Andrew Fountain - Do not Judge?

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Sermon notes - Do not Judge?

Do Not Judge....?

Do Not Judge....?

Image source: Geek Syndicate

  • Read Matthew 7:1–5

Matthew 7:1-20

  1. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
  2. For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive.
  3. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?
  4. Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own?
  5. You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
  6. Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces.
  7. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.
  8. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
  9. Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
  10. Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
  11. If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
  12. In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.
  13. “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
  14. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
  15. “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.
  16. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they?
  17. In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
  18. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.
  19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
  20. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.

based on NET Bible

  • Explain the passage (with a real plank)
    • the message seems clear enough doesn’t it?
  • But... surely we are to make some kinds of judgements?
    • Even in the passage we read there is judging required [v.15–20]
  • There was a situation where Peter fell into a really bad error
    • Could have split the church permanently and sent it into centuries of legalism
    • Gentiles had to be circumcised and follow the Jewish rituals, or Jews could not even eat at the same table
  • I read a story recently of a seminary professor who challenged his students to go through the New Testament and find what was was the most emphasized warning.
    • They were surprised to find that the most emphaized waring in the N.T. is about false teachers

Paul & Peter: Galatians 2:11–14

  1. But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong.
  2. Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.
  3. And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.
  4. But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Bereans Acts 17:10–12

  1. The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
  2. These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.
  3. Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.
  • Paul even requests that they judge his words (1 Cor 10):
  1. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
  • I want you to judge my words right now!!

Hebrews 5:12–15

  • The writer to Hebrews complains that they are not mature enough to be discerning:
  1. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
  2. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
  3. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

2. When do we judge?

  1. Truth and falsehood
  2. Prophecy
  • There are at least five passages telling them that they should judge prophecy (including the one here in Matt):

Judging Prophecy

  • 1 Thes 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
  • 1 Cor 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
  • 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  • Rev 2:2 I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
  • Anything else?
    • I heard a Mexican recently talking about how deeply upset he was about corruption in his country’s government
    • But what if someone said “Hey, you’re a Christian—you’re not supposed to judge are you?”
    • But we are to judge Public moral issues, like injustice
  • Put what about private morality?
    • What if people at work are boasting about how to ride the TTC without paying
    • Or where to get the best internet pornography
    • Do we judge them ??

Judging the world: 1 Cor 5:9–12

  1. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.
  2. In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world.
  3. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.
  4. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside?
  • So do we never say anything to non-Christians?
    • I know a guy (not a Christian) who is viscously racist. Do I let him just rant about how he hates immigrants?
    • As lovingly as I can, I make it clear that I don’t share his viewpoint
    • But I don’t reject him as a person, I still try and talk to him whenever I can
  • Chris McLean tells of non-Christian a man who came into church and said “These are my kids but we’re not married”
    • He was obviously testing to see if he would be accepted or rejected
    • Chris said “You’ll be very welcome here”
  • So Paul says that we are not to go around verbally attacking individuals who don’t claim to be Christians, for not living up to God’s standards
    • That doesn’t mean we are complicit with them.
  • It is very important that we speak into one another’s lives
    • When I was a teenager a lady rebuked me for something, and she did in such a good and loving way that I wanted to give her a hug and thank her.
    • Done well, it can actually produce love (I’m there for you... I know God wants you to have victory over this and I’m on your side)
    • e.g. Student noticed ink syringe
  • So what is 11 & 12 talking about?
    • People who persist wilfully in these behaviours
    • They don’t care what God thinks!

2. When do we judge?

  1. Truth and falsehood
  2. Prophecy
  3. Public moral issues, like injustice
  4. Speaking the truth in love to brothers & sisters
    But not attacking non-Christians
  • This includes Character Issues
    • Long ago, in another church, I once told a older lady that she was too vocal in meetings.
    • By God’s grace I was able to do it in a way that expressed a lot of love and showed how much I valued her.
    • But was really surprised me was that she kept thanking me afterwards.
      • “Nobody tells me—they all talk about me behind my back” She constantly tells me how much she appreciates and respects me.
      • That was 25 years ago, and she still tells me
      • She invited Anne and I to come and stay in her family’s cottage
    • All she wanted was someone who would love her enough to be honest with her

Do Not Judge....?

Do Not Judge....?

Image source: Geek Syndicate

3. So what is left then that we are not to judge?

  • What a big emphasis! Why?

Luke 6:37

  1. Judge not, and you shall not be judged.
    Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.
    Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
  • This is very strong!! (similar to parable of forgiveness)

James 4:10–12

  1. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
  2. Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.
  3. But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge—the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbour?
  • There seems to be the idea that we cannot judge because we can only see the outside and so cannot judge properly.
    • Only God can see the heart.
    • e.g.: John 7:23–24

John 7:23–24

  1. But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?
  2. Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.”
  • Now this is a very helpful verse in helping us distinguish right and wrong judgement
  • A similar idea is found in 1 Corinthians 4:3–5:

1 Corinthians 4:3–5

  1. So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court.
    In fact, I do not even judge myself.
  2. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this.
    The one who judges me is the Lord.
  3. So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes.
    He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts.
    Then each will receive recognition from God.
  • so the key issue here is that we can’t see other people’s inner motives
  • It also concerns not judging religous practices

Romans 14:6–13

  1. The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God...
  2. But you who eat vegetables only—why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything—why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God...
  3. Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
  4. Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.
  • But notice there is a day of judgment!
    • The only way through it is to be already judged in Jesus

Colossians 2:16–18

  1. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths

4. So, why is it so important?

  • It’s all about love, attitudes, vulnerability e.g. Gal 5:14–15
    1. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    2. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
  • but 6:1–3
    1. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
    2. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
  • Example:
    • Steven Covey on the subway with badly behaved kids running amok
    • how someone behaved during worship—I thought they were seeking attention, but God was doing an amazing work in them

The Difference

  • It is very important to distinguish between judging a person, i.e. their heart, and judging behaviour.
  • It’s not so much what you say but how you say it!
    • a critical attitude
    • this attitute destroys all openness
    • gossip is the worst kind of judgementalism
  • Example:
    • how someone behaved during worship—I thought they were seeking attention, but God was doing an amazing work in them
    • The other week I thought of a verse during workship, and I was looking for it on my phone
      • Then I thought—maybe people might think I’m on social media instead of worshipping?
      • But then I thought, acutally this would be a good example for when I preach on judging
  • But what if there is some inappropriate behaviour?
    • It is possible to bring up an issue with another person without judging them
      • If you are first very clear that it is not about them as a person
    • I heard as story of one Christian who lost his temper with another.
      • Another person restored them “it wasn’t you to behave like that”
  • Assume the very best motivation
    • Always start by giving the benefit of the doubt

Wise words from Bruce Smith:

  • It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood.
  • Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others.
  • Stop having a measuring stick for other people.
  • There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation.
  • I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.
  • Open Question:

Why is this so important?

  • Many Scriptures link unity with the pouring out of the Spirit
    “…making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, There is one body and one Spirit…” (Eph 4:3–4)
  • Unity is the evidence to the world that we are followers of Jesus
    “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples — if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
  • Can we each repent from any wrong judgment we are holding right now.
    (pray and wait on God)

Updated on 2017-07-03 by Andrew Fountain