May 8, 2023 1:00 am
Jesus did not prohibit judging. In fact, the Scriptures command us to expose error. In our day, error is often mixed with truth, so wise believers must be discerning. In this message from Matthew 7, we glean five important principles on judging properly. What does it take to judge with humility?
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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. There's much error mixed with truth these days, so wise believers run what they see through a filter of discernment. Today, a foundational study in Matthew chapter 7 to help us know when and how to judge what we see.
Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, give us a look ahead as we await today's teaching on judging. Well Dave, as I have mentioned previously, one of the most popular verses of Scripture in America is, judge not lest you be judged. So we're living in a day and age of a wrong view of tolerance where we are to make no judgments. Well obviously if we were to make no judgments, it would be very difficult for us to explain why it is in the very same chapter Jesus warns us about false prophets.
I've written a book entitled Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Have Truths, and Lies. In fact, one of the chapters is on false prophets. How can you recognize them? You're watching television, Christian television. You see someone come on and say certain things. How do you recognize that they are false prophets? Well these are the kinds of issues we discuss in this book and in this sermon series. By the way, for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.
Simply go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember the title, Who Are You to Judge? So, who are you to judge? Who are you to say that Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine is wrong?
Who are you to say that there can't be loving homosexual relationships that are approved by God? Who are you to judge? Who are you to judge that when people are slain in the Spirit, falling on platforms because they're touched by some teacher or evangelist? Who are you to judge and say that that's not done by the Holy Spirit of God? Who are you to judge?
The most quoted verse in America from the Bible is not John 3 16. It's Matthew chapter 7 verse 1, do not judge lest you be judged. And so we live at a time when people are hesitant to make judgments.
Now there are times when we should be hesitant as we're going to learn today. But the problem is, having bought into the spirit of our age, the word that characterizes this generation is the word that our kids used to always say oh whatever, whatever. So there are two kinds of people. There are those who will not make any judgments, perhaps because they're not in a position to do so, but they just want to live and let live and they love the word whatever, and then there are those who are so quick to judge because they have a critical spirit and what they're looking for is to pick away at things that happen to be their own preferences. Jesus speaks to both of those issues in the seventh chapter of Matthew. So open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 7, the famous verse quoted so often, who are you to judge? It says do not judge or you too will be judged.
I'm going to stop there. Later on we're going to look at what Jesus has to say beyond that, but I need to ask a question. Does this mean that we should not make judgments? It's impossible for Jesus to mean that. Of course he's not saying that.
You say well how do you know? All that you have to do is to keep on reading. I'm going to skip to verse 6. Do not give dogs what is sacred. Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet and then turn again and tear you to pieces. How could Jesus possibly expect us to obey that verse unless we made judgments so that we recognize the people whom he characterizes as dogs and pigs?
You don't give a pearl necklace to a pig. You have to be able to recognize who it is that you're dealing with. In the very same way he's using some very strong language here and if you don't recognize who these people are, you're lacking in judgment and you would not be able to obey what Jesus is trying to tell us.
Or let's skip to verse 15. Watch out. I like the word beware. Beware for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. How could you possibly look out for false prophets unless you recognize them?
Our problem is today that we don't recognize them. That's why there is one message in this series on false prophets where I'm going to give you five characteristics of a false prophet so that you could watch them on television. You watch them over a period of time and you check out the characteristics and you can say this is a false prophet because the Bible says this is the way in which false prophets teach and do their work. If you weren't to make judgments what sense could we possibly make out of what Jesus is saying? And then you look at the rest of the New Testament in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. The apostle Paul is writing to the church at Corinth because they would not deal with immorality in their midst. There was a man who was having an immoral relationship and Paul says I have already judged him and you should have judged him and you should have excommunicated him because he's not repentant. Obviously one of the responsibilities of the church and particularly church leadership is to make judgments.
It's throughout the whole scripture. Later on in the next chapter in chapter 6 Paul goes on to talk about Christians taking other Christians to court and he says most assuredly you should not do that. Do you not know that we will someday judge angels and he says if we're going to have those kinds of responsibilities in judgment surely you can judge matters that pertain to this life. And as evangelicalism has more people in it that are hard-hearted and unrepentant and have never been broken by the cross the number of lawsuits increase year by year as people take one another to court.
Just the other day somebody was telling me about a denomination who was suing a Christian man and they filed this lawsuit without even communicating with him and trying to resolve the matter between them because it was resolvable and now suddenly everybody's involved. And sometimes you even get supposed Christian attorneys who sue other Christians under the guise to quote one who are able to get around these passages of scripture. But what we need to understand is that the Bible is filled with a need to make wise biblical judgment so that's not what Jesus could be saying. What is Jesus saying when he says do not judge lest you be judged? What Jesus is saying in context and as we shall see basically is he's talking about Pharisees. He's saying don't be like the Pharisees. Don't be Pharisaical in your judgments. And so what I'd like to do in the next few moments is to give you five important principles of judgment that are going to help us and guide us in this series of messages. This happens to be message number two in a series. So as we think about this matter of discernment and judgment or as I put it last week bailing water out of the sinking evangelical ship these are the principles we should stick with.
Let's begin all right. Number one humility and not superiority not self-righteousness. Humility.
Well let's look at the text. We're going to look at verse two in a moment but now I'm interested in verse three. Why do you look at this speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there's a plank in your own eye you hypocrite. First take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Jesus is using some humor here isn't he? The eye by the way represents the soul in scripture. It's the it's the light in which we receive physical light but also a spiritual light. It is the place of willing and thinking and doing and loving and and really like the heart and Jesus is saying this you have a speck in your eye that's a very small sin but then there's such a thing as a plank and that plank or that two by four as we like to call it that two by four is keeping you from seeing others properly and you can't see this two by four yourself. Let's describe the person with the plank in his eye. First of all he's the kind of person who tells himself that he's interested in truth. He is interested in righteousness.
He's interested in in doing things right and in honoring God. That's what he says but he actually contradicts himself because when he sees the plank in his own eye he ignores it but he's always after the speck in someone else's eye. If it were really a matter of truth he'd deal with himself first but he doesn't do that. And you see it is the fact that he will look into the mirror and not see his own plank. He is incapable of seeing his own plank because that plank developed over a period of time.
It was little specks of sawdust that were not confessed. It was attitudes that he's not dealt with and so they begin to grow and he soon develops a critical judgmental spirit and even a spirit of anger which he often denies and then having done all that he looks into the mirror and all that he can see is the fact that everything seems to be okay but he is very keen on finding specks in other people's eyes. I'll bet right now you're thinking about somebody that you know is just like that aren't you?
Come on. I'm trying not to but I am. You'll never understand people like this unless you realize this that when they look into your eyes it's like a mirror and they see the plank that is in their eye as existing in someone else's eye. It's very important to understand.
That's why you can have somebody who is belligerent, unkind, cutting in their remarks, angry, difficult to get along with, unpredictable in what they may say about others, complaining about the lack of love in a church. You've seen that sort of thing haven't you? Blind to their own plank they're looking for specks. Now can you imagine people like that going around trying to find these specks when they themselves are essentially blind? Could you imagine an ophthalmologist of all things, a blind ophthalmologist doing surgery on the spec in someone else's eye? I mean that's scary because if there's any part of the body that is sensitive it is the eye.
If you have somebody who's going to operate on your eyes you'd better know who it is that you're that you're having to do that surgery and you'd better make sure that all the specks and all the planks are out of his own eyes so that he can see yours clearly and then having done that he can see clearly then to take the spec out of your eye. If there's anything that should drive us to our knees in evangelical circles it is simply this the lack of being willing to deal with the planks in our own eye. If there is anything that is deserving of tears it is the fact that we as believers sometimes so quickly gloss over our own sins and then we begin to think about the sins of others and we do not adequately deal with our own and where sin is not taken seriously it is not dealt with thoroughly and so we can become angry judgmental Christians judging from the standpoint of superiority and totally unaware. This is where the self-deception comes in, unaware of the fact that we might be the ones with a bigger problem than the people that we are trying to condemn or to judge.
How do we judge with humility not superiority? The Bible says that if you go to restore someone who has fallen into sin go with a spirit of meekness and take heed to yourself because you also may be tempted. One of the things that we should do as Christians is mourn over our own sin. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have had to mourn over my own sin and mourn in the presence of God until God restores the joy and the sense of connection again because of sin that is grieved the blessed Holy Spirit and we're not in a position to judge until we've done that. First of all humility not superiority. Let me go on with a second biblical principle of judgment and that is we should judge according to facts not according to presumptions. According to facts not presumptions. How quickly we fill in the facts don't we from time to time. How quick we are to make judgments. Listen parents if you judge your children I've learned this if you ahead of time without listening to them without hearing their side of the story already make judgments as to what they've done why they've done it and you try to fill in all those blanks what you will find is a tremendous amount of hostility and anger and frustration on the part of children who want to be listened to who want to be understood and who want you to make a judgment on facts not because you think you know in advance what the thing is about. Tremendously important lesson the Bible says in the book of Proverbs chapter 18 verse 13 he who answers before listening that is his folly and his shame. I fell into that recently. I received an email regarding somebody and I just connected all the dots filled in all the details believed the email completely and then discovered later that the person who sent it was unreliable and there was another side to the story and I thought to myself how long do I have to live before I stop making judgments based on one side of the story and not hearing the whole tale.
