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Mat 7:1-5     What does Jesus mean by judging in Mat 7:1-2?  Hint: We get our word criticize from the Greek word used here; “the habit of censoriousness; sharp, unjust criticism” (Robertson’s Word Pictures); cf. Jam 4:11-12.  What is the danger of criticizing others for what we understand, rightly or wrongly, to be their shortcomings or faults?  See Mat 7:2, Luk 6:37.  In comparison to the faults we see in others, how must our faults appear in the eyes of God?  “What would become of us, if God should be as exact and severe in judging (criticizing) us, as we are in judging (criticizing) our brethren; if he should weigh us in the same balance?” (Matthew Henry).  What spiritual law are Jesus’ words in Mat 7:2 based upon?  See Gal 6:7.  What do Mat 7:3-5 remind us is often the case with those who criticize others?  “Reflect that perhaps the fault of which you complain, might, on a strict examination, be discovered in yourself; and that it would be unjust publicly to express indignation against your own crime” (Seneca).  Even when we criticize others for faults that we don’t have or shortcomings that we have overcome, can we say that we are entirely without faults that perhaps they don’t have or have overcome?  What part of our sinful nature is it that magnifies the faults of others while dismissing our own?  Is a hypocrite (Mat 7:5) a good thing?  Cf. Mat 23:13-15, 23,25,27,29,33.  Instead of criticizing and condemning, what should the Christian attitude towards the faults of others be?  See Pro 19:11, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13; cf. Mat 7:12.  Is it always wrong to judge?  Cf. Jn 7:24, Eph 5:11.  How does Jn 7:24 help us to distinguish between the faultfinding Jesus condemns here and the righteous judgment that we are to exercise?  Is it possible to judge with righteous judgment if we have not first removed the logs from our own eyes?  What logs might we have to remove from our eyes before helping others remove the splinters from theirs?

Mat 7:6          In the context of judging righteously by offering godly reproof, what does Jesus mean that we should not give what is holy to dogs or throw our pearls before swine?  To whom does Scripture refer as dogs and swine?  See Psa 22:16-20, Isa 56:10-11, Phil 3:2, 2Pe 2:20-22.  Why does He say that we should refrain from reproving such as these?  Cf. Pro 9:7-8, 23:9, Heb 6:4-6.  What does Scripture say is appropriate to give to dogs?  See Exo 22:31, Deut 14:21.  To what does “flesh torn to pieces in the field” refer in a spiritual sense?  Cf. Heb 5:12-14, Jer 23:16-17, Eze 13:2-4, 8-10, Mat 25:8-9.   [Note: we get our name Margaret from the Greek word for pearl used here (margarites).]

Mat 7:7-12   What does Mat 7:7 teach us about the importance of persistence in our praying?  See the NASB text note, Luk 11:5-10, 18:1-7; cf. Gen 32:24-30, Mat 15:22-28.  What do these verses teach us about the Father’s willingness to hear and answer the prayers of His children and bless them?  Cf. Mat 21:22, Mar 11:24, Joh 14:13, 16:23-24.  How does this contrast with the notions held by those who don’t know God as their Father, that because God is distant they must attract His attention with some religious rite and should only “bother” Him in time of great need and as a last resort?  What indication do we find in these verses that God’s will for us to pray extends beyond our needs to include even our wants and desires?  Because we love our children and want the best for them, are there circumstances related to their behavior that prevent us from granting their immediate desires?  How is this similar to our relationship with God?  What conditions are necessary in order for God to grant our desires?  Cf. Mat 18:19, Psa 37:4, 145:18-19, Joh 15:7,16, 1Jo 3:22, 5:14-15.  What circumstances prevent God from granting us our desires?  See Psa 66:18, Isa 59:1-2, Mic 3:4, Jam 4:3.  Does this negate God’s word that if we ask, seek, and knock He will give “what is good” to those who petition Him?  What does this teach us about the manner in which we are to ask, seek and knock?  How does the “therefore” in Mat 7:12 connecting the golden rule to our prayers confirm this?  In what way is Mat 7:12 a fitting summary to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount thus far?

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