“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:28-29 NKJV
Jesus, the creator, has the authority. So when He teaches, He teaches with authority. He gave me authority to share His word and my witness, knowledge and understanding – but I can only share under His authority with nothing added or taken away and I strive to do my best. But when we read the Bible, which is the Word (and Jesus is the Word), it is the authority of Christ. The Bible is over me (and you). So no matter who is preaching or sharing the word – refer back to the Bible which is over them and is the authority on the subject. Which is especially important to remember when we are reading words that are a little difficult to understand.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge[a] not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what [b]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 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? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “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.
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 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! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow Way
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I Never Knew You
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. 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?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Build on the Rock
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
- aMatthew 7:1 Condemn
- bMatthew 7:2 Condemnation
- cMatthew 7:14 NU, M How narrow . . . !
- dMatthew 7:14 confined
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Numbers 23:19– “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Today, it is important to be open to the Spirit and what He wants to do in us – which we know is give us more life, understanding, wisdom, and help us draw closer to God. God only disciplines those he loves – any correction or issue you feel rise up, check and see if you are loved and God is trying to cleanse you of something so you two can be closer.
He starts with judging each other. This is a concept that is misunderstood. I hear people over and over quote this when they feel convicted and called out – out of context. You see we most definitely can tell a brother or sister when they are wrong and we can also tell someone of the world if they are wrong. To determine if they are wrong, in a since we judge them.
Let us insert the “Judge not..” back into the passage… where a couple verses later in verse 5 it says we can judge and help out brother out of sin. Furthermore verse 13 to the end of the chapter teach us how to judge our self (and therefore we would be able to assist other in judging themselves the sale way). It also tells us how to judge a false teacher! All in the same chapter that begins with the words: Judge not.
How did we get ourselves into this confusion? It seems to contradict yet we know there is no contradiction in Christ. So what is really being said and what are we really to do?
I was in a church service a couple weeks ago and I knew something evil was there in attendance. I know witches and demons come to church all the time, but this was different. The pastor seemed to know as well, and he step off this message and started chit-chatting and rambling about different spirits – and when he said “the spirit of religion” a couple people stood up and started heckling him loudly. I thought – there it is! And I started praying. How do you pray when an evil spirit manifests? I just pray in the spirit, because I know He knows best. But if you cannot pray in the spirit, yet, then pray for protection over the people in the room and anointing for the person in charge. The pastor had to make a judgment call and do so quickly. He responded to the person to see if… it didn’t matter it was a wall, no receptiveness. The person was not there in a spiritual sense – they could not be reached at that moment. So the pastor had them removed. (Don’t worry about the end of the story – it’s not our business, it is God’s business.)
Our business today, among other things, is to understand the word “judge” – synonyms in English are: critic, reviewer, evaluator, and arbiter. We also interchange it, in the church, with the word “discern” – whose synonyms are: distinguish, separate, differentiate, determine, detect, and recognize. Neither have each other in common.
In the Bible, in this verse, the word “judge” is κρίνετε (krinete) which means to decide by implication, or to try, condemn, or punish.
Condemn. Hum, don’t I quote a verse about “condemn” quite often? Oh yeah:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” Rom 8:1 NKJV
In Christ there is no condemnation. There is conviction which is love showing you an area to correct. But only the enemy but you in bondage with putting you on trial, condemning you, and threatening punishment. These things rob, kill and destroy! It is a subtle difference in heart but it make all the difference between life and death… and in relation to dealing with your brother or sister in the Lord it is the difference between maintaining a friendship and condemning it to failure.
If you ever think you are in the position of verse 5 that says after you have removed the plank from your eye, you can help your brother… then proceed with caution or don’t and let God handle it. Because the relationship between two believers is a holy thing – yes… look at the next verse. So do not give it over to the dogs or let the swine trample it. Be tender, cautious and loving.
Keeping with the comparison of people who act in love verses people who act evil Jesus tells us to keep knocking and seeking… seeking Him become a repeated theme and we repeat it here often as well. It is the point of this. It is NOT that He is hiding. He is not. He is working. Like I said yesterday, don’t ask him to move when He already is… seek it out and join it. It is NOT our will be done – but instead His will be done!
So, without condemning or putting someone on trial – how do we discern, distinguish, separate, differentiate, determine, detect, and recognize someone else’s heart? Especially if (verse 13-14) narrow is the way and few find it?
You will know them by their fruits. But, before we slip into judging others… look at the fruit in your own life. Are you a vine with grapes? A fig tree with figs? Or do you have thorns and thistles? Are you a lion or a wolf? (Funny I was watching that conversation on Facebook today! A friend explaining to someone who commented that a wolf is not a good thing when compared a lion – The Lion!)
Now, let us pause and ask for the spirit of revelation to really bring some clarity here as we look at the next few verses:
“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. 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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matt 7:21-23
So, we call Him Lord, we do signs and wonders, miracles and lives saved – but then some of us get cast off!!! How can this be? And if you believe once saved always saved – you better be questioning right now. I mean, let’s all hope that you are right but many have given their lives to Christ and walked away and only few continue to serve Him, or have come back. I hope in the always saved for my son and my sister’s sake!!! BUT… that is not what my eyes see here. But it does require the Holy Spirit bears witness to you of its meaning and not human – including me.
I see that we can be deceived into thinking we are right with the Lord when we are not. We can start to think the voice of the enemy is the Lord’s voice and start to follow it. We can start to speak out of flesh and not holy love.
I was raised in the church by a parent who did not come to the Lord until I was 5. She was taught doctrine on top of a corrupted foundation which was a mix bag of a few forms of Christianity and horoscopes (and who knows what else). Others in the church influenced my growth built on a mixed foundation as well… and we all wondered why many of us from my generation slipped away from a while. We had built our foundations on all this corruption, legalism, and lies mixed with the spirit of religion. We bought so many lies as they were handed to us as NOT just truth, but foundational truth!! We were deceived into thinking we are ok, when we weren’t.
I have talked with many of them who have come back and they all had the same experience I had… Everything was ripped down including the foundation, right back to the original seed and rebuilt, tenderly in love. Ask my sister – she will never come back to “the lies and fear based fairytales of Christianity” and I pray she never does!!! I do hope she will come back to the “way the truth and the life!”
This foundation is critical for our survival. But as I just proved, if there is a faulty brink God and break it out and replace it with solid doctrine. Ask, seek and knock… it will happen. If like me, the whole thing had to go… He can just send a storm… then move me onto the ROCK and rebuild me. This is why this chapter is concluded with the solid rock foundation!
We can also stand in the gap for our friends, family, and church family in asking God to shake out any corruption in our foundations and rebuild us together! In unity! Hallelujah!!
**I do need to add a disclaimer. Not all of the people in my church, growing up, were strongly corrupted – there is always a remnant. This is why so many of us have come back. We had a few with solid doctrine. If they were our only influence we would have been alright. They, unfortunately were not even our strongest influence – but I thank God for the amount of influence they did have!! It gave us enough bricks to begin our foundational rebuilds! Amen!
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!