Sermons

Summary: Discernment, Love, Others, Self-Examination

JESUS STRAIGHT TALK - Judgment Is a Tough Measuring Stick

Matthew 7:1-6 (p. 679) April 23, 2017

Introduction:

When Jesus says, “Do not judge or you too will be judged,” it’s important to understand what He meant.

Look at the context of where this takes place. Jesus is saying, before you become someone else’s moral monitor, monitor yourself.

Jesus Straight Talk is “You hypocrite, just take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (v. 5)

But it’s a human tendency to not want to see our sin…to not want to examine our own “telephone poles” in the eye issues. It’s a lot more pleasing to our egos to sit at McDonald’s or talk on the phone about others sins.

Jesus isn’t saying, “Stop recognizing what is right and what is wrong. He’s not saying, “God’s command don’t matter.”

What He is saying is: “Don’t become the harsh judge of others sins…that’s not your place.

Because:

I. THE MEASURING STICK YOU USE TO JUDGE OTHERS WILL BE USED TO MEASURE YOU

Harriet, the church gossip, and self appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.

She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Harriet’s house…and left it there all night.

Harriet discovered a judgmental, fault finding heart can be a tough measuring stick if equally applied.

And it’s so easy for this to happen isn’t it…to become the supervisor of everyone else’s morals. In this position we find other people’s faults and become harsh in our criticism of them. It’s entertaining to us. It makes us feel superior to them. We love having the information first…so we can share it with a condescending…“They need our prayers.”

Jesus told the crowds that followed Him and His disciples…The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you, BUT DO NOT DO WHAT THEY DO, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (Matt. 23:2-4)

Two things can happen to religious people who know the Word of God…It can make us proud…loving to sit in Moses’ seat. We can express this knowledge with fervor. We talk about how people should live…and judge those who don’t measure up with gusto…not realizing we don’t measure up either.

Or we can look into the truth of God’s Word…see His perfect holiness and realize how sinful…how broken we really are…and it humbles you.

Remember this parable Jesus told:

LUKE 18:9-14 (p. 732)

How does the Pharisee exalt himself? He does it by comparing himself to someone more sinful, and by listing all the good things he’s done. And there’s a perfect example of someone who’s unworthy right in front of Him, a tax collector.

“God, I thank you I’m not like Him!”

But the tax collector knows his sin…it’s heavy on his heart…it casts his eyes to the floor while the Pharisee rolls his eyes at him…and as his heart beat with the conviction of his sin, he pounded his chest and cried: “O God forgive me, I’m such a sinner.”

And God forgave the tax collector…and the Pharisee struts home thankful he didn’t have to deal with the trash…but man he looked religious doing it.

Jesus, in Matthew Chapter 7, is talking about not being a person who claims the ability and the authority to sit in judgment of someone else. That place is reserved for God alone.

When Jesus mentions that the Pharisees teach the law so you should listen…he then says that put cumbersome burdens on people…it’s an expectation that unless they’re perfect they are unworthy…ironically it’s a measuring stick they themselves can’t measure up to. But the most powerful part of this passage of scripture is…“And they won’t lift a finger to help with the burden.” Basically Jesus is saying…they believe certain people are going to Hell…and they’re glad about it.

[I’ve got some gay friends and some committed Christian friends who struggle with the temptation of homosexuality. We’ve been friends for a long time…I don’t understand this temptation because it’s not something I struggle with…but they don’t struggle with my temptations either. I love them and they know it…we’ve worked together and served communities together. They know my convictions about sin and new life…but they also know I want what’s best for them. And they are still my friends.

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