The Characteristic Virtues Needed for Subjects of the Kingdom
Matthew 7:7-27

Earnestness and Confidence in Prayer (7:7-11)

 7 Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you. v.7 there needs to be ernestness in the things of God. There is too much casualness in spiritual things. It is critical to speak with God, and to do so in earnest, for our needs, not only material, but spiritual. God will answer.

8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. v.8 notice the increasing measures of earnestness in pleading with God: asking à seeking à knocking. To receive we must draw near to God… he wants to hear our heart speaking — asking, seeking, knocking. A response from our Father is certain… “it shall be opened”.

9 Or what man is there of you who, if his son shall ask of him a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; 10 and if he ask a fish, will give him a serpent? vv.9-11 an argument to encourage out confidence in God’s desire to bless. even natural fathers having natural affection for their children are willing to provide for their childrens’ needs when ernestly asked. notice a few things:
  1. necessary things. First of all, notice that the man’s son is asking for necessary things; bread, or a fish. If we pray for frivolous things, we can’t expect it to be given, because it isnt a prayer according to God’s will (1 John 5:14), or we may be asking amiss (James 4:3).
  2. good gifts. The man doesn’t reward his begin child with a worthless gift (a stone) or a harmful gift (a serpent).
11 If therefore *ye*, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much rather shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them that ask of him? v.11 If natural men, being “evil” in comarison with the goodness of God, are willing to reward ernest requests with good gifts, how much more confident should a believer be to ask our father for good things.

give “good things” (Matt.) vs. give “the Holy Spirit” (Luke). The holy spirit is the characteristic of the power of God for the blessing of man. Compare Joel 2:28 with Gal. 3:14. It was right and proper for old testament saints (even the Lord’s disciples before pentecost) to pray for the spirit, because it had not been sent yet (John 7:39). But now that it has been sent, we have “received the promise of the Spirit through faith.” It would not be intelligent for a saved person to pray for the indwelling of the spirit. However, it would be right to pray for more of the working of the Spirit in us, and desire to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)… a modified version of the prayer in luke 11. It is “good gifts” in matthew, the Jewish Gospel. But in Luke, which is addressed to the broader audience of Gentiles, the “best gift” is specified, the solution to the broader needs of the world, the Holy Spirit, which was about to be given.

Consistency in Display of Love to Others (the “Golden Rule”) (7:12)

12 Therefore all things whatever ye desire that men should do to you, thus do *ye* also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. v.12therefore” – knowing the father’s fixed disposition of love, THE LORD DEMANDs OF HIS DISCIPLES A STANDARD THAT IS EXCEEDING BROAD TO ENCOMPASS THE WHOLE LAW AND THE PROPHETS. “FOR THE WHOLE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, IN THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF” (GAL 5:14, QUOTE LEV. 19:18, SEE MATT. 22:35-40). In context, this means that just as we want others to treat us always with love regardless of the harm we’ve caused them (as children of our Father), so we are to treat others, repaying evil with good.

Energy and Reality are Required by God (7:13-14)

 13 Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and many are they who enter in through it. 14 For narrow the gate and straitened the way that leads to life, and they are few who find it. vv.13-14 the Lord is evidently speaking beyond His disciples to the crowd (w. Kelly). there are two ways to live during the time when the king is absent:
  1. the broad way. This way has a wide gate, which admits subjects without faith in Christ, by mere profession, or baptism. the way is broad, meaning no need to endure hardness, or exercise self-judgment. The end is destruction after the harvest judgment. many follow it.
  2. the straight way.  This has a narrow gate, meaning God’s one way of entrance to the kingdom, receiving the good seed by faith (acts 4:12). the way is straight, meaning self-judgment and repentance are required. the end is life in the kingdom of our father. there are few that find it.

Discernment of False Prophets (7:15-20)

 15 But beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravening wolves. v.15 There is a moral connection between the broad road, and the false prophets. when the door is opened wide, it is easy for the wolves to come in.

