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Chapter 7

Do not be judges of other people 7:1-6

v1 Do not be judges of other people. If you do, God will be your judge. v2 In the same way that you act as judge over other people, God will act as judge over you. You measure by rules when you are the judge of other people. God will measure you with those same rules. v3 You look at the very tiny bit of dust that is in your brothers eye. But you do not pay attention to the large piece of wood in your own eye. v4 You say to your brother, Let me take the little bit of dust out of your eye. You should not say this when there is a large piece of wood in your own eye. v5 You have two different standards! First, take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you can see clearly to remove the bit of dust from your brothers eye. v6 Do not give *holy things to *dogs. Do not throw your valuable things to pigs. If you do that, the pigs will walk all over them. Then those pigs may turn round and tear you to pieces. Verses 1-2 Jesus does not forbid us to have an opinion about other people. But we must not make a judgement and blame them. God alone is the perfect judge. He knows the reasons why people do things. It is very easy to blame other people. We do not know a persons circumstances or thoughts in the way that God knows them. Verses 3-5 The word brother here does not mean a close relative. It means another person who believes in Jesus. He is part of the same family of Gods people. A man with a heavy piece of wood in his eye cannot see at all. His offer to remove a tiny bit of dust from another persons eye is stupid. This humorous picture would make people laugh. So they would remember it. It is wrong to talk about other peoples faults if we refuse to recognise our own faults. Our own faults may be much worse than the faults that we notice in other people. Verse 6 Pigs will walk all over anything that people throw to them. They cannot see the difference between what is valuable and what is not valuable. Wild *dogs will bite anyone who feeds them. They do not care if the meat is part of a special gift to God. Jesus used the words pigs and *dogs here to refer to certain people. They do not recognise the value of things. They do not recognise the value of what we offer them. The *holy things and valuable things probably refer to Christs message. Jesus told his *disciples not to continue to teach people who would not listen (Matthew 10:13-16). This picture can also mean something else. Perhaps we should be careful about teaching Gods truth. There are people who are not ready to appreciate it.
Prayer 7:7-11

v7 Continue to ask, and God will answer you. Go on searching, and you will find the answer. Go on knocking, and the door will open. v8 Everyone who asks God will receive something from him. He who searches will find the answer. And the door will open when someone knocks on it. v9 Suppose your son asks you for bread. None of you would give him a stone. v10 Or suppose he asks you for a fish. None of you would give him a snake. v11 You may not be good people. But you know how to give good gifts to your children. Your Father who is in heaven is good. And he gives good gifts to all those people who ask him! Verses 7-8 Jesus teaches that Christians should continue to pray. They must believe that God will answer their prayers. We do not have to persuade God to answer us. He is our Father. He wants us to ask him for things. We depend on God if we continue to pray. And our relationship with God grows stronger.

Verses 9-10 Bread and fish were the usual food in Jesus time. Sometimes human fathers can behave badly. But they would not give their children something that was of no use or dangerous. Verse 11 God is much more willing to give than human fathers. He always wants to give good gifts to his children. He knows about what we have asked him for. He knows whether it would be a good gift. So he will answer in the way that is best for us.
The best rule of behaviour 7:12

v12 Always do to other people what you want them to do to you. This is what the *Law and all Gods special servants teach. Verse 12 Jesus gave many examples of this rule. We can express it in a negative way too: You must not do to other people what you would not like them to do to you. This is not really a *religious rule. The law of the country would punish someone who hurts another person. A man may never hurt another person in any way. But he might not be a good and helpful citizen. We would like other people to do what is best for us. Jesus showed what the Christian attitude should be. Christians should act with generous love towards other people. The *Law and what Gods special servants wrote were the two main parts of the *Jewish Bible. (These special servants were called prophets.) In these two books, God gave rules to the people. They should always have the right attitude to other people (Deuteronomy 15:1-9; Isaiah 1:17). Jesus rule of behaviour here puts the *Old Testament rules all together in one brief statement. The *Old Testament often speaks about the choice between two ways. Moses said that the *Israelites had to choose between life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19). Jeremiah told the people that the *Lord had shown them two ways to go: the way of life and the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8). Psalm 1 shows that there is a difference between people. There is the person who obeys God. And there is the person who is wicked. Matthew 7:13-27 shows that people have a choice: There are two ways that they can go. There are two fruits that they can choose. And there are two types of house that they can build.
The two ways 7:13-14

