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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Matthew 7

 

 

Verses 1-8

Matthew 7:1-2. Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Use your judgment, of course: the verse implies that you will judge in a right sense. But do not indulge the criticizing faculty upon others in censorious manner, or as if you were set in authority, and had a right to dispense judgment among your fellows. If you impute motives, and pretend to read hearts, others will do the same towards you. A hard and censorious behaviour is sure to provoke reprisals. Those around you will pick up the peck measure you have been using, and measure your corn with it. You do not object to men forming a fair opinion of your character, neither are you forbidden to do the same towards them, but as you would object to their sitting in judgment upon you, do not sit in judgment upon them. This is not the day of judgment, neither are we his Majesty’s judges, and therefore we may not anticipate the time appointed for the final assize, nor usurp the prerogatives of the Judge of all the earth. Surely, if I know myself aright, I need not send my judgment upon circuit to try other men, for I can give it full occupation in my own Court of Conscience to try the traitors within my own bosom.

Matthew 7:3-5. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cut out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The judging faculty is best employed at home. Our tendency is to spy out splinters in other men’s eyes, and not to see the beam in our own. Instead of beholding, with gratified gaze, the small fault of another, we should act reasonably if we penitently considered the greater fault of ourselves. It is the beam in our own eye which blinds us to our own wrong doing; but such blindness does not suffice to excuse us, since it evidently does not shut our eyes to the little error of our brother. Officiousness pretends to play the oculist; but in very truth it plays the fool. Fancy a man with a beam in his eye pretending to deal with so tender a part as the eye of another, and attempting to remove so tiny a thing as a mote or splinter! Is he not a hypocrite to pretend to be so concerned about other men’s eyes, and yet he never attends to his own? Jesus is gentle, but he calls that man a “hypocrite “ who fusses about small things in others and pays no attention to great matters at home in his own person. Our reformations must begin with ourselves, or they are not true, and do not spring from a right motive. Sin we may rebuke, but not if we indulge it. We may protest against evil, but not if we willfully practice it. The Pharisees were great at censuring, but slow at amending. Our Lord will not have his kingdom made up of hypocritical theorists, he calls for practical obedience to the rules of holiness. After we are ourselves sanctified, we are bound to be eyes to the blind, and correctors of unholy living; but not till then. Till we have personal piety, our preaching of godliness is sheer hypocrisy. May none of us provoke the Lord to say to us, “Thou hypocrite”!

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.

When men are evidently unable to perceive the purity of a great truth, do not set it before them. They are like mere dogs, and if you set holy things before them they will be provoked to “turn again and rend you”: holy things are not for the profane. “Without are dogs”: they must not be allowed to enter the holy place. When you are in the midst of the vicious, who are like “swine,” do not bring forth the precious mysteries of the faith, for they will despise them, and “trample them under their feet” in the mire.

You are not needlessly to provoke attack upon yourself, or upon the higher truths of the gospel. You are not to judge, but you are not to act without judgment. Count not men to be dogs or swine; but when they avow themselves to be such, or by their conduct act as if they were such, do not put occasions in their way for displaying their evil character. Saints are not to be simpletons; they are not to be judges, but, also, they are not to be fools. Great King, how much wisdom thy precepts require! I need thee, not only to open my mouth, but also at times to keep it shut.

Matthew 7:7-8. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

To men you may not always speak of heavenly things, but to God you may. “Ask, seek, knock”; let your prayer be adapted to the case; let it increase in intensity, let it advance in the largeness of its object. To receive a gift is simple, to find a treasure is more enriching, to enter into a palace is best of all. Each form of prayer is prescribed, accepted, and rewarded in a manner suitable to its character. The promise is universal to all who obey the precept. The commands are in opposition to the methods of carking care which have been denounced in the former chapter; and they are encouragements to the precepts of giving and non-recessional set forth previously, since he that can have of God for the asking may well give to men who ask, and even yield to those who unjustly demand. With such boundless stores at command, we should not be either niggardly or litigious. Lord, help me to have done with fretting, and to abound in asking, seeking, knocking; so shall I soon overflow with thanksgiving.


Verses 1-29

Matthew 7:1-2. Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.

Some people are of a censorious disposition; they see nothing in others to praise, but everything to blame, and such people generally find that they are condemned according to their own wicked rule. Other people begin to judge those who are so fond of judging. If they are so wise, and so discriminating, others expect more from them; and not finding it, they are not slow to condemn them. It is an old proverb that chickens come home to roost, and so they do. If you judge ill of others, that judgment will, sooner or later, come home to yourself.

Matthew 7:3-5. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye! Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

At the bottom of all censoriousness lies hypocrisy. An honest man would apply to himself the judgment which he exercises upon others, but it usually happens that those who are so busy spying out other people’s faults have no time to see their own; and what is this, at the bottom, but insincerity and hypocrisy?

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.

Zeal should always be tempered by prudence. There are times when it would be treason to truth to introduce it as a topic of conversation,-when men are in such a frame of mind that they will be sure rather to cavil at it than to believe it. Not only speak thou well, but speak thou at the right time, for silence is sometimes golden. See that thou hast thy measure of golden silence as well as of silver speech.

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

Here is a three-fold encouragement to us to pray. When we cannot use one style of prayer, let us use another, for each shall be successful at the right time. O child of God, let nothing keep thee from prayer! It has been well said that a Christian may be hedged in, but he cannot be roofed in; there is always a passage way upwards to the throne of the great Father; and asking, knocking, seeking, he shall be sure to be successful with his suit.

Matthew 7:8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask the people of God whether it is not so. Go among them, and question them upon this matter. They know the power of prayer, so let them tell you whether they have been deceived or not. Well, then, as it has been so with them, let this encourage you to expect that it shall be the same with you also.

Matthew 7:9-12. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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.? 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.

Is there a connection between this conduct on our part and answers to our prayer? Undoubtedly it is so from the position of the text. If we will never grant the requests of those who need our help, in oases where we should expect to be ourselves helped, how can we go to God with any confidence, and ask him to help us? I doubt not that many a man has received no answer to his prayer because that prayer has come out of a heart hard and untender, which would not permit him to grant the requests of others. O child of God, do thou to others as thou wouldst that they should do to thee, then canst thou go to thy God in prayer with the confidence that he will hear and answer thee!

Matthew 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate:

Do not be ashamed of being called Puritanical, precise, and particular:

Enter ye in at the narrow gate.”

Matthew 7:13. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,

Do not choose that way.

Matthew 7:13-21. And many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth-evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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.

That still remains as the great test of the true heir of heaven, the doing of the divine will. All the talking, thinking, posturing in the world will not save a man. There must be in him such a faith as produces holiness.

Matthew 7:22-25. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;-

Whoever you are, and whatever you build, it will be tried. No matter how firm is the rock beneath you, the winds will blow, and the rains will pour down upon your building. Whether you are in a palace or in a hovel, trial and testing must and will come to you: “The floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house,-

Matthew 7:25. And it fell not:

There is the mercy “it fell not.”

Matthew 7:25-27. For it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house,

Even if you live to the world, or live unto Satan, you will not live without trial. The ungodly, who have their portion in this life, have to eat some bitter herbs with it, and have to dip their morsel in vinegar quite as much as believers do. “The floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;

Matthew 7:27. And it fell:

Just when the tenant most needed shelter, it fell. He did not need it so much till the floods came, and the winds blew; but now, when he would fain have crouched down beneath his roof-tree, and have been at peace from the howling hurricane, then “it fell.”

Matthew 7:27. And great was the fall of it.

The fall was so great because he could never build again.

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.

Not quoting Rabbi so-and-so, to show how well he was acquainted with his writings, but speaking as one who knew what he had to say, and who spoke, out of the fullness of his heart, truth that was evidently inspired; and his hearers felt the force of the solemn message which he thus delivered.


Verses 7-29

Matthew 7:7. Ask, and it shall be given you;

He that will not ask for it deserves to go without it. Have you ever asked for it? If not, whose fault is it that you have it not?

Matthew 7:7. Seek, and ye shall find;

How can you hope to find if you do not seek? Have you never found it? Have you never sought it? And if you have never sought it, how do you excuse yourselves for your neglect?

