Who is the most hated man in football?
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.
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.
When we judge others, we are being judged (v 1-2)
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.
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:
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...
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.
See clearly when helping others (v 3-5)
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.
There is Now No Condemnation?
Seriously?!? (Romans 8:1)
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?
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...
In Christ Jesus we are set free from the law...
In Christ Jesus we are forgiven… Psalm 103 says...
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.
Too often sin among the saints is met with gossip and unforgiveness rather than loving gentleness and restoration.
The Purpose of Judgment (v 6)
This passage seems cryptic at face value.