Matthew 7:15-29

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

WARNINGS FROM JESUS

INTRODUCTION:

 

In this message we conclude Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He warns against false prophets, false professions, and false foundations; and we see the people’s reaction to His teaching.

First, we see Jesus warning against –

    I.     FALSE PROPHETS – 7:15-20

 

In verses 15-20 Jesus warns his listeners to watch out for false prophets who look like believers but are really false prophets. Those who listen to Jesus will be able to distinguish the false prophets by the fruit which their supposed ministries produce because good fruit does not come from bad sources. Good trees produce good fruit; whereas, bad trees produce bad fruit. Trees which produce bad fruit are cut down and burned.

 

Matthew 7:15-20 – (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.

 

In verse 15 Jesus warns His listeners about false prophets.

 

Beware of false prophets suggests be on your guard against people who falsely claim to be prophets (or who prophesy falsely). They can be readily discerned by comparing what they say with what the Scriptures say. The prophecies which come from their mouths will contradict and not harmonize with what God has said in the Scriptures.

 

Which suggests who by their very nature or who to be sure.

 

Come to you in sheep’s clothing is are coming to you in sheep’s clothing. The tense of come suggests that false prophets will continue to come, one after another.

 

They may look innocent enough, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

Inwardly is inside or within and indicates what these false prophets are really like in spite of their pretending to be innocent sheep.

 

They are ravening wolves who would destroy the real sheep if they could.

 

Ravening suggests ravenous or rapacious and means that they have voracious appetites and are greedy for food. They will do whatever they can to destroy the sheep.

 

Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 

In verse 16 Jesus instructs His listeners how they will be able to identify those who are false prophets.

 

Ye (i.e. You who are listening to Jesus) – ye shall know them suggests you will perceive them (i.e. you will perceive the false prophets).

 

By their fruits suggests from their fruits and indicates the source of people’s perception of the prophets. Believers will be able to discern false prophets from genuine prophets by observing their fruits, i.e. from their outcomes, from their results, or from their deeds. The true nature of the false prophets will eventually come out and show what they are really like.

 

The structure in the Greek text of the question, Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?, indicates that it expects a negative answer. They do not gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? No, they do not.

 

No term for men appears in the Greek text. It is simply they and is not limited to adult males.

 

Do . . . gather suggests gather by plucking or by picking in the sense of pick.

 

Grapes is (a bunch of) grapes, and of thorns is from thorn-plants. Thorn-plants do not produce grapes.

 

Figs are especially understood as ripe figs.

 

Of thistles is from thistles, i.e. from prickly plants which grow in abundance in Palestine. Thistles do not produce ripe figs.

 

Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

 

In verse 17 Jesus indicates that trees produce fruit that is consistent with the quality of their nature or character.

 

Even so suggests likewise or in the same way.

 

Every good tree implies every useful tree or every beneficial tree.

 

Bringeth forth suggests produces, bears, or yields.

 

Good fruit is useful fruit and speaks of its quality.

 

But a corrupt tree means but a bad tree and speaks of its poor quality.

 

Bringeth forth again suggests produces, bears, or yields.

 

Evil fruit speaks of its poor quality as bad fruit or worthless fruit.

 

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

 

Verse 18 indicates that it is impossible for a tree to bring forth fruit which is not consistent with its quality. It is not capable of doing so.

 

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit means that a good tree is not able to produce (i.e. to bear or to yield) bad (or worthless) fruit. A good tree is not capable of bearing (i.e. of producing or of yielding) bad fruit.

 

Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit means that it is impossible for a corrupt tree to produce (i.e. to bear or to yield) good fruit. A corrupt tree is not capable of bearing (i.e. of producing or of yielding) good fruit.

 

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

 

In verse 19 Jesus indicates the fate of every tree which does not produce good fruit.

 

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is every tree not producing (i.e. not bearing or not yielding) good fruit.

 

Is hewn down suggests is being cut down. It is an ongoing process. Whenever a tree is determined not to be producing good fruit, it is customary to cut it down.

 

And cast into the fire suggests and is thrown (or is being thrown) into the fire. Customarily trees which have been cut down, are thrown into the fire and burned.

 

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Verse 20 draws a conclusion based on the thought that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad or worthless fruit and that it is impossible for a good tree to produce bad fruit and for a bad tree to produce good fruit.

 

Wherefore suggests as a result or consequently.

 

By their fruits suggests by what their actions, their words, or their lives produce. By observing them and listening to them, people will be able to discern true prophets from false prophets.

