Matthew 7:1-5 tells us…
We are not to be hypercritical, condemning people who are eager to judge others but not ourselves.
The standard of judgment that we use towards others will be the same standard that they use on us.
Our judgment needs to begin with us, not other people.
We tend to miss obvious large problems in ourselves, but find the smallest problems in others.
We have a tendency to want to fix other people’s lives, but neglect our own big issues.
If we do deal with our own big problems, we are better suited to help others with their problems.
I. Be Discerning
A. Be Discerning About Who You Share With Vs. 6
1. “Holy things”, “pearls”-the gospel message, biblical truths
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…
2. Why be discerning about these things?
a. Some people will trample on the truth of the gospel
b. Some will turn on you and harm you: emotional, verbal, mental, physical
c. That may be inevitable in some cases, but the Christian is to be discerning, and not go through these experiences unnecessarily.
d. We are not to mechanically share the gospel with all people, but we need to follow God’s leading about where, when, with whom, how much, etc.
3. Examples of this at Jesus’ trial- Luke 23, John 18 (Pilate only)
a. Pontius Pilate-Jesus gave many detailed responses to Pilate
b. Herod- Jesus would not speak to Herod. Herod was an extremely immoral man, and saw Jesus only because he hoped to see some miracle.
c. Jesus didn’t have a memorized speech He used with everyone
i. Nicodemus- “You must be born again”- John 3
ii. Samaritan Woman-Jesus spoke of “Living water”-John 4
4. Examples of this in the Apostle Paul
a. Acts 13:42-52 Antioch in Pisidia
b. Acts 18:6-8 In Corinth
5. Christians are called to share the gospel with “every creature”. Mark 16:15
6. Discernment is needed- God may have His reasons for closing doors sometimes
B. Be Discerning About Who You Listen To Vs. 15-20
1. Jesus said there are two kinds of people- we need to discern the difference
a. False Prophets-
i. Outwardly, they look like sheep (Christians).
ii. Inwardly, they are ravenous wolves
iii. Recognized not by their looks, speech, etc., but by their works.
b. Jesus likened people unto two kinds of trees-
i. Good trees have good fruit, bad trees have bad fruit.
ii. We are called to discern good vs. bad trees. That takes time.
iii. We are commanded to love all people, but not trust all people
iv. Don’t be intimidated to accept all people and messages quickly
c. Warren Wiersbe- The person who believes all that he hears, and accepts everyone who claims to be spiritual will experience confusion and great spiritual loss.
d. As you love people, take time to discern their message and intentions.
e. Time will best prove who & what a person is. Don’t be in a hurry.
C. Be Discerning About Which Path You Take Vs. 13, 14
1. Jesus very clearly teaches that there are two paths- Heaven or Hell
2. One leads to destruction, the other to life
3. The road to destruction is broad and well populated. It hosts the Majority
a. It is easier to follow, and its suits those who want to please themselves
b. It dos not call for self denial, holiness, or commitment to Jesus Christ
c. There is a movement of Universalism that is popular today
i. All religions are acceptable if they include all other religions.
ii. Christianity is always excluded, because it isn’t all inclusive.
4. The road to life is narrow, & not many choose it. It hosts the Minority
a. It is unpopular, & costly to walk.
b. More difficult; calls for self denial and commitment to Jesus
c. Jesus dictated the exclusive aspect of Christianity. Not all inclusive
5. You cannot walk on both roads indefinitely. You must choose.
6. Consider those who have walked before you. How have their lives turned out?
II. Getting & Using Discernment
A. Pray For Discernment (Not A New Thought) Vs. 7-11
1. This prayer has a wide application, but the immediate context is for discernment.
2. We need God assistance in discerning these things. We need His truth & insight
3. We also need His word as our standard and guideline.
4. Praying for discernment necessitates actual prayer and consistent effort.
5. Realize that your Father (is He?) wants to answer these kinds of prayers.
6. He won’t answer us w/bad gifts, but w/good gifts, if we pray Matt. 5:10
7. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
B. Re. Discernment: Consider How You Want To Be Treated Vs. 12
1. This command has wide application; the immediate context is re. discernment
2. We don’t want others rushing to judgment with us.
We don’t want to be condemned by others.
We want people to consider their logs before they consider our specks.
We want people to pray for God’s wisdom as they consider our lives/ help us.
3. If we do follow these steps, and seek to help others w/ their “specks”…realize…
a. They may disagree; turn on you. (Pearls & swine/holy things & dogs)
b. They may not want you help, and turn and persecute you.
c. Doing the right thing will cost you. Prepare for that.
i. It will cost you in self examination, which can be painful
ii. It may cost you in what you suffer as you try to help
iii. Christians are “Salt of the earth”. Salt can sting people
iv. “Light of the world”. Light exposes sin, darkness, wrongdoing
d. Following these steps the right way can be a huge blessing to others
i. We can be used by God to help people with problems that have been stuck on for years.
ii. We love God and people enough to take these steps & take the risk
4. This is part of God’s calling for those in the Kingdom of God
5. Be willing to be involved in other people’s lives as God leads you. For His glory!