1. As we study these words of our Lord, let us keep in mind the statements that He made concerning His apostles as He prayed (John 17:14-17). a. Like the apostles, we are in the world, but we are not to be of the world. b. Also, to avoid being like the world we must follow the Lord's teachings. 2. In the world there is an abundance of severe faultfinding and harsh judging. 3. In the verses we are studying Jesus taught His people to avoid this practice. 4. In our lesson we will also consider some additional instructions, but before we do so, let us examine . . .
I. THE LORD'S INSTRUCTIONS IN MATTHEW 7:1-5
A. In vs.1 Jesus clearly said, "Judge not." 1. According to this statement the Lord wants His followers to avoid "judging." 2. We must examine this statement carefully because the Lord: a. made certain judgments Himself (Matthew 6:2, 5, 7, 16) b. requires us to make certain judgments (Matthew 7:15-20; 1 John 4:1). B. In vs.3-4 Jesus described the kind of harsh and unfair judging we must avoid. 1. The Pharisees were guilty of harsh and unfair judging against: a. Jesus (Matthew 12:24; John 9:24) b. the man Jesus healed of blindness (John 9:34). 2. Stephen's accusers were guilty of harsh and unfair judging (Acts 6:9-11). 3. Festus was guilty of harsh and unfair judging against Paul (Acts 26:24). C. Jesus explained why we must avoid this kind of judging (vs.1b, 2). 1. In other words, we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). 2. We will be held accountable for our words (Matthew 12:36-37). D. In vs.5 Jesus gave His remedy for judging. E. With the Lord's teaching in mind, let us turn our attention to . . .
II. ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS THAT WILL HELP US AVOID JUDGING
A. Before making a judgment, let us put ourselves in the shoes of other people (Ezekiel 3:15). B. Let us practice the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). C. Let us avoid judging on the basis of appearance (John 7:24; 1 Samuel 1:9-15). D. Let us look for good in others as Barnabas did (Acts 9:26-27). E. Let us remember that judging belongs to God (James 4:11-12). F. Let us have fervent love (1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
1. Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27 that He wants us to listen to His teachings and put them into practice. 2. After studying the Lord's teaching on judging, we must make a decision. 3. Let us enter at the strait gate and travel the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14).