance.

An example is given which relates God to a human father. Fathers will not give evil gifts to a child who is asking. Neither will God.

This principle imparts a truth that is seldom received by saints of today. It is the principle of reliance upon God for spiritual discernment in decision making. Too often, we pray and then forget to look and listen for God's answer. We want a "quick fix." And we defer our attention from God to some "expert."

Let us pray and rely upon God's guidance.

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.

Rather than utilizing judgmental attitudes we are to treat others as we would want to be treated. This is a universally accepted truth. Even those who refuse Christ as Lord accept this truth as relative in relationships. See Paul's statement concerning this in Romans 13:10. Jesus said that to love God with all your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself fulfills all the "law and the prophets." See Matthew 22:36-40.

No one desires to be treated as having been judged unworthy, unholy, or unclean. Therefore, let us treat others with genuine respect - regardless of their position, or even their action.

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.

When I read this statement, I have to just exclaim "WOW!" to Jesus' choices of vocabulary in relation to His audience. Some of the audience were already believers, and some were not.

"Gate" reflects the opening to something.
"Way" reflects the ROAD.
"Destruction" is used as an opposite to LIFE, which is eternal joy with Christ.

With those terms in mind, one can readily see that Jesus is putting salvation and life after salvation on a personal level! First, to receive salvtion we must "Enter YE in at the straight gate..." That gate is narrow, like the opening to a sheep fold. And Jesus said HE is the "door" of entry for sheep (people) who want to have eternal life (See John 10:9). That indeed is a NARROW gate! If one would be saved, he/she MUST surrender to Jesus as Lord! There is NO OTHER gate!! (See John 14:6).

Second, once we enter the Gate, we must walk the WAY. The WAY (road) of destruction is an easy road. All we have to do is just let ourselves go. There are a billion ways to hell. But there is only ONE "way" to heaven; that is to walk WITH Christ. And that road is both unpopular and uphill! It is unpopular because it is morally right and we, along with all other humans, are morally wrong. It is uphill because it means constant striving to improve our moral character.

Yes. Salvation is a PERSONAL commitment to Christ. And once we have committed to Him, then living is a personal struggle of integrity.

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.

Christians must beware of the teaching of false prophets. "Fruit" here is not necessarily the actions in the lives of people, but more the manner of their teaching and preaching. The teaching and preaching of a "false prophet" may be deceptive and lead people to both direct and indirect actions against God. They may look like a "lamb of God," and sound like a "lamb of God," but are they teaching the WORD of God?

The "false prophet" can be known the same way in which you know a counterfeit dollar bill. The only way to spot a counterfeit is to know the TRUE one! If a person's teaching and preaching doesn't "line up with" the Person of Jesus as revealed in the Bible, then that teaching and preaching is coming from a "false prophet."

"Wherefore by their FRUITS ye shall know them," is a direction to study the WORD and KNOW the truth. Then you will know if the thorn bush is trying to yield apples.

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.

Jesus IS LORD of all! And many people call Him "Lord." But there is a day coming which shall determine the eternal dwelling place of all human beings. When "that day" comes, eternal life shall be given to those whom Jesus has known in love, by grace, and through faith.

Tremendous works do not always reflect God's acceptance. In order for us to be accepted by God, we must truly surrender to Jesus as Lord of our lives. Psalm 1:6 says, "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

If a person truly knows Christ as LORD, then he/she will not only "talk the talk" but "walk the walk" (see verse 21 above). We cannot "walk the walk" on our own power. We must rely upon God's Holy Spirit "to will and to do" in our lives (See Philippians 2:13).

ALL people are known by God in love.
ALL people are given grace whereby they may be saved.
And when a person IS saved, then faith takes hold, and works in and for Christ will be evident.

The works themselves are relatively unimportant as opposed to whether they are done in "the will of" the Father!

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.

One word to consider about this story: CONCLUSION!

Now don't stop listening! Most of the time, when a preacher says, "..and in conclusion," Bibles start closing and people begin thinking about getting to the closest restaraunt. Then they never really hear what the conclusion IS!

This conclusion is to the WHOLE "Sermon on the Mount." It is a statement: HEAR AND DO!

Each of us is building a spiritual house in which to dwell for eternity. Some are building stick huts on sandy seashores and some are building rock houses on THE ROCK!

Which will endure in heaven? Which will endure in hell?

The whole idea of this story as a conclusion is that we should TAKE what Jesus has said and INCORPORATE it into our lives!

Be "Blessed" by having an attitude that is heavenly right and earthly useful.
Be "light" and "salt" even when it is unpopular.
Take the "it has been said" and apply it as moral fortitude in your life.
Be truthful in all you do.
Treat others as you would have them treat you.
Let Christ be LORD of who you are, and Director of how you live.

This is the "WAY" of the soul committed to Jesus!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.