Matthew 7

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1 JUDGE not, that you may not be judged,

2 For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 Any why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?

4 Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

6 Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you.

7 Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.

8 For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?

10 Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?

11 If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?

12 All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets.

13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.

14 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?

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

24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,

25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand,

27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.

28 And it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine.

29 For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 7      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 7.

Examining our Motives

---
1. “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2. For in what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and in what measure you measure, it shall be measured back to you.

3. And why dost thou look at the bit of straw in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam in thine own eye?

4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Permit [me] to cast out the bit of straw from thine eye, and behold, the beam [is] in thine own eye?

5. Hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt look carefully to cast out the bit of straw out of thy brother’s eye.

6. Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast your pearls in front of swine, lest they trample them by their feet, and turning, tear you.

7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

8. For everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.

9. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask [for] bread, will give him a stone?

10. And if he ask [for] a fish, will he give [him] a serpent?

11. If you then, being wicked, know [how] to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father that [is] in the heavens give good [things] to those that ask Him?

12. Therefore all things whatsoever you will that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13. Enter ye in through the tight gate, for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads away into destruction, and there are many who come in through it,

14. Because tight [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way that leads into life, and there are few who find it.

15. And beware ye of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s raiment, but inside they are rapacious wolves.

16. From their fruits you shall know them. Do [men] collect grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

17. So every good tree makes good fruits; but a rotten tree makes bad fruits.

18. A good tree cannot make bad fruits; neither [can] a rotten tree make good fruits.

19. Every tree not making good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.

20. Therefore from their fruits you shall know them.”
---

The previous episode ended with the words, “sufficient unto the day is its own evil.” These words remind us that there is nothing more important than examining the hidden evils in our own lives, investigating our own motives, and determining to what extent we are putting God first. This is absolutely essential if we ever hope to do good towards the neighbor that truly is good. In other words, in order to do good we must first examine our deeper motives and ask God to remove any evil, selfish inclinations that might still be in our heart. This is a daily process, even moment to moment, identifying and removing one selfish inclination at a time.

If, for example, we have been highly critical of others, we are taught to examine this aspect of our nature: “Judge not, that you be not judged,” says Jesus. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (7:1-2). This does not mean that we are never to make any judgments at all, for in order for society to survive, civil and moral judgments must be made. Personnel managers must decide whether a particular individual is more or less qualified for a job; physicians must decide whether or not to perform a life threatening operation; referees must make decisions about the games at which they officiate; judges must make decisions that are consistent with the law. Judgments of this nature must be made continually in order for society to properly function.

What then does Jesus mean when He says, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? He means that we should not make spiritual judgments about people. We should be most cautious when it comes to assessing the motives and intentions of others. We really cannot see into another person’s soul; therefore we do not know what drives a person, what anyone’s motivations are, or what reasons lurk behind a person’s external words and actions. Because all of this is in the realm of the spirit, we are forbidden to make judgments about anyone’s deeper motivations or essential character. 1

We are, however, strongly encouraged to judge our own motives and intentions. This is why Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? . . . Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (7:3, 5). Self-examination, as we shall see, is the key to spiritual growth. To the extent that we examine and remove evils from ourselves, we open the way for good to flow in from God.

But the process of examining ourselves, identifying evils and overcoming them, requires prayer to God for the light and the will to do so: “Ask, and it will be given you,” says Jesus. “Seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened” (7:7). Jesus’ words are filled with assurance: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (7:8).

As the sermon continues, Jesus offers several keys for how we can go about examining our motives and intentions. Perhaps the most famous and the most widely practiced of all is the golden rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (7:12). This universal principle of self-examination applies to all people, in all faiths, at all times. It calls us to ask ourselves, “Would you want someone to do to you what you are about to do to them?” If the answer is “no,” we should not do it. If the answer is “yes,” we should do it.

But even though the golden rule is a universal principle, it can also be a “narrow path” if we rarely walk it. If we choose instead to walk the pathway of self-indulgence and harsh judgment of others, the more we walk that pathway, the broader it becomes.

