19 Luke 6.37-42
The Litmus Test of Love
v Litmus Paper
Ø Acids – Blue Litmus paper red
Ø Bases – Red litmus paper blue
v Jesus has just finished teaching about Love
Ø Love is to be the defining mark of every Christian
Ø Love is open and vulnerable
Ø Love is generous
Ø Love is merciful
§ And now adds…
· Love is not judgmental
v Now Jesus takes a piece of blue litmus paper and dips it into our lives to see if it will remain blue or turn red with the acid of Judgment
§ Magna = Great
§ Animus = Spirit
· Great-spirited or great-souled
¨ Describes a person that is generous and giving
Ø That is what we are called to be as Christians
§ Generous with mercy and forgiveness
· That is what this text is teaching us to be
Ø Far and away Scripture encourages us to act much more in forgiveness than in judgment
§ Esau Forgives Jacob
§ Joseph his brothers
§ Moses forgives the Israelites
§ David forgives Saul
§ Hosea forgives his wife
§ Jesus forgives those who crucified him
· We are called to be just like him in verse 36
Ø Indeed, this is what the second two commands teach us (v. 37-38)
§ Forgive and give (mercy)
· And we are to do these in abundance
¨ Explain Proverb
Ø In other words…
§ Don’t cheat on forgiving and giving mercy
· Do it in abundance so that it overflows
v RQ: But are we to not judge at all, as verse 37 seems to indicate?
v Verse 37 is perhaps the most misinterpreted verse in the Bible
Ø Today, the minute you hold anyone to a standard at all, you get this verse quoted
§ Usually in the KJV
· “Judge not, lest ye be judged!”
Ø Today’s postmodern culture of no absolute right and wrong and PC tolerance has seeped into the church as well
§ And we find Christians saying that we should not judge
· And verse 37 in quoted as a proof text
v Taken totally out of context
Ø We are to judge
§ V. 42
§ 43-45 ~ Know a tree by its fruit
§ Gal 6:1
· Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently
§ Matt 18:15-20
· If someone sins against you…Go show him his fault
§ 1 Cor 6:2-3
· Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
Ø There are right and wrongs that we are to judge
§ But the key is…
· Not by our standards…
¨ But by God’s
Ø When you are using the Word, then it is not you who are judging, is it?
§ It is God
· And that is who should be judging in the first place
¨ V. 40 ~ A student is not above his teacher
Ø We should never presume to know more than our great teacher Jesus Christ
§ The perfect judge
v But unfortunately we do, and that is what this text is condemning
Ø Taking the place of King Jesus on the throne of judgment
§ And judging others, not by God’s standards
· But by yours!
v There was an armed robber named Dennis Lee Curtis who was arrested in 1992 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Curtis apparently had scruples about his thievery. In his wallet the police found a sheet of paper on which was written the following code:
Ø I will not kill anyone unless I have to.
Ø I will take cash and food stamps, no checks.
Ø I will rob only at night.
Ø I will not wear a mask.
Ø I will not rob mini-marts or 7-Eleven stores.
Ø If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away.
Ø If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.
Ø I will rob only seven months out of the year.
Ø I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
§ You see…
· We have flawed standards
¨ This illustration displays how flawed our standards can be!
Ø And when we apply them to other people
§ It is Judgmentalism
Ø And when you do that, Jesus says…
§ You will be judged with the measure you judge others
· The same yardstick that you hold up to others, will be held up to you
v If you look at the 2 illustrations Jesus uses…
Ø He compares Judgmentalism to blindness in several ways:
v READ v. 39
v 1) We are blind to our own sins
Ø There is a very interesting tendency in Judgmentalism
§ There is a real propensity to be much more condemning and judgmental of sins in others that you yourself fall prey to
· Many times the reason we are so harshly judgmental toward someone is that they are so much like us
¨ We condemn them and are blind to our own sin
Ø sin is like the headlights of a car: Those of others seem much more glaring than your own
Ø 2 Sam 12:5-7 ~ Stealing that which does not belong to you
§ David and Nathan
· Deserves to die. Pay 4 times over!
