46. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. -Matthew 6:33 Context: Matthew 6:25-34
Jesus first, people! That’s really what it’s all about! My alma mater’s motto is “Christ Above All!” Another Christian college’s motto is “In all things Christ pre-eminent!” Even the details of life are important to God, but none should be pursued apart from our faith in Jesus. He is our first priority, and changes the way we view all other areas of life. God dealt with me once about not just being a soccer player who happened to be a Christian, but being a Christian who glorifies God through soccer! Brothers and sisters in Christ, stop compartmentalizing your faith – let your love for Jesus shine through in every area of your life now!
47. Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with what 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 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. -Matthew 7:1-5
What needed verses! Remember that God is the judge we will all stand before, not us. He has been so patient with us, and we need to be patient with others. Notice a couple of things here. First, He is not saying that nothing will be judged by God. That wouldn’t make sense when there are dozens of judgments Jesus makes in these 3 chapters we call the Sermon on the Mount! Remember that by His all-important judgment lust is as necessary to deal with as adultery! Secondly, note that Jesus is not saying that confrontation of others shouldn’t happen. But we shouldn’t ask others to deal with something we are unwilling to deal with ourselves. The Pharisees were famous for expecting more from the people than they were willing to do. This passage instructs us to not live to judge others and to constantly be applying God’s word to our own lives. In that spirit of humility we may then be able to talk to others about sin, as Jesus instructs in Matthew 18:15-20 and the Word of God demonstrates in I Corinthians 5:9-13. Those passages make clear that even though there are times to confront sin in others, the hope is that they will return to Jesus and His church with a renewed faith and obedience. The entire process should not be marked with us being self-righteous and judgmental, but humbly desiring what’s best for the individual and church family.
48. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. -Matthew 7:6
What in the world does this verse mean? Simply that it is foolish of mature Christians to share with non-Christians their deeply held biblical convictions and expect approval from them. Many times in my Christian life I have shared with an unsaved friend or family member some of the things God had been teaching me from the Bible, only to have them scoff at me and even mock me to others. With such people we should lovingly share what we can and pray for them, but not expect them to understand the deep things God is doing in our lives at a heart level. As Jesus reminds us here, Pigs in mud don’t appreciate a pearl necklace! And those in sin don’t appreciate what God is doing in the lives of the saints! This is one of the reasons God places us in churches with brothers and sisters in Christ who should affirm us when we apply the Bibles in our daily lives. If a so-called Christian does not affirm your biblical choices, say “Oink, oink” and walk away!
49. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. -Matthew 7:7 Context: Matthew 7:7-11
A former Pastor of mine often said, “God wants to give revival more than we want to receive it.” He was right! Most of the time we live as functional Atheists, going through life as if we are all alone. Jesus here says, “Ask…seek…knock.” He envisions a lifestyle of regularly spending time with God and discussing our needs and desires with Him. The way the Greek reads it is “keep asking…keep seeking…keep knocking!” Do you have anyone in your life that you can turn to when in need and ask them for help, seek them out, and knock on their door knowing they will be there for you? Jesus says here that God is there like that for you! Can’t you envision Him “opening” His door and letting you in? I delight when one of my children seeks me out to spend time with them, and asks me something that I can help them with. I delight in giving them good gifts! Isn’t it neat that Jesus wants us to think of God like that?
50. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. -Matthew 7:12
This has always been referred to as the golden rule by Christians. In a dozen words Jesus sums up the ethical teaching of the Old Testament. If you want people to respect you and your property, you need to respect them and their property. Almost all laws are made to try and legislate the fair treatment of people. For the Christian, it can be summed up in 12 words from Him, “whatever you want men to do to you, do also for them!” Note we care called not to wait for them to treat us right, we are to proactively treat them right! Let is start with you!