Home-Study Lesson: Matthew 6:1–13:23 (Unit 3)

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher

Summary of Daily Home-Study Lessons

The following summary of events, doctrines, and principles students learned as they studied Matthew 6:1–13:23 (unit 3) is not intended to be taught as part of your lesson. The lesson you teach concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you consider the needs of your students.

Day 1 (Matthew 6–7)

As students continued their study of the Sermon on the Mount, they learned the following: If we perform acts of devotion to please Heavenly Father rather than to seek the attention of others, then He will reward us openly. We cannot serve both God and mammon. As we ask, seek, and knock in our search for truth, Heavenly Father will answer and bless us with personal revelation. We can discern false prophets by their fruits.

Day 2 (Matthew 8–10)

In this lesson, students learned that Jesus can heal us of our infirmities and sicknesses and that He calls Apostles and confers His authority upon them. Students also discovered that when we are in the service of the Lord, He will inspire us with what to say when needed, and if we lose our lives (give of our time) for the sake of Jesus Christ, then we will find purpose in our lives.

Day 3 (Matthew 11–12)

Students learned that as we seek to learn of Jesus Christ and as we testify of Him, our own testimony of Him can be strengthened, and if we come unto Jesus Christ, He will ease our burdens and give us rest. In addition, students learned about being fully committed to God and replacing evil influences in their lives with good ones.

Day 4 (Matthew 13:1–23)

As students studied the parable of the sower, they learned that the cares of the world can distract us, remove our focus from the Lord, and choke our faith and testimony of the word of God. To prevent this from occurring and to become converted to the Savior, we must receive the word of God and strive to deepen our testimonies.

Introduction

As recorded in Matthew 7, Jesus Christ continued His Sermon on the Mount by teaching His disciples to judge righteously. He also taught about receiving personal revelation and doing Heavenly Father’s will.

Suggestions for Teaching

Note: During the home-study lesson for unit 1 and the day 3 lesson this week, students studied the scripture mastery passage in Matthew 11:28–30. Consider spending a few moments reviewing the passage with students.

Matthew 7:1–5

As part of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ teaches His disciples about judging righteously

Before class begins, write the following question on the board: Should we or should we not judge others? As class begins, invite students to respond to the question.

Display the picture The Sermon on the Mount (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 39; see also LDS.org). Explain that as Jesus continued His Sermon on the Mount, He taught His disciples about judging.

Invite a student to read Matthew 7:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught about judging. Point out that verse 1 is often misunderstood to mean that we should never judge. Ask a student to read Matthew 7:1, footnote a.

  • What did the Savior teach about judging?

  • What do you think it means to judge righteously?

Invite a student to read Matthew 7:2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen to us based on the way we judge others. Invite students to report what they find. (You may want to explain that the phrase “what measure ye mete” means the way you measure or judge.)

  • What will happen if we judge others righteously? (After students respond, help them identify the following principle: If we judge others righteously, God will extend the same mercy and fairness to us.)

If possible, distribute copies of the following statement from True to the Faith to each student. Invite a student to read it aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the types of judgment we should and should not make and how we can judge righteously.

“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. …

“Judgment is an important use of your agency and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards. Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals (see Revelation 20:12; 3 Nephi 27:14; D&C 137:9). …

“… As much as you can, judge people’s situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts. Always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide your decisions” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 90–91).

  • What types of judgments should we make?

  • How can we judge righteously?

  • What are some examples of times when a person would need to make a righteous judgment?

Display a small sliver of wood and a long, thick piece of wood. Explain that as the Savior taught His disciples about judging, He referred to a small sliver of wood as a mote and a large piece of wood as a beam (see Matthew 7:3, footnotes 3b and 3c). Invite a student to read Matthew 7:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught about judging others.

  • What might the mote and beam represent in the Savior’s analogy? (They represent small and large faults, weaknesses, or sins.)

  • How would you restate the Savior’s teaching in verse 3?

Invite two students to come to the front of the class. Instruct one student to hold the beam over his or her eyes. Ask the second student:

  • Would you like your classmate with the beam to remove a speck of wood from your eye? Why not?

Ask the student with the beam:

  • What would you need to do to see clearly enough to remove the speck of wood from your classmate’s eye?

Invite the two students to be seated. Ask a student to read Matthew 7:4–5 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for whose faults the Savior said we should worry about.

  • Should our concern and correction be focused on others’ faults or on our own? Why?

  • What principle can we learn from these verses that can help us avoid judging others unrighteously? (Students may use different words but should identify the following principle: If we focus on removing our own sins and weaknesses, then we will be less likely to judge others unrighteously. Write this principle on the board.)

  • How can this principle help us when we see a flaw in someone else?

You could give students a small piece of wood to keep to remind them of this principle. Invite students to ponder the sins or weaknesses they could remove from their own lives. Encourage them to ask the Lord for help to remove their own flaws instead of judging others unrighteously.

Matthew 7:24–27

The Savior promises salvation to those who do the Father’s will

Display a rock and a tray of sand. Ask students whether they would prefer to build their home on rock or on sand. Invite them to explain why.

Ask a student to read Matthew 7:24–27 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus said is like building a house on rock and what is like building a house on sand.

  • According to verse 24, what actions did the Savior say would make someone like a wise man who built on rock?

  • According to verse 26, what actions did the Savior say would make someone like a foolish man who built on sand?

  • What do you think the rain, floods, and wind (see verse 27; see also Helaman 5:12) represent in these analogies?

  • What principles about acting on the Lord’s teachings can we learn from these analogies? (Students may use different words but should identify the following principles: If we hear and act on the Lord’s teachings, then He will strengthen us to endure our trials. If we hear the Lord’s teachings but do not follow them, then we will not have the support we need when trials come.)

Invite students to be like the wise man by deciding to act on the principles the Savior taught. You may want to give students time to write how they will apply one or more of the principles from this lesson or from their study of the rest of the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount.

Next Unit (Matthew 13:24–17:27)

Tell students that during the next week they will read about the evil plot that led to the death of John the Baptist. They will also learn answers to the following questions: Why did Herod have John beheaded? Why did Peter sink into the water after successfully walking on it? Ask students to consider what it feels like to have a close friend or family member die. Invite them, as they study the next unit, to watch for how the Savior responded to the death of a loved one and what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration.