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In this part of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus turns to more practical items. Do any apply to you?


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Bible passage Matthew 7:1–12


Matthew 7

Judging Others
 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

 6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock
 7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Questions on judging
How do we navigate life as followers of Jesus? Are we expected to be his moral deputies – ready to pounce on other followers who don’t measure up? Are we also obliged to share our faith continuously with doubters, even in the face of their growing opposition and hostility? And how are we expected to engage the invisible Father, and Jesus, about daily matters?

Jesus took up the question of mutual correction and applied a variation of the Golden Rule: be ready to receive the sort of justice you administer (v 2)! And just in case we missed the point, he turned to hyperbole – comparing a speck in one person’s eye to a plank in the critic’s eye.

Provision from God
Jesus also followed up on his earlier promise of God’s providence. If any of us need something, just ask! He used a common form of argument from his day: by moving from a lesser case to a greater application. That is, if you behave well towards your own children, ‘how much more’ will God be gracious? And, once again, he applied the Golden Rule (v 12).


Respond


You may have questions to ask Jesus, or honest needs to be met. This reading invites us to ask, seek, and knock on the door of ‘your Father in heaven’. And then relax.

Ron Frost


Deeper Bible study


If your actions were to rebound to you immediately, would you still do the same?

Verse 12 is famously known as the Golden Rule, summarising the essence of the teaching in the Law and the Prophets. Scholars perceive the phrase ‘the Law and the Prophets’ in 5:17 and 7:12 as the two bookends that hold together Jesus’ sermon. The use of identical phrases or statements to mark the beginning and ending of a book or speech was a common practice in ancient times.

Similar rules appear in other religions, often stated in the negative – such as ‘Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you’. The significant difference is that this negative form – the Silver Rule as it is often called – could be easily satisfied by doing nothing. However, the Golden Rule, in its positive form, compels us to action. This is why Jesus challenges us to take a hard look at ourselves and consider how we treat others when we judge them (vs 1–6). At the same time, Jesus also reminds us that before we judge others we should remember how God treats us when we pray (vs 7–11). Jesus underscores the overwhelming generosity of God to us. In view of this, treating others in the manner we would like ourselves to be treated is the least we can do.

Therefore the Golden Rule is not merely the summary of the teaching of Jesus on ethics. It is far more than that. It is a reminder that doing good to others is a reflection of God and his generosity towards us. Loving our neighbour is a concrete expression of what the Law is all about – it spells out the goal of the Law. Jesus places no restrictions on the scope of the rule. It includes not only those we love, but everyone: enemies as well as friends.

Kar Yong Lim


Cultural issues


Jesus certainly knows how to move rapidly from one image to another, starting from what was probably first-hand experience of sawdust in your eye. Such familiar wording, though, produces several issues.

I think I’d recognise a snake
Easily dealt with first is the lack of similarity between a fish and a snake (v 10). This is readily explained if we imagine an eel for the fish. The physical resemblance between a stone and a loaf of bread is clearly apparent.

Verse 6 
Verse 6 throws up a real quandary for us, since it does not define what the phrase ‘what is sacred’ refers to. The early church appears to have understood it as an instruction not to share communion with unbelievers. That makes some sense, but why would they attack us for doing this?

What seems more likely is that it instructs us not to persist in evangelising those who show no inclination to accept the gospel. This interpretation is supported by Matthew 10:14: ‘If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.’

Several commentators, such as Dick France (The Gospel of Matthew, Eerdmans, 2007), suggest that we need to read the verse with a chiastic structure. There are two actions in the first half of the verse, to be matched in reverse order with the two results. Over-translating, the result for the second half of the verse is:

‘If you do, the pigs may trample the pearls under their feet, and the dogs then turn and tear you to pieces.’

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Genesis 22,23

Psalms 5,6
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Jesus surely wasn’t without a sense of humour! Some of the images in the stories he told were hilarious. Enjoy the fun in this one.

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Audio


‘Search me oh God’
Peformed by : Vicky Beeching
Written by: Vicky Beeching
Copyright: © 1997 Thankyou MusicYou can buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com

Awesome God (Your Voice)
Vicky Beeching
Copyright© 2001 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    We knock - and keep on knocking. Not frantically and in panic (though that happens too at times!) But with calm confidence, because we KNOW the one within. We know the delay must be for good reason. We don’t go away, disgusted or dispairing, but wait, certain that the door will be opened and we will receive what we need - either in reality, or by sure confidence that what is promised in His Word will come to pass for us. Matthew Henry points out that Jesus made these promises for ‘whoever’, Jews and Gentiles, believers with planks in their eyes, the strong and faithful, and the weak and stumbling. He is a good, good Father and will not fail His children. Precious reminders to take into the day. Blessings all.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 11 January 2018

    v 8 Prayer that meets the requirements outlined in God’s Word is answered. Many times we don’t perceive the answer because it comes in the spiritual realm first before it is manifested in the physical realm. If we waver (James 1:6-7) from our confident (Hebrews 10:35) faith, then we abort the manifestation of that answer. But God did answer.

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 11 January 2018

    I do like easy to remember rules that are to benefit everyone..."Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you." ( verse 12 ) Yes, we will become vulnerable and maybe suffer but we know this is the way of Jesus; we know it takes courage to be a believer.

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 11 January 2018

    Thank you so much RACHAEL for the web address for "Grace Gems" I have been so Blessed by them!!!

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 11 January 2018

    DEREK has really been on my mine and in my prayers. The last I heard was,he was having trouble with his tablet. Let us continue to pray for him. I miss him and the hymns he posted!!!

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 11 January 2018

    https://youtu.be/yeFpDsC_p_M Teach me thy way O Lord.

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