Summary: Christ teaches us that we need to be careful about how we pass judgment on other people.
Overcoming a Critical Spirit
Griffith Baptist Church – 2/8/08
Text: Matthew 7:1-6
As much as 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive and works against us. People who grow up in an average household hear “No” or are told what they can’t do more than 148,000 times by the time they reach age 18. Result: Unintentional negative programming.
Shad Helmstetter in Homemade, Jan., 1987
It is said that when the British and French were fighting in Canada in the 1750s, Admiral Phipps, commander of the British fleet, was told to anchor outside Quebec. He was given orders to wait for the British land forces to arrive, then support them when they attacked the city. Phipps’ navy arrived early. As the admiral waited, he became annoyed by the statues of the saints that adorned the towers of a nearby cathedral, so he commanded his men to shoot at them with the ships’ cannons. No one knows how many rounds were fired or how many statues were knocked out, but when the land forces arrived and the signal was given to attack, the admiral was of no help. He had used up all his ammunition shooting at the “saints.” Our Daily Bread, October 6
This portion of Scripture is often misused. It is not against all judgment and discernment:
1. Matthew 18 prescribes the church as having to judge sin in certain instances (see also 1st Cor. 5:1-13 and 2nd Cor. 2:6-7)
2. 1 Corinthians 2:15 - But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
3. Romans 14:3 - Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
There are times when we are called upon to make judgments, but they are in the right context and the right spirit.
Here, Christ is talking about judging unfairly
He is talking about a critical spirit
We are going to look at this topic Jesus is talking about in three areas, caution about a critical spirit, cure for a critical spirit and lastly concerning a contemptuous spirit
Transitional Statement: Somebody said that warnings are like the red warning light on the dashboard of the car. You can either stop and deal with the trouble, or break out the light.
Jesus is very careful to warn us for our own good so we can deal with the trouble.
1. Caution About A Critical Spirit – 7:1-4
A. The Peril of Spiritual Pride – 1:1
i. A little boy came to his mother, saying, "Mamma, I am as tall as Goliath; I am nine feet high." "What makes you say that?" asked the surprised mother. "Well, I made a little ruler of my own and measured myself with it, and I am just nine feet high!" There are many people who follow the little boy’s method, measuring themselves by some rule of their own.
ii. The same word used in John 3:17 - For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
iii. Condemnation, lifting oneself up over another in criticism
iv. This kind of judging only comes from pride; that one is better able to judge another
v. 1 Corinthians 10:12 - Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
B. The Peril of an Unjust Scale – 1:2
i. An interesting thing happened one day in a church where the great American businessman Samuel Colgate was a member. During an evangelistic campaign a prostitute came forward and confessed her sins. She was broken-hearted and wept openly. she asked God to save her soul and expressed a desire to join the church. ’I’ll gladly sit in some back corner," she said. The preacher hesitated to call for a motion to accept her into membership, and for a few moments the silence was oppressive. Finally, a member stood up and suggested that action on her request be postponed. At that point Mr. Colgate arose and said with an undertone of sarcasm, ’I guess we blundered when we prayed that the Lord would save sinners. We forgot to specify what kind. We’d better ask Him to forgive us for this oversight. The Holy Spirit has touched this woman and made her truly repentant, but apparently the Lord doesn’t understand she isn’t the type we want Him to rescue." Many in the audience blushed with shame. They had been guilty of judging like the Pharisee in the temple who exclaimed self-righteously, ’God, I thank You that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers" (Luke 1811. Another motion was made and the woman was unanimously received into the fellowship. -H.G.G. Our Daily Bread, September 14