THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 9-18-05

LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: DO NOT JUDGE"

WELCOME

Notice the words which Paul said to Philemon in chapter 1, verse 4 of that book, "I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers." As well, I am thankful for each of you on this Lord's day morning and I pray that God will bless you for putting Him first and giving this time of offering to Him.

Let me welcome you to the Living Word program. What a blessing it is to have you with us this day to assemble before our God. I hope you are ready to worship God today in spirit and in truth, for there is no other way to be pleasing in His sight. We must do things His Way! So as we begin our focus on Almighty God, will you bow with me before His throne at this time!

(PRAYER)

How blessed we are to know that our God stands ready and waiting for all those who will obey His Will. We want to begin with a song this morning that reminds us that our God is ready to accept us where we are if we are willing to repent. So won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Just As I Am!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

I love the way which Paul and others show such love for their fellow brethren as we have already seen this morning. Another such passage is found in Philippians 1:3, where we read, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." What a great example this is for me and you. Do we likewise show such a love and interest in our brethren and in fellow man.

Other verses which help us to understand this great need are found in Galatians chapter 6, beginning in verse 1. There we read that we are to help our brethren who are caught up in sin. Furthermore, verse 2 tells us that we are to bear each others burdens as followers of Christ. How wonderful it is to have such love for our fellow brothers and sisters, so much so that we want to help them, love them and pray for them when they are having difficulties in this life.

The final idea I would like us to consider is found in the same passage, but down in verse 10. There Paul adds, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." This verse helps us to realize our God given responsibility to do good to all of mankind, not only our brethren. You see we have the God given directive to do good to and to help everyone in this life, especially our own brethren. And why should we do this? Because when others see our love and care for them, then they see our love and obedience to Christ and when others see Christ in us - God is glorified! Are you doing good to all those who you deal with and come in contact with in this life? In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our speaker, we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us this morning. Brother Patterson is the minister for the South Bolivar Church of Christ. We thank brother Kevin for being with us and look forward to him leading us in our main study of God's Word, at the proper time. Our lesson topic of the day will again focus on our series entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount!" The specific lesson of the day will deal with the Biblical teaching, "Do Not Judge!" So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes brother Patterson will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Kevin Patterson

"Judge not that you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye. Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye and look a plank is in your own eye. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in pieces."

Good morning and we appreciate you staying with us today. We are in the midst of a study series entitled "Great Lessons From the Sermon on the Mount," and this is found from Jesus' great sermon in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. Thus far, we've already taken a look at some thirteen lessons from chapters 5 and 6 alone. This morning, as we have just read, we are beginning with the first six verses of chapter 7 which have a lot to do with judgment. But before we get into that specific study, I want to make this one observation. No matter what the religious background or training, many people in our society have heard or can at least quote some various verses from the Bible. For instance, most people are familiar with John chapter 3 and verse 16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." A lot of people if they cannot quote that one, they can most certainly quote John 11:35, the shortest verse in all of the Bible, "Jesus wept." So also is the verse that began our text this morning, Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1. There are a lot of people in our society today that know the words, "Judge not that you be not judged," or maybe very simply, "Don't judge me." The reason that seems to be the case is because in our society we are in the midst of an ever growing permissiveness to live life as you would have it lived without regard to God's Will or God's Word concerning how life ought to be lived. So when they run into a situation to where their lifestyle is opposed to God's Word they often respond in a defensive way by saying, "Don't judge me."

Well, I want you to consider Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1 and also compare it to another passage of scripture found in John chapter 7 and verse 24 which reads, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1, John chapter 7, verse 24 seemingly, at least on the surface, saying two very different things. One passage saying, "Don't judge," and the other passage saying, "Judge." Is this a contradiction? Well certainly I do not believe it to be so, and like a lot of verses that people have a problem with, when you only look at one verse and you don't look at the surrounding context where the passage is found, we sometimes fail to see the larger picture that is being painted for us. This morning I want us to take a look at these scriptures in their proper context and try to learn what God's Will is for us concerning the subject of judgment.

First and foremost, we need to realize that we can never judge as God judges. God is the ultimate judge in all matters and He is going to be the one who is going to judge all of mankind on the last day. In passages like Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verse 17, we read that "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked." Acts chapter 17 and verses 30 and 31 teaches us that "God is appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained," that man being Jesus Christ. In Romans 2 and verse 16, we read that "God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." We must never pretend that we are God nor can we judge the hearts and soul of men as only He can. We will never sit upon His judgment seat. So it's very important that we recognize that we are not the great judge, the eternal judge that God is. James chapter 4 and verse 12 reiterates this point very simply by saying, "There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?"

But if we'll look at the definition of the word "judge" we'll realize that the word "judge" in the Bible is not used simply to pronounce final judgment as God will do in the end. This word is actually defined in Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words to mean "to separate, to select, to choose, to determine, to separate throughout, to discriminate, to discern, to decide." In other words, it has to do with making a choice, being able to see the difference. In Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, it defines "judge" simply as "to distinguish." God has certainly given us the ability to make decisions, to make distinctions, or to make judgments that allow us to distinguish one thing from another. Certainly this is the case in matters of right and wrong. Jesus in Luke chapter 12 and verses 54-57 made the point that "they could look up into the sky and make certain decisions. Could they not also make certain judgments about what was right in their own lives?" In Leviticus chapter 10 and verses 8-10 the Lord said to Aaron concerning he and his sons as they would go into the tabernacle of meeting that they were not to take any intoxicating drink into their body, no alcohol whatsoever, so that they could distinguish between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean.

As we move forward to the New Testament in passages like Galatians chapter 5 and verses 19-23, we see a distinction between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. The works of the flesh are detailed in some seventeen plus ways to describe for us a number of things that are bad, that are wrong, that are evil, things that we're not to be a part of in this life and then on the other hand, it describes the fruit of the spirit which is composed of some 9 qualities that we're to not only adopt into our lives, but that we are to embrace and grow in these areas. When Paul wrote this letter to the churches of Galatia, he wanted them to draw a distinction between things such as hatred and love. He wanted them to distinguish between outbursts of wrath and peace. He wanted them to judge the difference between fornication and faithfulness.

So also is the case with us today. We are to look at certain things that we can see at the very least externally and make judgments about these things. In Matthew chapter 7 verses 15-20 when Jesus once again in His Sermon on the Mount describes false prophets, He says, "They are going to come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." He makes the point that you will know them by their fruits. It's true that we may not be able to see into the heart and into the soul of men like God can, but we can see them by their fruits or their actions. We can see them by the deeds that they do and when we see somebody who is stealing, then it is proper judgment for us to call that person a thief. If we see someone who is being dishonest, it is proper judgment to call that dishonesty a lie.

When we read in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, we see the church at Corinth involved in a similar circumstance where there is a man who is openly having a relationship with his father's wife. This was sin. It was wrong, but evidently the church at Corinth was unwilling to confront the problem. Paul says in verse 3, "Even though he was not in Corinth at the time that he wrote this letter, he said, "For I indeed as absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged as though I were present, him who has done this deed." That was 1 Corinthians 5 and verse 3.

Later on in that same chapter, verse 11, "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother who was sexually immoral or covetousness or an idolater or a reveler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not to even eat with such a person." In verse 12, he writes, "For what have I to do with judging those who are outside?" In this case, outside of the church. "Do you not judge those who are inside?" There is a place for proper judgment.

However, Matthew chapter 7 is condemning a type of judgment that is not right in God's eyes. It is more relational. When we make judgments about right and wrong, first of all we need to insure that we do not make judgments inconsistently or without mercy. Verse 2 of Matthew chapter 7 seems to indicate that. It is kind of the idea of you will reap what you sow. If you judge in a bad way, you too are going to be judged wrongly.

Luke chapter 6 and verse 36 and 37, Jesus says, "Therefore be merciful just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven."

Do you remember the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke chapter 18 and verses 9-14? Remember that the Pharisee looked at himself and tried to declare to God all of his great achievements and he was so thankful that he was not like that lowly tax collector. Do you remember what the tax collector prayed? "God be merciful to me, a sinner." When we humble ourselves before others, we will also be humbled before God. And when we humble ourselves before God, we ought to also humble ourselves before others. James chapter 2 and verse 13 reads, "Judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy."

We must also not make judgments hypocritically. Back in Matthew chapter 7 and verses 3-5 the story is described as somebody who is more consumed with the speck of dust that is in his brother's eye than he is with the log that is hanging out of his own.

In Matthew chapter 23 and verses 1-4, Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples and said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works for they say and do not do." When it comes to our making judgments, it's important for me not to judge someone who has committed a sin when I am involved in committing that sin and even more. It's very difficult for me to expect somebody else to turn their life around when I am unwilling to turn my life around. Jesus simply wants us to be consistent, to be merciful, and to not be hypocritical in the judgments that we make.

You might remember in John chapter 8 and verses 3-11 where a group of scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery to Him and they asked, "What do you think we ought to do with her? Should we stone her? Should we take her life?" Remember Jesus stooped down into the dirt and wrote in the dirt. At one point in time, He made this statement. In verse 7, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." After that all of those people left because they realized not that judging was never appropriate, but that it was very difficult for them to focus on the one sin of this woman when they themselves had so many problems that they should have been dealing with first.

Even when doing good for others or proclaiming the gospel of Christ, it's important for us to make proper judgments. Matthew chapter 10 and verse 14, Jesus told His disciples, "Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet." Perhaps that's why He said in Matthew 7 and verse 6, "Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in pieces."

We have a saying in our society, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck." The same is true of sin. If it looks like sin, acts like sin, and appears to be sinful, then God has given us the intelligence and the ability to determine that that action is wrong. God wants us to judge between things that are good and evil, right and wrong. Not only in our lives but in the lives of others as we would try to help draw them closer to God. He does not want us to judge where only He can judge. "Judge not that you be not judged, but remember to judge righteously."

(SONG # 3 - "Paradise Valley!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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May we all study more and understand the Biblical teachings concerning judging, so that we will learn to judge only with a righteous judgement, and never with our own personal desires!

(Program closing)