The sermon on the Mount contains multiple soundbites of the best teaching ever. It’s Nicky Gumbel’s twitter feed on steroids!
To judge or not to judge is one of the conundrums of the New Testament. Paul warns us not to judge in 1 Cor 4:12 and to judge in 1 Cor 5:12. It’s not a contradiction because they are both verses taken in isolation. There are things we must judge and things we must not judge.
We are commanded no to judge the purposes of someone else’s heart – we don’t know what is going on in their heart. But we are commanded to judge sinful behaviour – in believers it is to be done lovingly as we call out sin, to help people grow in Christ. It is redemptive. Jesus is teaching us to do this slowly and with care. It is easy to spot others sin and miss our own. As one commentator put it referring to marital difficulties – “if it is 99% them and 1% me, I need to sort my 1% first!” As we will see in a later part of the reading what is in our hearts comes out in our behaviour. That is why the area of judgement is a tricky one.
Ask, seek, knock v7-10
Jesus invites us to pray – Ask x2, seek x2, knock x2 so the Good, Good Father can give good things! When someone is in the same room, close by we can just ask. If they are in another room, we seek them out. If the door is shut we knock! There’s levels of asking therefore and Jesus tells us to get on asking, seeking and knocking so we can see our Father’s wonderful provision.
The Golden rule v12-14
How would you like to be treated in a situation? That’s generally the best way to act.
Fruit trees don’t lie. Jesus is offering a simple assessment process. We can recognise who is true and who is false, over time, by their fruit. There have been many charlatans who are great at articulating vision, but they bear no lasting fruit. They are to use the idiom “a flash in the pan.”
Trees take time to grow and fruit takes time to grow and ripen. My pear tree is producing lots of pears, but it is July and they aren’t good fruit yet. I’ll watch and wait and in Sept/Oct they will be sweet and ripe.
Not everyone v21-23
Nothing worse than the religious lost. The people travelling to hell in church clothes. They may have good doctrine, using the correct term “Lord”, they may have great emotions “Lord, Lord”, they may be very active “did we not”. They are doers, but not hearers first! They didn’t know Jesus. They never repented of their sin and put their faith (trust) in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection as being a gift and they only way to get eternal life.
Have you believed in your heart that God raised Christ from the dead and then confessed with your mouth that he is your Lord (boss)?
Building well v24-7
If we hear Christ’s words and put our faith in Him, we will be building well – on the rock that is Jesus, rather than the slippery sand that leads to hell.
Marinate on that,