Summary: Jesus tells us not to judge: 1. Because of the boomerang effect (vs. 1-2). 2. Because of our spiritual blindness (vs. 3-5). 3. Because God wants us to bless other people (vs. 5-6).
God's Judgment about Judging Other People
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - October 28, 2018
(Revised April 22, 2021)
*Rich Atchley said, "If you went to the average university campus today, and asked students if they know a verse of Scripture, many would say that they do. Thirty years ago, most would have quoted John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
*In our mixed-up, messed-up, deceived society, the only thing many people consider to be wrong is having the audacity to stand up and say that some things are wrong. "Judge not" is being misused to prop up a lot of things that are as wrong as they can be, so we need to know what the Lord is talking about here.
*"Judge not" does not mean anything goes. It does not mean we put man's wishes over God's Word. Jesus is not telling us here that we should approve or allow sin. Some people do try to use these words to support an anything-goes morality, but God always takes a firm stand against sin.
*God does want us to judge, but only in the right way. And there is a right way to judge. This same chapter in the Sermon on the Mount teaches us to recognize that some people are like vicious animals. We see this first in vs. 6 where Jesus said, "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
*Steve Shepherd helped us understand this verse when he said, "The dogs of Jesus' time were mostly not the same as we think of today. They weren't the nice, domesticated puppies many of us have at home. They were wild dogs, feeding on garbage and dead animals. Pigs were considered to be unclean, and ancient Jews were forbidden to eat them. No self-respecting Jew would go anywhere near a pig. Wild pigs can also be very dangerous. And the animals in vs. 6 were symbolic of people who treat God and His gospel with total contempt." (2)
*Some people's hearts are so hard against the Gospel that sharing with them is a mistake, unless that is, we have clear leadership from the Lord to go ahead. And thank God, sometimes we do get to see Christ change even the hardest hearts. But we can't begin to know who the "dog" and "pig" people are, unless we can make some judgments about their lives. There is a time and place for the right kind of judging.
*Unfortunately, we tend to go overboard the other way and judge people in ways that are wrong. That's why Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged." When Jesus said that, He was talking about having a harsh and critical spirit.
*Albert Barnes said that "the Lord meant rash and unjust judgment. He meant the habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for mitigating circumstances." John Phillips said, "What the Lord forbids here is a critical, faultfinding spirit that moves us to condemn people without the facts, and without remembering our own weaknesses."
*William MacDonald said, "This command to not judge others includes things like not judging their motives since only God can see them. As Jesus said in John 7:24, 'Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.'
*God's Word also warns us about judging the service of other Christians. In 1 Corinthians 4:5 Paul said, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts; and then each one's praise will come from God." (3)
*God never wants us to judge other people in the wrong ways, but sometimes we do. One reason why is because we like to play the blame game. When something goes wrong, we often look around for someone else to blame.
*I used to have a PhD in blaming others, especially my wife. Somehow, some way, I would find a way to blame Mary for our problems. And this is nothing new. It started in the Garden of Eden, back in Genesis 3. There, Adam basically said, "God it's not my fault. The woman You gave me made me do it." Then Eve said, "It's not my fault. The devil tricked me!"
*The blame game is still going strong today. Bill Sullivan gave these examples that went to court: