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biblestudy: Matthew (Part 10)

Matthew 7:1-14
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 18-Nov-81; Sermon #BS-MA10; 77 minutes

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Let's go back to Matthew 7, beginning in verse 1:

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

These are some woefully misunderstood scriptures, not so much by us—by you and me—but they are woefully misunderstood by some. Some would take this to the extent of saying, "Well, look. It's even wrong—if we take this at face value—to call a thief a thief. It's wrong to call an evildoer an evildoer. They would take it to that extent. "Look, buddy, you're not supposed to judge me."

Well, does this mean that we can't call a spade a spade? A murderer is not a murderer? We can't judge something that clearly? Does it mean that we can't warn a friend of ours about the loose character of some individual that they may be associating with? Well, I think we know better than that. I think we understand that all of the information in regard to judging is not contained right here in Matthew 7.

I'm going to give you a little bit of background of what I feel it is necessary to understand what Jesus was driving at here. First of all, let's look at it in its overall context through Matthew 5—7. As we said at the very beginning in giving the introduction for the book of Matthew, Matthew arranged things topically; that the Sermon on the Mount is not a sermon that Jesus gave at one place, at one time, but rather is a collection of the sayings of Jesus Christ and His teachings that He did over a long period of time.

There is no doubt that many of these things were probably said in various sermons that He gave, but they were not all given at one place at one time. However, when Matthew arranged it, he did arrange it topically, and it fits right into the context.

Now, in Matthew 5—7, Jesus is laying down fundamental, foundational laws and principles regarding the conduct and behavior of those who are going to be His followers. It's very obvious in some places that He is instituting changes. He says, "You have heard it said of old time, but I say unto you"—six different times that appears in Matthew 5. "But I say unto you....But I say unto you." He's obviously instituting changes.

What we see here at the beginning of chapter 7 is another one of those changes, changes in this case in regard to judging. Also remember that this is in the context of the hypocrites. As Mr. Register was explaining last week, that word can also mean those that are hypercritical, and certainly a hypercritical person is someone who has a tendency—a very strong urge—to judge what other people are doing, to look down his nose at what they are doing.

But actually the subject is much bigger than that because it involves the conduct of government, and government within the church and understanding the principles regarding judging. In the Old Testament—under the Old Covenant—God gave laws that included penalties. Those laws and those penalties were used to govern Israel, and those penalties extended to capital punishment—the death penalty. Some laws, if they were broken, would require payment of fines. You know, the eye for an eye, or the tooth for a tooth. There was a system of equal justice. You do something that was of a certain degree of wrongdoing, you had to pay a certain degree of fine.

If Jesus was establishing a new institution, was that institution going to be governed by the same laws and the same penalties? That's really what's involved here.

Let's go back to II Corinthians. I'm just going to give you broad principles because it would take a whole sermon to go through this. But I think that II Corinthians 3 will show you the principle that that I'm aiming at here.

II Corinthians 3:3 clearly you [church members] are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone [as things were under the Old Covenant] but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

This this new way involves the human spirit and God's spirit. It involves the heart.

II Corinthians 3:4-6 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God []that is, our power to do this comes from God, and our authority, in Paul's case, comes from God, because Paul was an apostle. He had leadership and rulership over this church], who also made us [in this case, he means the ministry, and specifically the apostles] sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter [which is what is involved in Matthew 5—7, that change from the letter to the spirit of the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

As I said earlier, the application that was used by the Israelites of the law of God included the civil law that had penalties which extended even to the extent of capital punishment. So if somebody murdered, they could be put to death. If somebody stole, they could, at the very least, be fined. There were penalties.

Now notice he says, "for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life."

II Corinthians 3:7-8 But if the ministry [or, "administration"—a better English word] of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry ["administration"] of the Spirit not be more glorious?

Paul is showing those Corinthians in a particular instance that there has been a change in the administration of God's law. The law has not changed, but the administration of the law has changed. And thus in Matthew 7, Jesus was introducing one of those changes.

So, some have understood that, and in their translation of "judge not, that you be not judged," they have interpreted, and inserted the words, "condemn not, that you be not condemned." The word there, though, is diakrino in the Greek, and diakrino simply means "to judge; to thoroughly discern; to look through; to perceive; to understand and reach a decision based on that understanding." Depending on the context, it can be used either simply "to judge; to discern", or it can also mean "to condemn."

Paul was saying in II Corinthians 3, it is the duty of God's representatives now under the New Testament, under the new Covenant, not to administer death, but to administer life. We are not in the position where we—that is, the ministry—can execute those penalties of the law, including death.

