Faithlife Sermons

The Purpose of Judgment

The Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:47
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Introduction

Matthew 7:1-6
Who is the most hated man in football?
The Referee
Why?
Because he is the judge on the field. His job is to judge the plays and make sure the rules are followed.
When a question comes up, his job is to make a decision as to which way the the call will go.
Invariably the referee makes a call that ends with upset for one team or another.
This alone makes the referee hated and reviled at every game.
Can you imagine what the game of football would be like without the referee? Or even worse, what if the referee was there but he didn’t do his job? Everyone would be yelling at him and insulting him.
I promise that this is not a sermon about football. In fact, I don’t know a whole lot about big games of any sort. I couldn’t tell you who is playing who or who should be playing who.
But I understand referees. And I understand how appropriate an analogy that they are according to the scripture that we will be studying today.
I want to talk today about one of the most misinterpreted and misused passages in scripture today.
Matthew 7:1-6 is a passage from the teachings of Jesus on Judging Others.
Matthew 7:1–6 NASB95
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
This passage is often used with poor application of theology to life situations or quoted by those who wish to escape judgment for their poor choices in life.
What the world is trying to say when they misuse this scripture is “Live and let live.” or “To each his own.” In other words, the world wishes for a prohibition on pointing out people’s sin, preferring instead that we just allow each person to do anything wish without repercussion or comment.
In fact what they are really saying is “You’re not the boss of me! I won’t answer to any God or any religion!”
Jesus is not banning judgment of others here, but hypocrisy:
Hypocrisy - An outward pretence masking an inner reality. - Dictionary of Bible Themes
In other words, don’t pretend to be something that you are not.
Actually what Jesus is most interested in is that we take care of our own selves before God rather than attempting to fix others.
PRINCIPLE: take care of your own self before God rather than attempting to fix others.
This is a recurring theme in Jesus’ teachings. He teaches this theme to His disciples and other followers both speaking plainly (as in Matthew 7) as well as in parables.

I. When we judge others, we are being judged (v 1-2)

Matthew 7:1–2 NASB95
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
It appears at first glance that Jesus is forbidding His followers from judging others. But that’s where the false theology is.
In fact there are many times that judgment is necessary. We need to be able discern the heart and motives of others and--through careful judgement and discrimination--guide them towards a better way.
κρίνω - krinō - judge
The Greek here for judge is κρίνω krinō, and the meaning is “stop judging” but there is a strong relation to having a critical spirit. We should be discerning, but not critical.
What Jesus is really saying here is that we would do better to focus on judging ourselves before we go about judging others.
Why?
PRINCIPLE: Whenever we judge others, we too are being judged by God. And He will use the same standard to measure us that we use to measure others.
This judgment partially refers to the Great Judgment Day when we will stand before the throne of God and face an assessment for our time here.
It also refers to an ongoing judgment before the eyes of man that we experience every day.
Did you know that people are watching everything you do and everything you say? And they are judging you constantly! Just like those referees.
This passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plains in Luke 6:
Luke 6:37–38 NASB95
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
If we constantly judge ourselves then we can avoid this pharisaical practice of playing God by condemning others for what they have done, without ever being accountable for our own actions.
We should remember that God is the ultimate judge and only He can condemn others for their sins. He never gave that task to us.
The whole reason that we must judge ourselves first is that it prepares us to serve others better.
When we begin to take up the practice of judging and condemning others, we hurt ourselves and hurt others. We actually strip ourselves of the ability to help others because we are so busy being the judge.
[However, I should say that there is a role for judgment in protecting the church and protecting others.]
This parable from Matthew 18 is closely connected. Generally this parable is used to teach forgiveness, but I want for you to listen to it from another perspective. Listen for the judgment in this parable...
Matthew 18:21–35 NASB95
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. “When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ “So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ “But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
When we have the opportunity to provide guidance and advice to those who are living in sin, we should:
First assess ourselves to be certain that we are not living in sin.
Remember that we are forgiven much.
Be just as kind and compassionate as God has been with us.

II. See clearly when helping others (v 3-5)

Matthew 7:3–5 NASB95
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Why are we so often blind to what we are doing?
So often we see an opportunity to correct some wrong in others and we pounce on them trying to fix them. Nobody likes being someone’s project.
Jesus is saying, “Mind your own business before you stick your nose in other people’s problems!” That’s what we call being a busy-body.

III. There is Now No Condemnation? Seriously?!? (Romans 8:1)

Romans 8:1 NASB95
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Paul goes so far as to say there is “no condemnation” for those who are in Christ!
Indeed God judges and God condemns.
What is Paul saying here?
Romans 12:17–19 NASB95
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
But we who are in Christ are protected from God’s condemnation.
AND we should be safe from the condemnation of other Christians unless we are living in sin, blatantly disregarding God while we live our own way.
Paul continues in chapter 8, verse 2...
Romans 8:2 NASB95
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
In Christ Jesus we are set free from the law...
In Christ Jesus we are forgiven… Psalm 103 says...
Psalm 103:12 NASB95
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
God has forgiven us... In fact God has so completely forgiven us that all our sins: past, present, and future are forgiven.
NOTE: as a point of clarity, being forgiven does not mean that we are free from the consequences of sin or free from correction. In fact, if we are His, then we are held to a higher standard as far as correction goes.
Here’s the thing that most Christians either forget or fail to understand...
When we stand before God on judgment day, we stand behind Jesus Christ who holds out His arms and says to God, “This one is mine!” and God sees only the salvation of Christ in us.
But God still holds us accountable for our actions. There are still consequences for sin. And he expects us to hold each other accountable for our actions and for our sins.
But we are to do that with the love and spirit of restoration that Jesus Christ displayed for us. Galatians 6:1
Galatians 6:1 NASB95
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Too often sin among the saints is met with gossip and unforgiveness rather than loving gentleness and restoration. STOP THAT!

IV. The Purpose of Judgment (v 6)

Matthew 7:6 NASB95
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
This passage seems cryptic at face value. It seems unconnected, but it is connected directly to judging others.
There are times that we see an opportunity to correct others but our message is rejected. Should we persist, the message will only fall on deaf ears, or worse elicit mockery and abuse. This warning tells us to be discerning about the character of people. Some will be receptive to God’s instruction and others will not.
God entrusted us with His precious truth in the Word of God and our job is to handle his words carefully.
Jesus ministered to people according to 1) their needs, and 2) their spiritual condition and we should do the same.
TRUTH: God did not give us the Bible so that we could condemn people with it.
God does not want us to use judgment to beat people up with it.
Scripture and Judgment are not for condemnation, but ministry to real people with real needs.
I’m reminded of a nephew of mine who has declared that he is an atheist.
I expected my brother (his father) to begin working on him like a project. In fact that was his first reaction. Begin reading books about apologetics and how to debate with atheists.
But you know what my brother did? He backed off.
My brother recognizes that he may not have been the best example of Christ to my nephew when he was growing up. But he follows Christ now and is continuously working on making himself right with God.
But he refuses to make his son a project for Christ. He knows that pressing his son about matters of faith will only push him away rather than draw him to Christ. Instead he seeks to be an image of Christ to his son as often as he is able.
And I think this captures the core sentiment of this passage.
After all, isn’t it the work of the Holy Spirit to draw a person toward God and not our job to force them into it? The same goes for their choice to persist in sin.
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