Matthew 7:1-6 – Why the Confusion About Judging?

 

The following story appeared in a recent edition of Leadership Journal.

“A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies and a newspaper.  The woman found an empty seat in the gate area and sat down next to a man reading a magazine.  After a couple of minutes she became aware of a rustling noise.  From behind her paper she peeked to see the man sitting next to her helping himself to her cookies.  After the initial shock she decided not to make a scene so she reached over and took a cookie for herself.

A minute or two passed and then came more rustling.  The woman peeked from behind her paper and sure enough, the man was helping himself to another cookie.  Again the woman decided not to make a scene and instead reached over and took two cookies for herself.  This same process occurred several more times until there was one cookie left.  The man broke the cookie in two pieces, ate half, and slid half over to the woman, got up and left.

The woman couldn’t believe the audacity of the man and was still fuming over the whole affair when she boarded her flight.  After takeoff the woman needed something in her purse and when she opened it up the first thing she saw was her package of unopened cookies.”

Our assumptions can be misleading more often than we want to admit!

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Matthew 6:25-34 – Don’t Live Your Life Under The Tyranny Of The What If’s

In our previous study we learned about the deadly disease of affluenza or materialism.  The reason that this is so deadly for the Christian is because it results in an unbiblical focus on the acquisition of things.

Materialism causes people to lose their ability to achieve contentment and leads instead to compromise and coveting.

Jesus tells us in verses 19-24 of chapter 6 to beware of the trap of thinking that possessions satisfy the soul because not only do they not satisfy but they cannot satisfy.  We are not designed by God to be satisfied by material possessions.

Notice that verse 24 serves as Jesus’ summary of the result of disregarding this spiritual truth – you will be mastered by things.

I want to consider two questions and their answers this morning in light of what Jesus says –

  • What happens when we disobey this warning?
  • What happens when we obey it?

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Matthew 6:19-24 – The Danger of Affluenza

Over the last several weeks we’ve been learning the difference between authentic Christianity as presented by our Lord Jesus and religious formalism demonstrated by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and many who profess faith today.

The apostle Paul would refer to this latter group as people who held “a form of godliness although they have denied its power.”  Paul’s exhortation concluded with the warning to “avoid such men as these.”

Jesus simply called them what they were – hypocrites.

As we look back at this great teaching that started in chapter 5, we come to understand more and more why Jesus says what He says.  For example, “You have heard it said, but I say to you” can be seen as Jesus saying “Your religious formalism demanded (such and such) but authentic Christianity, true righteousness is demonstrated by (such and such).”

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Matthew 6:1-18 – What Constitutes Godly Righteousness?

Most of you know this but it bears remembering that chapter and verse designations are man-made.  They were placed throughout the text of the Bible as a means to navigate through the Bible.  In many cases they do make a clean break in the thoughts of the authors.  In the Sermon on the Mount however, this is not the case.

Chapter 6 continues the explanation of Jesus on what constitutes true righteousness.  He has contrasted true righteousness from false righteousness by using the religious leaders of His day.

Jesus makes the point in this chapter that what people do is a direct result of the righteousness they possess – whether their own, or the righteousness God gives us through faith in Jesus Christ.

That was certainly the intent behind what He said in 5:17-20.  Up till that point Jesus had taught the people how godly righteousness was first of all apprehended and secondly how it was manifested.  In that passage verse 20 is a pivotal verse in helping us understand exactly what Jesus was saying.

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What Do You Want Me To Do For You?

Jesus heals blind man

The gospel of Matthew relates an event in which Jesus is traveling from Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. As Jesus walked a great multitude followed Him. Along the way they encountered two blind men that were sitting by the roadside. In that time and place, these two men likely occupied that same spot day after day, asking alms of travelers. This day would be unlike any other day in their lives.

The text of Matthew in chapter 20 verse 30 states that these two blind men heard that Jesus was passing by. They didn’t need to be told a crowd was passing by because they would have known that from all the noise. What is significant in verse 30 is they “heard Jesus was passing by.” This means the crowd surrounding Jesus was abuzz with His name. Upon hearing the name of Jesus the two blind men immediately shouted out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David.”

This is significant for a number of reasons. One, by addressing Jesus as Lord, they were recognizing His power. Lord is Adonai, God Almighty. They knew that Jesus could heal them of their blindness. Next they called Jesus “Son of David,” which signifies their belief that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah of Israel. In making this profession the two blind men were saying they believed Jesus would want to heal them.

Taken together, the faith of the two blind men was noteworthy, especially given the tepid attitude of the multitude following Jesus who told the two blind men to “shut up.” But this did not stop the two blind men from seizing their moment and they cried out even louder, so as to be heard over the chatter of the multitude. “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Can you imagine the expectation of these two men when as it says in verse 32, “Jesus stopped.” The noise of shuffling feet, of numerous conversations, of laughter, of scorn toward them, all ceased in a moment because Jesus stopped. And then in the midst of the silence, while every eye looked first upon Jesus and then at the objects of His attention – the two blind men, Jesus spoke these words, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Can you understand how the hearts of these men must have been beating with anxious anticipation? Jesus had just asked them what they wanted Him to do for them. Without hesitation they responded in unison, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Verse 34 says, “And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”

Friends, this is one event among thousands, where Jesus demonstrated His compassion and loving care for men and women. There is one thing that every person needs in this life, and that is to have their eyes opened to see Jesus for who He is. Do you know Him as Savior and Lord? Today can be the day of your salvation. Wherever you are stop and pray to God and ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to accept you as His child by faith. Then live the life of a disciple by following Jesus.

For more information about how you can become a Christian through faith in Jesus Christ, write me at the following email address – pastormike@cclohio.org – God bless you today as you seek Him.

Image – Charissa’s Grace Notes