Some Things Christians Cannot Do

Text: Matthew 5:14

There are many things that Christians should not do. But the Bible also teaches that there are some things that Christians cannot do. As we consider these, keep in mind that Jesus said these are things we cannot do, so do not think that you might be the exception to the rule (cf. Romans 3:4).

We Cannot Be Hidden (Matthew 5:14)

  • We are “the light of the world” – light dispels darkness
  • We sit as “a city set on a hill” – can be seen from a great distance
  • We are called to be different (Romans 12:2) – to be Christians means to be Christ-like; if we are Christ-like, we will not fit in (John 15:18-21)
  • Because we are different, people will notice our good works (Matthew 5:16) – they will also notice our failings (1 Peter 2:12)
  • We cannot hide – so live in such a way that people will notice a difference (1 Peter 4:3-4)

We Cannot Change Those Things Which Are Out of Our Control (Matthew 5:36; 6:27)

  • We cannot “make one hair white or black” or “add a single hour to [our] life” – many things are simply out of our control
  • Do not make an oath (Matthew 5:33-37) – Why? … you cannot guarantee the promise
  • Do not make plans without saying “if the Lord wills” (James 4:13-16) – we could be forced to change plans
  • We cannot change things out of our control – so do not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34); God has promised to take care of us (Matthew 6:26, 30-33)

We Cannot Serve Two Masters (Matthew 6:24)

  • This verse is specifically talking about wealth – but the principle extends beyond that
  • God is a “jealous God” (Exodus 20:5) – He expects/demands complete devotion/allegiance (Galatians 1:10)
  • Some divide their loyalty – claim allegiance to Christ, but are loyal to another (1 Corinthians 1:12)
  • For a while, divided loyalties may not be evident – becomes so when conflict arises (Matthew 10:34-37; Galatians 2:11-14)
  • We cannot serve two masters – so serve God wholeheartedly

We Cannot Produce Different Fruit (Matthew 7:18)

  • Good trees produce good fruit, bad trees produce bad fruit – they cannot do otherwise
  • Context is referring to false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20) – start with good seed, it will yield good fruit (Luke 8:11, 15); start with bad seed, it will yield bad fruit
  • If we want to produce Christians, we must preach the gospel (Romans 1:16)
  • If we want to produce growth among God’s people, we must teach the word (Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 2:2)
  • We cannot produce different fruit – so we must hold to the right standard (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


  • It would be nice if this list included “we cannot sin” or “we cannot be lost” – but that is not what the Bible teaches (Hebrews 3:12-13)
  • We cannot be hidden – so show yourself to be an example to others
  • We cannot change things out of our control – so do not worry; focus on serving God first
  • We cannot serve two masters – so be completely devoted to serving Christ
  • We cannot produce different fruit – so obey the word of God from the heart

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