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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Matthew 7

Verses 1-6

Judging One Another (Luke 6:37-42 ) In Matthew 7:1-6 Jesus teaches us about judging our neighbour. We are to avoid being critical of our neighbour (Matthew 7:1-4). Instead, we are to live a lifestyle of godliness so that we can speak words of wisdom and advice into the lives of others (Matthew 7:5). If they reject what we have to offer, we are not to push Christian teachings into their face, lest they become offended at God’s Word and further bring judgment upon themselves (Matthew 7:6). Rather, we are to discern their hearts and help those who will accept our ministry (Matthew 7:6). This is why Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and told them that he that is spiritual is to judge (or discern) all things while not being found guilty of sin and judged by others (1 Corinthians 2:15). That is, we are supposed to live a godly lifestyle without sin by being mature enough to be able to discern between good and evil in our lives as well as those around us.

1 Corinthians 2:15, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

Solomon made a similar statement in Proverbs 9:8, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” We are to correct those who are in error. If they are rebellious, the burden to correct them is not upon us. However, we are to have enough discernment to recognize when someone is receptive to correction, and offer such in a spirit of love. Solomon as well said, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6) If we speak the truth in love when correcting others, we may initially wound someone’s heart, but such wounds in the lives of the humble will quickly heal.

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6 Comments - When we remove the beam out of our eyes, so that we can help others remove their specks, we must be careful not to push ourselves upon others. Rather than criticize them, we should help them overcome strongholds and sins. If they do not want help, then we must not cast our words upon them. Otherwise, they will become offended in us and in the Word of God and reject what we have to say. We can use wisdom as we counsel others.

God would not ask us to do something that He Himself does not do. God is easily able to impart a great amount of wisdom into any of us in a moment, both to saints and to sinners, but He does not choose to work this way. He allows the sinner to walk in his darkness out of mercy for him. For in doing so, the sinner will face a less harsh judgment in eternity than someone who knows the truth and rejects it.

God chooses to speak in dark sayings so that the saints of God will have to search for wisdom before finding it. In so doing, the wisdom that is someone pays a price to obtain becomes precious to the one who finds. Note:

Proverbs 12:27, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.”

In the natural, the most precious metals and gems are found in the depths of the earth. In the same way is divine wisdom found. Since God will also judge the saints for what truths they know, God, in His infinite wisdom, only entrusts His precious truths to those to whom He has counted faithful. God does not cast His pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). If someone rejects us, we withhold godly counsel (Proverbs 9:8; Proverbs 23:9, 2 Peter 2:22).

Proverbs 9:8, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

Proverbs 23:9, “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.”

2 Peter 2:22, “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”

Verses 1-12

Perseverance Amidst Worldliness - After Jesus calls the true children of God out in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) and tells them their work (Matthew 5:13-16), and after He delivers to them the meaning of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17-48), and after He tells them how to sanctify themselves for divine service through almsgiving, prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1-18), He now tells them how to perseverance amidst worldliness so that they will be able to find their place of rest with God. He will expound upon this topic again in His third discourse consisting of parables of man’s reactions to Gospel (Matthew 13:1-52). Jesus talks about seeking God first, judging one another, and giving and receiving.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Seeking God First (The Heart) Matthew 6:19-34

2. Judging One Another (The Mind) Matthew 7:1-6

Verses 1-29

The First Discours: The Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49 ) Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 records the Sermon on the Mount, which is perhaps the best known passage in the New Testament. This sermon is more accurately a teaching lesson, for the Gospel of Matthew reflects Jesus in His office and ministry as a Teacher, while Mark’s Gospel records His preaching ministry. Thus, scholars refer to the five “discourses” in the Gospel of Matthew. In this discourse Jesus gives to the people the Laws of the Kingdom of Heaven, in which He lays the foundational doctrines for the Kingdom.

The Sermon on the Mount will also serve as His inaugural address as the King of the Jews, in which He tells the people about the laws that are to govern the Kingdom of God. This new government is not a democracy where a leader is elected. Rather, it is a kingdom by which a king is chosen by royal birth, and whose rule endures throughout the life of the King. Its constitution and civil laws are not written and voted upon by the people as in a democracy and reads, “We the people…” as the constitution of the United States reads. But this is a kingdom by which the king’s words serve as the Law. This is why Jesus says in His Sermon, “Ye have heard that it was said…but I say unto you.” His Word takes authority over all pervious law. In a kingdom the king is honored, even worshipped. There can be no protests and demonstrations to impeach a king. This would only happen in a democracy.

How the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 Reflects the Structure of Matthew’s Gospel The Sermon on the Mount is clearly the most popular passage of Matthew’s Gospel. This sermon reflects the underlying theme of Matthew’s Gospel, which the testimony of Jesus as the Messiah and King of the Jews through Jesus’ teaching ministry.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18) ð See Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1

Perseverance: Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12) ð See Matthew 13:1-52

Perseverance: False Doctrines (Matthew 7:13-20) ð See Matthew 18:1-35

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23) ð See Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29)

Justification (Matthew 5:1-16 ) - The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16) emphasizes how a person is justified in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Indoctrination (Matthew 5:17-48 ) - Matthew 5:17-48 indoctrinates the people on the meaning of the original intent of the Law of Moses.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18 ) They prepare themselves for divine service through almsgiving, prayer and fasting. He will expound upon this topic and actually send out twelve apostles for training in divine service in His second discourse in Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1.

Perseverance Amidst Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 ) Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 teaches how to perseverance amidst worldliness so that they will be able to find their place of rest with God. He will expound upon this topic again in His third discourse consisting of parables about man’s reactions to Gospel (Matthew 13:1-52).

