A Just Life

Text: Matthew 7:1-12

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave instructions for the life of a disciple. In our text, He described the life of a disciple as a just life. The word means to be fair. But as we will see, this does not mean that we treat everyone the same. That may sound surprising to some, but let us examine the passage to see what Jesus meant.

Do Not Judge Hypocritically (Matthew 7:1-5)

  • It is important to note that Jesus did not say we are not to judge – many claim this; yet Jesus said elsewhere we must “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24)
  • Warning – if we judge others unfairly, God will hold us accountable for that (Matthew 7:1-2; 6:14-15)
  • Important that we understand the scenario that Jesus gave (Matthew 7:3-5) – speck/log means our brother has a problem, but we have a larger problem; we cannot help our brother as long as the log is in our own eye; we must first address our own shortcomings, then we can (and should) help our brother effectively
  • Applying this to ourselves – first examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5); do not be content in sin (Romans 12:9); then we can help others correct their sin (Galatians 6:1-2); not to ignore their sin when we could help (Jude 23); must also be sure we are using the right standard of “judgment” (John 7:24)

Do Not Give What is Holy to Dogs (Matthew 7:6)

  • We need to understand the meaning of this proverb before we can apply it – dogs/swine were both viewed negatively; symbolic for people who trample over the truth and viciously attack those who teach it; that which is “holy” is the teaching/correction/help we might give others (Matthew 7:5)
  • Applying Jesus’ proverb – we cannot treat everyone the same but must exercise good judgment to be just; not everyone will respond positively to our help (Galatians 4:16); a time may come when we have to shake the dust off of our feet and move on (Matthew 10:14); failing to do this deprives others (who could be receptive) of the help that we could provide; we have responsibilities and priorities that God has given us (cf. Matthew 15:26) and we cannot neglect these

God Shows Kindness to Us (Matthew 7:7-11)

  • In treating others justly, we are also to do so with mercy – because of how God treats us (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • We can ask, seek, and knock and we will receive, find, and it will be opened to us (Matthew 7:7-8) – does not mean that God gives us everything we want, but He provides what we need (Matthew 6:8, 32-33)
  • Jesus cites a parent’s care of his child as proof that we can trust in God (Matthew 7:10-11) – if children can trust their parents, how much more can we trust God; He is perfect (Matthew 5:48)
  • This passage is often used in reference to prayer – application can be made, but this goes beyond that
  • In context, Jesus is talking about the way into the kingdom / eternal life (Matthew 6:33; 7:13-14) – His point is that the way of salvation is available to everyone (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16); but one must ask (Acts 2:37), seek (Acts 17:11), and knock (1 Peter 3:21) to enter

Practice the “Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12)

  • This verse is commonly referred to as the “golden rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you; nobody likes to be treated unfairly; put yourself in their shoes
  • Put others first (Philippians 2:3-4) – just as Christ did for us (Philippians 2:5)
  • But if we do not treat others that way, we should not expect Him to save us (Matthew 7:1-2; Romans 1:31-32)

Conclusion

  • We are to live a just life as a disciple – treat others according to the Lord’s standard
  • Do not go beyond of fall short of it – this impacts others and also affects our standing before God

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