 

Ye shall know them suggests you will recognize them. You will recognize whether they are true prophets or false prophets; and the longer you observe them, the more their true character will reveal itself.

Second, we see Jesus warning against –

  II.     FALSE PROFESSIONS – 7:21-23

 

Verses 21-23 indicate that if there has been no personal salvation, the best good works imaginable will not gain entrance for someone into the kingdom of heaven. Even addressing Jesus as Lord, Lord will not work; but doing the will of God the Father will work because it will demonstrate the genuineness of the individual’s salvation. When it comes time to enter into the kingdom of heaven, many may even claim to have done supernatural things in Jesus’ name, but Jesus indicates what His reaction will be when He tells them that He never knew them.

 

Matthew 7:21-23 – (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.

 

According to verse 21, addressing Jesus as Lord, Lord will not necessarily gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven; however, doing the will of God the Father will gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

 

Not everyone that saith unto me (i.e. to Jesus) Lord, Lord suggests not everyone who addresses Me as Lord.

 

Shall enter into the kingdom of heaven is will come into (or go into) the kingdom of heaven.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the first half of this verse.

 

He that doeth is the one who is doing (or keeping).

 

The will of my Father suggests what God the Father wants. Of course, the first step in doing the will of God is to be saved and then to obey Him.

 

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

 

I Timothy 2:4 Who (i.e. God) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

 

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward [i.e. toward us], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

Which is in heaven is the One Who is in heaven. It pictures heaven as the abode of God the Father. To complete the thought of the second half of this verse, the reader should repeat shall enter into the kingdom of heaven from the first half of this verse so that it reads but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (shall enter into the kingdom of heaven).

 

Matthew 7:22 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?

 

According to verse 22, when it comes time to enter into the kingdom of heaven, many will claim to have done supernatural things in Jesus’ name.

 

Many is an indeterminate, but large, number.

 

Will say is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future.

 

To me is to Christ.

 

In that day refers to the day when it comes time to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

What they will say is, 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?

 

The structure of these questions indicates that a yes answer is expected to each of them.

 

Jesus is addressed as Lord, Lord. It seems strange that people would claim allegiance to Jesus who were not willing to do the will of Jesus’ Father.

 

Have we not prophesied is did we not prophesy, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

In thy name means in Jesus’ name and has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text, which reads literally, In Your name did we not prophesy? The assumed answer to this question is, Yes, we have prophesied in Your name.

 

A second question is asked, And in thy name have cast out devils?, i.e. and in Your name did we not cast out demons? It has also been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. Again, the assumed answer is, Yes we have cast out devils (or demons) in Your name.

 

And in thy name done many wonderful works? For the third time the question assumes a positive answer, Yes, we have done many wonderful works in Your name.

 

Again, in thy name means in Jesus’ name.

 

Done many wonderful works suggests, done many miracles. It has again been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

Again, many is an indeterminate, but large, number.

 

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

In verse 23 Jesus indicates what His reaction will be when many seek to gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven on the basis of their claiming to have prophesied in His name, of their claiming to have cast out demons in His name, and of their claiming to have done many miracles in His name.

 

Then is thereupon.

 

I (i.e. Jesus) will profess unto them is I will (publicly) acknowledge to them or I will say plainly to them.

 

What Jesus will say is, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

I never knew you will be a sad, but definite, rejection of those who thought that they could gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven by their good works but did not place their trust in Him.

 

Jesus will tell them depart from me ye that work iniquity, which suggests be departing from me you who are practicing lawlessness.

Finally, we see Jesus warning against –

 III.     FALSE FOUNDATIONS – 7:24-27

 

In verses 24-27 Jesus compares those who hear His sayings and do them to those who hear His sayings but do not do them. First, He likens the one who hears Jesus’ sayings and does them to a wise man who built his house on a proper foundation. This man’s house continues to stand after a terrible storm because it was built on a proper foundation. Then He likens the one who hears His sayings but does not do them to a foolish man who built his house without a proper or adequate foundation. This man’s house collapses during a terrible storm because it was built on an improper and inadequate foundation.

 

Matthew 7:24-27 – (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.

 

Verse 24 likens the one who hears Jesus’ sayings and does them to a wise man who built his house on a proper foundation.

 

Therefore introduces an inference drawn from the entire Sermon on the Mount. It is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, so, or then.

 

Whosoever is whoever or every one who.

 

Heareth these sayings of mine is hears these My words or hears these words from Me and refers to what Jesus has said in His Sermon on the Mount.

 

Hearing these sayings of Jesus, however, is not enough as and doeth them indicates. He needs to be practicing or to be keeping Jesus’ sayings in addition to hearing them.