Perseverance Amidst False Doctrine (Matthew 7:13-20 ) - In Matthew 7:13-20 Jesus places emphasis upon the need to persevere amidst offences and false doctrines within the Church. In this passage Jesus teaches us about the dangers along our journey to Heaven. He tells us that the path is narrow and many will not make it (Matthew 7:13-14). We are told that there are many detours to mislead us (Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus will expound upon this topic in His fourth discourse about handling offences in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:1-35).

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23 ) - In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus Christ teaches on the subject of how to enter into our future glorification in Heaven. It is only those who stay on course and do the will of the Father who will enter into Heaven. Jesus will expound upon this topic in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46).

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29 ) In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus Christ summaries His message by telling the people to apply the Sermon on the Mount to their personal lives. Matthew 7:28-29 serves as a transitional sentence that the author uses between the five major sections of the Gospel.

Outline - Note the proposed outline of Jesus’ first discourse, which we call the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). This particular outline emphasizes this Sermon as the Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom.

1. Justification: The Children of the Kingdom Matthew 5:1-16

a) Nine Characteristics of the Children Matthew 5:1-12

b) The Salt and Light Matthew 5:13-16

2. Indoctrination: The Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:17-48

a) The Fulfillment of the Law Matthew 5:17-20

b) The Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:21-48

i) Murder (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:21-26

ii) Adultery (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:27-32

iii) Swearing (Man’s Tongue/Mind) Matthew 5:33-37

iv) Retribution (Physical Actions) Matthew 5:38-42

v) Loving thy Neighbor (Summary of Law) Matthew 5:43-48

3. Calling: Divine Service in the Kingdom Matthew 6:1-18

a) Almsgiving (Sanctifies the Heart) Matthew 6:1-4

b) Prayer (Sanctifies the Mind) Matthew 6:5-15

c) Fasting (Sanctifies the Body) Matthew 6:16-18

4. Perseverance Amidst Worldliness Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12

a) Seeking God First (Heart) Matthew 6:19-34

b) Judge Not (Mind) Matthew 7:1-6

c) Trusting God in Prayer (Bodily Needs) Matthew 7:7-12

5. Perseverance Amidst False Doctrines Matthew 7:13-20

6. Glorification - Entering the Promised Land Matthew 7:21-23

7. Conclusion Matthew 7:24-29

The Recipients to the Five Discourses of the Gospel of Matthew The five discourses that Jesus Christ delivered during His earthly ministry were primarily directed to His disciples (Matthew 5:1; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:36-37; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 24:3). Although the multitudes gathered together to receive miracles and to hear Him, Matthew is accurate to note that Jesus addressed these discourse to His disciples. Thus, the purpose of the five discourses was the training of the Twelve, preparing them for His final command to take the Gospel to the nations, which is traditionally called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Motif of Righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew uses the Greek word δικαιοσυ ́ νη five times (Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 6:33). Matthew uses this Greek word only on two other occasions in the rest of his Gospel (Matthew 3:15; Matthew 21:32). The first use is found in the narrative material preceding the first discourse (Matthew 3:15) in which Jesus demonstrates true righteousness prior to teaching on the topic in the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, the motif of righteousness is embedded within the first discourse, in which Jesus teaches on God’s true standard of righteousness for mankind.

The Motif of God the Father in the Sermon on the Mount The Sermon on the Mount is the first place in the Holy Scriptures where God is revealed as a Father intimately concerned about and involved with the daily affairs of His children. David was the first individual to recognized God as his Father, and the sweet psalmist of Israel called Him Father throughout His psalms. Yet, in the centuries that followed, few individual understood the intimacy that God intended for His children, so there is very little reference to this concept in the canonical Scriptures that were written after David. For this reason, the message Jesus Christ delivered in the Sermon on the Mount is a new revelation for the Jews of the divine character of the God of Israel as a loving Father for each of them.

The Motif of the Mosaic Law in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus refer to the Mosaic Law a number of times in the Sermon on the Mount. Since the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the Scriptural fulfillment of the coming Messiah, this Gospel also gives emphasis to Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God, a theological concept that the Jews incorporated with the coming of the Messiah. The Jews believed that the Messiah would usher in a new kingdom, where He would reign on earth from Jerusalem as King. Since Jesus Christ came as King of the Jews, He teaches the people the laws of the Kingdom of God by contrasting them to the Mosaic Law. Note these comments from Philip Schaff:

“After the Messianic inauguration and trial Jesus opens his public ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, which is the counterpart of the Sinaitic legislation, and contains the fundamental law of his kingdom. The key-note of this sermon and of the whole Gospel is that Christ came to fulfil the law and the prophets, which implies both the harmony of the two religions and the transcendent superiority of Christianity.” [359]

[359] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 617.

In chapter five, Jesus reveals how the Ten Commandments are to be obeyed in the Kingdom of God, and how the blessings and curses operate in this new Kingdom. In chapter 6, Jesus explains how the statutes of the Mosaic Law are also to be fulfilled in this new kingdom.

The major theme of the Pentateuch is the delivering of the Mosaic Law to the children of Israel. On Mount Sinai, Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments, which can be referred to as the “Moral Law.” He then delivered to them many statutes and ordinances regarding daily living and service in the Tabernacle. This set of rules and regulations can be referred to as the “Civil Laws.” The Ten Commandments became the foundation for the civil laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments dealt with a man’s heart, while the civil laws dealt with a man’s actions. When a man held the moral laws within his heart, he would then be willing to follow the civil laws.

When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, He taught the people the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. He explained to the people the foundational laws from which the civil laws were derived. Jesus dealt with the heart of man, because the people were confused with the endless civil laws that the Pharisees had heaped upon them through the centuries.

