January 23, 1994
This passage deals with righteous judgment. We broke the passage
up into two shorter messages, and today is the second half.
As we mentioned last week, vv. 1-5 are one thought, and contain one of the most grossly misunderstood and misused teaching of our Lord.
Throughout His ministry here among men, the Lord simply gives the Law of Moses its proper application. The law that the Lord is now going to apply is the law of is proper judgment, Lev 19:15.
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: [but] in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Not only is this law of judgment one of the more misused by sinful men, it is also one of the more developed laws of God's word. The whole book of James deals quite extensively with this law of proper Judgement.
Fallen man tends to corrupt this verse to justify sin: he uses it to justify his inaction against the sin around himself, and he uses it to justify his own sin.
Most people want to continue in their enjoyable sins. Thus when they are challenged from the Word of God about their evil deeds: "Judge not that ye be not judged." What they are saying is, "Leave me alone. I want to continue in my evil ways unrebuked."
We dealt with Christian Liberty from 1 Co 10:23 last week. If you want to follow it a little, see Mrs. Clements for the tape.
So, what is the Lord saying here? Is He telling us to avoid any kind of judgement. What does it mean to judge someone?
Of course, there are two aspects of judging: one negative, one positive; that is to say, there is a good judging and a bad judging.
Negatively, it refers to judging others severely or unfairly. It refers to finding fault with this or that in others.
Unrighteous judgment tries to hold others accountable to our personal standards instead of the standards of the Law of God.
Then we have the positive aspect of judgment,: we are commanded to do this kind of judgment.
Proper judgment refers to "the disciplinary judgment to which Christians subject the conduct of their fellows, passing censure upon them as the facts required."
Christ commands that we judge others, but we must not judge by what appears to the natural eye. We are to compare their outward actions and attitudes to the Word of God. If they conform to the Word of God, they deserve praise. If they violated the clear teaching of the world of God, then we are to take proper action according to the word of God.
John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Now, let me give 8 points from this passage:
1) though v. 1 appears to forbid judging others, v. 5 tells us that this is not the case at all. In fact, the Christian is commanded to judge the outward actions and attitudes of others according to the standard of the Word of God, 1 Cor 5:12. Then proper action is to be taken when needed according to the word of God.
On the other hand, the Christian is commanded not to go beyond the word of God. That was what the Pharisees did: they judged severely or unfairly by adding their traditions to the law of God.
Sinful judgment subjects the common, everyday actions of others to our own personal standards. The Lord is condemning unjust judgment against people because their actions to not pass our personal standards ortraditions we hold dear. The actions of others which we might find disagreeable, no matter who the person is, do not give Scriptural right to speak evil against that person.
2) the Lord is saying that we will be judged according to the way we judge others.
Basically, when the Lord said, Judge not, that ye be not judged, He warned us that we will reap what we sow: if we are hard and unkind toward others, we will receive hardness and unkindness toward us. On the other hand, if we are kind and generous toward others, we will receive kindness and generosity toward us.
3) Rom 2:1-2, Paul uses the same thought as does the Lord Jesus in Mat 7... Both Paul and the Lord Jesus condemn judging in others what we are unwilling or unable to deal with in ourselves. The hypocrite judges others without first judging himself; he judges others for the same basic thing he does, 7:5.
Rom 2:1-3: Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
The Lord clearly tells us to get our own lives in conformity first before we try to straighten out others.
4) The tone of the Lord's message up to this point has been quite gentle, but now He seems to express strong "displeasure."
The Lord's displeasure, though, is not directed against unjust civil authority, nor is it directed against the Pharisees nor against the pagans outside the church. The strongest words of this message are directed tohis disciples, 5:1, 2: thou hypocrite..., 7:5.
By doing this, the Lord clearly laid the blame for society's problems squarely in the church; the individuals in the church have lost their light and salt. They do not render righteous judgment according to God's law in their personal lives, in the lives of others or in society around them, but every man condemns others according to his own standard.
"OK, Bro. Need, I'll only use the Law of God to examine others, and here is what I see wrong." Well, how is your own life? It sounds to me like there is some pride that needs to be dealt with in your own life first:
Gal 6:1, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
The Lord's message here is against hypocrisy in the church, not against hypocrisy in the world or in civil government. We are all experts at identifying the problems of others, but very few are willing to face their own problems. Mt 7:16, every one feels qualified to be a fruit inspector as long as no one inspects his own fruit.
5) The Lord defines a hypocrite: it is one who judges and condemns others, yet he will not admit to sin or accept correction.
Thus the Lord identifies the basic problem in the church, viz., the average person is more interested in straightening out others than he is in straightening out himself.
He will dedicate all his efforts in seeing that others do what he feels they should do, but he himself is satisfied in his own way. He is above reproach in his own eyes.
Pr 16:2 All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Pr 21:2 Every way of a man [is] right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Pr 30:12 [There is] a generation [that are] pure in their own eyes, and [yet] is not washed from their filthiness. Isa 5:21 Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Let me give a benefit of the doubt here: I think a reason a person ends up being a hypocrite is because the basic sin he sees in others takes a different shape in his own life; therefore, he cannot recognize it in his own life.
We may be very quick to condemn another for drunkenness &/or smoking, but we fail to realize what the basic problem is:
Rom 13:14, But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Notice here that the basic problem is the inability to control the lusts of the flesh. When the one who is unable to control his own spirit in the area of his temper rails on or becomes very hostile toward the one who is unable to control his lusts in the area of smoking or drinking or even the area of his own home (his family is out of control), the person doing the railing is a hypocrite.