16 By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather a bunch of grapes from thorns, or from thistles figs? v.16 there is one thing men cannot completely disguise… their fruits. Where grace has worked, a man’s fruits will bear the impress of God’s nature. An apple obviously comes from an apple tree.

17 So every good tree produces good fruits, but the worthless tree produces bad fruits. v.17 Wherever grace has really worked, the fruit will match the character of God. As to holiness, they will have a much greater care in what concerns God. As to love, they will display greater tenderness, forbearance, and patience toward man.

18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruits, nor a worthless tree produce good fruits. v.18 when a person is a false prophet, they will not be able to produce good fruit. Their holiness will be hollow, or perhaps legal. their love will be partial and human.

19 Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. v.19 is this verse telling the disciples that they needed to deal with false teachers the way a farmer deals with a bad tree? We do need to be careful not to try to root out the tares ourselves (Matt. 13:28), but we do need heed Our responsibility concerning that which is “within” (I Cor. 5:13).

20 By their fruits then surely ye shall know them. v.20 conclusion: we have something concrete by which we can discern false prophets. Fruit reveals the character of the life that produces it. The false prophet has a false life, which must reveal itself in false fruit.

Discernment of False Disciples (7:21-23)

 21 Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that does the will of my Father who is in the heavens. v.21 there are many false disciples who loudly profess allegiance to the Lord, but the vital link of faith is lacking. faith, as the Apostle James tells us, will always manifest itself in works. one that is truly under the lordship of Christ will have set themselves to do the will of the Father in heaven.

22 Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through *thy* name, and through *thy* name cast out demons, and through *thy* name done many works of power? v.22 emphatic professions (lord, lord) and showy displays of power mean nothing to god where there was neither faith nor submission of the will of the father.

23 and then will I avow unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me, workers of lawlessness. v.23 to be a child of God, as born of Him, requires the vital work of God’s Spirit. God knows his children (and CHrist knows all his sheep, John 10:27) personally. The eternal alternative is separation from god, the second death.

True Wisdom: Practical Obedience to these Sayings (7:24-27)

The Wise Man (vv.24-25)

 24 Whoever therefore hears these my words and does them, I will liken him to a prudent man, who built his house upon the rock; v.24 the word of god is something that we possess in a world characterized by political change, unfulfulled hopes, and broken promises. If we choose to build our life upon it, we lay a solid foundation that will last for eternity. (Compare)

25 and the rain came down, and the streams came, and the winds blew and fell upon that house, and it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. v.25 when the trials of life come, we will find that our faith is strong, and can weather the trial. why? because of some internal strength? No. because we have founded our live on the principle of obedience to the word of God.

The Foolish Man (vv.26-27)

26 And every one who hears these my words and does not do them, he shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; v.26 to hear the word of God, and to choose to disobey, for whatever reason, is abject foolishness. We might think we know better, or the word of God is outdated, but we are choosing to build on another foundation. There is nothig in the flesh, in the world, or in the devil worthy of our trust.

27 and the rain came down, and the streams came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell, and its fall was great. v.27 when the trials of life come, that foundation begins to erode, and finally, our life can end in shipwreck. “How great is the fall” of a person who professed to believe that the bible was the word of God, and consistently refused to obey, in favor of a human foundation. Some of these may have a saved soul, but a lost life (II Tim. 19). 

Conclusion: Response of the Multitudes (7:28-29)

 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his doctrine, v.28 Although the sermon began by the Lord speaking to His immediate disciples, now we find that the crowds had drawn drew near to listen. Remember that the sermon is a collection of speeches given at various times. Here, at the conclusion, they are amazed at the profundity of His teaching.

29 for he taught them as having authority, and not as their scribes. v.29 Ordinarily the scribes based everything they taught on the authority of notable rabbis who had preceded them. But Jesus spoke directly as giving the final word on every subject He set forth, which astonished him.