Let's go to John 8. You can begin to understand this when you think of the difference between Israel and the church. Israel was God's Kingdom on earth. Israel was also a nation of this world, and so the kings of Israel had to deal with their subjects as citizens of their realm, while the church is a very loose organization of scattered individuals. It is scattered all over the world. We have no capital city. We have no specific land, nothing that we can call our own. The Bible constantly shows us that we are to consider ourselves citizens of heaven and that we are to consider ourselves strangers and foreigners in a land that is not ours. We are, in reality. It's not just a fairy tale, but in reality, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, but we also live in a foreign land. So, we can't execute their laws because they are not really our laws.

Here in John 8, we have an example where Jesus was put supposedly between a rock and a hard place. The Jews thought they had trapped Him into judging.

John 8:3-5 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

They thought they had Him, because if He said to stone her, then He was actually superseding the law of the Romans, because the Romans actually had jurisdiction over those things. If He said, "Don't stone her," then He was thumbing His nose at the Sanhedrin and at the law of the Bible. They thought they had Him.

This is, of course, the time that Jesus knelt on the ground, and He wrote things on the ground. He simply refused to answer. Instead, whatever He wrote—I do not know what it was—but whatever He wrote convicted those people, and they understood that they were just as guilty as she was. Maybe not of the same sin, but they were just as guilty. That's why He said, "Who's going to be the one to cast the first stone? Well, no man could. What Jesus is showing here was that they were not really worthy to do the judging. They would have been part of the unjust judges, just as we would be, too.

John 8:10-11 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

You'll notice He did not say that she should be executed, but neither did He condone what she did. You see, He gave her life. He administered life to her because He gave her the way out, which was to repent, you see—"go and sin no more," which was to repent.

That's the way God's ministers, through the government—through the ministry—are supposed to operate. That's the epitome of it. They certainly are able to discern—certainly able to judge in the sense of reaching a conclusion based upon evidence that this person is indeed guilty. But we do not condemn. Why? Because God is the Ruler. He will do the condemning. He is the Head of our government, and He has only given us authority to execute to a certain extent.

[Someone asked], "How does this affect us being on jury duty?" First of all, you're going to have to understand that everything here under the New Covenant operates by faith. One of the major elements of our faith is one thing that I just mentioned, that is, that our citizenship is in heaven. We are actually, as far as God is concerned, aliens in a foreign land.

Now, the government of the United States would not understand that, maybe, but you understand it, and your life is being operated by faith. Can you, in good conscience as a citizen of a foreign nation, then execute the government and the laws of a foreign land? You can't do it. You see, legally, you cannot do it. That's the way the Bible look at it. So, that's the approach.

Let's go back to I Corinthians 6. Paul says,

I Corinthians 6:1-3 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

It is so obvious there that we are to judge. It's a requirement of this life. We are being called to be judges. That's going to be part of our responsibility in the Kingdom of God. If you're going to be in a position of authority and rulership in God's government, you're going to have to judge. Your very calling revolves around this matter of judging. So, to go to the extent that some say that a Christian shouldn't be judging other people is ridiculous. It's ludicrous, on the surface of all the scriptures that show that we indeed are to judge. It's our very calling. That is so plain.

"How much more" Paul says in verse 3, "the things that pertain to this life?" So obviously we have to judge in order to be really obedient to our calling. There is an interesting illustration right in chapter 5 of I Corinthians, where this incest was being committed, where the where the son was having sexual intercourse with his mother, apparently a stepmother. But Paul heard about it, and in verse 3, he says,

I Corinthians 5:3-5 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

He says, "Put that man out of the church." Now, who did the condemning there? The person who committed the sin did the condemning.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

A warning. Now a principle of judgment follows that we have to use because people worry about judging their hearts. And, he says in verse 19,

Matthew 7:19-20 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

You see, the government of God in the church is going to make its judgments based upon what a person's life produces, what his works are. We're not going to judge his heart. But there is nothing wrong with judging what the person does. If a person's a murderer, he's a murderer. If a person is committing incest with his mother, he's committing incest with his mother. It's gross immorality, and we can certainly call a spade a spade. We're not judging his heart. We're just judging what he does. That's all. We leave the judging of the heart to God.

Let's go back to Romans 2. Actually, we would have to go through this whole chapter to really get a good picture of what Paul is dealing with here. We can just pick out a couple of verses and I think it'll be clear enough.

Romans 2:1-3 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?

I am bringing this in because it fits right in to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:4-5. He said that in order to be in a position to judge that one first has to get the beam out of his own eye before he bothers with the mote that's in his brother's eye. That's what Paul is dealing with here in Romans 2. This is God's approach to training judges. For people to be capable of judgment, they should be first overcoming their own sins. You can see this principle higher the way through Romans 2.

Romans 2:17-23 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? [It's a question. He said, "What are you doing about your own life?"] You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

You see, God's approach is, "Look, I am going to prepare you to be a judge. Therefore, in order to properly discern, one has to be overcoming his own sins." Now, that's what Jesus said. "You hypocrite. First cast out the beam out of your own eye." First of all, overcome your own problems. You could add to this Galatians 6:1-3, where he gives instructions regarding the correcting of a brother. Now, if he gives permission to correct a brother, obviously the one who is going to do the correcting has had to

[22:48] There are two kinds of judgment that God shows that He is definitely against. in the one is explained very thoroughly in Roman's the 14th chapter, which amounts to nothing more than a nit picking self righteous, looking down the nose at something that doesn't amount to a hill of beans. You see, there are always people who want the correct everything and everybody and not give that poor person an opportunity to grow up on his own. That seemed to be light in correcting and embarrassing, even, maybe almost in offending people. And God shows us what it is. It's nothing more than self righteous now. On the other hand, far more devastating and far works is the kind that Jesus was getting at in Chapter seven. And that is the condemn itiveness. Judging of a person's heart, his motivation, his intention. I'll turn with me back to Isaiah, the 11th chapter in Verse one. It says there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch. I'll grow out of his route in the spirit of the eternal shall rest upon him, obviously talking about Christ. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit off council and Mike the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord and shall make him a quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes. Neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. Now, what are you saying there is this? If we think about that, he is saying that Jesus Christ is able to look on the heart, that he is not dependent as we are on our physical sentence. We are dependent upon what we see and what we hear. And what do we do with all that information? We throw in a lot of our Felix intuition in with a lot of that. And what does it make us? You see, we are not really impartial as we should pay. And so God is proper sighing off Christ, judging bye, able to look up being able to look upon the heart. Now he mentions a couple of things very specifically that upon him rests his spirit of wisdom and understanding. That's what we as human beings, lack in light of judging a person's intention. His motivation. They're his heart. We just do not have the understanding. You see, we can judge the fruits of a person's life, his actions, and we can certainly call a spade a spade without condemning the person. Okay, let's go back to Matthew. The seventh chapter Inverse x. One more thing that another principle that's included there in those that series of verses in verse. Two Very important principle, he said. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, you know, sort of a tit for tat situation. God shows us that as we judge others, we, too, will be judged. It's a sort of a It's a tangent off the whatever you, so that you shall read principle That's in the Bible. Remember, we saw it in in the Lord's Prayer, where it says that as we forgive, we will be forgiven. So it's a major off a person's maturity when he is able to use as much proper judgment and evaluating something as he possibly can, making those judgments based upon God's word, being very careful because we are going to be judged the same way. Okay, back over six. Now he says. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs. Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you. This actually fits into the context of judgment, which was in the 1st 5 verses. Now he is not saying. I think it's obvious that that he is talking. Uh, no, no, for Ecklie, that which is holy and your pearls. Hey, means they are the truth of God. That which is very valuable to you and May, and by dogs and by swine again, metaphorically is talking about people who would be on appreciative of what was given to him. Ah, Paige could not appreciate the beauty for the cost of Penis of a piece of fine jewelry. Neither could adopt. Now what are you saying is that there are people who are just not fit to receive the truth, the light, the precious, spiritually truth that you have now that is not condemned. The DVD. It's just that something is going to happen to have toe happen to those people before they would be willing to listen. It's it's just that simple, And so, in order to know when that time would be, you have to use discerning. So what Jesus is saying is he's not saying, Don't talk about this way of life. D'You say, Be careful. That's all about you. Talk to it about it, too. I know that you've all had experiences in one way or another and talking with friends or relatives about things that you we are very excited about, enthusiastic about. Thrilled that you were coming to understand. And it's just like throwing cold water on a fire because they just do not want to hear it or they ridicule it or they ridicule you where they persecute you. Or maybe at the very least, they just shrug it off or it's nothing. So it's like trying to talk about all the intricacies of your job to a six year old child. Now you say you do not condemn the child for not understanding. He's just not equipped yet to be able to understand. And so if a person who is of your acquaintance and very close to you and yet they they just do not seem to forget it. You're beating your gums all the time. Forget about Forget about trying to educate this person along these lines, their mind just is not in the position or the condition to be able to receive it. So really, what he is saying here, metaphorically, that a person is fifth to understand, Uh, for a man can understand only what he's fit to understand, and you and I would would have been the same way. Uh, you know, years before our converted, we would have rejected it as well, so it's not said here, but it is certainly implied from the whole context that the responsibility that we have is the