Matthew, Chapter 7

Matt. 7:7, 8

Matt. 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Obviously, the above passage has some limitations as far as what we are to seek, ask, or knock for. If there were no limitations, then I could covetously ask for things and receive them, though the Lord has said that we should not covet. The things that we are to ask, seek, and knock after pertain to the understanding of God's word and kingdom.

James tells us that we "have not, because ye ask not." Further, he tells us "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." There are multitudes of God's people today who do not understand the basic bible doctrines of God's grace. They do not understand it because they have not asked the Lord to give them understanding of his precious truths. Many assume that they already know the truth and therefore they never find the truth.

God's people should be like the Bereans: Acts 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." The Bereans sought for the truth and they found it. They, no doubt, asked for the truth and it was given unto them. They knocked that it might be opened unto them and the Lord opened it unto them.

It is almost impossible to get someone to believe the truth who is not seeking after it. Yet it has been my experience that when someone is seeking the truth, he readily embraces it when it is preached unto him.

The Lord made precious promises unto his people in the above passage. These were not maybes. These were definitive promises made to those who sought, asked, and knocked. The Lord keeps his promises. When it comes to the word of God and the things concerning his kingdom, if we seek, we will find. If we ask, we will receive. If we knock, the Lord will open it unto us. How do I know this? I know it because the Lord promised it.

Matt. 7:9-11

Matt. 7:9 "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 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?"
It is important to remember that the Lord is addressing the disciples. While there may be some wicked men that would give their children a stone or a serpent, the Lord is not addressing unregenerate men, but rather his disciples.
The disciples of the Lord, even though we have a sinful nature in the flesh, know how to give good gifts unto our children. The Lord's people know the needs of their children and will do what they can to meet those needs. When our children ask us for bread or ask us for fish, we are most ready to comply with their requests. We are also glad to be able to give them good things when they ask. We do this even though we have a wicked nature in the flesh.

How much more does our Heavenly Father delight to give good things to them that ask him? The Lord by his very nature is good and does good at all times. This should be a great encouragement to us that, especially in time of need, we can go to him and ask him for the things that we need and he will give it to us. Our Heavenly Father is the perfect gift giver. He knows our needs better than we do and delights to give us those things we need when we ask him. Furthermore, he often gives us even better than what we ask.

Matt. 7:12

Matt. 7:12 "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

Many refer to the above verse as the "golden rule." We should live our lives by this wonderful guidepost. We should constantly strive to do unto others in the exact same manner that we would have them do unto us. We all want people to treat us right; therefore, we should treat other people right. We want people to be honest with us; therefore, we should be honest with them. We want people to be kind unto us; therefore, we should be kind unto them. We want people to be longsuffering with our faults; therefore, we should be longsuffering with their faults. We want people to forgive us; therefore, we should be forgiving of them.

The above does not say that we should do unto others as they do unto us, but rather we are to do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. Thus, we are not to treat others as they treat us, but rather we should treat them, regardless of how they treat us, in the manner, we would want them to treat us.

Some have a misconception of the law and the prophets. They only see the "thou shalt nots" of the Old Testament. Actually, the Old Testament (law and prophets) teaches us of the love of God and how we should love one another. Directly, the Old Testament teaches us:

1. Deu. 6:5 "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
2. Lev. 19:18 "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."
When asked what the greatest commandment in the law was, the Lord responded: Matt. 22:37 "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."

Love toward our neighbour is the fulfilling of the law:
1. Rom. 13:9 "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
2. Gal. 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
3. James 2:8 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well."
Finally, the way that we fulfill the royal law is to do unto others even as we would have them do unto us.

Matt. 7:13, 14

Matt. 7:13 "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: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

A companion verse is found in Luke 13:24 "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

The word "strait" means "restricted or narrow." A gate is an entryway. It controls access. If a gate is locked you cannot enter. If a gate is open you may enter but your manner of entry is limited to the size of the gate. A restricted or narrow gate is a limited entry. A wide gate allows for an unrestricted entry. It is very easy to enter through a wide gate. There are almost no restrictions in entering a wide gate.

One of the meanings of the word "way" is "a road." Travel over a narrow road is much more difficult than travel over a broad road. A narrow road like the strait gate is restrictive. A road is a way to a destination. Journeys are made over roads. Thus, roads lead somewhere.

A strait gate and a narrow way lead unto life. A wide gate and a broad way lead unto destruction.

Knowing what the "life" and the "destruction" refers to is the key to our understanding of the above passage.

Many mistakenly believe that the word "life" in the text refers to "eternal life" and the word "destruction" refers to "eternal destruction." By making life and destruction, eternal in the passage would make the obtaining of eternal life based on a system of works performed by the individual. This is not consistent with other teachings of the bible:

1. Tit. 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
2. 2 Tim. 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
3. Eph. 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
4. Rom. 9:11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)"
5. Rom. 4:2 "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."
6. Rom. 11:5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
7. Gal. 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
8. Gal. 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

Thus, the life and the destruction in the text cannot be referring to eternal life and eternal damnation. Rather than referring to eternal life, the text is referring to the more abundant life in the Kingdom of God: John 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." It is this more abundant life that Jesus came that the sheep might have. We have a more abundant life in God's church kingdom here in time than we would have if we did not enter into that church kingdom.

By entering through the strait or restricted gate and walking the narrow way of discipleship, we have a more abundant life in the Kingdom of God. We have an abundance of joy, peace, comfort, rest, contentment, and close fellowship with God when we walk in humble obedience unto the Lord and worship and serve him in Spirit and in truth. Entering this strait gate and walking this narrow way does not entitle us unto heaven's glory world; Christ paid the price for our living in heaven's glory world and we will live there by God's grace. Entering the strait gate and walking the narrow way greatly enriches our lives as we live in this world.

Entering the wide gate and walking the broad way only leads to personal destruction in our lives. We live without the close fellowship of the Lord and the spiritual direction of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We live our lives in spiritual darkness and walk after the flesh to many personal destructions in our lives. As we walk after the flesh, we reap destruction in the flesh. Entering the wide gate and walking the broad way will not keep us out of heaven, but will lead us to the personal destruction in our lives.

To enter the strait gate into discipleship, which only a child of God can do, requires repentance, belief of the gospel, confession, and baptism. Once we have entered the strait or restricted gate, then we walk the narrow way of discipleship by living according to the teaching of God's word.