Therefore, Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (7:13-14). Jesus knows that the pathway of careful self-examination and consideration of others is a narrow one. It is not well-trodden, simply because people have not walked it very often. Even so, it is the way that leads to the fullest life.

As the process of self-examination deepens, we must be especially aware of our tendency to use scripture to promote our own selfish ends. Jesus therefore warns us to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (7:15). “False prophets” are our own tendencies to use sacred scripture (“sheep’s clothing”) as a way of achieving selfish ambitions (“inwardly they are ravenous wolves”). As long as we have self-serving ulterior motives, nothing truly good can be produced. Bushes that produce “thistles” and “thorns” symbolize the barrenness of actions that have self-interest within them — the empty, fruitless efforts to appear righteous in the eyes of others, while inwardly there is no righteousness at all. As Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits; do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (7:16).

None of us, no matter how often we read or quote scripture, is on the path that leads to life until we begin to serve others from a truly spiritual motive. Service to others and faith in God must not be separated. For example, there are many contemplative paths that focus on prayer, meditation, study, and reflection. While these faith-oriented disciplines are vitally important, they must also include useful service. If not, they are incomplete.

Similarly, there are many paths that emphasize charity and good will. These service-oriented disciplines focus on saving the environment, establishing schools, providing homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, helping the handicapped, and caring for the poor and needy around the world. These works of outward compassion are vitally important, but if they are not motivated by a genuine love for the neighbor, they have little actual good in them. In fact, they can become another form in which the ravenous wolf (desire to be appreciated, rewarded, and esteemed) disguises itself in sheep’s clothing (doing external good works for others).

Whether we tend towards the path of contemplation or the path of service, the narrow path should not be neglected, for it is at the heart of both approaches. It reminds us to stay spiritually awake and to be conscious of what is arising in our inner world. It calls us to first of all look to God in His Word, shunning evils as sins against Him (faith-oriented disciplines), and then looks outward towards the neighbor, striving to see and serve God in everyone (service-oriented disciplines). If our works are to be truly good and our service efforts are to bear noble fruit, they must flow from our highest intentions. These are the finer instincts and nobler promptings of a heart that is being cleansed through self-examination in the light of God’s commandments. 2

Whenever we carefully and honestly examine our motives, praying to God to help us remove every selfish desire and false thought, we open a way for God to work in and through us. It is at this point that our “good” works become truly good: “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit . . . a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (7:17-18). But if we avoid the hard work of self-examination (the narrow path) we never get around to rooting out the selfish desires that will contaminate every good work that we do. In that case, the fruit of our outwardly good works will not be good, since the root of the tree is corrupt: “A bad tree bears bad fruit” (7:19).

Unless we choose the narrow path, continually rooting out and eliminating all forms of selfish concern, we will not be able to produce good fruit. As a result, we will be increasingly consumed by the flames of selfish desire: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (7:19).

In the end, the only thing that counts is our sincere desire to rise above selfish concerns so that our motives may be as pure as possible. That is why this section begins with an exhortation to first remove the plank from our own eye. When the plank of self-interest is removed, we see clearly how we can help others in the most useful and loving ways — ways that are devoid of ego concerns. Whenever this happens, we produce fruit that is truly good. This, then, is what Jesus means when He says, “By their fruits you will know them” (7:20).

Doing the Will of the Father

---
21. “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that does the will of My Father that [is] in the heavens.

22. Many shall say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many [works of] power?

23. And then I will profess to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you that work iniquity.

24. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a prudent man, who built his house on the rock.

25. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they fell upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26. And everyone that hears these words of Mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

27. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall of it was great.

28. And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these words, the crowds wondered at His teaching.

29. For He was teaching them as [One] having authority, and not as the scribes.”
---

As mentioned in the previous section, a contemplative life, however prayerful and pious, without good works, is useless. Similarly an active life, filled with external good works, without first identifying and shunning our evils, is also useless. Both the extremely pious and the strenuously service-oriented may believe they are serving God and doing their best. But Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (7:21).