Matthew 7:7. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Is that all-knock? Is the gate of heaven not opened to you? Have you never knocked? Do you wonder, therefore, that the door is shut? Take care; for the time may come when you will knock, and the door will not be opened to you; for, “when once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door,” then knocking shall be in vain. But at present this verse is still God’s gracious word of command and promise; let me read it to you again: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Matthew 7:8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

When you are dealing with men, this is not always true. You may ask, and not receive; you may seek, and not find; you may knock, and not have the door opened to you. But when you deal with God, there are no failures or refusals. Every true asker receives; every true seeker finds; and every true knocker has the door opened to him. Will you not try it, and prove for yourself that it is even so?

Matthew 7:9-11. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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?

You not only give, but you know how to give so as not to disappoint the asker. It is most blessedly so with the great Father in heaven. He will not give you that which will mock and disappoint you: he will give you bread, not a stone; fish, not a serpent; nay, more, he will give you the bread of life, and the water of life, that you may live for ever.

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.

This is rightly called “the golden rule.” Christ says of it that it is “the law and the prophets.” It is the essence of them, it is the sum and substance of the highest morality. What you would that others should do to you, do that to them. Do not let that golden rule remain merely as a record in this Book, but take it out with you into your daily life. If we did all act to others as we would that others should act to us, how different would the lives of many men become! Ours would be a happy world if this law of Christ were the law of England, and the law of all nations. God send us the Spirit by whom alone we shall be able to obey so high a rule!

Matthew 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate

The narrow gate

Matthew 7:13-14. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Do not try to go with the majority; truth is usually with the minority. Do not count heads, and say, “I am for that which has the most on its side;” but prefer that which is least liked among men, choose that which is most difficult, most trying to flesh and blood, that which gives you least license, because “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” You will not hit upon it, then, in a “happy-go-lucky” sort of style. Heaven’s gate is not found open by accident; there never was anybody yet who was saved by accident. No: “few there be that find it,” is still true. God grant that we may be among the few! And why should we not be?

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

There are always plenty of them about; there is nothing of the sheep about them but the skin, and there is no connection between that skin and those that wear it.

Matthew 7:16-20. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth-good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth-evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

You may judge men as well as trees that way; and you may judge doctrines that way. That which gives a license to sin cannot be true; but that which makes for holiness is true; for, somehow, truth of doctrine and holiness of life run together. We cannot expect holiness to grow out of falsehood, but we may expect all manner of evil to come out of false teaching.

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.

Practice is the true test, not words. Not he that saith, “Lord, Lord,” but “he that doeth the will of God;” not he that merely has good words on his tongue, but he that has the will of God laid up in his heart, and wrought out in his life, that is the man who “shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 7:22-23. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

If our lives are evil, it does not matter to what denomination we belong; we may be clever preachers, or mighty teachers, we may fancy that we have had dreams and visions, we may set ourselves up to be some great ones; but if we have not done the will of God, we shall at the last hear Christ say to us, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Matthew 7:24-25. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

He was a good man, and a practical man; yet he was also a tried man. His house was built on the rock, but that did not prevent the rain descending, and the floods coming, and the winds blowing. The highest type of godliness will not save you from troubles and trials; it will, in some measure, even necessitate them. But, blessed be God, here lies the gem of the parable or narrative: “It fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” It could stand the strain and endure the test, for it had a good foundation.

Matthew 7:26-27. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

He was a great hearer, but he was a bad doer; yet he thought that he was a good doer, for he built a house. Alas, the house was on the sand! There was no real obedience to Christ, no true trusting in him; and so, when the time of trouble came, and trouble will come even to the hypocrite and to the false professor, we read of his house, “It fell: and great was the fall of it,” because it could never be built up again. It fell hopelessly; it fell forever; therefore, “Great was the fall of it.”

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.

There was a force and power about what Jesus said, he spoke from the heart, he spoke with the accent of conviction; whereas the scribes and Pharisees only spoke magisterially and officially, with no heart in their utterance, and there was therefore no power about it. God give to all of us the grace to know the power of the words of Christ! Amen.


