05 November 2013

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 7

This is the last lesson about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Last week, we saw Jesus talk about giving, fasting, prayer, treasures and worry. This week, Jesus will continue by talking about judging others, discerning God’s truth and building our lives on Jesus, the one true Foundation.

“Do not judge... (Matthew 7:1)” Many people take this phrase out of context and believe it’s a blanket statement. Actually, it’s a call for God’s people to be discerning and not negative. God tells us it is appropriate to judge certain things: when a Christian sins, when someone alters the Gospel message, ourselves, wickedness.

Jesus tells us to judge with the right heart. We shouldn’t have a judgmental attitude or a critical spirit. We should build people up instead of tearing them down.

We shouldn’t focus on the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye without focusing on the plank in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). When we try to help others while having our own issues, we inflict undue pain on them because we are unwilling to cleanse ourselves first.

Jesus also says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.” The dogs and pigs are people who have heard God’s Word but openly reject it and openly scorn God. They have hard hearts toward God. The sacred things and the pearls are the holy things of God. We should discern what we say to certain people because someone who rejects God will mock our Christian doctrines.

How do we gain this discernment? We ask, seek and knock...continuously. Ask means we call on God for an answer. Seek means we search for the answer in God’s Word and through more prayer. Knock means we persevere and persist in prayer. God always will answer believers’ prayers. The answer may be yes, no or wait. The answer will come in His time and in His will. But God always answers our prayers.

Next Jesus addresses the path to God. The narrow gate and the narrow road lead to life and God. But the wide gate and the broad road lead to destruction and hell. Just as in Jesus’ day, today people say there are many ways to God, but that is not true. There is only one way to God – through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

How do we know when someone is teaching correct doctrine? We must look for the fruit in their lives. Our fruit shows whether our faith is genuine or counterfeit. Look at teachers’ lives, listen to their words, look for the fruit of the Spirit and test everything they say against the Bible to determine if they are teaching the truth. And ask God for His discernment to reveal these things to you.

Following false teachers and their teachings is like the foolish builder who built his house on the sand. When the storm came, the house collapsed because it was not built on a firm foundation. But the wise builder built his house on the rock. When the storm came, the house stood firm because it was built on the rock.

The foolish builder lacked a relationship with Christ and trusted in other things and people to get him to God. But the wise builder trusted in Christ and built his life upon the Rock. The wise builder applied Christ’s words to his life.

Next week, we’ll see Jesus begin healing people with miracles.

Things to Think About

  • Is it easier for me to magnify the speck in someone else’s eye than to address my own issues?
  • Am I willing to remove the plank from my own eye before helping someone remove the speck from his or her eye?
  • In which relationship do I need God’s discernment?
  • Which road am I traveling?
  • Which fruit am I producing?
  • Am I building my life on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, His work on the cross and His Word?

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