Matthew 8:5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly." 7 And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the
kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed." And the
servant was healed at that very moment.
A centurion is a Roman officer in charge of 100 soldiers. He was a man of standing and power, a man with servants. He came to Jesus acknowledging his unworthiness to be in Jesus' presence. He came to Jesus because he cared about his suffering servant. Most importantly, he came to Jesus believing Jesus could heal his servant. He believed Jesus had authority to heal his paralyzed servant just as he had the power to command his soldiers what to do.
Jesus marveled at the faith of this gentile soldier and stated no one in the nation of Israel had such faith. The people of Israel had forgotten what a caring, powerful God they served. The people of Israel trusted in themselves rather in their God. The people in the nations around Israel, the gentiles, saw that Jesus was sent by God to help them and believed before the Jews. Many Israelites will be judged and cast into the outer darkness away from the Lord forever because they did not see what God was doing among them. Jesus healed the soldier's servant in response to his faith.
Who are you like? Are you like the Israelites who couldn't see that God had sent Jesus to them to deliver them from their sin and its consequences? Are you like the centurion who recognized the authority, power and love of God in Jesus and humbled himself to gain His help? The centurion received help from Jesus because he believed in Him. The Jewish people not only didn't receive the present benefits of Jesus presence among them, but secured a future in the outer darkness.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, go to him on behalf of those you care about and many around you will be set free from the destruction of sin.
Matthew 8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them."
Jesus' teaching is good news to sinful people. Just as we are so very thankful when a physician accurately diagnoses our illness and recommends the cure, so we are very thankful to have Jesus diagnose our sin and provide the cure. Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13 that just as those who are ill need a physician, so those who are sinners need Him to diagnose and provide the cure for their sin.
Just as a good doctor has a burgeoning practice, so Jesus drew crowds that followed Him and individuals that sought His help. A leper sought out Jesus to make him clean. Leprosy is a contagious skin disease that was diagnosed by the priests according to the Old Testament law (see Leviticus 13-14). The person with leprosy needed to be separated from family, friends and all society to prevent the spread of it. The person had to call out, "Unclean! Unclean!" when near people to warn them to stay away. The leper sought out the Great Physician to be made clean and restored to all his social relationships with family, friends and society. Jesus was willing and made the leper clean, doing what no man could do.
Jesus instructed the man cleansed of leprosy to tell no one, but to go to a priest and follow the teaching of Leviticus chapter 14, and offer the sacrifices commanded in the Law of Moses. The offerings are a sin offering and a burnt offering. The sin offering is for the forgiveness of sin and the burnt offering is to commit the person to wholehearted doing of God's will. Jesus desired the priests to know first that God (Jesus) had healed the man of leprosy and sin and validate the cleansing.
We all have a sin problem that can keep us from right relationships with our family, friends and social network. We need to go to Jesus, the Great Physician. He diagnoses our sin and provides the cure. The cure is stated in Mark 1:15, "Repent and believe the gospel." Repent means to acknowledge our way of thinking about who we are and what we do and admit we have a sin problem. When we repent, we admit our sin cuts us of from God and people. We turn away from sin and turn to Jesus by believing the gospel. Gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus died on the cross for our sin, rose again from the dead on the third day and is Lord of all. When we believe the good news, we receive forgiveness of sins and the power to live a new life free from slavery to sin. Our relationship with God is restored and we can now live in right relationship with the people around us as far as it depends on us.
When we are made clean by Jesus, we acknowledge He was our sin offering and we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, that is, we begin to live according to His will. We also offer sacrifices of praise, doing good and sharing with those in need according to what we have (see Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16). We learn God's will and the resources we have to be and do it by reading and learning the Bible.
Matthew 7:28 And when Jesus finished saying these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Jesus spoke with the authority of the Creator God. In Matthew 28:16 Jesus stated He had been given all authority in heaven and on earth. In John 7:16-17 Jesus said He taught what God had sent Him to teach, that He taught God's word with God's authority. When Jesus spoke the people knew that what He said rang true unlike what the religious leaders of the day, the scribes, taught. The scribes teaching concerned the external life of people only. Jesus taught the people how to live from the inside out. Jesus exposed people's sin with the truth and called them to repent of their sin and begin to live and serve God trusting Him for all things.
How does Jesus' teaching come across to you? Are you astonished at His teaching? Jesus said that if we abide in His word we are truly His disciples and will know the truth and the truth will set us free. How do we abide in His word. We learn it and live by faith in Jesus. Sit down each day and begin to systematically read and live according to the authoritative word of God and you will experience a freedom you will never want to go without ever again.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Matthew 7:24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears
these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
In the first century and the twenty-first century we can find easy places and ways to build that will easily give way to natural disasters like floods and winds. Jesus is contrasting easy places and easy ways to build with hard places and solid ways to build that can withstand natural disasters like floods and winds.
If we listen to what Jesus teaches and obey it, we are building our lives with a solid foundation and in a way that we can live abundant lives and not be destroyed by difficult situations that are sure to come. If don't listen to Jesus and obey Him, then we see our lives ruined in difficult circumstances.
How are you building your life? Are listening to the Master Builder Jesus and following His instruction?
Jesus said we are blessed when we hear God's word and obey.
Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"
Spiritual activity does not mean we are the Lord's. Even false prophets can do signs and wonders while preaching a wrong message and living an ungodly life (see Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). People known by the Lord Jesus Christ are people who have repented of their sin and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15). Saving belief (faith) is characterized by the desire to obey the Lord. The Apostle Paul preached the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 1:5). James preached that even the demons believe and tremble. He preached that faith without works (obedience) is dead. Real faith obeys the Lord (James 2:14-26).
Jesus said that the person who does God's will is the person He knows. If Jesus know us, we have eternal life (John 10:27-28). The first two commands that we are to obey are "repent" and "believe the gospel." We obey these commands by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we believe the gospel, we receive the Holy Spirit and are empowered to obey all the teaching of Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14, 19-20; 3:20). When we are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, we desire to obey the Lord who loved us by giving His life for us. We obey the Lord by faith in the Son of God, that is, we attempt to do what Jesus teaches us fully expecting Him to fulfill our attempt to obey with His power (Galatians 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:11).
What is the test of saving faith? The test is a person's desire to obey the Lord. That desire is revealed by the person learning what Jesus commands us so he/she knows what to obey. Can you pass the test? Does your faith in Jesus give you a desire to learn His commands and obey them by faith?
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."
Jesus warns us to be on high alert for false prophets who come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. This is a very clear word picture. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The people who follow Him are His sheep, believers. Wolves come into the flock disguised as sheep (as followers of Jesus), to deceive the sheep so they can feed on them (that is, satisfy their appetites for power and greed). A prophet is a person who declares God's word to people so the people trust in Lord alone and live in obedience to the Lord. A false prophet declares his own words to people to selfishly get his own needs met. The false prophets' words lead people to trust in them and disobey the Lord's commands.
We recognize false prophets, false teachers by their fruit, that is, by how they live their lives. False teachers, prophets, or apostles are greedy for money (preach for a profit), preach a different Jesus (or even deny Jesus), bring destructive heresies, speak false words, and are slaves of corruption. Read the following scriptures in your Bible that teach concerning false teachers, prophets, and apostles: 2 Corinthians 11:4,7,13; Galatians 1:6-7; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 18-19.
We all need to be on the alert for false teachers, prophets and apostles by looking for the type of fruit they bear, but the Apostle Paul gives a special assignment to the elders of each local church. Read Acts 20:26-30 below:
"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained
with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them."
The Apostle Paul testified what He did to protect the flock, the believers, from false prophets. He taught them the whole counsel of God. He reminded the elders of their job to care for the local church just as he did, by teaching the believers the whole counsel of God. He warned the elders to be on the alert for fierce wolves (false teachers) who will come in (and even arise from the local congregation) to destroy the flock by speaking twisted things to draw away disciples after them. He reminded the elders of their need to stay in the truth.
Are you in a local church that has elders who live and teach according to the Word of God? Are you learning the truth so you can guard your family from destructive error brought by false prophets?
Look at the fruit of the people teaching you the Word of God and search the scriptures to see if what they say is true. You will recognize false teachers by their ungodly fruit and twisted teaching of the word of God. You will recognize false teachers if they teach Jesus is not the Creator God, did not die on the cross for our sins, didn't rise physically from the dead on the third day and is not Lord of all.
Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
We live in a day when all roads lead to life - the road of Islam, Buddhism, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Baha'i, etc. Jesus tells us that the way to eternal life is entered through a small gate and that the way is narrow. In John 10:1-30 Jesus tells us He is the only door (gate) to enter into abundant and eternal life. In John 14:6 Jesus again states very clearly that He is the only way, the truth, and the life and that no one can come to the Father (eternal life) except through Him.
All kinds of people are welcome to enter abundant and eternal life. All must enter, however, through Jesus Christ. Why? Jesus is the only one who dealt with mankind's sin problem. He paid the penalty for sin when He died on the cross, the righteous for the unrighteous. If a person's sin is not pardoned, then the person must pay the penalty, which is eternal torment, the wages of sin (Revelation 21:8; Romans 6:23).
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God's love for people moved Him to give Jesus as payment in full for their sin. God offers deliverance from eternal torment and the gift of eternal life. We receive the gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus. When we repent of our sin and believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose again from the dead on the third day and is Lord of all, then we have entered through the small gate onto the narrow way that leads to life. Have you received God's offer by believing in Jesus? (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9) If you have entered into abundant and eternal life through Jesus, then you now are to direct people to the narrow gate by living a holy life and telling people who the gate is. Are you doing this?
