THE SERMONS OF JESUS

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Areas of Vital Concern for the Citizen of Heaven
The Citizen of Heaven and A Judgmental Attitude
Matt. 7:1-6

. INTRODUCTION

With the topic of judgmentalism Jesus continues to broach areas of vital concerns for the citizen of God's kingdom. As you look closely at these topics, it is easy to see their significance. These are the areas which normally destroy people: unnatural pursuit of riches, anxiety, and here judgmentalism.

To understand the significance of judgmentalism in a Christian's life, compare the amount of space Jesus devotes to judgmentalism in Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount with the amount of space He devotes to the rest of the sermon. In Luke Jesus devotes 9 verses to judgmentalism (6:37-45) while devoting 21 verses to the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. Almost 1/3 of Luke's version of the sermon is devoted to judgmentalism.

Part of this emphasis on judgmentalism can be attributed to the culture in which Jesus lived. The Jews, especially the Pharisees, were the most judgmental of creatures. After they had set up a list of rules and regulations, they proceeded to judge people on the basis of whether or not they kept these rules and regulations. They labeled anybody who did not keep these laws and regulations "sinners."

Yet judgmentalism is not a feature unique to the Pharisees. We all need to find a way to find favor with God in order to be saved. Either we find favor by means of God's grace or else by keeping a list of rules and regulations. Since we don't keep the rules which the Pharisees created, we come up with our own list. Ironically, the list we come up with is the list we live by. Jesus is not simply attacking YOUR list; He's attacking the very concept of lists. He came to give us life--freedom, not slavery.


THE REASON WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE (7:1-2)

According to 7:1 what does Jesus command us not to do?


(Note that this is a command. It is not a suggestion. We get all worked up over the Ten Commandments, and yet we fail to remember that the Person who gave us the Ten Commandments also gave us this command in verse 1).

According to the second part of verse 1 why does Jesus command us not to judge?


What judgment is Jesus referring to in verse 1? Is He referring to God judging us on the last day? Is He referring to God judging us in the here and now? Or is He referring to other people judging us?


What kind of standard are you going to be held to whenever you undergo judgment (7:2)?


In an earlier study we said that so much of the rest of the NT is coming out of the teachings of Jesus. James develops this concept of judgmentalism in his letter. According to James 4:11 when we judge another Christian, we are in essence really judging what? Why is that true?


THE HYPOCRISY OF JUDGMENTAL PEOPLE (7:3-5)

Before looking at these 3 verses, we need to define what Jesus means by speck and beam. The word "speck" is used to refer to a small speck of sawdust, something very tiny indeed. On the other hand, the word beam is used in Greek to refer to either the huge beam which forms the foundation of the house which supports other beams and planks, or to the major beam in the ceiling from which shoot out lesser beams. The beam is huge. With reference to sin, the speck refers to a tiny, "insignificant" sin, while a beam refers to a huge sin.

Jesus makes a unique contribution to the concept of judgmentalism. According to v. 3 which person is judgmental, the person with just a speck in his eye or the person with a huge beam in his eye? Why do you think that is true?

Look at the humor in this passage. One person has a little speck of sin in his eye, while the other person has a huge beam protruding from his eye. Every which way the person with the beam turns, he's going to knock somebody down, even when it is done unintentionally.

In v. 5 what does Jesus call the person who has the beam in his eye and who is judging others?

What is Jesus' advice to the person with a beam in his eye (7:5)?


Does Jesus tell us NOT to take the speck out of another person's eye (7:5)?


Why do you think Jesus wants us to take the beam out of our eye before we take the speck out of the other person's eye?


YET WE ARE TO BE WISE (7:6)

There is a difference between being judgmental and being wise. There is a difference between caring for somebody who has sinned and being censorial in our attitudes towards any and everybody who does not live up to our standards. According to v. 6 Jesus commands not to give what is holy to __________ and not to cast our pearls before _________________. In Matthew 13 we see Jesus carrying out this exact principle whenever He speaks in parables to all the people but gives the explanation of the parables only to the disciples. Not all people have legitimate questions and concerns regarding the truth of Christianity. If they did, they would respond positively to Christ's claims whenever somebody adequately addressed those questions and concerns. Just make sure that whenever you consider a person a "dog" or "swine" that you have done so under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.


HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?

According to Paul whenever we do have to correct a brother in Christ, we are to do so in a spirit of ____________________________ (Galatians 6:1). Moreover, according to Paul why are we to look to our ownselves whenever we have to correct somebody else?


Romans 14:1-15:13 deals with the subject of judgmentalism. Paul devotes more attention to this topic than he does to any of the other topics in Rom. 12:1-15:13 (Paul's treatment of ethical issues in Romans). In Rom. 14 the areas of concern are eating certain foods, observing certain holy days, and drinking wine. According to Rom. 14:6 the person who is observing the day is observing it for the _____________________, while the person who does not observe that same day is not observing it for the ____________________. According to verses 7 and 8 instead of living for ourselves, we should live for whom?


According to Rom. 14:9 why did Jesus die and live again?


That is the key to this issue. Let's challenge people to live for the Lord and then trust that they will do so. If somebody isn't doing what WE want, then we need to cut them slack and just trust them that they are living out of their relationship with the Lord. Whether they do or not is their concern. We may not elect them to be our pastor; we may not even let them be a leader in the church. Yet we can definitely refuse to judge them any more.