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The Sermon on the Mount

Lyn Mize


“Sermon on the Mount” is the name given to the message of Jesus found in Matthew 5-7. The Sermon on the Mount summarizes the expectations of Jesus for those who have followed Him as disciples. The theme of the sermon is entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and is provided in the following verse:  

(Mat 5:20 KJV)  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.  

It is a common mistake to assume that Jesus was speaking of the imputed righteousness that every Christian receives at the new birth experience, but He was speaking of the practical righteousness that comes through the sanctification process. The Christian attains this righteousness through holy living for the Lord, and receiving the engrafted Word of God in accordance with the following passage:  

(James 1:18 KJV)  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

(James 1:19 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

(James 1:20 KJV)  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

(James 1:21 KJV)  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

(James 1:21 NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

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

We can determine from Matthew 5:20 above that Jesus is speaking of a certain measure or level of righteousness that must be attained in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He does not state or identify the level of righteousness that must be attained, except to say that it must exceed the righteousness taught and practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. He does identify the characteristics of the individual who will enter the kingdom. Jesus confirms in the following verse that the scribes and Pharisees did not attain unto this righteousness, and the kingdom was taken away from them because of this failure:  

(Mat 21:43 KJV)  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  

In the above verse, Jesus was speaking to the chief priests and elders of Israel (i.e., the scribes and Pharisees). It is important to note that the kingdom was taken away from them because of the lack of fruit, which is practical righteousness. The Greek word for nation is the word for people. Jesus stated that He was taking the kingdom away from Israel who did not bear the fruit of righteousness, and He was going to give it to a people who would bear the fruit of righteousness. The fruit is practical righteousness as evidenced in the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  

It is likely that Jesus did not identify the level that must be attained, so that Christians would continue to strive and seek the kingdom for the duration of life. If there were some point where we knew that we had attained the required level of righteousness, there would be a great loss of incentive to continue striving. Also, a cessation of striving after this level of righteousness could result in falling below the required level. The important point is that there is a level of practical righteousness that must be attained to enter the kingdom of heaven, and the scribes and Pharisees did not attain unto this level. There will be many in the Church who will attain to this level, but not all of the Church. Those in the Church who do attain unto this level are addressed in the following verse as “many”:

(Mat 8:11 KJV)  And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  

Many have confused Matthew 5:48 to say that we must be perfect, just as the Father is perfect, in order to enter the kingdom, but this verse is simply stating the goal that we must strive for in this life. We will not attain unto this goal until the resurrection, but all Christians will attain unto this goal in the future. In the interim, we are to strive for this goal so that we might enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus will be the judge as to whether we have attained the required level of practical righteousness to enter the kingdom. One thing is virtually certain: those who do not strive for this goal will not attain to it.  

Verse-By-Verse Exegesis  

We will now attempt a verse-by-verse exegesis of the Sermon on the Mount, so that we might strive successfully to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Entrance into the kingdom of heaven should be the goal of every Christian. Contrary to popular belief, not every Christian will enter into the kingdom of heaven.  

(Mat 5:1 KJV)  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Verse 4:26 identifies the multitudes as those who come to Jesus. The cities and regions listed in verse 26 identify the people as people from among the Gentiles and Jews and from all the cities of the earth. This is a picture of the Church coming to Jesus because they have been spiritually regenerated. Every spiritually regenerated person chosen by God will come to Jesus and believe in Him at some point in his life. However, not every spiritually regenerated person will follow Jesus as a disciple. 

In this verse, the multitudes are a class of people identified as the Church. The word “seeing” figuratively means that Jesus knew them. They are the Church—the chosen and elect of God—given to Jesus Christ as His body. “He went up into a mountain” means that Jesus ascended into the kingdom of heaven and was “set” or seated at the right hand of God the Father. It was then that His disciples came unto him. Disciples are those who seek after Jesus to learn from Him and be like Him. A disciple also spreads the teachings of his mentor, as is clearly shown in the following definition of disciple in the American Heritage Dictionary:

dis·ci·ple  n. 1.a. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. b. An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.  

(Mat 5:2 KJV)  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,  

This verse clarifies that Jesus only teaches those who come to Him in the mountain. The mountain typifies the kingdom, and Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for His inheritance. His inheritance is the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. Those Christians who come to Him for instruction in righteousness are currently being taught via the Holy Spirit. Christians are to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, as is seen in the following Scripture:  

(Mat 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Characteristics of Those Who Will Enter the Kingdom (5:3-12)  

(Mat 5:3 KJV)  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Christian who recognizes the depravity of his own nature is the one who is poor in spirit. He is greatly humbled by this depravity, and he seeks the Lord and allows the Holy Spirit to work through him. The Christian who sees himself as a spiritual giant is not the one who will enter the kingdom. It is the Christian who sees himself as spiritually destitute who will enter the kingdom of heaven. The following verses in Revelation describes the difference between the proud in spirit and the poor in spirit: 

(Rev 3:14 KJV)  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

(Rev 3:15 KJV)  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

(Rev 3:16 KJV)  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

(Rev 3:17 KJV)  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  

(Rev 3:7 KJV)  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

(Rev 3:8 KJV)  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.  

The following verses also depict the difference between the one who is proud in spirit and the one who is poor in spirit:

(Luke 18:9 KJV)  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

(Luke 18:10 KJV)  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

(Luke 18:11 KJV)  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

(Luke 18:12 KJV)  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

(Luke 18:13 KJV)  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

(Luke 18:14 KJV)  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  

(Mat 5:4 KJV)  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Christians who mourn over their sinfulness and wretchedness will be comforted, consoled, exhorted and taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Greek work for comforted carries all of these meanings. The Christian who walks closely with the Lord recognizes his old depraved nature, and he grieves and mourns over his sinfulness. He is cleansed and comforted by the Lord via the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter. The one who is proud in spirit does not mourn over his sins, but the one who is poor in spirit does mourn over his sins. The one who mourns is justified by works before God.  

(Mat 5:5 KJV)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

The Christian who is meek is humble and gentle. He does not exalt himself. He is truly humble before the Lord and his fellow man. This is in stark contrast to the arrogance seen in the church of Laodicea. Humility can never be seen in oneself. The person who sees his own pride and arrogance can attain a level of humility only so long as he sees his pride and arrogance. The closer a Christian walks with the Lord, the more he will see his own arrogance and pride, and the more humility others will see in him. This is a paradox.  

The Christian who humbles himself shall receive his inheritance as joint-heir with Christ and literally have the earth as his inheritance. The following Old Testament passage confirms this promise to those who humble themselves.  

(Psa 37:11 KJV)  But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  

(Mat 5:6 KJV)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  

The Christians who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied. These Christians have a personal appetite for and a continuing desire for personal righteousness. This righteousness only comes via the indwelling Holy Spirit who literally performs the righteous acts of Jesus Christ in those Christians who crucify the old flesh nature and allow the filling or control of the Holy Spirit to have free reign in their lives. It is not self-righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ worked out in our lives, as described in the following passage of Scripture:  

(Col 1:25 KJV)  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

(Col 1:26 KJV)  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

(Col 1:27 KJV)  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

(Col 1:28 KJV)  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

(Col 1:29 KJV)  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.  

(Mat 5:7 KJV)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  

Merciful Christians are those who have compassion on their fellow Christians. They do not condemn their fellow Christians for their failures, but they pray for and exhort these Christians to walk worthy, so that they might inherit the promises of God. The merciful Christian does not shoot his wounded brethren, but he does everything that he can to restore his brethren to fellowship with Christ. The following Scripture confirms the mercy that we as Christians should extend to our fellow Christians: 

(James 2:13 KJV)  For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

This verse is speaking about our judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The more merciful we are in our judgment of our fellow Christians, the more merciful Jesus will be when we are judged at this judgment.  

(Mat 5:8 KJV)  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

The pure in heart are those who are cleansed from their sins by constant confession and cleansing by the blood of Christ. The Greek word for pure means clean, and the heart means the thoughts and feelings or the mind of man. These are in reference to the soul of man. The pure in heart are those who have been sanctified by the engrafted Word of God. The Word of God has renewed their minds.  

The clause “for they shall see God” means that they will be the ones to whom God reveals Himself. Those Christians who are clean of heart and have their minds renewed in accordance with the spirit will be the ones who observe the workings of God in everyday life. They will not be surprised by the Return of Jesus Christ, for God will reveal to them His secrets and His plans. They will be the ones who gaze at God intently with eyes wide open and see the wonderment of God in their daily lives.

(Mat 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 

The peacemakers are those who not only have peace with God, but they have the peace of God. They also show others how to obtain this inward peace that cannot be shaken by circumstance and world affairs. Peace with God comes when a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Peace of God comes via the engrafted Word of God. A Christian can be a peacemaker when he reads, studies and applies the Word of God to his life.

Please note in the following verses how the Scriptures link peace with righteousness and goodness. Both come from God.  

(James 3:18 NIV)  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  

(1 Pet 3:11 NIV)  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.  

(Mat 5:10 KJV)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  

If a Christian is persecuted because he seeks after righteousness, then his inheritance is the kingdom of heaven. He will reign and rule with the Lord Jesus Christ over the earth. When a Christian seeks the righteousness of God, people see in him the Lord Jesus Christ and they are convicted by their own lifestyles. They do not like to be convicted about their own lives and lifestyles, so they ostracize and persecute these Christians.  

Please note in the following verse that if a Christian seeks the righteousness of Christ, he shall suffer persecution. There is no perhaps, may, maybe or might in this promise. It is a certainty.  

(2 Tim 3:12 KJV)  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

(Mat 5:11 KJV)  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

This verse is a continuation of the last verse on persecution. Reviling is abusive criticism. This persecution comes when a person lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. “For my sake” means on account of Jesus Christ. This persecution comes from family, “friends”, co-workers and acquaintances.  

(Mat 5:12 KJV)  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The thought about persecution continues and tells us to rejoice and be very glad when we are persecuted, for it means that our reward will be great in heaven. This verse also makes the analogy between those Christians who are persecuted now with the Old Testament prophets who were persecuted and killed for the Word of God.  

This completes the section of the Sermon on the Mount known as the Beatitudes, which describes the subjects who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Jesus now goes on to describe the circle of influence that these people will have on their fellow Christians. Jesus uses two common illustrations to demonstrate this influence: salt and light.  

Influence of Kingdom Heirs (5:13-16)  

Salt makes a person thirsty for water, and water typifies the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the analogy is that if a person acts as salt, he creates in fellow Christians a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Christian who acts as salt will have a thirst for God’s Word, the Living Waters, and he will create a thirst in others for these Living Waters. The following Scripture confirms this truth:  

(Rev 21:6 KJV)  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

(Rev 21:7 KJV)  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  

Please note that the person who thirsts after the fountain of the water of life is the one who will be an overcomer. He is the one who will be adopted as the son (i.e., huios in the Greek) and heir over the family.  

(Rev 22:17 KJV)  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

(Rev 22:18 KJV)  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  

Please note in verse 18 a confirmation that the thirsty person is open to the Word of God.  

In addition to creating a thirst for the fountain of the water of life—the Bible—salt is a preservative from putrefaction. It is well known that meat such as a ham or bacon can be cured with salt so that it does not spoil.  

The Christian who acts as salt does not become putrefied by sin in his life and he acts as a preservative from sin for his fellow Christians. This is what Jesus meant in the following verse, which is the next verse in the Sermon on the Mount:  

(Mat 5:13 KJV)  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Jesus is telling those Christians who meet the characteristics in the above Beatitudes that they are the salt of the earth. These Christians are the ones who create a thirst for the Word of God, and they help to restrain evil and putrefaction in the world. These Christians are the restrainer that is addressed in the following passage:  

(2 Th 2:1-10 KJV)  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, {2} That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. {3} Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (i.e., the Day of Christ or the Rapture of the Church) shall not come, except there come a falling away first (i.e., The Separation or the Firstfruits Rapture), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; {4} Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. {5} Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? {6} And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. {7} For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (i.e., putrefaction in the world): only he who now letteth (i.e., restrains) will let (i.e., restrain), until he be taken out of the way (i.e., Removed from the world). {8} And then shall that Wicked (i.e., the Antichrist) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: {9} Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, {10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 

We should be able to see from the above passage of Scripture that the Restrainer is not the Holy Spirit, but those who will qualify for the Firstfruits Rapture. The Restrainer is The Five Wise Virgins of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 25). The Restrainer is the Philadelphia Church that is removed from the earth through The Open Door. The Restrainer is the Faithful and Wise Servant of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:45-47). The Restrainer is the Twenty-Four Elders and Four Living Creatures of Revelation. The Restrainer is those Christians who are the salt of the earth, and preserve the earth from corruption or putrefaction, just as Matthew 5:13 states.  

The Holy Spirit is not the One who will be removed, but the One Who will do the removing, or separating of those Christians who have been the salt of the earth. They have lost their savor and become good for nothing, to be cast out or separated out at the Separation to be persecuted by the Antichrist (i.e., “trodden under foot of men”).  

(Mat 5:14 KJV)  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

In addition to being described as the salt of the earth, those Christians who meet the characteristics in the Beatitudes are described as the light of the world. A light is meant to shine and provide direction for others. These Christians reflect light and point other Christians to the right path. They reflect the light of the Holy Spirit so others will not walk in darkness. The influence of these Christians would be evident like a city on a hill or a lamp on its stand.

(Mat 5:15 KJV)  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

A concealed lamp placed under a bowl would be useless in providing light for those walking in darkness.  

Please note that those who provide light do so “unto all that are in the house.” Those in the house are those who are in the household of faith, or those who are in the Church.  

(Mat 5:16 KJV)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Light-reflecting Christians live so that others observe their good deeds and give praise to their Father Who is in heaven. This verse is the first of 15 references to the Father in the Sermon on the Mount.  

Standards for Entrance into the Kingdom (5:17-20)  

The following section (i.e., Matthew 5:17-20) presents the heart of Jesus’ message, as it confirms the relationship of Jesus Christ to the Law of God. Jesus did not come presenting a rival system to the Law of Moses, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He had to demonstrate that the pharisaic traditions were not the true fulfillment of the Law of Moses.  

(Mat 5:17 KJV)  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jesus did not come to set aside the law as so many think, but to fulfill the law. “The law and the prophets” refer to the entire Old Testament. Jesus sums up the entire Old Testament in the Golden Rule as follows:  

(Mat 7:12 KJV)  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.  

(Mat 7:12 Paraphrase)  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Jesus also summed up the entire Old Testament in two commandments as follows:  

(Mat 22:35-40 KJV)  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, {36} Master, which is the great commandment in the law? {37} Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. {38} This is the first and great commandment. {39} And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {40} On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  

(Mat 5:18 KJV)  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The passing away of the heavens and the earth will not occur until the middle of the tribulation period, when Satan and his emissaries lose their position in the kingdom of the heavens. Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Testament would extend to the smallest Hebrew letter, the “jot”, and even to the smallest stroke of Hebrew letter, the “tittle”. The jot is equivalent to the dot above the letter “i”, and the tittle would be equivalent to the small angled line that makes a P into an R. These things are important since they make up letters, and a slight change in a letter changes the meaning of a word. A change in the meaning of a word can change the meaning of the whole sentence, and even the whole paragraph.  

(Mat 5:19 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

This verse is very important for it tells us to keep the commandments, and to teach others to keep the commandments. This is significant in the Church today where the grace of the New Testament has supplanted the law of the Old Testament. The Church today teaches the grace and mercy of God, but they fail to teach the wrath and justice of God. The Church fails to teach the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all Christians will be judged based on their works. It is true that all Christians will be physically present in the kingdom of heaven, but those who break the commandments and teach others to do so will be least in the kingdom. This means they will not have a position of power and authority. Those who keep the commandments and teach others to do so will have important positions of authority in the kingdom of heaven.

(Mat 5:20 KJV)  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In this verse Jesus is speaking of the practical righteousness that comes about through obedience, rather than the imputed righteousness that comes about through belief in the atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  

In the Scriptures, there are two forms of righteousness. One is the imputed righteousness of Christ that we receive at our spiritual birth. It is 100% righteousness and it is the free gift of God by faith in the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. Even this faith comes from God, and it is not a faith that we attain to in any way. There are no levels to this imputed righteousness. The 100% righteousness of Christ is imputed to every believer when he is spiritually saved. I explain this in my article To Perish or Not to Perish.  