In the days of Jesus, the people of Israel easily confused righteousness with legalism. The Pharisees imposed a strict and complicated legal system on the Jewish people, who lived in fear of these religious leaders. The Jews watched the Pharisees strive to keep the details of these rules and regulations while inwardly they were liars, thieves and murderers. For example, they misused the treasury money. They murdered the Lord Jesus Christ and lied about His body being stolen by the disciples. All of their actions were motivated to please one another. Thus, the people sought to please the Pharisees outwardly, to be seen by others, but inwardly, their motives were false.

It is in this setting that Jesus taught to such a people who had lost the true meaning of righteous. This is why Jesus emphasizes the word “righteousness” in the Sermon on the Mount, which is subtitled by A. T. Robertson as, “Christ’s Standard of Righteousness.” [360]

[360] A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), 48.

This sermon clearly lays out what true, Scriptural righteous conduct is all about. In Job 31:0, Job lived many of these truths in his life. This lifestyle of righteousness had been lost during Jesus' day in the teachings of the Pharisees. So, as Moses instituted the laws of God at Mount Sinai to begin the kingdom of Israel, so Jesus lays the foundation of the Kingdom of God by teaching its laws and statutes. In laying this foundation, Jesus is attempting in His Sermon to explain to the children of Israel the real meaning behind the Ten Commandments and the laws of Moses.

In a similar way that Moses separated the children of Israel from Egypt through the Exodus, delivered to them the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and led them to the Promised Land, so does Jesus Christ call out the true children of God from the world in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16). He explains the true meaning of the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5:17-48. He tells them how to get to the Promised Land (Matthew 6:1 to Matthew 7:29).

In addition, there is a clear contrast between this setting of Jesus teaching the people and the scene from Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:0. Note:

1. God came down to give the Law from heaven. Jesus went up into a mountain to teach, since He was among men, flesh and blood.

2. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus explains how to live the Ten Commandments here.

3. God spoke out of thunder, lightening, and a thick cloud. Jesus spoke out of in a voice of authority.

4. At Mount Sinai, we sense God’s holiness. Here we see God’s love.

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

5. On Mt. Sinai, the people were ordered to keep their distance. Here, the people are able to come up to Jesus.

6. On Mt. Sinai, Moses asked to see God. He only saw His back. Here, they see God in the flesh as Jesus.

John 14:8-9, “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

Jesus’ Authority verses Rabbinic Authority in the Sermon on the Mount - When the Jewish leaders heard Jesus teach, they marveled, saying, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15) Because Jesus did not rise up through the rabbinical educational system, He was unknown to the educated Pharisees and Jewish leaders. Andreas J. Kösterberger notes that the rabbis of the first century often cited other rabbinical authorities in their teachings. [361] Thus, the rabbis considered those who taught without such rabbinical authorities to lack credibility. [362] They themselves referred back to a long history of traditional interpretation of the Mosaic Law as their authority. Jesus, however, offered Himself as the sole authority in His teachings on twenty-five occasions in John’s Gospel, saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you…” (John 1:51; John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:11; John 5:19; John 5:24-25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16; John 13:20-21; John 13:38; John 14:12; John 16:20; John 16:23; John 21:18) Throughout the Synoptic Gospels Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you…” When pressed by the Jews for His source of authority, Jesus refers to His Father as the source of His doctrine (John 5:17-26; John 5:36-37; John 6:44-46; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 8:38; John 10:18, John 10:37-38; John 12:49-50; John 14:31; John 15:15). Jesus’ response of elevating Himself above rabbinic authority incited the Jews to anger, as they accused Him of blasphemy because He made Himself equal to God, while the common rabbi lowered himself below rabbinical authorities in his teachings. Perhaps the best example of the Jew’s scholar’s dependence upon the long tradition of rabbinical authority is found in the Babylonian Talmud, which consists of lengthy discussions of the views of renowned rabbis regarding particular interpretations of the Law.

[361] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232-233.

[362] Scholars cite Sotah 22a from the Babylonian Talmud as an example of the negative rabbinical attitude towards those who do not appeal to other authorities in their teachings, which says, “It has been reported, If one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not attend upon Rabbinical scholars, R. Eleazar says he is an 'Am ha-arez' [lit. a people of the land].” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 22a) The rabbis equated such teachers to “people of the land,” meaning such teachers were like the common, uneducated person.

The Pauline Epistles and the Sermon on the Mount - Paul the apostle will later write the nine Church Epistles, in which he will be divinely used to lay down the doctrines for the New Testament Church. But his doctrines will be built upon the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, Jesus Christ lays down a foundation upon which all of the New Testament apostles and prophets are to build upon. This is why Paul the apostle could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ;” (Ephesians 2:19-20). Just as Paul’s epistles are grouped into the doctrines of justification, sanctification and glorification, so is the Sermon on the Mount structured around this three-fold emphasis.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Structure of the New Testament Besides the similarities between the Pentateuch and the Gospel of Matthew, we find similarities between the five major discourses and the structure of the New Testament writings. To begin with, we know that the nine Pauline Church Epistles establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. The three Pastoral Epistles establish the order and ministry of the Church. The three General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from without the Church. The five General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from false doctrines within the church.

In a similar manner, we can compare the Sermon on the Mount to the Church Epistles in that they lay the foundation for the doctrine of the Kingdom of God and of the New Testament Church. The second discourse of Jesus sending out the twelve establishes the ministry and order of the Church, which can be compared to the Pastoral Epistles. The third discourse regarding the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven which reveals the ways in which men reject the preaching of the Gospel can be compared to the General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter which deal with persecutions from without. The fourth discourse of dealing with offences and persecutions from the Jewish leaders can be compared with the General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude which discuss persecutions from false doctrine within the Church. The emphasis upon false doctrine in this narrative material is because the theme of this passage is about offences because of false doctrines in the Kingdom of God. These offences are not coming from the multitudes but from those who appear to be within the Kingdom of God, that is, the religious leaders. The fifth Eschatological discourse of the Second Coming of Christ can be compared to the book of Revelation, which deals with the glorification of the Church.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Six Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament Church - If we compare the foundational doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 with the scheme of the five major discourses in Matthew’s Gospel, we can observe some parallels.

Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

The six foundational doctrines found in Hebrews 6:1-2 were laid down by Jesus Christ. It is these six doctrines upon which the Kingdom of Heaven is established:

1. repentance from dead works

2. faith toward God

3. the doctrine of baptisms

4. laying on of hands

5. resurrection of the dead

6. eternal judgment

Jesus’ first discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, finds its parallel in the third foundational doctrine of the doctrine of baptisms. The second discourse, the Sending out of the Twelve, parallels the laying on of hands for Christian service. The third and fourth discourses emphasize the perseverance of the saints. The last discourse, the Eschatological Discourse, places most of its emphasis upon the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to Luke 6:20-49 Just as Jesus Christ visited the synagogues of Galilee and probably delivered the same speech out of Isaiah 61:1-2, do did He probably delivered messages similar to the Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes, which would explain the differences in the parallel passages in Luke 6:20-49 and the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chose the twelve apostles prior to the Sermon on the Plain, while the appointment of the Twelve comes after the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. This helps to explain what many scholars otherwise see as conflicting accounts of the same events.

Verses 1-29

The First Discours: The Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49 ) Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 records the Sermon on the Mount, which is perhaps the best known passage in the New Testament. This sermon is more accurately a teaching lesson, for the Gospel of Matthew reflects Jesus in His office and ministry as a Teacher, while Mark’s Gospel records His preaching ministry. Thus, scholars refer to the five “discourses” in the Gospel of Matthew. In this discourse Jesus gives to the people the Laws of the Kingdom of Heaven, in which He lays the foundational doctrines for the Kingdom.

The Sermon on the Mount will also serve as His inaugural address as the King of the Jews, in which He tells the people about the laws that are to govern the Kingdom of God. This new government is not a democracy where a leader is elected. Rather, it is a kingdom by which a king is chosen by royal birth, and whose rule endures throughout the life of the King. Its constitution and civil laws are not written and voted upon by the people as in a democracy and reads, “We the people…” as the constitution of the United States reads. But this is a kingdom by which the king’s words serve as the Law. This is why Jesus says in His Sermon, “Ye have heard that it was said…but I say unto you.” His Word takes authority over all pervious law. In a kingdom the king is honored, even worshipped. There can be no protests and demonstrations to impeach a king. This would only happen in a democracy.

How the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 Reflects the Structure of Matthew’s Gospel The Sermon on the Mount is clearly the most popular passage of Matthew’s Gospel. This sermon reflects the underlying theme of Matthew’s Gospel, which the testimony of Jesus as the Messiah and King of the Jews through Jesus’ teaching ministry.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18) ð See Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1

Perseverance: Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12) ð See Matthew 13:1-52

Perseverance: False Doctrines (Matthew 7:13-20) ð See Matthew 18:1-35

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23) ð See Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29)

Justification (Matthew 5:1-16 ) - The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16) emphasizes how a person is justified in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Indoctrination (Matthew 5:17-48 ) - Matthew 5:17-48 indoctrinates the people on the meaning of the original intent of the Law of Moses.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18 ) They prepare themselves for divine service through almsgiving, prayer and fasting. He will expound upon this topic and actually send out twelve apostles for training in divine service in His second discourse in Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1.

Perseverance Amidst Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 ) Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 teaches how to perseverance amidst worldliness so that they will be able to find their place of rest with God. He will expound upon this topic again in His third discourse consisting of parables about man’s reactions to Gospel (Matthew 13:1-52).

Perseverance Amidst False Doctrine (Matthew 7:13-20 ) - In Matthew 7:13-20 Jesus places emphasis upon the need to persevere amidst offences and false doctrines within the Church. In this passage Jesus teaches us about the dangers along our journey to Heaven. He tells us that the path is narrow and many will not make it (Matthew 7:13-14). We are told that there are many detours to mislead us (Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus will expound upon this topic in His fourth discourse about handling offences in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:1-35).

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23 ) - In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus Christ teaches on the subject of how to enter into our future glorification in Heaven. It is only those who stay on course and do the will of the Father who will enter into Heaven. Jesus will expound upon this topic in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46).

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29 ) In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus Christ summaries His message by telling the people to apply the Sermon on the Mount to their personal lives. Matthew 7:28-29 serves as a transitional sentence that the author uses between the five major sections of the Gospel.

Outline - Note the proposed outline of Jesus’ first discourse, which we call the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). This particular outline emphasizes this Sermon as the Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom.

