THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-3-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MAN: JUDGE NOT THAT YOU BE NOT JUDGED"
"In the beginning - God - created the heavens and the earth!" This morning, it is before this awesome, great and mighty God which we assemble - to praise, laud and magnify His wondrous name! As we begin our homage to Him this morning, will you bow with me and approach His Almighty throne in prayer!
What a beautiful time of the year it is as we are now enjoying the fall season. Our weather has finally cooled off and many of the wonders of nature are clearly seen right now in the various colors and joys of this season. I hope you will make the most of every day and enjoy this most special time of the year.
Well, it's already time to praise our God through song. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Why I love the Lord!"
(SONG # 1)
Don't you just love the song we just sang? It certainly reminds us all of why we should love God. The reality is, He has done so much for us! In fact, our God was willing to pay the ultimate price - Jesus death on the cross. No doubt this is what Jesus was thinking about when He told His disciples, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends," John 15:13!
However, what I would like to focus on for a moment this morning is our response to this great love of God! How should we react and what should we do to show God that we truly love Him and appreciate what He has done.
I think we can find our answer clarified in one short statement by Jesus which is found as well in John, but in chapter 14:15. There we read, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Did you catch that? This surely is not hard to understand! Jesus said that we show our true love to Him by obeying what He has commanded. So why is it that so many have such a hard time simply doing things Jesus way? I wish I knew or had the answer, but I can tell you that mankind of all ages has had this same problem. And even today, we still have a hard time just obeying God, thus proving our love to Him.
A final verse I would like to consider at this time is found in 1 John 3:16. This passage helps us to understand how far we must be willing to go in our service for God! There we read, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." You see the ultimate love we can demonstrate to God is a willingness to obey Him even unto death. But not only a willingness to die for His sake, but even a willingness to die for the sake of our brethren. Oh, how many of us need to learn the true love and care we must have for one another as brethren. We must love each other, just as much as we love our God. And by this, not only are we known as disciples of Christ, but as those who truly love others!
This morning, we are glad to have brother Paul Fisher with us as our guest speaker of the day. Brother Paul is the minister for the Marshfield Church of Christ in Marshfield, Missouri. As far as our main study of the day, we will continue our discussion entitled, "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific message of the morning will deal with the statement, "Judge not that you be not Judged!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Fisher will be lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "When We All Get To Heaven."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Paul Fisher
Good morning. Please be turning in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 7. One of the greatest misconceptions that many people have in religion is that Matthew chapter 7 verse 1 prohibits all forms of judging. So when error is pointed out to them that are in error, they come back with, "Who are you to judge me? Remember Jesus said, "Judge not that you be not judged."
While it is true that that is exactly what Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1 says, we need to ask ourselves, "What kind of judgment is Jesus condemning?" Because in the context of Matthew chapter 7 Jesus also pointed out some things that we must judge, such as false prophets in Matthew chapter 7, verses 15-20.
How then can we reconcile, judge not of verse 1 with the command to watch for false prophets and to judge that they are such as false prophets and determine that they are? The best way is by keeping both in their contexts. In understanding what Jesus was condemning in both passages, first let us look at Matthew chapter 7 and verses 1-6 to see what type of judging Jesus was condemning. "Judge not that you be not judged for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged and with what measure you met, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in thine own eye, or how will thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye and behold a beam is in thine own eye. Thou hypocrite. First cast out the beam out of thine own eye and then shall see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you."
Now is this passage condemning all types of judgment? Is it wrong for us to point out that it's dangerous for a young child to be playing in the street? If we say that this verse is prohibiting all forms of judgment, then we would have to say, yes, it would be wrong for us to point out for a child that it's dangerous to play in the street because who are we to judge what is dangerous? So it's easy for us to see that this passage was not condemning all forms of judging or judgment.
Well what type of judgment then was Jesus condemning? That which is hypocritical. That which jumps to conclusion without checking out the facts. That which condemns without mercy such judgments as racism, judgments upon clothing and appearance. The type of judging that is only interested in finding faults in someone no matter how small, or no matter what the fault is. Seeing what we might consider a very small fault in our brethren and pointing those things out to him while all the time forgetting our own very large faults. Jesus, of course, uses the example of a man seeing a small tiny speck of dust in his brother's eye and wanting to take that out of his brother's eye, while all the time having a large beam sticking out of his own eye. What foolishness. Jesus said that the man first needs to remove the beam out of his own eye, and then he can see clearly to remove the speck, that tiny little speck of dust out of his brother's eye. Clearly Jesus was condemning judging others without regards to self. Finding fault with others can be 20/20 while finding fault with self can be almost blind.
James pointed out this type of a person in James chapter 1 and verses 23 and 24. He said, "For if any be a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is likened unto a man beholding his natural faith in a glass. For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way and straightway he forgetteth what manner of man he was." It is easy for us to hear the Word of God, but it is altogether different to try to live the Word of God.
Just as it was easy for the man in Matthew chapter 7, verses 3-5 to see the speck of dust in his brother's eye while ignoring the beam in his own eye, this is much like the person who says that they will not become a Christian because they have seen hypocrites in Christianity, those who claim to be Christians yet in their lifestyle, in the things they say, they're really not reflecting Christianity at all.
Does this, the very fact that there are hypocrites in Christianity, relieve someone from becoming a Christian and a true follower of God? Absolutely not. God's Word points out that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," Romans chapter 3 and verse 23. Since all have sinned, then everyone who has reached an age of knowing right from wrong needs to repent of their sins and obey God's Word in order to have salvation. For Peter pointed out to the Jewish leadership that "Jesus was," and my friends, He still is, "the only way of salvation," Acts chapter 4 and verse 12. So just because there are those who you might judge as being hypocritical, that does not relieve you or anyone else from faithfully obeying the Word of God.
It's easy to see the type of judgment that Jesus was condemning when one looks at the sect of Judaism of His day that was called "Pharisees." They judged not according to God's Word but according to their tradition. They judged according to dress and many of their very own traditions instead of the Word of God. All of these things Jesus pointed out to them when he said, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, faith. These ought ye to have done and not left the others undone," Matthew 23, verse 23.
How then should we judge and what should we judge? Well, in the same passage in which Jesus condemned judging, He also said again in verse 6, "Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you." This requires judging and judgment on our part. The followers of God must be able to recognize dogs and swine when he or she sees them. Judgment has to be made as to what is right to give these animals and what is wrong. Trying to treat them as priests and kings is wrong. Giving them the things that one would give to priests and kings is also wrong. They are just animals and although they should be treated in a good manner, we need to realize what they are and this requires judging on our part, but judging that is just and right. What do dogs and swine want? What do they need? They need food, not those things that are holy, nor do they need jewels.
In like manner, Jesus acted on this principle in refusing to answer the Jewish leadership when they asked Him by what authority He did what He did in cleansing the temple in Matthew 21, verse 23.
The apostles, in like manner, did this when they turned to the Gentiles. When the Jewish hearers would begin to contradict themselves in blasphemy such as in Acts 18, verse 46.
In verse 12 of chapter 7 of the book of Matthew, Jesus also said, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even also to them for this is the law and the prophet." This passage is often called "The Golden Rule." Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This also requires judging and judgments on our part. We must judge what we are about to do or say by this: is this something that I would want others to say to me or do to me? This principle assumes of course that when we are putting ourselves in our neighbor's place that we are wise enough not to make any foolish wishes and good enough not to make any evil ones. Judging and judgment is what this is all about.
In verses 13 and 14 of Matthew chapter 7 again we are faced with judging and judgment on our part. Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the straight gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it." Again, we are required to judge.
Which is the narrow? Which is the straight gate and which is the wide gate? How can we make this type of judgment? Only by studying the Word of God and applying that Word can we make that right judgment.
My friends, this is the most important judging that you can ever do in your life because unlike what many people claim that there are many ways to heaven, Jesus points out in this passage that there is only one that leads to life. Plus, He pointed out that He is the only way to the Heavenly Father in John 14, and verse 6. So if we try to get to heaven in any other way than through Jesus Christ, we are not on the narrow way which leads to life, but we need to recognize and realize that we are on that broad way which leads not unto life but unto eternal destruction. This requires us to judge and use judgment to see which way we are on. This of course requires an open mind and an open Bible to see if we are doing all that God requires us to do.
In Matthew chapter 7 and verses 15-20, again Jesus called upon us to judge and to use judgment correctly. He said, "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are raving wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorn or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bringeth forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bringeth forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth forth not good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
To know the false prophets from the real, true prophets of God, one must judge. One must look at God's Word and that is the standard that we must have. Notice that Jesus said that "the false prophets would be dressed in the same manner as the real prophets." So clothing cannot be our standard of judgment. This of course we refer back to Matthew 7, verse 1, "Judge not that you be not judged." This was one of the manners in which they were judging in the wrong way, judging by appearance and not what was on the inside. It is what is on the inside of us that shows the true nature of a person whether a true prophet or a raving wolf. Judgment must be made and God's Word is a standard by which this judgment must be made. This is the principle that should govern all of our judging and judgments. Of course, there are those in our world who do not like this principle because they do not want a standard of judgment because any standard of judgment would condemn them, so they want to be their own judge and they want to make their own standard of judgment.
In verse 20, Jesus said that we can know the difference between the true prophets and the false prophets by their fruits. Is a prophet trying to live like they are preaching or are they saying one thing and doing something totally different? This is how we can know if they are false prophets or not.
In Matthew 7, Jesus both condemned and required judging and judgment. He condemned all judgment that was not based upon fact, but was based upon snap judgment: looks, clothing or just plain trying to find fault, judging without mercy. My friends, these things ought not be.
As we come to the close of our lesson, we pray that you will continue to read and study God's Word and look to it for it is the only true standard that we have. Thank you.
(SONG # 3 - "Have Thine Own Way!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Thank God that He has given us His Perfect Will, that we may know it and that by it, we then may judge righteously those things which are before us in this life! To God be the glory!