Summary: What is judgement and is it always wrong to condemn something?
Matthew 7:1 is perhaps one of the most memorized and most quoted verses in the Bible? It is true! For instance, I am going to make a few statements. Let’s see if you agree with me.
1. Homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuals need to repent of this sin in order to be right with God.
2. All pre-marital sex is wrong. Two people living together out of wedlock are living in adultery.
Now when those statements are made the world immediately trots out their favorite verse in the Bible: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
That brings up this question: is it ever right to pass judgment on the actions of others? Be careful how you answer that question! Because if you really look at our passage today, Jesus it not saying that it is never right to judge another. Instead, He is saying, “It depends! There are times when you can judge and times when you cannot judge.”
Tonight, I want to look at this verse in detail and I want us to examine three things: One , there is a warning to be heeded. Two, there is a challenge to be heard. And three, there is advice to be honored.
I. v. 1-2 THERE IS A WARNING TO BE HEEDED
The word “judge” means “to pronounce judgment; to expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.” It refers to “act the part of a judge; or to pass judgment on the words and deeds of another.” And Jesus said to “judge not”. Does this mean that all judgment is wrong? No! There are some occasions mentioned in the Bible where Christians are called on to exercise judgment over others. Let me give you a few examples:
1 Cor 5:3-5; 12-23 – Here, Paul judges a man guilty of inappropriate action with his father’s wife. He condemns the man and his actions and calls on the church to do the same.
1 John 4:1-6 – Believers are commanded to judge religions and statements of preachers and teachers to see is they line up with the Word of God and the teachings of the Gospel. That’s why you often hear me criticize some preachers on TV no matter how good they look or how floweredy their theology. False doctrine is false doctrine.
Matt. 7:15-20 – We are obligated to examine the fruit of those around us and base our fellowship with that person based on what we see in their life.
And the one we often don’t like to talk about:
Matt. 18:15-18 – There are times when the church must exercise discipline against a wayward member. This will require judging their fruits according to the Word of God.
So, what is Jesus talking about here? The word “judge” means “to criticize, condemn, judge, censor.”
It is an old fault-finding attitude; it is being picky; it is the habit of carping criticism; it is a mean, critical spirit that sees only the bad in others.
Jesus is talking about looking at people and attempting to judge their motives and their real spiritual condition based on what we see in their lives.
The idea here is that the judge presumes to know the condition of another person’s heart. He sets himself up as judge and jury and proclaims the guilt and innocence of all those around him. This is the attitude that Jesus condemns!
And look at Matthew 7:2 (READ)
The person who sets himself up as the judge of others, will himself face judgment someday! The critic forgets that he will also face God in judgment. In that day, God will use the same yardstick to judge the critic that he used to judge others! That is a scary thought! In other words, when you judge another person, you will eventually reap what you sow, Gal. 6:7.(READ) By the way, for every person you watch and criticize, there is someone else watching you and criticizing your life!
Here is the bottom line: We have no right to judge and criticize the lives of those around us. There are a few good reasons why I say this.
Don’t criticize because you don’t know all the facts.
I read about an owner of a manufacturing plant who decided to make a surprise tour of the shop. Walking through the warehouse he noticed a young man just lazily leaning up against some packing crates with his hands in his pocket doing nothing. The boss walked up to him and angrily said, “Just how much are you paid a week?” Well, the young man’s eyes got rather big, and he said, “Three hundred bucks.”
The boss pulled out his wallet, pealed off three one hundred bills, gave it to him, and said, “Here’s a week’s pay. Now get out of here and don’t ever come back!”