The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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-One of my biggest pet peeves both as a pastor or Christian are people who take Scripture out of context to make it mean what they want it to mean. And one of the verses that is most often abused is Matthew 7:1----
Judge not, that you be not judged.
(But it is most often misquoted from the KJV as “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, even though that’s not what the KJV even says.)
-People think that this means that you can make no judgment call about what anybody says or does----and usually it is misquoted by people who are confronted about their sin, but they don’t want to feel guilty about their sin.
-If you try to tell someone that their chosen homosexual lifestyle is unbiblical, they will yell back in your face: JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED
~Or if someone is caught in an adulterous relationship: JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED
~Or even if you confront someone about something like gossiping: JUDGE NOT…
-Does Matthew 7:1 mean that no one can make any sort of judgment call about anything? Absolutely not.
~What Matthew 7:1 is forbidding is a harsh judgmentalism that is based on worldly, human standards rather than those of God.
~But that doesn’t mean that all judgment is to be suspended.
-The Bible calls us to have moral and theological discernment to judge between right and wrong, holy and unholy, good and evil, according to biblical standards----without this we would not be able to judge right teaching from heresy, or a true teacher from a false teacher.
-We are called to make judgments about words or actions or teachings without being the judges of peoples or motives. We are called to judge rightly while having a right heart about it. And that is the call Jesus gives in this passage.
-In today’s passage the Jewish crowds and leaders make wrong judgments about Jesus’ identity, teachings, and motives, so Jesus called them to make right judgments based on spiritual discernment.
-And so just as Jesus called them to make right judgments, we too are called to make right judgments, and we want to consider some characteristics.
John 7:14–24 ESV
14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
-Let’s consider 5 characteristics of right judgments as found in this passage:

I) Right judgments do not rest on worldly assumptions or appearances

-The Jewish people and authorities thought that they could pigeon-hole Jesus into a nice neat category based merely on assumptions and appearances.
-According to v. 15 they marveled at Jesus’ teachings, and could not figure out how He could say what He said and taught the way He taught since He did not get the right type of schooling (according to their standards). They assumed that since He was some unschooled, no-name, from the redneck part of Galilee that He really couldn’t teach that way.
-They figured that since He didn’t have the right schooling that they then didn’t have to believe what He claimed about Himself or respond to His teachings the way they ought.
-They looked at Jesus through the eyes of the world instead of from a heavenly standpoint and judged Him as someone to be ignored (or silenced).
-For us it is so easy to make quick, snap judgments about someone or something without prayerfully seeking to find the whole truth. We look at the appearances of how something is or might be, but do not look deeper to maybe something beyond what we see on the surface level.
-We are quick to judge someone more harshly when they don’t look like us or act like us, but in reality they may be closer to God than we are. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we judge someone less harshly over what is clearly sin just because they look like us or act like us.
-Just look at what is happening in our nation. Democrats excuse the actions of Democrats, while condemning Republicans without cause or evidence; and then the Republicans excuse the actions of Republicans and then condemn the Democrats. They rest their judgments on worldly assumptions and appearances.
-But Jesus says in v. 24 do not judge by appearances.
~Just because someone looks a certain way or makes a claim about something does not excuse them for their sin, nor does it automatically condemn them either. Do not make worldly assumptions, but right, spiritual judgments.
-And closely related to this:

II) Right judgments are based on Scripture, not personal opinion

-Jesus says in v. 16:
-Jesus is saying that the claims He makes and the judgments He makes are not based merely on something that He made up but are based on the very Words of God.
-Even though Jesus, being God the Son, had the authority to say or do whatever, He rested His judgments on the standards that the Father set up as revealed to Him.
-This is a good reminder to us that we and our opinions are not the standard by which we judge here on earth, nor will we and our standards be what people are finally judged by in the end.
-So many of us have opinions about how things ought to be in life, in church, in work, in school, etc., and yet we are not the ones that ultimately set the standard, so our opinions are our own, but nobody else is required to line themselves up with our standards.
-The only standard by which we are to judge on this earth, and by which all people are going to be judged at the end of time, is the standard of Holy Scripture. People will not be punished because they didn’t meet your standard, but they will be judged because they didn’t meet God’s.
-So instead of wasting so much time on earth complaining that someone doesn’t do or say or act the way you think they should, the better question are they speaking and acting and teaching in accordance with the Bible.
-In my years in ministry I don’t know how many people I’ve met that have left the church because church people became judgmental about the way they dressed or some other things that are clearly not addressed in Scripture. That is opinion, it does not have the authority of Scripture behind it.
-On the other hand, if someone is in clear violation of Scripture, we are called to lovingly point that fault out to a brother and sister (which requires judgment and discernment)—Paul told us in Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
-In order to determine if someone is in a transgression, that takes judgment=spiritual discernment; but the standard is the Bible, not our own personal opinion, we then attempt to lovingly bring them back to fellowship with God.