Matthew 7:12 "So whatever you desire that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
All the verbs in this text are in the present tense. In the Greek language the New Testament was written in, this means the verbs speak of continuous action. What we continually desire others to continually do to us we are to continually do to them. Jesus isn't speaking of a "one and done" action toward another person. What we desire others to do to us Jesus commands us to do for others continually.
Think about how you desire your spouse to treat you. Are you treating your spouse that way? How do you desire your fellow employees to treat you? Are you treating them that way? Do you desire your neighbors to be sensitive to quiet times in the neighborhood? Are you? We know well how we want to be treated! Jesus tells us to treat others as we desire to be treated.
What if I don't see changes in my spouse, my neighbor, my fellow employees, etc., do I stop treating them as I want to be treated and do to them what they are doing to me? No, that would be giving into sin and be participating in sin's destructiveness. If we continually obey the Lord, we will be blessed (Luke 11:28). We are to obey the Lord and leave the results to Him.
Please note the last half of verse 12, "for this is the Law and the Prophets". Jesus is saying that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18b). In Matthew 22:37-40 He states that "loving our neighbor as ourselves" is one of the two greatest commandments that all the Law and Prophets depend. When obey God's commands we are doing our part to break the destructive cycle of sin and open the door wide for God to work in the people around us.
Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Our heavenly Father desires to give good things to those who ask Him, seek Him and knock on His door.
The key words are “good things”. Our heavenly Father will not give us “bad things”, things that will not
benefit us. How do we know what to ask for, seek after and which door to knock on?
1 John 5:14-15 instructs us to ask according to God’s will and then we know we will receive what we ask.
God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). Jesus instructs us to seek God’s kingdom (rule) and righteousness. These are “good things” such as love, joy, peace, work, and wisdom. We are to knock on doors He will open, doors He sets before us. 1 Corinthians 16:9 tells us God set before Paul a door for effective service. Revelation 3:8 reveals God places doors before us He will open. God only opens doors for us that are good for us.
When we ask God and seek God and knock on God’s doors, we will not get hurtful replies. Our heavenly Father will only do what is best for us. If you get “no” to your request, rejoice. If you don’t get what you are seeking, thank the Lord. If the door you are knocking on doesn’t open, praise the Lord. God will never deny us what is according to His will and what is according to His will is the only thing good for
Learn the Word of God and you will ask, seek, and knock for the good things our heavenly Father desires us to have. As a parent, we desire to give only good things to our children, how much more does our perfect heavenly Father fulfill His desire for us to have good things.
Matthew 7:1-6 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."
Ever feel the pointing finger of judgment? What was your response? What does ungodly judgment do to an individual, family, local church, or community in the midst of the winds and waves of life? Have you been guilty of ungodly judgment? Did you notice the results? Did you like the results? Our text today describes how not to judge and how to judge. If we judge with godly judgment abundant life results in any circumstances. If we judge with ungodly judgment, then ruin is the result.
How do we know Jesus ISN’T commanding us to never judge people? The following scriptures tell us so. Matthew 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." 1Corinthians 2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 5:3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be
What is Jesus commanding us to do when He commands, “Judge not, that you be not
judged”? Jesus is commanding us to not make wrong judgments. We know from John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgments.” Jesus is warning us that if we make wrong judgments we will be judged wrongly. He doesn’t want us to experience that self-inflicted pain.
How do we make godly judgments that lead to abundant life? Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” We need to recognize we see sin in others far better than we see our own sin. We need to ask the Lord to reveal our own sin so we can repent of it and confess it to the Lord to receive forgiveness and cleansing from all sin (Revelation 2:5; 1 John 1:9; Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 2:15,16).Matthew 7:1 should read “Hypocrites, do not judge, that you be not judged.” Basically Jesus is telling people not to make wrong judgments. We must realize we can judge only what we see – external sin (1 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 6:1; Luke 17:3-4). We are not to judge the heart motives or mere appearances (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Corinthians 4:5). We are not to judge practices that can be right either way (Romans 14:3,10,13;
Colossians 2:16). We judge according to God’s written word, not by our own conscience (1 Corinthians
2:15-16; Hebrews 4:12; John 5:30; 1 Corinthians 10:29). We are to judge to restore a person, not condemn a person (Galatians 6:1). We are to judge with gentleness, not harshness (Galatians 6:1).
Godly judgment eliminates ruined relationships, ruined initiative of the people we judge, ruined reputations, frozen emotions of those around us, the pain of wrong judgments, limited effectiveness and stunted fruit bearing.
Are you making right judgments? Right judgments are necessary for healthy relations. Wrong judgments destroy relationships. Ask the Lord to help you make right judgments so that you build others up according to their needs of the moment.