I have also noticed that many times the ones who are the most hostile toward the evils in civil government are hostile toward authority in general. In other words, their problem is with authority in general, not with ungodly or misused authority.
The Lord Jesus Christ in this passage is soundly rebuking those who are very quick and anxious to correct the faults and errors in the lives of those around them, but they cannot see, or will not admit to or just refuse to deal with areas of sin their own lives.
I suppose one of my biggest problems is inconsistency in folks. I know that I am inconsistent in areas, but I try to deal with those inconsistencies when they are brought to my attention.
I mentioned some time ago about (Mark Petery) the young man who stole from his employer because he felt he was not being paid what he was worth. But the same man becomes extremely hostile over the civil government stealing from him. The Lord calls such a one a hypocrite. He considers himself an expert at pointing out the sins of others, but when some one mentions anything at all to him about his sins, he will not speak to them again for a week.
This goes then into every area. We are very quick to condemn others for what we view as a great weakness or even sin on their part, but we are unwilling or unable to bring a weakness or sin into control in our own lives. The Lord Jesus calls such a one a hypocrite.
6) notice God's judgment against hypocrisy: v. 2. God promises to see that the hypocrite will reap what he sows. Sad to say, hypocrisy reigns in society: everybody picks everybody apart with no consideration of what is in their own lives that needs to be cast out, v. 5.
I believe that the Lord has a way of seeing that we get what we give. In other words, the hypocrite will be judged by God by having a bigger hypocrite over him.
If all of society is given to hypocrisy, what can we expect from the Lord?
7) As a general rule, those under us reflect our attitudes and actions. Scriptures teach that part of the God's law of sowing and reaping is that we reap the blessings or curses for our relationship to Him through those under us.
In other words, our sin may well show up in those under us, only it may show up in a different area. But it is very difficult for us to see our sin as it reflects back to us because it takes on a different shape in those under us.
Illustration: From the time I entered the ministry, I have tried to be loyal to the ones in authority over me whether I agreed with them or not. The result has been that even though there have been folks leave here that did not agree with me as the one in authority, they have not undermined me while they were here.
On the other hand, I know men who just could not bring themselves to be loyal to those over them because they did not agree with those in authority. The result has been very serious disloyalty by those under them every since.
The word of God is clear: if we will judge and treat others as we desire to be judged and treated (according to the Truth), God will bless us for it.
8) finally, be nice to everyone and be patient.
1 Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
1 Cor 5:13, But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Paul tells us that we focus our concern on the wrong people: those outside the church. Our concern must be to keep our lives pure and above reproach, and to keep the church pure and above reproach.
Where do we see the problems in Society? How do we judge others? lovingly and with compassion as we would like to be treated?
Let me give a few points concerning righteous judgment:
We are not to judge according to a person's station in life. De 16:19Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
It seems as though if someone has money or worldly success, we do not judge them by the same standard as we might one that is down and out.
We are not to judge according to our own personal feelings or opinions. De 27:19 Cursed [be] he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
De 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it.
This is one of the jobs of the NT Deacons: solving problems within the congregation according to the word of God. Note that someone must judge between two people. Which person is right according to the word of God? Which person is wrong? The law-word of God is the standard.
We are not to judge according to the standard of the day. Ex 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment]:
We are forbidden to judge according to our standard, so we must know the word of God.
As I thought on this concluding section of the Lord's message, some things kept coming to my mind: that is, Christian behaviour and attitude one toward another. We expect others to fit into our mold. If we have proper authority over that other person, that is another story; but primarily the ones we are intolerant with are those outside our realm of authority.
We harbor anger and bitterness against other Christians. There is something desperately wrong with professed Christians who can remain angary and upset at other Christians. Where is the spirit of Christ in that kind of attitude?
Le 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
HATE... ...The verb... expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship. It is therefore the opposite of love. Whereas love draws and unites, hate separates and keeps distant. The hated and hating persons are considered foes or enemies and are considered odious, utterly unappealing... The hating that is usually referred to in the OT is the opposition, ill-will, and aversion men have for fellowmen... There is also a hating on the part of man which is acceptable to God. Man must have an aversion to and depart from evil... (TWOT, #2272)
The law of God is extremely clear: any uncalled for or retained desire to remain clear of another person, especially a Christian brother, is a terrible sin. It is hatred, and it has God's judgment against it.
The Lord's sermon on the mount covered every area of thought and action. That means that although the actions might be right, if our thoughts and attitudes are not, we have violated the whole law. On the other hand, if our attitudes are right, and our actions are wrong, we have violated the whole law.
Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. Jas 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. Jas 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 1 Jo 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
I am afraid that we just do not realize the importance God places upon our relationships and attitudes one toward another. The Lord speaks very clear in His law: unjust and unholy attitudes toward another are wicked sins. Lord willing, we will get into Romans 2 a little as we go along.
Let us not be deceived: the devil knows and believes the Word of God. But the devil and his crowd use the Word of God for their own advantages:
they ignore the Word of God, and say, there is no God; but if someone insists God's word is true, they claim the Word of God is without effect, or of none effect (Ro 4:14); the enemies of God use Scripture to pervert the right ways of the Lord (Acts 13:10); they use Scripture to pervert the gospel of Christ (Ga 1:7).]
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