Summary: Jesus said "Judge Not." What this means, doesn’t mean, and how the Lord masterfully illustrated the true interpretation of this verse. Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint template.

Jury Duty

Matthew 7:1-5

Ever been called to jury duty? Ever been asked to ‘make a judgment’ about a matter? Some Christians seem to feel they are on ‘permanent jury duty’ as they go thru life. And Jesus addresses this fact in this final leg of the Sermon on the Mount.

Today 12 members of a Jury acquitted Andrea Yates of the murder of her children in the bathtub by reason of insanity. However you feel about it, that jury was sitting in a place of judgment. And when you hear their verdict, undoubtedly you make a judgment of your own.

The military tribunal trying Saddam Hussein has a judge sitting in the seat of judgment. Saddam doesn’t recognize him, the court, or the new Iraqi government. And in so saying he is making a judgment. And so are you, again, as you think about it.

So, what do we believe about this direct command in Matt. 7:1, to “judge not”? In context, comparing scripture with scripture, what is the true interpretation of Jesus’ words here? This is very misunderstood stuff…and many Christians overuse and abuse the words ‘don’t judge me’, in all circumstances.

We’ll break this down into 3 sections: what ‘judge not’ does not mean, what it does mean, and how Jesus illustrated the principle He is teaching, to enlighten our understanding.

‘Judge not’ does not mean that it is wrong to judge doctrine, to see if it’s of God.

The Word of God is our final authority, and we are not to base our doctrinal beliefs on our own feelings, our own experiences, or what is widely accepted and politically correct. We all have feelings and experiences, but they must pass the test of scrutiny when they are laid beside the Word of God.

The Bible time and again warns us not to believe everything we hear just because we hear it from a preacher, a church, or another Christian. Don’t ever make the assumption that just because I preach something it must be so.

The church at Berea was commended for searching the scriptures to see if they were being taught the truth.

Romans 16:17

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

*Now how can I obey that command w/out judging doctrine?

The theme of my generation today in America is “tolerance!” We’re considered out of line if we don’t put up with anything and everything that comes down the pike…and I gotta tell you…I don’t tolerate that well!

The Bible doesn’t teach tolerance when it comes to doctrine, it teaches scrutiny!

2 John 1:10

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

Don’t invite them in…don’t wish them well, send them on their way.

*Now how can I obey that verse w/out judging doctrine?

Hebrews 13:9

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.

Ephes. 4:14

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

So, ‘judge not’ is not applying to doctrine. We should judge it.

Next: ‘judge not’ does not mean we cannot judge teachers and preachers to see if they are of God.

Matthew 7:15

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

I cannot obey this command w/out judging. And certainly I need God’s help in making this kind of judgment.

“Sheep’s clothing” means they will look, talk, and act like the genuine thing…so on what basis will I make this judgment?

v. 20 says their fruits will tell on them!

The Apostle Paul actually calls some names one time:

2 Tim. 2:16-18

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Can’t you just hear some Christians at this point… ‘Judge not! You don’t know their heart!’ That’s true, it’s by the outward fruit that the truth presents itself!

There’s a very gullible brand of Christianity that believes everything it hears as long as it’s on Christian radio / TV / or from a pulpit. Well, Christians are children of light, and shouldn’t be so gullible.

A third area is church discipline. It’s not wrong for the church to, when necessary, exercise the very Biblical practice of church discipline. You don’t see it happening much these days, but it’s no less God’s way w/in the body.

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Kenneth Kemp

commented on Sep 8, 2006

Excellent insight into such a popular teaching.

Robin Perkins

commented on Dec 30, 2006

Fresh perspective and good use of supportive scriptures.

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