v13 You should enter through the narrow gate. There is also a wide gate to a road that is broad. But it leads to ruin. But many people go in that way. v14 There is a small gate to a narrow road. This narrow road leads to life, but it is difficult. And only a few people find it. Verse 13 Many people like to choose their own way of life rather than to follow Jesus. But that easy road does not lead to true life. Verse 14 Things may be difficult if we decide to follow Jesus. There are many people who oppose his *disciples. It will not be easy to obey Jesus. Matthew recorded some of what Jesus taught people (Matthew chapters 5-7). But the few people who choose this narrow road become his *disciples. And they will obtain *eternal life.

The two fruits 7:15-23

v15 Watch out for false people. They say that they are Gods special servants. They come to you and they look like sheep. But really, they are like fierce animals that attack. v16 You will recognise these people by what they do. *Grapes do not come from sharp bushes. Neither do *figs come from sharp weeds. In the same way, good things do not come from bad people. v17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit. But a bad tree produces bad fruit. v18 A healthy tree cannot produce bad fruit. And a bad tree cannot produce healthy fruit. v19 Men cut down any tree that does not produce good fruit. They throw it into the fire. v20 You can recognise each tree by its fruit. In the same way, you can recognise these false people by what they do. v21 Not everyone who says to me, *Lord, *Lord, will enter Gods *kingdom. My Father is in heaven. And only the people who obey him will enter there. v22 Many will speak to me on that day. *Lord, *Lord, they will say, you know that we spoke messages from God in your name. You know that we drove out evil *spirits in your name. You know that we did many wonderful things in your name! v23 Then I will reply clearly. I never knew you. Get away from me. You do only evil things! I will say to them. Verses 15-20 In the *Old Testament, Gods special servants were true to him. Also, there were those people who were false and not true to him. Jeremiah said that the true ones told people to turn away from their *sins. The false ones pretended to say good things from God. They would say that they had a message from God. But then they encouraged people to do wrong things. The people continued to do wrong things, and the false teachers did not obey Gods laws themselves (Jeremiah 23:16-22). People recognise a tree by the fruit that it produces. In the same way, Gods good servants live a good life. The false ones show t hat they are false. They show it by their bad life. Verses 21-23 Just to say *Lord, *Lord is not enough. Unless the speaker obeys God, the words mean nothing. Gods false servants performed wonderful things in the name of Jesus. Even this was possible. But God knew what they were really like. An early Christian book of rules was called the Didache. It told how to tell the difference between good and bad people. It showed who were really Gods special servants. A person who asked for money for himself was not true to God. He would be lazy and he would not want to work. He would expect other Christians to look after him for more than a few days. If a person is teaching the truth, he will show it. He will do the right things. Jesus showed that he had the authority to judge people. And he will deny that he ever knew false people. They are people who act without a sincere desire to please God. Jesus used words from Psalm 6:8: Go away from me, all you who do evil. To send someone away like that was a most serious punishment.
The two houses 7:24-27

v24 Some people will hear my words and they will obey them. They are like a wise man who built his house on rock. v25 The rain poured down, and the rivers flooded. The winds blew strongly and they beat against that house. But the house did not fall because it was on the rock. v26 Other people will hear my words, but they will not obey them. They are like a foolish man who built his house on sand. v27 The rain poured down, and the rivers flooded. The winds blew strongly and beat against that house. Then it fell with a great crash. It is easy to build a house on the sand by a river. But a wise man makes sure that he builds his house in a strong place. When the rain comes, the river becomes a flood. That rush of water and the strong winds would destroy a house if someone built it on sand. A foolish man does not obey Jesus words. So he will not continue to believe Jesus when trouble comes. All kinds of problems are like storms that attack us. A person needs to obey Jesus words in order to stand strong in such problems.

The end of Jesus teaching on the mount 7:28-29

v28 Jesus finished saying all these things, and his words astonished the crowds. v29 He taught like someone with real authority. He did not speak like the men who taught the *Law. Each section of teaching in Matthews *gospel ends with words like these. Jesus spoke with real authority. So the crowds said that he was surprising or astonishing. The men who taught the *Law usually referred to what other teachers had said. However, Jesus declared, I say to you.