He that will not ask for it deserves to go without it. Have you ever asked for it? If not, whose fault is it that you have it not?
Mat_7:7. Seek, and ye shall find;
How can you hope to find if you do not seek? Have you never found it? Have you never sought it? And if you have never sought it, how do you excuse yourselves for your neglect?
Mat_7:7. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Is that all-knock? Is the gate of heaven not opened to you? Have you never knocked? Do you wonder, therefore, that the door is shut? Take care; for the time may come when you will knock, and the door will not be opened to you; for, “when once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door,” then knocking shall be in vain. But at present this verse is still God’s gracious word of command and promise; let me read it to you again: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Mat_7:8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
When you are dealing with men, this is not always true. You may ask, and not receive; you may seek, and not find; you may knock, and not have the door opened to you. But when you deal with God, there are no failures or refusals. Every true asker receives; every true seeker finds; and every true knocker has the door opened to him. Will you not try it, and prove for yourself that it is even so?
Mat_7:9-11. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
You not only give, but you know how to give so as not to disappoint the asker. It is most blessedly so with the great Father in heaven. He will not give you that which will mock and disappoint you: he will give you bread, not a stone; fish, not a serpent; nay, more, he will give you the bread of life, and the water of life, that you may live for ever.
Mat_7:12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
This is rightly called “the golden rule.” Christ says of it that it is “the law and the prophets.” It is the essence of them, it is the sum and substance of the highest morality. What you would that others should do to you, do that to them. Do not let that golden rule remain merely as a record in this Book, but take it out with you into your daily life. If we did all act to others as we would that others should act to us, how different would the lives of many men become! Ours would be a happy world if this law of Christ were the law of England, and the law of all nations. God send us the Spirit by whom alone we shall be able to obey so high a rule!
Mat_7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate
The narrow gate
Mat_7:13-14. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Do not try to go with the majority; truth is usually with the minority. Do not count heads, and say, “I am for that which has the most on its side;” but prefer that which is least liked among men, choose that which is most difficult, most trying to flesh and blood, that which gives you least license, because “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” You will not hit upon it, then, in a “happy-go-lucky” sort of style. Heaven’s gate is not found open by accident; there never was anybody yet who was saved by accident. No: “few there be that find it,” is still true. God grant that we may be among the few! And why should we not be?
Mat_7:15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
There are always plenty of them about; there is nothing of the sheep about them but the skin, and there is no connection between that skin and those that wear it.
Mat_7:16-20. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth-good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth-evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
You may judge men as well as trees that way; and you may judge doctrines that way. That which gives a license to sin cannot be true; but that which makes for holiness is true; for, somehow, truth of doctrine and holiness of life run together. We cannot expect holiness to grow out of falsehood, but we may expect all manner of evil to come out of false teaching.
Mat_7:21. 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.
Practice is the true test, not words. Not he that saith, “Lord, Lord,” but “he that doeth the will of God;” not he that merely has good words on his tongue, but he that has the will of God laid up in his heart, and wrought out in his life, that is the man who “shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Mat_7:22-23. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
If our lives are evil, it does not matter to what denomination we belong; we may be clever preachers, or mighty teachers, we may fancy that we have had dreams and visions, we may set ourselves up to be some great ones; but if we have not done the will of God, we shall at the last hear Christ say to us, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Mat_7:24-25. 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: 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.
He was a good man, and a practical man; yet he was also a tried man. His house was built on the rock, but that did not prevent the rain descending, and the floods coming, and the winds blowing. The highest type of godliness will not save you from troubles and trials; it will, in some measure, even necessitate them. But, blessed be God, here lies the gem of the parable or narrative: “It fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” It could stand the strain and endure the test, for it had a good foundation.
Mat_7:26-27. 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: 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.
He was a great hearer, but he was a bad doer; yet he thought that he was a good doer, for he built a house. Alas, the house was on the sand! There was no real obedience to Christ, no true trusting in him; and so, when the time of trouble came, and trouble will come even to the hypocrite and to the false professor, we read of his house, “It fell: and great was the fall of it,” because it could never be built up again. It fell hopelessly; it fell forever; therefore, “Great was the fall of it.”
Mat_7:28-29. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
There was a force and power about what Jesus said, he spoke from the heart, he spoke with the accent of conviction; whereas the scribes and Pharisees only spoke magisterially and officially, with no heart in their utterance, and there was therefore no power about it. God give to all of us the grace to know the power of the words of Christ! Amen.