Highlights In Today's Reading:
Jesus continues teaching the basic principles of how Christians conduct themselves (chap. 7). Don't miss The Golden Rule and the narrow gate (7:12-14). Jesus emphasizes the power of faith (chap. 8 — 9). Like sheep, people need a shepherd. The harvest is great, the labourers are few (9:36-38).
The majority of Jews in Jesus' day mistakenly presumed that they were the chosen of God simply because they were descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, and were included in his Covenant through circumcision (Gen. 12 and 15). They ignored their responsibility to obey the Word of God as their obligation of the Covenant. This led to a false sense of security.
It must have been a shock for them to hear the Lord say: 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: Because . . . narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:13-14). The Lord made it clear that there are only two choices. The majority of people choose the broad way, the path of self-will and self-gratification (me-first). It is wide because there is no self-denial. God has said: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). Popular false prophets throughout history were broad-minded, neglecting surrender, self-denial, repentance, or obedience to Christ and His Word. True biblical teaching is as unpopular in "Christendom" in our day as it was then.
The Lord's message is clear: Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven (Matt. 7:21). To enter . . . in at the strait gate in order to be on the path that leads to eternal life is more than joining a church and being baptized, as good as these acts are. The true followers of Christ are not perfect, but they do follow Christ as Lord and Master. It is with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (Rom. 10:10). This means: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:15-16).
If ye live after (by impulse of) the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the (sinful) deeds of the body, ye shall live (forever) (Rom. 8:13).
Thought for Today:
Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His Commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight (I John 3:22).
7:2 ye mete =you measure out, give; 7:3 mote =tiny, insignificant speck; beam =such as judgmental unloving self-righteousness, pretending to have a character one does not possess; 7:6 rend =to tear apart; 8:31 suffer =permit; 9:9 receipt of custom =tax collector's office; 9:10 sat at meat =sat down to a meal; 9:36 fainted =distressed by the burden of the rituals and rules of the scribes and Pharisees; scattered =thrown down, confused, deceived, neglected by the self-righteous leaders who were more concerned about keeping their own position than helping others.
For Matt. 7:23: See Ps. 6:8. Matt. 8:4: See Lev. 14:1-32. Matt. 8:17: See Is. 53:4. Matt. 9:13: See Hos. 6:6.
Pray for Government Officials: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA), Rep. David Obey (WI), Gov. Bob Riley (AL), and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA) • Country: Estonia (1.47 million) northeastern Europe • Major languages: Estonian and Russian • Religious freedom • 38.4% Protestant; 20.3% Orthodox; 1% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim; .3% Jewish; 39% non-Religious/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that God delights in your joy (Ps. 43:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:4