Sunday, November 05, 2006
Killing termites that steal our Victory Matthew 7:1-6
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher that ever lived. Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount is preaching about how His believers, how those that belong to Him, can live in victory.
There are two kinds of Christians. There are those who live and move and walk in victory, and there are those who do not. Partial victory is total defeat. It is the will of God for His children to live in victory. We're not to live under the circumstances. We're to live above them. We're not to live in spite of things. We're to live and move victoriously in Christ Jesus. God wants us to have victory. When you look back over your life this past week, has your life been a testimony of victory in Jesus, or has your life been a testimony of defeat? God wants us to be victorious. There are several termites that would rob us of our victory. We saw one of them last week, and that is worry. You cannot be victorious in Christ if you are a worrier, if you're always upset and worried and troubled, you cannot have victory in Christ because worry is a termite that eats away at victory. And this morning Jesus talks about another of those termites that eats away at our victory, and it is a critical, judgmental spirit. I want to tell you this morning that if you are a critical, judgmental person, I can tell you two things without question. Number one - if you are a critical, judgmental person, you will not walk in victory with Christ. And number two - you will not have very many friends. Jesus said, "Judge not." "Judge not." That's a verb. Judging is something you do or it's something you don't do. This verb is in the imperative mood. Now let me tell you what that means. It means it is an absolute command of our Lord. It is not a request. It is not even a personal request of someone who has rank. It is a direct order of our Commander in Chief. Jesus commands us, "Judge not." It is not only in the imperative mood, it is in the present tense. In the Greek New Testament present tense means continual action. Jesus knew that this matter of having a critical and judgmental spirit was something that we would have to deal with our entire lives.
When Jesus put this verb in the present tense, He did it because He knew that this was something that is so subtle that it can slip up at any time. And so Jesus wants us to be on our guard. He says constantly look out and beware and do not become a critical, judgmental person. Always be on guard.
1. Apply Discerning Criticism
The Lord Jesus immediately followed this verse by saying look out for logs, hogs and dogs. He said we are to be discerning about logs and motes, we are to not give sacred things to dogs and we are to not throw our pearls before swine. If you can discern between issues of logs, hogs and dogs, the lord Jesus is not saying to adopt the complete absolute tolerance that some in our society say we must adopt. We’re not to be saying all religions get to heaven someway or other.
Let me tell you what "judge not" does not mean. First of all, it does not mean that we are to condone or overlook open, obvious sin. When Jesus said, "Judge not," He did not mean that we are to overlook or condone open, obvious sin. What is the responsibility of a church with its members? It is the responsibility of a church to hold standards high for its members, and when those standards are openly and obviously not adhered to, then it is the responsibility of a church to exercise the pattern of church discipline as outlined in the New Testament. You are to go to an individual as an individual, and then you're to go with a small committee; and if that fails, then you bring the person before the congregation.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even condoned among the Gentiles—a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are inflated with pride, instead of filled with grief so that he who has committed this act might be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body but present in spirit, I have already decided about him who has done this thing as though I were present. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, along with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.
"I have heard even where I am about something that you are tolerating in your church." He said, "It is reported commonly," everybody is talking about it. Everywhere I go I hear about it. "And you," the church, "are puffed up...." What does that mean? It means they were walking around saying, "You know, we're so broad minded here at Corinth and we certainly don't want to be legalistic, and we don't want to go around condemning people because of their sin. We don't want to judge people, and so our attitude is just to live and let live. If this boy in our church, why, if he wants to sleep with his mother or his stepmother or his mother-in-law, if he wants to do that, then who are we to judge him? Who are we to say that's wrong? Who are we to condemn him? Who are we to bring accusation against him? After all, we're Christians here. We're broad minded and we're certainly not legalistic." It is the responsibility of a New Testament church to hold its members to a principle of accountability, and those who break the laws of God openly and obviously and bring shame upon their family and shame upon the name of Jesus and shame upon the church of God, Paul says the church ought to "mourn." It ought not be puffed up. It ought not be proud of its tolerance.
Secondly, when Jesus said, "Judge not," He did not mean that we should tolerate false doctrine. Go back to Matthew, Chapter 7, again. We'll look at this in a few weeks, but look down in verse 15. Matthew 7, verse 15, Jesus says, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Now I can hear someone saying to the Lord “now Jesus you shouldn’t be so hard on them, we can’t all anyone a false prophet now can we?” But the Lord knew there would be times when we have to make evaluations.
2. Avoid Devastating Criticism
A mother spoke to daughter-in law about dusting furniture, “But there’s no dust on the furniture, the dust is on your glasses!”
What does "judge not" mean? It means we're not to be in the business of finding fault. It means that we don't constantly go around with a microscope in our hand. We're not to walk around with one of those things constantly looking for the faults of people. We're not to be constant criticizers. I know some folks that are critical about everything. They are critical about the way the wife cooks the breakfast. They're critical about the way the secretary types the forms. They're critical about this. They're critical about that. Hyper-critical personalities.
When Jesus says, "Judge not," He said, "Don't constantly be looking to find fault. Don't be a nosey busybody. If something is open and obvious, then deal with it, but don't be a spiritual Sherlock Holmes, always trying to find dirt on somebody. And He says, "Don't always be trying to examine people's motives."
When Jesus said, "Judge not," He said, "Don't always be trying to find something beneath the surface." Beloved, you and I are not nearly as deep as we think we are. Most of us are just pretty shallow superficial surface people, and I accept that.
a. We Criticise Because Of Our Own Iniquity.
This may be a cover up for our own sins by criticising others so as to deflect attention. I knew someone committing adultery who made life hell for others around them by her critical tongue so that no one would bring her to accountability for her adultery!
b. We Criticise Because Of Our Own Insecurity.
Procrestis’ iron bed. He captured people and put them on his iron bed. If they were too short, he stretched them. If they were too tall , he cut their legs off to make them shorter.
Many people cut the legs off others to make them shorter. The reason is, if they can find fault in someone else, then they feel a lot better about their own short comings.
c. We Criticise Because Of Our Own Ignorance.
A lecturer at theological college. And in his class there was a student that kept falling asleep. And the lecturer thought, "Well, I'm gonna....that guy is just lazy. I'm gonna flunk him." But before he did it, he thought, "Well, I'm gonna at least go to the guy's house and talk to him." And he went to the guy's house, the student's house. He knocked on the door. Little wife came and had on her bathrobe and her house slippers. She was just terribly, terribly sick. He said, "Where is so and so?" She said, "Oh, he's doing the laundry." And he went in and there was the student with the washing machine going, the dryer going, and him sitting there with a baby in his arms; and the seminary student was sound asleep. And the lecturer went back up and said, "What's going on?" And she said, "Well, I've been very, very sick, and my husband has been trying to keep up his studies and work an eight hour shift to put food on our table, and while I'm sick he's having to clean the house and do the laundry and take care of the baby." And the lecturer knew that was why he had fallen asleep in class. You see beloved, we don't always see. We have a limited vision. We don't always see well enough to judge somebody else. We don't know what they've been through. We don't know the background from which they come, and we ought not to judge.
d. We Criticise Because Of Our Own Insensitivity.
Being "Jack Blunt" may be helpful sometimes, but it usually hurts other people's feelings. Its Insensitive!
3. Acknowledge Divine Criticism
I am not to judge others because God has reserved the seat of Judgement to Jesus.
"For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." John 5:26
We ought not to do it because that is a responsibility that has been given to Jesus Christ alone. The only person on the face of the earth that God has given the responsibility of judging is Jesus Christ. God didn't give it to me. I don't have a right to judge your motives or question your inner attitude. That's none of my business. Only Jesus Christ has the responsibility to judging others.
I am not to judge others because God will use the same judgment on me that I use on other people.
Now some say, "Well, I don't believe that's what it says." Well if Jesus didn't mean what He said, He ought to have said what He meant. I believe He meant what He said. Look at Matthew 7, verse 2. Jesus said, "For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged." That means God will deal with me just like I deal with others.
Consider Haman and Mordechai.
Consider the king who had toes and thumbs cut off, because that’s what he did to 70 kings before him.
We ought not to judge because we really don't see well enough to judge other people.
"Those of you that have got a telephone pole in your own eye, you ought not be trying to find toothpicks in other people's eyes." That's a joke. They all laughed. But they knew what He meant. What's the most obvious thing if you have a telephone pole in your eye? The most obvious thing is you can't see very well. Try it. Run into one on the way home. If you've got a telephone pole in your eye, you don't see very well. Jesus said, "Listen, we don't see well enough to judge other people."
We ought not judge because judging others is usually an act of hypocrisy. Look what Jesus said in Matthew 7, verse 5. "Thou hypocrite..” a mote and a beam. Same stuff! Wood! Jesus is letting us know most of the time when we criticize others, when we judge others, we're most prone to judge them for things that are problems in our own lives.
Do you remember when Jim Bakker fell from the good graces of his followers? Do you know who the sharpest critic of Jim Bakker was? It wasn't Jerry Falwell. Do you know who went on television and said that "God should put him out of business for running a Christian Disney land over there in Heritage USA?" Do you know who was the sharpest, most penetrating, pierce tongued critic when Jim Bakker fell? It was Jimmy Swaggart. And Jimmy Swaggart was already involved with prostitutes at the time he was being critical of Jim Bakker. Judge not that ye be not judged, because the same judgment you use on others, God will use on you. Swaggart was critical of Bakker because that problem was in his own life.
Folks I want to tell you, life is too short, life is too short to walk around griping and backbiting and criticizing. Life is too short for that, and if you live like that, your life's going to be shorter. You're going to die. Jesus wants us to be victorious. Accept at face value the things people say and do. Don't always be examining motives. Don't judge.