In addition to the imputed righteousness of Christ, there is the practical righteousness that all Christians should attain to in some measure or level. There are definitely levels of practical righteousness. Jesus is referring to this practical righteousness in the following verse, which has already been addressed once:  

(Mat 5:6 KJV)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Jesus is talking to disciples who follow Him and are seeking this practical righteousness. This practical righteousness is also referred to as relative righteousness, in contrast to the imputed righteousness referred to as absolute righteousness.  

Practical righteousness is via works and this righteousness is on a continuum. All Christians are on this continuum at some point, but only Christ knows the level that we have reached.  

Practical righteousness refers to the righteous deeds that we do, and the level of character and integrity that we attain to in our Christian walk. Some are more conformed to the image of Christ than others. Practical righteousness only comes to us when we crucify the old flesh nature and allow Christ to live His life in us. This is what Paul meant in the following passage pertaining to practical righteousness:  

(Phil 3:8 KJV)  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

(Phil 3:9 KJV)  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

(Phil 3:10 KJV)  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

(Phil 3:11 KJV)  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

(Phil 3:12 KJV)  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:13 KJV)  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(Phil 3:14 KJV)  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:15 KJV)  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

(Phil 3:16 KJV)  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.  

Paul already had the imputed righteousness of Christ, and he was seeking the righteousness that comes by works of faith. In verse 10 he wants to be conformed to the death of Christ. This means he wants to completely die to his old flesh nature. None of us has yet attained this level, but it is a level for which we strive.  

In verse 11, he specifically wants to attain to the level where he attains to the Out-Resurrection, which is the Firstfruits Rapture. We attain this level via works, but these are works that we do IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST.  "In the name of Jesus Christ" means that we do these works in His power and authority. They are not the works of the flesh (i.e., our own righteousness), but the works that the Holy Spirit does in us. It is not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ being worked out in us. Nevertheless, it is works that we attain to by dying to self and allowing Christ to live His life in us.  

We are all at different levels on this continuum of practical or relative righteousness. Our rewards in the kingdom will be based on the level that we attain. Paul refers to a point in verse 11 where some are "perfect". This word means mature and there are many Christians who have already reached this level on the continuum, but they can still grow to become maturer. I am certain that Paul had already reached this level, but he states in verse 13 that he did not count himself to have reached this level, but he was still working to attain to it. I think it would be foolish to count oneself to have already reached this level. I think there are many that count themselves to have already reached this level, and they are still at the bottom portion of the continuum.  

I am somewhere on the continuum, but I do not know the level that I have attained, and I definitely do not count myself to have already attained to the level where I will go in the Firstfruits Rapture. This is why I pray daily that I will be accounted—by Christ—as worthy to attain to the Firstfruits Rapture (Luke 21:36).  

Rejection of Pharisaic Traditions (5:21-48)

In the following section (verses 21-48), Jesus rejects the Pharisaic traditions as insufficient for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. The practical righteousness that Jesus demanded was not merely external, but a true righteousness based on the engrafted Word of God. Since Jesus is talking about entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and not simply entrance into heaven, the righteousness He is addressing is the practical righteousness of obedience to the Word of God. He is not referring to the imputed righteousness that comes from belief in the atonement of Jesus Christ on Calvary. This practical righteousness is the equity of character that performs righteous deeds in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not self-righteousness as many have surmised.  

First Illustration—Murder (5:21-26)  

(Mat 5:21 KJV)  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

In verses 21-48 Jesus clarifies what he meant about the righteousness of the Pharisees being insufficient for entrance into the kingdom. Jesus states six times “Ye have heard that it was said….but I tell you”(5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). Jesus clearly differentiates between the teachings of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law and the true intent of the Law.  

This first illustration by Jesus addresses the commandment, Do not murder (Ex. 20:13). The Pharisees taught that murder was taking someone’s life, but Jesus extends the commandment from the act itself to the attitude of anger behind the act.  

(Mat 5:22 KJV)  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The Christian who is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the Judgment seat of Christ. In addition, the Christian who assumes an attitude of superiority over his fellow Christian and calls him a derogatory name such as “Raca shall be in danger of the council.” The council is a subordinate council to the Judgment Seat of Christ, so for Christians, it would be a judgment and some sort of punishment from our fellow Christians. “Raca” is a term of reproach used among the Jews in the time of Jesus. It is the milder form of criticizing our brothers in Christ, but it deserves a judgment and rebuke from our fellow Christians.  

Jesus goes on to say that if we carry our anger to the extreme and call our brother a “fool” that we place ourselves in danger at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is when we will have our works tried by The Fire of gehenna. To call a brother a “fool” is to place ourselves in a position of judgment that belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to assume that we know another person’s heart, and we judge him as being morally worthless. It is one thing to make vicious and defamatory statements about a fellow Christian, but it is an entirely different matter to set oneself up as judge over a fellow Christian. The first deserves a rebuke from our fellow Christians who are in a position of authority over us, but the other deserves a purging by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(Mat 5:23 KJV)  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Jesus continues the illustration by saying that if we come to the Lord to present our tithe, and we are at odds with our brother, then we need to go to him and be reconciled, and then come and present our gift to God.  

(Mat 5:24 KJV)  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

We must first be reconciled to our brother, and this reconciliation must be accomplished whether the “innocent” (5:23-24) or the “offending” (vv. 25-26) brother takes the first step. If reconciliation has not been accomplished, then our gifts to God mean nothing.  

(Mat 5:25 KJV)  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Even when one is on the way to court in a lawsuit, he should attempt to reconcile the matter before he arrives in court. Otherwise, the judge may find you guilty and you will be punished. The Scriptures are clear that Christians should settle matters among themselves and not subject themselves to court, as the court is under the reign of Satan, and a practicing Christian cannot expect a fair trial in a court ruled over by Satan.  

(Mat 5:26 KJV)  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Jesus sums up the matter by stating that a practicing Christian will be subjected to the maximum punishment under the law if he goes to court, which is under the control of Satan. This is a very important rule for all faithful Christians. The faithful Christian should not expect justice in a court of law, and he should do everything he can to stay out of both civil and criminal court.  

Second Illustration—Adultery (5:27-30)  

(Mat 5:27 KJV)  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

Jesus continues with another illustration of the true intent of the Law by explaining the meaning of the commandment against adultery (Ex. 20:14).  

(Mat 5:28 KJV)  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Jesus extends the sin of adultery from the act itself to the mental process of committing the act in our own mind. Thus, the Christian becomes guilty of the act of adultery when he simply goes through the act in his own mind. This means that the person who enjoys pornography is actually committing the sin of adultery. This means that a person who looks at another person with lust in his heart is committing adultery with that person. Just as the act of looking at another person with hatred is committing the sin of murder, the looking at another person with lust is committing the sin of adultery, and it must be confessed, as all sin should be confessed for the purpose of cleansing.  

(Mat 5:29 KJV)  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Jesus is not teaching physical mutilation in this verse, but he is using an analogy to show us that we need to get rid of the root cause of sin. The root cause of sin is our hearts or minds, so we need to renew our minds in accordance with the Word of God as shown in the following passage:  

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

The above passage of Scripture demonstrates that the sin of our minds is manifested in our bodies. Therefore, we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, and our bodies should reflect the actions of a renewed mind that has been conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. When our minds are renewed in conformity with the mind of Christ, then our bodies will manifest the desires of our renewed minds, and not the depraved minds of the soulical nature.  

(Mat 5:30 KJV)  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Since Jesus is using the body as an analogy for our works done in accordance with either the old soulical nature or the new spirit nature, Jesus uses the analogy of a member perishing or the whole body perishing. Jesus is stating that if we have a problem with the focus of our lives or in our works, then we need to take drastic measures to arrest these problems so that all of our works will not be burned up in the Lake of Fire. The Greek word translated hell in this verse is the word gehenna.  

