Matthew 7:21


This passage bears internal and intrinsic evidence of standing in the original position at the end, and as the end of the discourse. Its connection with what precedes is also apparent. "Fruits" have been spoken of as the test of the false or the true prophet. And the discourse finishes with a forcible setting forth of the fact that practice, not profession, is the passport, whether into the kingdom of heaven on earth or into the kingdom of "that day." There would seem in form to be allusion to both of these, though we should confess their reality to be but one in either case. Notice -

I. THE INTRINSIC AND ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATION ]FOR CITIZENSHIP IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. "But," says the Supreme Authority on the matter, "he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Dwell on:

1. The highness of this type.

2. The encouragingness of it. It is not offered as a mocking of our feeble power of excellence, feeble grasp of high conceptions, or feeble, inconstant purposes.

3. The condescendingness, withal, of it. What life of reality should it pour into our pictures of the future and our attempts of the present! What happy natural agreement there is between this statement and the formal petitions of the prayer, "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven"!

II. THE DISTINCT PROPHETIC DECLARATION OF MOST SAD, SOLEMN IMPORT, TO WHICH THE MIGHTY SEER COMMITS HIMSELF. Notice how:

1. Christ specifies the number of the deluded and the presumptuous: "Many."

2. Christ specifies the matters of their delusion and presumption. We have furnished to us hereby both constant warnings for all, and help, not extended for uncharitable use, towards judging of the too transparently impeachable motives of some very busy outer works of men.

III. THE THRILLING DISCLOSURE IN PART OF THE JUDGE OF "THAT DAY," AND IN PART OF HIS JUDGMENT. Notice:

1. The long forbearance that had been shown is here witnessed to: "Then I will profess to them." How long had he waited, tried, given room for repentance and for reality!

2. The terrible indictment of the wasted, deluded lifetime: "I never knew you." Christ will not disown, in his glory, majesty, power, and in the startling day of their astounding manifestation, those whom he had once in the day of his hiddenness, or in the yet earlier days of his mortal sorrows, acknowledged. But Christ will say what none had the sure right to say before, "I never knew you," if this be indeed the awful truth!

IV. THE SIMILITUDE BY WHICH CHRIST NOW SETS FORTH THE DECISIVE AND DISASTROUS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIM WHO HEARS ONLY THE SAYINGS OF CHRISTIAN REVEALED TRUTH, AND HIM WHO ALSO DOES THEM.

1. The man who hears and does the "sayings" of Christ makes knowledge, and the graces that abide, which are realities to abide, to abide here, and to abide evermore.

2. The man who hears indeed, and who does not, makes knowledge, perhaps very much knowledge; it may tower aloft, it may make him tower aloft among men; but he grows no grace; which can come only of work, of discipline, of "much tribulation," and which is the only structure that abides. The exceeding directness, simplicity, and force of these similitudes, and of the comparison instituted by them, have always arrested attention. To "do the sayings" of Christ is the way, and the one only way, to build that holy "house" called a holy nature, a Christian life, the enduring character. Anything less than "doing" the things Christ says may make show; may rise, a very vision, it may be; and may have some sort of foundation; but it will not be the foundation called a rock, and least of all that called the Rock, which is Christ Jesus. - B.









Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord.
I. DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTER of those who make an external profession of religion, but walk unworthy of its precepts, connected with the impossibility of their entering in such a state into the kingdom of heaven.

1. It is evident that a person may have much which bears the semblance of piety, while he is far from feeling its genuine influence.

2. The text may refer to the lukewarm and indifferent.

II. THE CONNECTION between the character of those who not only profess Christianity, but adorn it by a suitable conversation, with the reward which is held out for their encouragement.

1. The will of God is a term of vast extent.

2. It is easy to see the connection between the character of those who do the will of their Father who is in heaven, and the prospects of future bliss.Learn:

1. That active obedience to the precepts of Christianity is the surest mark of a genuine Christian believer.

2. The necessity of unremitting endeavours, relying on the strength of Divine grace to qualify us for admission into heaven.

(D. Kelly, M. A.)

I. A great TRUTH proclaimed. The religion of Christ is to be practised,

1. For the teachings of Jesus are only understood as they are put into practice.

2. They are only honoured as they are put into practice.

II. A great ERROR perpetrated — mere profession.

1. This error is common.

2. It is displeasing to Christ.

3. It injures the individual who practises it.

4. It is a misrepresentation of Christianity.

III. A great DUTY.

(U. R. Thomas.)

I. THE TRUE QUALIFICATION FOR ADMISSION INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. "He that doeth the will," etc.