· You are that man!
¨ David was guilty of a far greater sin,
Ø But was blind to his own condition, and yet enraged at the same sin in another
Ø So it goes…
§ The greedy delight in condemning greed
§ The ambitious charge others with self-ambition
§ Liars call others liars
§ Judgmental people despise others who are judgmental
Ø We are not only blind to our own sins, we are blind to the hearts of others as well
v 2) We are blind to the heart of others ~ Motives
Ø We are not like Yahweh
§ Ps 44:21
· He knows the secrets of the heart
Ø We are not like Jesus when he knew the motives
Ø We are compared to a blind person
§ Illustration: “Blind Justice”
§ New trend in television is the CSI rip-off
· Crime scene investigation
¨ New show, “Blind Justice”
§ Cop (Jim Dunbar) losses his sight, but still wants to fight crime
§ Still wants to investigate crime scenes
· Battles his way back onto the force and is back in action
¨ Better than ever!!!
§ What is ridiculous is that a crime scene is silent
· It requires the power of observation
Ø It is just as ridiculous for us to judge another person’s heart
§ We are completely blind
¨ Judging a person coming out of a bar
Ø When we judge people, we are like blind Jim Dunbar
§ We do not have the ability to discern, to see into another person’s heart
· We are blind to the motives of others
The Cure for Blindness (41-42)
Some fraternity members put Limburger cheese very gently on a brother's moustache while he slept. He woke up about an hour later and said, "This room stinks!" He walked into the hall and said, "This hall stinks!" He walked into the living room and said, "This living room stinks!" Then, greatly perplexed as to where the smell was coming from, he walked outside and exclaimed, "This whole world stinks!" And the real problem was right under his own nose, just like the sin in our lives.
v There is a cure for this blindness!!
v The real cure for Judgmentalism is…
Ø Recognizing your own sinfulness
§ Before you judge another, realize the sin in your own life
· That is what Jesus was teaching the angry crowd in John 8
¨ “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”
v Realizing your sinfulness does 2 things…
Ø Tempers your Judgmentalism
Ø Makes you act mercifully toward others
§ And that is how our heavenly Father wants us to act
· V. 36 ~ “Be merciful as your Father is merciful”
RQ: So how is it with you?
v If we were to dip the Litmus paper into your life…
Ø Would it remain blue or turn red with the acid of Judgmentalism
§ Jesus is calling us to be a magnanimous people
· A “great-souled” people
¨ A people that forgive and give mercy
¨ A people that realize what we have been forgiven and overflow with that same mercy toward others
Ø We are to be a conduit of mercy
There are two seas in the same country, both within a short distance of each other, both fed by the same stream of water, the Jordan River. But they are as different from each other as day and night.
One is the Sea of Galilee,.. The Sea of Galilee is alive and fresh, its waters sweet and pure, a home of fish, a bearer of commerce. Vegetation crowds its shores. It gives as much as it receives and seems happy in the giving. Having taken into itself the waters of the Jordan, it generously sends them on again into the valley to the south toward the other sea.
The second body of water is the Dead Sea. It lies in a sunken valley, dead and still. There is no fish life in its salty waters; no commerce moves on its waters. No vegetation carpets its bleak shores. It swallows up all the water brought to it by the stream that feeds it, but not a drop does it give off or send on, and it remains what it has been for centuries…a lifeless, barren, watery waste.
These two seas illustrate the difference between those who receive the mercy of the Lord and in turn give it to those around them and those who receive God’s mercy but in turn are judgmental. The same stream of bounteous divine blessings feeds both, and the former become sources of joy and good things to others, but the latter ends up being dead and a curse even to themselves.
v Second, Because we are
Ø We are not above our teacher
v V. 37b ~ Blue remaining blue
v He concludes that section with…
Ø “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”
§ We are to be a people of mercy
v What is the opposite of Mercy…
Ø Wants us to realize our own shortcoming before God
§ Before we judge another
· For if we truly understand the plank that is in our own eye
¨ Then forgiveness and mercy will flow out of us
¨ It becomes our “modus operandi”