#3 "Rules For The Redeemed"
"THE JUDGMENT RULE!"
TEXT: Matt. 7:1-6
INTRO: It is so easy to get into the trap of judging others unfairly!
ILLUS: Like the lady in an airport waiting for the plane to arrive. She bought a book to read and a package of cookies to eat. She sat down and was reading her book when a man sat down beside her. Suddenly she noticed the man opening the package of cookies that sat between them! She was shocked to see him help himself to several of the cookies! To make a point she quickly reached out and took several cookies herself, hoping he would notice and feel ashamed of himself for helping himself to her cookies. The man didn't say a word when she helped herself ... but soon he reached over again and took another cookie; she quickly did the same again. This went on for some time until the whole bag was gone, all except one cookie. Before she could grab the last cookie he reached over and took it and broke it into 2 pieces and then left! As she too got up and boarded the newly arrived plane she was debating saying something to the freeloading man when she reached down into her purse to get something and to her horror discovered the bag of cookies she had bought still unopened in her purse where she had forgotten and put it! She had been eating HIS cookies all along, while condemning him in her heart! She was guilty of the very thing she judged him for! – Source Unknown
Jesus condemns judging others with a self-righteous spirit; it gains us nothing as believers. Like one man said, "HE WHO THROWS DIRT LOSES GROUND." Critical attitudes toward others usually drive them away from God ... and the sad fact is that we need so much work in our own lives that we can spend a great deal more productive effort with self-criticism!
It is important that we learn to build up and not tear down others; it is harder to do, but it is certainly better!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that there are 2 kinds of judgment, one seeks to condemn and is strictly forbidden by Jesus, and the other seeks to evoke compassion and is encouraged by Jesus. We must learn how to use the proper kind of judgment, and repent of the wrong type!
I. CARPING CRITICISM VS. CAREFUL CRITIQUE Matt. 7:1-5
A. Self-Righteous Judgment Matt. 7:1-4
1. "Do not judge..." The Greek verb here is in the present indicative active voice ... meaning someone who is habitually judging others.
a. Jesus is speaking here of those who are self-righteous, they see other’s faults worse than their own!
b. This kind of person has an exalted view of self and quickly finds faults with others.
2. It is more than just the occasional fault finding when we are in a bad mood ... it is more of a personality factor.
3. It stems from something built into us from many factors.
a. Often critical people are guilty themselves of the things they criticize in others:
b. They may feel terrible about themselves so they try to make themselves feel better by putting others down!
c. They may be very unhappy people or have their own lives out of control and they are jealous of those who do have their life in control!
d. They may have been the product of parental criticism all the time and they don't know any better ... it is their frame of reference in life.
e. Or, they may simply be obnoxious as a person!
4. At any rate, it is often that we are critical of the very things that are the weaknesses in our own life!
ILLUS: The great scientist Sir Percival Lowell was esteemed for his studies of the solar system. He particularly loved studying the red planet Mars. In 1877 he spent a great deal of time mapping all these great canals on Mars surface, drawing greatly detailed maps of hundreds of canals all over the surface, convincing himself and others that intelligent life once existed there because of these obvious man-made canals. His drawings gained wide acceptance and led to many of the science fiction stories of Martians in the early 1900's. The real problem was that many other scientists who looked at Mars never could see these same canals no matter how good their equipment was! No one however dared challenge the esteemed Lowell. Finally it was discovered that Lowell suffered from a rare eye disease that caused his blood vessels lining the inside of his eyeball to bulge so much that he was seeing his own blood vessels ... to this day the disease is called "LOWELL'S SYNDROME." Like Lowell we sometimes see other's faults because they exist in us! – Source Unknown
5. Carping criticism negates grace and is condemned here by Jesus.
6. It is only too easy to miss God's grace working in other’s lives if all we can see is something to condemn.
ILLUS: A Pastor in Ireland told this story not long ago; he was speaking to a protestant group. “A boy by the name of Paul McGeown only 2 years of age was playing with his mother in a park while watching the birds. He loved to say, 'birdies, birdies' when he saw them. One day in the park a terrorist bomb went off and threw him across the road, inflicting severe head wounds. For 16 days he was unconscious, and after surgery he awoke but was blind. A month later a miracle happened, while a nurse was holding him at the balcony of the hospital he suddenly cried out 'birdie, birdie' as he pointed at some birds, his sight had returned!" While telling this moving story to this protestant audience a woman at this point interrupted him and asked, "But wasn't he a Roman Catholic?" Talk about carping criticism! – Source Unknown
B. Self-Revealing Judgment Matt. 7:5
1. The proper role of criticism is self-criticism!
a. Jesus gives priority to this type of criticism ... looking within for faults, not outside!