live what we know. And that's the very best witness that we can make to live what we know. Then, if a person begins enquiring about it, if you can tell by their demeanor by their attitude, you can certainly begin to talk to them about it. But do not ever try to force it down them. And do not be like Israel. Israel failed to live the way. Of course, they did not do God's will. Okay, Verse seven, ask and it shall be given you seek and you shall find knock and it shall be opened unto you for everyone that asked receives. And he that seeks fine him that knocks, it shall be opened. Well, what man is their view? Whom if his son asked Bread will give him a stone RV seek. Or if he ask your fish, we give him a serpent. If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts on the your Children. How much more shall your father, which is in heaven, give good things to them? That ask him. Okay, now we have another section on pair. We just had one in chapter six. Now we have another one. And Justice Shirley is chapter six in the Lord's Prayer. Didn't have all the information on prayer. Neither does this section here have all the information on prayer. So there is much more that that needs to be answered. Now, I think that we can see some very strong implications, though here things that were not included in chapter six. Number one. It very definitely shows that it is God's will. The answer. The whole thrust of what Jesus said is positive. Ask and it shall be given seek and you shall find knock. And it shall be open for everyone that ass received. And he that seeks finds, and to him that knocks. It shall be opened. That's very plying. It is God's will to answer. God will answer prayer now. It also implies God's nature. That is the God is loving and giving that he is a generous God. We'll get back to that in just a little way, Beth, that he is generous and there is no cash. Do the things that he gives now. It also says that we should be persistent. That's the implication there asked, seek no and so forth. And possibly one of the well, possibly the best example in all the Bible with this is Elijah. And certainly Elijah was a zealous man and a man who was close to God. And you would think that if there was anybody who all he had to do was say, You know, God, do this or God do that. Why, it would have been done for Elijah because fantastic miracles were worked through. Elijah. I can show you one place where he prayed for about 15 seconds and fire came down out of heaven. But you know what? There was the time that he lied. You played, prayed for rain and he prayed for rain, and he prayed for rain and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. And finally, after the seventh prayer, his servants on a little tiny clod beginning to form out on horizon. So it's a lesson in persistent persistence is not Maggie. It means that we are in Earth's about our request, and when God delays, he teaches us refining refinement of our prayers. The more you speak about it to him any more, you think about it and talk to him about it. The more your your request is going to be refined and you're going to see your request in many different concept, context is okay. It does not say when or how God will answer. It says nothing of obedience, which other scriptures supply that having having prayers answered by God requires obedience, doing the things that we know todo. He doesn't say perfect obedience. He just says, you know, that's the implication doing things we noted it. It says nothing about exercising faith. It says nothing about using the name of Jesus Christ, and it says nothing about asking. According to his will. Those things were supplied in other areas. I'll tell you. There is a beautiful principle here that I did not expound yet. I hope you'll rejoice it. Did you ever notice what he said? What man is there of you? Who, if he asked, his son will ask breath if his son last bread. We'll give him a stone. Where he asked a fish. We give him a serpent if you then being evil. You know how to give good gifts under your Children. How much more Your father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that I asked him. Now the implication is that whatever you ask God, he is going to answer it better than you asked. He's going to give you more than you request. That's beautiful. May not Tom the way you think. And it may not come when you think. But he will always give you more than you asked. This little bit from Greek mythology will help the great goddess of the dawn with a rock. That was her name. Yeah, the gods and goddesses of Greece. They were always falling in love with human beings. Well, she fell in love with a fellow by the name of death on us. This is all mythology. They Herrera, the immortal goddess, fell in love with this handsome hero, dashing young Greek lad by the name of the fun. One day she was talking to Zeus Zeus, you know, with the Father of all the gods. And he decided to give a roar again. And he says, Aurora, what would you have me give the donnas? So I'll give you anything you ask. And it did not take her long to come to an answer. She said, Grant him immortality and Zeus said down. You know what? She forgot to ask That death on ISS would always remain eternally young. And so there she Waas, the beautiful goddess Aurora, who was always young and her lover was 21 25 30 35 6565. He got old and wrinkle on all decrypted in all his beauty and everything faded. There is a lesson there. You see the Greek gods and goddesses in the Romans to were very human God and they were always playing tricks on the human beings. And so when people prayed to them, they could never accept, never confidently expect you see that the answer would not be without a barb in it somewhere. You know, God never plays you and the dirty he is love. He's the most generous being there is. And when you ask him for something, when he decides to give it to you, it's going to be far more than you ever asked for and so much better. So you can see that principle in dealing with your Children. Your Children ask you for something, and here they have all the experience, intelligence, wisdom and character of a five year old. You see, they make this simple request. And here you are. You're 35 40 years old, and you've got all this experience. You know far better how to answer that request, that they do function. Certainly