There is just too much “doing” in this chapter for this sermon to be nothing more than pie-in-the-sky idealism.
- The word “do” (or “don’t,” “does,” “doesn’t,” “didn’t”) occurs 15 times in this one chapter.
- Jesus encourages his audience to “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” (7:7), all very active verbs.
- Jesus summarizes all that the Law and Prophets were teaching using the very active Golden Rule: “So whatever you want people to do to you, do just that to them” (7:12).
- The calling card of genuine Christians is “the fruit they bear” or “produce” (7:16-19; “produce” is used 5 times in 3 verses).
Clearly, the Kingdom will come into existence by doing. Granted, the Kingdom is not of our doing, as if it is the work of our hands. But we are disregarding the activity in Matthew 7 if we think God will bring His Kingdom while we sit back passively waiting.
Don’t get me wrong. I am no legalist who glories in my good works. People who sit in my classes hopefully will tell you that is not the focus on my teaching. People who know me the best will also tell you I don’t have enough good works to glory in! We don’t “do” in order to get; we “do” because of what we’ve got. But the world needs more than a Church that offers cheap grace that neither changes anything within us nor demands anything from us. This world needs wise builders who hear and do. The skeptical around us need to investigate the vines of our lives and find abundant fruit. They need people who have actually found the gate that leads through the “tight squeeze” (7:14) to the narrow path and have turned around to show others the way.
This is the sort of thing Jesus meant when he said “Follow me!” (4:19)