Do not Judge
(Read Matt 7:1-12).
The Bible warns believers not to pass condemnatory judgment on others (Rom 14:10-13; James 4:11-11). Because humans are sinful and we often excuse ourselves from the very sin we condemn in others (Rom 2:1). We should not judge the inner motives of another and use ourselves as the standard of judgment. We should avoid hypocritical judgment. It is like worrying about a speck in our friend’s eye, when we have a log in our own eyes. We must remove the log from our eyes before we even begin to help others. It is possible only when we realize that God has judged Jesus in our place and we are in need of his mercy. Only the grace of God what humbles us and frees us from judgmental attitude toward others. The New Testament is filled with making impartial and scriptural judgment. Jesus said “Do not give dog what is holy and throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn and attack you” (Matt 7:6). It is futile to continue to present truth to those who refuse to obey. The difference between judgment and discernment is that a judgment declares a verdict, while discernment seeks solution. Instead of making harsh judgment, we should pray sincerely for those whom we are concerned about. Prayer is Christian alternative to judgmental attitude. God promises to answer our prayers (Matt 7:8). Jesus contrasted earthy father with heavenly Father by saying “If our earthly fathers are kind to us, how much more our heavenly Father delights to answer our prayers” (Matt 7:11). Ask, seek and knock are three imperatives in prayer. We must pray for those whom we are prone to criticize. Jesus wants his disciples to obey “the golden rule” that summarizes the second table of the Law. “Do to others what you would like them to do for you” (Matt 7:12). Someone has said “Pride is a blinding and the destructive sin that causes us to poorly evaluate others and ourselves”. Pray that God would protect us from the sin of pride.
Disciples are known by their Fruits
(Read Matt 7:13-20)
All who claim to follow Jesus are not true disciples. True disciple is genuine in his commitment to Christ. Their inner transformation will bear good fruit. It was a common method of teaching by contrast among Jews. True discipleship is presented in contrasts in two ways. They are two trees, two professions and two foundations (Matt 7: 13- 29). True disciples are those who entered into a living relationship to God through the narrow gate of faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is both the gate and the way (John 10:7; 14:6). In fact Christianity was known as “The way” in the early church (Acts 9:2; 22:4). Many are on the broad road of their own works to arrive heaven. This will lead them to destruction. Only few have humbled themselves to reach heaven by the narrow gate of grace. True Christians have a transformed lifestyle. That does not mean that they are flawless. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is thrown into fire. Jesus warns us of false prophets. They appear in sheep clothing but are wolves that will tear you apart. They deny and distort the truth. The disciples should not be deceived by their cleverness. Every good tree produces good fruit. Corrupt tree produces evil fruit. The changed life is the proof of salvation (2 Cor 5:17).
True Disciples Walk the Talk
(Read Matt 7:21-29)
Jesus said everyone professing Christ are not true disciple. If our faith in Christ does not transform our life, it is meaningless and offensive to God. On the judgment day many will call Jesus as Lord and claim that they have done many wonderful works in his name. But Jesus will say, “I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). They are not born again nor their lives are transformed by God. Faith is the root of salvation and works are its fruit. They also lack assurance of salvation because they practice sin. They call Jesus master but do not obey him. They call Jesus light but don’t walk in his light. They call Jesus fairest of ten thousand but don’t love him. They call Jesus rich but don’t pray to him. If Jesus condemns them, they should blame themselves. Christ is interested in our motive that comes from a pure heart. A genuinely saved person will consistently do the will of God. Christ concludes the sermon with the illustration of two foundations. The wise man hears God’s word and builds his faith on the solid rock of Christ. But the foolish man builds his life on his opinions and human philosophy. When trials and persecution come all that he built will be destroyed. Here the rock represents Christ and his word. True believers not only listen to Jesus, but build their lives upon his words. The entire sermon was addressed to believers. People were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because he taught them as one who has authority and not as their scribes (Matt 7:29). The scribes were the interpreters of the Law. They rely on traditions for their authority. Jesus calls attention on himself in this entire sermon. Are you a Christian who listens to Jesus and builds your life upon his words? Is Christ the focus of your life?