II. THE DELUSIVE HOPES WHICH MANY WILL CHERISH as to admission into Christ's kingdom by means of other qualifications.

1. The first having made a strong and ambitious profession of His name.

2. Arising from a life of practical usefulness to others.

III. THESE HOPES WILT, DESTROYED.

(G. T. Noel.)

Let us observe the kingdom of God in the light of this text.

1. It is a kingdom of fruit, not of thorns, not of leaves.

2. We see that the faith which is so essential to it is an active grace. The proof of sincerity is doing. It is not a mere emotion destitute of energy.

3. That every one that cometh into it must do God's will. Active trust not enough; it must be in the proper direction. The world is a great law-keeper. Even Christ did the will of His Father.Learn:

1. That active obeying the will of God is the decisive test of being in the kingdom of God.

2. That it is one thing to hear and another to do the will of God.

3. Nor is confidence sufficient. The Pharisees were sure that they were on the rock.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. They went a long way in religion.

II. They kept it up a long while.

III. They were fatally mistaken.

IV. They found it out in a terrible way.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

You remember the lighthouse that was built off the coast of England by Winstanley. The architect was confident that the structure was strong, and laughed at the criticisms upon it. To show his confidence, he took up his abode in the building. In the midst of that fearful November storm, how little that confidence availed him as the structure was caught in the grasp of the winds and shaken to pieces! Now another lighthouse stands there well founded, well builded, and lights the mariner to the safe harbour. So that character that is rightly founded and builded in Christ will not only be secure itself, but light others to security,

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. Explain THE FALSE PRETENCES TO THE FAVOUR OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

1. The first pretence is saying to Christ, "Lord, Lord " — a mere profession of Christianity.

2. The second founded on the gift of prophecy — that is to propagate Christianity and promote edification, separable from a holy life.

II. To ILLUSTRATE THAT ONLY SOLID GROUND OF HOPE WHICH OUR LORD ESTABLISHES.

1. The will of God is revealed plainly.

2. In what sense is it to be done? Infirmity cleaves to us all; the gospel of pardon in Christ requires sincerity in doing His will; a partial obedience will not please Him.

3. There must be a persevering continuance in well doing. This the only ground of hope.

(J. Abernethy, M. A.)

I. THE QUALIFYING TERMS OF OUR ADMISSION TO HEAVEN — "He that doeth the will," etc.

II. The OPPOSITE GROUNDS of dependence which many prefer: —

1. National privilege and profession. With such persons religion is a question of geography; they are Christians because born in a land of knowledge.

2. Splendid professions of zeal.

3. Deeds of charity and mercy.

III. THE FINAL REJECTION of all who place their confidence on these insufficient grounds.

1. The period.

2. The dignity of the Son of God at that time.

3. The nature of the profession itself — "I never knew you."

4. The designation given to those unhappy men — "Workers in iniquity."

(J. E. Good.)

1. That in the great day there will be an earnest desire in many to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

2. A mere profession of religion will then be found insufficient.

3. All true and obedient believers will be admitted into the heavenly kingdom.

(G. Burder.)

It is easy enough to assume the character and manner of a Christian, but to live the Christian life is not so easy. A man can make a sham diamond in a very short time, but the real gem must lie for ages in the earth before it can sparkle with perfect purity. We have far too many of these quickly made Christians amongst us, who have never brought forth fruits meet for repentance, nor gone through the fire of trial, and sorrow, and self-sacrifice. Do not trust to feelings, or words, in yourselves or others, look at your life; a real and a false diamond are very much alike, and yet there is all the difference in the world in their value.

(Wilmot Buxton.)

There is a variety of mineral which, when held before the light, exhibits translucency only on its edges. They are dark in the centre; such are marble, flint, or hornstone. It is so with some men; the light of Christianity has shone upon them and modified much of their external conduct, and produced a considerable regard for piety, but within, the centre of their being, remains in the darkness of sin.

(Professor Hitchcock.)There are many men like ponds, clear at the top, and mud at the bottom; fair in their tongues, but foul in their hearts.

(Swinnock.)Like a beautiful flower, full of colour, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.

(Buddha.)

Actions are a greater discovery of a principle than words. The testimony of works is louder and clearer than that of words, and the frame of men's hearts must be measured rather by what they do than by what they say. There may be a mighty distance between the tongue and the heart, but a course of action is as little guilty of lying as interest is, according to our common saying. All outward impieties are the branches of an atheism at the root of our nature, as all pestilential sores are expressions of the contagion in the blood. Men's practices are the best indexes of their principles. The current of a man's life is the counterpart of the frame of his heart; who can deny an error in the spring or wheels when he perceives an error in the hand of the dial? Who can deny atheism in the heart when so much is visible in the life? The taste of the water discovers what mineral it is strained through.

(Charnock.)

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