 

I will liken him unto a wise man is I will compare him (i.e. Jesus will compare the one who hears His sayings and practices them) to a wise man (to a thoughtful man, to a prudent man, or to a sensible man).

 

Which built his house upon a rock is who built his house upon the rock, where the rock refers to Jesus and to His solid teaching.

 

Matthew 7:25 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.

 

Verse 25 continues Jesus’ comparison of those who hear His sayings and do them to those who hear His sayings but do not do them. In this verse the man’s house built on a rock continues to stand after a terrible storm because it was built on a proper foundation.

 

And the rain in this verse is speaking of a torrential rain.

 

Descended suggests came down or fell.

 

And the floods came as a result of the torrential rain.

 

The word translated floods is a word meaning rivers. In this context, floods may mean that the rivers rose, or it may refer to the mountain torrents or winter torrents which arise in ravines after a heavy rain and carry away everything before them.

 

And the winds blew, and beat upon that house suggests that high winds struck the house.

 

And it fell not suggests but it (i.e. but the house) did not collapse.

 

The reason the house did not collapse is for (i.e. because) it was founded upon a rock.

 

It was founded suggests it had been founded. A proper foundation had been laid for this house.

 

Upon a rock is upon the rock. The picture in this verse is of a literal house which had a proper foundation, a foundation of bedrock. It pictures the believer who has built his life on the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His teaching. It will withstand the storms of life.

 

Matthew 7:26 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.

 

Verse 26 continues Jesus’ comparison of those who hear His sayings and do them to those who hear His sayings but do not do them. In this verse a person who hears Jesus’ sayings but does not do them is compared with a foolish man who built his house upon an inadequate foundation. Verse 26 begins like verse 24.

 

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine is nearly identical to the beginning of verse 24. It is every one who hears these My words or every one who hears these words from Me and refers to what Jesus has said in His Sermon on the Mount.

 

Whereas verse 24 says and doeth them, verse 26 says and doeth them not. It is literally, Everyone who is hearing these words from me but is not doing them.

 

James states that believers should not be like this.

 

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

 

Shall be likened unto a foolish man is shall be compared to a foolish (or stupid) man.

 

Which is who, such a one who, or who to be sure.

 

Who built his house upon the sand indicates that he had an inadequate foundation.

 

Matthew 7:27 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.

 

Verse 27 concludes Jesus’ comparison of those who hear His sayings and do them to those who hear His sayings but do not do them. In this verse, the man’s house built on an improper foundation is not able to stand after a terrible storm because it was built on an improper foundation. The wording in verse 25 and in verse 27 indicates that the identical scenario occurred with the rain falling, the water rising, and the winds blowing and beating on the house. This time, however, the result is different. Whereas the house in verse 25 withstood the storm, the house in verse 27 is destroyed by the storm.

 

And it (i.e. the house built upon the sand) fell, i.e. it collapsed.

 

Its collapse is described by and great was the fall (or collapse) of it, which suggests that the house was completely destroyed as a result of its faulty foundation.

As we draw this message to a close, we see –

 IV.     THE PEOPLE’S REACTION TO JESUS’ TEACHING: ASTONISHMENT – 7:28-29

 

The people were astonished because He taught them as Someone Who had authority unlike the teaching of the scribes.

 

Matthew 7:28-29 – (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.

 

And it came to pass is and it happened or and it turned out.

 

When Jesus had ended these sayings suggests when Jesus finished these words and refers to what Jesus has taught in the Sermon on the Mount.

 

The people is the crowds or the multitudes.

 

Were astonished means were amazed, were astounded, or were overwhelmed.

 

At his doctrine is at His teaching or at His instruction, which likely refers both to His skill in teaching and also to the content of His teaching.

 

Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

 

Verse 29 indicates the reason the crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teaching.

 

For He taught them suggests because He (i.e. Jesus) was teaching them (i.e. was teaching the crowds, the multitudes, or the people who were listening to Him in the Sermon on the Mount).

 

As one having authority indicates the manner of Jesus’ teaching. It suggests as Someone having the resource to command (i.e. to control or to govern) in the sense of having capability, having might, or having power.

 

And not as the scribes indicates how Jesus’ authority differed from the scribes. They did not exhibit His authority, i.e. His resource to command, control, or govern. The scribes did not exhibit Jesus’ capability, might, or power.

 

Jesus was God and was omniscient and omnipotent. The scribes were unsaved sinners with finite minds and old sin natures. What else would you expect?

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