1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude [the Lord turns from speaking only to His chosen twelve Disciples to the entire multitude] , and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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 the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
It is human nature to look upon others and see their faults. We are expected to judge between good and evil every day, but we must exercise charity, which is to see others the way God sees them. If you review the fruits of charity, as stated in Moroni 7:45, you will see that the Lord does not approve of those who judge others unrighteously. In fact, if we are unforgiving and harbor dark thoughts toward others it will prevent us from remaining clean in the presence of the Lord.
6 Give not that which is holy [of God] unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. [The Lord specifically commands them to not share anything holy with “dogs and swine.” Who are the dogs and swine? These are those who hate the words of Christ. The Lord will show you by the Spirit when to refrain from exercising the gifts of the Spirit. Remember when Jesus was commanded by Herod to do a miracle and Jesus was silent? You must be prudent and prayerful when sharing that which is holy.]
7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
This is such a beautiful analogy which the Lord uses to emphasize the “Law of Asking.” He admonishes the people to “ask” for what they need. To seek, and even “knock” until they are given access. This is the power of faith in receiving the blessings of heaven. Many expect the Lord to simply give them what they need with no thought of even asking. In some things this will occur, but when seeking the most beautiful blessings that can be obtained in this life it requires us to diligently seek Him. To knock on the doors of heaven with great purpose and resolve. Don’t just tap, knock loudly and keep doing so until He answers. You might hear a small voice in the distance telling you to be patient, “I’m coming.” You must take these verses literal and believe, for in them is the key to all the mysteries of heaven.
12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. [The “Golden Rule” to treat others as you wish to be treated. On the heels of the former verses the Lord emphasizes that when someone comes knocking on your door, respond to them likewise. All “prophets” are servants of the Lord.]
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in there at;
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. [The gate to Eternal Life begins at baptism, but it continues for a great distance, a straight course toward the completion of the Everlasting Covenant. Narrow is the way which leads toward its completion. Of all the people who inhabit this earth, few will follow this path. It is not that it is difficult to find, but that few desire to go therein.]
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [Never, ever, judge a person by the way they look. Especially in today’s society, where anyone can be polished and presented in a positive manner to create the illusion of kindness, sophistication, and even righteousness. What is a ravenous wolf? These are those who are filled with darkness who have evil intentions. The only way to know such people is to pray for discernment. Ask the Lord to know the intentions of their heart. In these last days such discernment is critical.]
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Another important counsel to help us see clearly: If the “prophet’s” message causes you to continually pull back, like trying to eat a sweet fruit that has thorns attached to it, something is wrong. What kind of fruit is it? Do their words and actions bring you closer to Christ, or closer to the prophet? Does it build the Kingdom of Heaven, or an earthly kingdom of men where others are held up high with honor and comfort? Does the prophet teach exactly what the Lord commanded in 3 Nephi 11, the “Doctrine of Christ,” or do they require people to pay strict allegiance to their words as many duties and commandments are added to the doctrine? Do they teach how to know the Lord, receive pure revelation, and literally come unto Christ? The prophet is the messenger, not the message.
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.
We can all judge the fruit for ourselves. What is the fruit of Joseph Smith? We have the Book of Mormon, and many revelations. Would you include all the people who have witnessed against him as proof that the fruit is bad? Each must taste the fruit for themselves and decide. You cannot judge the fruit according to the standard of the world. It is not the size of the churches, their beautiful structures and powerful influence that we look upon to know if the fruit is good. We must judge righteously, seeking a witness of the Spirit.
In the case of all prophets, we must judge by the “fruit” that is brought into the Lord’s kingdom. How many have come unto Christ because of a prophet’s guidance? A prophet can have hundreds of thousands of followers with not a single soul brought to Christ and thereby have no fruit to show. Evil fruit is the evidence that a prophet teaches doctrine which actually separates individuals from Christ. If they teach you to lean on the arm of flesh, to deny the power of the gifts of the Spirit, to judge others, or to change the doctrines of God to conform to the changes of society is not good fruit. These are general observations. Pray for your own understanding.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These are hard words to hear. Imagine a person who has assumed their entire life that they were a servant of God. They had great callings in the church, performed priesthood duties with great vigilance. They attended all their meetings and regularly attend the temple. Yet, when they finally are judged of the Lord He says he never knew them! How can this be?
You cannot earn your place in the kingdom by your works, or expect that a church calling is the equivalent of acceptance before the Lord. The path is narrow, and it requires only three things: repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. Have you had this change of heart, the quickening of the spirit that comes to a person that has received the baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost? If you have, all you must do is follow the commandments the Lord gives here in chapters 12-14 of 3 Nephi.
24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. [The shape of the rock never changes. It is solid. The philosophies of men cannot change or move it. The rock is the Lord’s Gospel and the words in these last chapters. Do you understand?]
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not [Ask yourself if you truly are anchored to these words.] shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
Today, we live in a time when many are falling away from the Gospel. Does it mean these people are made of sand? No. It means they are not following prophets whose teachings are built upon the rock of the Lord’s true Gospel. Many teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Come unto Christ, repent, be baptized and seek the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then follow the new commandments the Lord sets forth in the Beatitudes and the counsel to His Disciples. Then, you will be on a straight path toward receiving a fullness of the Everlasting Covenant, and shall be perfect in all things.