Christians need to take drastic measures with sin in order to prevent the complete loss of the soul in gehenna at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In this analogy, the whole body being cast into gehenna is analogous to the complete loss of all works performed by the Christian. It is possible for a Christian to have works to his credit, and then to get so caught up in sin that all of these works perish in the Lake of Fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul describes this reality in the following passage:  

(1 Cor 3:8-15 KJV)  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. {9} For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. {10} According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. {11} For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. {12} Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; {13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and THE FIRE shall try every man's work of what sort it is. {14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. {15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  

Please note in the above passage that works are involved, and it is with the body that we perform works. Also note that it is possible for all of our works to be burned up in THE FIRE. THE FIRE is the Lake of Fire, which is gehenna. Therefore, the analogy by Jesus in which the body is cast into gehenna is the same as having all of our works burned up in the Lake of Fire. The issue is not heaven or hell, but entrance into the kingdom of heaven, which is a reward for our works. 

Third Illustration—Divorce (5:31-32) 

(Mat 5:31 KJV)  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

There were two schools of thought about divorce in the time of Jesus. Hillel, a Rabbi and Talmudic scholar, had taught that divorce was okay for any reason, and the husband must simply give his wife a writing of divorcement. Those who followed Shammai said divorce was permissible only for a major offense.  

Jesus clearly intended for marriage to be a permanent bond between husband and wife, and adultery was the only reason given as cause for divorce.  

The Greek word for divorcement in this verse is apostasion. It is the same word in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that is translated “falling away.” The word means “separation”, “divorcement”, or “repudiation,” and in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it refers to the separation between faithful and unfaithful Christians at the Firstfruits Rapture. “Divorcement could also be an accurate translation, since it refers to the “putting away” of those Christians who have been unfaithful to Him. The example in Scripture is when Joseph was going to “put away” Mary when he thought she had been unfaithful.  

At present the whole Church is betrothed to Jesus Christ, in accordance with the following verses:  

(2 Cor 11:2-3 KJV)  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. {3} But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  

(2 Cor 11:2-3 NIV)  I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. {3} But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  

It is very important to note that even though the whole Church is betrothed to Jesus Christ, it is possible to be led away from sincere and pure devotion to Christ. The Scriptures are clear that those who are unfaithful will be divorced, or “put away” at the time of the Firstfruits Rapture. Please note in the following verse that divorcement is permissible for unfaithfulness. This applies to Christians, and it is a type of what will take place at the Separation.  

(Mat 5:32 KJV)  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Fourth Illustration—Oaths (5:33-37)  

Jesus now addresses the issue of taking oaths (Lev. 19:12; Deut. 23:21).  

(Mat 5:33 KJV)  Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

The Pharisees were notorious for making oaths at the least provocation. They would swear “by heaven”, “by the earth”, “by Jerusalem”, or by their own head, but they would break these oaths with the rationalization that the oath was not binding, since God was not involved.  

(Mat 5:34 KJV)  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:

Jesus emphasized that oaths should not even be necessary and states: Do not swear at all. He emphasizes that heaven is God’s throne so God is involved in their oaths when they swear by heaven.  

(Mat 5:35 KJV)  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Jesus also emphasizes that the earth is God’s footstool, and Jerusalem is God’s city, so God is involved when they swear by any one of these places.  

(Mat 5:36 KJV)  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

Jesus also emphasizes that they should not swear by their own head, as they do not even have control over the color of their hair. This comes under God’s dominion and not theirs.  

(Mat 5:37 KJV)  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jesus concludes the matter by stating that they should just say yes or no and any swearing or taking of an oath proceeds from an evil heart. I worked for the Government for many years and interviewed numerous people who were filing claims for Government benefits. Every time that I had a claimant begin the interview by saying “Now, I am not going to lie to you!” was sure indication that he was going to lie to me. Every time a claimant made this statement, I immediately assumed that he was going to lie to me. The truthful and honest person does not have to affirm or swear that he is going to tell the truth. That is all that he tells, so it does not occur to him to make an oath that he is going to tell the truth.  

Jesus was saying that one’s life should be sufficient to back up one’s words, and an oath should not be necessary. If a person is untrustworthy, the fact that he takes an oath does not suddenly make him trustworthy.  

Fifth Illustration—Retaliation (5:38-42)  

(Mat 5:38 KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

These words come from several Old Testament passages (i.e., Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21), and they refer to the lex talionis, or the law of retaliation. The law of retaliation was for the purpose of protecting the innocent, and it assured that a retaliation did not occur beyond the offense.  

(Mat 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Jesus points out that while the law protects the rights of the innocent, the righteous person does not necessarily act or claim these rights. The righteous man is characterized by humility and selflessness, and should “go the extra mile” to maintain peace. The righteous man should not retaliate when struck on the cheek, but should turn the other cheek instead.  

(Mat 5:40 KJV)  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

The righteous man will not retaliate when taken to court for his tunic or undergarment (i.e., coat), but he should also give the man his outer garment (i.e., cloak). The outer garment was the more expensive of the two, and it could not be held overnight as security for a debt (Deut. 24:12-13), since it was sometimes used as a bed covering (Ex. 22:26-27).  

(Mat 5:41 KJV)  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

This is of Persian origin where a postal courier had the authority to press a person into service when needed (cf. Simon of Cyrene Matt. 27:32). When a righteous person is pressed into service, he will go the extra mile.  

(Mat 5:42 KJV)  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

The righteous person should also give to those who ask him, and should loan to those who request to borrow something. The righteous person is generous in all of his ways, and this is simply an action of generosity.  

Sixth Illustration—Love of Enemies (5:43-48)  

(Mat 5:43 KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

The Pharisees taught that one should love those near and dear to him (Lev. 19:18,34), but Israel’s enemies should be hated. The hate part was added to the law of love, and this unscriptural addition missed the heart of the law of love.  

(Mat 5:44 KJV)  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

The response of Jesus is to love one’s enemies, and to bless them that express contempt toward you, and to do good to them that detest you, and to pray for them who do things out of malice toward you, and treat you badly. This demonstrates that agape or unconditional love is in you, and this love only comes from the Father. It demonstrates that the Christian is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit when agape love is demonstrated in him.  

(Mat 5:45 KJV)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  

The reason for living righteously is so that the Christian can become a huios or son of the Father. All Christians are teknon or children of God, but only the mature righteous Christian can become a son of God. The son (i.e., huios) is the mature Christian who is made ruler over the Father’s household. Not all Christians will become huios or sons of God. The sons of God will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ as the mature and faithful children of God in accordance with the following Scriptures: 

(John 1:12 KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  

All Christians have the power to become sons of God, but they must entrust their spiritual well-being to His power and His authority (i.e., believe on his name).  

(Rom 8:14 KJV)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Christians who are led by the Holy Spirit will be manifested as the sons of God. Not all Christians are led by the Holy Spirit.  

(Rom 8:19 KJV)  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

All of creation is waiting to see who will be manifested as the sons of God. This will not include the whole Church, but those who were mature and lived righteously in this life.  

(Mat 5:46 KJV)  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Jesus thoroughly rebukes the Pharisees here by stating that even the tax collectors and pagans love those who love them.  

(Mat 5:47 KJV)  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Jesus continues by stating that if they greet or embrace only their brethren, they are no better than the tax collectors. The Pharisees hated the tax collectors, and it was a strong rebuke for the Pharisees to be compared to the tax collectors.  

(Mat 5:48 KJV)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Jesus ends this example of a righteous person by exhorting His disciples to be complete and blameless in moral character just as the Father is complete and righteous. This is simply an exhortation to be Godlike in character and actions. It is not something that we can attain to in this life, but it should be the goal of every Christian. At the Judgment Seat of Christ all Christians will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, Who is the manifestation of God the Father. This will entail a total transformation of character (i.e., loss of the soul) for many Christians with a just recompense of reward. The just recompense of reward will be negative in many cases with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

Rejection of the Pharisaic Practices (6:1-7:6)

We have seen the rejection by Jesus of the Pharisaic traditions in 5:21-48. We will now look at the rejection by Jesus of the Pharisaic practices in 6:1-7:6. In this Jesus changes from the examination of their teachings to the examination of their deeds. Jesus contrasts the righteous living that He expects with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and their followers. The showy pretense of the Pharisees has been replicated in the modern Laodicean church. The hype and pretense abounds in the Laodicean church, which has its primary focus in the Pentecostal movement of the twentieth century.  