To do the will of the Father is to keep the commandments; it is the foundation and basis of everything else. 3 Without first keeping the commandments, nothing else really matters. Even if we cast out demons and do wonders, it will not help. As Jesus says “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (7:22). In other words, each of us is called to do the deeper work of self-examination. This involves identifying evils within ourselves and shunning them as sins against God. But if we do not obey the fundamental laws of spiritual life, which include shunning the evils of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, and coveting, we cannot claim to be followers of God. Therefore Jesus will say to us, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (7:23).

The spiritual teaching given throughout this chapter is quite clear: just to the extent that we shun evils in ourselves as sins against God, the good that we do is truly good. This is what it means to do the will of God. It is not complicated. Just keep the commandments, and pray for the power to do so.

Whoever does this is like “a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” And who ever does not do this is like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the storms came, the house of the foolish man, built on the shifting sands of human opinion, did not stand. But the house which was built upon the rock — faith in the Lord and a life according to His teachings — was able to withstand the most violent storms of life. As Jesus says, “The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (7:25).

In the stormy setbacks of life — represented by the rain, the floods, and the wind beating upon the house — our true motives are exposed. During these moments we can freely choose to turn to God, asking Him to help us cleanse our heart from every self-serving desire. And when we do so, the rains cease, the floods subside, and the winds die down.

As the storm clouds pass, and the sun begins to shine, peace returns and joy arises. It is then that we realize that God has been with us all along, helping us to remove evil and inspiring us to do good. In these “after-the-storm” states, we understand, more and more deeply, that God is always there, calmly leading and instructing, offering the truth that will keep us rock-solid, even in the midst of the most turbulent emotional storms.

This awareness does not come merely by hearing the truth; rather, it is a result of living the truth. Therefore Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with a wonderful promise and a firm warning. First the promise: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock” (7:24). And then comes the warning: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them, I will liken to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it fell. And great was its fall” (7:27).

This was the powerful ending of what has come to be known as “the Sermon on the Mount.” It is significant that Jesus gave this sermon on a “rock” (a mountain), the most enduring symbol on earth of an immoveable, unshakeable faith.

As Jesus concluded the sermon, “the crowds wondered at His words” (7:28). That’s because “He taught them as one having authority, not like the scribes” (7:29). Jesus’ words were filled with power. He spoke with a kind of authority that was unlike anything they had heard before; it was certainly unlike anything they had heard from other religious leaders. It’s easy to imagine them thinking, Who is this man? Where did he come from? And where did he get this knowledge?

This will become the leading question throughout the rest of this gospel. Who is Jesus?

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Footnotes:

1. Conjugial Love 523: “The Lord says, ‘Judge not, that you be not condemned.’ This cannot in the least mean judging of someone's moral and civil life in the world, but judging of someone's spiritual and heavenly life. Who does not see that if people were not allowed to judge of the moral life of those dwelling with them in the world, society would collapse? What would become of society if there were no public courts of law, and if no one was permitted to have his judgment of another? But to judge what the inner mind or soul is like within, thus what a person's spiritual state is and so his fate after death — of this one is not permitted to judge, because it is known to the Lord alone.”

2. Charity 21: “All good that in itself is good proceeds from the interior will. Evil is removed from this will by repentance. See also True Christian Religion 654: “The works of charity done by a Christian and those done by a heathen appear in outward form to be alike, for one like the other practices the good deeds of civility and morality toward his fellow, which in part resemble the deeds of love to the neighbor. Both, even, may give to the poor, aid the needy and attend preaching in churches, and yet who can thereby determine whether or not these external good deeds are alike in their internal form, that is, whether these natural good deeds are also spiritual? This can be concluded only from the faith; for the faith is what determines their quality, since faith causes God to be in them and conjoins them with itself in the internal man; and thus natural good works become interiorly spiritual…. The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, but when separated they all perish like a pearl reduced to powder.”

3. Apocalypse Explained 981: “Love to the Lord means the love or affection of doing His commandments, thus the love of keeping the commandments of the Decalogue. For so far as a person from love or from affection keeps and does these, so far a person loves the Lord. This is because these commandments are the Lord’s presence with everyone.”

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   Studovat vnitřní smysl

Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 7      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 7.

Examining our Motives

---
1. “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2. For in what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and in what measure you measure, it shall be measured back to you.

3. And why dost thou look at the bit of straw in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam in thine own eye?

4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Permit [me] to cast out the bit of straw from thine eye, and behold, the beam [is] in thine own eye?

5. Hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt look carefully to cast out the bit of straw out of thy brother’s eye.

6. Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast your pearls in front of swine, lest they trample them by their feet, and turning, tear you.

7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

8. For everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.

9. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask [for] bread, will give him a stone?

10. And if he ask [for] a fish, will he give [him] a serpent?

11. If you then, being wicked, know [how] to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father that [is] in the heavens give good [things] to those that ask Him?

12. Therefore all things whatsoever you will that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13. Enter ye in through the tight gate, for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads away into destruction, and there are many who come in through it,

14. Because tight [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way that leads into life, and there are few who find it.

15. And beware ye of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s raiment, but inside they are rapacious wolves.

16. From their fruits you shall know them. Do [men] collect grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

17. So every good tree makes good fruits; but a rotten tree makes bad fruits.

18. A good tree cannot make bad fruits; neither [can] a rotten tree make good fruits.

19. Every tree not making good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.

20. Therefore from their fruits you shall know them.”
---

The previous episode ended with the words, “sufficient unto the day is its own evil.” These words remind us that there is nothing more important than examining the hidden evils in our own lives, investigating our own motives, and determining to what extent we are putting God first. This is absolutely essential if we ever hope to do good towards the neighbor that truly is good. In other words, in order to do good we must first examine our deeper motives and ask God to remove any evil, selfish inclinations that might still be in our heart. This is a daily process, even moment to moment, identifying and removing one selfish inclination at a time.

If, for example, we have been highly critical of others, we are taught to examine this aspect of our nature: “Judge not, that you be not judged,” says Jesus. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (7:1-2). This does not mean that we are never to make any judgments at all, for in order for society to survive, civil and moral judgments must be made. Personnel managers must decide whether a particular individual is more or less qualified for a job; physicians must decide whether or not to perform a life threatening operation; referees must make decisions about the games at which they officiate; judges must make decisions that are consistent with the law. Judgments of this nature must be made continually in order for society to properly function.

What then does Jesus mean when He says, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? He means that we should not make spiritual judgments about people. We should be most cautious when it comes to assessing the motives and intentions of others. We really cannot see into another person’s soul; therefore we do not know what drives a person, what anyone’s motivations are, or what reasons lurk behind a person’s external words and actions. Because all of this is in the realm of the spirit, we are forbidden to make judgments about anyone’s deeper motivations or essential character. 1

We are, however, strongly encouraged to judge our own motives and intentions. This is why Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? . . . Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (7:3, 5). Self-examination, as we shall see, is the key to spiritual growth. To the extent that we examine and remove evils from ourselves, we open the way for good to flow in from God.

But the process of examining ourselves, identifying evils and overcoming them, requires prayer to God for the light and the will to do so: “Ask, and it will be given you,” says Jesus. “Seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened” (7:7). Jesus’ words are filled with assurance: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (7:8).

As the sermon continues, Jesus offers several keys for how we can go about examining our motives and intentions. Perhaps the most famous and the most widely practiced of all is the golden rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (7:12). This universal principle of self-examination applies to all people, in all faiths, at all times. It calls us to ask ourselves, “Would you want someone to do to you what you are about to do to them?” If the answer is “no,” we should not do it. If the answer is “yes,” we should do it.

But even though the golden rule is a universal principle, it can also be a “narrow path” if we rarely walk it. If we choose instead to walk the pathway of self-indulgence and harsh judgment of others, the more we walk that pathway, the broader it becomes.

Therefore, Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (7:13-14). Jesus knows that the pathway of careful self-examination and consideration of others is a narrow one. It is not well-trodden, simply because people have not walked it very often. Even so, it is the way that leads to the fullest life.