III) Right judgments flow from an obedient heart

-In v. 17 Jesus says that if anyone wills to do God’s will they will be able to judge whether or not what He teaches is from God.
-Do you understand what Jesus is saying here? If you are going to make right judgments, you need to be in step with God yourself. You need to desire to follow the will of God, not go in your own direction. That is having an obedient heart.
-If it wasn’t so tragic, I’d find it funny, how people who want nothing to do with God or Jesus then use His name to condemn other people for their actions.
-You see this with liberal politicians and the Hollywood elite. They are perfectly OK with killing babies, and they are perfectly OK with supporting lifestyles that the Bible condemns, but then when Christians lovingly point out that these things are wrong, these same liberal politicians and Hollywood elite then tell us that we are not being like Jesus.
-Other than from the Bible, how in the world would they know what Jesus is like and what Jesus believed? You see, they are deluded because in their hearts they do not want to obey God—and so, because their hearts are that way, they aren’t able to make right judgments.
-You need to want what God wants, and you need to will what God wills, otherwise you will not be able to judge rightly. Have an obedient heart.

IV) Right judgments come from right motivations

-Look at v. 18—
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
-Jesus is saying that there is a group of people who do their own thing, have their own standards, look for people to align themselves to these people’s personal opinions, and they do it all in order to make themselves look better in other people’s eyes.
-I don’t want you pointing fingers or looking at anyone, but do you know someone who constantly makes judgmental statements in order to make themselves look better.
{Do you know what so and so did? I can’t believe they’d do that. You know I’D NEVER DO THAT!!!}
-Here, the other person may or may not actually be doing something that is unbiblical or detrimental to their physical or spiritual well-being, but this person is not judging rightly because their motivation is to tear down that person in order to make themselves look better or feel better about themselves.
-But Jesus says in this verse that the real motivation is seeking the glory of God the Father. If someone’s actions are taking away from God’s glory, that is a great time to confront someone in love about that. But we need to check our motivation.
-If you need to tear someone down in order for you to be built up, then it’s really you that needs to be taken down several notches. What is your motivation in judging?

V) Right judgments avoid hypocritical evaluation

-In v. 19 Jesus points out the hypocrisy of what the Jews are doing to Him. The Jewish leaders are seeking to kill Jesus because they say He broke the law of Moses. But Jesus says that they are the ones breaking the law of Moses. How hypocritical of them when they themselves do not follow the law and then accuse Him of not following the same law they aren’t following.
-Jesus put it this way in the Sermon on the Mount:
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt. 7:3-5 ESV)
-Jesus isn’t saying that you have to be sinless before you can make a right judgment, but you better be sure that you aren’t doing the same thing that you are judging others about, and to an even greater degree.
-You are so judgmental that you look for little slivers in other people, but you’re ignoring the log that sticks out of your own eye.
-Again, if this wasn’t so tragic I’d find it funny, but I don’t know how many times I’ve had people make a judgmental remark about someone, and they do the same exact thing that they just judged the other person for.
~No kidding, I have had some of the biggest gossips around get mad and judge someone who was gossiping…
~Or you have people who attend church once every three or so months decrying the fact that so few people are committed to the church…
~Or you have people who don’t give to the church as they ought complaining about others not giving to the church or complaining about how the church is spending the money…
-How are you going to cast a stone at someone else when the stones should be flying your way?
-When judging, don’t be a hypocrite. If you are in sin, you first confess and repent and then maybe you will see clearly enough to make a judgment call.
-In the section of the gospel we are in, the people judged Jesus wrongly because they did not want to hear what He had to say and teach no matter that it was the absolute truth.
-And we are always going to run into people like that, even in the church…especially in the church.
-But we have to be sure that we judge people rightly—not in worldly ways or based on our own personal opinions, but based on Scriptural truth with loving hearts that are open to God’s work and will.
-And it is important to do so because there are false teachers and preachers out there leading people astray. We need to be able to judge and discern these things—but there’s a right way to do it.
-Now, obviously only Jesus can make perfect judgments, since He alone is perfect and He alone knows everything. And He can judge whether you are truly a follower of His or not.
~If you have been faking faith, Jesus can judge that, and maybe you need to trust in Jesus Christ today who died and rose for you. Come forward during the invitation.
-Maybe, Christian, you have been judgmental but have not judged rightly, and you want to come to the altar and confess and repent of that.
~Or maybe you know someone who is caught in sin and needs God’s work of grace in their life, come to the altar and pray for them.
-Or maybe you are looking for a church where Jesus is taught as Savior and Lord, and Scripture is the standard and authority in all things…
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