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130407 sm 21 who are you to judge matthew 7 1-6 (abridged)

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Lesson 21 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Presented 4/7/2013 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells

Lesson 21 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Presented 4/7/2013 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells


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  • Series: Living With Difficult PeopleNot everyone is what they ought to be. Not everyone has made all the right choices in life. It’s easy to look down on people for their sins and misdeeds, while at the same time overlooking our own.If you saw Les Miserables, you know the story of Fantine. She had a child out of wedlock. She left the child with guardians and worked her finger to the bones in a sweat shop to provide for her.Then, one day, her judgmental co-workers discovered her secret and she lost her job – her only means of keeping body and soul together.
  • Today we’re beginning a new series on “Living With Difficult People”. If anybody would know about living with difficult people, it would have to be Jesus. When you’re perfect, let’s face it, living with anyone else would be difficult. So, as you might imagine, Jesus had something to say about how to live with difficult people. His words on the subject are found in Matthew 7. It’s part of the Sermon on the Mount that we’ve been studying this season.
  • Three weeks – three biblical principles – three secrets for living with difficult people. Since none of us is perfect, all of us are difficult to live with. Today, we begin with the first principle: Guarding my Thoughts One thing that makes it difficult to live with difficult people is what we think about them. We think they’re difficult! And so it’s difficult to live with them. The first thing we can do to be successful in getting along with each other is to guard our thoughts. We need to be careful about making judgments of other people. Do Not Judge Others (Matthew 7:1-6) The person judging will be judged because judging assumes a divine prerogative; final judgment belongs to God alone, and those who seek to judge others now will answer then for usurping God's position.
  • Two observations:When we judge others, we set up a standard for the way others will judge us.People tend to treat us the way they observe us treating others.“What goes around comes around”If we are harsh in the way we treat others, we shouldn’t be surprised when they are harsh in the way they treat us; if we are gracious in the way we treat others, we shouldn’t be surprised when they treat us graciously.So, if you don’t like the way other people treat you, take a close look at how you treat others.2. When we judge others, we set up a standard for the way God will judge us.The real point of the statement “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” is that the standards we apply to others are the standards God applies to us. The passive verbs in Matthew 7:1 look to God's action.Let’s look at the text.
  • By this point, no one who has been taking Jesus seriously will feel much like judging anyone else. Still, we tend to prefer applying ethics to others rather than ourselves.Husbands quote “Wives, be in subjection” not “Husbands love your wives”.Parents quote “Children obey your parents” not “Fathers do not exasperate your children”Have you ever listened to a sermon thinking, I wish so-and-so had shown up for church today.) So just in case we have been too obtuse to grasp that Jesus addresses us rather than others in Matthew 5-6, Jesus renders the point explicit in Matthew 7:1. God evaluates us – and he evaluates most graciously the meek, who recognize God alone as judge.Do you remember this story from John 8?
  • Even if we knew people's hearts, we could not evaluate degrees of personal guilt as if we understood all the genetic and social influences that combine with personal sinful choices in making some people more vulnerable to particular temptations (such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or domestic violence) than others. Even if we knew people's hearts, we would be in no position to judge unless we had lived sinless lives, never needing God's forgiveness (remember Matthew 6:12, 14- 15).Matthew 6:12-15 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ... 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Many have taken this passage out of context. Jesus warns us not to assume God's prerogative to condemn the guilty; but he is not telling us not to discern right and wrong. (see Matthew 7:15-20). Matthew 7:15-20 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”The idea of a measuring scale (the image is from the ancient marketplace) was used elsewhere for the day of judgment or divine retribution; "As a man measures it will be measured back to him" occurs a number of times in later Jewish sources and may have been a maxim. (For the principle, see 5:7).Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Story of Grandma’scousin – general store – barterchurnedbutterwithfly in it. “Whattheydon’tknowwon’thurtthem.”
  • We Blind Ourselves When We Rationalize Away Our Guilt (Matthew 7:3- 5) We rationalize away our guilt but not that of others, and our double standard itself renders our own behavior inexcusable (compare Matthew 6:22- 23). Matthew 6:22-23 NIV84 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
  • Jesusisusinghyperbole – absurdillustration. Comes out of carpenter’s shop. Sawdust in eyeispainful – youwantsomeonetohelpyou. Imagine howcrazyitwould be toaskthepersonwith a plank in hiseyetohelpgetsawdustout of yours. The term translated speck (κάρφος) refers to a small piece of wood, chaff, or straw; see L&N 3. 66The term plank (δοκός) refers to a very big piece of wood, the main beam of a building, in contrast to the speck in the other's eye (L&N 7. 78).Haveyoueverhadsomething in youreyethatobstructsyourvision? Yougettowhereyoucannotseeit, becauseyourbrainfills in themissinginformation.Look at a picturefor a while, then look away. Brainkeepstheimage, becauseitfills in theblanks and extrapolatesaroundit.Hereis a guywhosebrain has convincedhimthat he has no obstruction, tryingtohelpgetthetinyannoyanceout of another’seye.Noticethatthereis a speck (sin) in thebrother’seye.Nothingwrongwithtryingtohelpthatbrothergetrid of thespeck.Problemisthatassistant has notdealtwithobstructions in hisowneye.
