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Matthew 7:1-12

Our Father's Heart

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • August 12, 2018

In Matthew 7:1-12, Jesus revealed our Father’s heart when it comes to our relationships with Him and others so that we are able to enjoy a unity and love that will reveal to the world we are children of our heavenly Father.

  • Sermon Notes

Our Father’s Heart

Matthew 7:1-12

ILLUS – “I love you more!”

1.How great is the Father’s love for us?

1 John 3:1, See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

2.Let’s ask the question in another way. How much does the Father love us?

John 17:22-23, The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

3.I believe that when we understand how great and how much the Father loves us, it not only changes our view of ourselves, it also changes our view of others and the relationships we have with them.

4.In Matthew 7:1-12, Jesus revealed our Father’s heart when it comes to our relationships with Him and others so that we are able to enjoy a unity and love that will reveal to the world we are children of our heavenly Father.

Matthew 7:1-12

Context

1.In Matthew 5-7, we have the longest recorded sermon that Jesus ever gave called the Sermon on the Mount.

2.This was a radical message, different than anything the people of that time had ever heard. In this message, Jesus explained the standards for entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

3.In Matthew 5:20, Jesus declared that absolute perfection is the standard for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. He said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

4.The scribes and Pharisees were hailed as the standard of righteousness. But Jesus declared their standard was not good enough because it only focused on an external obedience to the Law.

5.Our heavenly Father looks at the heart! He desires a true righteousness where obedience flows from a heart that is filled with faith because it has been transformed by His love and grace through Jesus.

6.In Matthew 7:1-12, Jesus shifted to personal relationships and He contrasted the attitudes and actions of the Pharisees with what He expects to see from His disciples because God’s grace has transformed their hearts.

I. We Need Our Father’s Heart when Others Fail

  • At first, this section appears to have nothing to do with Matthew 6. But when we look closer we see a direct relationship. Here again, Jesus was talking about the eye.
  • What if someone’s eye is not clear, what if there is something that needs to be changed in their life?
  • Here, Jesus was helping them see that the transformation of the heart has everything to do with how we view those around us.
  • Jesus wants us to see people as God does; with grace, with love, and a desire for reconciliation. 

A.   First remove the log from your own eye (1-5)

1. It is important to understand what Jesus was not saying.Jesus was not saying that we should not use judgment to discern good and evil or that we can’t call sin for what it is, sin!

2. There are many Scriptures which tell us that we are called to use careful judgment in our relationships to others. Look at Matthew 7:15.

Matthew 7:15, Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

1 John 4:1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

3. Jesus was telling us that we should not have an ungracious, critical spirit like the Pharisees had, one that exalts self and looks down upon others, especially other Christians (“brothers”) for issues in their lives. Jesus illustrated this in Luke 18:9-14.

Luke 18:9-14, And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

4. There are some people who seem to specialize in finding fault in others.

5. Jesus warned that when we are bent on finding and calling out the faults in others, they will find fault in us. The standard we hold for others, we will be held to.

ILLUS – An African pastor who accused Calvary Chapel of selecting leaders based on which tribe a person was from.

APPL – To avoid the double standard trap, we must ask our heavenly Father to search our hearts. Let’s be honest with Him and with ourselves.

1 John 1:8-9, If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Then we can be used by our heavenly Father to help others be restored.

ILLUS – Billy Graham’s speeding ticket

Galatians 6:1, Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

B. Discern who to share Jesus with (6)

1. In verse 6, Jesus shifted again and declared, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

2. Now, the Bible clearly commands us to go into the world and proclaim the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

3. So, what did Jesus mean? According to Jesus, the problem is some people are dogs and others are hogs! 

a. Jesus was not thinking of precious lap dogs or obedient canines who attentively wait for their master’s command.

ILLUS – My uncle Randy’s amazing dog…

b. The dogs Jesus referred to are the mutts that scavenged the dumps for food. Unclean animals.

c. Likewise, the pigs were unclean animals according to the Law of Moses.

4.Jesus declared that we have been given a treasure, the Gospel, it’s “holy”.

5.Unfortunately, some people will reject the Good News and when they do so, they will abuse the messengers and mock and ridicule the message, just like an unclean dog. Or they will not recognize the value of the Gospel and trample it under foot like a pig. Jesus was declaring that we must discern who to share the “holy things” of God with in order to avoid bringing abuse or mockery to the Gospel.

