7:1 “Do not judge [the kind of judgmental attitude that destroys others in order to build up oneself; self-righteous, unjust criticism; this is not a prohibition against critical thinking], or you too will be judged.
7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [a negative application of the Golden Rule—“Do not do to others (in this case, judge harshly) what you would not have them do to you.”].
7:3 [example of hypocritical judging…] “Why do you look [to stare or gaze] at the speck [splinter; represents the lesser] of sawdust in your brother’s eye [it is easy to spot sin in others, however small] and pay no attention to the plank [log or beam; represents the greater] in your own eye?
7:4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck [represents minor fault] out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank [represents major fault] in your own eye?
7:5 You hypocrite [actors who pretend to be holier than they actually are and holier than those they condemn], first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
7:13 “Enter through the narrow [“strait” (KJV)] gate [a way to enter into a place]. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction [Gr. apoleian; spiritual death; to hell itself; cf. Rev. 9:11 re: Apollyon which means Destroyer and is another name for Satan], and many enter through it [because it is easy to find and easy to follow].
7:14 But small is the gate and narrow [from Gr. verb thlibo which means to experience trouble or difficulty; road of discipleship is often difficult road to travel] the road that [the narrow way alone] leads to life [salvation; eternal life], and only a few [a small number] find it [cf. Lk. 13:24].
Note: Read the following verses for more on two paths: Deuteronomy 30:19; Psalm 1:1-2; Jeremiah 21:8.
7:15 “Watch out for false prophets [Gr. pseudopropheton or pseudo prophets who claimed to have a word from God but taught error and were motivated by self-interests (such as wealth, power, recognition); posed as members of the Christian community; cf. Matt. 24:24; their teaching did not include teaching of Matt. 7:13-14]. They come to you in sheep’s clothing [try to pass for true prophets by looking and talking like sheep], but inwardly they are ferocious wolves [cf. Acts 20:29-30].
Note: Do the math.
False prophets always…
• Subtract from Christ
• Add to salvation
• Divide the church
7:16 [instructions on how to be discerning…] By their fruit [metaphor for character and conduct; what they produce] you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
7:17 Likewise every good [healthy] tree bears good fruit, but a bad [unhealthy] tree bears bad fruit [one way to recognize false prophets is by what they produce].
7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
7:19 Every tree [read Deut. 13:1-5; 18:14-22 re: fate of false prophets] that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire [final judgment of false prophets].
7:20 Thus, by their fruit [claims must be backed up by results] you will recognize them.
7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father [these words imply a relationship with God] who is in heaven.
7:22 Many [those who were religious but had no relationship with Jesus] will say to me [note role of Jesus in the judgment] on that day [judgment day at the end of the age], ‘Lord, Lord, [notice what false prophets are able to do…] did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles [cf. Mk. 13:22; 2 Thess. 2:9]?’
7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you [those who had no personal relationship with Christ]. Away from me, you evildoers!’
7:24 “Therefore [conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount] everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise [refers to practical rather than philosophical wisdom; common sense] man who built his house on the rock [legitimate commitment].
7:25 The rain came [not a matter of if but when] down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish [stupid; moron; unreflecting] man who built his house on sand [provided good shelter in good weather].
7:27 The rain [often a crisis makes evident the difference in how something is built] came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things [His teaching on discipleship], the crowds were amazed [astonished or astounded] at his teaching,
7:29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law [the scribes; called “lawyers” in some translations].