1. Justification: The Children of the Kingdom Matthew 5:1-16

a) Nine Characteristics of the Children Matthew 5:1-12

b) The Salt and Light Matthew 5:13-16

2. Indoctrination: The Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:17-48

a) The Fulfillment of the Law Matthew 5:17-20

b) The Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:21-48

i) Murder (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:21-26

ii) Adultery (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:27-32

iii) Swearing (Man’s Tongue/Mind) Matthew 5:33-37

iv) Retribution (Physical Actions) Matthew 5:38-42

v) Loving thy Neighbor (Summary of Law) Matthew 5:43-48

3. Calling: Divine Service in the Kingdom Matthew 6:1-18

a) Almsgiving (Sanctifies the Heart) Matthew 6:1-4

b) Prayer (Sanctifies the Mind) Matthew 6:5-15

c) Fasting (Sanctifies the Body) Matthew 6:16-18

4. Perseverance Amidst Worldliness Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12

a) Seeking God First (Heart) Matthew 6:19-34

b) Judge Not (Mind) Matthew 7:1-6

c) Trusting God in Prayer (Bodily Needs) Matthew 7:7-12

5. Perseverance Amidst False Doctrines Matthew 7:13-20

6. Glorification - Entering the Promised Land Matthew 7:21-23

7. Conclusion Matthew 7:24-29

The Recipients to the Five Discourses of the Gospel of Matthew The five discourses that Jesus Christ delivered during His earthly ministry were primarily directed to His disciples (Matthew 5:1; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:36-37; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 24:3). Although the multitudes gathered together to receive miracles and to hear Him, Matthew is accurate to note that Jesus addressed these discourse to His disciples. Thus, the purpose of the five discourses was the training of the Twelve, preparing them for His final command to take the Gospel to the nations, which is traditionally called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Motif of Righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew uses the Greek word δικαιοσυ ́ νη five times (Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 6:33). Matthew uses this Greek word only on two other occasions in the rest of his Gospel (Matthew 3:15; Matthew 21:32). The first use is found in the narrative material preceding the first discourse (Matthew 3:15) in which Jesus demonstrates true righteousness prior to teaching on the topic in the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, the motif of righteousness is embedded within the first discourse, in which Jesus teaches on God’s true standard of righteousness for mankind.

The Motif of God the Father in the Sermon on the Mount The Sermon on the Mount is the first place in the Holy Scriptures where God is revealed as a Father intimately concerned about and involved with the daily affairs of His children. David was the first individual to recognized God as his Father, and the sweet psalmist of Israel called Him Father throughout His psalms. Yet, in the centuries that followed, few individual understood the intimacy that God intended for His children, so there is very little reference to this concept in the canonical Scriptures that were written after David. For this reason, the message Jesus Christ delivered in the Sermon on the Mount is a new revelation for the Jews of the divine character of the God of Israel as a loving Father for each of them.

The Motif of the Mosaic Law in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus refer to the Mosaic Law a number of times in the Sermon on the Mount. Since the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the Scriptural fulfillment of the coming Messiah, this Gospel also gives emphasis to Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God, a theological concept that the Jews incorporated with the coming of the Messiah. The Jews believed that the Messiah would usher in a new kingdom, where He would reign on earth from Jerusalem as King. Since Jesus Christ came as King of the Jews, He teaches the people the laws of the Kingdom of God by contrasting them to the Mosaic Law. Note these comments from Philip Schaff:

“After the Messianic inauguration and trial Jesus opens his public ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, which is the counterpart of the Sinaitic legislation, and contains the fundamental law of his kingdom. The key-note of this sermon and of the whole Gospel is that Christ came to fulfil the law and the prophets, which implies both the harmony of the two religions and the transcendent superiority of Christianity.” [359]

[359] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 617.

In chapter five, Jesus reveals how the Ten Commandments are to be obeyed in the Kingdom of God, and how the blessings and curses operate in this new Kingdom. In chapter 6, Jesus explains how the statutes of the Mosaic Law are also to be fulfilled in this new kingdom.

The major theme of the Pentateuch is the delivering of the Mosaic Law to the children of Israel. On Mount Sinai, Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments, which can be referred to as the “Moral Law.” He then delivered to them many statutes and ordinances regarding daily living and service in the Tabernacle. This set of rules and regulations can be referred to as the “Civil Laws.” The Ten Commandments became the foundation for the civil laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments dealt with a man’s heart, while the civil laws dealt with a man’s actions. When a man held the moral laws within his heart, he would then be willing to follow the civil laws.

When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, He taught the people the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. He explained to the people the foundational laws from which the civil laws were derived. Jesus dealt with the heart of man, because the people were confused with the endless civil laws that the Pharisees had heaped upon them through the centuries.

In the days of Jesus, the people of Israel easily confused righteousness with legalism. The Pharisees imposed a strict and complicated legal system on the Jewish people, who lived in fear of these religious leaders. The Jews watched the Pharisees strive to keep the details of these rules and regulations while inwardly they were liars, thieves and murderers. For example, they misused the treasury money. They murdered the Lord Jesus Christ and lied about His body being stolen by the disciples. All of their actions were motivated to please one another. Thus, the people sought to please the Pharisees outwardly, to be seen by others, but inwardly, their motives were false.

It is in this setting that Jesus taught to such a people who had lost the true meaning of righteous. This is why Jesus emphasizes the word “righteousness” in the Sermon on the Mount, which is subtitled by A. T. Robertson as, “Christ’s Standard of Righteousness.” [360]

[360] A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), 48.

This sermon clearly lays out what true, Scriptural righteous conduct is all about. In Job 31:0, Job lived many of these truths in his life. This lifestyle of righteousness had been lost during Jesus' day in the teachings of the Pharisees. So, as Moses instituted the laws of God at Mount Sinai to begin the kingdom of Israel, so Jesus lays the foundation of the Kingdom of God by teaching its laws and statutes. In laying this foundation, Jesus is attempting in His Sermon to explain to the children of Israel the real meaning behind the Ten Commandments and the laws of Moses.

In a similar way that Moses separated the children of Israel from Egypt through the Exodus, delivered to them the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and led them to the Promised Land, so does Jesus Christ call out the true children of God from the world in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16). He explains the true meaning of the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5:17-48. He tells them how to get to the Promised Land (Matthew 6:1 to Matthew 7:29).

In addition, there is a clear contrast between this setting of Jesus teaching the people and the scene from Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:0. Note:

1. God came down to give the Law from heaven. Jesus went up into a mountain to teach, since He was among men, flesh and blood.

2. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus explains how to live the Ten Commandments here.

