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Summary: Sermon gives warning about fault finding and criticism.

"Let’s Go Mote Hunting"

(Matthew 7:1-5)

INTRODUCTION:

Hunting is a popular sport in Ohio. I have enjoyed many days in the woods with my father while hunting squirrel, rabbits and deer. I’ve learned that although you have the right equipment, the proper technique, great weather and territory, you do not always find the game you’re hunting for.

I’ve also learned that there is another kind of hunting that takes place all the time. You don’t need a gun, a license, an arsenal or hunting guide. This other kind of hunting is easy to do. It takes no training, no talent, no particular territory and no practice. What you’re hunting for is in great supply and easy to find anywhere.

What is this game you’re hunting for? -FAULT!

>Has anyone here ever went hunting for FAULT before? (Be honest!)

>Can anyone here honestly say they haven’t looked for FAULT before?

>When you found FAULT did it ever really make you feel better or help anyone else?

The Pharisees used to exercise judgment and find FAULT with everyone, including Christ Himself. Therefore, He deals with the subject of judging and FAULT finding in these scripture. By the way, we still have the problem of FAULT finders today. Or in our case tonight, "Let’s Go Mote Hunting!"

* ILL - For a visual I had a young man dressed as a hunter and equipped with a toy rifle on stage and used him throughout the message.

1. THE WARNING ABOUT JUDGING (7:1,2)

A) Prepare For Judgment v.1

> The word "judged" signifies a once and for all final judgment.

If we judge ourselves, then we are preparing for that final judgment (I Cor.11:31)

> The Pharisees would "hunt" for someone to judge NEVER thinking that one day God would judge them.

* ILL - Pointing to the HUNTER on stage, "Every Mote Hunter needs to remember, someday you’ll stand before a holy God and be judged! Listen, you’re not spiritual for judging others, you’re foolish for thinking you’ll escape judgment!"

B) Prepare For Others To Judge You v.2 (Luke 6:37,38)

> We WILL receive from people EXACTLY what we give out! It’s a mirror.

* ILL - A military general was talking to John Wesley and informed him; "I never forgive anyone." To which Wesley replied; "Then sir, I hope you never sin against anyone!"

* ILL - (Send out the HUNTER) As he walks through the congregation pointing his rifle at others, remind him, and every Mote Hunter that may be in the crowd; "As you aim your rifle, other’s have their rifles aimed at you too!"

* Did you ever see two children fighting and one say, "They hit me!" While the other child says; "Well, he hit me first!" - Why would he think he wouldn’t get hit back?!

> Why do we think we can look for MOTES/FAULTS in others and no one is going to judge us back?? Galatians 6:7 "Be not deceived..."

2. THE WIELDING OF CRITICAL JUDGMENT (7:3,4)

* "wielding" = handling as a weapon, exercising authority

A) The Motes We Find v.3a

* "mote" - speck/straw

> How could you find a speck in someone’s eye unless you are looking for it?

* ILL - Send out the hunter again. Have him looking very, very close at people.

> It’s hard enough to find a small speck in someone’s eye when they WANT you to find it, so how much more effort does it take to find a MOTE/FAULT when you’re an unwelcome hunter??

>> This MOTE illustration was used by Christ to represent a little fault or flaw in someone. It’s not teaching to overlook wickedness or deliberate sins.

* ILL - A Buzzard and a Humming bird fly over the same desert. One is looking for something dead and rotting. The other is looking for pretty, colorful flowers. BOTH find what they’re looking for!

Romans 14:4 - It’s not your job or mine to police everyone and their motives! It’s the Lord’s!

B) The Beams We Overlook v.3b

* "beam" - rafter/2x4

> Jesus was saying, the Pharisees saw the sins of other people, but would not look at their own sins. They knew how to talk about other’s motes, without discussing their own beams.

** QUOTE (Warren Weirsbe): "Pharisees judged and criticized others to make themselves look good, but Christians should judge themselves so they can help others look good. There is a difference!" (Luke 18:9-14)

* ILL - Someone came to me once criticizing another person and asked, "What do you think of them?" I replied, "Well, they never came to me criticizing you!"

> By the way, JESUS never came to any of us to criticize or find the MOTES/FAULTS of others. Remember, He’s the ONLY one who is perfect.

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