Matthew 7: Bible Study Guide

40-BSG-7A: WORSHIP GUIDE.

Matthew 7: Worship Guide/ 40-BSG-7A, (Matthew 7:13-14)/ Theme: Enter by the Narrow Gate/ Hymn: It’s not an easy road we are traveling to Heaven [Author: John W. Peterson].

Exploration: Choose God or suffer the consequences – (Ps. 1:1-3; Deut. 30:19-20; Josh 24:13-15; 1 Kings 18:21; Jer. 21:8; Mt 7:13-14)

Reflection: In this last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continues to give instructions to the citizens of the kingdom of Heaven. He teaches us to ask God for what we need, how to treat others, and how to live as a true child of the heavenly Father. There are many themes here, but for the purpose of our ‘Worship Hour’ this morning, let us focus our attention on the subject of The Narrow Way: a positive response to the entire exposition of Mt 5:17–7:27. In fact, this is the crux of the Sermon of the Mount.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13, NIV) — “The gate stands at the beginning of the way, not at the end. It is narrow, and through it may pass only that which is essential to the journey along the way. Anciently the gates of cities were closed at sunset, and since the cities were often situated atop hills or precipitous rocks, the path that led upward to the gates was often narrow. He who would enter before the closing of the gate must “strive” by persevering effort up the pathway that leads home, to be in time “to enter in” – (SDA BC 5:357).

Devotional Implication: Beloved, in this chapter, Jesus officially invites us to accept His principles as the working policy of our lives. He does this by pointing out to us the correct “way,” and where to begin. He is the “door,” and He is the “way” (10:-7-914:6). “He who would enter into the kingdom of Heaven, who would “have life” and “have it more abundantly,” must enter by Him; there is no other way (John 10:7–10).” – (SDA BC 5:357). Thus, He bids us — “Strive to enter through the narrow gate” (LK 13:24)

The main reason Christ came to this world was to die for us, that we might have Everlasting Life, (Jn 3:16). Having done so, He now points us to The Narrow Way — the only path that will lead to everlasting life. “He has marked out every step of the way; and that no one may make a mistake, He tells us just what to do. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29, 30). This is the only way in which sinners can be saved. Knowing that no one can obey this command in his own strength, Christ tells us not to be worried nor afraid, but to remember what He can do if we come to Him, trusting in His strength. He says, If you yoke up with Me, your Redeemer, I will be your strength, your efficiency.” – [Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1967), 53].

The Gospel’s Voice: This section is written as if God were speaking directly to you—Because He does. What does the LORD say to me this morning? My son, One of Jesus’ self-descriptions was of a gate: “I am the door [Gate, NIV]; If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, (John 10:9). In this chapter, I have presented you with two choices, two lives, two ways – The Narrow vs. the Wide gate/ road. Each life has a “gate” consistent with its “way.” The wide gateway leads to destruction; the narrow leads to eternal life! Which gateway represents your life right now? Here is the goodness: I am very patient with you – “not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance” and be saved (2 Pet 3:9). The invitation still stands! Would you strive to enter by the Narrow Gate today and be saved?

My Desire: By God’s grace, I want to “strive to enter through The Narrow Gate” (LK 13:24).

Have A Blessed Day: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”” (Deuteronomy 30:19–20, NKJV)

Worship Through Singing: It’s not an easy road we are traveling to Heaven [Author: John W. Peterson].

1. It’s not an easy road, We are travelling to heaven; For many are the thorns on the way! It’s not an easy road, But the Savior is with us; His presence gives us joy every day.

[Chorus] No, no, it’s not an easy road! No, no, it’s not an easy road; But Jesus walks beside me; And brightens the journey, And lightens every heavy load.

2. It’s not an easy road, There are trials and troubles, And many are the dangers we meet! But Jesus guards and keeps, So that nothing can harm us, And smooths the rugged path for our feet.

3. Though’ I am often footsore, And weary from travel, Though’ I am often bowed down with care! A better day is coming when home in the glory; We’ll rest in perfect peace over there.

40-BSG-7B: PRAYER GUIDE.

Matthew 7: Prayer Guide/ 40-BSG-7B, (Matthew 7:7-8)/ Theme: Persevering Prayer/ Hymn: Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer!

Key Text: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8, NKJV)

Opening Remarks: Christ says, “For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].” (Mark 11:24, AMP) “He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.

For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received.

We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.

To live thus by the word of God means the surrender to Him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul. Family prayer, public prayer, have their place; but it is secret communion with God that sustains the soul life.” [Ellen G. White, Education, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1903), 257–258].

Values to Build On: Prayer, Faith, Hope, Love, Entering the Narrow Gate, Building on The Rock!

Sins to Avoid/ Confess: Hypocrisy; Disobedience to God, Christ, His word; Failure to “ask, seek, knock.”

