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As parents we understand how important it is for our children to have good role models. We know that children very easily can pick up bad traits from having friends who are a bad influence. “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

When it comes to spiritual discipleship, the same principles apply – but with much more serious impact. The type of leaders who disciple you will play a determining factor in your spiritual development. Jesus has been interacting with the religious leaders of his day. They were secure in their self-righteousness and placed themselves on a pedestal as model teachers and interpreters of God’s law. But they had no clue regarding spirituality as demonstrated by their hostile reaction to the Son of God Himself.

Jesus at the same time was training His disciples to be effective leaders down the road. He wanted to clearly expose the types of characteristics that would disqualify someone from effectively discipling others.

Morris: Jesus now turns to the responsibility that rests on disciples to make more disciples.

Offers a series of very short metaphors – introduced as “parables”

Anyabwile: Be careful whom you follow.

MacArthur: The options were clear on that day on the hillside in Galilee when Jesus was giving this sermon on the mount, as it is called. And what Jesus is saying here is you have leaders in your nation: Pharisees, scribes, priests, the spiritual establishment of Judaism, and you have Me, and you have to choose between us. They are spiritually deadly and I give life. That is clearly the issue in this sermon because the closing illustration in verse 46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like.”



“And He also spoke a parable to them: ‘A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?’”

MacArthur: In fact, what I just read you is four little proverbs, or four parables. You think of a parable, you think of a long story, a protracted story. But a parable can be one line. It can be synonymous with an analogy, an illustration, a proverb. You have in the Gospel of Luke in a number of places, chapter 12 and several other places further on, parables that are prolonged. You also have parables that are one brief sentence, such as in 4:23, 5:36. And here you have very brief pithy little parables, or proverbs, or axioms, truisms, self-evident truths. . .

Blindness is used metaphorically, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, for being void of truth, for not having any spiritual sight, or insight. Isaiah 29:10, Isaiah 44:18, Jeremiah 5:21, many other passages. Psalm 82:5 says, “The wicked don’t know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness;” that’s a categorical description. Second Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this world has blinded their minds.” People who don’t know God are blind to truth and if you follow them, you’re going to end up in the pit.

Don’t follow spiritual leaders like the Pharisees who will only lead you into the pit. Instead, follow Jesus as your Master since He can make you a true disciple who will be equipped to disciple others.

Factors contributing to Blindness:

– Condition of the heart of natural man – unable to grasp spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2)

– Tradition

– Sin

– Prejudice

– Narrow scope of vision (like horse with blinder on)

– Activity of Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4)


“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”

Some people are not very coachable – especially those who think they know it all already.

Characterized by arrogance and pride.

To be a good teacher you must first be teachable.

Paul was able to exhort: “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

Mark Twain once said “it only took two characteristics to be a preacher: ignorance and confidence.”

When you think of the model of Teacher/Student relationship back in days of Jesus, there was a very singular focus on the person who was providing the training. As the sources of input broaden, you lose somewhat the force of this proverbial saying. But the principle still holds that the disciple is not going to progress beyond the Master.

That is why even in the business world, leadership development gurus stress the importance of effective mentoring. It is important not only to know what you know . . . but to know what you don’t know.

Lenski: In the whole sermon Jesus is trying to imbue his disciples with his own spirit and his principles. Those who are at this time his disciples are such only because they have in some measure imbibed his spirit. They will thus never get above him, for if they absorb some other spirit they will become only renegades and apostates who are no longer “under” him but far from him. The relation expressed by Jesus is one that has no exceptions.


A. (:41-42a) Tendency to Concentrate on the Sins of Others

1. (:41) Inspection

“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye,

but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

Shows sense of humor on the part of Jesus – would make an effective cartoon

2. (:42a) Confrontation

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?”

David Guzik: Our hypocrisy in these matters is almost always more evident to others than to ourselves. We may find a way to ignore the plank in our own eye, but others notice it immediately. A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about a man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man, but was blind to his own sin, which was much greater (2 Samuel 12:1-9).

B. (:42b) Priority of Dealing With Your Own Sins

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

Donald Miller: To try to exercise moral authority over others without first having subjected one’s self to the most careful moral judgment, is like trying to remove a “speck” from the eye of another with a ‘log” in one’s own eye.

Anyabwile: Deal With Your Own Stuff — If you have ever taken a flight on an airplane, you have heard an illustration of this point. Before takeoff, the attendant reviews the safety instructions, including instructions for putting on oxygen masks in case of an emergency. The attendant tells the passengers they must put on their own mask before helping those around them. So it is with our sin and the sins of others.

MacArthur: Here’s the problem false teachers have. They can’t fix you because they can’t fix themselves. They can’t solve your problem because they’ve got a massive one of their own. This is really very – it’s cartoonish. The word “speck,” karphos, means “a chip.” This is not a tiny little piece of sand like you get in your eye. This would be like a wood chip or a piece of chaff or straw, serious problem in your eye. . .

Self-righteousness is the sin that Jesus repeatedly condemned the scribes and Pharisees for, not only in the Sermon on the Mount, but all the way through His entire ministry. Self-righteousness is a sin of blindness, it puts a beam in your eye so you can’t see reality. It distorts your vision of everything because there you are looking at your own wretched sinfulness and you can’t see it. You won’t see it.


A. (:43-44) The Condition of the Tree Will Show Itself in Fruit – Good vs Bad

1. (:43) No Exceptions

“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit;

nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.”

2. (:44a) No Surprises

“For each tree is known by its own fruit.”

Morris: A man’s deeds show what he is like at heart.

3. (:44b) Clear Expectations

“For men do not gather figs from thorns,

nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.”

B. (:45) The Condition of the Heart Will Show Itself in Speech – Good vs Evil

1. (:45a) No Exceptions

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil;”

Donald Miller: What is a true heart? It is the disposition to obey. True discipleship is the glad acknowledgment of Christ’s Lordship. And this acknowledgment lies in obedience. It is not enough to call Jesus Lord with the lips. One must own his Lordship with an obedient life.

Warren Wiersbe: A man who apologized for swearing by saying, “It really wasn’t in me!” heard a friend say, “It had to be in you or it couldn’t have come out of you!”

2. (:45b) No Surprises

“for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

J. C. Ryle: What kind of evidence do our words supply as to the state of our hearts? Do we talk like men whose hearts are “right in the sight of God?”–There is no evading the doctrine laid down by our Lord in this passage. Conduct is the grand test of character. Words are one great evidence of the condition of the heart.

We need the righteousness of Christ because our hearts are evil. Otherwise we won’t love others; we won’t show mercy and be gracious; we won’t deal with our own sin; we will be super critical and always finding fault with others; we will be arrogant and resistant to the truth of God’s Word. We need the righteousness of Christ.