Pastor Ian continues the Sermon on the Mount series with Matthew 7:1–12. We start judging and the application to eternal destinies of others and ourselves. We then continue with how this applies to our holiness and justification journey, including how we are to be seeking healing and wisdom through asking and searching. Then we conclude with how we ought to live.
Unedited Transcript by Otter.ai
Do not judge so that you may not be judged. For the judgment you give will be the judgment you get. And the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, let me take the speck out of your eye, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first, take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s I do not give what is holy to dogs and do not throw your pearls before swine or they will trample them under foot and turn and mall you ask and it will be given to you search and you will find knock and the door will be open for you. For everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds. And for everyone who knocks the door will be open. Is there anyone among you who if your child asked for the red would give us don’t? Or if a child had asked for a fish would give a snake? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children? How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him in everything, in everything Do to others as you would have them do to you for this is the law and the prophets. The word of the Lord, for the Word of God for the people of God, thanks for you to God, you may be seated. Finally, you may be seated.
Don’t be judgy don’t judge me how judgmental these phrases and similar ones like it are prevalent in our culture right now. It is often used to shut down any discussion in regard to many things. Not just religion, but wealth, poverty, culture, health care, racism, nationalism, and so on. And so much so that it often becomes a method to shut the conversation down. At the same time, rephrase the position of Judge so high that it is a political minefield that can make or break presidents, senators, Congress people and the judicial candidate themselves. In other words, often when a person says, Don’t judge me, or something similar, what they often imply is that they don’t want you to tell them what they’re doing is wrong or bad. And this is especially the case, when it comes to sin. Up to this point in the Gospel of Matthew judge has a very particular connotation. And that is the end times we might infer about a person’s eternal destination. And this is exactly what Jesus doesn’t want. Here. We are told to not make conclusions about a person’s eternal destiny. Sadly, too often the concept of sin has been tied to eternal destiny. So so much so that people were taught and in some cases, honestly terrified, that if they confessed everything that knew of left church, stubbed their toe said a bad word. They’re going to hell. If I say if we say one bad word, we’re going to hell, huh? What if it’s that little kid who steals a piece of gum or if you think that or if you’re old, old school Nazarene, a single cigarette, a drink, a dance, a movie, and so forth. It is not that weird to look to Scripture at the scriptures ourselves, society and discern what is God honoring or not we are to do that we are called to do so. What we are not called to do, however, is to be convinced that another person’s eternal destination is hell. Nor are we to actually consider whether their eternal destination is heaven. It is not about security or trust in our salvation. But we do not know how Jesus who has been given the judgment seat will judge another’s eternal destination. It is Jesus’s judgment seat, not ours. We can say however, we believe that some acts are against God’s desires for people. It seems obvious and yet there’s a humility to this statement. We believe allows, shall we say some breathing room and this is incredibly important with this church body to the church bodies and and their people here and Enoch law and to all our respective denominations than to the world Through wrestling with the Scriptures along with wrestling of others, I have come to certain collusion conclusions myself. On the other hand, others have done their own wrestling’s also along with the wrestling’s of others, and they’ve come to different conclusions. In our community, there are a number of Christian churches. Pastor Joanie, and I view them as our peers. Amazingly enough, we don’t all agree on the same theology. And actually, sometimes we might not even agree what constitutes sin. A simple example is that last week, a famous preacher said that drinking coffee in church is a sin.
