MATTHEW CHAPTER 7

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Matthew. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note that the authors of the four gospels endeavored to convey Who Jesus was, what He did and what He said. They made key selections of Jesus' actions and teaching; and did not cover everything. Hence there are many differences and similarities from gospel to gospel. Nevertheless, the content of each gospel never contradicts and always corroborates the other gospels and all Scripture in every instance including instances that do not have a perfect match of words with corresponding passages .

I) [Mt 7:1-29]:

(Mt 7:1 NKJV "Judge not, that you be not judged.

(Mt 7:2 NKJV) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

(Mt 7:3 NKJV) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

(Mt 7:4 NKJV) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

(Mt 7:5 NKJV) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

(Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

(Mt 7:7 NKJV) "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

(Mt 7:8 NKJV) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

(Mt 7:9 NKJV) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

(Mt 7:10 NKJV) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?

(Mt 7:11 NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

(Mt 7:12 NKJV) Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

(Mt 7:13 NAS) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

(Mt 7:14 NKJV) Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

(Mt 7:15 NKJV) [But] beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revenous wolves.

(Mt 7:16 NKJV) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

(Mt 7:17 NKJV) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

(Mt 7:18 NKJV) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

(Mt 7:19 YLT) Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cast into fire:

(Mt 7:20 NKJV) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

(Mt 7:21 YLT) Not every one who is saying to me LORD, LORD, shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens.

(Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?

(Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness.

(Mt 7:24 NKJV) Therefore whoever hears these sayings [lit., words] of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

(Mt 7:25 YLT) and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock.

(Mt 7:26 HOLMAN) [And] everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

(Mt 7:27 NKJV) and the rain descended, the floods [lit., streams] came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

(Mt 7:28 YLT) And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the miltitudes were astonished at His teaching,

(Mt 7:29 YLT) for He was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes."

A) (INTRODUCTION - Mt 5:1-7:29) MATTHEW CHAPTER SEVEN CONTINUES TO EXPOUND UPON THE KEY THEME OF CONDUCTING ONES TEMPORAL LIFE THROUGH SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD (HEAVEN) AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. THE COMMANDS IN CHAPTER 7 RANGE FROM NOT JUDGING OTHERS THAT THEY MAY NOT BE JUDGED IN THE SAME MANNER BY GOD; NOT CONVEYING GODLY THINGS TO THOSE WHO WOULD NOT LISTEN - EVEN TRAMPLE THEM AND BE HOSTILE; ASKING, SEEKING AND KNOCKING FOR GOOD THINGS OF THE FATHER SO THAT HE MIGHT GIVE THEM TO HIS CHILD; DOING TO OTHERS AS ONE WOULD HAVE DONE TO ONESELF; CHOOSING BETWEEN THE TWO GATES AND PATHS: THE WIDE ONE TO ETERNAL DESTRUCTION WHICH MANY ENTER, THE NARROW AND DIFFICULT ONE TO ETERNAL LIFE WHICH FEW ENTER; BEING WARY OF FALSE PROPHETS / TEACHERS; NOT PRACTICING WORKS OR DECLARING JESUS AS LORD OF ONES LIFE IN ORDER TO ENTER ETERNAL LIFE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT DOING THE WILL OF THE FATHER - TRUSTING SOLELY IN HIS SON TO THAT END

(Mt 5:1 YLT) "And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mt 7:1 NKJV) Judge not, that you be not judged. (Mt 7:2 NKJV) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Mt 7:3 NKJV) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (Mt 7:4 NKJV) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (Mt 7:5 NKJV) "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Mt 7:7 NKJV) "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt 7:8 NKJV) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Mt 7:9 NKJV) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Mt 7:10 NKJV) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Mt 7:11 NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Mt 7:12 NKJV) Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Mt 7:13 NAS) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (Mt 7:14 NKJV) Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:15 NKJV) [But] beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revenous wolves. (Mt 7:16 NKJV) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Mt 7:17 NKJV) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:18 NKJV) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Mt 7:19 YLT) Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cast into fire. (Mt 7:20 NKJV) Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7:21 YLT) Not every one who is saying to me LORD, LORD, shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens. (Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? (Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness. (Mt 7:24 NKJV) Therefore whoever hears these sayings [lit., words] of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (Mt 7:25 YLT) and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock. (Mt 7:26 HOLMAN) [And] everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. (Mt 7:27 NKJV) and the rain descended, the floods [lit., streams] came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Mt 7:28 YLT) And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the miltitudes were astonished at His teaching, (Mt 7:29 YLT) for He was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes." =

Matthew chapter seven continues to expound upon the key theme of conducting ones temporal life through seeking first the Kingdom of God (Heaven) and His Righteousness, (Mt 6:33). The commands in chapter 7 ranged from not judging others that they may not be judged in the same manner by God; not conveying godly things to those who would not listen - even trample them and be hostile; asking things of the Father so that He might give them to His child; doing to others as one would have done to oneself; choosing between the two gates and paths: the wide one to eternal destruction which many enter, the narrow gate and difficult path to eternal life which few enter; being wary of false prophets / teachers by observing their actions; not practicing works or declaring Jesus as LORD of ones life in order to enter eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, but doing the will of the Father - trusting solely in His Son to that end.

It is evident from the brevity of the account of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7, that author Matthew did not include everything that Jesus taught, but chose certain significant excerpts from Jesus' teaching. For when Jesus ended His teaching the multitude of people were astonished at His teaching:

1) [Compare Mt 7:28-29]:

(Mt 7:28 YLT) "And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the miltitudes were astonished at His teaching,

(Mt 7:29 YLT) for He was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes."

So if Jesus' words were limited to the few paragraphs provided in by Matthew in chapters 5-7, this would hardly be sufficient to impress the crowd to be astonished at His teaching. Furthermore, since Jesus went up to a mountainside in order to instruct His disciples, (cf Mt 5:1), much more than a few paragraphs of instruction would be expected in any case.

B) (Mt 7:1-5) MATTHEW CHAPTER SEVEN VERSES 1-5 HAVE IN VIEW JESUS' COMMAND AGAINST JUDGING OTHERS UNTO CONDEMNATION WITHOUT OBJECTIVE GODLY DISCERNMENT. THE STANDARD BY WHICH ONE IS TO JUDGE IS VIA A PROPER UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATION OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS, I.E., SCRIPTURE

(Mt 5:1 YLT) "And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mt 7:1 NKJV) Judge not, that you be not judged. (Mt 7:2 NKJV) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Mt 7:3 NKJV) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (Mt 7:4 NKJV) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (Mt 7:5 NKJV) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." =

The Greek words "krinete" and "krithEte" rendered "Judge" and "judged" respectively in Mt 7:1 NKJV may mean in this verse any one of the following depending upon the context of that verse: separate, distinguish, decide between, judge, think, approve, resolve, determine, give judgment, decide, condemn, punish. Since Jesus' command to seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, then the word required the meaning of judgment in the sense of godly discernment in accordance with Scripture, (Mt 6:33). For example, one must judge who not to give godly things to, (Mt 7:6); and who are false prophets by dint of comparing what the prophets say with Scripture, (Mt 7:15-16). So one must rule out that the kind of judging one is commanded.not to do in Mt 7:1-5 is not speaking of judging in the sense of anything that would not being a godly discernment relative to the moral distinctions to be drawn from Jesus' teaching. Hence the meaning of the Greek words "krinete" and "krithEte" in Mt 7:1-5 must mean judging others unto condemnation without such objective godly discernment.

In Mt 7:2, Jesus explained that whatever judgment of another one made in the sense of the kind of judgment - godly or ungodly; and whatever measure one used to evaluate another's character and situation, in the sense of the kind of measure - godly or ungodly; one would be measured by God in the same manner oneself in the sense of merciful if merciful, harsh if harsh; for God's character would prohibit anything sinful. Verses 3 and 4 go on to indicate that the kind of judging and measuring in view in this passage was the flawed / ungodly kind wherein one's own flaws were so much greater - ones frame of reference being so ungodly - than the individual whom one was judging; that objective, godly judgment was not possible: "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?" The Greek word, "ekbale" rendered "remove" in verse 5 in the NKJV, literally means, "cast out." This is not to say that one must not judge others until one is oneself without fault, for that is not possible in this temporal life. Hence the standard by which one is to judge is via a proper understanding and application of the words, the commandments, of the Law and the Prophets, i.e., of Scripture - to judge by the words of God's Word, .. .Jesus called the one who judged with such a greater flaw, "hypocrite." Evidently, the key group of individuals that would be on the forefront of those who judged in such a flawed manner, was the group of religious leaders of Israel, the scribes and Pharisees; whom He had repeatedly addressed including in this particular sermon, (cf. Mt 5:20). Jesus indicated that the proper way for one to judge would first be to remove ones own flaw which produced in one an ungodly frame of reference: Jesus said, "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." The Greek word, "dokon" rendered "plank" in the NKJV in verse 3 literally means "log." Notice that this implied that proper judgment of another is not prohibited, but improper judgment which is caused by one's own flaws is. In view of the fact that all men are flawed to some extent, i.e., all men have some kind of "plank" to remove from their own eyes before they judge others; then, as it is with all things in the temporal life, the only means by which one can judge is via a correct understanding of the Word of God, (Mt 7:1-5).

C) (Mt 7:6) JESUS COMMANDED ONE NOT TO CONVEY GODLY THINGS TO THOSE WHO WOULD NOT LISTEN - WHO WOULD TRAMPLE UPON THEM AND BE HOSTILE

(Mt 5:1 YLT) "And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble... (Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." =

Jesus said, "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces," in the sense of not making an effort to speak of godly things to those who would not listen, who were incapable of benefiting from godly things said, and may even turn to attack one. The two animals serve together as a picture of what is vicious, unclean, and abominable.

D) (Mt 7:7-11) ASKING, SEEKING AND KNOCKING FOR THE GOOD THINGS OF THE FATHER SO THAT HE MIGHT GIVE THEM TO ONE WHO IS HIS CHILD, I.E., DISCIPLES / BELIEVERS

(Mt 5:1 YLT) "And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble... (Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Mt 7:7 NKJV) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt 7:8 NKJV) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Mt 7:9 NKJV) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Mt 7:10 NKJV) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Mt 7:11 NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" =

Mt 7:7-11 stipulate that one should ask for things, evidently the good things of the Father, (nothing evil, cf. Mt 7:11). And the verse's answer, "and it will be given to you,"- those things that do not violate the holiness of God. One is also urged by Jesus to seek, evidently in the sense of seeking good things, from the Father; and one will find that one receives from Him that which is good. Verse 7 goes on to say, knock - in the sense of requesting permission of the Father to enter into His good blessings, and then the door to His blessings will be opened to one. Verses 9-11 go on to explain that just as a human father who is flawed will give his son bread or a fish when he asks him for it, so much the more will God Who is Father to disciples, and all believers, give good gifts to His children - to those that ask Him. So the subject is one of the Father giving to His beloved children, good gifts, good things, godly blessings, etc. Several implications are made in Mt 7:11: (1) God's relationship as Father is reserved to be Jesus' disciples and all believers by implication, (2) All men, even disciples are evil.

Note that the present tense verbs rendered "ask," "seek," and "knock," in Mt 7:7 and the phrases "everyone who asks... and he who seeks... and him who knocks..." in Mt 7:8 do not convey continuous action, as some contend. For the present tense does not convey continuous action without adverbs such as those which would modify the present tense verb, such as "continuously. .And the phrases in verse 8, are nominative participles which are nouns, literally, 'the one who asks,' 'the one who seeks,' and 'the one who knocks' do not convey continuous action . .Hence one need only ask once, not necessarily continuously in order to get the Father's response; and each time one does ask, seek, or knock, one will receive from the Father that which is godly.

E) (Mt 7:12) JESUS SUMMARIZES WHAT HE HAS BEEN TEACHING WITH, "THEREFORE, WHATEVER YOU WANT MEN TO DO TO YOU, DO ALSO TO THEM, FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS" IN THE SENSE OF ACTING TOWARD OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM ACT TOWARD YOU, I.E., AS MOTIVATED BY THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD

(Mt 5:1 YLT) "And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble... (Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Mt 7:7 NKJV) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt 7:8 NKJV) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Mt 7:9 NKJV) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Mt 7:10 NKJV) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Mt 7:11 NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" = (Mt 7:12 NKJV) Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." =

Jesus summarizes what He has been teaching with, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets," in the sense of acting toward others as you would have them act toward you, i.e., as motivated by the righteousness of God. So the phrase rendered, "Therefore whatever you want men to do to you," has in view actions which express care, respect, godly love, i.e., that which can be characterized as having God's Righteousness as its source - in essence that which is characterized as from the Law and the Prophets, i.e., Scripture.

Earlier Jesus stipulated that it was the Law and the Prophets that He came not .to abolish, but to fulfill:

1) [Compare Mt 5:17-18]:

(Mt 5:17 NASB) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

(Mt 5:18 NKJV) For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled."

This was previously addressed as the quality of behavior of individuals who will be residents of the Kingdom of Heaven, (cf. Mt 5:17-20 ).

F) (Mt 7:13-14) RELATIVE TO SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, JESUS GAVE THE KEY INSTRUCTION IN ORDER FOR ONE TO GAIN LIFE IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF HEAVEN / KINGDOM OF GOD. HE SAID, "ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE; FOR THE GATE IS WIDE AND THE WAY IS BROAD THAT LEADS TO [ETERNAL] DESTRUCTION. AND THERE ARE MANY WHO ENTER THROUGH IT. BECAUSE NARROW IS THE GATE AND DIFFICULT IS THE WAY WHICH LEADS TO [ETERNAL] LIFE, AND THERE ARE FEW WHO FIND IT." SO ENTRANTS THROUGH THE NARROW GATE THEREAFTER WILL ENCOUNTER DIFFICULTIES SUCH AS PERSECUTION FROM THE WORLD BECAUSE OF ONE'S FAITH, AND GOD'S TESTING AND DISCIPLINE OF HIS CHILDREN / BELIEVERS. PERSEVERANCE IN GOOD WORKS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT IN VIEW

(Mt 3:1 NKJV) "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (Mt 3:2 NKJV) and saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Mt 3:3 NKJV) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight... (Mt 4:17 NAS) "From then [that time on] Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'... (Mt 5:1 YLT) And having seen the [crowds], He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] went up to the mount, and He having sat down, His disciples came to Him, (Mt 5:2 YLT) and having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying: (Mt 5:3 NKJV) 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:4 NKJV) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:5 NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:6 NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Mt 5:7 NKJV) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Mt 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Mt 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Mt 5:10 NAS) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.' (Mt 6:25 YLT) Because of this I say to you, be not anxious for your life, what ye may eat, and what ye may drink, nor for your body, what ye may put on. Is not the life more than the nourishment, and the body than the clothing? (Mt 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:27 NKJV) Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Mt 6:28 NKJV) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; (Mt 6:29 NKJV) and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Mt 6:30 NKJV) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt 6:31 NKJV) Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (Mt 6:32 NKJV) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble... (Mt 7:6 NKJV) Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Mt 7:7 NKJV) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt 7:8 NKJV) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Mt 7:9 NKJV) Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Mt 7:10 NKJV) Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Mt 7:11 NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Mt 7:12 NKJV) Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Mt 7:13 NAS) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (Mt 7:14 NKJV) Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." =

Relative to seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, (Mt 6:33), Jesus gave the key instruction in order for one to gain life in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven / Kingdom of God. He said, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to [eternal] destruction, and there are many who enter through it," (Mt 7:13); [destruction in the sense of eternal destruction because it is set in opposition to the word "life" meaning eternal life in Mt 7:14]." Note that the way connected to the wide gate evidently encompasses all those points of view which fail to gain entrance to life in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Whereupon Jesus explained in the next verse, "Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." So entrants through the narrow gate thereafter will encounter difficulties such as persecution from the world because of one's faith, and God's testing and discipline of His children / believers. Perseverance in good works unto eternal life is not in view.

Note that the Greek word "tethlimmenE" does not mean narrow, as some contend. Another Greek word, "stenE," means narrow which was used to describe the Greek word "pulEs" rendered gate in Mt 7:13 and 14. Since all individuals who are in a position of accountability to choose to enter through either gate must be presumed to already have physical life - otherwise they would not exist - then the word rendered "life" in the sense of finding life in Mt 7:14 must mean eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven - the Kingdom of God, (Mt 7:14). Note that the reception of eternal life has repeatedly been established as a key theme of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, (cf. Mt 5:20-48) . Furthermore, the Greek word, "tethlimmenE" rendered "difficult" in the NKJV, in Mt 7:14, is a nominative perfect participle used as an adjective to describe the way which leads from the narrow gate to eternal life. Since it has already been established that eternal life is received by a moment of repentance / faith alone in Christ alone , then the Greek word "tethlimmenE" which literally means, "having been made afflicted, refers to the temporal lives of those who have chosen to go through the narrow gate, hence they have received and are now on the path to eternal life which path, from its beginning, will be fraught with difficulties; not the least of which will be persecution by the world because of one's faith, (cf. Mt 5:10-12), and testing and discipline by the Father of His children - all believers.

1) [Compare Mt 5:10-12]:

(Mt 5:10 NAS) "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(Mt 5:11 ASV) Blessed are [you] when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.

(Mt 5:12 NAS) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you"

This is not to say that one must abide by some rules of behavior and persevere through difficulties in order to merit eternal life, as some contend. If being faced with difficulties and tribulations and perserving through them in a godly manner in order to be saved unto eternal life is in view - and it is not; and since every individual - wide or narrow path - faces varying amounts of difficulties and tribulations in their lives with no one perfectly persevering through them because all mankind is flawed, yet God's standard is perfect, (Mt 5:48); then no one can be saved. Hence Mt 5:13-14 must be saying that once one expresses a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, one encounters such difficulties in one's temporal life, from that moment on. Relative to the reception of eternal life, Jesus had been preaching "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," i.e., a moment of faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life, from the beginning of His ministry, ..

Whether or not the road that is connected to the narrow gate is narrow or otherwise is not stipulated.

G) (Mt 7:15-20) JESUS WARNED HIS DISCIPLES TO BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS. ON THE OUTSIDE, THEY APPEARED TO BE HARMLESS - FELLOW DISCIPLES / BELIEVERS; BUT INWARDLY THEIR ACTIONS WERE PREDATORY AND EXTREMELY HARMFUL. THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY REVEAL THEMSELVES BY THEIR ACTIONS; FOR EVERY TRUE PROPHET BEARS GOOD FRUIT, BUT A FALSE PROPHET BEARS BAD FRUIT AND MUST BE REMOVED FROM FELLOWSHIP - HIS INFLUENCE DESTROYED

(Mt 3:1 NKJV) '''In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (Mt 3:2 NKJV) and saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Mt 3:3 NKJV) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight... (Mt 4:17 NAS) From then [that time on] Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'... (Mt 7:15 NKJV) [But] beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revenous wolves. (Mt 7:16 NKJV) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Mt 7:17 NKJV) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:18 NKJV) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Mt 7:19 YLT) Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cut down and is cast into fire: (Mt 7:20 NKJV) Therefore by their fruits you will know them." =

Jesus warned His disciples to beware of false prophets. He indicated that they came "in sheep's clothing," in the sense that, on the outside, they appeared to be harmless - fellow disciples / believers; but inwardly they were as ravenous wolves in the sense that what came from within them - their words, what they prophesied and taught, and their consequent deeds were predatory and extremely harmful, (Mt 7:15).

In the next verse, Jesus clarified to His disciples who the false prophets were by stating, "You will know them by their fruits," in the sense that when one observes false prophets, one will eventually find a pattern of sinful behavior which points to them being false prophets. Although living according to godliness can be feigned for a time; for false prophets can deceive others by using biblical language and behaving outwardly in a religious manner with a modicum of observable moral compass; they will eventually reveal themselves by what they can be observed doing and saying. The evil they perpetrate in secret will eventually be observed and exposed. False prophets largely have their own interests in mind such as the gain of prestige or money. They are deceivers, who pass their own thoughts and ideas as coming from Scripture. They manipulate Scripture to suit their own ends by skipping around to different passages in Scripture without regard for context, neglecting to provide proof of each point that they make; making their reasoning hard if not impossible to follow. The false prophets offer no credible proof of the reliability of their testimony, nevertheless followers are not permitted to question their authority. What the false prophets say must be taken as oracles from heaven, or followers will be subjected to discipline or banishment from fellowship in the congregation. Hence the more bible doctrine one knows the more one can discern patterns of sinful behavior that point to one as a false prophet.

Note that the phrase rendered, "You will know them by their fruits," does not mean that individuals who are believers will always prove themselves out by producing godly fruit 24/7 as some contend. False prophets not all unbelievers are in view in this passage. Furthermore, since no believer will ever reach a state of sinless perfection in his temporal life - producing only godly fruit, then inspecting someone's fruit will not conclusively prove whether or not one is or is not a believer, even if the fruit is bad, (Mt 7:16a).

Jesus further explained with a rhetorical question and a follow up statement: "Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit" in the sense that just as one would not expect to gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles, so one would not expect spiritual fruit, i.e., truths from Scripture and other godly things to come from the mouths and actions of false prophets. One need only look at the fruit the trees produce to determine whether or not one is a false prophet. Grapes and figs do not grow on thornbushes or thistles. Good fruit trees produce good fruit, but bad fruit trees produce bad fruit, (Mt 7:16b-18).

Furthermore, Jesus stated that "Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cast into fire, (Mt 7:19)." Just as a tree which does not produce good fruit is cut down and cast into fire, i.e., removed from the grove and destroyed; so the false prophet is to be removed from the fellowship - his influence thus to be destroyed. This is not to say that the false prophet is to be destroyed by fire or will necessarily suffer eternal condemnation because of being a false prophet. Since ones eternal destiny depends upon whether or not one at some time expressed a moment of repentance / faith alone in Christ alone , (where repentance means a change of mind from not believing to faith in Christ alone); and not how one behaves; and since that destiny is secure once received; and since a false prophet may have expressed such a moment of faith in the past or may do so in the future; then eternal condemnation cannot be in view in Mt 7:15-19.

Furthermore, since no believer / disciple always produces good fruit all the time, i.e., sinlessly perfect behavior - they in fact produce bad fruit at times; then Mt 7:19 cannot refer to whether or not one is a believer. Hence this verse must be limited to the context in view: false vs true prophets, (Mt 7:15-19). Hence Jesus' statements about good and bad trees are limited to the subject of false prophets, not to individuals in general: "By their [false prophets'] fruit you will know them," (Mt 7:15-20).

H) (Mt 7:20-23) NOT EVERY ONE WHO CONFESSES JESUS AS LORD IN THE SENSE OF ACKNOWLEDGING JESUS AS MASTER OF ONE'S LIFE IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. BUT THOSE WHO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER - THOSE WHO EXPRESS A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE PLUS NOTHING ELSE. THERE WILL BE MANY WHO WILL APPEAR AT JUDGMENT DECLARING JESUS AS LORD AND PLEADING THEIR MANY WORKS WHICH WERE DONE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD - MANY OF WHICH WERE MIRACULOUS - IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. BUT JESUS WILL TELL THEM THAT HE NEVER KNEW THEM, THAT PERFORMING WORKS IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR ETERNAL LIFE WERE LAWLESSNESS

(Mt 1:21 NKJV) "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins... (Mt 3:1 NKJV) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (Mt 3:2 NKJV) and saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' (Mt 3:3 NKJV) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight... (Mt 4:17 NAS) "From then [that time on] Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'... (Mt 7:13 NAS) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (Mt 7:14 NKJV) Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:15 NKJV) [But] beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revenous wolves. (Mt 7:16 NKJV) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Mt 7:17 NKJV) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:18 NKJV) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Mt 7:19 YLT) Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cut down and is cast into fire: (Mt 7:20 NKJV)Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7:21 YLT) Not every one who is saying to Me LORD, LORD, shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens. (Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? (Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness." =

Notice that the key subject in Mt 7:15-20, referred to by the plural pronoun rendered "them," in Mt 7:20, is false prophets. 

Whereupon, in Mt 7:21, which reads, "Not every one who is saying to Me LORD, LORD, [in the sense of acknowledging Jesus as Master of one's life in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven] shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens," the subject changes to the limited number of individuals out of humanity, ("he, who is doing the will of My Father" singular pronoun, lit., nominative present participle = the doing one), who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Notice that the word LORD is repeated as an emphatic expression / confession of Jesus' Lordship, implying that the individuals who expressed the words, "LORD, LORD," assumed that Jesus was LORD, i.e., Master of their life, (as opposed to being Savior from their sins), and that they presumed that they had a close relationship with Him, (Mt 7:21). But Jesus' reply implied that neither was true. So believing / confessing that Jesus is LORD of ones life alone was evidently not required to gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. For Matthew had already observed in Matthew chapter 4 that Jesus taught that it was exclusively a moment of repentance / faith alone in Christ alone that secures eternal life plus nothing else

[John W. Robbins states]:

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/reviews/last.asp]

"At first glance, verse 21 seems to be saying that the decisive difference between those who are excluded and those who are admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven is the difference between empty professors and actual doers of the Word. It is not those who say, 'Lord, Lord,' but those who actually do the will of the Father, who are admitted into Heaven... Jesus does not explicitly mention belief in verse 21; he mentions doing and saying, asserting that doing the will of the Father in Heaven is required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven, but saying 'Lord, Lord' is not enough."

1) BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF GOD RELATIVE TO THE RECEPTION OF ETERNAL LIFE IS HE WHO TRUSTS ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

And what is the will of the Father - what must a man do to attain eternal life?

a) [Jn 6:27-29]:

(v. 27) "[Jesus answered] Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'

(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent'"

i) THE WORK THAT ONE MUST DO FOR ETERNAL LIFE IS EXCLUSIVELY A MATTER OF FAITH ACCORDING TO JOHN 6:27-29

In John 6:27-29, our Lord explicitly states that the work that one must do for eternal life is exclusively a matter of faith. So to obey the Lord unto eternal salvation must necessarily be to obey His command to trust alone in Him alone for eternal life, no deeds required:

Our Lord picks up on the word 'work' which the disciples were mindful of; but He used it not in a literal sense but a figurative one and provided the answer which is no work at all: but to simply believe in Jesus Christ as Savior = the One that God sent: Faith alone in Christ alone.

Note that although one has expressed a moment of faith alone in Chris       t alone unto eternal life, there is implied no guarantee that one will always confess Jesus as LORD throughout one's temporal life, or live any kind of faithful life. Hence God has provided instructions for those who have secured eternal life via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone in the 66 Books of His Word. Pay special attention to the Epistles in the 27 Books of the Greek text addressed to the Church Age believers. Note that this is implied in the model prayer that the LORD provided for His disciples, which has a provision for believers to be forgiven of ones temporal sins that they commit in their lifetime, . So one who has received eternal life via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone has secured it forever because, once received, eternal life is eternal by definition and nature . It is not dependent upon how one conducts ones temporal life.

Those that contend that perserverance in good works is required, maintain that Matthew chapter 7 supports the view that belief alone in Jesus as LORD in the sense of Master of one's life is not enough to receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. They contend that the passage indicates that one must not only believe in the Lordship of Jesus in ones life, but one must also persevere in the practice of the Lorship of Christ by faithfully performing godly works in order to continue be saved throughout ones life. Hence they conclude that an insufficient amount of good works, or an absence of good works will indicate that one has been disqualified from entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

But a careful reading of Mt 7:21-23 indicates that in view are people who would appear before Jesus at Judgment who would declare Jesus as LORD in the sense of declaring that He was Master of their lives. They would repeatedly declare, "LORD, LORD," (Mt 7:21, 22). And they would declare to the LORD in Mt 7:22 their many works done in His name - a number of them miraculous, (but not their faith in Him to save them from their sins), in order to prove that they were qualified for eternal life and admission into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven:  

(Mt 7:21 YLT) "Not every one who is saying to Me LORD, LORD, shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens. 

(Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? 

(Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness."

2) IN VIEW ARE MANY INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ACTIVE IN PERFORMING NUMEROUS DEEDS, OFTEN MIRACULOUS AND SPECTACULAR - ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, YET ALL ARE CONDEMNED FOR PRACTICING LAWLESSNESS

(Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) "On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? 

(Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness."

In fact, in order to provide a much stronger testimony of their works, they included the witness of Jesus' Himself of their works by asking Him if He had not observed them Himself, ("Didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name," (Mt 7:22). And Jesus' answer implied that they indeed did perform these works, ("And then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness," [Mt 7:23]). So this established that they were in fact telling the truth about their works; and were not misrepresenting their record of deeds as some contend. Despite their acknowledgment of Jesus as LORD and their great record of works in Jesus' name, these individuals were disqualified from entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the final analysis, Jesus made it clear that declaring Him to be LORD in the sense of declaring that He was Master of one's life would not provide one with eternal life. Nor would declaring Him to be LORD plus persevering in works such as prophesying in His name, or driving out demons in His name, or doing many miracles in His name.

[John W. Robbins states,

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/REVIEWS/LAST.ASP]:

"Now the fact that many people will have done these things on Earth implies several things.

First, it implies that these people are not mere professors, without works and without practice, as we may have concluded from our superficial reading of verse 21. They are not pew warmers; they are not spiritual spectators; they are not churchgoers who show up only on Easter and Christmas; they are not those who have no works. These people have many works, and they will call on Jesus himself to testify to their works on Earth. Theirs is not mere lip service; theirs is not an empty profession. They will have been very active in church and in other religious endeavors.

Second, not only are these people active in the churches, they are church leaders. They prophesy, they preach, they proselytize, they teach; they cast out demons, they exorcise; they perform many wonders—not just a few, but many wonders. These are things publicly done, not things done in a corner or in the privacy of one’s own home.

Third, they will do all these works in the name of Jesus Christ. Notice that the defendants [at the Great White Throne Judgment] will use the phrase 'in your name' repeatedly: They will prophesy 'in Jesus’ name;' they will cast out demons "in Jesus’ name;' they will perform many wonders 'in Jesus’ name.' They will be leaders in professedly Christian churches. They are not Buddhists, performing these things in the name of Buddha. Nor are they Hindus, performing these works in the name of Shiva or some other Hindu god. Nor are they Muslims, doing these things in the names of Allah or Mohammed. Nor are they Jews, doing these things in the name of Abraham. These are not pagans ignorant of the name of Jesus; they are professing Christians who will do all these works in the name of Jesus Christ. [And there are some who portend to do this today]

Because they were doing these things in the name of Jesus while on Earth, they must have known something about Jesus, perhaps even that he is God. Some demons know no less, such as the one whose conversation with Jesus is reported in Mark 1:24: 'Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!'

Did these defendants know as much as that demon? They were as lost as that demon. This implies, among other things, that simply acknowledging Jesus as Lord, as the Holy One of God, is not sufficient for salvation. Do not the Scriptures say that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord? And do not the Scriptures say that some people will not be saved? It therefore follows that confessing Jesus as Lord is insufficient for salvation; one must also confess him as Saviour. Now, consider the irony of the exegetical situation. Proponents of 'Lordship Salvation' such as Shepherd and MacArthur appeal to this passage in Matthew 7 to support their view that belief alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is not enough for salvation, that we must also practice the Lordship of Christ by faithfully performing works in order to be saved. Yet this passage clearly teaches that some of those who confess Jesus as Lord and perform amazing works will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, one may acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, perform many wonderful works, and still go to Hell. Jesus Himself here warns us that 'many' who confess his Lordship and perform many works will go to Hell. Obviously the passage does not mean what the Pope, MacArthur, and Shepherd think it means. It is not a contrast between mere believers (who [they maintain] are lost) and workers (who are saved), for Jesus Himself says that the workers are lost.

Fourth, because these men were visible church leaders on Earth, we know that the visible church is not the Kingdom of Heaven, for these men are excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Let us turn our attention briefly to the sorts of works these church leaders will have done. They will have prophesied in the name of Jesus; they will have cast out demons in the name of Jesus; they will have performed wonders in the name of Jesus. Now, these are not only works; they are extraordinary and supernatural works. In fact, they are the greatest works done by men and among men, to use John Gill’s phrase. None of us, perhaps a few of us, but certainly not this writer, has done anything remotely as great or as impressive as these works. Our works are ordinary: attending church, being good neighbors, giving money to the church and to the poor, taking care of our families, and so on.

Now here is the question: If none of us has done or will do anything like the works these men will have done, and if these men are lost, then what hope is there for us? If Jesus himself turns these men out of the Kingdom of Heaven—these many men who have performed such great works in the name of Jesus—what hope have we? If these very active, professing Christians, these church leaders, will be sent to Hell, what hope have we of gaining Heaven?

The answer is, We have no hope, if, like these men, we rely on our works. If we believe that our works help obtain our salvation, we have no hope of Heaven, no matter how great our works, no matter how faithful our obedience, regardless of whether we act in the name of Jesus, or whether we confess Jesus as Lord. If we rely on our obedience or our covenant faithfulness or our good works, we are lost.

This is the crux of the passage, and of salvation. When these church leaders give their defense at the Judgment, they will offer their works as Exhibits A, B, and C. Their plea to Jesus will be their works—works done in the name of Jesus, to be sure, but works nonetheless. And far from lessening their guilt, doing their works in the name of Jesus increases their guilt before God.

Far from teaching a 'message of works,' Jesus warns us that anyone who comes before him at the Judgment and offers his works, his covenant faithfulness, or his life as his defense will be sent to Hell. Far from teaching that our works are necessary for our salvation, Jesus here teaches that all our works contribute not one whit to our salvation.

Why will many men not be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven? What is wrong with their defense? Jesus tells us plainly: They will plead their own lives and Christian works.

What their defense should be is not their works, but the imputed righteousness of Christ. Many will be sent to Hell because they will not mention that they are sinners saved only by the righteousness of the Man Christ Jesus.

They will not mention the perfect life, sinless death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They will not mention the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to those who believe in him. They will not mention the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for his people. They will not mention that Jesus Christ earned their salvation for them. They will not mention that Jesus Christ suffered the penalty of Hell due to them, that Jesus satisfied the justice of the Father in their behalf.

This passage of Scripture is widely misunderstood. The Baptist John MacArthur, the Christian Reformed Norman Shepherd, and Pope John Paul II all misunderstand the passage, and they misunderstand it in essentially the same way. They all—Baptist, Reformed, and Romanist—appeal to verse 21 for the same reason:

It seems to teach salvation by doing, rather than by mere believing. After all, Jesus does say that it is only those who do the will of his Father who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

In his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur cites this passage and asserts: 'Real faith is as concerned with doing the will of God as it is with affirming the facts of true doctrine' (189). Real faith, saving faith, according to MacArthur, is as much about doing as it is about believing, for Jesus brought a 'message of works' (79).

In his book, The Call of Grace, Norman Shepherd tells us that 'The consequence of disobedience is exclusion from the kingdom of heaven' (49). So a believer may be excluded from the Kingdom for his disobedience, because belief alone is not enough. To faith one must add 'covenant faithfulness.'

And the most eloquent statement of the three, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1821, cites Matthew 7:21 as Scriptural support for its statement that 'In every circumstance each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’ and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ.'

Notice that the Catholic Catechism mentions grace twice in this single sentence. Many non-Catholics labor under the mistaken impression that the Roman Church-State teaches salvation by works apart from the grace of God and Christ. But it does not, and this paragraph reflects its teaching that the good works Christians do are done by the grace of God and Christ. This common misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Romanist doctrine has contributed to (or is caused by) a misunderstanding of Biblical doctrine.

Our works, our doing, the Bible teaches, contribute nothing whatsoever to our salvation. They are neither an instrument for our justification nor a condition of our salvation. The difference between the Bible and Rome is not that Rome teaches salvation by faith and works-without-grace, while the Bible teaches salvation by faith and works-with-grace.

The difference between the Bible and Rome is that the Bible teaches that our salvation does not depend on our works at all (whether allegedly done by the grace of God or not), while Rome asserts that our salvation depends in part on our works. The Bible affirms sola fide; Rome denies it.

But let us return to the text.

Verse 21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven."

At first glance, verse 21 seems to be saying that the decisive difference between those who are excluded and those who are admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven is the difference between empty professors and actual doers of the Word. It is not those who say, "Lord, Lord,' but those who actually do the will of the Father, who are admitted into Heaven.

In verse 21, Jesus seems to be making the same distinction that James makes in 2:14: 'What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?' The contrast in James is between a person who says something with his lips, but does not give evidence of his faith by his works. But, unlike James, Jesus does not explicitly mention belief in verse 21; he mentions doing and saying, asserting that doing the will of the Father in Heaven is required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven, but saying 'Lord, Lord' is not enough.

Again, at first glance, verse 21 seems to contradict verses such as

Acts 16:31: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…' and

Romans 3:28: 'Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law;' and

Ephesians 2:8-9: 'For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast;'

and scores more verses that deny salvation comes by doing.

This apparent contradiction in the New Testament raises a further difficulty: Does the Bible contradict itself? Many scholars say, Yes, it does. Or if they are coy rather than candid, they say the Scriptures contain 'tensions,' 'paradoxes,' and 'antinomies.' The scholars apparently never consider the possibility that they have misunderstood the Scriptures. They are quick to attribute logical difficulties to the revealed propositions (and they always add that it is pious and humble to do so), but they do not even contemplate the possibility that they might not understand the text. That would be unthinkable!

Imagine! Professors and theologians not understanding the text! Impossible! Therefore, the text itself must be paradoxical. But as Christians we ought to be humble and say, Of course the Scriptures contain no contradictions, no paradoxes, no antinomies, and no tensions. When we come to what seems to be a contradiction in our theology, we must check our premises, return to the propositions of Scripture, and conform our thoughts to what the noncontradictory Scriptures say.

The 'first glance' reading of verse 21 raises still another problem: Does Jesus teach legalism? Here I am using the word legalism in its proper sense: the notion that one can obtain, in whole or in part, salvation by doing, rather than by mere belief. The Pope, Shepherd, and MacArthur all appeal to this verse because they all believe that Jesus does in fact teach salvation by doing here - that he here denies the sufficiency of belief alone for salvation.

The central problem in verse 21 is the meaning of Jesus’ phrase: 'he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.' The Pope, MacArthur, and Shepherd all appeal to this verse because they believe that that phrase means 'works.' But that interpretation, of course, implies that the Bible contradicts itself. And that interpretation of the phrase cannot be correct, because of what verse 22 says.

Verse 22: "Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?' "

Now if we understand verse 21 as the Pope, MacArthur, and Shepherd understand it, what Jesus says in verse 22 is both unexpected and inexplicable. If Jesus’ point in verse 21 were that faith is not enough, that good works, or 'covenant faithfulness,' or obedience is also necessary in order to be saved, then Jesus should have said something like this in verse 22: 'Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, we trusted in you alone, we had faith in you alone, we believed the Bible and your words.’ ' But of course Jesus says nothing of the sort.

Instead, he reports that many people will appear before him at the Judgment and will talk about their works, not their faith. These people—the ones who present works—will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us examine this verse carefully. First, Jesus says 'Many.' At first glance, verse 21 suggests that there will be only a few among those who will say, 'Lord, Lord' who will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus had said, 'Not everyone,' and, sinners that we are, we jumped to the conclusion that he meant 'almost everyone.' But here in verse 22 he says 'many.' Many will come before Christ Jesus and speak to him, saying, 'Lord, Lord,' and they will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Second, many will speak to Jesus 'in that day': the Day of Judgment, when every person will give an account of every thought, word, and deed done in the body. We each will give an account of our lives to God. There is no escaping this Judgment, no parole, no continuance, no diversion.

The author of Hebrews (9:27) writes: 'It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the Judgment.' Those are two appointments each one of us will keep: death and Judgment. We will be on trial for our lives. We will not be appearing in this court as witnesses, victims, or jurors, but as defendants. Third, each of us will speak directly to Jesus; there will be no attorneys, no priests, no pastors, no bishops, no archbishops, no popes, no confessors, no counselors, no elders, no deacons, no church, no parents, and no friends to represent us and to speak for us. We will each speak directly to Jesus. We will be held individually accountable by God. This is the basis of the idea of individual responsibility, not merely in theology, but in law as well. Individual responsibility is one of the pillars of Christian jurisprudence, and those who rant against the individual and individualism are merely displaying their ignorance of, or their rejection of, what the Bible teaches about the role and the significance of the individual person. We will each be summoned to this divine court to face the Creator of the universe.

What will we say in that Day? Jesus in his mercy tells us what many will say to him in that Day: First, they will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, addressing him as 'Lord.' Not only will they say it once, they will repeat it: 'Lord, Lord.' Recognizing the gravity of the situation, they will plead for their lives. This repetition of 'Lord' may also suggest that they think they are on familiar terms with Jesus. Next, they will ask Jesus a series of questions, calling the Christ himself as a witness in their defense. Notice that they will not directly assert that they have done good works. They will speak in interrogative, not declarative, sentences. Because of this, their defense will actually be much stronger than their own mere declarations would have been: They will call Christ Jesus Himself as their defense witness. They will ask Him to testify to the facts of their lives: their prophesying, exorcising, and wonderworking.

Some commentators have tried to dismiss the claims of these defendants by suggesting that they will lie or exaggerate, that they really will not have done what they will claim to have done. There is nothing in the text that supports such an accusation. That misinterpretation is a desperate device to evade what Jesus is telling us in this passage.

The defendants will make no direct assertions. They will ask questions. They will address those questions to Jesus, whom they will acknowledge as Lord. They will ask him to testify to the truth of their claims. They actually will have done these things on Earth: prophesying, casting out demons, and performing wonders. Now the fact that many people will have done these things on Earth implies several things.

First, it implies that these people are not mere professors, without works and without practice, as we may have concluded from our superficial reading of verse 21. They are not pew warmers; they are not spiritual spectators; they are not churchgoers who show up only on Easter and Christmas; they are not those who have no works. These people have many works, and they will call on Jesus himself to testify to their works on Earth. Theirs is not mere lip service; theirs is not an empty profession. They will have been very active in church and in other religious endeavors.

Second, not only are these people active in the churches, they are church leaders. They prophesy, they preach, they proselytize, they teach; they cast out demons, they exorcise; they perform many wonders—not just a few, but many wonders. These are things publicly done, not things done in a corner or in the privacy of one’s own home.

Third, they will do all these works in the name of Jesus Christ. Notice that the defendants will use the phrase 'in your name' repeatedly: They will prophesy 'in Jesus’ name;' they will cast out demons 'in Jesus’ name;' they will perform many wonders 'in Jesus’ name.' They will be leaders in professedly Christian churches. They are not Buddhists, performing these things in the name of Buddha. Nor are they Hindus, performing these works in the name of Shiva or some other Hindu god. Nor are they Muslims, doing these things in the names of Allah or Mohammed. Nor are they Jews, doing these things in the name of Abraham. These are not pagans ignorant of the name of Jesus; they are professing Christians who will do all these works in the name of Jesus Christ. Because they were doing these things in the name of Jesus while on Earth, they must have known something about Jesus, perhaps even that he is God. Some demons know no less, such as the one whose conversation with Jesus is reported in Mark 1:24: 'Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!' Did these defendants know as much as that demon? They were as lost as that demon. This implies, among other things, that simply acknowledging Jesus as Lord, as the Holy One of God, is not sufficient for salvation. Do not the Scriptures say that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord? And do not the Scriptures say that some people will not be saved? It therefore follows that confessing Jesus as Lord is insufficient for salvation; one must also confess him as Saviour.

Now, consider the irony of the exegetical situation. Proponents of 'Lordship Salvation' such as Shepherd and MacArthur appeal to this passage in Matthew 7 to support their view that belief alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is not enough for salvation, that we must also practice the Lordship of Christ by faithfully performing works in order to be saved. Yet this passage clearly teaches that some of those who confess Jesus as Lord and perform amazing works will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, one may acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, perform many wonderful works, and still go to Hell. Jesus himself here warns us that 'many' who confess his Lordship and perform many works will go to Hell.

Obviously the passage does not mean what the Pope, MacArthur, and Shepherd think it means. It is not a contrast between mere believers (who are lost) and workers (who are saved), for Jesus himself says that the workers are lost.

Fourth, because these men were visible church leaders on Earth, we know that the visible church is not the Kingdom of Heaven, for these men are excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us turn our attention briefly to the sorts of works these church leaders will have done. They will have prophesied in the name of Jesus; they will have cast out demons in the name of Jesus; they will have performed wonders in the name of Jesus. Now, these are not only works; they are extraordinary and supernatural works. In fact, they are the greatest works done by men and among men, to use John Gill’s phrase. None of us, perhaps a few of us, but certainly not this writer, has done anything remotely as great or as impressive as these works. Our works are ordinary: attending church, being good neighbors, giving money to the church and to the poor, taking care of our families, and so on. Now here is the question: If none of us has done or will do anything like the works these men will have done, and if these men are lost, then what hope is there for us? If Jesus himself turns these men out of the Kingdom of Heaven—these many men who have performed such great works in the name of Jesus—what hope have we? If these very active, professing Christians, these church leaders, will be sent to Hell, what hope have we of gaining Heaven? The answer is, We have no hope, if, like these men, we rely on our works. If we believe that our works help obtain our salvation, we have no hope of Heaven, no matter how great our works, no matter how faithful our obedience, regardless of whether we act in the name of Jesus, or whether we confess Jesus as Lord. If we rely on our obedience or our covenant faithfulness or our good works, we are lost. This is the crux of the passage, and of salvation. When these church leaders give their defense at the Judgment, they will offer their works as Exhibits A, B, and C. Their plea to Jesus will be their works—works done in the name of Jesus, to be sure, but works nonetheless.

And far from lessening their guilt, doing their works in the name of Jesus increases their guilt before God. Far from teaching a 'message of works,' Jesus warns us that anyone who comes before him at the Judgment and offers his works, his covenant faithfulness, or his life as his defense will be sent to Hell.

Far from teaching that our works are necessary for our salvation, Jesus here teaches that all our works contribute not one whit to our salvation. Why will many men not be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven? What is wrong with their defense? Jesus tells us plainly: They will plead their own lives and Christian works. What their defense should be is not their works, but the imputed righteousness of Christ. Many will be sent to Hell because they will not mention that they are sinners saved only by the righteousness of the Man Christ Jesus. They will not mention the perfect life, sinless death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They will not mention the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to those who believe in him. They will not mention the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for his people. They will not mention that Jesus Christ earned their salvation for them. They will not mention that Jesus Christ suffered the penalty of Hell due to them, that Jesus satisfied the justice of the Father in their behalf. In short, they will not confess Jesus as Saviour, even while they confess him as Lord.

[In other words, they will not insist that a moment of faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing else will provide eternal life]

Jesus in his mercy has told us one thing that will happen on the Day of Judgment. This is not a parable; this is not a metaphor. This is prophecy. It is exactly what many scholars deny prophecy is: future history. When Jesus here uses the verb 'will,' when he speaks in the future tense, he speaks literally, and these events must happen. We ought to heed his warning and realize that if we rely on anything we do—faithful church attendance, tithing, serving as a church officer, writing, speaking, teaching, holding crusades attended by millions, raising money, giving alms to the poor, building hospitals, Christian schools, churches, baptism, participation in the Lord’s Supper—we are lost. All our righteousnesses— Isaiah does not say unrighteousnesses — are as filthy rags. Jesus tells us that many people at the Judgment will argue that they deserve Heaven, that they have a right to Heaven because they have done many wonderful works in the name of Jesus. They will not acknowledge their depravity, for they think they are good men.

They will not acknowledge the Satisfaction and Atonement of Jesus, because they do not believe it. Their prayer will not be, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner,' but, 'Jesus, I did many wonderful works in your name, and now you ought to reward me with Heaven.' Whatever these churchgoers and church leaders may believe about themselves and about Jesus, they do not believe in their own depravity, nor in the imputed righteousness of Christ. They do not believe that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. In short, they do not believe the Gospel, and that is why they are damned.

The vivid warning that Jesus gives us in this passage is not merely about the futility of working for salvation. It is also a warning about believing some things about God and Jesus, but not believing the Gospel. James tells us that demons believe in one God—and they are lost. That means that monotheism per se will not save anyone. Mark tells us that one demon recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God, and that demon was lost. That means that acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah per se will not save anyone. (And if anyone suggests that it is obedience that makes faith saving, it seems that no one obeys Jesus Christ more quickly in the New Testament than the demons to whom he speaks.)

Paul picks up on this point in Galatians, where he damns everyone, man or angel, who brings a message other than justification by faith alone. Presumably the false teachers in Galatia who were urging the Christians there to supplement their faith with works not only believed in God and in Jesus as the Son of God, but in the infallibility of the Scriptures (the Old Testament) and in Jesus’ miracles as well. Perhaps they even believed in his resurrection. But a belief in Jesus’ resurrection per se will save no one.

That is why unbelieving, apostate churches can recite the early creeds of the church: While they contain some truth (and some error), the creeds do not contain the Gospel. Consider, for example, the Apostles’ Creed. The received form reads:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Hell; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

What is missing from the Apostles’ Creed? Read it again: There is no mention of God’s law, no mention of Adam’s sin, no statement that Jesus suffered and died for the sins of his people, no mention of his representative obedience and vicarious death, no mention of redemption, no mention of his perfect righteousness imputed to sinners, no mention of justification through belief alone. Jesus’ descent into Hell, an event that did not occur, is mentioned, and the mention of forgiveness of sins is vague enough to leave open the possibility that the Holy Catholic Church forgives sins.

The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) omits any mention of sin, mentions the word salvation, but can hardly be said to present an explanation of it. The A.D. 381 enlargement adds some explanation, but also adds the error that water baptism remits sin.

What we need to believe was stated by Paul in Romans 3:20-28:

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

H cont) (Mt 7:20-23) NOT EVERY ONE WHO CONFESSES JESUS AS LORD IN THE SENSE OF ACKNOWLEDGING JESUS AS MASTER OF ONE'S LIFE IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. BUT THOSE WHO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER - THOSE WHO EXPRESS A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE PLUS NOTHING ELSE. THERE WILL BE MANY WHO WILL APPEAR AT JUDGMENT DECLARING JESUS AS LORD AND PLEADING THEIR MANY WORKS WHICH WERE DONE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD - MANY OF WHICH WERE MIRACULOUS - IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. BUT JESUS WILL TELL THEM THAT HE NEVER KNEW THEM, THAT PERFORMING WORKS IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR ETERNAL LIFE WERE LAWLESSNESS

(Mt 1:21 NKJV) "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins... (Mt 3:1 NKJV) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (Mt 3:2 NKJV) and saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' (Mt 3:3 NKJV) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight... (Mt 4:17 NAS) "From then [that time on] Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'... (Mt 7:13 NAS) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (Mt 7:14 NKJV) Because narrow is the gate and [having been made] difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:15 NKJV) [But] beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revenous wolves. (Mt 7:16 NKJV) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Mt 7:17 NKJV) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:18 NKJV) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Mt 7:19 YLT) Every tree not yielding [lit., producing] good fruit is cut down and is cut down and is cast into fire: (Mt 7:20 NKJV)Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7:21 YLT) Not every one who is saying to Me LORD, LORD, shall come into the [Kingdom of Heaven]; but he who is doing the will of My Father Who is in the heavens. (Mt 7:22 HOLMAN) On that day many will say to Me, 'LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? (Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness." =

3) ANY DEEDS DONE TO GAIN MERIT WITH GOD FOR SALVATION ARE CONSIDERED BY OUR LORD AS LAWLESSNESS, WHEREIN HE DECLARES TO THOSE DEED DOERS "I NEVER KNEW YOU". THEY CANCEL OUT GOD'S GRACE AND CAUSE THE INDIVIDUAL FURTHER CONDEMNATION

(Mt 7:23 YLT) and then I will acknowledge to them, that - I never knew you, depart from Me [you] who are working lawlessness.

'I never knew you' = One must trust alone in Christ alone in order to be included in the family of God - and be intimately known by Him. Deeds done in His name even prophecies, miracles and casting out of demons do not result in knowing Jesus Christ unto salvation - faith alone does that:

a) [Jn 1:12]:

'But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name:'

Any deeds done by an unsaved individual, (or while a believer is in a carnal condition, cp. Ro 8:8), which this passage in Matthew chapter 7 refers to, come out of the motivation of the sin nature and not God the Holy Spirit. They cancel God's free grace salvation for the unbeliever and put him in the impossible position of having to do works for his salvation, (Gal 3:21-22; Ro 4:4-5; 11:6). These deeds might even be done in the name of the Lord, perhaps water baptism in order to be saved, (and not a testimony of one's already saved condition), or some act of repentance, or to receive the mass or some miracle or prophetic utterance - even witnessing - all intended to be effective to the same end: attempting to do works to receive eternal life with God. These deeds may even resemble true divine good works. Nevertheless they are evil, not being generated under the control of God the Holy Spirit and certainly not in line with what God says in His Word. For the unbeliever who does these things our Lord's response is condemnation unto the Lake of Fire; for that individual never accepted by faith alone the free grace gift of eternal life exclusively through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross: 'depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'

b) [John W. Robbins states, http://www.trinityfoundation.org/REVIEWS/LAST.ASP]:

" 'Notice the 'and then.' Jesus pronounces judgment only after hearing the pleas and defenses of the men on trial. If any judge ever had the right to condemn a defendant without hearing his defense, this judge has. But he is so scrupulous about God’s law—and his law became the model for due process in civilizations influenced by Christianity—that Jesus does not pronounce judgment until after the defendants have presented their defenses.

Jesus’ declaration, 'I never knew you,' eliminates another common perversion of this passage. Some commentators have suggested that the men Jesus will send to Hell were once believers, and they performed their good works while they were believers; but they did not persevere; they were not faithful to the covenant, so they lost their 'final justification.' But that is not what Jesus will say to them: He will say, 'I never knew you.' He will not say, 'I formerly knew you, but you were unfaithful to the covenant.' Nor will he say, 'I knew you once, but you disobeyed my commandments.' Jesus will say, 'I never knew you.'

These people, these church leaders, were never Christians. They were never foreknown, elected, called, regenerated, justified, adopted, reconciled, or sanctified. They may have been baptized, confirmed, chrismated, ordained, and canonized, but they were never born again. They were active churchgoers and church leaders; they did many extraordinary and wonderful works, all in the name of Jesus; but they were never Christians. Christ Jesus never knew them.

This declaration eliminates Romanist and Arminian doctrine, with its 'saved on Sunday, lost on Monday' soteriology, as well as the Neolegalism of men like Norman Shepherd and Steven Schlissel. The final salvation of Christians—their admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven—just like their election, calling, regeneration, adoption, justification, reconciliation, and sanctification, depends not one whit on our good works, but on the perfect righteousness of Christ alone imputed, not infused, to us through belief alone. Believers have salvation—we possess eternal life—at the first moment of belief, and the gift of salvation is irrevocable.

Notice that Christ Jesus is the only door to Heaven; he admits and excludes. Christ Jesus will send these professing Christians to Hell. Notice that Christ Jesus is the only way to Heaven. It is his life, work, and death alone that entitles sinners to Heaven. Notice that Christ Jesus is the only life. When he says, 'Depart from me,' he is condemning these men to everlasting death. That is what Hell is: separation from Christ.

Jesus will describe these people as 'you who practice lawlessness.' Now if we had seen these people on Earth—and perhaps we have seen some of them—we may not have reached that conclusion. After all, we would have seen these church leaders prophesying, casting out demons, and performing supernatural wonders, all in the name of Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church-State would have declared them saints. The ersatz Evangelicals would have made them best-selling authors and celebrities. But Jesus calls them 'you who practice lawlessness.' Why?

He has already told us why. All of these extraordinary and wonderful works done in the name of Jesus are lawlessness, because they are done for the purpose of obtaining salvation. These works are lawlessness because they involve an illegal use of the law. The law, Paul tells us, is given for the knowledge of sin. It is not given that we sinners might use it to gain entrance into Heaven. Conviction of sin, not salvation, is the purpose of the law. Legalism, because it is an illegal use of the law, is lawlessness. 'But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,' Paul told Timothy. But using the law in an effort to obtain Heaven is not lawful; it is an illegal use of the law; it is lawlessness.' "

c) [Compare Email by Bob Wilkin from Grace Evangelical Society]:

"By Bob Wilkin on Sep 18, 2020 09:00 am

I interacted with a young man about Matt 7:21-23. I told him that the
people who call Jesus “Lord, Lord” and make their case for entering
His kingdom based on their works were unbelievers. They had not done
the will of the Father, which is believing in His Son for everlasting
life. That led to this excellent follow-up question:

Hello. Thank you for your explanation on Matthew 7:21. How are the
people in this Scripture able to “prophesy, cast out demons, and do
many wonders” if they didn’t do the will of God? Will God let someone
use His power if they are not really His servants and never really
knew Him? Thanks.

First, we do not know for sure that they actually did the things they
say they did. They likely are convinced they did. Why make up
something before the God-Man who knows everything they ever said or
did? But they may simply have thought that they were prophesying,
casting out demons, and doing many wonders in Jesus’ name.

Second, even if they did these things, there is Biblical evidence that
God allows unbelievers to do the miraculous.

The seven sons of Sceva cast out demons, and there is no indication
that they were believers (cf. Acts 19:13-16). Luke says they were part
of a group of “itinerant Jewish exorcists” (Acts 19:13), which is not
the way Luke would refer to believing exorcists. Plus, the response of
the demon is telling (v 15). At the very least these exorcists must
have convinced some that they were actually casting out demons. And
most likely, they did.

We know that in the OT God often allowed deceptive spirits to confuse
most of Israel’s prophets. On one occasion King Ahab of the northern
kingdom and King Jehoshaphat of the southern kingdom sought a word
from the Lord about a proposed attack. All the prophets said that God
would give decisive victory. But there was one prophet absent. So,
Micaiah was called. He said that defeat would happen and that a
deceptive spirit had misled all the other prophets (1 Kings 22:19-23).
Micaiah was right. The rest were wrong. While some of the ones giving
a false message might have been believers in the coming Messiah, most
likely were not.

In terms of working miracles, remember that Paul cast a spirit out of
a young girl who had been accurately telling people their futures
(Acts 16:16-24). Luke gives no hint that she was a believer. Just the
opposite, in fact. Once the evil spirit was cast out, she could no
longer tell fortunes,

And we must never forget that Judas was one of the Twelve. Judas, an
unbeliever, was given authority to heal the sick and to cast out
demons (Matt 10:1-4). Surely, he did those things, even though he did
not believe in Jesus for everlasting life.

What about Caiaphas, the high priest? He prophesied “that Jesus would
die for the nation” (John 11:49-52). Caiaphas was not a believer. He
had a direct hand in the crucifixion of Jesus. Yet God used him to
give an accurate prophecy.

It does not seem to have been a common occurrence in Scripture that
unbelievers (or even believers) prophesy, cast out demons, and do
miracles. Yet those things were done by unbelievers at times. People
at the Great White Throne Judgment will include unbelievers from 4100
BC (or whenever Adam and Eve were created) to whenever the Millennium
ends. Therefore, there will likely be thousands or tens of thousands
of unbelievers who cast out demons, prophesied, and did miracles, even
if there was only one such person per generation.

What about famous television evangelists who supposedly cast out
demons, heal the sick, and prophesy? Do all of them believe the
faith-alone message? Hardly. Most of them believe in works salvation.
While some of them are pure charlatans, it is possible that at least
some of them occasionally do give a prophetic message that proves true
or pray over someone who is healed.

Matthew 7:21-23 is a warning against works salvation. If you think you
must persevere in good works to stay saved or to gain “final
salvation,” beware lest you miss the kingdom entirely. Good intentions
are not enough. One must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for
everlasting life to do “the will of the Father” (John 5:24; 6:28-29)."

So, if eternal life did require acknowledgment of Jesus as LORD in the sense of being Master of their life plus perseverance in godly works, (as the scribes' and Pharisees' self-proclamations), then the average individual whose works would not be so great in kind or quantity would have no chance to make it to Heaven's shores.

Since Jesus concluded that doing works in order to gain eternal life was "working lawlessness," then it is evident that due to man's flawed nature that any works man performs would be generated from man's flawed motivation, resulting in lawlessness. So no works can be done in order to gain an eternal relationship with the LORD.

On the other hand, the means by which one does gain eternal life is through a moment of repentance / faith alone in the Messiah Jesus Christ alone plus nothing else, which is evidently what Jesus was referring to when He spoke of doing the will of the Father in order to gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, (Mt 7:21b). For it is the declaration of Christ Himself that such a moment of faith will gain eternal life, . Furthermore, author Matthew earlier corroborated that Jesus will save His people from their sins as well as the rest of humanity, implying a trust in Him alone for salvation unto eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

1) [Compare Mt 1:21]:

(Mt 1:21 NKJV) "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins," (Mt 7:21-23).

66667777 X) CONCLUSION ON MATTHEW 7:15-23

[Bob Wilkin states, ('Is Justification By Faith Alone?', Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society', Autumn 1996 issue, Arthur L. Farstad, editor, Irving, Texas, p. 9)]:

A) JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE IS NOT BEING REFUTED IN THIS PASSAGE

'''To some people this passage [Mt 7:15-23] sounds like it's denying justification by faith alone. After all, Jesus does say that the only one who will enter the kingdom of heaven is 'he who does the will of My Father.'

However, that view of the passage is impossible when put under careful scrutiny. In v. 22 the people who call Jesus Lord and yet are excluded from the kingdom are further identified. They are people who claim the right to enter the kingdom on the basis of having prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders - all in Jesus' name.

B) MATTHEW 7:15-23 IS TEACHING THAT NO ONE CAN EXPECT KINGDOM ENTRANCE ON THE BASIS OF WORKS OF ANY KIND

Jesus' point here is that no one can expect kingdom entrance on the basis of his or her works, or deeds. Far from contradicting justification by faith alone, He is proving it.

The only way anyone can enter the kingdom is by doing God's will. In context this is clearly not meant to refer to doing good deeds. The false professors had done good deeds! What they lacked is the one thing that can gain anyone entrance into the kingdom. [Faith alone in Christ alone.

C) THE WILL OF THE FATHER CONCERNING SALVATION THEREFORE IS THAT WE BELIEVE IN HIS SON + NOTHING ELSE IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

All of the following verses show that the will of the Father concerning salvation is that we believe in His Son: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31). 'He who believes in Me has everlasting life' (John 6:47). 'Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life' (John 3:16b). 'For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast' (Eph 2:8-9).

In answer to the question, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He sent" (John 6:28-29). The only "work"....[required] which will please God in terms of salvation is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for eternal life [and this is no work at all]." '''

I) (Mt 7:24-27) THE ONE WHO WOULD LISTEN TO JESUS' TEACHING AND RESPOND TO IT IN OBEDIENCE, JESUS DECLARED WOULD BE A WISE MAN, WHOSE LIFE WOULD BE BUILT AS A HOUSE UPON A STRONG FOUNDATION - IT WOULD WEATHER THE STORMS OF LIFE. BUT THOSE WHO WOULD LISTEN TO HIM AND NOT ACT, JESUS DECLARED WOULD BE A FOOLISH MAN, WHOSE LIFE WOULD BE BUILT AS A HOUSE UPON A WEAK FOUNDATION WHICH WOULD NOT WEATHER THE STORMS OF LIFE, BUT SUFFER DESTRUCTION

(Mt 7:24 NKJV) "Therefore whoever hears these sayings [lit., words] of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (Mt 7:25 YLT) and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock. (Mt 7:26 HOLMAN) [And] everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. (Mt 7:27 NKJV) and the rain descended, the floods [lit., streams] came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." =

Jesus sums up His sermon on the mountainside by saying, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings [lit., words] of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock. [And] everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, the floods [lit., streams] came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall," (Mt 7:24-27). So the one who would listen to Jesus' teaching and respond to it in obedience, Jesus declared would be a wise man, whose life would be built as a house upon a strong foundation - It would weather the storms of life. But those who would listen to Him and not act, Jesus declared would be a foolish man, whose life would be built as a house upon a weak foundation which would not weather the storms of life, but suffer destruction.

J) (Mt 7:28-29) WHEN JESUS FINISHED, THE CROWD SUDDENLY REFLECTED GREAT ASTONISHMENT AT HIS TEACHING; FOR HE WAS TEACHING THEM WITH THE AUTHORITY OF GOD, AS THE SPOKESMAN OF GOD; NOT AS THE SCRIBES WHO WERE LIMITED IN THEIR CAPACITY, FLAWED IN THEIR NATURE, AND WHO MANIPULATED THE SCRIPTURES TO SUIT THEIR OWN AGENDA

(Mt 7:24 NKJV) "Therefore whoever hears these sayings [lit., words] of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (Mt 7:25 YLT) and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock. (Mt 7:26 HOLMAN) [And] everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. (Mt 7:27 NKJV) and the rain descended, the floods [lit., streams] came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Mt 7:28 YLT) And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the miltitudes were astonished at His teaching, (Mt 7:29 YLT) for He was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes." =

When Jesus' finished, the crowd reflected great and sudden astonishment at His teaching. The Greek word "exeplEssonto" rendered "astonished" means "overwhelmed," "amazed" is strong and sudden. For He was teaching them with the authority of God, as the spokesman of God; not as the scribes who were limited in their capacity, flawed in their nature, and who manipulated the Scriptures to suit their own agenda.

It is evident from the brevity of the account of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7, that author Matthew did not include everything that Jesus taught, but chose certain significant excerpts from Jesus' teaching. If all of Jesus' words comprised the few paragraphs provided in Matthew in chapters 5-7, it would not be sufficient to astonish the crowd. Furthermore, since Jesus went up to a mountainside in order to instruct His disciples, (cf Mt 5:1), much more than a few paragraphs of instruction would be expected.

CONTINUE TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 8 {short description of image}