THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, PART 3
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12).
I The Duties of a Christian to His Neighbour
1. A Christian not appointed to judge, but to minister, [Matthew:7:1,2]; [John:12:47,48].
2. The need of being without fault in judging others, [Matthew:7:3-5]; [Romans:2:1].
3. A class, subject to judgment, to whom to minister is vain, [Matthew:7:6]; [Matthew:10:14,15].
4. God's mercy toward all who diligently seek Him, [Matthew:7:7,8]; [Luke:6:36].
5. The heavenly Father more ready with help than earthly fathers, [Matthew:7:9-11]; [Isaiah:65:24].
6. The observance of the "Golden Rule" in dealing with others, [Matthew:7:12]; [Romans:13:10].
II The Road to Heaven and the Road to Destruction
1. The wide gate and the broad way leading to destruction, [Matthew:7:13]; [Proverbs:14:12].
2. The strait gate and the narrow way leading to eternal life, [Matthew:7:14]; [Proverbs:4:18].
3. False prophets and the way to detect them, [Matthew:7:15-20; [Ephesians:5:9-11], [1 John:3:10].
4. A class professing religion, but missing the mark, [Matthew:7:21-23]; [Micah:6:8].
5. Building upon the sand, and building upon the Rock, [Matthew:7:24-27]; [1 Corinthians:3:11].
6. The effect of Christ's authority upon the multitude, [Matthew:7:28-29]; [Isaiah:61:1-3].
"Judge not, that ye be not judged." Some people infer from this verse of Scripture that we cannot know who is a sinner and who is not. Often times, when the sinful life of a "false prophet" is pointed out, some people will excuse the sin in his life and say, "Oh, but we cannot judge!"
Jesus never intended that His words should be a cloak for all manner of evil, but He plainly tells us, "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew:7:16). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John:4:1). John further tells us, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil" (I John:3:7, 8).
If we then are to try the spirits and discern between the good and the bad, what is meant by this exhortation, "Judge not, that ye be not judged"? In John:7:24 Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In order to judge righteous judgment it is necessary to follow the advice given by Peter, "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" (I Peter:4:8). If our lives are governed by charity, as described by Paul in the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, we will not be passing our opinion of others hastily, with insufficient grounds for that opinion or judgment. If a disagreement arises between a brother and us, we should examine ourselves to see whether it is necessary first to "cast out the beam" from our own eye and then be in a position to "cast out the mote" from our brother's eye.
A mote is a small speck or splinter, while a beam is a large timber. Jesus here implies that it is possible that our vision, or judgment of others, become entirely obstructed by our own shortcomings.
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs." Giving "that which is holy" has reference to preaching the Word. Wisdom must be used in carrying the Gospel. When Jesus sent His disciples out two by two He told them to declare the Word in the towns to which they went; and if the Word was received, they should pronounce peace upon the people; but if it was rejected, they should shake the dust off their feet and leave. To remain and attempt to force it upon them could be considered an example of giving "that which is holy unto the dogs."
"Ask, and it shall be given you." God is not unwilling to answer prayer; however, often He does withhold for a time. Sometimes we earnestly pray for something that we know God has promised and that is according to His Word; and we seek, and seek, without results. Why are these answers withheld? It is because God wants to get us to the place where we are ready for the answer. Some have said, "I have sought a long time, but I believe when God gets ready He will give it to me." When we get to the place where God wants us to be, He will give it to us.
Sometimes He wants to strengthen our faith by withholding the answer for a time. In Malachi:3:10 we find a verse which may be the solution in some cases: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts. if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." James gives us another thought along this line: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James:4:3).
The twelfth verse of our lesson is known as the Golden Rule. Its message is similar to one of the two great commandments, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew:22:39). Some people profess to live according to the Golden Rule; but we must have the real love of God in our heart to be able to keep and observe it at all times. Only experiencing the new birth in the heart can attain the love.
If love is the real motive of our conduct, the duties we have will not be irksome, the service will not be burdensome. Our body may become weary, but that love carries us through it all, and we shall never find it a hardship to observe the Golden Rule. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke:6:38). "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." That is the test; that is the measure by which we shall all be judged by the righteous Judge in the last day.
The wisest man in the entire world gave us a similar injunction: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes:12:13). It is an impossibility to observe this unless we first experience genuine salvation from sin. Then and only then is it possible to do the "will of my Father," as we are instructed throughout the Sermon on the Mount.
"The people were astonished." Well might the world be astonished when the Creator of Heaven and earth -- yes, and of mortal man -- came down to earth to teach men how to live! "For he taught them as one having authority." Is He not the supreme authority from Whom there is no court of appeal? "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (II Corinthians:5:10).
1. Why are some people quick to judge their brother?
2. How many promises can you find in this chapter?
3. What is a "strait gate"?
4. The Golden Rule is like one of the two great commandments. What is the other great commandment?
5. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" What is the spiritual application of this question?
6. What verses in this lesson refute the idea that all who try to go to Heaven will make it?
7. Give an example of one who builds his house on the sand.
8. Can you give scriptural grounds as to why the scribes did not teach with authority?
9. What is meant by "sheep's clothing"?
10. What happens to the trees that do not bring forth good fruit?