Summary: In this sermon I hope to help people understand what Jesus intended for us to learn from these verses. Is it ok to judge and if so with what attitude are we to do it?

Matthew 7:1-5

Have any of you ever made a mistake before? This week I found some pretty interesting times when people made big mistakes.

Mike Grady played third base for the New York Giants in 1895. In one played he (1) muffed a routine grounder, (2) overthrew first-base, (3) dropped the ball when the first baseman finally recovered the overthrown ball and threw it to him to catch the advancing runner, and (4) promptly threw the ball over the catcher’s head as the runner raced for home. What should have been routine ground ball for an easy out ended up being a home run for the opposing team.

Be careful if your King James Bible was printed in 1716. That particular year the printer mad a flagrant mistake. In John 5:14, the final copy read “sin on more” rather than “sin no more.” That must have been a good year for bible sales, because it seems like a lot of people are still heeding the advice of that old edition.

A businessman wanted to send a floral arrangement to a friend who was opening a new branch office. His friend called later in the day to thank him for the considerate gesture but was a little confused about the accompanying card which read, “Rest in Peace.” The businessman apologized for the mix-up and quickly called to chastise the florist. The florist tried to console the executive. He said, “That’s nothing. Somewhere in the cemetery there’s a bouquet with a note reading. “Good luck in your new location.”

Throughout Christian history it is obvious that people have made mistakes on their interpretations of scripture. Now I certainly don’t claim to be right on everything but I feel that the verse that we are going to speak about today is the most misunderstood verse in the bible - or you might say the verse with the most mistakes made in the interpretation of it.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers’ eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers’ eye.”

If there is one verse in the bible that almost every non-Christian knows it is this one. In fact, many people say that this verse has overcome John 3:16 as the most popular verse in the bible. The reason is because so many people in the non-Christian community are using it as sort of a trump card. Something that you can pull out of your back pocket when you feel like your morality is being threatened.

For instance if a Christian was to approach a non-Christian with their particular sin many would quickly pull out their card - don’t judge.

There was a Boston TV talk show that featured homosexual teenagers talking about their life-styles. One even professed faith. When asked if he felt there was a conflict he said, “No, my God is a God of love. He accepts me just the way I am. Other people shouldn’t judge me!”

If God intended for this verse to be used like that then we have a great contradiction on our hands because many of the gospel writers actually tell us how to judge.

Examples of biblical judging

Paul - I Corinthians 5:1-2 - “It is actually reported that there is sexually immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? In verse 11 Paul even says - “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” At the end of verse 13 Paul says to “expel with wicket man from among you.”

Paul - I Timothy 5:19 - “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”

Paul - II Timothy 3:16 - “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training and righteousness.

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