Something to Thank God For: Seeking God, His Word, His will. The privilege of Prayer (calling upon Him); Promises to take refuge in Him; Those who truly “ask, seek, knock” will find God and fellowship with Him (Rev 3:20).

People to Pray For: Self-deception; Self-righteousness.

Issues to Pray For: Judging others; Praying (Asking God/ Seeking God); Entering by the Narrow Gate; Obedience and self-discipline; Bearing goof fruits; Admittance into the Kingdom of heaven; Building on the solid Rock; Responses to gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today’s Promise: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV)

Note: Scroll down to Section (40-BSG-7Z) for a ‘Closing Prayer.’ May the Lord Bless You!

40-BSG-7C: INTRODUCTION.

The Book of Matthew 7/ Introduction/ 40-BSG-7C, (Matthew 7:1-48)

Thus far, in the Sermon of the Mount (Mt. 5-6), we have discovered that a person who indeed is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven will – 1. Seek to please God, who sees in secret, rather than men who judge by what is on public view; 2. Trust God completely to meet his/ her daily needs; 3. Concentrate on God’s kingdom and His righteousness; 4. express faith and trust in God through prayer; 5. Act in obedience to the words of Jesus, which are the only sure foundation.

In this chapter (Mt. 7), Jesus describes how to live as members of the kingdom of heaven. He begins by pointing out the dangers of a judgmental attitude (vv. 1–5). Next, He stresses on God’s goodness (vv. 7–11). He instructs His followers to replicate that goodness as they interact with others: famously known as “The Golden Rule!” (v. 12). He invites His followers to enter by the narrow gate (v. 13). The Sermon on the Mount ends with a parable: “A wise man who built his house on the Rock! (v. 24). Wise people hear God’s Word and respond in obedience; foolish people disregard the Word, fail to adhere, abide, and act accordingly, thereby, heaping up for themselves grave consequences. Which group do you belong to?

40-BSG-7D: TODAY’S CHAPTER

Matthew 7: Bible Reading Plan/ The Book of Matthew 7/ Theme: The Sermon of the Mount, Part 3:  Relationships, Privileges and Responsibilities of the Citizens of God’s kingdom (7:1-48).

Matthew 7 (NKJV) 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

40-BSG-7E: TEACHING OUTLINE.

Bible Study Guide/ Teaching Outline/ Matthew 7, (40-BSG-7E)/ Theme: The Sermon of the Mount, Part 3:  Relationships, Privileges and Responsibilities of the Citizens of God’s kingdom (7:1-48).

Characters: God, Jesus, the Disciples, the Multitudes.

Key Text: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

Key Word: I Never Knew You! (Mt 7:23)

Striking Verses: Matthew 7:1-5, 6, 7-12, 13-14, 15, 16-17, 18-19, 20, 21-23, 24-25, 26-27, 28-29.

Division of Main Points1. How to Treat Others – [a] On judging others (7:1–6); [c] on God’s Generosity (7:7–11); [d] The Golden Rule (7:12)/ 2. Two choices: only two ways – [a] The Narrow versus the Wide gate/ road (7:13–14); [b] Good versus Bad fruit (7:15–23); [c] Wise versus Foolish builders (7:24–27)

Biblical Events – [Events Occurring]: Jesus’ ministry, (Mt 3:13–19:22); Jesus’ Galilean ministry, (Mt 4:12–11:19); Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount, (Mt 5:1–7:29); Jesus’ northern ministry, (Mt 7:7–11); Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray, (Mt 7:7–11).

Biblical Phrases – Do not Judge; “With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Mt 7:2); Keep Asking, keep Seeking, keep Knocking; Enter by the narrow Gate; You will know them by their Fruits; I never knew you; The wise man who built his house on the Rock.

Issues for Further Study – Petitionary Prayer (prayer that makes a request of God); Prayer as asking God; Heresy (false teaching within the church); Agents of Satan; Entry into kingdom of God; Goodness of God; Means and results of sanctification; Parables of Jesus Christ;

Striking Facts:

  1. We are not to harshly judge people’s motives, (Mt 7:1).

  2. Instead, we ought to examine ourselves thoroughly, (Mt 7:3-5).

  3. We are not to give holy things to the ungodly (Mt 7:6).

  4. We are to diligently ask for/ seek God’s will (Mt 7:7).

  5. God promises to reveal his will if we ask confidently (Mt 7:8).

  6. If we, sinful as we are, can give good gifts to our children, how much more will the holy Father give to his children! (Mt 7:9–11)

  7. The Golden Rule: We are to treat others as we would want them treat us (Mt 7:12).

  8. There are only Two Roads: The broad road leads to hell; The narrow road to heaven (Mt 7:13-14)

  9. Beware of false prophets, (Mt 7:15)

  10. Be Warned: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21-23).

  11. The two Trees: A good tree cannot produce bad fruit (16, 18); A bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Mt 7:17, 19–20).