     First Example—Alms (6:1-4)  

(Mat 6:1 KJV)  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

The Pharisees enjoyed impressing others with their charitable gifts, thinking this was demonstrating their righteousness. They made a great show of their giving in the synagogues and streets. The analogous situation today is the wealthy people who go to church and become well known for their support of the church. Often these are the leaders in the local churches, and they are greatly honored by the pastors and workers in the churches since their salaries depend upon their gifts. This is the primary reason that pastors today refrain from preaching and teaching Biblical truths, as they are afraid that they will offend the ones who provide the most support to the churches. Instead, the pastors cater to those who make a great show of giving to the churches.  

There will be many Christians who have given their tithes and offerings to churches, but will receive no reward from the heavenly Father. This is not to negate the importance of giving tithes and offerings to the churches, but to emphasize the attitude of heart that should accompany this giving. Many Christians reduce their giving or cease tithing when the pastor says something that offends their conscience. This is confirmed in the following passage where many Christians will seek out pastors who will tell them pleasant things:  

(2 Tim 4:1-4 KJV)  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; {2} Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. {3} For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; {4} And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  

This practice is rampant in the Church today where pastors and teachers tell Christians that God wants them to be rich financially, and that they can become rich by giving. They also refuse to teach them the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the fact that many Christians will not enter the kingdom of heaven. They also teach THE LIE that the Rapture of the Church is imminent and all Christians will be removed before the seven-year tribulation period begins. Please read my article The Great Delusion (The Lie) to see how this teaching has permeated the Church today.

(Mat 6:2 KJV)  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Jesus continues to teach the correct way to provide charitable gifts and services to those in the Church without being hypocritical about it. We are to perform our good deeds and give our tithes and offerings in a manner that does not bring attention to ourselves. If our reason for tithing is to impress others in the Church, then our attitude of heart is wrong, and we will not be rewarded for our giving.  

It is interesting that the Greek word for “alms” means more than monetary gifts. It also includes righteous deeds that flow from a righteous character. It would include all righteous acts or deeds that emanate out of agape, which is Christian love that is unconditional. Agape does not seek glory and honor from man, but from God. I have seen Christians denigrate the working for rewards from God, but these same Christians will work tirelessly to receive glory and honor from man. This verse confirms that our works should be for the purpose of reward from God, and not from man. Works for God flow from a heart of faith with the understanding that God will reward them in the coming kingdom.  

(Mat 6:3 KJV)  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

This verse confirms that we should be very discreet about our righteous deeds that we perform. Jesus uses the expression that even our left hand should not know what the right hand is doing.  

(Mat 6:4 KJV)  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Jesus completes the thought that our righteous deeds done in secret in this life will one day be rewarded openly at the Judgment Seat of Christ. At that time we will be able to handle honor and glory without pride and arrogance. The Father sees all works in secret, even though man does not see them. The Christian who performs works that are to be seen of man is demonstrating a lack of faith that God sees them. He is working for rewards in this life and not the coming kingdom.  

It is important to note that it is okay to work for the purpose of being rewarded openly by God in the coming kingdom. Many Christians denigrate the working for reward in the coming kingdom, but God has set this up as the reason that we should perform righteous acts. This is confirmed in the following verse of Scripture:  

(Rev 22:12 KJV)  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Jesus now addresses the practice of prayer by the Pharisees, who loved to perform their prayers in public. They loved to be seen of man in public prayers, as they saw this as a demonstration of their supposed righteousness.  

     Second Example—Prayer (6:5-15)  

(Mat 6:5 KJV)  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Jesus cautions us not to be as the hypocrites who love to pray in public for the purpose of impressing others with their righteousness. Please note that it is the attitude of heart that Jesus is addressing and not the fact of public prayer. This verse confirms that those who pray for the purpose of impressing others have already received their reward for praying. It is a fact that many public prayers are addressed to man and not God. Only God knows the attitude of heart in public prayers, but I have heard public prayers that were suspect.  

(Mat 6:6 KJV)  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Jesus tells us to pray in secret to the Father, and He will hear our prayers in secret and shall reward us openly for our prayers. This verse in very important in demonstrating that prayer is a work to be rewarded in the coming kingdom. The primary work of many faithful Christians is in the area of prayer. I believe that there are many prayer warriors who are virtually unknown in the Church today, who will be greatly rewarded openly at the Judgment Seat of Christ for their faithfulness in prayer.  

(Mat 6:7 KJV)  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Jesus is not denouncing long prayers or repetitions in our prayers from one prayer to another, but he is denouncing vain repetitions and long prayers for the purpose of overcoming God’s unwillingness to respond by wearying Him with words.  

(Mat 6:8 KJV)  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

It is unnecessary to repeat over and over our petitions to God in order for Him to hear us. He knows the things that we need before we ask Him, so vain repetition is unnecessary. Our prayers should be specific and personal, and we should address our physical and spiritual needs. Our spiritual needs are just as important—if not more important—as our physical needs.  

(Mat 6:9 KJV)  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Jesus tells His disciples the manner in which they should pray. This prayer was to serve as a model or outline for us to use when we pray. It explicitly tells us to pray to the Heavenly Father. I have heard many prayers that were addressed to Jesus, but this verse confirms that we are to pray to the Father. Immediately after addressing the Father, we are to recognize His Holiness. This means that we are to hold the Heavenly Father in reverence and we are to treat Him as being Holy. This means that He is worthy of veneration and worship. After addressing the Heavenly Father, we are to worship and reverence Him.  

In modern day terminology, we could begin our prayer as follows in this pattern of prayer:  

“My Dear Heavenly Father. I worship You and adore You. I reverence and praise Your Holy Name.  

(Mat 6:10 KJV)  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Since the goal of our faith is to enter into the kingdom of God (i.e., kingdom of heaven), it is natural that the next item in the prayer is to petition the coming of the kingdom of heaven. This is clearly in reference to the corporeal kingdom of God the Son, as the verse defines it as the will of the Father being performed on the earth. That will happen when Jesus establishes His kingdom.  

This verse destroys the teaching of much of the Church that the kingdom is already here in the hearts of Christians. We are to continue praying this prayer until Jesus Christ returns and establishes His kingdom upon the earth.  

(Mat 6:11 KJV)  Give us this day our daily bread.

I have vacillated on the meaning of this verse since the passage in Matthew 6:25-33 tells us not to “take thought” about what we eat, drink or need for clothing and shelter. The Greek word for “take thought” means “to be anxious about”. Consequently, I believe this verse does mean that we simply ask God to provide our daily physical sustenance. It is important to note that we are to simply request the necessary sustenance for one day.

(Mat 6:12 KJV)  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

After we have addressed the Father, worshipped Him, and asked for our daily sustenance, we are then to ask Him to cleanse us from our sins or offences against Him. Please note that it assumes that we have committed sin against God. This is in direct contradiction to those Christians who think that we no longer sin after we have been spiritually regenerated. Also, please note that we are to seek God’s forgiveness in the same manner or degree as we forgive those who commit offences against us. This is also seen in the Matthew 6:14-15 below and in the following verses:  

(Luke 6:37 KJV)  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  

(Luke 17:3-4 KJV)  Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. {4} And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.  

(Mat 6:13 KJV)  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  

This verse is the most misunderstood verse in the model prayer provided by Jesus. It relates to the following verse:  

(Luke 21:36 KJV)  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.  

This verse is in the Luke portion of the Olivet Discourse. Jesus commanded us to “pray always” requesting that we be accounted worthy to escape the coming tribulation period. Since we are to always pray this prayer, it is logical and necessary that Jesus include this petition in the model prayer. This is exactly what He has done in verse 13 above.  

The Greek word for temptation in verse 13 above is the very same word in the following verse where Jesus is addressing the Philadelphia church and its escape from the tribulation period:

(Rev 3:10 KJV)  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.  

Consequently, verse 13 above is a petition to God to be kept out of the tribulation period, just as Jesus reiterates in Luke 21:36. A paraphrase of verse 13 is as follows:  

(Mat 6:13 Paraphrase)  And do not bring us into the tribulation period. Please deliver us from the Evil One, for the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to you and not Satan. Amen.

It should be clear that this verse is a petition to escape the tribulation period where Satan will have given his power and authority to Antichrist. But since the kingdom, the power and the glory belong to God the Father, Satan and Antichrist should have no power and authority over us. Satan and Antichrist will have power and authority over Christians during the tribulation period, but it will be because Christians have not sufficiently rejected this power and authority. This is why Jesus commands us to make this our daily prayer.  

The great majority of Christians have no idea what this verse is talking about, so they do not pray to be kept out of the tribulation period. Verse 13 ends the model prayer provided by Jesus.  

(Mat 6:14 KJV)  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Jesus continues the Sermon On the Mount by explaining the petition in verse 12 above, which asks forgiveness of sin in the same degree that we forgive transgressions against us personally. This verse is clear that if we forgive others who commit offences against us, then our heavenly Father will forgive our sins.  

(Mat 6:15 KJV)  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus continues to nail down this precept by repeating it in the negative. If we do not forgive those who commit offences against us, then our heavenly Father will not forgive us our transgressions against Him. This is a very serious warning and behooves us to be very merciful in our judgment of the brethren. We should not hold grudges or allow a bitter root to spring up between our Christian brothers and us.  

     Third Example—Fasting (6:16-18)  

(Mat 6:16 KJV)  Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Jesus now addresses the conditions for fasting. The Pharisees enjoyed demonstrating how spiritual they were by fasting and letting others know that they were fasting. A fast was for the purpose of denying the body to grow spiritually, but the Pharisees used it as a show of hypocritical piety. The true purpose was not to draw close to God, but to impress others with their spirituality.  

It is easy for us to point to the Pharisees and their false piety, but the truth is that all of us upon occasion seek to impress others with our spirituality.  

Jesus tells His disciples not to make a great show when they fast by having a “sad countenance” or mournful appearance. Also, they are not to allow the luster or oily shine to disappear from their faces so they will appear to be on a fast. If they purposely did this to impress others with their piety, then this impression was all of the reward that they were going to receive. 

(Mat 6:17 KJV)  But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  

Instead of allowing the face to lose its luster or oily shine, the person who is fasting is to wash or cleanse his face and put oil on his head so he will appear as normal. When a person goes on a fast, the body first responds to the lack of fat by not secreting oil on the skin, which loses its luster or shine, and the hair becomes dry and brittle. If we wash our face we cleanse the old oily residue from our pores, and stimulate the secretion of new oil, and our faces regain the luster or shine. By anointing our head with oil, the luster or shine is restored to the hair, and we do not appear to be fasting.  

(Mat 6:18 KJV)  That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Jesus summarizes this exhortation by saying that our purpose for fasting is to grow spiritually and not to impress our Christian brothers. If we grow spiritually, then our Father will reward us openly in the kingdom with prominent positions of authority with honor and glory.  

     Fourth Example—Wealth (6:19-24)  

(Mat 6:19 KJV)  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

This verse presents a strong contrast between the correct attitude of asking God to provide our daily needs—as shown in the Lord’s Prayer—and accumulating wealth upon the earth. Modern Laodicean Christianity focuses on the accumulation of wealth, and even considers this as a sign of the blessings of God. The Laodicean church has become enamored with gold and has its primary focus on the accumulation of wealth. In the lY2K crisis, the Church taught Christians how to protect their investments, instead of preparing spiritually for the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  

The common error of Phariseeism and Judaism was the undue emphasis on material wealth as the evidence of God’s approval. The Laodicean church has fallen into this same error.  

This verse commands us to not store up treasures for ourselves upon the earth. It highlights the temporary nature of earthly riches by describing them as subject to the ravages of the earthly environment—both animal and mineral.  

(Mat 6:20 KJV)  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

In contrast to accumulating earthly treasures, this verse exhorts us to lay up our treasures in heaven, where they are not subject to the ravages of nature. We lay up treasures in heaven by concentrating our attention on the practical righteousness that comes through crucifying the old flesh nature and allowing Christ to live His life in us. We already have the imputed righteousness of Christ, which guarantees our entrance into heaven. It is now necessary that we attain to the requisite practical righteousness for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. To enter into the kingdom means to enter into the king’s dominion, and it pertains to entering into a position of reigning and ruling with Jesus Christ in the coming millennial kingdom. All Christians will enter heaven, but not all Christians will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Entrance into heaven is to enter a place, but entrance into the kingdom of heaven is to enter a position of authority.  

(Mat 6:21 KJV)  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If the Christian devotes his life to attaining the practical righteousness necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, his heart will be focused on the coming kingdom and not earthly treasures.  

(Mat 6:22 KJV)  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

The light or lamp of the body is that which receives or reflects the light. Physically, it is the eye that is the lamp of the body, but the eye here is used figuratively for spiritual understanding. If the spiritual understanding is single, which is the opposite of twofold—double vision in the matters of treasures—then this Christian can regard riches in its proper perspective.  

(Mat 6:23 KJV)  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The conclusion is that if the spiritual understanding is evil (i.e., bad or hurtful in effect or influence) then the whole body will be full of darkness. The body is that which manifests our works of righteousness, so if our spiritual understanding is faulty, then there will be no works of righteousness through the body. If our spiritual understanding is accurate, then our body can perform righteous deeds in the power of the spirit.  

Most of the works performed today in the Church are works of the flesh, and this is because of the lack of spiritual understanding. The Laodicean church is the dominant church of the 20th century, so the primary works in the Church today proceed from walking in darkness. The following verse summarizes the reason why the Church today is walking in darkness. The Laodicean church is attempting to serve both God and Mammon, and this is impossible. No slave can serve two masters.  
(Mat 6:24 KJV)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

In this verse Jesus personifies wealth as “Mammon” and places it as a god who man serves in place of the True and Living God. There are millions of Christians who would deny that they are serving Mammon, but they have placed Mammon above God. I have friends, relatives and acquaintances who devote their lives in the service of Mammon. They spend enormous amounts of time in the pursuit of wealth, and precious few minutes in the study and meditation on God’s Word. Mammon is the god of the end-time Laodicean church. The primary focus of the church of Laodicea is the Almighty Dollar.  

The word for hate means to love it less than the other, since he loves the other one more. Christians today love wealth more than they love God. The word for “hold to” means to adhere closely one, and the word for “despise” means to think less of something. Christians today think more of wealth than they think of God.  

The Scriptures are clear that the love or desire for money and wealth will keep more Christians out of the kingdom of heaven than any other vice. The following passage of Scripture points out the dangers in loving money. The end result is destruction and perdition of the Christian, which is the lost of the soul, or the failure to realize eternal life.  

Note: Eternal life pertains to the soul and not the spirit. Numerous Christians will be in heaven who will fail to realize or attain unto eternal life. Eternal life is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Scriptures. Please read my article To Perish or Not to Perish for an in-depth understanding of eternal life and how the Christian can attain unto it.  

The following verses in 1 Timothy address the issue of the correct attitude of the Christian toward wealth:  

(1 Tim 6:6 KJV)  But godliness with contentment is great gain.

This verse states simply that a godly person who is content with his station in life has already realized or acquired great wealth.  

(1 Tim 6:7 KJV)  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

The desire to acquire great wealth in this life is a futile chasing after the wind. No one brought any wealth into the world, and no one will take any out of this world.  

(1 Tim 6:8 KJV)  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The Christian is to be content with the most basic of necessities—food and clothes. It is significant that this is all that Jesus possessed during his life on the earth. He had one robe and he had food during his life upon the earth, but nothing else.  

(1 Tim 6:9 KJV)  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  

The person who desires to be rich is yielding to temptation and it is a trap that ensnares the foolish Christian. It is important to note that this verse does not just apply to rich people. It applies to anyone who simply desires, is disposed to, or intends to be rich. There are many poor people who desire to be rich. There are many Christians in the world who desire or want to be rich, but never attain unto wealth because of the lack of self-discipline. This is why gambling has become so prominent in the USA in this century. Lotteries take in great sums of money because of the desire to be rich.  

The reason scam artists are so successful is they prey on the greediness of man. I have very little pity for people who get scammed out of their life savings, simply because they succumbed to greed.  

Please note in this verse that money is something after which Christians lust.  

