Saturday, November 5, 2022

Judge Not, Condemn Not, Forgive, Give - Luke 6:37-38 - November 6, 2022

 Luke 6:37-38 Judge Not, Condemn Not, Forgive, Give

Good morning! Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter six, this morning we are going to look at verse 37 and 38, page 863 in the pew Bibles. Just two verses this morning which is always an indicator that it should be a nice, easy, quick sermon…

We’ve been looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount over the last few weeks. Incidentally, it’s called the “Sermon of the Mount,” because it was given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives which overlooks the city of Jerusalem.

The difficulty in preaching through the Sermon on the Mount in little bits like we have been doing is that Jesus didn’t, He gave it all at once. This means that each little bit that we look at must be connected to the little bits that came before it. This is especially true of our text this morning as it is a kind of explanation of the end of the text that we looked at last week.

So let’s read our text, we’ll pray and see what it is that the Father has for us today.

37“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Let’s pray

Have any of you heard these verses before, ever heard anybody say, “Judge not lest ye be judged?”

The phrase, “don’t judge me,” is one of the most misused and abused ideas out there. I don’t think anybody really knows what this means anymore.

I like to eat my M&Ms by color, yellow, brown, red, orange, blue, green. Don’t judge me. People say stuff like that all the time. Is that what Jesus meant? Can you guess the answer?

If Jesus said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged;” we ought to have a good handle on what He meant by judging so that we can avoid it, right?

We ought also to have a good handle of what Jesus meant in this context by not judging because in John 7:24 he instructs His followers to judge with right judgment, and Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:15 that the spiritual person judges all things. So what did Jesus mean, “Judge not, and you will not be judged,”?

There are at least two things that He didn’t mean. 

He didn’t mean that we are prohibited from the exercise of judgment and justice in the court of law. If you’ve ever had to serve as a juror in a court case, you have been responsible for making a judgment whether a person was innocent or guilty. Jesus is not forbidding us from participating in the justice system.

Jesus also didn’t mean that we are forbidden from forming opinions or being critical of others as if to turn a blind eye to sin. If a brother or sister is stuck in a particular sin, the most unloving thing we could do is to ignore it and let them drown in it.

Matthew 18 is very clear, if your brother or sister sins against you go and show him his fault between you and him alone. Refusing to point out error or discern good from evil in another person’s life is not what Jesus is forbidding here. We are not commanded to set aside good judgment.

What Jesus is forbidding here is the kind of judging that only sees faults, a kind of look at a person that is sharpened by mistrust and not tempered by love or self awareness.

Jesus is telling us, don’t be self-righteous, hypocritical, harsh, and self-exalting. 

We all tend to do this, ok, maybe it’s just me. 

Alistair Begg tells the story, “I said this morning that I have this sin, this is very hard to preach about. The person I was talking too said, ‘I have it too, I just don’t have it as bad as you,’ thus proving that they have it worse than me. Actually not worse than me, I am now worse again because I told the story!”

The kind of judging that Jesus is forbidding is the kind that avoids self examination by highlighting and condemning the faults of others, bitterly seeking out those faults.

I’ve found the Scripture most helpful with combating this attitude is Romans 3:23-24, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…

When I recognize that it’s me that’s bad I climb down off that pedestal, that judgment throne and see that we are all on equal ground.

When we judge others in this way, we wrongly exalt ourselves as if to say, “at least I’m not like them.” But the truth is that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, all unworthy of His grace.

In the same way that Jesus commands us not to judge, He also commands us not to condemn. The words are so similar, judgment only sees the faults of others and condemnation declares their guilt and unworthiness of redemption.

But just as we are unqualified to judge others we are also unqualified to condemn them and the reason is the same: we cannot read other people’s hearts.

John Stott said that when we condemn others we “Create the worst possible construction of another person’s motives, we delight to pour cold water on their schemes, and we are ungenerous in response to their mistakes.”

In other words, that person just can’t do right by us no matter how hard they try, no matter how pure their motives are, we just refuse to see anything good in them or in what they are doing. Have you ever experienced that, been guilty of that, or been the recipient of that kind of treatment? This is not the way of Christ!

Jesus commands us to not judge, to not condemn, I say that these are commands because they are in the imperative, He commands us not to judge, not to condemn, but then He commands us to forgive, and to give.

Aren’t these pretty much opposites? Instead of judging others we should forgive them, instead of condemning others we should give them grace.

Again, here is another example of the strength in acknowledging our sinful condition. If we recognize our own sinfulness and unworthiness of God’s forgiveness we will be all the more free to forgive others because we ourselves have been forgiven. 

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18:23-34,

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, [which is a much smaller amount] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

Jesus is telling us here in Luke, “Don’t be like that guy!” We have been forgiven so much, we ought to forgive others. To not forgive is a cold and deliberate choice, and it is a choice to sin.

The last command of Jesus here is to give. I think this is a very misunderstood verse. 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

It sounds like a promise of blessing doesn’t it, reward for our good deeds and generosity? It sounds that way because it is a promise of reward for giving generously, but it is also a warning that what it is that we give will revisit us.

Far too often prosperity preachers con people out of their “seed money” in order to reap God’s blessing by misusing this verse and others like it. 

While it’s true that the Father will repay us in one form or another in this life or the next for our willingness to give the warning here is to beware of what you give because what you give will be repaid in abundance even if what you give is judgment, condemnation, and unforgiveness.

Is that the kind of thing that you would like given to you, in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, put into your lap? 

Matthew Henry said that, “we must expect to be dealt with ourselves as we deal with others.”

And that’s really the whole point, this little bit of the Sermon on the Mount is connected to the last little bit, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Alistair Begg said, “If I am prepared to put myself in the other person’s shoes, and if I am prepared honestly to wish for them what I wish for myself, then I will be prepared to replace meanness with generosity, harshness with understanding, and cruelty with kindness.”

37“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. This is the law of love.