Text: Matthew 7
Event(s): Sermon on the Mount, part 3
Matthew 7:1 “judge not, that you be not judged” There’s a difference between discernment and judgment. I love the way one theologian puts it:
“Jesus did not mean that they should accept everything and everyone uncritically (cf. vv. 5-6, 15-20; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 1:8-9; 6:1; Phil. 3:2; 1 John 4:1). Neither did He mean, obviously, that parents, church leaders, and civil authorities are wrong if they pass judgment on those under their care. He meant that His disciples should not do God’s job of passing judgment—for Him—when He has not authorized them to do so.” -Dr. Thomas L. Constable
Matthew 7:7 “ask….seek….knock” There are a couple ways we can look at this. First, we can consider it means asking God, seeking God, and knocking on Heaven, which I believe can have a true application. (Though the Word says His arm is not too short to save, nor His ear to dull to hear. cf Numbers 11:23; Isaiah 59:1).
However, I also see this more as an active participation of our entire being in prayer. “Asking” obviously involves our relationship with God. We pray to Him, believing He is a a good, good Father. And that stirs us up in hopeful anticipation that He will give us the answer we need. However, we are also to “seek”. Which means we don’t just sit back in passivity – but we put our faith into action. We do what we can, trusting that God will do what only He can. For example, if we are praying for a new job, we need to seek a new job. Get our resume done; make some connections, turn in some applications, trusting that as we seek, God will lead us to the right place and open doors no man can shut and close the wrong ones. As James 2:18b says, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (NLT) And then lastly, there’s knock – which to me is a picture of outward boldness. Knocking means “importunity in dealing with God,”
Matthew 7:16 “you will know them by their fruits” fruit is evident through our lifestyles, character, attitudes, the way we make decisions, the way we communicate, the way we teach or influence others, etc. It’s important to point out that this is best done over a season or at least a “grouping” of times and/or occasions. In other words, we need to always believe the best in people, and not quickly jump to conclusions based off one situation, experience or interaction, but allow enough time to make sound judgment.
Matthew 7:21-23 I have nothing specific to add here, but I once read this passage in the MSG translation and it made me shudder. So strong are the words and so clear is the picture they paint that I thought I’d just share it here.
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with Me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to Me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
Today’s Takeaway: I want to go back to the topic of ask, seek and knock. What are you believing God for right now? Has that desired waned or could use a little bit of stirring up? Have you lost a sense of hope? Consider today what could be missing. Many times, we think we are waiting on God, when God could in fact be waiting on us to make the next move.
Additional (optional) reading: Psalm 130:5; Proverbs 25:2; James 2:14-26; Psalm 84:11