3. God spoke out of thunder, lightening, and a thick cloud. Jesus spoke out of in a voice of authority.

4. At Mount Sinai, we sense God’s holiness. Here we see God’s love.

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

5. On Mt. Sinai, the people were ordered to keep their distance. Here, the people are able to come up to Jesus.

6. On Mt. Sinai, Moses asked to see God. He only saw His back. Here, they see God in the flesh as Jesus.

John 14:8-9, “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

Jesus’ Authority verses Rabbinic Authority in the Sermon on the Mount - When the Jewish leaders heard Jesus teach, they marveled, saying, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15) Because Jesus did not rise up through the rabbinical educational system, He was unknown to the educated Pharisees and Jewish leaders. Andreas J. Kösterberger notes that the rabbis of the first century often cited other rabbinical authorities in their teachings. [361] Thus, the rabbis considered those who taught without such rabbinical authorities to lack credibility. [362] They themselves referred back to a long history of traditional interpretation of the Mosaic Law as their authority. Jesus, however, offered Himself as the sole authority in His teachings on twenty-five occasions in John’s Gospel, saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you…” (John 1:51; John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:11; John 5:19; John 5:24-25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16; John 13:20-21; John 13:38; John 14:12; John 16:20; John 16:23; John 21:18) Throughout the Synoptic Gospels Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you…” When pressed by the Jews for His source of authority, Jesus refers to His Father as the source of His doctrine (John 5:17-26; John 5:36-37; John 6:44-46; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 8:38; John 10:18, John 10:37-38; John 12:49-50; John 14:31; John 15:15). Jesus’ response of elevating Himself above rabbinic authority incited the Jews to anger, as they accused Him of blasphemy because He made Himself equal to God, while the common rabbi lowered himself below rabbinical authorities in his teachings. Perhaps the best example of the Jew’s scholar’s dependence upon the long tradition of rabbinical authority is found in the Babylonian Talmud, which consists of lengthy discussions of the views of renowned rabbis regarding particular interpretations of the Law.

[361] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232-233.

[362] Scholars cite Sotah 22a from the Babylonian Talmud as an example of the negative rabbinical attitude towards those who do not appeal to other authorities in their teachings, which says, “It has been reported, If one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not attend upon Rabbinical scholars, R. Eleazar says he is an 'Am ha-arez' [lit. a people of the land].” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 22a) The rabbis equated such teachers to “people of the land,” meaning such teachers were like the common, uneducated person.

The Pauline Epistles and the Sermon on the Mount - Paul the apostle will later write the nine Church Epistles, in which he will be divinely used to lay down the doctrines for the New Testament Church. But his doctrines will be built upon the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, Jesus Christ lays down a foundation upon which all of the New Testament apostles and prophets are to build upon. This is why Paul the apostle could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ;” (Ephesians 2:19-20). Just as Paul’s epistles are grouped into the doctrines of justification, sanctification and glorification, so is the Sermon on the Mount structured around this three-fold emphasis.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Structure of the New Testament Besides the similarities between the Pentateuch and the Gospel of Matthew, we find similarities between the five major discourses and the structure of the New Testament writings. To begin with, we know that the nine Pauline Church Epistles establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. The three Pastoral Epistles establish the order and ministry of the Church. The three General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from without the Church. The five General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from false doctrines within the church.

In a similar manner, we can compare the Sermon on the Mount to the Church Epistles in that they lay the foundation for the doctrine of the Kingdom of God and of the New Testament Church. The second discourse of Jesus sending out the twelve establishes the ministry and order of the Church, which can be compared to the Pastoral Epistles. The third discourse regarding the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven which reveals the ways in which men reject the preaching of the Gospel can be compared to the General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter which deal with persecutions from without. The fourth discourse of dealing with offences and persecutions from the Jewish leaders can be compared with the General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude which discuss persecutions from false doctrine within the Church. The emphasis upon false doctrine in this narrative material is because the theme of this passage is about offences because of false doctrines in the Kingdom of God. These offences are not coming from the multitudes but from those who appear to be within the Kingdom of God, that is, the religious leaders. The fifth Eschatological discourse of the Second Coming of Christ can be compared to the book of Revelation, which deals with the glorification of the Church.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Six Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament Church - If we compare the foundational doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 with the scheme of the five major discourses in Matthew’s Gospel, we can observe some parallels.

Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

The six foundational doctrines found in Hebrews 6:1-2 were laid down by Jesus Christ. It is these six doctrines upon which the Kingdom of Heaven is established:

1. repentance from dead works

2. faith toward God

3. the doctrine of baptisms

4. laying on of hands

5. resurrection of the dead

6. eternal judgment

Jesus’ first discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, finds its parallel in the third foundational doctrine of the doctrine of baptisms. The second discourse, the Sending out of the Twelve, parallels the laying on of hands for Christian service. The third and fourth discourses emphasize the perseverance of the saints. The last discourse, the Eschatological Discourse, places most of its emphasis upon the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to Luke 6:20-49 Just as Jesus Christ visited the synagogues of Galilee and probably delivered the same speech out of Isaiah 61:1-2, do did He probably delivered messages similar to the Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes, which would explain the differences in the parallel passages in Luke 6:20-49 and the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chose the twelve apostles prior to the Sermon on the Plain, while the appointment of the Twelve comes after the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. This helps to explain what many scholars otherwise see as conflicting accounts of the same events.

Verses 7-12

Trusting God in Prayer (Luke 11:5-13 ) In Matthew 7:7-12 Jesus teaches us to trust God in our prayers to Him. We are to be persistent and not grow weary in our Christian lives knowing that God will hear our cries and will bring us through every situation.

