Read Matthew 7
Jesus continues teaching the basic principles of how Christians conduct themselves (Matt. 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).
Jesus warned: Beware of false prophets . . . in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15). Without a doubt, eternal life is a free gift from God — not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:9). But, it is also true that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Teaching is false when it offers eternal life without discipleship as a qualification for attaining heaven. To clarify one difference between true prophets and false prophets, our Lord said: 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). However, the evidence of being a true Christian is not proved by doing great things; it is being obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord spoke a parable: Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken (compare) him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock . . . and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened (compared) unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand . . . and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (7:24-27).
Obedience is twofold: First, one heareth these sayings of Mine, and then one acts on these sayings of Mine. The wise and the foolish are both giving much thought and labor to their activities — one to laying up treasures in heaven, but the other to achieving human goals. When our desire is to please Christ, His Word will be the supreme rule of life and will lead us to avoid the snares of the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. . . . He that doeth the will of God abideth forever (I John 2:16-17). Through His Word alone, guided by the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to live each day doing the will of God.
It is impossible to relive wasted years, but it is always possible to turn from sinking sand to build upon the eternal rock. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation . . . Every man's work shall be made manifest (known) . . . because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try (test) every man's work of what sort it is (I Cor. 3:11-13).
Thought for Today:
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy (Ps. 33:18).
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 hermit; 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: Chile (15 million) on the southwestern coast of South America • Major language: Spanish • Religious freedom • 73% Catholic; 20% Protestant; 1% Other; 6% None • Prayer Suggestion: All men need to pray to the Lord, who hears prayers (Ps. 65:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:10