b. This is consistent with Paul's teaching in 1 Cor. 11 where he instructs believers when taking communion to “examine” or "judge" themselves … adding that if we "judge ourselves we will not be judged by God!"
2. The place to begin with judgment is self, not other servants!
3. Judging self instead of others does several positive things:
a. It makes us humble instead of proud or arrogant.
b. It gives us compassion toward others since we realize we too need grace to survive!
c. It teaches us reliance upon God's grace instead of independence.
d. It focuses our energy where it belongs, on ourselves for being a better witness.
e. It avoids the trap of superiority that only repels others from us and the important message of God's forgiveness.
ILLUS: A sea captain and his chief engineer were arguing over who was most important to the ship. To settle the issue and for each to prove who was right they decided to change places. The captain went to the engine room while the engineer rose to the bridge. Several hours later the captain appeared on the deck covered with grease and dirt. Ready to admit the chief engineer might be more important he shouted while waving a monkey wrench, "Chief, you have to get down here; I can't make the ship move at all!" The chief sheepishly answered back, "of course you can't, I’ve run her aground!" Their criticism stopped as they realized how much they needed each other equally! – Source Unknown
4. More self-criticism would help eliminate judgment on others and this would help save a lot of broken relationships!
ILLUS: Like the father who complained about the amount of time his family spent in front of the TV. His children watched cartoons and neglected schoolwork, he complained. His wife preferred soap operas to housework he added. His solution? "As soon as the baseball season is over I'm going to pull the plug on this TV!" Somehow this fell short of helping! – Source Unknown
5. When the feelings to criticize arise ask yourself some questions:
a. If you complain of a cold church ... are you making it warm?
b. If you complain of no friends, are you one!
c. If you complain of others gossip, are you one!
d. If you complain about others lack of commitment, how is yours?
e. If you can gripe over other people's priorities, how's yours?
6. Self-criticism can solve the problem of arrogance and self-righteousness! This was Jesus' point in "the beam in your own eye vs. the speck of dust in your brother's."
II. CAREFULLY CONNECT CONTENT TO CONTEXT Matt. 7:6
A. Sacred Revelations Jeopardized! Matt. 7:6a
1. Jesus now makes a distinction between "judging" others and making judgment calls about people and where they are spiritually.
a. The point of this verse is to encourage us to consider and make a judgment call on how receptive people are, or where they are at spiritually; not to put them down, but so we might be able to minister wisely to them.
b. Jesus uses the idea of the Gentiles here, calling them dogs; not as a put down, but to explain that since they had no foundation yet in spiritual things, telling them about Jesus as Messiah would only be like giving dogs what is sacred ... they wouldn't know what to do with this teaching yet!
c. Jesus is encouraging us to evaluate people and gear the content of the message of salvation to a level they can accept and do something with.
2. Failure to "judge" others in this way is like "casting pearls to pigs" ... who finding that it is not food will only trample them under their feet and then turn in anger at those who gave it to them!
a. Jesus' point again is to consider the context of who we are ministering to and adapting ourselves to minister in a way that they can understand and accept.
b. To do this requires that we "judge" them as to their standing before God and their background ... but this kind of "judgment" does not lead to condemnation but to compassion! Instead of producing self-righteousness it produces humility.