A Pure Heart - God does not reward those who seek Him with worldly sins in their hearts. We must come to God with genuine repentance in a pure heart. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“O My people, I have called thee to repentance and confession and forgiveness and cleansing; but ye have listened to My words as though they were but slight rustlings in the tree-tops as though they were of little consequence and could be brushed aside at will. Behold, I say unto thee: Ye cannot resist My Spirit without suffering pain; and ye cannot turn a deaf ear to My words without falling thereafter into the snare of the enemy. Ye have not cried unto Me with all your hearts, buy ye have complained that I have not heard your prayers. Lo, is it not written, ‘The Lord is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him?’ And again, ‘ Then shall ye find Me, when ye seek for Me with all thy heart .’ Look no more to My hand to supply freely thy needs when ye have not humbled your hearts and cleansed your hands and come to Me with the sacrifice which I have required even a broken and a contrite heart. Ye need not listen for Me to speak to thee when your ears are heavy from listening to evil reports.” [396]

[396] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 54.

“Hold fast that which thou hast, and let no man take thy crown. Let no man hinder thee in pursuit of the reward. Let nothing stand in the way of thy complete victory. Let no weariness or discouraging thought cause thee to unloose the rope of faith, but bind it the tighter and anchor fast to My Word. For My Word can never fail, yea, and all My good promises I will surely fulfill. Have not I said, ‘He that seeketh shall find’? And have not I promised to be the rewarder of them that diligently seek Me? Not of the dilatory seeker, but of the diligent seeker. Not of him whose seeking is in reality only wishing, but of him who has grown so intent in his quest that he has become wholly absorbed to the extent that he is unmindful in hi toiling of the sweat upon his brow. To the extent that he has ceased reckoning the cost, indeed, verily, has quit offering bribes, as though the fullness of God might be purchased, and has set out on foot, deserting all else to follow the call of the Spirit until…Until hunger is swallowed up in fullness….” [397]

[397] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 108.

Praying for Good Things - In Matthew 7:7-12 Jesus teaches on prayer. He tells us to believe that when we pray God hears and answers our prayer (Matthew 7:7-8). Jesus then gives an earthly illustration of a father and a son in order to explain a heavenly truth (Matthew 7:9-11). It is important to note that Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father will give His children the “good” things that they have asked for. In other words, one condition to answered prayer is that we must pray for things that are good for us and not harmful to our spiritual, mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. James addresses this issue in James 4:3 by saying, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” In other words, we are to learn how to ask for good things and not pray amiss.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 7:7 Comments - Matthew 7:7 emphasizes persistence in prayer.

Illustrations:

1 Kings 3:5, “In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.”

Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:11 Comments - Michael, our youngest child, who is about to turn three years old, had regained access to our bed over the last few night and managed to sleep between mommy and daddy. His sleep disturbed us all night with his legs and arms body rolling everywhere, waking up and asking for something to drink, wetting in bed on us, etc. When we had enough, we put him into another bedroom to sleep with Menchu’s two sisters, as crowded as it already was. He slept for a while, but then began to cry, and wanted to sleep with us again. Menchu stayed with him for a while, talked to him, and spanked him for his relentless crying, which did not good, and finally agreed that he could come into our bedroom, only if he would sleep in his own baby bed beside our large bed. Having agreed, he comes back into our room. It is now about midnight and we are exhausted. After mommy and I settle back into bed, he starts his relentless, loud crying again, trying to gain access to our bed, which is just within his arm’s reach now. We ignore him, and he cries bitter tears for almost half an hour. Mommy and I decide that we must win this battle, and hope that he will grow tired of crying and fall off to sleep. He calculates his strategy well and asks for a drink of water, and I get up several times and give him water, which seems to give him renewed strength to continue his crying. After close to an hour, realizing he was not going to get his way, he asks for mommy to come and massage him. She finally gets up to rub his back hoping this will appease him. Tired and weary, he holds up his little hand and asks mommy to hold his hand. She takes that little hand in hers and rubs his back with her other hand, and he immediately calms down and falls off to sleep. Mommy comes back to bed, and I hear her softly crying. She now had a hard time sleeping thinking about Michael’s pitiful cries and pleas. She was touch by his final plea for mommy to simply hold his hand, knowing that he could not cuddle up against her this night and fall asleep safely in her arms. (28 August 2008)

Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” - Comments Matthew 7:12 serves as the concluding statement to Matthew 7:7-11, where Jesus teaches about persistence in prayer. Jesus now concludes by saying if God so willing gives to us when we ask, then we are to respond in the same manner to others. God blesses us in every aspect of our lives, so we are to so these blessings into the lives of others as well.

“for this is the law and the prophets” - Comments Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments by saying we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we are to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). This is the essence of the entire Old Testament commandments.

Matthew 22:36-40, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Scripture Reference - Note similar verses in the Scriptures about abstaining from retribution:

Leviticus 19:18, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”

Romans 13:8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Verses 13-20

Perseverance Amidst False Doctrines In Matthew 7:13-20 Jesus places emphasis upon the need to persevere amidst false doctrines. In this passage Jesus teaches us about the dangers along our journey to Heaven. He tells us that the path is narrow and many will not make it (Matthew 7:13-14). We are told that there are many detours to mislead us (Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus will expound upon this topic in His fourth discourse about handling offences in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:53 to Matthew 18:35).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Narrow Way Matthew 7:13-14

2. False Prophets Matthew 7:15-20

Matthew 7:13-14 The Narrow Way to Life (Luke 13:22-30 ) - When God saves a man, he purges him and deals with his heart to lay aside many activities of life that everyone else is actively involved in. God gives us a narrow path to walk with few things being morally right and God ordained. Many things become wrong. Many people of this world are walking paths of darkness, full of many kinds of vain activities.

