Once again we were enriched by the insights of one another which our gracious Lord had opened up for us. We were imagining we were part of the audience among the circle of Jesus’ disciples in his discourse given for us in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 7. Yes. The Word of God came to us as we travelled back 2000 years to listen to words that would never be out of date, would never pass away.
We met together eager to learn more of how the Lord expects us to order our behaviour today living in his kingdom, his gracious Good News rule, which totally and finally replaced the old Mosaic age system. Here are just a few of the gracious and helpful instructions we noticed.
First. Another serious warning against hypocrisy which can easily overtake us: Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged . . Over and again, for Jesus, hypocrisy is the pits. And let’s face it: we are totally incompetent in judging others.
Much more important to judge ourselves—yes?
So, avoid being judged by not judging others. Just stop the plague! Close your mouth before that negative attitude in your heart towards the other gets a chance to spill. You are not the Judge! The real Judge who judges righteously and without fear of favour is the same One who judges you! Leave it to the real Judge.
It’s so easy to see the speck that is in someone else’s eye, while there’s still that beam in your own eye. You simply cannot help anyone if there’s a beam is in your own eye. What a hilarious comparison—we laughed with the crowd.
Don’t forget: with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Reminded us of that bit where we pray . . . forgive us in the same way we forgive others. Self-assessment is called for.
Only God can see that person’s heart, what motivates behaviour. Jesus is attacking the insane idea that we know better. We can easily see the faults in others because we are so familiar with them in ourselves.
But then Jesus warns us that we must also be discerning as we move among people: Don’t give that which is holy to the ‘dogs’, neither throw your pearls before the ‘pigs’, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. What! Isn’t this judging others?
Well, ah, no. it’s being discerning. Take care—not everyone will appreciate what you say. Many will not be ready. We need discernment and wisdom—two promised spiritual gifts actually—see Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12.
When in doubt stop talking and pronouncing your solution—or worse, condemnation.
Instead, do more talking to the One who listens! To the One who commands: Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. He only wants blessing for us. Why do we hesitate to adopt this lifestyle? Yes, lifestyle—keep on, don’t stop, be a God-botherer. Daily. This is what he wants. He is much more willing to give to us than we are to our kids: how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him!
Now there’s more about discernment (not judging).Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. The test is in the fruit—what does their prophetic work produce in the hearers?
There are many who seem to want the title of ‘prophet’. Surely that is unnecessary and titles are even hateful to the Lord. It will be obvious, Jesus says by looking at the results. We are warned—they look harmless but are dangerous. The internet/YouTube is full of them. Be satisfied with earnestly seeking the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Many today are prophets of doom and gloom. That simply produces fear, giving up and the nurturing of an escape mentality. All that nonsense about being ‘raptured’ to escape the tribulation—let’s believe that happened as Jesus predicted at the end of the Jewish age? Now we live under the awesome rule of the Son of God, seated at the right hand of ultimate power and authority—reigning until all his enemies are under his feet, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom! Confident that the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea! To be continued