you do. So there is God sitting up in heaven. He's able to see everything. And when you make what to you is a very simple, easily fulfilled request. God looks down, you dumb bell. Just the way you would look at your Children. You see, he can see the whole landscape, he can see everything and he says, Look, if I give you this gift, if it's going to impact on somebody else this way, that way and the other way, and this person over here is going to be affected. And this that and the other thing is not only that if I give it to you, if I give you this gift, I already know what kind of character you have. And if I give it to you, it's going to spoil you, silly God, give me a $1,000,000. Did you hear that about the guy today who won $5 million in the lottery and New York State already? The guy says he's going to quit his job. He's going to give his wife everything his Children, everything he says. The relatives were beginning to line up outside his door. You know what's going to happen? That money's going to go flying away, and it will not be long before he doesn't The guy was a light bald screw her in or something like that. I guess he I do not know that That's the way it was described. You know, that's why God look at us. And with his insight and wisdom in answers at just the right time, at just the right place and with more you asked for by far because he has taken care of the whole situation. You have to understand that you do not make prayers in a in a vacuum and that God is not only dealing with you, though. Maybe he has not yet called your your make or other relatives, Children, parents or whatever. Nonetheless, he has to consider them, at least in some requests that would be made not in every request. But he certainly has to consider those people just as surely as if your child makes the curtain request to you. You have to consider your other Children, do not you? Third light. And so that's the implication here. If your son asks for something good, you're going to you're going to do the best you can. And that's the way God still do the best we can. Of course, he's all powerful in Almighty and they can do an awful lot. And you do not answer far better than we would ever think that it could be done. And you'll do it at just the right time. Okay, Verse 12. Therefore, all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you. Do you? Even so, to them, for this is the law in the profits Now, this is probably the most famous thing that Jesus ever said. In just one short, he sums up man's responsibility to man. I was an interesting thing about Verse 12 that I was not aware of until I began to do a little bit of studying, believe it or not in the church 22 years, And I do not think I've ever thought of it before. You know the Greeks, the Romans, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Chinese, probably many other nationalities as well. But they are wise men. They're philosophers, came up with similar state. But there are people who look least things up. Gather these things like Solomon did. He gathered 1000 Proverbs together. But you know what? Everyone off the statements that these people make. I had something different than Jesus did. Jesus statement here stands out as unique in that it is the only statement of, like, character that is positive. Everybody else is making it. Everybody else's statement says you shall not Hey, that Jesus statement says, you shall do. It's a very positive it's Paul's. Apart from the you shall not approach, I want you to notice. At the end of that statement, he says. This is the law and the prophets that doing to others, as you would have others do to you is the law in the proper. The whole testament, he is saying, could be summed up in this one. You shall do to others as you would have others do to you. Now, when you think of Old Testament, what's the first thing you think off? What comes to your mind? Yeah, weapons, The losses. You shall not do this. You shall not. You shall not. You shall not. You shall not. So we tend to think of the law as something that prohibits now. Jesus! When he looked at the law, he did not look at it negatively. He looked at it positively. He says you shall do not. You shall not do, He said, You shall do. I'll tell you this is so important because this is what Mr Armstrong was so angry about at the beginning of that tape. You know that tape about Philippians? He was not all that angry about the women wearing makeup. What he was angry about was what he could read in their letters, depressed and terribly. That's why he was saying all the way through there all the way through that Bible. He that Bible study, he was saying, You know, I feel this way. I wonder if my ministry has done any good at all. He is saying, Are you people getting it? That's what he was saying. Now when you think of the word Farris e, do not you think of somebody who was walking around stiffly and firmly afraid to do anything here? Jesus said at the very beginning of this chapter. 56 and seven, He says, Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not in any wise being the kingdom of God. Redwood, the scribes and Pharisees were keeping the law probably as good or better than you and me. They did not get their idea of righteousness. Waas not do Jesus. Idea of righteousness wants to do something. Do you see the difference? Jesus Idea of righteousness was to do good. The idea of the Paris sees no one wants to refrain from Abel. Those two things were pulled apart. And even though the one will produce a certain amount of righteousness, that is the Farrah SAIC approach, which was not do or to refrain from doing the kind of character that God wants will be best produced by those people who are doing good. Do you realize that this is the answer to the sin question? People always wondering how to overcome since do it. You overcome sin by doing good. And if your every thought is to do good, you do not have any time for sand. Now, you see what these ladies were writing in the Mr Armstrong was the fair saic. Thank you. They were not thinking. How can I do good to God? How can I love him? How can I obey? You see, they were trying to draw lines all over the place. That's what got Mr Armstrong so upset said they are not giving it our attitude on whole approach off today. What can I do? Not what shouldn't I? D'oh! That's really not so difficult to grasp. But I hope you can. I hope I can find the words somehow to get that across to you because that's what Jesus says. This is the law in the process. It's not what I can't do. It's what I can do. God set you free from the death penalty so that you can do something, and as long as you're in prison by your indebtedness for the law, you're not free. I do. So he sets you free so that you can boot Hey, not refrain. You can do big difference there. I'll tell you. It is much, much harder. Do something than it is to refrain from doing so. That's why better characters built. That's why there is more righteousness that way. It's much more different, difficult to sacrifice yourself and served. Then it is simply that just refrain from doing It's my family. Difficult to give up your time to give up your energy, to do things along that line that it is to simply stop work to keep this out. You see, the law is stated in the way that it is in that it only provides the foundation. It's the beginning, right? It describes that or defines it in simple terms, but that love of God is out flowing concern that motivates the good works. You know what I say here? That that let me go back to something, I just pick something up from a note here. Did you ever stop to think that to refrain from doing something does not necessarily involved religious beliefs. There are, you know, who knows how many atheists who professed. No, believe it all in God who would not kill you see, they can restrain them so they can refrain themselves from not murder, Lee. They can refrain or restrain themselves from not stealing. Maybe they can do it to keep themselves from light for committing adultery. But you can see just by that simple statement, but it doesn't involve religious belief. No, doesn't have to that to do good does involve acting upon religious beliefs. That is the commands of a God. You can, if you approach it the way the Farris she's did, or the way it's possible for the atheist two DUIs. You have a system of life that is simply legalistic. It was not really involved. Belief in God. Doesn't God say that faith without works is it? It's no faith at all. That's why I can confidently say that simply to refrain from doing something does not involve religion at all. You all you all you have, there is simply a legal system that to do good that requires something that is impelling you, driving you motivating you to go out of your way to be kind, to be gentle, to be courteous, to be forgiving, to give comfort, to give encouragement, to sacrifice for some other person's wellbeing. The sacrifice for somebody that you do not even like. I'll tell you there has to be an entirely different attitude driving that kind of a person. You see that in vantage, deep seated conviction be leaps, hopefully that deep seated convictions and beliefs that are the same as the true gods. Maybe this simple analogy will help you to understand the law of the land. The state of South Carolina says that we must drive our automobiles without endangering or injury, either. Other drivers were cadets. Okay, now that's what the law says, and so I can refrain from injuring other people by the way in which I drive my car. But you see no law can't compel me to pick up some weary, foot sore traveler who's walking along the side of the road. That might cause me a considerable amount of sacrifice if I stop and help this, who might maybe is not a water hiker or whatever, but maybe his car has broken down beside the road and He's got a flat tire or maybe his engine conked out and he's sitting there with a bunch of kids and it's 20 degrees above zero. You see no lock and compel you to do that. The law only says Don't exceed the speed limit. Don't go through red lights, Don't you see? Drive on the left hand side of the road? You see, it's an act of concern for the person who was stranded that the lot is not covered. That's the difference. The 10 Commandments only say, Don't murder. Don't steal that What they are implying from what Jesus statements here is, Do good. See, that is the lot in the profits. That's what Mr Armstrong wants us to catch. Our whole motivation ought to be. Let that bird I love men sequel to ourselves and you see love is outgoing. Concern lot is doing good for them, you know. That's why Jesus, you never caught him going around drawing lines all over the place because all he was thinking of doing was good. Okay, let's go on Diverse 13 and 14. Incidentally, if you go about doing good, it's going to make your life infinitely. Were difficult and more complicated if you have a life filled with sacrifices. But I'll tell you this you have a light to that will be infinitely more fulfilling and rewarding. I guarantee it would be It will be filled with peace with happiness. Your life will be overflowing with a bunch. It's the secret to stability the sound mind in this all the good things that men are searching for. An escape from all of this. It is so simple in principle. Okay, 1st 13 enter you in at the straight gate for right is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. And many there be, which go in thereat because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leads in the light and few there be that find it now. Unfortunately, the way the King James has things here. My my Bible has a paragraph mark at the beginning of verse 13 which indicates a new thought. What is a new thought? That it is also connected to what preceded it? Because executing the law of God, which is out flowing concern and love toward others, which is going to involve sacrifices involving the setting of the will in order to do good also involved the principal that he is talking about in chapter in verses 13 and 14. So that is Jesus saying here he's saying to you, Do you and me very simply Look, life is filled with choices. You have the choice of doing even. You have the choice up meeting the minimum requirements of refraining or you have the choice. I'm doing good. We have many, many choices. Every day they are confronting, it's all over the place from the time you get up in the morning. At the time you go to bed at night. There are an infinite variety of choices, and many of them involved spiritual, moral and ethical principal. Well, those are the ones that God is really concerned about. Now, this is not a new principal at all. We go back to do Deuteronomy 30. I'm not going to go there back in Deuteronomy, the 30th chapter. It's very plain and clear. Those are set that I actually got set through Moses that I set before you this day life on one hand and death on the other. And then he said, Therefore, choose life, we have that choice Joshua when he was about to die and his farewell address is given there in In Joshua the 24th chapter, he told those people that they were going to be confronted with choices. That's the place where he made that statement that as for me, in my house, we have we have decided to serve the Lord. But those people, of course, we know from the book of judges really went down the tubes. So every man was doing what was right in his own eyes. We can go to the Book of Ill Say, The book of the Lygia That's in right involves Bible, By the way, that well, we could go to Elijah there in first King 17 18 and 19. Many, like you said, I long, how'd you between two opinions? If God be God, choose him and they will be God choose in that he said, Buddy, get off the fence, you better do something. And so you know we could We could probably go through every I know. Jeremiah said virtually the same thing. Uh, I think it's in Chapter four real positive about that. But he said virtually the same thing, having the prophet said that now here is Jesus, who's also a profit? And he's saying the same thing, saying Look, you're confronted with an infinite variety of choices and those choices were going to determine the outcome of your life. Okay, now Jesus expounded upon it a little bit more, though. Let's look at what he's saying. You're least in principle, he says. Enter you at the straight gate. That's actually a command. If we are going to going to apply verse 12 to do unto others, as we would have others do unto you, we are going to be always confronted with a choice between an easy way in a difficult way. One way is going to require humility and sacrifice, and the other way, other way may not require that at all. It may be very easy by comparison. So one of the things he is undoubtedly saying here is Look, the Kingdom of God is off in the future, and we are going to enter it by means of a resurrection. We have been called to just we have been called to be kings and priests. We're going to be educating people. We need to get prepared for that. There is a great goal out there that we are supposed to be striving for. And when we get in that kingdom, we are going to be great. And I mean great, far beyond the greatest king who has ever been on the face of this Earth. But what you're saying is this that the road to greatness is never easy. The enter in at the straight gate straight means difficult. And he is saying here that if you're going to be in the Kingdom of God, it's going to be difficult to be there that you and I might look it at somebody performing on a stage and television, something like that, whether they are playing a piano, whether they are doing all kinds of figures on skates, whether they are doing a ballet dance, whether they are an athlete, putting a basketball hoop or whatever. And we may admire the skill and the ease which with these people seem to accomplish and bring forth something that is very beautiful. But yet we know, you know, deep down we know that that person paid an awesome price to achieve what seems to be so easy for them. But there were many, many hours of practice and failure that went into producing that skill years and years of skills. We're working or refining the skill until they finally get to that place where they are able to accomplish this thing That seems so easy. I can remember reading once about Edmund Burke. I do not know whether you know who Edmund Burke is that he was a English politician who was living about the time that the United States, the colonies, were breaking away from England. And he was one of the very few Englishmen there was on our side. And he argues I shouldn't say very effectively because almost everybody was against it in Pilot. But nonetheless, he argued for the freedom of the common. And sometimes if you could ever get a collection, his speeches, they are some of the most moving speeches on liberty that you will ever right. I mean, ever read? Not right, he wrote, but any rate. Edmund Burke's brother. It was also a politician, and one day after listening to his brother arguing some side of a case in parliament, he said that he used to wonder how it waas. The Edmonds managed to monopolize all the talent in their family, and they said then he began to realize. But when they were boys, when everybody else is playing Edmund was working. Edmund was studying. Edmund was reading. Edmund was developing his mind. And so by the time he became often is forties and fifties, he was prepared to take on the job. He never was very effective, even though a brilliant speechwriters because he was going against the grain, but nonetheless a very talented individuals. Okay, I hope you get the principal there because it takes hard work. And what Jesus is saying that we are going to have to make a difficult choice. No, he is also saying there, even though it is, it is implied. But it's encompassed within the context. He is saying Not only will it be difficult and require a lot of hard work also, the way is long. Now we are generally very impatient. And yet, when we stopped to think about again, I'm going to use great works of art. As an example, we know that most great works of worth are not a flash in the pan. Once in a while, somebody will produce something that comes very quickly. But even when it comes very quickly, there has usually been a long, arduous road that led up to that. For example, when George Frederick can't handle wrote The Messiah, he did it in a very short period of time, a tremendous, masterful piece of music. But Handle had been writing music for some 30 years before he wrote in the file before, And then he batted that thing. Often. It was about the last great thing he ever did, even though he had been the author of Quite a bit Very Moving and Inspiring Music. Who knows how long it takes an artist to produce them? You probably read stories, you know, most really good artists are hardly ever satisfied with what they finally produced because they can see the Clausen. Maybe you and I, with our untrained eyes maybe not, may not be able to see most