Summary: An inseparable corollary of justifying oneself is condemning others. When anyone elevates himself, everyone else is lowered accordingly.
A. At a COMDEX computer expo a quite while ago, Microsoft's Bill Gates compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles per gallon." Not liking this comparison, General Motors responded to Gates by releasing this statement, "Yes, but would you want your car to crash twice a day?"
B. Judging Others
1. You have to be careful when you judge someone else.
2. Usually when we judge someone else, we are doing it to elevate ourselves
3. And that is exactly what was going on during the time when Jesus was preaching this Sermon on the Mount.
4. The Pharisees had made up a religious system of rules and regulations that they strived to keep to the letter of that law.
5. And they loved to condemn anyone who didn't practice this religion as they did.
C. In a nutshell: We are not prohibited from judging when we use the truth of God's Word as our standard.
1. However, we are prohibited from setting ourselves up as God and judging things only He is capable of judging.
D. John MacArthur comments on this state of affairs in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount.
1. "An inseparable corollary of justifying oneself is condemning others. When anyone elevates himself, everyone else is lowered accordingly. The Pharisees were doing all they could to lift themselves up in their own eyes, including acting as spiritual judges by condemning others."
a. So, with that background of understanding, let's get into the next section of the Sermon on the Mount, that begins at the start of chapter 7, Matthew 7:1
A. The Meaning of Judging
Matthew 7:1 NKJV
"Judge not, that you be not judged.
a. I think that this verses is quoted more by non-believers than any other
b. I guess it's good that non-Christians know some words of scripture
(1) But the problem few take the time to completely understand the message that Jesus is communicating in this verse
c. When Jesus says that we are not to judge
(1) Many people have interpreted that to mean that we have no right to analyze or evaluate the actions of other people
(2) People who take this verse out of context say that we have no right to conclude that a person's behavior, decisions or lifestyle is morally wrong
d. A farmer always prided himself in his straight rows of corn. He told others how he achieved his straight. He said when he planted the very first set of rows, he always aligned the front end of the tractor that was pulling the planter, with a fixed object straight ahead on the horizon. That stationary object guided him to plant a straight row. You see, while his eyes were fixed on that landmark on the other side of the field, a disc-marker, that was attached to the planter, made an identical straight-line mark in the ground next to the planter. Then, that groove marked where the tractor wheel had to ride to make the next row just as straight as the first.
(1) Unfortunately, in the culture we live in, we are increasingly removing the landmarks at the end of the field
(a) There are fewer and fewer permanent markers to guide our culture and our leaders to make good decisions regarding tolerance and acceptance
(b) Morals, values and the God who first gave them are being systematically eliminated from our society
(c) So the moral markers that once guided our society are now constantly being moved at the whims and desires of a society without God
(d) Oh, they have their god, their own depraved desires which pleases the devil no end
(2) So, without that landmark at the end of their fields, many people are planting some very crooked rows when they make decisions on what they'll tolerate or what they will accept into their lives
e. Let me give you just one example from a recent Forbes magazine article...
(1) Around the country, public schools mainstream pregnant girls. Schools that try to express disapproval of teen motherhood run smack into the iron hand of the federal government. Few recognize it yet, but our bumper crop of children having children is in part the delayed harvest of a 1972 federal law that made it illegal for schools receiving federal funds to discipline students because of pregnancy or parenthood. At Eau Claire Memorial High School, the principal was forced to resign and three assistant principals were disciplined for attempting to prevent a pregnant girl from becoming homecoming queen. The government can't legislate good morals, but must it enforce bad ones?
f. By removing the landmarks of good morals and Godly-values we wind up being so ultra-tolerant that we enforce the bad and throw out the good