As the process of self-examination deepens, we must be especially aware of our tendency to use scripture to promote our own selfish ends. Jesus therefore warns us to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (7:15). “False prophets” are our own tendencies to use sacred scripture (“sheep’s clothing”) as a way of achieving selfish ambitions (“inwardly they are ravenous wolves”). As long as we have self-serving ulterior motives, nothing truly good can be produced. Bushes that produce “thistles” and “thorns” symbolize the barrenness of actions that have self-interest within them — the empty, fruitless efforts to appear righteous in the eyes of others, while inwardly there is no righteousness at all. As Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits; do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (7:16).

None of us, no matter how often we read or quote scripture, is on the path that leads to life until we begin to serve others from a truly spiritual motive. Service to others and faith in God must not be separated. For example, there are many contemplative paths that focus on prayer, meditation, study, and reflection. While these faith-oriented disciplines are vitally important, they must also include useful service. If not, they are incomplete.

Similarly, there are many paths that emphasize charity and good will. These service-oriented disciplines focus on saving the environment, establishing schools, providing homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, helping the handicapped, and caring for the poor and needy around the world. These works of outward compassion are vitally important, but if they are not motivated by a genuine love for the neighbor, they have little actual good in them. In fact, they can become another form in which the ravenous wolf (desire to be appreciated, rewarded, and esteemed) disguises itself in sheep’s clothing (doing external good works for others).

Whether we tend towards the path of contemplation or the path of service, the narrow path should not be neglected, for it is at the heart of both approaches. It reminds us to stay spiritually awake and to be conscious of what is arising in our inner world. It calls us to first of all look to God in His Word, shunning evils as sins against Him (faith-oriented disciplines), and then looks outward towards the neighbor, striving to see and serve God in everyone (service-oriented disciplines). If our works are to be truly good and our service efforts are to bear noble fruit, they must flow from our highest intentions. These are the finer instincts and nobler promptings of a heart that is being cleansed through self-examination in the light of God’s commandments. 2

Whenever we carefully and honestly examine our motives, praying to God to help us remove every selfish desire and false thought, we open a way for God to work in and through us. It is at this point that our “good” works become truly good: “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit . . . a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (7:17-18). But if we avoid the hard work of self-examination (the narrow path) we never get around to rooting out the selfish desires that will contaminate every good work that we do. In that case, the fruit of our outwardly good works will not be good, since the root of the tree is corrupt: “A bad tree bears bad fruit” (7:19).

Unless we choose the narrow path, continually rooting out and eliminating all forms of selfish concern, we will not be able to produce good fruit. As a result, we will be increasingly consumed by the flames of selfish desire: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (7:19).

In the end, the only thing that counts is our sincere desire to rise above selfish concerns so that our motives may be as pure as possible. That is why this section begins with an exhortation to first remove the plank from our own eye. When the plank of self-interest is removed, we see clearly how we can help others in the most useful and loving ways — ways that are devoid of ego concerns. Whenever this happens, we produce fruit that is truly good. This, then, is what Jesus means when He says, “By their fruits you will know them” (7:20).

Doing the Will of the Father

---
21. “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that does the will of My Father that [is] in the heavens.

22. Many shall say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many [works of] power?

23. And then I will profess to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you that work iniquity.

24. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a prudent man, who built his house on the rock.

25. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they fell upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26. And everyone that hears these words of Mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

27. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall of it was great.

28. And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these words, the crowds wondered at His teaching.

29. For He was teaching them as [One] having authority, and not as the scribes.”
---

As mentioned in the previous section, a contemplative life, however prayerful and pious, without good works, is useless. Similarly an active life, filled with external good works, without first identifying and shunning our evils, is also useless. Both the extremely pious and the strenuously service-oriented may believe they are serving God and doing their best. But Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (7:21).