  12. The two Builders: One man built his house on solid rock; the other on shifting sand. When the storm came, the house on the rock stood firm; the house on the sand fell flat (Mt 7:24-27). Be a wise man, by building your house on the solid Rock (Jesus Christ).

  13. The amazing power of Jesus’ words: the crowds were astonished and overwhelmed at His teaching; “for He was teaching them as one who had authority [to teach entirely of His own volition], and not as their scribes [who relied on others to confirm their authority]. (Mt 7:28-29).

Key Thought: “It is not enough simply to hear Jesus’ call or even to respond with some temporary flurry of good deeds. Rather, we must build a solid foundation that combines authentic commitment to Christ with persevering obedience. Jesus graphically illustrates his point with a parable (on which see comments under chap. 13). The wise person living in the Palestinian desert would erect a dwelling on a secure rock to protect the house from the flash floods that sudden storms created. The foolish person would build directly on the sand and would have no protection against the devastation of the elements. So too Judgment Day will come like a flood to disclose which spiritual structures will endure.” – [Craig Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 22:134].

Admonitions: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13–14, NKJV)

Warm Up Questions:

  1. What is the main content of this chapter?

  2. What does the chapter say/ teaches us about God?

  3. Why not judge others? (1-2)

  4. What are three aspects of prayer? (7-8)

  5. What are Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 called?

  6. What are the two gates, two ways? (13-14)

  7. Why the two trees, two kinds of fruits? (15-20)

  8. Why the two men, and two houses? (24-27)

  9. Why would a Loving Father utter these words: “I never knew you; depart from Me” (21-23)

  10. What indicates that speech alone is not adequate to enter into the kingdom of heaven? (21)

  11. What are the four tests of discipleship? (14, 16, 21, 25)

  12. What do you think is the main point God is making by including this chapter in the Bible?

  13. What response do you think this chapter should inspires us to do?

40-BSG-7J: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

Bible Study Guide/ Matthew 7, (40-BSG-7J)/ Questions and Answers.

[1] Did Jesus forbid us to judge others? (7:1-2) Yes.

“Jesus here refers particularly to judging another’s motives, not to judging the right or wrong of his acts. God alone is competent to judge men’s motives, because of the fact that He alone is able to read men’s innermost thoughts (see Heb. 4:12; DA 314). Looking thus on men’s hearts, God loves the sinner the while He hates the sin. Able to discern only the “outward appearance” (1 Sam. 16:7) and not the heart, men inevitably make mistakes. Jesus does not here refer to that fine sense of discrimination by which the Christian is to distinguish between right and wrong (Rev. 3:18; cf. 5T 233), but rather to the habit of censorious, sharp, and usually unjust criticism.” —[Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 5:354–355].

[2] What is the “speck” in your brother’s eye, and the plank [the “egregious log,” AMP] in your own eye referring to? (7:3-5)

Speck describes something so small, so insignificant; it is almost irrelevant. We have enough to worry about and correct in our own lives (the plank). Stop spending more time attempting to judge/ correct the lives of others (the speck). Jesus call those who try to correct other people’s faults but don’t work on correcting their own flaws first, hypocrites (v. 5). Thus, it would be better if we concentrated on our own faults and leave the faults of others to God.

“If every disciple sought to obey Matthew 7:1–5a, the peace of the church would be advanced immeasurably. But Jesus seeks the purity of the church too, so there remains a place for discerning and dealing with the sins of other Christians. To the same end, judgments are required to determine when a disciple’s profession is genuine; whether a person should be allowed to enter, or to remain in, the church; and when the church should curtail its witness to certain people.”

“Deal decisively with your own sin, says Jesus, ‘and then you will see clearly [diablepseis] to remove the speck of sawdust from the eye of your brother’ (Matt. 7:5b). When the log blocked your view, you could barely see the speck (7:2, the verb blepō); now, without the log, you can see it clearly (7:5, diablepō)” – [J. Knox Chamblin, Matthew: A Mentor Commentary, Mentor Commentaries, (Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor, 2010), 454].

[3] What, who do the dogs and pigs refer to Matthew 7:6? Why would anyone give what is holy to the dogs, or cast ones pearls before swine? (7:6)

“What is holy refers probably to consecrated food, which was to be eaten only by the priests and their families (Exod. 29:33–34; Lev. 22:10–16; Num. 18:8–19); to give it to dogs, which were regarded as unclean animals to be fed with unclean food (Exod. 22:31), was unthinkable. It is equally unthinkable that something as valuable as pearls should be given to swine, another unclean animal (cf. 2 Pet. 2:22 for a similar contemptuous linking of dogs and pigs)… Holy and valuable things.. must be given only to those who are able to appreciate them. Cf. Paul’s emphasis that only the ‘spiritual’ can understand spiritual teaching (1 Cor. 2:13–16). God’s gifts are not to be laid open to abuse, or his truth to mockery. There is a right discrimination which is different from the censorious judging of vv. 1–2.” — [R. T. France, Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 1:148].