Verses 13-23

Matthew 7:13-14. 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: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Be up and on your journey. Enter in at the gate at the head of the way, and do not stand hesitating. If it be the right road, you will find the entrance somewhat difficult, and exceedingly narrow; for it demands self-denial, add calls for strictness of obedience, and watchfulness of spirit. Nevertheless, “enter ye in at the strait gate.” Whatever its drawbacks of fewness of pilgrims, or straitness of entrance, yet choose it and use it. True, there is another road, broad and much frequented; but it leadeth to destruction. Men go to ruin along the turnpike road, but the way to heaven is a bridle-path. There may come other days, when the many will crowd the narrow way; but, at this time, to be popular, the road must be broad — broad in doctrine, in morals, and in spirituals. But those on the strait road shall go straight to glory, and those on the broad road are all abroad. All is well that ends well: we can afford to be straitened in the right way rather than enlarged in the wrong way; because the first endeth in endless life, and the second hastens down to everlasting death. Lord, deliver me from the temptation to be “broad,” and keep me in the narrow way, though few find it!

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

We have need of our judgments, and we must try the Spirits of those who profess to be sent of God. There are men of great gifts who are “false prophets.” These affect the look, language and spirit of God’s people, while really they long to devour souls, even as wolves thirst for the blood of sheep. “Sheep’s clothing” is all very fine, but we must look beneath it and spy out the wolves. A man is what he is inwardly. We had need beware. This precept is timely at this hour. We must be careful, not only about our way, but about our leaders. They come to us; they come as prophets; they come with every outward commendation; but they are very Balaams, and will surely curse those they pretend to bless.

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

Their teaching, their living, and their effect upon our minds will be a sure test to us. Every doctrine and doctrinaire may thus be tried. If we gather grapes of them, they are not thorns; if they produce nothing but thistle-down, they are not fig-trees. Some object to this practical method of test; but wise Christians will carry it with them as the ultimate touchstone. What is the effect of modern theology upon the spirituality, the prayerfulness, the holiness of the people? Has it any good, effect?

Matthew 7:17-18. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every man produces according to his nature; he cannot do otherwise. Good tree, good fruit; corrupt tree, evil fruit. There is no possibility of the effect being higher and better than the cause. The truly good does not bring forth evil; it would be contrary to its nature. The radically bad never rises to produce good, though it may seem to do so. Therefore, the one and the other may be known by the special fruit of each. Our King is a great teacher of prudence. We are not to judge; but we are to know, and the rule for this knowledge is as simple as it is safe. Such knowledge of men may save us from great mischief which would come to us through associating with bad and deceitful persons.

Matthew 7:19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Here is the end to which evil things are tending, The ax and the fire await the ungodly, however fine they may look with the leafage of profession.

Only let time enough be given, and every man on earth who bears no good fruit will meet his doom. It is not merely the wicked, the bearer of poison berries, that will be cut down but the neutral, the man who bears no fruit of positive virtue must also be cast into the fire.

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

It is not ours to hew or to burn, but it is ours to know. This knowledge is to save us from coming under the shadow or influence of false teachers. Who wants to build his nest upon a tree which is soon to be cut down? Who would choose a barren tree for the center of his orchard? Lord, let me remember that I am to judge myself by this rule. Make me a true fruit-bearing tree.

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.

No verbal homage will suffice: “Not every one that saith.” We may believe in our Lord’s Deity, and we may take great, pains to affirm it over and over again with our “Lord, Lord”; but unless we carry out the commands of the Father, we pay no true homage to the Son. We may own our obligations to Jesus, and so call him “Lord, Lord”; but if we never practically carry out those obligations, what is the value of our admissions? Our King receives not into his kingdom those whose religion lies in words and ceremonies, but only those whose lives display the obedience of true discipleship.

Matthew 7:22-23. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

An orthodox creed will not save if it stands alone, neither will it be sure to do so if accompanied by official position and service. These people said, “Lord, Lord,” and, in addition, pleaded their prophesying or preaching in his name. All the preaching in the world will not save the preacher if he does not practice. Yes, and he may have been successful — successful to a very high degree — “and in thy name have cast out devils,” and yet, without personal holiness, the caster-out of devils will be cast out himself. The success boasted of may have had about it surprising circumstances of varied interest — “and in thy name done many wonderful works”; and yet the man may be unknown to Christ. Three times over the person is described as doing all “in thy name”; and yet the Lord, whose name he used so freely, so boldly, knew nothing of him, and would not suffer him to remain in his company. The Lord cannot endure the presence of those who call him “Lord, Lord,” and then work iniquity. They professed to him that they knew him, but he will “profess unto them, I never knew you.” How solemn is this reminder to me and to others! Nothing will prove us to be true Christians but a sincere doing of the Father’s will! We may be known by all to have great spiritual power over devils, and men, and yet our Lord may not own us in that great day, but may drive us out as impostors whom he cannot tolerate in his presences.


Verses 13-29

Matthew 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate.

It is very unpopular. The great ones will recommend to you great liberality and breadth; but enter yet in at the strait gate.

Matthew 7:13. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat .’

That is a rule that is very unfashionable in these times; but depend upon it, the Lord, who gave it to us, meant it for all times. That which seems narrow, which costs you self-denial — that which is contrary to the will of the flesh — that which does not seem to charm the eye and fascinate the senses — go after that “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” You will not be likely to err much, or too much on that side. Let this ,be a gauge to you. That kind of preaching which allows you to indulge in sin — that sort of teaching which lowers the standard of God’s Word for you, and makes you think more of your own judgment than of the teachings of Christ — away with it. Let others have it if they like. “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 7:14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that of it.

It is still so. Indeed, none find it. unless grace finds them. He who made that gate must go after the wandering’ sheep, and bring them through that gate. They will never choose it of themselves.

Matthew 7:15. Beware of false prophets.

Some honour and esteem all prophets. “Is not it a very high office? Is not a prophet a man sent from God?” Yes, and for that very reason there are counterfeits whom God has never sent. Beware of false prophets.

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

They look just like sheep. They look just like shepherds, but it is only their clothing. The mere hypocrite is the goat in sheep’s clothing. But a false prophet is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, because he can do so much more harm, and will do, so much more damage to the church of God.

Matthew 7:16. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

They are sure to come out in their actions If you have not got the knowledge of theology, and the like, to, be able to judge their teaching, yet the simplest persons can judge their actions.. “You shall know them ‘by their fruits,” which are sure to come out sooner or later.

Matthew 7:16. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Did you ever find a cluster of grapes growing upon a thorn-bush? Grapes and figs are pleasant fruit, and holy living, true devotion, communion with God — these are the things that are sweet to God and to good men. But they come not of false doctrine. They are not seen in false prophets. Such prophets despise such things as these. They are for worldly ways, and places of worldly gaiety they can frequent. Not so the servants of God.

Matthew 7:17-19. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

That is what comes of it in the end. It may spread itself abroad, and may gather much admiration, to itself for its verdure, but there is an axe being sharpened, and a fire being kindled

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

You cannot judge them by their bark, or by the spread of their branches, or by the verdure of their leaves, or even by the beauty of their blossoms in. spring time. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The Saviour here gives us a very earnest and very necessary warning, lest we should be deceived, for there are such who are not only deceived by their own sins, but deceived by false prophets, who are among Satan’s best agents.

Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

They were very sound in doctrine. They called Jesus “Lord.” They believed in his Deity. Apparently, they were very devout. They said, “Lord.” They worshipped him. They were very importunate and earnest. They said, “Lord, Lord,” ewing to him again and again. But “not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” External utterances, however orthodox; professions, however sound, are not enough.

Matthew 7:21. But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Oh! dear friends, there must be holiness in us, for without holiness no man can see the Lord. It is not knowing the will of the heavenly Father, but doing it which is the mark of divine election. If God’s grace has really entered into us, we, like the prophets, shall be known by our fruits; and if we are not doing the will of our Father who is in heaven, we shall not come to the heaven where he is.

Matthew 7:22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?

Yes, so did Balaam. Was not Saul also among the prophets, and yet neither Balaam nor Saul was accepted of God, but they were castaways, “Have we not prophesied in thy name?” A man may be a preacher, and an eloquent preacher, and he may even have some blessing upon his preaching, and yet be cast away for ever.

Matthew 7:22. And in thy name have cast out devils;

Yes, and there was one that cast out devils, and he was a devil himself, namely, Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him. He went out and wrought miracles in the name of Christ, and then sold Christ for pieces of silver.

Matthew 7:22. And in thy name done many wonderful works?

Yes, and we may do many wonderful works, and yet be wonderfully deceived. It is not wonderful works: it is holy works; not works that amaze men, but works that please God, which are the proof of grace in the soul. Well, there will be some who will be able to say that they prophesied —that they cast out devils — that they did wonders.

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

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 7:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-7.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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