Matthew, chapter 7 is one of the greatest chapters of all “New Testament” scripture.
In this chapter, Jesus deals with judging, the importance of prayer, the path to heaven, screening false believers, warning against lawlessness, and the parable of the wise, and foolish builders. Let’s look at this chapter a little deeper:
The chapter begins with Jesus’ ever-so-famous words, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”. Or more modernly translated, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
That verse is one of the favorite verses among sinners today. You dare not tell anyone that they are doing wrong, or else you will be accused of “judging” them, which, most believe is something that we should not do. But is that what Jesus’ really meant?
One cannot read this verse, or even hear it quoted without filling in the blanks. Surely Jesus doesn’t mean that this verse is to be applied in a universal sense, absolute sense, isolated from the rest of scripture and common sense.
For example, did Jesus mean that no one should have judged Hitler as being “wrong” in what he did? Did Jesus mean that the world powers of Hitler’s day should have just let him go, kill millions more, and conquer the world? Of course not!
So then we must come to the conclusion that Jesus didn’t mean “judge not” in a universal, absolute sense.
What then did Jesus mean?
You must read the rest of the passage, and look at it in context in order to understand His teaching properly. Let’s read on.
Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
He went on to say, “You HYPOCRITE, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Who was Jesus talking to? There are three things that you must ask yourself every time you read scripture.
- Who is speaking
- What did they say?
- Who are they speaking to?
Let’s focus on the last question: who was Jesus speaking to?
Obviously, Jesus was speaking to a bunch of hypocrites. As He addressed them, “YOU HYPOCRITES!”
Simply stated, there are two groups of people:
- Jesus’ disciples, who humbly listened and obeyed Him.
- The hypocrites, who hated Jesus.
Clearly, the answer to the question, “Who was Jesus speaking to?” is…
2. The hypocrites!
Jesus wasn’t speaking to his faithful followers. He was speaking to the hypocrites!
Why were they hypocrites? Because they condemned others for the very things THEY ARE DOING!
They have a plank in their own eye. And they are trying to remove a speck of sawdust from someone else’s eye.
Jesus concluded by telling the hypocrites that once they remove the plank from their eye, they CAN remove the speck from their brother’s eye.
He did not say once you remove the plank out of your eye, you still should never remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Once you have repented of a certain sin, you are free to judge others for that particular sin.
You Must Judge Others in Order to Obey Jesus
Jesus commanded us to be beware of false prophets. How can you truly pick out another person as being a false prophet without judging them in your heart as being a false prophet?
Jesus commanded us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. How can you identify anyone as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, without passing the judgement that they are indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
You MUST judge others in order to obey Jesus!
Jesus said in verse 7, and 8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The words, ask, seek, and knock are in the Greek perfect tense here. That means ask, and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock, and keep on knocking.
Jesus is teaching persistence here. You must be persistence. And you must be consistent. As the Apostle James says, “A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways. Let not that man think that he will receive anything of the Lord.”
FEW Actually Go To Heaven!
In verse 13, and 14, Jesus makes it clear – only few people will make it! I believe when the Lord says, “few”, He means few!
Jesus describes how broad is the way that leads to destruction – In other words, hell. But only few people will actually make it to heaven. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and MANY are on it. But narrow is the way that leads to life, and FEW there be that find it.
Picture this: A very wide, long road, full of people. This road is so wide you cannot even see the width. You look to the left, and you look to the right, and you all you see is people. The people are all moving forward at a steady pace. The road is packed with people like a can or sardines. Those who wish to turn back cannot. Those who wish to slow down cannot. They are forced to move along with the crowd. They are all moving forward. The road is long, and there are billions of people on it.
Little do they know, there is an end. But the people can’t see it because the road is too broad, and long. And there are so many people on it, around them, they can’t see very far ahead. However, the road indeed has an end. It abruptly ends at a cliff.
Only the people at the edge of the cliff actually see it. But when they see it, it is too late. They should have taken the narrow, difficult, and unpopular cutoff – the STRAIGHT, and NARROW path.
They try to run away. They try to push against the flow of people. But they can’t. There are too many people pushing them forward over the cliff. The force is too strong. And it is too late. They fall into a lake of fire – similar to that of a boiling lake of lava.
But the FEW that opt in for the straight, and narrow path must forsake all their pride. They must not be afraid of being called “religious”, or “fundamentalists”. They must be willing and able to give up many relationships, because their friends, and family will not follow them on the narrow path. Their earthly possessions cannot be taken with them. It will not fit on the path. They must be willing to be rejected for the sake of the narrow path. They must be willing to sacrifice themselves to go this way. Regardless of the cost they make the sacrifice, go up the straight and narrow path. And it slowly, but surely leads to paradise.
False Prophets, False Apostles, False Disciples, False Christians, and Bad Fruit
As I said earlier, you CANNOT follow Jesus, and take His word seriously without judging. You cannot obey Jesus without passing judgment. Jesus commanded His disciples to beware of false prophets. How can someone actually heed that warning if you never judge anyone as being a false prophet?
Jesus warned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. How can anyone beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing without ever judging anyone within their heart as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Jesus commanded His disciples to JUDGE people by their fruit. How can anyone discern a person of bad fruit, if you never judge anyone as being a person of bad fruit?
Perhaps one of the most overlooked and ignored passages of the “New Testament” is Matthew 7:21-23.
Many Christians believe that all you have to do is “come to the Lord” and you will be eternally saved! They quote the passage where Jesus said, “and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out“.
The problem is that they cherry-pick the verses that make them feel good. They believe in a feel-good gospel. They don’t take ALL scripture into account. Imagine working for a boss, where you are told to do 10 things. But you choose only 1 because that is the one you like. You’ll be fired in no time. Likewise with God. God will not tolerate cherry-pickers of His Word.
Other Christians believe that you must confess Jesus as Lord as well. They base that theology on one verse – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9.
Likewise, they don’t take all scripture in context. They take what they like – what is easy for them – that which is compatible with their lifestyle, and they leave the rest. Using Romans 10:9, and that scripture only as a recipe for salvation is like telling someone who lives in North America, that “in order to get to Hawaii, you must travel southwest.” Sooner or later, that person will discover that it involves must more than that.
Likewise, saying “If you confess Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart… you will get to heaven” is only but a very short summary.
Jesus made it clear in verse 21-23, MANY will come to Him, CONFESS his as Lord, have enough faith to do mighty miracles, and STILL BE REJECTED by the Lord. Why? Because they are workers of iniquity. Literally, in the Greek, it reads anomia.
“anomia” it a compound word. “a” meaning not, no, or negative. “nomia” or “nomos” meaning law, or Torah.
In other words, Jesus said He will tell them, “Depart from me, you who do not live by Torah!”
Some may argue that Jesus is talking about man’s law, not God’s law. But Jesus never endorsed man’s law. On the contrary. He said that men’s ways, traditions, and laws make the Word of God of no effect. Jesus condemned man’s ways.
As a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus always taught, and endorsed God’s law.
The Difference Between the Wise, and the Foolish
Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
In other words, if you hear the Word of God and DO it, your house will be saved.
On the other hand, if you hear the Word of God and DO NOT DO it, your house will be lost.
The difference is in DOING vs NOT DOING. That is the question.