If we contrast these two verses to the wilderness journey, we see that many of the children of Israel did not make it into the Promised Land. This point is stressed in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11.

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Matthew 7:13 Comments - The broad way is the easy way, that way that everyone does things. It is a path of doing what we feel like doing.

Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7:14 “and few there be that find it” - Comments - God’s line is very straight and narrow. We must seek it, because it will not automatically find us. Note:

Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 7:15-20 False Prophets (Luke 6:43-45 ) In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus warns us of false prophets, who are those who appear to be righteous, but are there to deceive us. Along this narrow path to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14) there are many detours to mislead us. We are to learn the voice of the Father and do His will (Matthew 7:21-23). Otherwise, we will fall by the wayside as many people will do and miss Heaven because of the voices of the “false prophets.” The voice of the false prophet can be used to test our true devotion to God.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets” - Comments - In the Greek text, the emphasis is on the first word of the sentence. In this verse, the phrase “Beware of false prophets” begins the Greek sentence, carrying the emphasis. Likewise, verses 13 and 22 emphasize the word “many” in the Greek, by having this word at the start of the sentence.

Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Matthew 7:16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits” - Comments - Obviously “their fruits” is something that the devil nor natural man cannot imitate. They can do some seemingly good works, but the fruit of Spirit cannot be copied by them (Galatians 5:22-23). This spiritual fruit is our indicator that someone is walking by the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Matthew 7:16 Comments - If someone has every studied plants and biology, they know the important of observing a plant’s fruit as a method of identification. Very often a particular plant cannot be easily identified by its leaves or bark alone, because many leaves are similar. The surest way of identification always lies in looking at its flowers or its fruit.

Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Verses 21-23

Glorification: Entering the Promised Land by Doing the Will of the Father (Luke 13:22-30 ) In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus Christ teaches on the subject of how to enter into our future glorification in Heaven. It is only those who stay on course and do the will of the Father who will enter into Heaven. Jesus will expound upon this topic in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46).

Matthew 7:21-23 teaches us to learn to hear the voice of the Father and to do His will. This is the only way to avoid being misled by false prophets. According to the parallel passage in Luke, these verses in Matthew’s Gospel are simply a continuation of the passage on the narrow gate in Matthew 7:13-14.

This teaching to the Jews is telling them that by their traditions no man is justified before God. Many people today spend their entire lives within the framework of a church denomination that does not emphasize the need to be saved, or born again. Just as the Jews in the time of Jesus trusted in their ancient heritage and traditions and good works, so do many church members believe that they are going to Heaven because they have been a member of a church and lived a relatively good life. I have asked people of denominations that do not emphasize the born again experience, such as many Anglican and Catholics churches, about what it takes to get to Heaven. They reply, “If I am a good person,” or, “If I attend church regularly.” They base their relationship with God on good works; and this the exact mentality we see in those who come to Jesus in Matthew 7:22 as they declare their good works before Him. However, the theme of the Sermon on the Mount is a discourse on true righteousness before God, which takes place only in the lives of those with a pure heart who put their faith and trust in Him.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:21 “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” - Comments - The contrast in this verse is with one who does not do God’s will.

Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:22 Scripture Reference - Note:

Mark 9:39, “But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.”

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:23 Scripture Reference - Note:

Ezekiel 33:12, “Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.”

Verses 24-29

The Summary and Application to the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:46-49 ) In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus gives us His concluding remarks to the Sermon on the Mount. He tells us to be doers of the Word of God and not hearers only (Luke 6:46, James 1:22-25).

Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

We find a similar conclusion in the book of Ecclesiastes 12:13 when King Solomon says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Both conclusions refer to the need to keep God’s commandments. Jesus states this in Matthew 7:21 by saying, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 7:28-29 serves as a transitional sentence that the author uses between the five major sections of the Gospel.

Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Matthew 7:29 Comments The Authority of God’s Word - God’s Word carries God’s authority. As Jesus taught the Word of God, He delivered it with the authority of God. Such is the responsibility of the preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As he preaches from the Holy Scriptures, he speaks with divine authority.

Matthew 7:28-29 Comments - Transitional Sentences - Matthew 7:28-29 serves as the first of five transitional sentences that mark the five major divisions of the Gospel of Matthew. Each of these five lengthy discourses ends with the similar phrase, “when Jesus had finished these sayings (or parables),” giving these five sections a common division.

Matthew 7:28-29, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

Matthew 11:1, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.”

Matthew 13:53, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.”

Matthew 19:1, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;”

Matthew 26:1, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,”

Thus, each of these five discourses is separated with large sections of narrative material, with the discourses being interwoven between the narratives. Each section of narrative material relates to and prepares us for the next discourse.

Comments Themes Reflected in Transitional Sentences - Matthew 7:28-29 serves as a transitional sentence and as a parallel passage to Luke 7:1. The parallel passage in Matthew 7:28-29 makes a similar statement, but reflects the office of the teacher by using the Greek words λο ́ γος (G3056) (sayings) and διδαχη ́ (G1322) (teaching). In contrast, Luke’s passage reflects the office and ministry of the prophet in that the Greek uses the words ρ ̔ η ͂ μα (G4487) (sayings) and α ̓ κοη ́ (G189) (hearing). While λο ́ γος is defined as “the expression of thought” ( Vine), ρ ̔ η ͂ μα means, “that which is spoken” ( Vine). A ρ ̔ η ͂ μα word is that which the Spirit of God inspires us to utter, while the λο ́ γος word reflects more of the written Word of God as a doctrine that is taught. Thus, Matthew’s Gospel reflects the teaching of God’s Word, while Luke reflects a prophetic utterance.

Luke 7:1, “Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 7". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/matthew-7.html. 2013.