To do the will of the Father is to keep the commandments; it is the foundation and basis of everything else. 3 Without first keeping the commandments, nothing else really matters. Even if we cast out demons and do wonders, it will not help. As Jesus says “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (7:22). In other words, each of us is called to do the deeper work of self-examination. This involves identifying evils within ourselves and shunning them as sins against God. But if we do not obey the fundamental laws of spiritual life, which include shunning the evils of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, and coveting, we cannot claim to be followers of God. Therefore Jesus will say to us, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (7:23).

The spiritual teaching given throughout this chapter is quite clear: just to the extent that we shun evils in ourselves as sins against God, the good that we do is truly good. This is what it means to do the will of God. It is not complicated. Just keep the commandments, and pray for the power to do so.

Whoever does this is like “a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” And who ever does not do this is like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the storms came, the house of the foolish man, built on the shifting sands of human opinion, did not stand. But the house which was built upon the rock — faith in the Lord and a life according to His teachings — was able to withstand the most violent storms of life. As Jesus says, “The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (7:25).

In the stormy setbacks of life — represented by the rain, the floods, and the wind beating upon the house — our true motives are exposed. During these moments we can freely choose to turn to God, asking Him to help us cleanse our heart from every self-serving desire. And when we do so, the rains cease, the floods subside, and the winds die down.

As the storm clouds pass, and the sun begins to shine, peace returns and joy arises. It is then that we realize that God has been with us all along, helping us to remove evil and inspiring us to do good. In these “after-the-storm” states, we understand, more and more deeply, that God is always there, calmly leading and instructing, offering the truth that will keep us rock-solid, even in the midst of the most turbulent emotional storms.

This awareness does not come merely by hearing the truth; rather, it is a result of living the truth. Therefore Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with a wonderful promise and a firm warning. First the promise: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock” (7:24). And then comes the warning: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them, I will liken to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it fell. And great was its fall” (7:27).

This was the powerful ending of what has come to be known as “the Sermon on the Mount.” It is significant that Jesus gave this sermon on a “rock” (a mountain), the most enduring symbol on earth of an immoveable, unshakeable faith.

As Jesus concluded the sermon, “the crowds wondered at His words” (7:28). That’s because “He taught them as one having authority, not like the scribes” (7:29). Jesus’ words were filled with power. He spoke with a kind of authority that was unlike anything they had heard before; it was certainly unlike anything they had heard from other religious leaders. It’s easy to imagine them thinking, Who is this man? Where did he come from? And where did he get this knowledge?

This will become the leading question throughout the rest of this gospel. Who is Jesus?

-----
Footnotes:

1. Conjugial Love 523: “The Lord says, ‘Judge not, that you be not condemned.’ This cannot in the least mean judging of someone's moral and civil life in the world, but judging of someone's spiritual and heavenly life. Who does not see that if people were not allowed to judge of the moral life of those dwelling with them in the world, society would collapse? What would become of society if there were no public courts of law, and if no one was permitted to have his judgment of another? But to judge what the inner mind or soul is like within, thus what a person's spiritual state is and so his fate after death — of this one is not permitted to judge, because it is known to the Lord alone.”

2. Charity 21: “All good that in itself is good proceeds from the interior will. Evil is removed from this will by repentance. See also True Christian Religion 654: “The works of charity done by a Christian and those done by a heathen appear in outward form to be alike, for one like the other practices the good deeds of civility and morality toward his fellow, which in part resemble the deeds of love to the neighbor. Both, even, may give to the poor, aid the needy and attend preaching in churches, and yet who can thereby determine whether or not these external good deeds are alike in their internal form, that is, whether these natural good deeds are also spiritual? This can be concluded only from the faith; for the faith is what determines their quality, since faith causes God to be in them and conjoins them with itself in the internal man; and thus natural good works become interiorly spiritual…. The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, but when separated they all perish like a pearl reduced to powder.”

3. Apocalypse Explained 981: “Love to the Lord means the love or affection of doing His commandments, thus the love of keeping the commandments of the Decalogue. For so far as a person from love or from affection keeps and does these, so far a person loves the Lord. This is because these commandments are the Lord’s presence with everyone.”

