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Newtown Bible Church

Christians and Judging, Pt. 1 (Matthew 7:1-6)

Intro/Opening: We enter this morning into the topic: Christian judging. A most prevalent & pernicious problem within the church. Listen to the following for an illustration (see if you can find yourself in there somewhere):

 

“Oh Lord I thank You for making me better than those Pharisees, the ones that I read about in my chapter for the day. Oh Lord I thank You for making me better than those Pharisees, and I pray you’ll help these other folks to see it more our way. Bob & Betty Bokervate they seem to always walk in late, Don’t they know that Jesus wants them to be here on the dot? Dale and Dotty Dillontate they didn't’ put much in the plate, I think if they can’t give more he should get a better job. Deacon Bill & usher Jim they still have to use the book for hymns, if they’d memorized like I’ve done they wouldn’t have to cheat. Pastor John he prayed too long, he should know there’s something wrong when people out her get so bored they start to fall asleep. Oh Lord there’s something I’ve been noticing these people are not focusing on what they’re supposed to do and what they’re supposed to say. If they can’t get it right they’re no better than those people in the Bible, the ones that I read about, there name was Pharisee.”

 

Humorous is some ways and yet dealing with a very serious and deadly sin. In the same way the Lord will address the sin of judging, with what at first sight may be humorous, but is making a very serious point: the sin of judging is not a laughing matter.

 

3 Indictments and 2 Directives of Christian judging, so that the church would be humble, holy, and walk in love.

 

I. Indictments: (1) Being Judgmental is Sin; (2) Being Judgmental is Foolish; (3) Being Judgmental displays Spiritual Blindness.

II. Correctives: (1) Judging is to be done with Humble Love; (2) Judging is to be exercised with Wise Discernment

 

I. Indictments against Judging (1-5a).

(1) “Do not judge” - This has been one of the most misunderstood and abused passages in all of Scripture. Maybe you have heard someone say “I just don't’ want anyone to judge me,” Or, “Who are you to judge?”

Now, there may be legitimate points behind this (such as when referring to legalism), however, most often these statements are made by someone either in sin, or doctrinal error. The point behind this is very often: “I want to be where nobody will every confront sin in my life, or tell me that I am wrong.”

Especially in today’s culture where the only sin is to tell someone that they are in sin, or error.

But is this what the Lord is saying here? Is He prohibiting any and every confrontation of sin and error? Is He giving a carte blanche pass to act or believe anyway we want without any fear, or concern of rebuke, or admonishment? This is how many use it - even among professing Christians.

Even a basic understanding of the NT would eliminate that as an option. So, before we look at the what He is forbidding here, let me give you two main headings to provide a framework for understanding the Lord’s command.

(A) Judgement is essential to the gospel:

1) God judges all men: Heb. 9:27 “appointed for a man to die once, then comes the judgement”; 2) God judges the world: Acts 17:31 ““Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which bHe will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.””; 3) John 5:22 “All judgement has been handed over to the Son”; 4) God exercise judgment through human government: Rom. 13:2, 4 “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment … for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”; 5) Jesus Christ will judge His people: (2 Cor. 5:10) “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment”; 6) and at the heart of the gospel is the truth that all of God’s judgment for the sin of His people His people fell on Jesus Christ “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

If there were no judgment there would be no ultimate justice in the universe; no grace, and no holiness in the church. Judgement is an essential component to the gospel.

(B) God commands His people to judge between truth / error; to judge sin / righteousness in the church

We are commanded to judge false teachers (1 John 4:1 [TURN TO]; 2 John 9-11)

We are commanded to judge sin in the church (Matt. 18:15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private”; **1 Cor. 5:1-2, 5-7, 9-13 [TURN TO] ; Rom. 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” Titus 3:10 “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned”

We will judge the world and angels (1 Cor. 6:2-3)

** In the context of our passage He tells us we are to make judgements about who is a “dog … pig” (7:6) and latter (7:15) between true and false teachers.

Jesus is not condemning all judgment. So, those who think this verse means God will not judge their sin are tragically wrong; those who think that God forbids anybody else from pointing out and addressing sin in your life are most abundantly mistaken.

“You don’t judge me and I won’t judge you,” is really just a cover up for sin. If you don’t confront my sin, then I won’t confront yours and we can both live comfortably in our sin with a clear conscience. That is a lie from hell.

So is the popular thought that we should not judge and discern between another’s doctrine - remove doctrine for the sake of unity. This is a false human unity. The world will be unified under the false doctrines of anti-Christ (Rev. 13:8). Unity apart from clear truth about Jesus Christ and salvation is not what the Holy Spirit produces.

