Matthew 7

We should not speak against other people

1 Jesus went on to say, ‘Do not say to anybody, “You are a bad person.” If you do that, God will say to you, “You are a bad person.” 2 God will think about you in the same way that you think about other people. He will use the same rules for you as you use for other people.

3 Perhaps you want to tell your friend about his little mistake. If you want to do that, first remember your own bigger mistakes. 4 You are like a person who has a big piece of wood in his eye. But then he says to his friend, “Let me take that little piece of dirt out of your eye for you.” 5 Do not be like that person. You think that you are better than your friend. But you are not. First, you must take the big piece of wood out of your own eye. After that, your eyes will see clearly. Then you can take the small piece of dirt out of your friend's eye.

7:5Jesus tells us to make our own mistakes right. After that, we can tell our friends about their mistakes. Jesus uses the word brother. This includes our friends.

6 Do not give special things that are for God to dogs. The dogs will turn round and attack you. Do not throw valuable things to pigs. The pigs will only stand on them and bury them in the dirt.’

7:6We do not give valuable things to pigs and dogs. They would not take care of them. People who do not want God are like that. The things that God gives are not valuable to them.

Jesus teaches his disciples more about God

7 Jesus said, ‘Go on asking God for what you need. Then God will give it to you. Go on looking for what you need. Then you will find it. Go on knocking at the door, and God will open it for you. 8 Everyone who asks for something will receive it. Everyone who looks for something will find it. God will open the door for everyone who knocks on it.

9 Some of you are fathers. If your son asks you for some bread, you would not give him a stone. 10 If he asks you for a fish, you would not give him a snake. 11 You may be bad, but even you know how to give good things to your children. Your Father in heaven knows much better than you do how to give good things to his children. He will give good things to everyone who asks him. 12 So, do the good things for other people that you would want them to do for you. That is true in everything you do. That is what God's Law and the messages of God's prophets teach us.’

7:11Jesus is teaching his disciples that they must pray. And they must continue to pray. God will hear them. He will give them the good things that they ask for. The most important things to pray for are the special gifts from God.

Jesus teaches people how to get true life

13 ‘Go in through the narrow gate to get true life. The wide gate is easy to go through. The wide path is easy to travel on. Many people find that wide gate, but it is the way to hell. 14 It is difficult to go through the small gate. It is difficult to walk on the narrow road. But when you do go that way, you will get true life. Not many people find that narrow gate.’

Jesus tells a story about a tree and its fruit

15 ‘Some people say that they are prophets from God. But their words are false. They seem to be like sheep that are not dangerous. But they are really like hungry wild dogs. What they teach will hurt you.

16 You will know these people by the way that they live. It is like their fruit. Grapes do not grow on thorn bushes. Figs do not grow on weeds. 17 Good fruit grows on a tree that is good. Bad fruit grows on a tree that is not good. 18 A good tree cannot make bad fruit. A bad tree cannot make good fruit. 19 A farmer will cut down any tree that does not make good fruit. He will burn it on a fire. 20 In the same way, look at the way people live. Then you will know what they are really like.

7:16The prophets are like fruit trees. The things that they do are like the fruit on the trees. If they do good things, then the fruit is good. And the people will know that they are real prophets. If they do wrong things, then that is like bad fruit. And the people will know that they are not real prophets.

21 Some people say to me, “Master, Master!” But not all of them will come into the kingdom of heaven. Only the people who obey God, my Father in heaven, will come in. They do what he wants them to do. 22 On the day when God judges people, many of them will say, “Master, Master! We used your authority and we spoke a message from you. We used your authority and we sent bad spirits out of people. We used your authority to do many powerful things.” 23 But I will say to these people, “I really never knew you. You do not obey God. You are bad. So go away from me.” ’

Jesus tells a story about two men who each built a house

24 Jesus went on to say, ‘Some people listen to my message and they obey it. Those people are like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 Then a storm came with a lot of rain and wind. The rivers rose up high. Strong winds blew hard against that house. But the house did not fall down because the man had built it on rock. 26 Other people listen to my message but they do not obey it. Those people are like a fool who built his house on sand. 27 Then a storm came with a lot of rain and wind. The rivers rose up high. Strong winds blew hard against the house. That house fell down. The storm destroyed it completely.’

7:27Jesus tells us that our life is like a house. We should obey God. Then our life will be like the first house. It continued to stand when troubles came. If we do not obey God, our life will be like the second house. That house fell down. So our life will have a sad end.

28 Jesus finished speaking. The crowds of people were very surprised at the things that he taught them. 29 When Jesus taught them, he showed his authority. That was not like the way that the teachers of God's Law taught people.