Spiritual Judgment and Discrimination — Matthew 7:6

In Matthew 7:1-5, our Lord has been preaching on judgment. He tells us not to judge others; and whenever we try to correct another we must first look at and purify ourselves, then we can see clearly to help them.

In the sixth verse, most bibles put this verse in a special paragraph on its own. But D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests that that is not right, that it should connect to the previous five verses, that it is the final statement on judgment. Indeed, I agree. It tells the spiritual Christian how he must judge another—with “a spirit of discrimination.” So, Jesus says in verse six…

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

What is meant here? First of all, pearls are the Christian message. And the dogs and the swine are all that is unholy and unclean, or all those who are unworthy to hear the Christian message. And we know that all of us have sinned, but in this context, Jesus was referring to those sinners who reject the gospel and the truth of God and those who hate Him and even snarl at the message of His truth.

So, Jesus is telling us that we ought not to just spread His word of truth to everyone, but only to those who are worthy of it—or who are seeking it. This may come as a surprise to some people. Some may say that since God loves all people, all should hear the gospel. But the end of verse six gives an explanation of why not. Jesus says that some who hear the gospel will “trample them [our words] under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” In short, they reject the truth and even do damage to it and to you.

If you need an example of this, we can look at Jesus teaching. First, we can compare how He answered Pilate with Herod, in Luke 23:3 and 9. With Pilate, in verse three, Jesus answered him; but with Herod, in verse nine, he answered him nothing. Why? Because Jesus judged Pilate to be a genuine seeker of truth, but He knew that Herod cared nothing for the truth. He knew it by his attitude. And there are other examples. Many times Jesus would not speak to the Pharisees, or at least answer their questions. He instead would go and minister to the Gentiles and to the sinners, as also Paul did.

In all our evangelism efforts and when we seek to teach the truth to people, we should always learn who we are talking to, to see if they are worthy of hear us. Here are three sets of instructions that may be helpful to you in your speaking to others.

  • Learn to know what to give each person in each particular situation.
  • Learn to know the way to present the truth to each person. Learn to assess people.
  • Learn which aspect of truth is appropriate in each particular case.

Also, know that our presentation to unbelievers must be different than to believers. An unbeliever only needs one thing, the doctrine of justification by faith. They need only to know of their sinful life and their need of salvation. Any other bit of truth will have no meaning to them; or we should say that they will take it wrong because of their unregenerated state.

To believers, some have a need for basic truth only—the milk of the word; others should be fed more solid food—the meat of the word.

True or False Judgment – Matthew 7:1-5

In this seventh chapter of Matthew, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about judging others—or criticizing and condemning others.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “And why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is 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.

Just previously (in chapter 6) Jesus spoke on worry. Now He turns to judging others. This is an interesting transition—from worry to judging others. But I think this is what we tend to do in our sins. At first, we think inwardly at all we have to do and worry about it; then we will turn our sins and frustrations outward toward others. Thus, when we get tired of looking inwardly at ourselves, we try to console ourselves and make ourselves look and feel better by condemning others. How sad.

But Jesus sets us straight as to what is going on. First of all, He tells us that whenever we point the finger at others, the same judgment will be pointed back at us—by others, and also, more importantly, by God.

His judgment will come to Christians in three ways:

1. There will be a final and eternal judgment to determine if you are really a true believer or not. If your name is found in the book of life then you are saved from eternal hell; if not, then you are not really a Christian at all and you will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).

2. There is a judgment for disobedience and sin. Scripture tells us that some are judged with sickness and even death; and in some cases, God will deliver them to Satan to let him carry out His will (1 Cor. 5:5).

3. When He comes to take believers to heaven there will be a judgment of rewards, where our works will be manifest (1 Cor. 3). And this judgment is so important because it will affect us for eternity.

So, we should be careful about judging others, because God will certainly judge us. And that judgment will be just. And interestingly, it will be measured to us by the same standard we use on others (v. 2).

Romans 2:1 says, “In whatever you judge another you condemn yourselves; for you who judge practice the same things.” Isn’t that interesting. Paul is saying that whatever we are guilty of, we tend to condemn others of.

James 3:1 says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. Here, similarly, God judges us with the same judgment we set for others.

Looking at verses 3 and 4 of Matthew 7, we see that we, in many cases, should not be judging others at all because we are incapable of doing it. We can’t do it because we are not right in ourselves. If we were really concerned about righteousness in others, we would deal with that same sin in ourselves.

What Is True Judgment?

Yes, there is a true or correct judgment. What does it look like?

1. In true judgment there is no prejudice or personal element. It is an objective judgment based on principles of truth, not on personalities.

2. In true or correct judgment the one who judges will first judge himself. A great singer or actor is always more critical of himself than others. A good judge sets the correct standard for others. In fact, one who is good at his game, say a Mikael Jordan, does not need to say anything to others. His good game will say more than any words will ever say. But if he does give his team mates any words of correction, believe me, they will listen!

3. True judgment cares about the righteousness of God, in others and in the one judging. The true judge has already dealt with sin in himself and sees clearly to help another.

“Judge Not” – from Matthew 7:1

When our Lord says, “judge not,” in Matthew 7:1, He is using the term only in its negative sense—as the Pharisees judged. Certainly, we are to have discerning judgment, as to who is a false prophet and who is a true one, and to judge doctrine. And the state has judges and magistrates that are appointed by God to judge. And the church also is to judge its people in certain matters of discipline.

The kind of judgement our Lord is speaking of when He says “judge not” is a condemning judgement—a judgment we see in the Pharisees. This negative, condemning judgment can be seen in six ways.

  1. It has an evil spirit attached to it. I would say that, for this reason, it is of the devil and it works to destroy us.
  2. It condemns and despises others for no good reason. We have seen this toward the Samaritans, and also toward the Jews. Certainly, we see it toward Jesus and toward Christians. Recently we see it from some toward Donald Trump; and we also see it toward entire races of people—toward blacks and toward whites.
  3. It has a spirit of self-righteousness and supremacy. This spirit of judgment is based on the lie that one person or persons is better or more righteous than another. It is what condemned an entire race of people (the Jews) to extermination.
  4. It hopes for the worst in others. Hence, we see its evil, diabolical nature; a nature that is the opposite of love.
  5. It focuses on personalities instead of principles. In correct judgment we always judge according to biblical principles, but in wrong judgment it is always according to something we just don’t like about a person—according to our personal preferences.
  6. It is expressing an opinion about someone without gathering knowledge of all the facts. It is a snap judgment. It is a first impression that is often wrong.

Source: Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Worry: Its Causes and Cure

The verse we will consider today is Matthew 6:34.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This verse is a concluding verse on the subject of worry, which Jesus has been preaching on from the preceding 14 verses (vv. 19-33); hence, He uses the word “therefore” to begin the verse. The verse also extends the teaching. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whom I have been following, says this: “[Jesus adds] an extension of His teaching…In adding this [verse] He carried the teaching [about worry] one step further.”

Here we see that Jesus personalizes worry. In effect, worry seems to have its own power. I would say that worry teams up with the demonic; the demons mean to use worry to overpower us and defeat us. Almost all of us are familiar with what worry does to us. It argues with us and tries to convince us to overthink things, to over-plan for tomorrow. And it has a very active imagination, and it will come up with all kinds of possibilities—things that could happen, troubles! I am a house painter. And when I have a job coming up that I think will be difficult, I tend to want to sit and plan it all out. Some of that wise—I’m not against planning—but when it keeps me up half the night, its not good. I really don’t need that much thought on all the potential problems.

Jesus here tells us that worrying about the future is futile and achieves nothing. It is pointless because we can’t do anything about it until we get there. We are to live one day at a time, dealing only with the worries of the day—the present. But when we stack onto our present worries tomorrows worries, we are overburdening ourselves for that day; we are lessening our efficiency for that day.

We could look at it this way. God has given us twelve hours in each day. In order to be efficient in doing the tasks for that day, we must learn to concentrate most on that one day, blocking out the past and also the possible future. Oh, I know that it is wise to do some planning and reflecting. But when we have finished doing that—and it shouldn’t take that much time—we must move on and concentrate on the now. And one reason why we should do that is because thoughts on the past and the future are not always reliable. I think it is better to take things (problems) to God in prayer as they arise. It is better to live adventurously, and in faith and obedience.

We should say to ourselves, “Here is a day which is going to bring me a few problems; I will need God’s grace and help along the way.” And we could claim certain promises, like 1 Corinthians10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

In conclusion, here are one or two thoughts:

Know that worry is always a failure to grasp and apply our faith. We apply it by learning to talk to ourselves and to convince ourselves to live by faith. We could say to ourselves with the Psalmist, “Why are thou cast down, O my soul? Hope in God…” (Ps. 43:5).

Then refuse any anxious thoughts. Faith in God is refusing to think about worrisome things and to set our mind toward God and trust in Him for today.

Living Like a Christian In a Non-Christian World

I have been writing on the subject of worry. We are still on that subject, from Matthew 6; this time our emphasis is on not living like a Gentile (a non-Christian), but rather like a Christian. In Matthew 6:31 through 33 Jesus said,

“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

We Are Not to Live Like the Non-Christian

In verse 32 Jesus mentions that the Gentiles (non-Christians) are always seeking food, drink, and clothing, and yet they always seem to be worried over it. It is because they have a wrong view of life, a view that leaves open the door to worry. Here are two life views of the non-Christian.

1. The theory of contingency. This view holds that everything in life is accidental, that things happen without rhyme or reason and we never know what will happen next.

2. The theory of fatalism. This is the idea that whatever happens we can’t do anything about it. It is the belief that there are unknow powers, good and bad, controlling things, but we can’t do anything about it—whatever happens, happens; whatever will be will be. Doris Day use to sing that song, remember?

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

The non-Christian still has these views about life, and so you can see why they worry. And many will try to overcome worry by one of two way.

1. Party it up. They say, we don’t know what’s going to happen, so we might as well live it up now, for tomorrow we may die.

2. Suicide. There are all kinds of suicide. There is drug overuse, or immorality, both are used to blot out a depressed life. And some go crazy and just flip out, killing others and themselves.

Living by Faith

The Christian view of life is quite different than the non-Christian view. We could call it…

The doctrine of certainty. In this view things are certain because we are in the hands of the living God.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that l all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Therefore, we believe that God has a perfect plan for our lives, and much of that plan we see from day to day as we read His word and walk in His Spirit.

But why do so many Christians still worry (like me)? The answer is easy. Though they are believers and have the Holy Spirit, they unknowingly live not by the Christian view of life, but by the non-Christian view. And sometimes what they may say in ordinary conversation betrays them. They may say something like, “Well, we never know what the future holds.”

The answer to a worried life, of course, is to build up our faith; to constantly remind ourselves that we are a child of God and that we were meant to live by faith. Here are four things you can do to build up your faith in God.

1. Put every crisis in the context of your faith.

2. When faced with a crisis ask yourself, will my conduct show me and others that I am a Christian and that I belong to a higher realm.

3. Know that you will never be in any situation that is outside of God’s love and care.

4. When faced with any situation in life, know that you should seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and then believe that all other things will be taken care of by God (read Matthew 6:33).

Moving on from Little Faith to Great Faith

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus talks about how we ought not to worry or be anxious in life; and He talks about how we should look at the birds and the flowers to see how God our Father takes care of them and how He will even more take care of us. Then in Matthew 6:30 Jesus points out to us what the ultimate problem is that is causing us to worry. We have a lack of faith. He said, “O ye of little faith.”

What does He mean by little faith? He does not say “no faith,” but little faith, or not enough faith. And Jesus is not speaking to unbelievers, but to believers—those who began a life of faith in Him.

But we must proceed on from the faith we began with—from the faith that saved us. Let us desire a larger, deeper faith. Or let me say this: if we don’t move on to a larger faith, we may always have trouble with worries and doubts—and along the way, some may even doubt their salvation!

What is a larger faith? It is a faith that believes on God for more than salvation; for our entire life—for every little thing; for food and drink and clothing, and also that He will care for you in everything you do.

To be of little faith means that we are mastered by our circumstances. This should not happen to a Christian! We as Christians should be above our circumstances. We can even rejoice in tribulation.

Another way of looking at it is that we as Christians who are of great faith learn to be thinkers not just responders. Hence, the trouble with the one of little faith is that he does not think; he does not think of the truth and the promises of God. He is just blown around by the wind of circumstances.

We must spend more time studying the bible and thinking of on the lessons that the Lord gives us, and on His promises, and to believe them. This is the essence of faith. And conversely, little faith is not to open the bible but rather to cling to a vague memory of our salvation.

I am not saying that our salvation is not important. But we must go on and build on that salvation. A larger faith realizes the full implication of our salvation. It sees who we are as Christians; that we are children of our heavenly Father and that we have a great inheritance in Christ. All the promises of God are meant for us. Paul wrote, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things (Ro. 8:32).

Here are some things to think about which He has given us:

  • He has put our names in His book (Rev. 20:12). He has many things in store for us for all eternity.
  • Think of His great love for us (John 3:16).
  • He is concerned for us. He cares for us (1 Pt. 5:7).
  • He is so strong for us. His great power is working for us (Eph. 3:16-20).

How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian

Our text for this blog is Matthew 6:25-30, where Jesus is giving a sermon to His followers.

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

For many, food, drink, and clothing are the whole of their life. It is all they think about. And the world is doing its best to get us to live on that level. But Jesus has said that we should not be anxious about those things. And He points out two things in nature that will help us in that area—birds and flower.

BIRDS

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”

  1. They don’t sow or reap or gather.
  2. Yet God our Father feeds them.
  3. And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
  4. Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?

Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.

Birds: They do nothing to provide for themselves, yet God provides for them.

Humans: They have to sow and reap and gather for themselves, but then God alone will give the increase.

In both cases God provides. And though man must enter into the process (sowing, reaping and gathering), it is God alone who ultimately provides for man, because He makes it rain and He makes the crops grow.

Now let’s look at the argument from the standpoint of a Christian.

  • If God provides for both the birds and for all humans, how much more will He provide for His own family—His believers?
  • If He provides for mere creatures and for unbelievers, will He neglect His own Children? No!

If we reason these things out with ourselves, this will defeat anxiety and worry in us. If we realize that because He provides for the birds, He will most certainly provide for us even more, because we are His beloved children.

When you really see yourselves as His child, you should know that He will care for you. Maybe this is your problem. That you forget (or you don’t think about the fact) that you are His child and He loves you as His own.

FLOWERS

Flowers do nothing! Even birds have to look around for worms and seeds to eat; but flowers do nothing. And God makes them grow and look beautiful. He gives them the sun and the rain.

See how these flowers bend toward the west.

Have you noticed how flowers always face the sun? You may notice how in the evening they will bend way over to continue to look into the sun. We could learn a lesson in that.

If we look at (and think about) the flowers, we see the hand of God, His perfect creation, the glory of His creation. The flowers are perfectly clothed by God and are dependent on God for everything they need to keep living and to look good.

If God our Father so clothes the flowers with such beauty that last only a little while (a few months) will He not cloth us His children whom He loves and that lasts forever?

How to Live the Christian Life in This World – From Matthew 6:19-20

We have been studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and following D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaching from his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. We have now come to the section following the Disciples Prayer outline, verses 19 -20, where Jesus tells us,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.

So here, we come to the problem of living the Christian life in the world and therefore how to overcome to world while living in it. Jesus gives us two points to follow: 1) we are not to store up for ourselves treasures upon earth, but 2) we are to store up treasures in heaven.

We Are Not to Store Up for Ourselves Treasures Upon Earth

Here are a few notes from my reading:

Jesus wants us to be concerned not so much with having wealth and possessions, but with our attitude toward them.

We are to be concerned with our whole attitude toward life in this world. That is, we ought not to get our total satisfaction in life from things in this world.

A person’s treasures are the things that mean everything to him—what he is living for.

Here are some things in this world that can become our treasures: love of money, of honor, of position, of status. We are not to be so concerned with these things that they take up our entire life. These things will all pass away in the end.

We Are to Store Up Treasures in Heaven

Use your riches to prophet you for the next life.

Do not labor for what will perish but for what will endure to everlasting life.

Have a right view of life. In this world we are pilgrims.  We walk under the eye of God, toward our everlasting hope.

Our attitude must be that I am not the possessor of my things. They really do not belong to me. I am but a custodian of them.

 I should always be using my things for the glory of God.

I am a child of God placed here for His purpose.

I must hold my things loosely; I am to be in a state of blessed detachment from them; and I should always be considering how I can use the things that God has entrusted to me for His kingdom.

Looking for the Perfect Church?

I think many of us are constantly looking for just the right church—with a pastor who really preaches the word of God. And we would like to be in a small group where the people treat everyone with respect, and a group that knows what true Christian fellowship is. And a group that is on the right side of politics. Churches these days are much too liberal and even anti-Christian it seems. Aren’t churches supposed to be Christian?

These are some of the grievances that I think many of us have—and that I often have. But I was reminded today in my reading, that, being as things are in the world, that that is not practical or even possible. And Jesus said that the wheat (Christians) and the weeds (non-Christians) should be allowed to grow together until harvest (the judgment).

I don’t think it is wrong to seek good fellowship with people of like mind. But at the same time, we are called to be salt and light, even to those who say they are Christians but are not, or they are weak (or carnal) Christians. Jesus said He did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life for many. That should be our attitude as well. I often forget that—much too often.

Definition of Prayer

Prayer A to Z

The following article is an excerpt from this book.

Prayer has been defined or described in many ways.

Here are nine different descriptions of prayer, by various authors: 

1.  Prayer is asking and receiving.  According to E.M. Bounds, “Prayer is the outstretched arms of the child for the Father’s help.  Prayer is the child’s cry calling to the Father’s ear…Prayer is the seeking of God’s greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray.”

2.  Prayer is approaching God’s throne.  According to Spurgeon, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.”  I would say it this way: it is the approach of the Holy Spirit in our soul that drives us to the throne.

3.  Prayer is our service due Him.  According to E. M. Bounds, “Prayer is not a duty which must be performed, to ease obligation…

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