I received an e-mail this morning from someone named Katie who asked: "What do you think about Matthew Chapter 7?" So when I arrived for the Saturday men's prayer meeting and Bible study I asked Pastor Gundry if we could focus our attentions on that chapter and he agreed. Amen. I had no idea our study of that great passage would be so edifying or that I would feel compelled to transcribe my notes here but the Lord loves His little surprises as that is what keeps the believer's walk with Christ so interesting. For those of you who only keep a Bible around to impress your in-laws when they come over for the big game I would like to remind you that Mathew 7 is that great work which concludes the Sermon on the Mount and includes such well-known passages as: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." "...neither cast ye your pearls before swine..." "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." "...wide the gate, and broad the way, that leadeth to destruction..." "Ye shall know them by their fruits." "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." "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..."It is truly a Scriptural gem. Amen! However as everyone who invests more than a perfunctory interest in the Word of God knows text taken out of context is pretext and therefore we must strive to be diligent in always asking ourselves how a given passage relates to the entire Bible and not merely to one's own carnal agenda. Amen. The Gospel according to Matthew although clearly written after the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of course a history of the events before His crucifixion and therefore that book although a member of the New Testament canon is in fact doctrinally a part of the Old Testament Dispensation of Law. As such the Sermon on the Mount applies not to contemporary Christian Gentiles but to the nation of Israel which was still suffering under the works as well as the rituals and sacrifices of the law. Amen. These words of Christ were intended as a reproof to the scribes and Pharisees who were very rigid and severe in condemning all about them as those commonly are that are proud and conceited in justifying themselves. Amen! These men in their anticipation of the coming Messiah were seeking not salvation from the fires of HELL but political independence and material blessings. But of course these first-century Jews were self-deluded concerning the long term mission of our Savior which was to die on the cross as their final sacrifice and that is why they killed him. They in their selfish prideful hearts were seeking a King rather than a sacrificial Lamb but it seems they were just a little too impatient. The message of Christ's Sermon on the Mount is entirely prophetic and will not be fulfilled until His second coming which is not to be confused with the rapture referred to in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 but will instead take place after the rapture and the seven year siege of the Antichrist but before the thousand year earthly reign of Jesus. Therefore it is simply not good Biblical hermeneutics to use this passage to justify sodomy and substance abuse and witchcraft and environmentalism and other such sins of the flesh which is how Matthew 7 is commonly misused. Amen! Thank you Katie.