Using The New Testament Literacy Tool, we conclude Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7. We can see at least 4 parts to this chapter. Verses 1 thru 6 looks to be #9, New Life in Christ instruction concerning discernment. Jesus may open by saying ‘Do not judge,’ but it is just as obvious that He is actually telling us to judge, and how to do it rightly. The second verse would mean to judge mercifully. And, verses 3 thru 5, instruct us to examine ourselves first, that we be not guilty of the very same offense of which we might ourselves be blinded to seeing! Verse 6 even extends our discernment out as far as to whom we should share the things of God. We are to attempt to share Christ with all, but to fully share the faith with those who want to hear, and learn, and know!
With verses 7 thru 11, we’re back to prayer, as 6:5-13 taught. Jesus here adds the element of importunity to prayer; as the verbs, ‘ask,’ ‘seek’ and ‘knock’ are all in the present tense, meaning to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Find mention of God answering such prayer at least 10 times here! Do not mistake the command of verse 12 for a means of saving yourself, as false religion teaches!!! ‘The Golden Rule’ of doing unto others has this whole idea of being generous toward others in the manner that God will be generous to you thru your prayer-life! Verses 13 and 14 then reinforce this, as life does not come by means of ‘The Golden Rule’ of verse 12, but clearly by the narrow gate and way, which Jesus has taught 4 times already is #6, repentance, as we find it in 4:17, 5:3 thru 6a, 5:29 and 30, and 6:22 and 23.
We have more about discernment with 7:15 thru 23. Jesus is teaching that there will be false Christian teachers and leaders. Figure out who these are! You’ll know them by their fruit. What fruit? They will say they ‘prophesy,’ ‘exorcise demons,’ and ‘perform miracles’! They will say Jesus is their Lord, but He says He does not know them! He says they do evil; where He is looking for good fruit. Since He has not said anything about prophesying, exorcism or performing miracles before now, the fruit He must be looking for must revolve around that which He has already taught; repentance, right living, being salt and light, giving, praying, fasting, simple trust in God’s provision, discernment! Who, today, is claiming that they do that other stuff? Beware of them!
Closing with verses 24 thru 29, Jesus puts Himself forth as the ultimate authority! This is a claim to divinity in itself! We are to do as HE says!!! The Point? If you have repented, believed on Jesus, and been Born Again… Go back and note all the #9, New Life in Christ instructions to this point and be certain these are becoming your life’s practice! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell