Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Matthew 7:1-14 Sermon Notes

Matthew 7:1-14
Sermon Notes
The Rule of Gold
You can Listen Here
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Every child of modernity knows the Golden Rule. Well, actually, they think they know the Golden Rule. Modernity’s Golden Rule goes like this, “Treat me the way I want to be treated.” That sounds like the Golden Rule, right? Wrong.
         The Bible tells us that the law and prophets can be boiled down to two commands, Love God and love your neighbor. And if that is too complicated for you, the Apostle Paul makes it even easier. Just love your neighbor. But then we complicate things trying to figure out what love is, trying to figure out who my neighbor is, trying to figure out what my duty is.
         The maxim from Jesus solves these issues for us. What makes His rule gold is that it is so easy to understand. It is not always easy to do but perhaps much easier than you think, if you would only think.
Treat others the way you want them to treat you. His rule is others focused. It puts them first. But it does so based upon a rule that is easy for you to figure out. It takes some imagination to do so but can be done. Are you in a difficult situation with a spouse and not sure what to do? How would you want them to treat you? Then do that. Do you have problems with an in-law? How would you want them to treat you in that same situation? Then do that.
Sometimes the answer is very hard. It might be that in this situation, I would want them to confront me and hold me accountable. You know you should but you don’t want to. So, the answer is pretty easy but the application is difficult. Sometimes the answer is, “I would want them to give me some space, so I could make the right decision on my own.” And for those of you who like to control other people, that answer is pretty easy but difficult to implement. But the rule works if you work it.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
This verse should never be quoted by itself. It is not the case that Lord wants us lack judgment or discsernment. We should judge but we need to judge righteously and fairly. Our Lord is condemning false judgment, not merely judgment. We are to be discerning. We are to be cunning as serpents. We are to distinguish light from darkness, good from evil, the wise from fools. We are to be spiritual so that we can correct our brothers in sin. We are even called to deal with specks in other people’s eyes. But there is warning.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Beware, when you set yourself up as judge. The Golden Rule is in mind here. How do you judge? The way you want to be judged?

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

This speaks of Galatians 6:1-3, Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Here, we are told to be spiritual if we would restore a brother, that is, if we are to talk to a brother about his own sin. If you think you have arrived because your brother is in sin, then you are self-deceived. Our obedience is a tenuous thing. It is here with us now and gone in sixty seconds. Only through vigilant attention to the Holy Spirit are we able to continue to walk in obedience. We are easily distracted. We are constantly in need of confession, repentance, restoration, healing. I am not being hyperbolic. If you are not constantly on top of your game, your game will slip. Regularly weekly worship is essential to faithful Christian living. Why? Confession, repentance, the correction of the Word preached, joy in singing, fellowship at the Lord’s Table and fellowship with the saints. If you think you are something and can walk faithfully in the Christian life without all of this, you are deceiving yourself. Your fall is imminent.

He is not telling us to never correct or teach a brother or sister. But he is telling us to take care of ourselves first. If you have dealt with your own sins in a particular area, you might be fit to help someone else. But are you really trying to help? Or, are you merely making yourself feel good since there is someone seemingly worse than you?
Jesus makes it clear. If you have this attitude of superiority, then what you think is a beam in your brother’s eye, is actually a speck. And what you think is a speck in your eye, is actually a beam. You are self-deceived. You have upside down priorities.
What is Jesus like? He is the sort of man that would call someone a hypocrite.
How do you get rid of a beam in your eye? Confession, repentance, forgiveness, restoration. This will produce the right sort of humility in you so that when you approach your brother you will do so out of a concern for him rather than from an irritation within yourself.

6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Jesus gives some careful wisdom about confronting brothers, teaching others, leading men or women in righteous living. Do not think that since you have a good thing in Jesus and His Word that people will be eager to hear you. The fact is, that taking a speck out of someone’s eye is a very difficult task.
I once injured my eye while using a chain saw. No, I didn’t cut it open. I was in the middle of a bush and when I turned to the side, a stick caught me in the eyeball. It scratched my cornea. My eye injury was not overlay severe but it had long lasting effects. My eye hurt a great deal for several hours. My eyes watered for hours. The doctor checked it out and it was slight tear on the top layer of the eyeball, the cornea. However, it had affects that lasted for several years. At night, the torn part would catch on the underside of my eyelid. This still happens occasionally. When it does, I cannot open my eyelid and it hurts. I have to break the seal by pulling down on the bottom of my eye. Bottom line, it is a big deal and a lot of hassle to have a speck in your eye. If you go around trying to mess with other people’s specks, you should expect a strong reaction.
So, be wise. Be careful. Get permission to touch the eye. Be ready for a big response.

Matt. 7:7   Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Jesus is here teaching us perseverance and that God is faithful. God does not always give us what we want. Furthermore, He may give us what we want but just not when we want it.

James 4:3 says, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
         So, we have to learn to ask God according to His will. Furthermore, we must ask for wisdom and trust that God will answer our prayers. It is His will that we be wise.

         In Luke this passage states that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. That is the context here. If we continue to seek God, His Kingdom, His wisdom, He will grant it to us. That wisdom is granted to us as He blesses us with His Holy Spirit. We learn to walk according to the Spirit.
         This all fits with the context of judging others, learning how to correct, learning when to keep your mouth shut, learning what is holy and who is interested in holiness. We must ask God for all of this and trust that He will answer our prayers.

Matt. 7:12   Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Here is gold. Do you want to know what to do and what to say as a Christian? Do and say what you would have folks do and say towards you. This is not that difficult. It takes imagination but not too much. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Now, imagine what would be helpful to you. Now do that.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The narrow gate is hard to find and narrow. It must be entered into one at a time. The broad gate is easy to find. The crowds enter in without a care in the world. But the two gates lead to two paths, one that leads to life, the other to destruction.
Jesus said, “I am the way.” The narrow gate is Jesus. The broad way does not need Jesus. But without Jesus, no eternity, no resurrection, no heaven. Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.
One path is cool. The other not so. One path is easy. The other hard. One path is full of pleasure. The other of discipline.

The Road Less Traveled
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Which way will you go? We come upon these choices more often than you think. Way leads on to way and you will never come back. How do you know how far is too far? How do you know if you will ever get back? We like to say that there is always time for repentance and we hope this is true with unsaved loves one or wayward children but we really do not know if it is true. Way leads on to way and for some there is no turning back.
So, First, take the narrow way, the untrodden way, the way that is Jesus. Take that way today. Then, take the way that is Jesus every day and if you get confused during the week, come to church, come to Jesus and get back on the way.
Second, judgment begins at the household of God. Judge yourself here in the presence of God. I do not mean to judge yourself in any ultimate sense. Leave that up to the Lord. If you are in Jesus, you might even be too harsh on yourself. But use wisdom and discernment about your own sins first. Be harder on yourself than you are on others, your spouse, your children, your siblings, your friends, even your pastor, elders and deacons. These are all men at best in need of the grace and mercy of the Lord. Deal with your own sins first and then ask the Holy Spirit to deal with other’s sins, those close to you and those not so close.  You will be amazed at how much this will free you and them.

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