January 16, 1994
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A Call to Righteous Judgment, I

Matthew 7


Once again, we should be reminded that this message is directed to the Lord's disciples, but it was preached in the hearing of any one who would listen, 5:1, 2. And it is meant today for everyone.

The Lord's sermon dealt primarily with our inward and outward duty to our fellow man; and He sums up our duty in v. 12, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Then v. 13 to the end of the chapter, He warns of false prophets who would subvert the Word of God in any way.

7:1-5 is one thought; because it is a serious subject and grossly misunderstood and misused, we will take two shorter messages.

5:17 At the opening of His message, the Lord made it clear that He was simply giving Moses' law its proper application. It not only applies to God's kingdom, but it applies to all inhabitance of the earth: God is the Creator.

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.

The law is found in Moses' books, but it is restated in many different ways throughout the Word of God. James also develops the law of proper judgment.

These 5 verses must be viewed and understood a whole thought. If one verse, such as v. 1, is used without the other 4, a false view of judgment will develop.

MISUSE

There are at least three reasons people misuse v. 1:

1) this verse is misused by the enemy to prevent people from looking past the surface of what is going on around them. The result is that they are deceived into excepting things for face value.

2) it is misused by those who do not want to stand against evil: "I am commanded not to judge; therefore, I will not judge whether or not he is doing something I should stand against."

Thus they corrupt this verse to justify their non-involvement in the hard work that is required to confront evil with God's righteous Truth.

3) but the major reason for perverting this verse is right in the verse: Judge not that ye be not judged.

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."

Another passage greatly misused to justify sin is 1 Co 10:23, All things are lawful for me... But note its context: vv. 15-29.

Paul is dealing with Christian liberty; he does not in the slightest refer to liberty to sin or violate the word of God. Paul made it very clear in 1 Cor 5 that others must be judged in the light of God's law and their sin must be dealt with.

1 Cor 10:23, concerns Christian Liberty, and it primarily refers to eating meat which had been offered to idols. Paul is not condoning the violation of the laws of Holiness. There is no way to imagine that Paul said that fornication was now lawful for him or that he now could violate the laws given by God for good health (eat pork and other unclean foods).

The Christian Liberty referred to by Paul includes liberty in worship,holidays, minor doctrinal variations and even what day to set aside for Christian worship. Sad to say, Christian liberty has become as scarce as has civil liberty in our day.

Now, of course there is no such thing as Christian Liberty when it comes to subverting the gospel of the substitutionary death of Christ. Without that, there is no Salvation.

What is the Lord saying here? Is He telling us to avoid any kind of judgement. What does it mean to judge someone?

The Child of God, if he is going to be true to his God, has no choice but to judge the actions of others, Mat 7:16.

The Child of God, if he is going to be faithful to his God, has no choice but to take action according to his judgment in terms of the word of God of what is going on around him .

Therefore, this section must be viewed in the light of a righteous standard of judgment. That standard must be the law-word of God. We live in a day when all standards have been attacked and destroyed by wicked men. The modern standard is what is right in our own eyes and what is right according to some ungodly authority.

But the Word of God holds us to a firm standard, Rom 3:7, the truth of God... Without God's truth, we have no righteous standard of judgment. Therefore, we must study, memorize and meditate on God's word.

NEGATIVE/POSITIVE

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.

We will develop negative, or sinful, judging first: It refers tojudging others severely or unfairly. It refers to finding fault with this or that in others.

SOME USES

Of course, Mat 7:1, 2, but notice these other usages:

Luk 6:37, Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Basically, the Lord is warning 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 have kindness and generosity shown toward us.

We get the best understanding of the negative meaning of judge in

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?

(Holding others to standards we cannot or will not meet.)

Jas 4:11, 12 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. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?



Ro 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

But let's look at the rest of the context: Rom 14:1-13. (Note esp v. 4.) Unrighteous judgment, according to Paul, is trying to hold others accountable to our personal standards instead of the standards of the Law of God.

By others, I mean those outside of our Biblical realm of authority. Each of us have standards for our individual families. Maybe those standards are clearly defined in Scripture, maybe they are not, but we have the Biblical authority to enforce them.

OTHERS

Sinful judgment subjects the common, everyday actions of others to our own personal standards. Please understand what I mean by own personal standards: I mean the standards which are not clearly defined in the Word of God. The Word of God primarily establishes general guidelines and limits upon actions. On the other hand, the World of God allows great leeway in many areas that men have fought and died over in the past.

The Lord is condemning unjust judgment against people because their actions to not pass our personal standards. 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.

There is an interesting fact in

Lu 19:22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, [thou] wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

In this passage, the man was judged by his own words. Therefore, the one judging was released from responsibility for the judgment being right or wrong.

This is consistent with the OT. Remember, David put to death a man who made a false claim of killing King Saul, whom he was certain was David's enemy. David told him that he condemned himself, 2 Sam 1:16. David wrongly judged the man and put him to death, but the man's own words brought the unjust judgement upon himself. David was released from any guilt.



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."

Paul rebuked the people at Corinth for not judging and dealing with sin within the church, 1 Cor 5:12. The people were to judge those within, and if anyone within was found hardened in any of the sins mentioned, they were to be removed from the assembly.

The Lord simply took this OT law concerning judgment and applied it to His NT Kingdom:

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Christ commands that we judge others, but we must not judge by what appears to the natural eye. We are to compare others to the Word of God. If they confirm with 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.

Joh 8:15, 16 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

1 Cor 2:15, 16, But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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.

Are we righteous in our judgment, or do we hold others to a level we are unwilling or unable to meet?

I have 8 points to give you from this section, but I will give them next time.

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