7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged1. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from Capernaum.) G. LAW CONCERNING JUDGING. Matthew 7:1-6; Luke 6:37-42
Judge not, that ye be not judged. Here again Jesus lays down a
general principle in the form of universal prohibition. The principle is, of
course, to be limited by other Scriptural laws concerning judgment. It does
not prohibit: (1) Judgment by civil courts, which is apostolically approved
13:17; 2 Peter
2:13-15). (2) Judgment of the church on those who walk disorderly; for
this also was ordered (Matthew
18:16,17; 2 Thessalonians
3:6,14; 1 Timothy
1:20; 1 Timothy
3:10; 2 John
1:10). (3) Private judgment as to wrong-doers. This is also ordered by
Christ and his apostles (Matthew
16:17; 1 Corinthians
5:11; 1 John
4:1). The commandment is leveled at rash, censorious and uncharitable
judgments, and the fault-finding spirit or disposition which condemns upon
surmise without examination of the charges, forgetful that we also shall
stand in the judgment and shall need mercy (Romans
2:13). Our judgment of Christians must be charitable, (John
7:24; 1 Corinthians
13:5,6) in remembrance of the fact that they are God's servants (Romans
14:4); and that he reserves to himself the ultimate right of judging
both them and us (Romans
14:4; 1 Corinthians
4:3,4; 2 Corinthians
7:2 For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged1: and
with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you2.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. Though God
shall judge us with absolute justice, yet justice often requires that we
receive even in the same measure in which we have given it, so in a sense
the merciful receive mercy, and the censorious receive censure. (James
And with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. But
from men we receive judgment in the measure in which we give it. Applying
the teaching here given locally, we find that Jesus, having condemned the
Pharisees in their manner of praying (Matthew
6:5,6), now turns to reprove them for their manner of judging. Their
censorious judgments of Christ himself darken many pages of the gospel. But
with a bitter spirit they condemned as sinners beyond the pale of mercy
whole classes of their countrymen, such as publicans, Samaritans, and the
like, besides their wholesale rejection of all heathen. These bitter
judgments swiftly returned upon the heads of the judges and caused the
victorious Roman to wipe out the Jewish leaders without mercy. It is a great
moral principle of God's government that we reap what we sow (Job
10:12; 2 Corinthians
6:7,8). Censorious judgment and its harvest are merely one form of
culture which comes under this general law.
7:3 And why
beholdest thou the mote1 that is in thy brother's eye, but
considerest not the beam2 that is in thine own eye?
Why beholdest thou the mote. Chip or speck of wood dust.
But considerest not the beam. Heavy house timber. Jesus graphically
and grotesquely represents a man with a log, or rafter, in his eye trying to
take a chip or splinter out of his neighbor's eye. Both parties have the
same trouble or fault, but the one having the greater seeks to correct the
one having the less. The application is that he would successfully teach or
admonish must first be instructed or admonished himself (Galatians
6:1). In moral movements men cannot be pushed; they must be led. Hence
those who would teach must lead the way. Those who have reformed their own
faults can "see clearly" how to help others. But so long as we
continued in sin, we are blind leaders of the blind. Compare the application
of this parable in Luke. See Luke
7:6 Give not that
which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine1,
lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls
before the swine. The connection here is not obvious. This saying,
however, appears to be a limitation of the law against judging. The
Christian must not be censoriously judicial, but he should be
discriminatingly judicious. He must know dogs and swine when he sees them,
and must not treat them as priests and kings, the fit objects for the
bestowal of holy food and goodly ornaments. Dogs and swine were unclean
animals. The former were usually undomesticated and were often fierce. In
the East they are still the self-appointed scavengers of the street. The
latter were undomesticated among the Jews, and hence are spoken of as wild
and liable to attack man. Meats connected with the sacrificial service of
the altar were holy. Even unclean men were not permitted to eat of them,
much less unclean brutes. What was left after the priests and clean persons
had eaten was to be burned with fire (Leviticus
7:15-21). To give holy things to dogs was to profane them. We are here
forbidden, then, to use any religious office, work, or ordinance, in such a
manner as to degrade or profane it. Saloons ought not to be opened with
prayer, nor ought adulterous marriages to be performed by a man of God. To
give pearls to swine is to press the claims of the gospel upon those who
despise it until they persecute you for annoying them with it. When such men
are known, they are to be avoided. Jesus acted on this principle in refusing
to answer the Pharisees, and the apostles did the same in turning to the
Gentiles when their Jewish hearers would begin to contradict and blaspheme.
7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from Capernaum.) H.
CONCERNING PRAYER. Matthew
Ask . . . seek . . . knock. The words here are slightly
climacteric. Asking is a simple use of voice, seeking is a motion of the
body, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through obstacles.
7:8 for every one
that asketh receiveth1; and he that seeketh findeth; and
to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
For every one that asketh receiveth. Jesus here uses the universal
"every one", but he means every one of a class, for the term is
modified by the prescribed conditions of acceptable prayer (Matthew
4:3; 1 John
5:14). We see also by Matthew
7:9 that it means every one who is recognized by God as a son. All God's
children who pray rightly are heard.
7:9 Or what man is there of you, who,
if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone1;
Who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?
Fish and bread were the common food of the peasants of Galilee. A stone
might resemble a cake, but it would deceive the child.
7:10 or if he
shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent1?
Or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? A serpent
might resemble an eel or a perch, but if given it would be both deceptive
and injurious. We often misunderstand God's answer thus. But our sense of
sonship should teach us better.
7:11 If ye then,
being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children1,
how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
etc. Here is an argument from analogy. It is assumed that the paternal
feeling which prompts us to give good things to our children, is still a
higher degree in God with reference to his children; and hence it is argued
that he will much more give good things to those who ask him. Since it is
Jesus who assumes the likeness on which the argument rests, we may rely on
the correctness of the reasoning; but we must be cautious how we derive
arguments of our own from the analogy between God's attributes and the
corresponding characteristics of man. For example, this attribute of
paternal feeling has been employed to disprove the reality of the eternal
punishment with which God himself threatens the sinner, because the paternal
feeling in man would prevent him from so punishing his own children. The
fallacy in the argument consists in assuming that the feeling in question
must work the same results in every particular in God that it does in man.
But Revelation teaches that such is not the case.
7:12 All things
therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also
unto them1: for this is the law
and the prophets2.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from Capernaum.) I. THE
GOLDEN RULE. Matthew
All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you,
even so do ye also unto them. Jesus connects the Golden Rule with what
precedes with the word "therefore". We are to practice the Golden
Rule because God's divine judgment teaches forbearance, and his goodness
teaches kindness. This precept is fitly called the Golden Rule, for it
embraces in its few words the underlying and governing principle of all
morality. It teaches us to put ourselves in our neighbor's place, and direct
our conduct accordingly. It assumes, of course, that when we put ourselves
in our neighbor's place, we are wise enough to make any foolish wishes, and
good enough not to make any evil ones. Also see Luke
For this is the law and the prophets. It contains the precepts of
the law with regard to man, and all amplifications of those precepts given
by the prophets.
7:13 Enter ye in
by the narrow gate1: for wide is the gate, and broad is
the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.
7:13,14 THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from
Capernaum.) J. THE TWO WAYS AND THE FALSE PROPHETS. Matthew
Enter ye in by the narrow gate, etc. The Master here presents two
cities before us. One has a wide gateway opening onto the broad street, and
other a narrow gate opening onto a straitened street or alley. The first
city is Destruction, the second is Life. Compare with Luke
7:14 For narrow is
the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that
For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life,
and few are they that find it. See Luke
7:15 Beware of
false prophets1, who come to you
in sheep's clothing2, but
inwardly are ravening wolves3.
Beware of false prophets. From the two ways Jesus turns to warn his
disciples against those who lead into the wrong path--the road to
destruction. Prophets are those who lay claim to teach men correctly the
life which God would have us live. The scribes and Pharisees were such, and
Christ predicted the coming of others (Matthew
24:5,24), and so did Paul (Acts
20:29). Their fate is shown in Matthew
Who come to you in sheep's clothing. By sheep's clothing we are to
understand that they shall bear a gentle, meek, and inoffensive outward
But inwardly are ravening wolves. But they use this demeanor as a
cloak to hide their real wickedness, and so effectually does it hide it that
the false prophets often deceive even themselves.
7:16 By their
fruits ye shall know them. Do [men] gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles1?
By their fruits ye shall know them. Do [men] gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Compare with Luke
7:17 Even so every
good tree bringeth forth good fruit1; but the corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, etc. Compare
7:19 Every tree
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire1.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast
into the fire. It is a law of universal application that whatever is
useless and evil shall eventually be swept away.
7:20 Therefore by
their fruits ye shall know them1.
Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. See Luke
7:21 Not every one
that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven1;
but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven. To say, "Lord, Lord", is to call on the
Lord in prayer. While it is almost impossible to overestimate the value of
prayer when associated with a consistent life, it has been too common to
attribute to it a virtue which it does not possess. The Pharisees were
excessively devoted to prayer, and they led the people to believe that every
prayerful man would be saved. The Mohammedans and Romanists are subject to
the same delusion, as may be seen in the punctilious observance of the forms
of prayer, while habitually neglecting many of the common rules of morality.
But he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. It is
taught that prayer, unattended "by doing the will" of the Father
in heaven, cannot save us. Doing the will of God must be understood, not in
the sense of sinless obedience, but as including a compliance with the
conditions on which sins are forgiven. Whether under the old covenant or the
new, sinless obedience is an impossibility; but obedience to the extent of
our possibility amid the weaknesses of the flesh, accompanied by daily
compliance with the conditions of pardon for our daily sin, has ever secured
the favor of God.
7:22 Many will say
to me in that day1, Lord, Lord2,
did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast
out demons3, and by thy name do many mighty works?
Many will say to me in that day. The final judgment day.
Lord, Lord. See Matthew
Did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons,
and by thy name do many mighty works? Jesus here prophetically
forecasts those future times wherein it would be worthwhile to assume to be
a Christian. Times when hypocrisy would find it a source of profit and of
honor to be attached to Christ's service. In these days we may well question
the motives which induce us to service Christ. High place in the visible
kingdom is no proof of one's acceptance with God. Neither are mighty works,
though successfully wrought in his name. Judas was an apostle and
miracle-worker, and Balaam was a prophet, yet they lacked that condition of
the heart which truly allies one with God (1 Corinthians
13:1-3). Jesus says the number of false teachers is large. We must not
carelessly ignore the assertion of that important fact. We should also note
that Christ will not lightly pass over their errors on the judgment day,
though they seem to have discovered them for the first time. Such truths
should make us extremely cautious both as teachers and learners.
7:23 And then will
I profess unto them1, I never
knew you2: depart from me3,
ye that work iniquity4.
And then will I profess unto them. Better, confess.
I never knew you. Never approved or recognized you. See Matthew
Depart from me. See Matthew
Ye that work iniquity. This indicates that false teachers filled
with a patronizing spirit toward the Lord, and with a sense of power as to
his work, will be deceived by a show of success. Through life Christ
appeared to them to be accepting them and approving their lives, but he now
confesses that his appearance was not real. It arose from a misconception on
their part and on that of others. Many works which men judge to be religious
really undermine religion. The world esteems him great whose ministry begets
Pharisees, but in Christ's eyes such a one is a worker of iniquity.
7:24 Every one
therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them1,
shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house
upon the rock2:
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from Capernaum.) K.
CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION: TWO BUILDERS. Matthew
Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them.
Shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.
The word "rock" suggests Christ himself. No life can be founded
upon Christ's teaching unless it be founded also upon faith and trust in his
personality. For this we must dig deep, for as St. Gregory says,
"God is not to be found on the surface."
7:25 and the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew1, and
beat upon that house; and if fell not: for it was founded upon the rock.
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew.
The imagery of this passage would be impressive anywhere, but is especially
so when used before an audience accustomed to the fierceness of an Eastern
tempest. Rains, floods, etc., represent collectively the trials, the
temptations and persecutions which come upon us from without. There comes a
time to every life when these things throng together and test the resources
of our strength.
7:26 And every one
that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not1,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand:
And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not,
etc. See Luke
7:27 and the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house;
and it fell1: and great was the
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
smote upon that house; and it fell. We do not need to go to Palestine to
witness the picture portrayed here. Whole towns on the Missouri and the
lower Mississippi have been undermined and swept away because built upon the
sand. Jesus here limits the tragedy to a single house. Godet says,
"A single soul is a great ruin in the eyes of God."
And great was the fall thereof. Jesus did not end his sermon with a
strain of consolation. It is not always best to do so.
7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had
finished these words, the multitudes were astonished at
The multitudes were astonished at his teaching. See Mark
7:29 for he taught them as [one] having
authority, and not as their scribes1.
And not as their scribes. See Mark