Setting

In this section of His teachings on the mount, the Lord instructed us about our attitudes toward material possessions, life, others, and God. In addition to providing us practical guidelines, He also guided His listeners to see the logic and reason behind His commands.

Key Verse

(6:24; 7:12)

Did You Know...?

 1. Mammon (6:24): “Money” renders Greek mamōna (“mammon”), itself a transliteration of Aramaic māmônā’ (in the emphatic state; “wealth,” “property”). The root in both Aramaic and Hebrew (’mn) indicates that in which one has confidence; and the connection with money and wealth, well attested in Jewish literature… is painfully obvious. Here it is personified. [ref]

2. Dogs (7:6): “Dogs” must not be thought of as household pets: in the Scriptures they are normally wild, associated with what is unclean, despised…. [ref]

3.  Swine (7:6): The “pigs” are not only unclean animals but wild and vicious, capable of savage action against a person. [ref]

Outline

  • Storing up Treasure
    (6:19-24)
  • Earthly versus heavenly treasures
    (6:19-20)
  • Serving God or money
    (6:21-24)
  • Do Not Worry
    (6:25-34)
  • Do not worry about food or clothing
    (6:25-30)
  • Be worry-free but seek God’s kingdom and righteousness
    (6:31-34)
  • Do Not Judge
    (7:1-6)
  • We will be judged if we judge
    (7:1-2)
  • Judge ourselves first
    (7:3-5)
  • Be discerning
    (7:6)
  • Ask, Seek, Knock
    (7:7-11)
  • The promise
    (7:7-8)
  • The heavenly Father compared to the earthly father
    (7:9-11)
  • Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them
    (7:12)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    List the reasons for the following teachings: a. Lay up treasures in heaven; b. Do not worry; c. Do not judge; d. Ask, seek, knock:

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    a. Lay up treasures in heaven: The treasures in heaven are secure and incorruptible. Our heart is where our treasure is. If we store up treasures in heaven, our hearts will always be on the things of God rather than on earthly things.
    b. Do not worry: If God takes care of the birds and the lilies, how much more will He take care of us? Worrying cannot sustain our lives. It is the unbelievers who worry. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    c. Do not judge: We will be judged in the same way that we judge others. We often have worse shortcomings than the people we judge.
    d. Ask, seek, knock: God answers our asking, seeking, and knocking. If our earthly father gives us good things, the heavenly Father will all the more give us good gifts if we ask, seek, and knock.

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  • 2.

    Jesus made use of many comparisons and contrasts to bring out His teachings. Write down the comparisons and contrasts that you notice.

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    Treasures on earth and treasures in heaven; light and darkness; God and mammon; life and food; body and clothes; birds and human beings; lilies and human beings; speck and plank; dogs and sacred things; swine and pearls; bread and stone; fish and serpent; earthly father and heavenly Father.

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Segment Analysis

  • 6:19-24

    1a.

    What does it mean to love or serve mammon?

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    Loving and serving mammon means laying up treasures on earth so as to “take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry” (Lk 12:13-21). It means having our minds on earthly things and serving our fleshly desires (Phil 3:18,19).

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  • 1b.

    Why can’t we serve both God and mammon? Can we love one without hating the other?

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    Just as a slave can only serve one master, we can only serve either God or mammon. Either master demands total loyalty. It is not possible to love both because they are conflicting. The materialistic pursuits of this life that comes from our lusts are contrary to the spiritual growth that God has called us to (Gal 5:17). We cannot love one without giving up the other (Rom 8:5-8; Jas 4:2-5).

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  • 1c.

    How do we “hate” or “despise” mammon?

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    We need to remove the love of money from our hearts and acknowledge God as the owner of our possessions. Not only so, we should not set our minds on how to gratify the desires of the flesh (Rom 13:13,14). We need to lead simple lives and not let the material things become our masters.

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  • 1d.

    How should we lay up treasures in heaven?

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    Believe and hold firmly to the gospel, since it is our “treasure” and “pearl” (Mt 13:44-46). Be fruitful in our spiritual lives (2Pet 1:10,11). Be rich in good deeds (1Tim 6:17-19).

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  • 2.

    Why did Jesus talk about the eye when teaching about storing up treasures? What was He referring to?

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    The eye is an analogy of the inclination of the heart (see Ps 119:36,37). If our hearts are set on the material possessions of this world, we are spiritually blind and lose our direction in life. Our values and goals in life determine whether we are walking in the way that God desires.

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  • 6:25-34

    3.

    How can we seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness?

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    This command is related to the teaching of storing up treasures in heaven. To seek God’s kingdom means making every effort to enter into God’s kingdom, live by its principles, and spread the good news of the kingdom so that God’s kingdom may come and His will be done on earth. Seeking God’s righteousness involves eagerly obeying God’s will in our lives.

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  • 7:1-6

    4.

    When we assert a certain view on something, we inevitably make a judgment about others who do not conform to our principles. So does the Lord’s teaching about not judging others include standing up for our moral principles?

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    Although we ought not judge others, we are to make right judgments about all things (Jn 7:24, 1Cor 2:15). Such spiritual discernment is necessary for the spiritually mature (Heb 5:14). The judgment that the Lord warns against is one that arises out of a hypocritical attitude of condemning others when we are worse than the one we are condemning (Rom 2:17-29).

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  • 5.

    Explain the analogy of giving what is sacred to the dogs and throwing pearls to the pigs.

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    In the Bible, pigs and dogs are unclean animals. They are used figuratively to represent the evil doers and the morally filthy (Prov 26:11; Phil 3:2; Rev 22:15; 2Pet 2:22). The sacred thing and the pearl represent the gospel (13:45,46). The Lord is not teaching us to discriminate against any group of people when we preach, but that we should turn away from those who show contempt for the gospel (10:14; Prov 9:8; Tit 3:10,11).

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  • 7:7-11

    6.

    What actions and attitudes does each of the following involve? a. Ask; b. Seek; c. Knock:

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    a. Ask: Humbly and sincerely acknowledging our need and God’s sovereignty.
    b. Seek: Persistently and wholeheartedly searching for God’s will.
    c. Knock: Earnestly and diligently pleading until we receive God’s favor.

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  • 7.

    In the context of this passage, what are we to ask, seek, or knock for?

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    We need to ask, seek, and knock so that God’s kingdom and righteousness can be fulfilled in our lives.

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