Matthew 7:23
Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!'
Sermon on the Mount: 8. Wise and Foolish BuildersMarcus Dods Matthew 7:15-29
The Saying and Hearing Contrasted with the DoingP.C. Barker Matthew 7:21-29
The Title to the KingdomJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 7:21-29

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"!


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.


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!


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.)


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.


(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.)


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.


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.)


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.


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.


Acknowledge, Avow, Begone, Declare, Depart, Doers, Evil, Evildoers, Iniquity, Lawlessness, Plainly, Practice, Profess, Wickedness, Workers, Working
1. Do Not Judge
7. Ask, Seek, Knock
13. Enter through the Narrow Gate
15. A Tree and Its Fruit
24. The Wise and the Foolish Builders
28. Jesus ends his sermon, and the people are astonished.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 7:23

     5484   punishment, by God
     6112   banishment
     8330   receptiveness
     9512   hell, experience

Matthew 7:15-23

     8784   nominal religion

Matthew 7:21-23

     2045   Christ, knowledge of
     2377   kingdom of God, entry into
     5030   knowledge, of Christ
     5942   security
     8407   confession, of Christ
     9414   heaven, community of redeemed

Matthew 7:21-27

     2423   gospel, essence

Matthew 7:22-23

     1416   miracles, nature of
     8136   knowing God, effects

November 22. "Cast the Beam Out of Thine Own Eye" (Matt. vii. 5).
"Cast the beam out of thine own eye" (Matt. vii. 5). Greater than the fault you condemn and criticise is the sin of criticism and condemnation. There is no place we need such grace as in dealing with an erring one. A lady once called on us on her way to give an erring sister a piece of her mind. We advised her to wait until she could love her a little more. Only He who loved sinners well enough to die for them can deal with the erring. We never see all the heart. He does, and He can convict without
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

January 12. "Ask and it Shall be Given You" (Matt. vii. 7).
"Ask and it shall be given you" (Matt. vii. 7). We must receive, as well as ask. We must take the place of believing, and recognize ourselves as in it. A friend was saying, "I want to get into the will of God," and this was the answer: "Will you step into the will of God? And now, are you in the will of God?" The question aroused a thought that had not come before. The gentleman saw that he had been straining after, but not receiving the blessing he sought. Jesus has said, "Ask and ye shall receive."
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Judging, Asking, and Giving
'Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye! 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Two Paths
'Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'--MATT. vii. 13-14. A frank statement of the hardships and difficulties involved in a course of conduct does not seem a very likely way to induce men to adopt it, but it often proves so. There is something in human nature which responds to the bracing
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Two Houses
'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.... 25. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.'--Matt. vii. 24, 25. Our Lord closes the so-called Sermon on the Mount, which is really the King's proclamation of the law of His Kingdom, with three pairs of contrasts, all meant to sway us to obedience. The first
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Christ of the Sermon on the Mount
'And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: 29. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.'--MATT. vii. 28-29. It appears, then, from these words, that the first impression made on the masses by the Sermon on the Mount was not so much an appreciation of its high morality, as a feeling of the personal authority with which Christ spoke. Had the scribes, then, no authority? They ruled the whole life of the nation with
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. vii. 7, "Ask, and it Shall be Given You;" Etc. An Exhortation to Alms-Deeds.
1. In the lesson of the Holy Gospel the Lord hath exhorted us to prayer. "Ask," saith He, "and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? [2135] Or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? [2136] If ye then,"
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Known by their Fruits.
(Eighth Sunday after Trinity.) S. MATT. vii. 16. "Ye shall know them by their fruits." The religion of Jesus Christ is one of deeds, not words; a life of action, not of dreaming. Our Lord warns us to beware of any form of religion, in ourselves or others, which does not bring forth good fruit. God does not look for the leaves of profession, or the blossoms of promise, He looks for fruit unto holiness. We may profess to believe in Jesus Christ, we may say the Creed without a mistake, we may read
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Casting Blame.
8th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. vii. 15. "Inwardly they are ravening wolves." INTRODUCTION.--A Schoolmaster finds one day that several of his scholars are playing truant. The morning passes and they do not arrive. At last, in the afternoon, the truants turn up. The master has a strong suspicion where they have been: however, he asks, "Why were you not at school this morning?" "Please, sir, mother kept me at home to mind the baby." "Indeed--let me look at your mouth." He opens the mouth,
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

False Prophets
(Eighth Sunday after Trinity.) Matthew vii. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. People are apt to overlook, I think, the real meaning of these words. They do so, because they part them from the words which go just before them, about false prophets. They consider that 'fruit' means only a man's conduct,--that a man is known by his conduct. That professions are worth nothing, and practice worth everything. That the good man, after all, is the man who does right; and the bad man, the man who
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