Yeah, so I was drinking tea earlier. So I mean, what about water, tea or something else? Is it then gum or a mint? I mean, you know, if you’re chewing gum, please swallow it or spit it out in the garbage can please do not stick underneath the seats. You might think these are small things. But it is amazing the number of people who seem to seriously be saying that, yes, drinking coffee in church is a hell bound sin. And I watched the conversation. And I was honestly appalled at the theology of many pastors. Did I understand this past famous pastors intent was that he was trying to reestablish the fact the sanctuary, the place where we gather to worship our God together, where we listened to his word that it’s supposed to be sacred. Yes, I understood that. Is it dishonouring God to drink coffee in the sanctuary? Maybe. But then again, what about the candle or the lights or the piano or the microphones or even singing and for those of you who are not aware, there are denominations whose theology is you do not sing, you do not have instruments. So, these are not these are things that are truly have divided the church. So people argue over these things. And yes, sin was brought into these arguments. And while Jesus is really using exaggeration when he’s talking about specs, and logs, he is continuing his take on judging others. Another way to think of it is this ungenerous, judging by US may lead to ungenerous judging of us, by God. I want you to read that. It goes, it ties back to what we’ve done in the Lord’s Prayer. When you forgive others, your heavenly Father will forgive you. There is a tie here. That is rather distressing, I mean, Jesus, there are many times Jesus things that Jesus says that just don’t mesh well with the ways of thought in which we have been trained in Western Christianity, while God’s grace is unfathomable, and while the gift of God’s salvation is free to accept, and while we cannot earn our salvation through works, there do still seem to be some requirements of us. The first one, as I said, goes with the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus tides, God’s forgiveness of us to our forgiving of others. And now we have here we have Jesus saying, that assuming or judging a person’s eternal destination is tied to our own eternal destination. We don’t know another person’s starting point with a relationship with God. This is the underlying issue. Yes, a person person’s behavior or decisions may well be sinful. I’m not talking about that. This does not mean that we know how judge how God will judge them. At the end. Paul wrote, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are now justified by his grace is a gift that a redemption that is in Christ Jesus. We have been taught, especially as the spiritual children of the Reformation that we are just a FIDE by grace through faith. This passage is one of those that is used to support that thinking. And Paul’s use of the word gift though, is often skipped over, even by me. So, I can’t believe I’m actually bringing this topic up. Christmas is only a few months away. One of the things that we do as part of our celebratory observation of it is, well, we give gifts. Does everybody get the same gift? Nope. I have a friend who has an identical twin. He has identical twins as children. They did not get identical gifts. Maybe okay, maybe the matching clothes these, you know, his parents do when they’re first you know, they’re cute. I mean, I remember when we had the twins, you know, Noah and sai would have the same outfit but with slightly different colors. Things you do, as a parent are just weird. But my friend, you know with his identical twin daughters, he did his best to accommodate their desires, even as biologically different as being as even though they are biologically identical. Identical twins are yet individual. So why then should we assume that God gives us the identical gift of justification? As a baseline? Yes, it is quite, it’s quite the same insofar as justification itself before God. It is also quite possible different again, because each of us have a different starting point for our relationship with God. Reality is that we are told to hold each other accountable. Starting with ourselves. We cannot assume that’s our justification and somebody else’s justification are the same. We must be ever wearing ever searching ourselves as to what is blinding us, including our relationships with God, our relationships with each others and our ability to see ourselves clearly. Rationalizing or excusing our sins and our failures is a form of blindness. This is the plank, or the log in your eye. I don’t know how many of you remember the mythological creature, the Cyclops, but they only have one eye. When we are spiritual Cyclops, we don’t know that we have two eyes. Because one eye is blocked from our perception and awareness. However, we can see the two eyes of the other person. And we see that speck in their eyes and we want to fix it. But they see that we are completely blind and the other one eye. Why would they want us to touch them? It’s just a different way of thinking about it. For those of you who have purchased or bought a home, what is oft repeated word, what’s the often repeated word that goes along with it? selling a home buying a home, what’s the word? There’s the other one. What’s a real estate agent gonna say to you? Wow, location, location, location. It’s all about the location. So to it is with it with the scriptures. The next verse is seems not to belong, in fact, because if you hold but if you hold to the true inspiration of scriptures by the Holy Spirit, then it isn’t just plopped in there. I really read commentators go, oh, Matthew, just put that in there and like, huh, I ain’t Matthew. And I’m not going to be so foolish as to say, Matthew, just throw that in there. Do not give what is holy to dogs and do not throw your pearls before swine or they will trample them underfoot and turn and maul you. It doesn’t seem to fit it here. But one of the problems is we are so framed so most of your bibles a publisher will add these wonderful little helpful headings. And other than a few translations that I that versions I have that are you know, basically it’s one huge long spiel. This has got its own little header. Yeah, it doesn’t belong there. This verse is nested into here on purpose. And it does actually have something to do with Jesus what Jesus is saying. Our understanding of part of our problem is our understanding of dogs is complete. We different, we have these things called pets. And they are a fundamental part of our culture and our thinking. So when we think of dogs, we’re like, Oh, get it. It’s a dog. We’re not talking about family dogs, even my weird one. We’re talking about wild. You might even say rabid dogs. There were dogs that hung around places like the temple, where meat and bones were, and wrestled and competed for meat scraps and bones. They’re nasty, vicious creatures.
And sometimes there would even be, you know, the requirement for an animal brought in for sacrifice had to be blemish free. Well, guess what that means the priests could go. Yeah, not so much. So the priests would go toss it right out the door, and boy, those dogs were happy.
Because of the location of dogs in the general context of Jesus’s words, it is likely Jesus is in fact talking about these temple sacrifices, the temporal sacrifices that are supposed to be pure and blameless. But Jesus then expands them to everything that is supposed to be holy. And then he throws in the pigs. Jews weren’t supposed to be keeping pigs. Pigs were detestable. And it’s one of those detestable is there’s a list of abominations. Yeah, pigs kind of fall, you know, from a Jewish rabbi standpoint, at this point, that’s where the pig belonged. Okay. Now, for those of us who like bacon, that’s a real problem. A pig could never be holy. A pig contaminated anything that was holy, for the Jews. And here’s the fun part. non Jews were often called pigs. That doesn’t, by the way, make us pigs to Jesus, just so we’re clear. But it does help us to start unpacking this verse a little bit. Jesus then also use the word Pearl. A pearl was a precious stone, I mean, we have cultured pearls, now you know, where, you know, they farmed them. But that wasn’t the case. Jesus actually late later in Matthew talks about a merchant finding a pearl in a field and selling the entire field are buying, selling all his possessions to get the field which had the pearl in it. And the the pearl, though, is later on us to talk about. An understanding of what wisdom is, is wisdom and is also a great gift. Because late Jesus then also uses the word Pearl to represent the kingdom of heaven. So if dogs get the scraps, but not the sacrifices, and the pigs are not to get the pearl then an understanding would be alongs. of along the lines of don’t apply the rules of a believer to the rules of a nonbeliever. While we understand that Jesus is the Way the Truth, the life, and others do not the ruler, the ruler with which we measure the walk of a Christian does not apply to a non believer. This does not mean they are not sinning, or are not in danger of hell. Let’s just be clear. It does mean that there is a time and a place we must also be wise in doing so. Just because we have the truth does not mean others believe it to be true. Your truth is not my truth and I hate that phrase. But it’s true. Keeping in harmony went with what I’ve said elsewhere you know the reality is your truth may not be measure up to my truth. They may be very different. The truth, big capital T is in many ways beyond our comprehension. I mean, come on. How are we little tiny creatures supposed to understand a God of infinite? We may hold certain things together as truth. Yet we have to know just how many denominations? Yeah, better hold that truth a little lightly. While all may pivot around Jesus as Lord and Savior. There is frankly a lot a lot else left up for grabs. This does not mean cease holding on to what you understand to be biblical truths. Yes, be open and willing to be changed. Even be open to the fact that there is that no matter what a scholar, a pastor, a family, a friend might say, You will not change your views. Just be wary that it could be a plank or a speck. When the church in the US had cast its pearls before unbelievers, the pearls got stomped on and blasphemed when the church trust tried to give that which is holy to unbelievers, they have been molded in return. This is not to defend bad behavior of either believers or non believers. It is to just emphasize that Jesus told us to be careful with how we treat the holy things of God and the wisdom of God. Perhaps instead of being offended that unbeliever unbelievers proverbially stomped pearls and multiple levers, perhaps, we ought to be concerned that God was offended, that we did it in the first place. We are expected to honor the holy and the truth, especially, and how we deal with others. So much of this is really about ourselves, how we view ourselves, how we view our relationship with God and with others, we must continue to dig into ourselves to find the truth. We must continue to dig into Word God’s words to be neutral. To learn the ways of ourselves and others, we must always continue to pray for insight and wisdom. Jesus even continues with search that search for wisdom with wisdom with ask, search, and knock. I always thought it should be knock, asking search or search, knock ask, does it in this weird, weird way. Asking for knowledge doesn’t or wisdom doesn’t mean that God will just give it to you. Despite the story of Solomon, often it is the asking, that gets us to the point where we gain knowledge and discernment. Because that is where the searching truly begins. If you don’t ask, you won’t search. It is not about us fixing or correcting the world. It is about God healing us. We’re not looking for answers to fix the world. God is looking to heal us. That is our ask our knowledge, our search. What will you receive when you ask? I don’t know. I’m not you. Should it bind your heart closer to God? Yep. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t from God. Jesus tells us that we will find what we are searching for. This is not Bing DuckDuckGo or even Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and Google think they know what you want. But God understands what you need. Will the door you knock on be the first step to a buffet, a party awake, a funeral, a wedding? Or is the door to relationship with God. It is about us asking for and searching for God and the desire to be in a transformative relationship. That trance, it’s not just a save from hell relationship. It’s a relationship that transforms us from what we were to who God wants us to be. You’ll know later as you continue, Jesus continues that Jesus talks about the response of a giver to the recipient. You’ll actually know that he doesn’t say the recipient got what they wanted. Jesus just said that the gift was good. The child who asked for bread didn’t get a stone. The stone the child who asked for a fish didn’t get a snake. We often assume that the child received the bread or the fish, but maybe not. We don’t always get what we ask or search for. If every child got the dinner they wanted every time Well, that’s probably going to be pretty unhealthy. In our family. There was a staple dinner for a number of years. chicken, rice and peas. You know, it gets old after a while. And why did we choose that? Why? Why did we choose that food? Well, because that was what was requested. And frankly it was also most likely to be eaten. Did we have other meals? Yes. Do we have many complaints with the other meals? Yes. bluntly, I still dread chicken, rice and peas. We provided what was desired. Because we chose the simple path. On the other hand, we eventually were able to choose a variety of foods too, because we hope that one day chicken, rice and peas would be a rare meal. Thanks be to God. They are in everything Do to others as you would have them do to you for this is the Law and the prophets. This is not an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, this is treat each other well. This includes the people we don’t like, alongside the people we do. It includes giving the benefit of the doubt or even assuming the positive when you’re really just instead want to dig into that person.
I’ve heard people respond with this verse with Well, I would never have believed behave that way or belief that I’ve got to admit that kind of response is often a form of self justification. It can also be your log. Yes, you might not believe that way. You might not have behaved that way. But the underlying emotion or driver for a different external behavior may be the same. may explain. I don’t know how many of you are familiar enough with the show The Simpsons. It is the longest running animated show actually, I think now it’s the longest running show period in television history. I have actually not seen it that often. But I do recall one episode where the character characteristic nonsensical Bible that came out of a Christian goody goody two shoes neighbor Ned Flanders is revealed to be a form of swearing he had been sent to a reformation program as a child and was considered cured when swear words didn’t come out even in extreme situations, but nonsensical babble just flowed right out of them. And if you have any familiarity with I mean, you’re watching the titular characters The Simpsons. None of us would want them as our neighbors. And Ned Flanders, you know, one of the neighbors would do something The Simpsons would do something and then then fantasy but a little bit of that. I mean, you’re it and for years you’d watch it go That’s cute. I don’t get it. Until that episode. The swear words are nonsensical babble didn’t matter. The outward expression was completely different. But the internal driver was still the same. It didn’t matter what the word was on the outside. It was what poured out from the inside
we want others to think the best of us. Let us in return. Think the best of them. We have a conflict right now. Imagine instead of killing each other, or even yelling at each other like we’re doing here in our country. We actually thought the best of others.