Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This week Pastor Greg covers Matthew 7:7-20. Jesus again promises us our God is a Good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children. He urges us to engage in 24-7 communication with God in prayer. He again reminds us to treat others as we want to be treated, a running theme in His Sermon on the Mount. He urges us to travel life on the narrow path that leads to eternal life and to avoid the path of destruction that leads to hell. Finally, He cautions us to watch out for false prophets, whom He also refers to as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” He draws an analogy between people and fruit trees. Bad trees bear bad fruit. Good trees bear good fruit. We can recognize people by their “fruits” and know what kind of person they really are.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:2
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~ Matthew 7:7-11
Is Jesus promising us that God will give us everything and anything we ask for as long as we just have enough faith? A billion dollars? Turn the sky green and the grass blue? He’s specifically talking about “daily bread” kinds of things again isn’t He? He’s not talking about anything and everything you could ever want or ask for. Jesus isn’t talking about luxury things here. He’s talking about fish and bread! The two most basic, most common foods of the culture He is speaking to. Also, it has to be a “good gift” – not as determined by the child, but by the Good Father.
In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12
One of [the Pharisees), a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22:35-40
Love God and love other people the way you want to be loved. Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Forgive others as you want to be forgiven. Judge the way you would want to be judged. When necessary, rebuke and correct the way you would want to be rebuked and corrected. Love, forgive, give second chances, show grace the way you want to receive all these things yourself. This has been the recurring theme throughout the Sermon on the Mount, starting with the beatitudes. Unfortunately, that’s not how most people are.
Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it! ~ Matthew 7:13-14
ὀλίγος – oligos (GREEK)
few, little, small, slight, little, puny.
Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? ~ Matthew 7:15-16
In the SAME WAY, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. ~ Matthew 7:17-20
ALL people produce spiritual fruit. If they are producing bad fruit, they are a bad person, no matter how they have disguised themselves otherwise or who they claim to be. Bad trees that produce bad fruit, Jesus says, will eventually suffer the judgment of God. They will be cut down and thrown into the fire. We get what He is describing there yeah? The road that leads to destruction, to hell, to eternal separation from God.
If your life came to an end today, would the actual fruit of your life match the claim of your life and would you feel happy or sad about the quality and quantity of that harvest?