Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 6:24-7:27

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You cannot serve God and wealth - Matthew 6:24

You cannot serve God and wealth. Jesus continually called people to wholeness, a singular and consistent devotion to God (Matt. 5:48). Trying to serve both God and wealth splits the soul and results in anxiety (Matt. 6:25-34), not wholeness. Wealth is particularly potent in the splitting of people's devotion, as the story of the rich young ruler also reveals (Matt. 19:16-22), where Jesus declares that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom for that reason (Matt. 19:23-24).

Anxiety - Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus exhorts his disciples to not live in constant anxiety about their daily needs because they have a heavenly Father who knows and cares (Matt. 6:26,30,32). The way to be free from anxiety is not by trying to gain more wealth and possessions (Matt. 6:19-24) but in seeking God's kingdom above all else (Matt. 6:33). See WCF 12, 14.3; WLC 74, 136, 142; HC 26, 121, 125.

Do not judge - Matthew 7:1

Do not judge. The command not to judge means be careful and wise in rendering judgments. It does not mean that disciples should never be discerning. Discerning right and wrong is essential, so that one does not give what is holy to dogs (Matt. 7:6) and so that the church can remain pure by removing contentious people (Matt. 18:15-20). But Jesus is challenging his hearers to pay attention to the inner person when rendering decisions (Matt. 7:2-5).

Your father in heaven - Matthew 7:11

How much more will your Father in heaven. Once again Jesus invites his disciples to consider God as a good and perfect heavenly Father who cares for their needs and who will provide (Matt. 6:25-34). See WLC 184.

The Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12

In this memorable saying Jesus gives a vision for how to behave in a greater righteousness way toward others. In the infinite number of situations that could arise, the disciple can be guided by learning to treat others how they would want to be treated. See WLC 122; HC 107, 111.

The law and the prophets – Matthew 7:12

The law and the prophets. This phrase refers to all of the OT Scriptures taken together. Jesus has not come to destroy the law and the words of the prophets but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17). God's commands in the OT are fulfilled in relationship to others when we love them as we would love ourselves (Matt. 22:39; Gal. 5:14; 6:2).

The Broad and Narrow Gates - Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus uses the images of two different paths to challenge his disciples to greater righteousness (5:20). The broad road that leads to destruction looks like having external behavior but without a heart connected to God, like a wolf in sheep's clothing (7:15). The narrow road is the difficult way of living – having a consistency of both inward and outward righteousness. See HC 20.

By their fruit - Matthew 7:16

By their fruits you will know them. The image of a tree bearing fruit according to its kind is a very important and powerful idea (Matt. 3:8-10; 12:33-35) and is another example of the interior-exterior emphasis throughout the Sermon. Sometimes, however, the fruit is not immediately apparent, because it takes time to discern which fruit is true and lasting (Matt. 7:21-23; 13:20-22).

The Wise and Foolish Builders - Matthew 7:24-27

All of Jesus' Sermon is inviting people to wise rather than foolish living, just like the Proverbs of the OT. In the NT, Jesus is the center of truth and wisdom. The one who listens to Jesus' words (Matt. 7:26) is wise. But hearing alone is not enough. One must also respond with a change of life — "hears my words and obeys them" — because the people of God are the ones who do God's will in faith (Matt. 12:50; Jam. 1:22-25; 2:14-26).

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