Matthew 7:1-5 Sermon – Do Not Judge

In this sermon Tim jumps back into our What Jesus Taught Series by looking at Jesus’ words on judgement. Tim suggests we pray before we judge, develop empathy and leave space for God to be the real judge!

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday May 8, 2022.

05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can't wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week! SERMON NOTES: Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023. Find out more here: Find us on Facebook here:
  1. 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
  2. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  3. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  4. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  5. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks


We are finishing off our series in What Did Jesus Teach, from the sermon on the mount for the next 4 weeks then we will launch into something new!

  • Premise is if we are to be disciples of Jesus we need to know what he taught. What kind of a life he was calling us to enter into.
  • And according to Matthew 4:23 Jesus teaching involved “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom” and it was accompanied by healing and deliverance. 
  • So this is about coming to live under the reign of heaven on earth. 

So Jesus then describes the life of the blessed… pure in heart, peacemakers, hungering and thirsting for righteousness…

  • He calls us to be the light of the world in darkness and salt that preserves and adds flavor to a decaying world. 
  • He then fulfils the law and the prophets by speaking into the condition of our lives and the big things that diminish us… anger, lust, desiring revenge, truthfulness and so on. 
  • Jesus wants to move us not just into law keeping, but into embracing the freedom that lies behind the law. 

Well there is then more teaching on hidden righteousness… if there are things Jesus wants us to put on display (our mercy and meekness for example)

  • There are then things that we are to do to please our Father in heaven and not for public show. 
  • He says don’t be like the hypocrites who give and pray and fast in public for the approval of others. Instead, do these things for your heavenly Father. 
  • And then that amazing prayer where Jesus teaches us to pray with that key line, “on earth as it is in heaven”
  • And you’ll be glad to know my chalk drawing on the wall rubbed off well…
  • Well Joey then preached on not worrying but seeking first the kingdom of heaven and that brings us to today!

So we come to chapter 7 of Matthews Gospel, the final of 3 chapters dedicated to the main teaching block of Jesus ministry. 

  • And it is a brilliant section of teaching on not judging others;
  • It has the golden rule which all Christian ethics is based off…
  • The bit about the narrow and wide gates
  • True prophets and disciples to be known by the fruit they produce… which is just brilliant
  • And then the big closer where Jesus challenges us to put into practice his teachings and the warning of building on sand or solid rock for the storms that come in life!

So today Jesus, the most brilliant teacher in history has some things to say on not judging others and planks of wood in our own eyes…

  • Not really relevant to our lives right?
  • None of us evvvvvvver sit in judgement of others…
  • None of us evvvvvvver focus on other people’s flaws while ignoring the gaping issues in our own lives?
  • OK? So shall we just skip this section. 
  • No? Alright, well let’s hear Jesus, the one who comes to set us free…

Matthew 7:1-5

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

3 quick comments before we get into the meat of this…

  1. Have you ever noticed how funny Jesus is?

This is good timing after having Uncle Nath last weekend doing his comedy…

  • But I just want to note how funny Jesus is here…
  • Obviously he is making a very important point about not judging others… but like most brilliant communicators, he uses humour to grab our attention and to burst our pride. 
  • “Hey mate, what ya doing… your having a crack at Pete’s drinking problem and you have a vodka cruiser in your hand!” right? 
  • “Hey mate, what ya doing… your having a crack at Susie and John’s marriage and you and your missus are frostier than the artic circle.”
  • Right? Your focusing on the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye while your walking around with a Bunnings two by four hanging out of yours.
  • Have you ever noticed how brilliant Jesus is?

He just has a way of cutting to the point and getting at the hypocrisy in our own lives. 

  • And he does this through exaggeration and hyperbole.
  • I think it’s the same in the lust passage. Jesus is being funny… got a lust problem? Cut off your hand… 
  • It’s ridiculous to suggest this… but it is brilliant and it brings through the importance of what he is saying…
  • He is grabbing our attention and using humour to get to the deep stuff that mars our lives…
  • And this is serious right? How many of us spend our lives in useless judgement of others. We are consumed by this. 
  • And it is awful. Being judgement is so toxic… to those aeround us… but to ourselves too… this is Jesus at his brilliant best going after what diminishes us. 
  • Have you ever noticed how interested Jesus is in you and your heart?

Whenever I hear moral teaching, here is what I do… My temptation is to immediately think of someone else who this applies to…

  • Oh greed… yes, that is definitely a problem for Craig…
  • Oh lust… yes Johhny has naught wandering eyes doesn’t he…
  • Anger you say? Oh yes, Sarah is a bit of a fireball… wouldn’t want to be in that marriage…
  • Right? 

But let me tell you exactly who Jesus is interested in confronting and helping and transforming in this passage, in this teaching…

  • Any guesses? Anyone?
  • You… and more importantly… ME!
  • Jesus is after your heart… and that is the brilliance of this passage… with its humour and its pointedness… 
  • He is interested in the plank in my eyes and your eyes!

And this is at the heart of what Jesus wants to do with your life… he is interested in the renovation of your heart. 

  • That the kingdom of heaven may so take hold of your life that you can stop being a constant victim or blaming others, or seeing what is wrong with the world as “out there”
  • And starting to see that in dealing with our own failings, we unlock the potential for a transformed life. 
  • Own your stuff… be committed to dealing with your own stuff and now we have someone the Holy Spirit can work with!