of us when we were in high school. Probably had the read Gray's elegy and in a church courtyard. And he can anybody remember reading that there is a couple back there? It's not a long poem. You know how long it took great to write that eighth years he was never one was finally published. He still did not like, but He wrote that way back between 18 42 in 18 50 it survived the day. Beautiful poetry, but it's looking eight years from the time he started it, he kept writing it, rewriting it, inserting words, taking out phrases, putting in new phrases and on and on and on. Until finally, I guess it was probably almost against his best wishes. Never. But all I'm getting at here is that we better be prepared for the long haul. I'm saying these things because it has a great deal to do with our decision. He's talking about here about the decisions that we are going to be making. So I think that we can reach to conclusions here. The choice that we make is between either an undisciplined way for a disciplined way. No, look at it this way. Many of us get flashes of insight. Were vision, visions of things that we would like to accomplish. We call them dreams. They drink. Your wife calls the nightmares. There he goes again. Now he's going to do this. He's got this big idea. He's going to accomplish great things like Okay, we we have We get these visions of these things that we would like to accomplish how many of us actually carry them out. You know why we do not carry them up? Because most of the time, that's all they are. They're a daydream, and we do not discipline ourselves to bring them the past. That's what Jesus talking about here. The difficult way is the discipline yourself, the bring your dreams, the past. Now, in addition to that. But I had a second conclusion here. That is, we have the choice between the fact awful way for the thought, less way, the factual way or the fat less way give you an illustration. This happened yesterday. I went to see a man down in Augusta. There was in the Veterans Administration Hospital that was on the first floor. I stepped into the elevator and there was a young lady already in it and also a man wearing a smoke of some kind. So I took it and he worked there at the hospital. Well, was not long. The doors were still open. Wasn't long before some guy came along, got cellar with a beard, came along reading a newspaper. He stepped inside the elevator and turned around. His head was still buried in the newspaper, out on the Harley, find his way reading. But he did. And then before the doors closed, two other fellas came along and they were very earnestly involved in a conversation. They knew this fella in the smocks and began to involve him in the conversation as well. Bang, The doors went shut. About 15 seconds later, the doors will not open. The guy with the newspaper walked right. I've been a new favorite walk right off. And these two fellas that were in conversation rock right, too. You know what? The elevator had never moved way. Never saw the guy with with the newspaper again. I think I think he was just too embarrassed to come back with. The other two fellas did come back and they made some joke about that. They got caught up in a time warp somehow, and they were the same spot the same time, but a different day. Okay, I just wonder if if some of us do not conduct our lives is that we are reading newspapers, our mind is on something else. Are we so deeply involved? You see, in the things of this life that we would also thoughtlessly step out of an elevator that had never even moved. You see, to keep the kingdom of God in mind requires stop, and it requires discipline. Turn with me back to Hebrews. The 11th chapter I look at Look at this example of Moses in Verse 24 he says, by Faith Moses, when he was come two years refused to be called the Sun. Are Faeroes daughter choosing he made a chart Here was a man, according to Josephus, was in line to be the next favor. He was a man who was a general of the Army. He had represented Egypt in their wars and apparently had come back with victories and a great deal of booty. That's why you saw in that movie on the 10 Commandments that they showed Moses. You know what, the head of his army bringing back all these slaves and all the booty and everything that had been collected in their warfare here was a man who had the most powerful nation on the face of the earth at that time was just within his grasp. His fingertips were just about ready to reach out. Now you had a choice to make, but he choose the way we are going to require a basement? Humility, discipline, sacrifice, service, hardship. Is he going to do that? Or would he have the life of these on Broadway? The easy way away where he would be receiving AJ elation and maybe even the worship people says he chose rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God and to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a seat, a steaming Hey, that about it was not a decision that was just a flash in the pan thing be esteemed. He thought about the future. He thought about the Kingdom of God s steaming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. You know, that's what Jesus is driving at back here in Matthew seventh versus 13 and 14 that the way to the Kingdom of God is not the easy way. The way of love involves sacrifice and hardship the way up, doing the law the way Jesus proceeded as being one of outgoing concerns, not just refraining from doing law wrongdoing that's expected of anybody. That's the basic requirement. Everybody is required to do that. That of doing acts of love. You see, that's the difficult way, the hard way, the straight and the narrow way. And so every choice really has two aspects that we can see there from in Hebrews 11. Put together with this that is the present and the future. Are you going to think it through and have record respect under the recompense of the reward, The Kingdom of God thoughtfully discipline yourself to go the way that may be more difficult, but in the end is going to be right. And so I think we can conclude by saying, But the only way to get our values straight just always see things in right off the end, my very own matters. So we have to look at things not in the life of the present, that actually in the light of eternity.

JWR/aws/

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