[4] How would you describe the character of these kinds of people? There are some people who cannot receive Christian truth. Perhaps their minds are shut, or their minds have been clouded by sin and cannot see the truth. They may be mockers of everything that is holy, or we have nothing in common with them which we can discuss.

Listen how other Passages alludes to this Truth:

  • “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22, NKJV) “But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Matthew 15:26, NKJV
  • “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matthew 10:14–15, NKJV)
  • “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:10, NKJV)
  • “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4–6, NKJV)
  • “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29, NKJV)

[5] What 3 commands did Jesus give with regard to prayer? “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, AMP)

[6] What 3 promises did Jesus give with regard to prayer? “For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, AMP)

[7] To whom would these promises apply? Those who live in obedience to God’s Word; strive not to sin; those whose requests will bring ‘glory’ to God.

  • “And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:22, ESV)
  • “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3, ESV)
  • “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.” (John 5:14–15, ESV)

[8] Is this a blank check that you can receive whatever you want? No! These promises do not apply to a person praying for something contrary to God’s Word; or for selfish motive; or a request geared for one’s personal praise/ status. These promises are addressed only to those who will “seek first the kingdom of God, and His Righteousness” (Mt 6:11, 33).

[9] Who were the False Prophets? (7:15) These are those who profess Christ but they don’t actually follow him. They are pretenders, claiming to be God’s spokespersons but are not. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, they give all external appearances of promoting authentic Christianity in both word and work but they are fake teachers, shepherds, etc.

“In other parts of the New Testament false prophets are spoken of as “deceitful spirits” who advocate “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1) and as those “who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (2 Pet. 2:1).

They are called false brothers (2 Cor. 11:26), false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13), false teachers (2 Pet. 2:1), false speakers, that is, liars (1 Tim. 4:2), false witnesses (Matt. 26:60), and false Christs (Matt. 24:24). The apostle John tells us, therefore, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1)” – [John F. MacArthur Jr., Matthew, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 1:461].

[10] Why a stern warning against False Prophets? (7:15) Because they lead people astray.

“A true prophet is one who speaks for God. Accordingly, a false prophet is one who pretends to be speaking for God when in reality he speaks only the perverted thoughts of his own perverse heart (cf. Isa. 30:10; Jer. 14:13–15; 23:16, 17, 21, 25, 30–32, 38; 29:8, 9; Eze. 13:2, 3, 10, 11).” – (SDA BC 5:357).

  • False prophets teach that it is possible for men to enter in by “the broad gate.”
  • False prophets do not talk about sin and the need to repent.
  • They treat the church like a business, while they act like a CEO.
  • They are more interested in numbers than ministering to the hearts of people.
  • They are like wolves destroying lives to get dishonest gain, (Ezek. 22:27)
  • They do not obey God’s Law, instructions (Zeph. 3:3-4).
  • They drive expensive cars, have big houses, live a lavish lifestyle.
  • They are interested in self-display – wanting to always be in the limelight.
  • They are the “thieves,” whose only purpose is to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:7–10)

NOTE: “Those who truly love the Lord and are fully surrendered to His will need have no fear of being led astray if they obey the voice of God speaking to their souls day by day through His Word and through the counsels He has given (GC 598; 8T 298). In the great hour of testing that lies ahead, only those who know the truth and love it will be secure against the deceptions of Satan (Hosea 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:9, 10; 6T 401).” – (SDA BC 5:358).

[11] How can we detect a false prophet? How can we tell if the preacher is telling the truth? “[Direct such people] to the Teaching and to the Testimony! If their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is surely because there is no dawn and no morning for them.” (Isaiah 8:20, AMP)

The Law. Heb. torah, denoting all the revealed will of God. This is the common Biblical term for the inspired writings of Scripture, particularly those of Moses (see on Num. 19:14; Deut. 4:44; 30:10; 31:9; Prov. 3:1; see Vol. I, pp. 37, 38). Isaiah directs men away from the words and wisdom of devils and men to the revealed wisdom of God. The prophets of God were His witnesses, or spokesmen, and the “testimony” they bore was His message of wisdom and life. Isaiah here directs men to the Word of God as the standard of truth and the guide to right living. God has revealed Himself in His Word. Whatever men may speak that is not in harmony with that Word has “no light” in it (see on ch. 50:10, 11).” – [The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, 4:144].

[12] What is Jesus talking about grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (7:16) The point is that there may be a superficial resemblance between the true and false prophet. The false prophet may wear the right clothes and use the right language, but our soul can never be sustained and nourished by the food which the false prophet offers. It is not good fruit. The real test of any teaching is: is this “Thus saith the LORD?” Does it help me to see my unworthiness and cling to Jesus? Is there any urgency to repent and walk a holy/ sanctified life?

[13] What happens to a tree that does not bear good fruit? (7:19) It is cut down and thrown into the fire.

John the Baptist had spoken of “the axe” being “laid unto the root of the trees” – “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Mt 3:10).

  • Laid unto. The meaning seems to be that the ax is placed there ready for action.
  • Every tree. Trees are often used in the OT as symbols of people (see Eze. 17:22–24; cf. Ps. 1:3), and John’s hearers fully understood whereof he spoke. Like John, Christ used a tree to represent the people of Israel (Luke 13:6–9; Matt. 21:19, 20).
  • Bringeth not forth. See on Luke 13:6–9. Under the symbol of a vineyard that produced nothing but “wild grapes,” Isaiah had pictured the tender care of God for His people and their utter rejection for failing to “bring forth grapes” (Isa. 5:1–7; cf. Matt. 21:33–41).
  • Good fruit. Only a good man can grow a crop of good habits, from which there may be harvested a good character (see Gal. 5:22, 23).
  • Hewn down. Compare Isaiah’s parable of the wild grapes (Isa. 5:1–7) and Christ’s parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6–9). Implicit in Jesus’ parable is the fact that God is long-suffering, but that if His offers of mercy are not appreciated, they are eventually withdrawn. The Jewish nation had practically outlived its day of mercy, and was about to be rejecte
  • Cast into the fire. In Jewish literature “fire” was a distinguishing feature of the final judgment — [Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 5:299]. In the fires of the last day the evil fruit, or “works,” shall be “burned up” (2 Peter 3:10–12).

[14] What kind of fruit are you producing? Are you bearing good fruit? Gal. 5:22-23 Are doing God’s will? (Mt. 7:21); Is your light shinning before men? Do they see “your good works” –(fruits) and glorify your Father in heaven? (Mt 5:16)

[15] What kind of things will MANY have done but that will be told to depart from Christ in the judgement? (7:21-23). Call Jesus, ‘Lord, Lord;’ Prophesied in His name; Used Jesus’ name to drive out demons; Performed many wonders/ miracles like healing; etc.

On the day of Judgment, Jesus didn’t know them, despite all this! Christ will deny them entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, calling them “evil doers” because they hadn’t have a saving faith. They had not been doing God’s will. They didn’t love God because they weren’t obeying Him: “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15).

NOTE: The day will come when their real motives, pretenses and disguises will be exposed and they will be banished from the presence of God. We can deceive others with our words but we can’t deceive God.

[16] What is necessary to do with Jesus teachings? What does Jesus demand of us? (7:24-27). Act on them/ Obeying them/ Follow through with our actions!! Obedience to God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life!

We need to listen to Christ’s teachings and then “DO” them. Listen to James 1:22–

  • NKJV – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
  • AMP – “But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].”

[17] How do we build on Christ, a solid foundation?

  • When we are obey Christ, His Teachings, His Words; When we DO God’s will.
  • When we Keep His Law: “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (1 John 2:5, NKJV)

“God has a standard of righteousness by which He measures character. This standard is His holy law, which is given to us as a rule of life. We are called upon to comply with its requirements, and when we do this we honor both God and Jesus Christ; for God gave the law, and Christ died to magnify it, and make it honorable.” (Reflecting Christ, p. 55). He declares: “If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.” (John 15:10, AMP)

[18] How can we be sure we are building on Christ’s foundation?

  • When the trials of life come; and the storms of life crash around us — we do not cave in, fall apart, or fall away from Christ. We will be able to handle them with Christ. Then, we shall know that we have indeed build on the Rock! (Compare the trials of Job vs. Peter (denying Jesus three times), etc.

[19] Is it possible to deceive ourselves? Yes. According to Matthew 7:21-23, many were deceived into thinking they were on the right track but weren’t.

  • The question that should come home to each of us is, Upon what foundation am I building? We have the privilege of striving for immortal life; and it is of the greatest importance that we dig deep, removing all the rubbish, and build on the solid rock, Christ Jesus. He is the sure foundation. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11. In Him alone is our salvation. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
  • The foundation firmly laid, we need wisdom that we may know how to build. When Moses was about to erect the sanctuary in the wilderness, he was cautioned, “See … that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5. In His law, God has given us the pattern. Our character building is to be after “the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” The law is the great standard of righteousness. It represents the character of God, and is the test of our loyalty to His government. And it is revealed to us, in all its beauty and excellence, in the life of Christ.” — [Ellen G. White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students Regarding Christian Education, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1913), 61–62].

