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Matthew 7

Don’t Judge Other People
1“Don’t judge other people, or you’ll be judged yourself. 2You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the measure you use for others will be used for you.
3“Why do you look at the bit of sawdust in your friend’s eye but pay no attention to the chunk of wood in your own eye? 4How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me take the bit of sawdust out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite! First take the piece of wood out of your own eye, and then you’ll be able to see to take the bit of sawdust out of your friend’s eye.
6“Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may stomp all over them and then turn around and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.
9“Suppose your son asks for bread. Which of you would give him a stone? 10Or suppose he asks for a fish. Which of you would give him a snake? 11Even people who are bad know how to give good gifts to their children. How much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him! 12In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you. That sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Large and Small Gates
13“Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is large and the road is wide that leads to ruin. Many people go that way. 14But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life. Only a few people find it.
True and False Prophets
15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you disguised as sheep, but on the inside they’re hungry wolves. 16You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t bear bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t bear good fruit. 19Every tree that doesn’t bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
True and False Disciples
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord! Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we drive out demons? Didn’t we do many miracles?’ 23But I will tell them outright, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me—you didn’t follow God’s ways!’
Put Jesus’ Words into Practice
24“So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built a house on a rock. 25The rain came down, the water rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t fall, because it was built on a rock. 26Everyone who hears my words but doesn’t put them into practice is like a foolish person who built a house on the sand. 27The rain came down, the water rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a loud crash.”
28When Jesus had finished saying all these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. 29He taught like one who had authority, and not like their teachers of the law.
A Simple Guide for Behavior
1-5“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
6“Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.
7-11“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
12“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
Being and Doing
13-14“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
15-20“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
21-23“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
24-25“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
26-27“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
28-29When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.