Summary: Sermon #7 in the Sermon on the Mount Series, Deals with Matt. 7:1-6 where Jesus urges us not to condemn others and warns that we will be judged by the same standard we use on others.
The Sermon on the Mount #7
Obstacles to Kingdom Life – Judge not…
CHCC: October 21, 2007
This is the 7th in our series on The Sermon on the Mount, so I want to take a minute to review. This sermon is a cohesive talk by the most brilliant Teacher who ever lived. Each point builds on the one before. By the end of the sermon, Jesus has given a full picture of how to live the good life here on earth … and for eternity.
He started by explaining that a “blessed” life is available to everyone … even those the world would judge as unworthy. This introduction is often called “The Beatitudes” and it is some of the most beautiful prose in the Bible.
Then Jesus dove into the nitty-gritty of life. He explained that His Kingdom is a Kingdom of the Heart. If we want to enjoy a blessed life, we need to get rid of anger, contempt, lust, verbal manipulation, and revenge. We need to care more about pleasing God than about impressing people. And we need to live for God, not for money and possessions.
Now, when a person has done all that, what could possibly stop them from enjoying the full Blessings of God? The answer is all too predictable. Just about the time you get your own act together, what do you want to do? Most of us start looking around and see if everyone else is living up to our new and improved standards.
So it shouldn’t come as a shock when Jesus chooses this moment to say, 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. Matthew 7:1-2
1. Measuring cups Matthew 7:1-2
Unfortunately, that verse is often misunderstood. In his book, The Power of One Another, Bob Russell tells about a young woman who commented to her friends that she thought the lifestyle of a certain Celebrity was “wrong.” Well, she found out that was the “wrong” thing to say! Even though the Celebrity led an openly sinful lifestyle, her friends reprimanded her harshly for evaluating it. In fact, they were very judgmental about her judgmentalism! (p.11)
When Jesus said, “judge not,” he was talking about a “condemning judgment.” Jesus was NOT talking about discernment. In fact, Jesus taught that we need to use our judgment to know right from wrong … true from false, and wisdom from foolishness. Jesus encouraged this discerning type of “judgment.”
In this sermon, Jesus is saying, “Don’t be the kind of person who blames or condemns others.” For a lot of people, condemning and blaming is the only way they negotiate life. They can’t imagine how anyone can attain “success” without controlling people through intimidation.
I remember one time years back when I went to the work place of one of the church leaders. As I approached his office, I overheard someone loudly lambasting an employee. I was shocked to realize the cruel, demeaning words came from the church leader I’d come to see. We all know that some bosses think that’s the only way to run a business. But it’s not a management style that comes from Scripture!
Many people use this same technique in the home. C.S. Lewis commented that the greatest examples of incivility he ever observed were in the home --- specifically parents to their children. It’s far too easy to fall into the habit of disciplining our children with a harsh judgmental attitude. That method may produce short-term obedience … but it doesn’t build the kind of respect and love that God intends for our homes. Children, like anyone else, will resent condemnation. Worse than that, they will pick up the condemning attitude and turn it back toward their parents.
I read that General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, "I never forgive and I never forget." Wesley replied, "Then, Sir, I hope you never sin." Jesus said, with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Back then measuring devices weren’t perfectly equal … because they weren’t mass-produced. If your measuring cup short-changed people, they would use that same measure when you needed something from them.
In the same way, if you constantly criticize your children, they will focus on everything that is wrong with you. If you intimidate the people under you at work, they will find every way they can to undermine you. If you blame others, they will look for a way to blame you. If you are pushy, plenty of people will push back.
Jesus went from talking about Measuring devices to another illustration from everyday life: Planks and Specks of sawdust.
2. Planks and Specks Matthew 7:3-5 The greater sin…