[20] How could we be building on sand? See Night Devotion (Segment, 40-BSG-7Y).

[21] What was the response to Jesus’ teaching? — “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:28–29, NKJV)

“The scribes’ teaching was dogmatic, and based on the traditions of the elders. There was life-giving power in the method of Christ’s presentation, as well as in the truths He set forth, in contrast with the dead formalism of the teaching of the scribes.” – (SDA BC 5:360).

“Jesus’ words have now ended (“finished,” from teleō, suggests the derivative sense of fulfillment). Not surprisingly, the crowds marvel and contrast Jesus’ teaching with that of the scribes. For them the difference was one of authority. Of course the scribes and Pharisees were religious authorities, but their right to speak was always based on their ability to quote Scripture or subsequent Jewish teachers and tradition. Strikingly, Jesus quotes Scripture in his sermon only to reinterpret it, he cites no human authorities or tradition, and he speaks with directness and confidence that he himself is bringing God’s message for a new era in human history. Such preaching reflects either the height of presumption and heresy or the fact that he was a true spokesman for God, whom we dare not ignore.”  — [Craig Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 22:134–135].

CONCLUSION: (Devotional Implication Questions)

[22] What are you building your life on? Some build their house on the sand, but I want to build my house on the sure foundation: Jesus Christ!

Beloved, there is no better sermon in the entire Scripture like the three chapters we have just covered. Indeed, Christ spoke the mind of God with all authority. Knowing, or memorizing this sermon, will not help us much. What we really need is “obedience” to the words of life we have just heard from Jesus.

[22] What is your response to Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5-7? I am inviting you to check one of the Boxes below -which reflects your decision, as we close:

  • I desire to obey Jesus and His Words.
  • I desire to learn more about Jesus in His Word.
  • I desire to DO His will; to KEEP His Commandment.
  • I desire to pray and trust Him to guide me through temptations and trials of this life.
  • I desire to walk a holy/ sanctified life.
  • I desire to set my mind on things above (Col 3:1-3) and fix my eyes on the LORD Jesus (Heb 12:1-2).
  • I desire to walk with Jesus by enter through the Narrow Gate! (Mt 7:13-14)
  • I desire to build my house on the Rock, the solid Rock of Jesus Christ (Mt 7:24-27).
  • I desire first and most importantly to seek His kingdom and His righteousness (Mt 6:33).
  • I desire to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me (Mt 5:44).
  • I desire to ”lay up my treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Mt 619-21).

My Respond: My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less! (SDAH 522).

  • My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

        [Refrain] — On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.

  • When Darkness seems to veil His face, I rest on his unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
  • His oath, his covenant, his blood; supports me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
  • When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found! Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

40-BSG-7K: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.

Bible Study Guide/ Matthew 7, (40-BSG-7K)/ Discussion Questions

To Think About And Discuss[1] What does it mean to judge? What ‘measure’ do we often use when trying to decide who is good, better, or best Christian? Would you like these measures applied to you? Why, or why not?

[2] How can you use Mt 7:1-6 to help those who are obsessed with ‘fault-finding,’ and judging other’s motives which is too often combined with a blindness, here referred to as “the speck from their eye?”

[3] In the previous chapter, we learned that God will forgive those who forgive their debtors (Mt 6:14–15); Here, He will condemn those who condemn. Think about the parable of The Unforgiving Debtor (Mt 18:23–35), how does it better illustrates this point? Compare (Rom. 2:1, 21–23; James 4:11–12)

[4] Think about this: “For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.” (Matthew 7:2, AMP)

For Further Study[5] Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Mt 7:1).  An example of unjust judgment was the disciples’ condemnation of the woman who came to anoint the feet of Jesus with oil (Mt. 26:6-13). They thought she was wasting something; Jesus said she had done a good work that would always be remembered. They had a rash, harsh, unjust judgment. In what ways do we break this commandment today? What is the effect of gossip: when we smear other’s reputation? What can this do to a body of Christ? What is the most effective way to deal with this cancer in your local church, community, or in your own family?

For Self-Examination[6] “ASK, and it will be given to you; SEEK, and you will find; KNOCK, and it will be opened to you” (Mt. 7:7). God is very rich and has many blessings to bestow upon His little children, but the problem is we do not ask. In the previous chapter, God asks us to reason: “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Mt. 6:30) Do I have strong faith? If not what must I do first?

[7] Ask yourself these questions – Have I been asking the right way? Have I repented of my sins (Isa. 59:1-2); Do I ASK with confidence and humility? Do I KNOCK with earnestness and perseverance? When I sense that “the door is closed” (delayed answer) do keep on praying (fasting) or do I quit? In the days of severe temptations and trials of life; do I offer up “prayers and supplications” with “vehement cries and tears” to Him who is able to save me from death, or not? (Study carefully the Prayer Life of Jesus, and learn from it, Heb 5:7-10).