ILLUS: A missionary who went to Africa found his ministry not well received ... in fact it was ignored by the natives. He tried using Rev. 3:20 as an invitation and found that the people became hostile to the Gospel! "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man invite me in I will come in to Him..." Rev. 3:20 Talk about giving the sacred to dogs! Then he discovered something about the people he was ministering to ... they found it quite rude to stand at a door and knock for entrance ... the polite thing to do was to stand outside the hut and cough if you wanted entrance to someone’s home. Rather than judge them unworthy dogs, he retranslated the verse "BEHOLD I STAND AT THE DOOR AND COUGH, IF ANY MAN HEAR MY COUGH AND INVITE ME IN I WILL COME IN TO HIM..." and the whole tribe surrendered their hearts to Christ! – Source Unknown
3. It was not a matter of "judging" them to condemn them, but to understand them and meet them where they were at.
4. Jesus' point about properly judging here is for us to taylor the message to those we hope to minister to, failure to do this kind of judging will lead us jeopardizing sacred revelations of God's to those we are giving them!
ILLUS: Like the enthusiastic Christian that decided to minister to an unsaved store owner, not properly judging the situation or the man led to an improper method of ministry ... this led to the Christian judging harshly this unbeliever ... the conversation between them went as follows:
Christian: "Are you a member of the Christian family?"
Store Owner: "No, they live 2 miles down the road, the white house on the left."
Christian: "Let me try again. Are you lost?"
Store Owner: "No, I've lived in this town for over 30 years now. I know right where I am."
Christian: "Let me put it this way; are you ready for the judgment day?"
Store Owner: "When will it be?"
Christian: "Could be today, could be tomorrow!"
Store Owner: "Well, when you know exactly, be sure to let me know. My wife will probably want to go on both days." – Source Unknown
5. When we use the sacred revelations of God, be sure to fit the content to the context, this takes a measure of godly judgment!
B. Sensitivity Regarding Judgment Matt. 7:6b
1. Find the connection that will give you an audience in sharing your faith. Jesus was a master at this!
a. He used a coin for those Jews who also accepted the Roman Empire, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's."
b. He used farm illustrations when ministering to crowds of common men who were accustomed to farming.
c. He used fishing when ministering to men like Peter, a fisherman.
d. To lawyers like Zachaeus, he talked about money.
e. He judged prostitutes and outcasts kindly and extended acceptance and forgiveness ... and the self-righteous Pharisees he had strong language for!
2. The key to correctly judging others is to find that particular thing they can relate to, that will open their spiritual understanding, this is different from judgment that condemns!
ILLUS: A Christian man was looking for an opportunity to witness to a devout Muslim whom he had come to know. He knew the man was unsaved, because of God's Word, a judgment therefore that was not his, but God's. Judging that this Muslim would not accept his Christian message if given in the usual way he asked God to give him the right way to approach him. One day God did. One day they were together and his friend was preparing to pray by carefully washing his arms and face and other parts of his body. When he was through, his Christian friend told him that he had forgotten one thing, washing his heart! He knew that total cleansing was absolute for a devout Muslim, rather than attack the man for how foolish such a belief was he instead uses it to get the man's attention. It worked, his Muslim friend now curious and conscientious to please God responded, "don't be silly, how can I wash my heart, this is not possible!" The Christian quickly agreed, "that's right my friend, that's why you need Christ, He can wash it." – Source Unknown
3. We need to be sensitive regarding judging others, instead we need to judge how best we can reach them rather than condemn them.
a. Jesus was only harsh with the self-righteous, NEVER was He with those on an earnest search for God.
b. Jesus did this with the Samaritan
woman, He brought up items on Samaritan doctrine but equally insisted the Jewish
concept of worship at
c. Each person has a key to reaching them, we need to ask God to help us discover it, rarely will it involve condemnation!
4. In the teaching here of Jesus on judging then, there is a wrong kind of judgment, and a right kind.
a. The wrong seeks to devalue the other person while setting self above them.
b. The right kind seeks to discover where they are at spiritually and how to reach them for Christ!
c. While both types of judgment require some sense of evaluation of their salvation, the direction that evaluation takes is very different!
CONCLUSION: There is an appropriate type of judgment and an inappropriate type. We are to judge or evaluate in order to know how to minister to others, but we are not to judge in order to self-righteously condemn others. The right type of judgment leads to compassion and outreach; the other leads to condemnation and to outcasts. The best way to keep balance is to look inward and deal with self, and then you can help others in their struggles too!