A Man Expects to Reap the Same Kind as He Sows.
"Herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit . . . after his kind."--Gen. i: 12. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"--Matt. vii: 16. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." --Romans viii: 13. A Man Expects to Reap the Same Kind as He Sows. If I should tell you that I sowed ten acres of wheat last year and that watermelons came up, or that I sowed cucumbers and gathered
Dwight L. Moody—Sowing and Reaping

The Mote and the Beam
That friend of ours has got something in his eye! Though it is only something tiny--what Jesus called a mote--how painful it is and how helpless he is until it is removed! It is surely our part as a friend to do all we can to remove it, and how grateful he is to us when we have succeeded in doing so. We should be equally grateful to him, if he did the same service for us. In the light of that, it seems clear that the real point of the well-known passage in Matthew 7:3-5 about the beam and the mote
Roy Hession and Revel Hession—The Calvary Road

Doctrine of Non-Resistance to Evil by Force must Inevitably be Accepted by Men of the Present Day.
Christianity is Not a System of Rules, but a New Conception of Life, and therefore it was Not Obligatory and was Not Accepted in its True Significance by All, but only by a Few--Christianity is, Moreover, Prophetic of the Destruction of the Pagan Life, and therefore of Necessity of the Acceptance of the Christian Doctrines--Non-resistance of Evil by Force is One Aspect of the Christian Doctrine, which must Inevitably in Our Times be Accepted by Men--Two Methods of Deciding Every Quarrel--First Method
Leo Tolstoy—The Kingdom of God is within you

Fifth Lesson. Ask, and it Shall be Given You;
Ask, and it shall be given you; Or, The Certainty of the Answer to Prayer. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened,'--Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.'--Jas. iv. 3. OUR Lord returns here in the Sermon on the Mount a second time to speak of prayer. The first time He had spoken of the Father who is
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

Sixth Lesson. How Much More?'
How much more?' Or, The Infinite Fatherliness of God. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?'--Matt. vii. 9-11 IN these words our Lord proceeds further to confirm what He had said of the certainty of an answer to prayer. To remove
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

The Beggar. Mt 7:7-8

John Newton—Olney Hymns

Here Again Arises a Very Difficult Question. For in what Way Shall we Fools...
28. Here again arises a very difficult question. For in what way shall we fools be able to find a wise man, whereas this name, although hardly any one dare openly, yet most men lay claim to indirectly: so disagreeing one with another in the very matters, in the knowledge of which wisdom consists, as that it must needs be that either none of them, or but some certain one be wise? But when the fool enquires, who is that wise man? I do not at all see, in what way he can be distinguished and perceived.
St. Augustine—On the Profit of Believing.

Asking, Seeking, Finding. --Matt. vii. 7, 8
Asking, Seeking, Finding.--Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ask, and ye shall receive; On this my hope I build: I ask forgiveness, and believe My prayer shall be fulfill'd. Seek, and expect to find: Wounded to death in soul, I seek the Saviour of mankind; His touch can make me whole. Knock, and with patience wait, Faith shall free entrance win: I stand and knock at mercy's gate; Lord Jesus! let me in. How should I ask in vain? Seek, and not find Thee, Lord? Knock, and yet no admittance gain? Is it not in Thy
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Assurance and Encouragement. --Matt. vii. 7, 8
Assurance and Encouragement.--Matt. vii. 7, 8. While these commands endure, These promises are sure; And 'tis an easy task To knock, to seek, to ask: Sinner hast thou the willing mind? Saint, art thou thus inclined? Dost thou expect, desire, believe? Then knock and enter, seek and find, Ask and receive.
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

The Strait Gate;
OR, GREAT DIFFICULTY OF GOING TO HEAVEN: PLAINLY PROVING, BY THE SCRIPTURES, THAT NOT ONLY THE RUDE AND PROFANE, BUT MANY GREAT PROFESSORS, WILL COME SHORT OF THAT KINGDOM. "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."--Matthew 7:13, 14 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. If any uninspired writer has been
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Parting Counsels
'And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Author's Preface.
I did not write this little work with the thought of its being given to the public. It was prepared for the help of a few Christians who were desirous of loving God with the whole heart. But so many have requested copies of it, because of the benefit they have derived from its perusal, that I have been asked to publish it. I have left it in its natural simplicity. I do not condemn the opinions of any: on the contrary, I esteem those which are held by others, and submit all that I have written to
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Matthew 7:23 NIV
Matthew 7:23 NLT
Matthew 7:23 ESV
Matthew 7:23 NASB
Matthew 7:23 KJV

Matthew 7:23 Bible Apps
Matthew 7:23 Parallel
Matthew 7:23 Biblia Paralela
Matthew 7:23 Chinese Bible
Matthew 7:23 French Bible
Matthew 7:23 German Bible

Matthew 7:23 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Matthew 7:22
Top of Page
Top of Page