-----

Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 34, 44, 367, 794, 922, 1011, 1017, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 8, 166, 376, 400, 409, 433, 495, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 114

Conjugial Love 118, 453, 523, 531

Divine Providence 128, 230, 250, 330

Doctrine of the Lord 9

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 51

Doctrine of Life 2, 30, 39, 73, 91, 93, 104

Heaven and Hell 471, 534

The Last Judgement 59

True Christian Religion 106, 226, 347, 375, 376, 381, 411, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 119, 127


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 108, 109, 186, 195, 212, 231, 250, ...

Charity 118

De Verbo (The Word) 5, 15

Divine Love 17

Divine Wisdom 11

Scriptural Confirmations 6, 14, 68, 87

Skočit na podobné biblické verše

Genesis 6:5, 8:21

Exodus 21:25

Deuteronomy 4:29, 13:1, 2

Judges 1:7

1 Samuel 20, 27

1 Kings 3:5

1 Chronicles 28:9

2 Chronicles 15:2

Job 13:16

Psalms 6:9, 16:11, 86:5, 101:4, 119:115

Proverbs 8:17, 10:25, 12:7, 14:12, 20:11

Isaiah 28:17, 29:13

Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16, 27:15, 29:13, 14, 34:17, 50:29

Ezekiel 13:11, 12

Hosea 8:2

Obadiah 1:15

Významy biblických slov

measure
The Bible uses a somewhat dizzying array of unfamiliar measurement, leaving translators a choice between being accurate and confusing or inaccurate and clear. Since they...

measured
'To measure' signifies knowing and exploring the quality of something.

Mote
'A mote' signifies a lesser falsity from evil.

beam
A beam signifies the falsity of evil. (Gen. 19 18; 2 Kings 6:2, 5, 6; Habakkuk 2:11; Matt. 7 3, 5). A beam of a...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

sayest
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

pearls
'Pearls' signify knowledges of truth, and truths themselves, and 'the one pearl of great price,' in Matthew 13:45, 46, signifies the knowledge and acknowledgment of...

swine
'Swine' or 'hogs' correspond to the life of greed and its delight.

under
In the Bible, things that are lower down, or under, physically, generally represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases, the...

turning
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

knock
Behold I stand at the door and knock,' as in Revelation 3:20, signifies the perpetual presence and operation of the Lord with a person.

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

knocketh
Behold I stand at the door and knock,' as in Revelation 3:20, signifies the perpetual presence and operation of the Lord with a person.

bread
The idea of a “loaf” in the Bible is very closely tied to the idea of “bread,” and is often used to mean bread: Jesus...

fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

serpent
'Serpents,' in the Word, signify sensory principles, which are the extremes of a person’s life. This is because all animals signify affections of people, which...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

all things
The Lord is life itself, is the Creator of the universe, and is the source of life on an ongoing basis. So in a literal...

To
'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

the law
Jews at the time of Jesus had a number of ways to break down and describe the books of the Old Testament. Among the more...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

destruction
'To go into perdition,' as in Revelation 17:8, signifies being rejected.

life
According to Swedenborg, the Lord is life itself, and we are recipients of life. This is true even of the most evil spirits, who loved...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

clothing
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

wolves
'A wolf' signifies eagerness to seize, but also eagerness to rescue and deliver the good.

thorns
'Thorns,' as in Jeremiah 12:13, signify the evils and falsities of self-love and the love of the world.

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

wise
At its heart, wisdom is love's imperative desire to take form. That's a tricky statement, but think of it this way: If you love someone,...

upon
'Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

founded
A foundation signifies truth on which heaven and the church, and its doctrines are founded.

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

scribes
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:18, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

Videa od Swedenborg Foundation

Zde uvedená videa jsou poskytnuta se svolením našich přátel ze Swedenborg Foundation. Více se o nich dozvíte zde: swedenborg.com.


Will Life Be Different When You Die?

What is life in the afterlife like? Is it very different from our life in this world? We take a look at what's similar and what's different with regard to religion, jobs, relationships, and more!


The Gates to Heaven and Hell

Are the gates to heaven and hell there to limit who has access? Are there even really gates? We dig into the symbolism of gates, how heaven and hell flow into our minds, and how we can help to open the "gate" of heaven in ourselves and our world.