  • Not all judgment is out-of-bounds.Our society honors tolerance more than correctness.What drives the desire for tolerance in our society is existentialism – everyone is free to do as he pleases.Everybody ought to get to decide whatever they want to do. And everyone else should accept whatever others want to do.That’s not the way it works. God lays out the boundaries.It is judgmental to say this is right – and that is wrong.God has an intolerant way of saying what is right and wrong.Puts us in an awkward spot of having to recognize the difference between right and wrong – and living with people who do not do what the Bible says is right.Even When You Are Right, Do Not Impose the Truth on Others (Matthew 7:6). This verse does not allow us to prejudge who may receive our message (Matthew 13:3-23 – Parable of the Soils), but it does forbid us to try to force it on those who show no inclination to accept it
  • Pigs and dogs were considered unclean animals (2 Pet 2:22), which had no appreciation for valuable things (Prov 11:22). Pigs typically ate the vilest foods, and dogs were scavengers, consuming even human blood. Stray dogs were known to growl at those who tossed them food as well as those who ignored them. This verse is a chiasm of the pattern a- b- b- a, in which the first and last clauses belong together ("dogs turn around and tear you to pieces") and the second and third clauses belong together ("pigs trample them under their feet").Teaching about the kingdom should be given in accordance with the spiritual capacity of the learners.2 Peter 2:20-22 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."Believers are to be merciful, forgiving, and slow to judge (7:1–5), yet they should wisely discern the true character of people and not indefinitely continue proclaiming the gospel to those who adamantly reject it, so that they can move on and proclaim the gospel to others (cf. 10:14; also Acts 13:46; 18:6; Titus 3:10–11).
  • Les Misérables tells the story of Jean Valjean’s transformation from a bitter, vengeful man into a man whose soul is forgiven by the redeeming grace of Christ through an act of love. Jean Valjean is a man born into a hard and merciless world. He is owned in body – a slave for 19 years, for the “crime” of stealing a loaf of bread. He lives in a world that has taught him to “look down,” not up, and to see nothing but the grave he is standing in. He is ultimately freed of the cruelty of prison, but he carries with him the bitter, hard hatred of a man who cannot forgive and who loves no one.Prisoner 24601As Valjean is released from imprisonment, Javert reminds him that he will never be more than Prisoner 24601.
  • Again and again, Jean Valjean must face and meet challenges to his will – including jeopardizing his own life in sacrificial love for Fantine and her daughter Cosette. He even shows mercy to his relentless and merciless pursuer, Javert. Throughout the story, the grace of God leads, guides and protects Jean Valjean, giving him light to know what to do next and the courage and strength to do the right thing at great risk and cost to himself. It is the story of the interplay between justice and mercy, cruelty and love, grace and law. It is a tale that shows the mercy of God is as necessary to us as it was for Jean Valjean; a story about how anybody, no matter how hard life has been to them, can have the hope of becoming virtuous.
  • When you watched “The Bible” on the History Channel, how did you respond to it? Did you ask, “What’s wrong with it? What are the problems? What don’t I like about it?” (It got the baptism of Jesus right - immersion, but Paul and Cornelius by sprinkling and putting the face into a basin). Or did you watch and ask, “How did it capture the big picture of God’s Word?” When a new person walks in the door of our church, you can focus on what’s wrong with them or you can focus on what’s right with them. When we implement a change in our ministry, there are two ways to respond. Some people make it their responsibility to identify what’s wrong with the plan. Others are excited to discover the new benefits and opportunities that change offers us as a church. People who tend to find fault often act like they have helped everybody out by uncovering a faulty program, a faulty person, a faulty preacher, or a faulty plan. But you know what the truth is? You can always find something wrong with anything—any program, any person, any preacher, any plan. But if “finding out what’s wrong” is the focus of your approach, then you cheat yourself and everyone else out of the opportunity to learn and grow and benefit from what God has brought into your life or into your church. Are you one that always tends to search for “what’s wrong with it?” If you are, then stop it! Stop judging! Some people elevate fault finding to a ministry—as if they were doing the church a favor, or doing society a favor, or doing their spouse a favor—by making it their goal to find out what’s wrong. It’s legit to ask questions like, “Can we do this?” “Should we do it?” “How will we do it?” or “What problems need to be solved in order to do it?” But all that is different than searching for faults and focusing on weaknesses, intentionally championing problems instead of solutions. One is the gift of discernment, good judgment. The other is the bane of condemnation, the kind of judgment that Jesus says does not belong in the church and does not belong in our lives.
  • Transcript

    • 1. WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE? Matthew 7:1-6THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
    • 2. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOK Worship Economy Code RelationshipsCharacter Disciple’s Choices
    • 3. THE DISCIPLE’S RELATIONSHIPSWho are You to Judge?
    • 4. QUICK JUDGMENT INVITES MORE JUDGMENT Matthew 7:1-2
    • 5. Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will bejudged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • 6. Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will bejudged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • 7. QUICK JUDGMENT IS DISTORTED Matthew 7:3-5
    • 8. Matthew 7:3-5"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in yourbrothers eye and pay no attention to the plank inyour own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother,Let me take the speck out of your eye, when allthe time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 Youhypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,and then you will see clearly to remove the speckfrom your brothers eye.
    • 9. CAREFUL JUDGMENT IS NECESSARY Matthew 7:6
    • 10. Matthew 7:6"Do not give dogs what is sacred;do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
    • 11. TWO KINDS OF JUDGMENT Condemning Judgment Discerning Judgment Quick Careful Focused on Others Focused on Self Generalizations IndividualGossip, Assumption, Appearance Benefit of the Doubt, Observation, Inquiry Legalistic Gracious Motives Actions
    • 12. CONDEMNING JUDGMENT VS. DISCERNING JUDGMENT What’s Your Style?