Summary: Lesson 30

We now come to a section of the Sermon on the Mount that has often been greatly misunderstood and misapplied. The purpose of this lesson is to try and come to some understanding of what Jesus actually meant when He said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."


A. The Meaning v. 1

1. Some have taken the Lord’s admonition concerning judging to mean that we are not to engage in any form of analysis or evaluation of others. In other words, this line of thinking says that we cannot conclude that a person’s behavior or lifestyle is wrong, and that they are wrong for engaging in it.

2. The emphasis today seems to be on tolerance and acceptance. We are told that to be tolerant and accepting is to accept any lifestyle and any act without any critical evaluation.

3. Those who would like to justify all manner of evil use this commandment to chasten anyone who would take a stand for righteousness.

4. The word "judge" has a variety of meanings in the Scriptures which makes a right interpretation of the Lord’s words more difficult. The word "judge" can mean:

a. To weigh carefully and form an opinion - 1 Corinthians 10:15, 11:13

b. To assume or draw a conclusion - Luke 7:43

c. To regard or account as so - Acts 16:15

d. To try before a court - John 18:31

e. To condemn - John 7:51

5. By comparing Scripture with Scripture it becomes obvious that the Lord’s words in verse 1 are not to be taken as an endorsement of moral tolerance and politically correct speech.

a. Matthew 7:6 - How are we to discern what kind of person can be considered a "dog" if we don’t exercise some sort of judgement?

b. Matthew 7:15 - How can we be aware of false prophets if we are not allowed to make any kind of assessment concerning their teaching?

c. Ephesians 5:11 - Doesn’t this call for some sort of judgement on our part?

d. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 - In order to decide who is "walking disorderly" we are going to have to make a judgement.

e. Romans 16:17 - How do we determine which brethren are guilty of these things?

6. Jesus rebuked a group of people for not exercising judgement (Luke 12:57).

7. The Jews were encouraged to "judge righteous judgement" in John 7:24.

8. Hebrews 5:14 - The word "discern" literally means "judicial estimation."

9. Clearly, we are to exercise a degree of discernment and we are called upon from time to time to "judge righteous judgement."

10. What the Lord is rebuking in these verses is judgement which is:

a. Intrusive

(1) Intruding into the affairs of others and making judgements in matters that do not pertain to us is strictly forbidden in the Scriptures.

(2) 1 Thessalonians 4:11

(3) 1 Peter 4:15

b. Presumptuous

(1) Judging presumptuously occurs when we treat mere suspicions or unconfirmed rumors as though they were fact.

(2) We judge presumptuously when we assume to know the motives of another.

(3) We infringe upon the office of God when we pass such judgement.

c. Hypocritical

(1) Romans 2:1

(2) It is this self-righteous, condemning, holier-than-thou kind of judgement that the Lord had foremost in mind in this passage.

(3) Regardless of what our standing may be in the world or in the church, to censor that in others, which we allow in ourselves, is reprehensible.

d. Rash

(1) Before passing judgement on anyone, we would do well to fully investigate the matter and make sure our judgement is based on well established fact.

(2) Genesis 11:5

(3) Genesis 18:21

(4) Proverbs 18:13

e. Unmerciful

(1) While we are not to wink at sin or excuse wrongdoing, at the same time, we are not to go about looking for some evil to condemn in others.

(2) Many times the tendency on our part is to ignore any good that may exist in a person and to look for the slightest hint of something that may be less than perfect. And when we see a sign of any imperfection, we are ready to call down fire on them (Luke 9:54).

B. The Measure v. 2

1. There are those who believe this verse to mean that we are to refrain from judging other people, if we ourselves do not wish to be judged. If we do not want others to be critical of us, we should resist the temptation to be critical ourselves.

2. But to limit the meaning to this alone is to fall short. This interpretation weakens the full impact of what Christ would have us to know about being overly judgmental.

3. There is a far worse judgement with which we are to be judged than that of man. There is the judgement which will issue forth from the "judgement seat of Christ."

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