THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT -- LESSON TWENTY-ONE
"Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged"
I. THERE IS ALWAYS NEED FOR TEACHING SUCH GREAT
RULES OF JESUS AS "JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED."
A. Such rules help us walk "in the way of life."
B. The need for such teaching is greater at times than others.
1. "Because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the
many shall wax cold." (Matthew 24:12.)
2. We live in a time of great iniquity, and some feel and say,
"the love which Jesus engendered is dying," and is being
replaced with "murderous hate in the hearts of good
3. Let this happen to none of us; for no one can afford the
consequences! (Galatians 6:7,8.)
C. "Some of the most saintly souls have sinned in this respect."
II. THERE ARE SOME THINGS JESUS DID NOT FORBID IN
A. The judgments of civil courts. (Matthew 5:25; Acts 25:10,11;
B. The judgments God has given the church to make. (John 7:24;
Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:12,13; 6:5; 2 Thessalonians
3:6-15; 1 John 4:1.)
C. Determinations made by "fruit inspection" (Matthew 7:15-20).
D. Learning, knowing, teaching, and upholding "the will of God."
(Ephesians 5:17; 3:1-5; Romans 16:17; Titus 2:1,8; 3:9-11; etc.)
E. One cannot live without some "judging."
1. The word has three meanings: (a) To distinguish, as
between good and evil; (b) to decide, as to which way to
go; (c) To censure or condemn, as to "try" a criminal.
2. We make a thousand judgments every day.
3. We make them about food, clothing, travel, books, papers,
and people, whether or not we express them.
III. WHAT THE LORD DOES FORBID IN THE WORDS, "JUDGE
NOT," IS A FAULT-FINDING SPIRIT, "THE DISPOSITION TO
DOWNGRADE," TO CONDEMN WITHOUT FULL EXAMINATION
OF CHARGES, OR TO CONDEMN WITHOUT LOVE OR MERCY--A
LOVELESS, JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE.
I. THERE ARE SEVERAL WARNING IN THE LORD'S WORDS,
"JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED." (7:1.)
A. Against hasty or snap judgments based upon half-truths,
over-simplification, hear-say, or rumor. (James 1:19,20;
1. Some are eager to "jump to conclusions," the most
frequent form of exercise some get. Easy but dangerous.
2. Jesus is teaching against "evil surmising," the disposition
to put the worst possible construction upon the acts of
others, the habit of being too quick to condemn.
3. Examples: (a) "Stuck in the Arkansas mud," at Little Rock
Airport. (b) "I hate to repeat this rumor, but what else
can you do with a rumor?"
4. "Lord, make my words sweet and tender today, for I may
have to eat them tomorrow."
B. "BOOMERANG!!!" -- Against the judgments which may come
back to torment and haunt us. (7:2.)
1. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged."
2. "Judgment provokes judgment. It excites animosity,
provokes retaliation. The judge will be judged, the critic
will be criticized, the measurer will be measured. Life is
action and reaction." --Frank L. Cox.
3. We shall be judged as we are. "Judgment is without
mercy to him that hath showed no mercy..." (James
2:13; Matthew 18:35.)
C. Against the hyper-critical, unjust, unkind, unsympathetic,
merciless, judgmental spirit--the hypocritical spirit. (7:3-5.)
1. The "mote-finder" is unable to form a correct judgment.
2. He is blinded by a beam--a glaring fault in his own eye.
3. His eagerness to find a mote indicates a beam--a glaring
sin--ill-will, a heart poisoned with malice. Undue "severity
toward others is evidence of crime in one's own life: 'Thou
art the man.' (2 Sam. 12)." Cf. Titus 1:15.
4. Poem: "Take a Walk Around Yourself."
5. A delicate matter: The eye--clean hands needed.
6. Yet, "mote-finding" is the only "sport" I know which
guarantees success to everyone who participates.
7. Let us find better sport than this, with better
8. "The censorious spirit can be destructive of every other
Christian virtue which we may have in our life."
II. THE RIGHT OF FINAL JUDGMENT BELONGS TO GOD,
NOT MAN. (James 4:12.)
A. Harsh judging puts us in God's place, a place for which we are
not prepared: We are not omniscient, and we do not always
know or understand the circumstances or temptations of
others which led them into sin. (Romans 14:10-12.)
B. Harsh judging sets us up as examples "holier than thou,"
whereas, "...the righteous are scarcely saved..." (I Peter
C. Harsh judging forces us into the pool of hypocrisy, in which
self-defense takes precedence over Christian duty.
III. THE CURE
A. The only cure is true Christian love. (I Corinthians 13:4-8.)
1. "Love suffereth long," "is kind," and gives clearness of
2. "Let love be without hypocrisy; abhor that which is
evil, cleave to that which is good." (Romans 12:9.)
B. Love is "slow to condemn" because there is a prior
1. To love our brother "above all things." (1 Pet. 4:8.)
2. To restore the fallen and erring. (Galatians 6:1; James
5:19,20; Revelation 3:2.)
3. To forgive the brother who repents. We can encourage
him to do this. Christ is our example in forgiveness.
4. To bear our brother's burden. (Galatians 6:2; Romans
C. Honestly apply the golden rule, another "rule of life."
1. Poem: "Let Something Good Be Said."
I. "The sin of harsh judgment and of unfriendly criticism can never
be cured in any man or woman so long as he or she is lynx-eyed
toward neighbor and mole-eyed to self." Loften, Character-Sketches, p. 166.
II. If Christian, we are our brother's helper, not his fault-finder,
prosecuting attorney or final judge.
III. The Bible gives frequent warning against loveless, harsh and
hypocritical judgment of one another.
IV. Always judge with mercy and truth (facts): "Blessed are the
merciful, for they will obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7.)
V. Let us never become "judges with evil thoughts" (James 2:4), but
always "judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24; Acts 18:24-28.)
VI. "Wrong conclusions lead to strong delusions."
-- Charles Crouch