Although, do need to be careful to distinguish between what are essential doctrines to the faith; that is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and what are not. We should divide and condemn some errant doctrines, but not every doctrinal difference.

So then, what is He saying? What does He mean: “Do not judge”?

The word itself means to “to sift, decide, separate, chose” and has about seven different shades of meaning. In this command the Lord is not saying don’t be discerning or confront error, but is addressing the proud, harsh, critical spirit of the self-righteous. The attitude of the Pharisee in Lk. 18:9 “Those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and viewed others with contempt.”

It is that harsh and condemning attitude the Lord was repeatedly confronting with the Pharisee, who were zealous in religion, fastidiously disciplined in the externals of religion but proud and hard on the inside (Matt. 23:23-24; Mark 3:5).

He talking about that proud, self-exalting, harsh, critical, judgment of the self-righteous person.

 

Being Judgmental is Sin

(A) Disobedient to Christ’s Command

“Do not judge” - present imperative; a command; in others, Don’t do this! It is taking the place of judge and ruler over others.

This kind of judging is sin and the Lord commands us not to do it. This should never be present in the church or among anyone who names the Name of Jesus Christ.

Let me suggest at least 5 ways we tend to sinfully judge others:

(1) Sin of judging other people’s motives (1 Cor. 4:1-6 [TURN TO]).

In context, there were in some way judging the motives and fruitfulness of the ministry of Paul and others. Certainly, some were influenced by the constant accusations of the false teachers who were constantly attacking Paul’s character (cf. 2 Cor. 11:7-8).

I have sinned in this area. I’m going to guess you have to. We must be very careful. Only God fully knows another’s heart.

(4) Paul didn’t even know his own heart, how in the world can we so arrogantly know the motives & thinking of another. If you have ever been on the other side of this you know how ignorant it is.

However, love “believes all things … hopes all things.” - love assumes the best unless proven otherwise.

Are you quick to assume you know the reasons behind a persons actions? If it is in question & appropriate you should humbly ask.

(2) Sin of judging by making rules that go beyond Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6).

Do we do this naming things as sin that are not called sin in Scripture.

Do you look down on, or view harshly and make absolute evaluations of people who do not live by your same standard? How about the area of music? Entertainment?

I am not saying there are clear principles for pursuing holiness, and things that can’t be addressed by pointing out these principles. What I am saying is that it is very, very, very, very, very, easy (especially if you are not consciously pursuing love) to “go beyond what is written” in our judgments, if not tightly bound by Scripture. Remember, the Lord is talking about a harsh, condemning attitude.

(3) Sin of judging other people’s spirituality (Rom. 14:1f [TURN TO]).

Rather than judging we should be focused on loving and edifying. (Lk. 7:36-39).

(4) Sin of judging people before we have all the facts (first to plead

Judah judges Tamar (Gen. 38:24). Eli judged Hannah (1 Sam. 1:14). (ILLUST: Me with the phone in church)!

(5) Sin of judging other’s by outward appearance (John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance [superficially], but judge with righteous judgement”).

By strict rules, but with no understanding of either God’s intention in the Law, or by the nature of Christ’s work compared with circumcision (Matthew 11:16-19).

We have other ways of doing this. We often make judgments when we don’t know that persons life circumstances. How would someone feel when they walk into this church who is different, or ragged in appearance, or from involvement in the extremities of culture (body piercings, tattoos, etc.)? (I actually happen to believe they would feel welcomed, I have seen that testimony in you).

Rabbi Hillel: “Do not judge a man until you yourself have come into his circumstances or situation.” (Barclay). Author adds: “The fact is that if we realized what some people have to go through, so far from condemning them, we would be amazed that they have succeeded in being as good as they are.”

Do you look at others in our culture, the world, and weep or stand above them in judgment? Beloved, if you are a Christian it is only by grace, not by anything good in you. Your sin and mine was just as offensive to God as theirs. Besides, as Paul asked, “Who regard you as superior? What do you have that you did not received? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

Shows when we are quick to criticize others, quick to point out another persons failure, inconsistencies, shortcomings - with a sense of self-satisfaction at their failure.

This would include the gossip who always has something negative to say about another, always something to criticize, often at times with the sweetest smile and pretense for good. This is a huge problem in the church.

Have you ever known someone who can take almost any conversation and make it a means of exalting themselves and tearing others down? I have. I have had people where it would leave the conversation and just think, “Could you just say something nice.

It is much easier to criticize than it is to actually help and serve. This kind of spirit is obnoxious, proud, self-deceived.

This is the kind of judging that the Lord is talking about. If you see this in your heart, stop doing it. Stop judging others. You must see that as sin against God. It is the very epitome of pride and self-righteousness. But He is going to give yet another reason (look at these more briefly).

 

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