[8] “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Pr. 14:12) Not all ways; Not all destinations are equally good. One leads to destruction, the other to eternal life. In this chapter, The LORD commands us to “Enter by the Narrow Gate!” In the Narrow Way, we are not alone, we are with Jesus! This way/ road/ gate requires self-denial; sometimes persecution, even death! Ask yourself this question: as of today, which Gate do I belong to? Are my priorities, words, thoughts, actions, etc., indicate that I am Heaven-bound, travelling with Jesus, or not?

For Life Today[9] Jesus condemns judging, criticizing others unfairly “with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge.” (Mt 7:1a, AMP). In another place, we are told that “God is the Righteous Judge…. And He is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11). Further, the LORD says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom 12:19). Why we are often inclined to condemn, judge (the offender) and if possible seek justice, vengeance? Is there a place for “verbal rebuke” or even stronger measures to the offender? What does Mt 18:15–17 instruct us to do? Is there a contradiction between these two?

For Going Deeper[10] Consider again the major truth expressed in the subject of “the Narrow Way.” How does Mt 7:13-14 and Ps. 1:1-3; Deut. 30:19-20; Josh 24:13-15; 1 Kings 18:21; Jer. 21:8 expand your understanding of the choices we make and the aftermath of those choices? Does it matter to be on the “Narrow Way” anyway?

For Personal Implications[11] On Judging Others: Ask yourself the following questions – How many hours in a week do I spend talking about other’s faults? Do I judge their entire life only by its worst moments? Do I claim to know (judge) the hidden motives in their actions? Do I judge others without putting myself in their shoes? Beloved, we break this command when we judge others without being mindful that, we too, will be judged. Instead of “judging,” start reaching out to them, pray for/ with them, and point them to “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

40-BSG-7Y: NIGHT DEVOTION.

Matthew 7, (40-BSG-7Y)/ Selected Devotional Thought(s) in Matthew 7/ Theme: Building Castles in the Sand!

Matthew 7:24–27 (NKJV) — 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

THOUGHT #1: How could we be building on Sand? Is it possible to build on a Sand? Yes.

Introduction: Each one of us has a house to build. How we build our houses –life—will determine our destiny, not just for this life but for the life to come. How one build makes all the difference: between success and failure; between reward and loss; between acceptance and rejection; between standing and falling; and yes, between life and death!

In our Key Text, we have Two Builders, Two Choices: One “built his house on the rock.” He heard the Gospel and obeyed. His Reward: He experienced a great deliverance! The other, a foolish man, “built his house on the sand.” He heard the same Gospel but did not obey. The Reward: He experienced a great fall!—“the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (v. 27).

THOUGH # 2: Building upon the Sand is the depth of foolishness! The sand is anything other than Christ: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11, NKJV) Imagine a skilled builder knowing better but choosing foolishly. What does ‘sand’ stand for? The sand represents: Human will, human opinion, human attitudes, and the shifting sands of human philosophy.

There is the sand of the World – (the material possessions and wealth of the world); There is the sand of the Flesh – (the pleasures that stimulate and satisfy it); There is the sand of the Pride of Life –(fame, recognition) — (see 1 John 2:15–16)

THOUGH # 3: How could we be Building on Sand?

  • When we accept the world’s philosophies rather than ‘Thus saith the LORD;”
  • When we spend more time in pleasure seeking than in God’s word/ ministry;
  • When we live materialistic lifestyle –(things that have no bearing for eternity);
  • When we live for self – when everything we do id done through selfish ambition (Philip 2:2);
  • When our ‘god’ is our belly – (worldly appetite, sensuality, vanity), (Philip 3:19);
  • When we focus we focus our mind on earthly (and temporal things), instead of God and the Great Commission! (Philip 3:19b; Mt 28:19-20).
  • When we have a “boss’ mindset instead of that of “a servant”
  • When we practice external religion, like the Pharisees: giving, praying and fasting to get men’s applauds instead of doing so with the inner qualities of purity of heart, reverence, and obedience to God’s instructions (Mt 6:1-7, 16-18).
  • When we fail to forgive men (our enemies, those who have wronged us) their trespasses, (Mt 6:14-15).
  • Treasures in Heaven! When we fail to “lay up for ourselves Treasures in Heaven, “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt 6:20).
  • When we come to church “with our bodies” but not with our souls– worshiping with our mouth but not our heart (Mt 15:8).

THOUGH # 4: What could be the consequence Building on Sand?

Back in my village, when we build houses, we spend more time first on the foundation. Builders use Stones, Metal, Cement, ‘Steel wire mesh’ to reinforce poured Concrete. Why all this trouble? To support the structure (walls & roof) to be erected on top of the foundation. Why building on the sand is so dangerous/ so foolish? Because the Sand can not be compacted and, as such, will never be a solid piece of earth to place a foundation (a house) on top of. That’s why when the storm comes, Jesus says – the structure fell. “And great was its fall” (Mt 7:27c).

In the same way, beloved, we may look good on the outside; but when ‘The Storms of Life’ come, it will show what a mess our life (or foundation) is. You see, there all kinds of storms in life: There are storms of – abuse, accidents, complaints, doubt, failure, gossip. There are storms of – handicaps/ disability, hospitalization, loneliness, loss. There are storms of – mistreatment, misunderstanding, and unresolved tensions (conflicts). There are storms of – poverty, neglect, and emotional pain. There are storms of – temptations, trials and sin. There are storms of –rejection, anguish, sorrow, suffering, disappointment. There are storms of – sickness, hopelessness, and death. When the storm comes, will you stand or will you sink?

The Appeal: What Must I do with this Message?

  • “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15–16, NKJV)
  • “Therefore “Come out from among them, And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17–18, NKJV)

Tonight, as we close, where have you built your house? There only two choices Rock, or sand! My dear friend, you do not want to be in the sand! A terrible storm is coming in these Last Day, it is called the Hour of Jacob’s Trouble. This will be Satan’s last attempt to wipe out God’s people those who have decided to “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).

Here is Jesus’ promise to all those who have chosen to build on the Rock, He says I will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial, that hour which is about to come on the whole [inhabited] world, to test those who live on the earth.” (Rev. 3:10b).

A terrible storm is coming at death and in the Great Day of Judgment, a storm against which no man can stand unless he is held up by Christ (Joel 2:31; Mt. 24:51; 25:30, 46). Where will you be? Are you preparing? Are you ready?

Have you built upon this world and found it to be like sinking sand? You can change today and build upon the Rock, that is, Christ Jesus. Hire a new architect and build a new house, a new life today. Amen?

Have a Blessed Night: Matthew 13:41–43 (NKJV)41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

 

40-BSG-7Z: CLOSING PRAYER.

Closing Prayer/ Matthew 7, (40-BSG-7Z)/ Is there a prayer for me to pray/echo in this chapter?  Yes.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your word in the Sermon of the Mount (Mt 5-7). You have spoken clearly on what You expect in each one of us, and now it’s our turn to respond positively to the Message You have given to us.

We thank You for the gift of life, for another day to make necessary changes in our lives as taught in these three chapters. Father, often time we are quick to judge other’s motives. At times, we have been involved in slandering, and smearing other people’s character. These things are old, shameful, and wrong, but we keep doing them. By Thy grace, may You help us to lift our weak brethren in prayer, in witnessing. May we engage them in Your Word, and point them, instead, to the Saviour.  

We thank You for Your unchanging character: loving, merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth! Though we have sinned, By Your great mercy You have given us another chance to hear this Message: because You are “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).

We thank You for the privilege of, and the promise of Prayer, that “for everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, AMP). We thank You for these promises, LORD. May Thy Spirit teach us how to seek You in prayer; to trust that You will completely meet our daily needs; to concentrate on Your kingdom and righteousness, rather than the cares of this world. Father, there are those with real burdens in their hearts today; There are those who need to renew their commitment with You; There are those who plead for the forgiveness of their sins…. Have mercy dear LORD, and grant these requests according to Thy will.

Father, we thank You for the two ways, the two choices, the two destinations You have revealed in the chapter. You have invited us to build on the Rock! We know that those who “build on the sand” (of their own righteousness), when the storms of life come upon them, they sink under, never come to the habitations of the Blessed. Help us not to be like “foolish men” – those who hears the gospel but refused to obey the Gospel and act upon Christ’s words. Remind us that what You really need is “the obedience to the Gospel” of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:5; Mt 7:21, 26). We desire to be in the first group, those who sincerely “build their house on the Rock” (even, Jesus Christ): the precious Corner Stone that You has laid in Zion, (1 Pet 2:6); the solid Rock; the Rock of Ages – against which the gates of hell shall never prevail (Mt 16:18).

May Thy Spirit teach us to obey Thy will, commands, and instructions. May we act accordingly and obey the Words of Jesus, which are the only sure foundation for those travelling the Narrow Way, the only path which leads to Heaven. Forgive us dear LORD; sanctify us, and prepare us for Thy kingdom. We thank You Father, and ask these things, believing and trusting in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Our Respond: Rock of Ages, cleft for me, “ (SDAH 300)

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed; Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labor of my hands, Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow; All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

When my pilgrimage I close, Victor o’er the last of foes, When I soar to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne; Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.