2 Peter 2:21-22, For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

APPL – As Ecclesiastes 3:7 declares, there is a “time to be silent and a time to speak.”

II.  Our Father Wants Us to Ask, Seek, and Knock

  • Why did Jesus add more instruction about prayer here? He already told us to avoid “meaningless repetition” and how to pray to our “Father in heaven” in Matthew 6.
  • Jesus returned to the topic of prayer because it is so difficult, in our own power and wisdom, to discern how to interact with people, Christians and non-believers alike, so that Christ’s commands are honored and obeyed.

A. We need to ask (7)

1. We see in these verses a progressive intensity from asking to seeking to knocking.

2. The literal translation is “keep asking and keep seeking and keep knocking.”

3. It is important to see that God is the one who is giving us the invitation and the command. “I want you to ask. I want you to seek. I want you to knock.”

APPL – To keep asking, and seeking, and knocking suggests that we need more faith to trust the timing of our Father’s answer. We’re not very good at this because we live in a culture that prides itself on efficiency and we want God to answer our prayers right away or we become impatient.

ILLUS – Waiting at a drive-thru window. Seeking the fastest lane in heavy traffic Wanting the fastest computers because we want instant answers!

  • To keep asking and seeking and knocking is to understand persistence in prayer. Two things are certain about prayer. First, and we see this from the context here, that He gives us what is good for us! Therefore, we can also conclude that He won’t give us what is not good for us.

James 4:2-3, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

  • Second, we can ask for what is not good and even if we ask with great patience and persistence God will say, “No!"

ILLUS – Malina’s prayer for red velvet cake…

Waiting on the Lord means that we wait by faith, knowing that our heavenly Father will do what is good for us.

James 1:17, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

B.  Our Father takes our prayers seriously (8-11)

1.In verse 8, Jesus said that everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds. And then he used a humorous illustration to make His point.

2.“If a son asked his father for a loaf of bread, would he give him a stone? Or if he asked for a fish, would he give him a snake?” And the answer is, “Of course not!!!”

3.Jesus then declared, “How much more shall your Father in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

APPL – God is our Father. He hears us when we pray, and He takes seriously all of our prayers. We must wait for our Father in all patience and know that He is working in our behalf.

Psalm 127:2, It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even while he sleeps.

C. Therefore, change what you do unto others (12)

1.This is the famous “Golden Rule” verse that we have heard so many times.

2.First, it is important to understand that He is speaking here to His disciples, to believers. He is not teaching them that this is the way to find salvation, but that it is a result of their relationship to our heavenly Father.

3.It follows immediately after Jesus’ words about their relationship to our Father in prayer, but in many ways it’s a summary of the entire Sermon on the Mount.

4.If the beatitudes are in your heart, if you have a genuine and personal relationship with our Father in prayer, then it will also change how you treat those around you.

Matthew 22:39, The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

5.Some have tried to suggest that this saying is not original with Jesus. And it is certainly true that many have said something similar. Hillel, Confucius, Hindu writers, Socrates, and Roman Stoics all said something similar, but they each said it in the negative, “If you don’t want someone doing this to you, then don’t do it unto him.”

6.But Jesus said it in the positive, in a proactive sense, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”

7.Jesus then showed the significance of His words when He declared that this saying summarizes the Law and the Prophets; the entire Old Testament.

APPL – Why should we do this? To get others to do good things for us? No, because of our relationship to our Father… because He has changed our hearts, because this fulfills the entire counsel of God, because it represents our Father’s heart!

  • Imagine how powerful this verse is! This one sentence can transform the world! Imagine if everyone did this; there would be no more crime, no murder, or hatred, or theft, or assault, or road rage. There would be no more adultery, or divorce, or abuse, or oppression, or jealousy, or envy, or anger, or starvation, or church splits or conflicts! And that’s what the kingdom of heaven will look like when Christ returns! But even now, our Father wants to change our world by changing us.
  • We agree with this verse, but do we take it seriously? We want God to take our prayers seriously, how much more does God want us to take His word seriously.

Conclusion

Pastor Rich has said, “If we only knew how much the Father loved us, it would change us forever.

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