-Jesus points out the fact that often people who are making judgments on others are imperfect themselves and should first do some intensive self-evaluation. Hypocrisy is the issue here and it has many applications in life. For instance, the dad who tells his son not to drink alcohol out with his friends while he himself comes home drunk will have little if any effect in providing a proper standard or role model for his son. This is the point of taking “the log out of your own eye” to see clearly with accurate and just judgment (Matthew 7:5). Further, Jesus speaks of those who we entrust ourselves to in the matters of instruction and judgments. After we have cleaned up our act and can be discerning in offering advice and counsel, it is wise to assess the recipients. Jesus illustrates how we can waste our time and be unjustly persecuted when we offer wisdom to the unholy (dogs) and unrighteous (swine or pigs) (Matthew 7:6). These were unclean animals according to God’s Law or their natural instincts (Deuteronomy 14:8, Proverbs 26:11, 2 Peter 2:22). *Application* Jesus is stating that we have to be careful with who we teach and lead. Because if we don’t, it can be very unproductive and even detrimental to us. Instead entrust your righteous teaching to faithful people who will teach others in an ongoing progression after you have repented and lived in a manner worthy of leadership (2 Timothy 2:2). Only God is the ultimate Judge, and we should be ultra-careful to point people in His righteousness knowing that we are imperfect and need His cleansing purity, which is only found in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice in blood.
-The principles of asking, seeking, and knocking are expounded upon here in verses 7-12. If we ask God, seek only Him and knock upon His door, He will make sure that we receive, find, and have the door open (Revelation 3:20). God is good and knows how to give every perfect and righteous gift to mankind (James 1:17). We can place our trust in that fact. *Application* This should help us consider how to treat others also. We fulfill the Law and the Prophets when we treat others as we would want them to treat us.
-We see the authority of Jesus in His teaching here in this next section. He is making a distinction between the two ways that mankind can go in life towards his/her eternal destination. God’s way is narrow (not the majority, not popular, Matthew 7:13-14) and must be chosen with accuracy free from deception that the enemy and this world attempt to bring (Matthew 7:15). Jesus claims that we will know the righteous by their fruits (outward manifestations of an inward reality). He warns that there are those who profess Christ outwardly, but actually do not “know” Him and therefore practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:23). The will of God is to act in faith on His words for hidden wisdom and the eternal hope in Him (Matthew 7:21, 24). *Application* Build your house (life) upon the rock (Jesus, the firm foundation, 2 Timothy 2:19). His anchor holds and will keep you safe in His security leading you home to be with Him in paradise in the end (Hebrews 6:19).
-Jesus teaches that we can know whether or not a person is righteous and walking in the narrow way by observing their fruits (out manifestations, deeds, works). He talks about the tree in correlation to our inward man (soul, heart). This is where the work of salvation and restoration from corruption is performed. Jesus also spoke of the well spring of life flowing with living water (John 4:14). He alone is the originator of transformation and this is His point. The inner wellness will produce good fruit in its dispensation (distribution of things, giving out of something). If one is producing bad fruit there is sufficient evidence that the tree is rotten inside and in reality not part of God’s Kingdom (in other words saved, righteous, redeemed). *Application* “You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:20)” seems to stand in stark contrast to the comment just nineteen verses earlier, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1).” While we are not the ultimate Judge, Jesus tells us that it is ok to be fruit inspectors. This is a warning for our discernment as we do Kingdom work here on this earth. Be careful with whom you align yourselves in your ministry. If things are not being followed according to the Lord’s command it is perfectly ok to inspect that and deal with it appropriately under God’s direction, supervision, and counsel. God tells us to be observant and notice things that will help us detect false motivations and intrigue (schemes) that are at best carnal and may possibly be totally not of God at all.
-Jesus teaches here that the foundation is crucial upon which we build. Christ Jesus is the firm foundation, the Rock, which is stable and can withstand the storms of this life. *Application* For this firm foundation to be ours the Lord says we must hear His Word and act on it (Matthew 7:24, Luke 6:47). His Word is true and reliable, able to hold up under any circumstance and trial. Count on it like you count on the sun coming up tomorrow.
Verses to Memorize: Matthew 7:1, 7-8, 12, 16-21, 23