It's very important. You know there's an old story that's been told a thousand times and each time it's told it it's told a little differently. I assume though that it does have its root in reality about a man on a bus you've probably heard it and he had several children and the children were out of control and they were bothering everybody else they were crying and he didn't know how to discipline them and people were so upset because some people wanted to sleep and others you know and they'd look at him and give him those ugly stares making all kinds of judgments. Here's just another American parent who can't control his children and then the man said to the people around him you have to understand I just buried their mother my wife died and I'm just trying to learn how to take care of children and to and to help them process the anger and the fear that they're going through.
Wow that sure changed the atmosphere. You see we're so quick to make judgments we're so quick to look at people and think that we can size them up and we do not have all the facts and therefore when it comes to making judgments let us make them according to facts and not presumptions. Well that's a powerful story that I just told but it is an important reminder of the fact that when we hear someone complain for example or when we are in the midst of a conflict it's so important for us to hear the other side of the story. The book of Proverbs teaches that very clearly but on the other hand as I like to emphasize it is also necessary for us to make judgments when it comes to doctrine, false prophets.
Let me ask you a question how much of Hollywood should you allow in your home? That's one of the questions I ask and answer in the book entitled who are you to judge? Learning to distinguish between truths have truths and lies. Well for a gift of any amount this book can be yours and I hope that you have time to get a pencil or a pen and let me tell you in advance that we are so deeply grateful for your support for your prayers for helping us get the ministry of running to win around the world. Here's what you can do to connect with us go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com and of course as you might know rtwoffer is all one word rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book entitled who are you to judge learning to distinguish between truths have truths and lies. From my heart to yours today I need to say that if there is one quality of character and wisdom that we need today it is discernment. We are oftentimes swept along by the world by false ideas false miracles false prophets yes by the influences of the world and hopefully and I believe it will be the case this book will be a tremendous help and blessing to you who are you to judge learning to distinguish between truths have truths and lies. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life thoughts of our future Judgment Day before God are raising a lot of questions for a listener named Darlene who asks I was wondering if there is any sin that cannot be forgiven I was not a Christian when I committed those sins but I am a Christian now and must admit I still do worry that on Judgment Day I will not be forgiven they were terrible sins how will God react to me on Judgment Day also when we face God on Judgment Day what will that be like do we stand in front of him and give an account of our life if he says he was not pleased with our sins or terrible acts we may have done then can we go into heaven I would really like to know what your thoughts are on this Darlene I certainly hope that you are listening because I have some very good news for you you know the very fact that you are a Christian means that of course your sins are forgiven in fact I preached a message years ago entitled what God does with forgiven sin and one of the points I made is that the Bible says he casts them into the depths of the sea and he remembers them no more and I'd like to suggest that then he asks us to put up a sign saying I've cast your sins into the sea no fishing so the past is past God has forgiven you or you wouldn't be a Christian the bottom line is no sin is unforgivable the only unforgivable sin is the sin of unbelief that refuses to repent obviously you're not in that category clearly you are a child of God now as to the second part of your question even as Christians it is true that we will be at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and our lives will be reviewed since the time we were saved that's the question it's not before that time but what did we do to serve the Lord after he saved us and at that time our lives will be under review as I mentioned and we will be accountable to God does that mean that we will see our sins that we have committed since we were Christians no we will not see our sins but our lives will be evaluated and if sin enters into the evaluation we will see our sins as forgiven as put away but the bottom line is having received the free gift of salvation having been forgiven our past we are now to live for God and our deeds will be evaluated the Bible says to see whether or not they are true or worthless so I'm not contradicting myself on the one hand all your sins are forgiven on the other hand we do however have to wrestle with the text that tell us that we shall give an account to God with what we did since we became believers Darlene we certainly hope that Pastor Lutzer's Council has been of help to you today and thank you Dr. Lutzer if you'd like to hear your question answered you can go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 Jesus taught us to not judge a small splinter in someone else's eye without first removing the large wood beam from our own eye that principle is from Matthew chapter 7 and next time on Running to Win we'll take home the lessons Jesus wants us to learn from this powerful teaching thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-08 02:11:49 / 2023-05-08 02:20:12 / 8