The last portion of the Sermon on the mount deals with perspective.
Jesus starts in Matthew five with pointing out the good in his listeners, and explaining that his message was new, he was not destroying the law, but enhancing it. In Matthew six he speaks of the individuals relationship with God, emphasizing that the relationship is personal, not private. In Matthew seven he speaks about that perspective, God will judge, it is not our duty on Earth to be judges of the relationship anyone else has with God.
He begins “7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again“. For something that is stunningly clear to me, this may be one of the most misused verses in the Bible. What constitutes sin is between you and God, I may not approve of your actions, but it is not up to me to condemn them.
Continuing this lesson, he says “3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye“. This takes two applications of understanding. We are not to look upon the failings of others until we have no failings of our own is the first part. The second part comes from understanding that once we have overcome our failings, we will not be judging others. That mote in your brother’s eye requires a different approach than you thought it did.
“6 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” is a reminder to not force your knowledge on others. It is a waste of energy to share precious things with those that cannot appreciate them.
Verses seven through twelve advise that seeking God’s help will result in receiving God’s help. While many people tend to interpret these verses along the lines of “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” and I have actually seen Priests say “God will give you your heart’s desire”, meaning Earthly possessions. Your heart’s desire should be knowledge, a greater understanding of life.
Jesus goes forward with a parable about entering heaven, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” which I see as a reminder. You’ve been given control of your path, don’t lose your way.
Next is a reminder to be aware. “15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them“. Be critical of those that promise a shortcut to heaven. Cast out those that are dishonest. That you continue to read my analysis would indicate that you have evaluated my logic, if you haven’t, please do so. Do not be gullible and accept someone’s word without checking the facts for yourself.
And then we get to the key. The summation of all the lessons, and the consequences of failing to understand. “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity“. Your relationship with God is not about your actions. It is about your soul. The key is to know God. You do not marry a person you do not know, why would you expect to spend eternity with someone you do not know. He continues with the analogy of the foundation of a house, “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it“. Your foundation is your relationship with God. It isn’t a once a week hobby, it is a lifetime of understanding. You may not be “good” every day. But you know what good is and you work towards it. This is understanding. Constantly striving to be better.
The sermon ends. “28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
He spoke as the Son of God, not someone repeating what they had read. He spoke with authority that was recognized on hearing. By his fruits they knew him.