Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: “It’s not my place, or yours, to tell someone else what is right or wrong! Hey, we’re all sinners.” So goes the claim often marshaled against anyone who offers correction. It sounds good … but is it true? Well, yes, we’re all sinners. But, despite how it appears if one reads only one verse of Matthew 7, Jesus is actually saying: There’s a kind of judging that is condemned, and devastating to relationships, and a kind of judging that’s necessary.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Why is it important that we interpret all Scripture in light of its immediate and broader context? What can happen when one verse is considered in isolation?
2. Is it ever right for Christians to make value-judgments? Why or why not? “To be censorious* is to try to play God” (Stott). What does this mean? Can you think of instances where you have done this?
3. When Jesus identifies some people as “dogs” or “pigs” (verse 6), to whom is he likely referring?
4. Because God is perfect, his love is perfect, which means that he loves us more than even our own parents. How does that reality deepen your trust in him?
5. When you don’t see God’s love, where do you go for assurance?
* censorious: severely critical, fault-finding, condemning
1. Read Matthew 7:1-6.
2. “The Christian counter-culture is not an individualistic but a community affair, and relations both within the community and between the community and others are of paramount importance.” – John Stott
3. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” – Matthew 18:15
4. “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.” – Galatians 6:1
5. “Do not judge by appearances but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
6. To judge means a) to quickly form a bias or opinion about someone based on untrue, insufficient, or subjective data.
7. To judge means to b) evaluate another’s spiritual maturity by imposing on them our unbiblical standards or personal convictions.
8. 01. The imperative, “judge not,” is not a command to abandon our critical apparatus but rather a plea to dispense with our critical spirit.
9. “A Pharisaic vice, that of exalting ourselves by disparaging others, is a very cheap way of attaining moral superiority.” – A.B. Bruce
10. Read Matthew 7:3.
11. Read Matthew 7:6.
12. 02. While judgmentalism is strictly condemned by Jesus, discernment is an invaluable trait of the Christ-follower.
13. “Leave them. They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14
14. “Disciples are not called to keep offering [the gospel] to those who continue to reject it with vicious contempt. Jesus taught all sorts of people generously, before Herod he refused to say a word.” – Leon Morris
15. “I have gradually come to the place where I refuse to attempt to explain Christ to the person who just wants to mock and argue and ridicule.” – D.A. Carson
16. Read Matthew 7:7-8.
17. Read Matthew 7:9-11.
18. 03. Our God is a good God, who always provides what he demands.