Sermon Notes: Matthew 7:1-12

2 Ways to Love Well 

Jesus has been teaching us the way of his kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount. The Lord has been clear that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees we won’t inherit the kingdom of God. 

Jesus, God in the flesh, has lived, died in our place for our sin, was buried, rose, and ascended to the Father. He has perfectly fulfilled the law and all that has been written in the Old Testament. Salvation has come for all who will believe!

When we trust in Jesus, we get all of God’s righteousness and are counted as having kept the law while Jesus takes all our guilt. That’s fantastic news!

Jesus said he came to fulfill what was written in the Scriptures NOT give us a new spin on how to earn God’s favor, which is what the Scribes and Pharisees were attempting to do. 

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ concentrated teaching on how to live now as the people of God whose sins have been paid for and who now strive to act like the people of God as we invite all nations to come to Jesus and have life. 

As we move through Jesus’ sermon, today’s part is going to teach us two loving actions Jesus finds necessary to help us live as his people on mission.

  1. Judge properly. 
  2. Treat people how they need to be treated. 

Why these two things? Jesus ends verse 12 with these amazing words: “…for this is the law and the prophets.” Judging properly and treating people right are what Jesus said sums up the whole Old Testament. 

Romans 13:8 and Galatians 5:14 tells us that love is a fulfillment of the law. 

So, these two actions must be actions of love, and Jesus wants his people to be people who love well. 

How can we love well as the people of God?

  1. We should judge properly. V. 1-6
    1. I believe it is vital to rescue Jesus’ words here from pop-theology and pop-Christian vernacular by stating explicitly that Jesus never said that his people should never evaluate things and parse out superior things from inferior things and right things from wrong things. 
    2. That’s called judging.
      1. One might conclude from pop pseudo-culture that Christians are to be non-discerning accepters of all things as equal and good and right regardless of what the Bible says or what consequences may be for something. 
      2. You might hear these words, ‘Jesus said, “don’t judge.”’
        1. Well, Jesus never said that, and Jesus never meant what people attribute to him as meaning. 
      3. To judge accurately might in fact be the most loving thing you ever do regardless of how a person or society interprets it or receives it. 
        1. Our first audience in worship and in living is God!
    3. Jesus can’t mean that we are never to judge. Why?
      1. He says in verse 6 to be cautious about who we share what with because some are dogs and pigs and will instinctually try to use your words against you.
        1. So, we must judge whether we are dealing with dogs and pigs (people who act with an animal instinct, not human reason), or good sheep.
          1. Perhaps the best example of the need to learn this discernment is in Proverbs 24:5-6.
            1. Proverbs 26:4-5 (CSB) 4 Don’t answer a fool according to his foolishness or you’ll be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his foolishness or he’ll become wise in his own eyes.
              1. This is a paradox. 
              2. Answer or don’t answer? Which one?
                1. It depends on the fool’s ability to stop being a fool. 
                2. You can only learn that by experience and growing in wisdom. 
                3. You only learn wisdom by judging from experience the difference between fools, pigs and dogs and a humble sheep’s heart. 
      2. Jesus also says in verse 15 to watch out for false prophets.
        1. We can’t know someone is a false prophet unless we judge them appropriately to determine if they are liars, deceived and deceiving, or truth-tellers. 
    4. So, Jesus does not say or mean we should never judge.
      1. The question is, how should I judge things properly?
      2. Perhaps our problem is with the word “judge”.
        1. I’d simply say that Jesus’ choice of words is not the problem. 
        2. The problem is letting pop-culture and pop-theology (ran by a world system) define words we find in the Bible with definitions that don’t match Jesus’ intent. 
        3. Jesus is clear.
          1. Judge – to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing; to form an estimate or evaluation of. – Webster’s Dictionary 
        4. Jesus is telling us to judge things properly according to his standard of what is good, better, best AND what is right or wrong. 
      3. How do we judge appropriately and thus show love?
        1. Believe that the standard of judgment we use will be applied to us. V. 2
          1. We will never stand before God to be held accountable for the penalty of sin. Jesus has taken that for us. 
          2. We will stand before Jesus for reward (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).
            1. My standard of judgment will be how the Lord deals with me. 
            2. In our judgment, it is important to apply patience and mercy that has an end that matches God’s end. 
              1. This is where we need to know the difference between issues of good, better, and best AND right and wrong. 
              2. God is merciful and patient. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, AND he also visits consequences on those who hate him and reject him. (Exodus 20:5-6; Exodus 34:6-7)
              3. This is how we are to function.
                1. Both / and NOT either / or. 
          3. This truth should bring a holy caution to our reading of the Bible and our application to one another NOT by causing us to NOT deal with sin but in causing us to be patient and kind with each other even on issues of right and wrong. 
            1. For good, better and best issues, we can agree to disagree and be in fellowship and in many cases just not even open our mouths.
              1. This is the better tact if you are wise. 
            2. For right and wrong issues, there is a process Jesus gave us for handling such cases in Matthew 18, and we walk that out, but by all means we are to judge ourselves so that we walk it out in patience.
        2. Believe that we have a responsibility to apply right judgment. V. 5
          1. Jesus is clear that those who have the same issue and call out folks witht the same issue are hypocrites. 
          2. But when we are walking in holiness and overcoming sin, we should help friends and family when they are being overcome by sin, and not let sin win. 
        3. Strive for holiness so that we can help others strive for holiness. V. 3-4 
          1. The standard is not perfection for one to judge sin. 
          2. The standard is that we are fighting sin so we can actually see sin for what it is and thus be able to help others.
            1. Romans 8:12-17
        4. Be discerning on who we engage and how we do it. V. 6
          1. Here, the Lord gives us some wisdom: Not everyone will be willing to receive correction or wisdom.
            1. Proverbs calls some people, “fools”.
              1. Jesus does not contradict Proverbs earlier in the SOM. He is speaking about calling people demeaning names stemming from a murder in the heart NOT accurately discerning a fool from someone wise. 
            2. Sin has so distorted humans that some would rather wreck themselves and those around them than take correction or counsel, and will turn on their friends and family when they provide good help. 
            3. Therefore, we judge properly when we can wisely evaluate who is foolish and who is humble.
              1. This is an act of love.
                1. Love for God, love for sinner, and love for the victim of sin. 
  1. Treat others the way they need to be treated. V. 7-12
    1. Jesus teaches us how to treat each other with a lesson about prayer.
      1. We get two amazing lessons from the Lord here. 
    2. We learn to treat each other the way the other person needs to be treated through our interaction with God in prayer.
      1. We know this because verse 12 sums up the lesson by making the application of us treating others the way God treats us.
        1. God does for us what we need. So, do that to others. 
      2. So, through interaction with God in prayer, we learn to treat each others with love.
        1. We learn from God’s relating to us how to relate to others. 
          1. If we lack of knowing how to love others God’s way, could it be from our not walking in relationship with God in prayer and only seeing Jesus as our escape from hell?
    3. God gives us what we need as we ask for it because we need it.
      1. God cares to meet our needs because we need it and because he loves us.
    4. Thus we are to treat people according to how they need to be treated according to their need.
      1. God is a good Father, and he knows what we need before we ask (Mt. 6:8).
        1. God has wired his world in such a way that he provides what we need through the means of us asking, seeking, and knocking in prayer. 
        2. What do we learn here?
          1. God is good in his love. 
          2. Humans have needs and know what they need distinguished from what they want. 
          3. God loves us and knows our needs and will give them to us because we need them and we ask him as we live life on mission with him.
          4. God has wired the world to work in such a way that he gives us what we need through persistent prayer.
            1. Asking
            2. Seeking
            3. Knocking
          5. So, if God is good to give us what we need in prayer, we, being sons and daughters of God, ought to do for others like God does for us. 
            1. What does this mean?
              1. It means that we each have unique ways of needing to be related to, to be loved and have needs provided.
              2. Like God knows us and what we need and gives that to us, we are to know what each other needs, and in love, we are to treat them in a manner that aligns with their needs.
                1. There are clear exceptions like when a person is not well and confuses needs with other things in which case we should know them well enough to help them discover the difference and help them get well if they are willing. 
                2. Or when a person is abusing and taking advantage through manipulation.
                  1. You could make a long list here, and I suppose you can do that on your own or together in your RL group. 
                  2. But don’t miss the point that we are to treat each other like the other needs to be treated when all things are proper and in order. 
                3. The point is that there should be relationships with each other in such a healthy way that we know how to love each other well in treating each other exactly how we need to be treated.
                  1. Some people excel in pushing others away and making it impossible for others to know their needs, and the Proverbs would call them fools. 
    5. We should live in such a way that others desire to be around us and want to know us like this.
    6. We should strive to get out of the comfort of self to the place where we can know each other well enough to treat each other the way each other needs to be treated.
      1. This is distinctly Christian. 
      2. This is relationally hard work. This will take time
      3. This is required as it sums up the law: Judge properly. Treat the other the way they need to be treated. 


Ghandi said of the Sermon on the Mount, “…so much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of Sermon on the Mount.”

What we can’t do is read Jesus’ clear words and somehow explain them away. We have to do our very best to overcome our tendency to overcomplicate things and simply hear and obey. 

Matthew 7:1-12 is appliction. To add some other points of application might actually distract us from the two points of application Jesus gave us for surpassing the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. So, I’m not going to give any more. 

Let’s pray together, and let’s worship together, and let’s go and obey together. 

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