Is the Law of Attraction Real? - Swedenborg and Life

What is the “Law of Attraction”? Is it real? Swedenborg says yes, but you have to understand how it operates and where, considering different levels of life and reality.

Zdroje pro rodiče a učitele

Zde uvedené položky jsou poskytnuty se svolením našich přátel z General Church of the New Jerusalem. Můžete prohledávat/procházet celou knihovnu kliknutím na odkaz this link.


 Answers to Prayers
We need to learn about the Lord's way of answering prayers.
Article | Ages over 15

 Build a House on the Rock
Use blocks or small cardboard boxes to build a house on sand and sprinkle with water to see what happens. Then build the house on a rock.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Build on the Rock
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 By Their Fruits
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Choosing Heaven or Hell
A lesson and activities exploring how our choices lead us towards heaven or hell, day by day.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Correspondences of Mineral Kingdom
Illustrations of places in the Word that mention minerals.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Doing Is Living
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Dramatize Giving Good Things to Those Who Ask
Dramatize and discuss the examples given by the Lord of a parent giving good gifts to a child. The Lord gives these examples to reassure us that He also will give us what will help us most. 
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Entering the Narrow Way
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 First Remove the Plank
Activity | Ages over 15

 Foundations for My Life
Reflect on beliefs or attitudes that are like “foundations” for your life. These are the constants that help you weather the storms of life.
Activity | Ages over 13

 Fruit of the Vine
Talk about grapes and other fruit that grows on a vine. Consider making "a grape vine" of good deeds with "grape" beads to put on a green cord.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Golden Rule
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Golden Rule and Prayer Crossword Puzzle
Crossword puzzle about the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Hear and Do
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Hearing and Doing
It is important to do what the Lord teaches as well as listen to Him.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Helping Out
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 House Built on the Rock and Sand
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 House Built on the Rock Demonstration
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 House Built on the Rock Diorama
Color the pieces of the diorama, then cut them out and assemble it. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 House Built on the Rock Rebus
Younger children will enjoy "reading" the pictures with help from an older child or adult. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 House Built on the Rock (sheet music with hand motions)
Song | Ages up to 10

 How the Word Enlightens
The Lord wants to help everyone see spiritual things more clearly but the quality and extent of an individual’s enlightenment depends on his or her own spiritual development. Enlightenment is affected by the questions we ask the Lord and the reasons we are seeking answers.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Illustrate the Parable of the House Built on the Rock
Illustrate the parable by picturing both the house built on the rock and the house built on the sand.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Judgment
When the Lord says “judge not,” the meaning is that we are not to judge falsely, or from a selfish motive, or based only on external appearances. And instead of looking for faults in others, we should concentrate on removing the evils and falsities within ourselves. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 15

 Memory Verse: I Will Build My Church
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Looking for the Good in Others
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Pathways to Heaven and Hell
Contrast the paths to heaven and to hell by picturing some of things that might be seen along these paths by someone who can see clearly in the spiritual world.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Adults: Dealing with Other People with True Charity
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Adults: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Children: Being Kind to Other People
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Children: King of Kings
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Children: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens: Friendship and Judgment
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Prayers for Teens: Keeping the Sabbath
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Prayers for Teens: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: I Will Build My Church
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Way to Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Song: The House Built on a Rock (3-5, 6-8 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Stormy Weather
Identify and write about some of the false ideas that may distort our thinking and challenge our commitment to the Lord.
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Golden Rule
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The House Built on a Rock
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The House Built on the Rock (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The House on the Rock
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The House on the Rock with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's First Parable
The sermon on the mount ended with the parable of the house built on the rock and the house built on the sand.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sermon on Mount--The House Built on the Rock
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on the Mount
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Tolerance and Judgment
Loving the neighbor is intending and doing good to all, but wisely loving others takes a variety of forms depending on others' actions.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Houses
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Wings of Truth
Lesson and activities exploring how truth can uplift, protect, and free us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 You Are the Man!
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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