(1 Tim 6:10 KJV)  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  

It is important to note that it is the love of money and not money that is the root of all kinds of evil. The word “covet” means to desire greatly. The Christian who greatly desires money has strayed away from the truth into error. The Greek word for “pierced through” means they have tortured their own souls with many sorrows or pains.

(1 Tim 6:11 KJV)  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  

The man of God should flee from the love of money and the covetousness after money. Instead, the man of God should follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness. It is doubtful that you will find any of these characteristics in abundance among rich people or those who seek after wealth.  

     Fifth Example—Anxiety  

(Mat 6:25 KJV)  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

It naturally follows that those Christians who do not have wealth may fall victim to faithless worry. Jesus addresses this by warning us to “take no thought” for the necessities of life. This is not a prohibition to foresight and planning, as this phrase means to not be anxious about what we will eat, drink or wear in the way of clothing. The following passage addresses the issue of foresight and planning:  

(Prov 6:6-8 KJV)  Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: {7} Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, {8} Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

We are to work and plan to provide for our necessities, but we are not to be anxious or worried about them as explained in the following verses.  

(Mat 6:26 KJV)  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Jesus gives an example of the birds that do not sow or reap or gather crops, yet the heavenly Father feeds them year round. If God feeds the birds of the air, then He will certainly see that we have the necessities of life.  

(Mat 6:27 KJV)  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Food is essential to physical growth, but God even controls our physical growth. Our anxiety about food cannot add even one cubit (i.e., 18 inches) to our height, but God causes us to grow physically three or four cubits in our life by the food that our body processes. He has even set the limit on the height that we can attain in our genes, and our eating more food cannot change this set limit.  

(Mat 6:28 KJV)  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Jesus also provides an example to encourage us not to be anxious or concerned about our clothing. His example is the flower or lily of the field, which is unable to work and make clothes for itself, yet it is more beautiful than the rich and wise king Solomon who was arrayed in the most costly clothing attainable. This is seen in the following verse.  

(Mat 6:29 KJV)  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  

(Mat 6:30 KJV)  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  

Jesus makes the analogy that if God clothes the grass of the field, which only exists for a short time and is then burned in the oven, then He will certainly see that we have clothes to wear.  

(Mat 6:31 KJV)  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Jesus completes the teaching by warning us not to be anxious or concerned about what we shall eat, what we shall drink, or what we shall wear in the way of clothing.  

(Mat 6:32 KJV)  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Jesus significantly adds that the pagans (i.e., Gentiles) seek after these things. The word for “seek” means to wish for, crave, or diligently seek after these things. The word means that the pagans have made the seeking after these things the primary focus of their lives. It means that the pagans have focused their lives on seeking after material possessions. This should be a stern warning to us not to focus on the material things of life.  

(Mat 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Instead of making material possessions the focus of our lives, we should make the kingdom of God the primary focus in our lives. This verse clearly states that seeking after the kingdom of God is the same as seeking after the righteousness of God. This righteousness is clearly the practical righteousness that comes from the sanctification process, as we already have the imputed righteousness of Christ.  

This verse clearly states that if we will make seeking after the kingdom of God, and His righteousness as the primary focus in our lives, then He will see that all of our physical needs are met.  

(Mat 6:34 KJV)  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Therefore, we are not to be anxious or overly concerned about tomorrow. We should focus on today and how we are to live our lives this day. We should deal with the troubles that we have today, and wait until tomorrow to deal with tomorrows troubles, as each day has its own troubles. In essence, this verse is telling us not to worry about what tomorrow will bring. As stated above, this is not a prohibition against foresight and planning, but it is a prohibition against worrying about what tomorrow will bring. Worrying is actually sin as it demonstrates a lack of faith in God’s provision for tomorrow.  

     Sixth Example—Judging Others  

(Mat 7:1 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

The present imperative of the verb “judge” suggests that it is the habit of judging others that is condemned. The verb is grammatically neutral as to the final verdict, but the sense here indicates an unfavorable judgment. Critics of others must stop short of final condemnation, as only God can judge motives and determine the final sentence and punishment. Only God has the complete knowledge that is necessary for this judgment.  

Believers are not to avoid all judging, for Christians need to judge themselves and offending members in accordance with verses 6 and 16 below, and the following verses:

(1 Cor 5:3-5 KJV)  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, {4} In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, {5} To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  

(1 Cor 5:12-13 KJV)  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? {13} But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 

It is important to note that in verse 5 above that Paul judged the sin of incest but he did not assign the person to the ranks of the unsaved. This kind of judgment is rampant in the Church today under the guise of Lordship Salvation. The improper judgment is common to declare our fellow Christians as unsaved if they commit certain sins. For example, it is a common practice to judge homosexuals, drunkards, and pedophiles as unsaved reprobates, while gossips, gluttons and the prideful are not so quickly assigned to the ranks of the unsaved. Murderers are often judged as not being “truly saved,” while those who hate the brethren are not so quickly judged. The following verse equates murderers with those who hate the brethren:  

(1 John 3:15 KJV)  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

It is important to note that this verse is not questioning the spirit salvation of a murderer, but it is questioning the current status of the soul in the murderer. It is significant that this verse does not make a final condemnatory judgment of even the murderer.  

NOTE: Eternal life pertains to the salvation of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and not to the spirit. A Christian may not currently have realized soul salvation (i.e., have eternal life abiding in him), but it is still possible for the future.

(Mat 7:2 KJV)  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Jesus warns against hypocritical judgment of our fellow believers. We should be very merciful when judging them, for the mercy we show in judging our fellow Christians is the same mercy that Jesus will show when He judges us. It behooves us to be very merciful in our judgments of others, and we should refrain from being condemnatory in our judgments (i.e., never judge a fellow Christian as an unsaved reprobate based upon his behavior).  

It is a common mistake to assume that a Christian cannot live a certain lifestyle or commit certain sins. This is the kind of judgment that this passage is warning against. There is not a sin that a Christian is incapable of committing, including falling away from the Lord and denying the One that purchased this Christian’s redemption. This is seen in the following verse:  

(2 Pet 2:1 KJV)  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  

(Mat 7:3 KJV)  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  

In this verse and the following two verses, Jesus employs the figure of speech called hyperbole to make a point about the judging of others. Hyperbole is simply gross exaggeration to make a point.

(Mat 7:4 KJV)  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Before we attempt to help our brethren get sin out of their lives, we should first clean up our own lives. We must first judge ourselves and be walking in the light in order to help our brethren walk in the light. This is seen in the following verse:  

(Mat 7:5 KJV)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Please note that we can help our fellow Christians get sin out of their lives, but we must first be clean ourselves in order to help them. Judgment is needed by Christians, but the Christian must first be certain about his own life.  

(Mat 7:6 KJV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

When seeking to help our fellow Christians, we must exercise care in doing those things that are appreciated and beneficial. We should never entrust holy things to unholy people. Metaphorically, a dog is an impudent person with an impure mind. An impudent person is insolent and impertinent.  

in·so·lent  adj. 1. Presumptuous and insulting in manner or speech; arrogant. 2. Audaciously rude or disrespectful; impertinent. [Middle English, from Latin ºnsol¶ns, ºnsolent-, immoderate, arrogant : in-, not; see IN-1 + sol¶ns, present participle of sol¶re, to be accustomed.] --in“so·lent n. --in“so·lent·ly adv.  

Jesus makes the assumption that we have the ability to recognize these people. In not casting our pearls before swine, this means that we are not to attempt to impart spiritual wisdom to these people who are incapable of appreciating this wisdom. When we attempt to teach or impart spiritual wisdom and understanding to these people, they are unable to profit from this wisdom, and they will only turn and attack us with verbal abuse. We should avoid these people and not attempt to correspond with them.  

(Mat 7:7 KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

The present tenses of these verbs mean that we are to keep on asking, to keep on seeking, and to keep on knocking. The following verses confirm that these requests pertain to the seeking of the kingdom of heaven, which is the primary topic in the Sermon on the Mount.  

(Mat 7:8 KJV)  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

If we want to be part of the Firstfruits Rapture, we are to keep on asking, seeking and knocking on the door of heaven. This is not a one time prayer that we request one time and then forget about it. It is something that we ask for and seek continuously. The meaning of knocking at the door is clearly a reference to the door of the kingdom. It is the open door, the narrow door, (i.e., gate) that is the entrance into the kingdom of heaven when the Firstfruits Rapture takes place.  

(Mat 7:9 KJV)  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

The word bread in this verse is in reference to both physical bread for sustenance and the Word of God that we are to feed upon in this life.  

(Mat 7:10 KJV)  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

The word fish in this verse is in reference to meat for physical sustenance and the meat of the Word of God. The meat of the Word of God is the deeper truths that can only be understood with much study and calling upon the Holy Spirit for guidance.  

(Mat 7:11 KJV)  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?

The analogy is made that if an earthly father knows how to give good gifts to his children, then the heavenly Father will much more know how to give good gifts to His children. The heavenly Father has infinite knowledge, so He knows exactly what is good for us and what is not good for us. The heavenly father will not give us gifts that are not good for us, even if we desire them greatly.  

(Mat 7:12 KJV)  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 section on judging others is concluded with a simple rule that will help us do the right thing in all situations when our relationship with others is in focus. We know this verse as the “golden rule”. It simply states that we are to treat others in the same manner that we would like them to treat us.  

In applying this rule, we should ask ourselves such questions as: 1) Would I want someone to be catty (i.e., subtly cruel and malicious) towards me? 2) Would I want someone to talk about my faults to others? 3) Would I want someone to talk about the mean things that I had done many years ago? 4) Would I want someone to spread intimate or private rumors or facts about me—even if they are true?  

gos·sip  n. 1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature. 2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.

We will not go wrong in our relationships with others if we treat them in the same manner that we would like to be treated.  

Concluding Exhortations to Disciples

(Mat 7:13 KJV)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

In order to understand these concluding exhortations from Jesus, we must remember that He is addressing His disciples in this whole passage. Consequently, He is exhorting believers to enter in at the narrow gate instead of the broad gate. Jesus cautions that the broad gate leads to destruction and many will enter into heaven through this gate. The destruction is the perishing of the soul or life at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It means that the believer has lived his life in accordance with the flesh nature instead of the spirit nature that was given at the time of the new birth.  

(Mat 7:14 KJV)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Jesus continues by stating that the narrow gate leads to life or soul salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and only a few will realize soul salvation and enter through the narrow gate into the kingdom of heaven. The word for “find it” implies that this person has been diligently searching for this narrow gate. This goes back to the primary theme of the Sermon on the Mount, which is to enter the kingdom of heaven.

(Mat 7:15 KJV)  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Jesus warns His disciples about “false prophets” in this verse. A false prophet is someone who pretends to speak empowered by the Holy Spirit, but he is speaking in his own power. These false prophets will come in sheep’s clothing, which speaks of their authority as preachers of righteousness, but they will actually be “ravening wolves.” The word for “ravening” means an extortioner and the word wolf means someone who satisfies his own lusts. Therefore, these pretended preachers of righteousness are actually using their positions of authority in the Church to obtain property, funds or patronage. These false prophets may or may not be believers, but they are using their positions of authority to fulfill their selfish ambitions for power and wealth.  

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

After warning His disciples about false prophets, Jesus then addressees the issue of how to recognize these false prophets. He immediately states that these false prophets can be recognized by their fruits. We do not gather grapes from thorn bushes, nor figs from prickly thistle plants. Neither will the false prophet exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The tests of a prophet is his conformity to Scripture, which produces the fruit of the Spirit.  

(Mat 7:17 KJV)  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

In this verse Jesus is referring to a fruit tree, and the fruit tree can be good or evil. The tree is in reference to the life that a person leads. It may be a good life filled with the Holy Spirit, or it may be an evil life controlled by the old flesh nature. The good tree or good life will bring forth good fruits, but the corrupt tree or corrupt life will bring forth evil fruit. The corrupt tree in this verse is a saved individual who walks in accordance with the old flesh nature. A carnal Christian is saved but he brings forth evil fruit.  

(Mat 7:18 KJV)  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The good life (i.e., good tree) will not bring forth evil fruit, and the corrupted life will not bring forth good fruit. The whole context of this passage pertains to the works of a disciple. Heaven and hell are not the issue but entrance into the kingdom of heaven is the issue, as is seen in the following verses.

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

Jesus states that the life of the individual who does not bring forth good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire to be burned. This is the fire that will test our works to see if it passes through the fire or is burned up.  

(Mat 7:20 KJV)  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Jesus reiterates that we can know false prophets by their fruits or their works.  

(Mat 7:21 KJV)  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.

This verse confirms that the context of the preceding pertains to the entrance into the kingdom of heaven and not entrance into heaven.  

(Mat 7:22 KJV)  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?

In this verse Jesus states that many believers will say to Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ that they had done many wonderful works. Please note that these people are calling Jesus Lord, Lord, and they believe that they prophesied in His Name. They also state that they had cast out demons and performed many miraculous works. These believers are clearly the Laodicean church who pretend prophetic utterances, speak in tongues, and pretend to do many miracles. It is important to note that these are believers in Jesus Christ, and they sincerely believed that they were performing many good works, but the works do not pass the test of the fire that will try these works.  

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

Jesus tells these believers that He never had an intimate relationship with them, and to depart from his as they performed works of iniquity.  

(Mat 7:24 KJV)  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:

In concluding the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sums his teachings up by saying that the believer’s works will only stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, if these works were done in the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and His teachings are compared to a large rock in this verse, and the believer who hears the teachings of Jesus Christ and performs them is likened to a wise man who builds his house upon a large rock. In essence, it is the foundation of the teachings that will cause the house to stand when tested.  

In this verse and the next three verses it is important to note that the wise and foolish man are identified based upon their works. Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is the issue and not heaven or hell.  

(Mat 7:25 KJV)  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.

The descending rain typifies the blessings of God, and the floods typify the earthly judgments of God. The wind blowing represents the will of God in judging his servants for their works. The wise man performed his works in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and not his own power, so his house withstood the blessings of God, along with the earthly and heavenly judgments that came along for the purpose of testing.  

The wise man built his structure or house upon a foundation that was stable and immovable, instead of the sand, which was transient and unstable. When the tests came along to test his works, the wise man’s works withstood the tests and remained standing.

(Mat 7:26 KJV)  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:

The believer who does not perform works in accordance with the Word of God is likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. It is very important to note that works are involved in this analogy and not whether a person goes to heaven or hell. Jesus is summing up His presentation of entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and the issue is whether the works are able to withstand the judgments of God.  

(Mat 7:27 KJV)  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.

The result of the judgments of God on the foolish man’s works is a total collapse of his structure. The key to the survival of the works of a believer is whether they were done in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in accordance with the power and authority of Jesus Christ, or in the power of the flesh.  

The Laodicean church performs many works in the power of the flesh, and the structure appears to be very large and beautiful. However, when the Judgment Seat of Christ tries the works in accordance with the written Word of God, it will come toppling down with a great crash. The foolish servant is also seen in verses 22 and 23 above. He actually thinks that his works are wonderful and miraculous, but they are works performed in the power of the flesh and not the power of the Holy Spirit.  

It is interesting that a favorite couplet of the Antichrist was used spontaneously by him to introduce a visiting group to the White House: 

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!  

(Mat 7:28 KJV)  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

When Jesus had completed the Sermon on the Mount, the people were absolutely astonished or amazed at his doctrine, for His doctrine was greatly different from what the Pharisees and Scribes had been teaching them.  

It is the same today when Christians hear the true and deep doctrines of the Word of God. They are astonished that they have never heard these truths from the pulpits. The preachers and teachers in the churches today are in the same boat with the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day. They are teaching doctrines that do not line up with the Word of God. Both the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the preachers of today preached in accordance with the traditions of men instead of the authority of the Word of God.  

It is ironic that when Jesus came the first time, He rejected the religious leaders of the day, and when He comes the second time for the Firstfruits Rapture, He will reject the religious leaders of the day.  

(Mat 7:29 KJV)  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The people were astonished at the message of Jesus, since He taught as one having authority, and not as the Jewish teachers of that day. Jesus taught in the power of the Spirit, and the scribes taught in the power of the flesh. Everything that we do should be done in the name of Jesus Christ, which means in His power and in His authority.