It reminds me of the famous correspondence that the Times of London had with significant members of society at the turn of the last century.

  • They posed the question “what is wrong with the world” 
  • Well all kinds of politicians and pundits pontificated about what was wrong with the world… ideologies, class division, peoples addictions and bad habits…
  • But to the question what is wrong with the world, the Christian writer GK Chesterton eventually submitted his answer.
  • He wrote… “I am”
  • Haha – that to me seems a good place to start.

Deal with the sin and conditions of your own life before trying to solve the issues of the world…

  • That is why Jesus says this is a hypocrisy issue. 
  • Make your own bed before fixing the world… 
  • I must admit, in a world of outrage and slacktivists (do you know that phrase)…
  • I am drawn to the work of the Canadian Psychologist Jordan Peterson.
  • In his book 12 rules for life… 
  • Rule 6 “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”
  • The gist is… Sweep in front of your own door before pointing out the street is dirty.
  • Or make your own bed and tidy your own room before you think you can solve the worlds most complex and intractable issues. 
  • Or as Michael Jackson said… “I’m starting with the man in the mirror” 

So what kind of judgements is Jesus talking about here?

  • Well the sense of the Greek word judge that Jesus uses here is not so much about the judgements we all need to make in order to navigate the world…
  • Right? I’m leaving my kids with someone, is this a safe person?
  • Right? Jesus is talking about judging others in the condemning of someone and writing off their whole character.
  • This is about judgements when we cease to have mercy on a person and discard them as not having worth because of who we characterize them to be. 
  • We sit in bed at night and feel a sense of bitterness or disdain for someone, rather than seeing them as created in the image of God.

I remember when I was studying in Vancouver there was a Canadian guy called Rob who started a bit after me.

  • Guitar, cool, good looking… 
  • Obvioulsy I saw him as a threat… haha!
  • And I immediately wrote him off as a bit too cool for school.
  • Then we went away for a weekend to the professors farm on Galiano Island…
  • And of course he turned out to be the nicest guy!
  • Not only that he was from a missionary family in Angola, his Dad having been a famous surgeon who gave it all up to serve the poorest people in the world… 
  • And it was such a wake up call for me, to stop writing people off, and judging people 

So how do we learn from Jesus in all of this?

  • Well firstly, Jesus obviously calls us to drop the stones. Stope condemning others.
  • And secondly Jesus models what a life that values mercy over judgement looks like?
  • Right?

Now I don’t want to rehash these stories… 

  • But clearly on the first point of dropping the stones, I am talking about the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus to be stoned.
  • So how does not judging, how does dealing with the plank in your own eye look like in this story?
  • Well Jesus says to the condemners… you without sin can cast the first stone…
  • And as we read… first the older men leave and eventually all the mob have gone…
  • And Jesus looks at the woman and says, does no one condemn you? Neither do I… now go, leave your life of sin.

And then Jesus chooses repeatedly mercy over judgement.

  • Think of Zacchaeus the tax collector who is despised by his countrymen for collecting taxes for the imperial government from his own Jewish people.
  • Jesus goes to his house for dinner and says I have comes to seek and saved the lost…
  • Everyone else has written Zacchaeus off, but Jesus sees him as someone made in the image of God, redeemable and worthy of mercy. 

Now in both cases, Jesus chooses mercy over judgement… he sees these people not as sinners who deserve what they get…

  • But as children of God who are created in the image of their maker. 
  • Where others want to write them off… Jesus allows their stories to continue with a fresh start.
  • Where we, in our brokenness want to write the final sentence of a persons life
  • Jesus chooses to allow God to be their final judge, and give them space for redemption in the mess of their decisions. 

The Apostle Paul would reflect on this very idea in his letter to the Romans. In chapter 2 he writes…

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

And that is the point of choosing kindness over judgement… it leaves space for a change of heart.

  • It leaves space for the true judge of the world to do his thing in the end… the one who judges based on truth. 
  • But always the same idea comes through and through again… you who pass judgement, do the same thing.
  • And in doing so, we bring condemnation upon ourselves…

Well, as we close, with Jesus desire to do a renovating work in our lives that frees us from constant judgements, what might help us?

  • Because I figure if we actually put Jesus in practice here, we may end up with better marriages… 
  • Better friendships… better relationships in general!
  • And a cleaner heart and mind 

Well I wonder if we can all instigate a new rule in our lives, that before we judge others, we commit ourselves to praying for that person for 48 hours….

  • Ohhh I like that… 
  • In fact I have found myself having to do a bit of this recently…
  • When I find my mind wandering towards judgmental thoughts towards someone… I have been stopping myself and praying for the person.
  • It is certainly a lot harder to write someone off if you have just prayed for them!

But I think there is something in that right?

  • An unchecked thought life that is given over to judging others leads to a pretty bad place. 
  • Instead if we invite God into the situation then how much easier is it to be at peace with a person we would otherwise condemn.
  • And I am sure this is part of why this passage leads on from the passage about worry.
  • If we can pray instead of judging others, how much of the worries of life begin to disappear. 

The second final thing that may help us in this area is to be committed to developing empathy in our lives.

  • Brene Brown says empathy is the antidote to shame. And shame is about judgement.
  • Berene Brown says empathy fuels connection.
  • She says “Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’”
  • That’s good… withholding judgement and communicating you’re not alone. 
  • And I imagine that can only come from being willing to deal with the plank in your own eye. 
  • Its saying, “You’re not alone, because I am flawed too… I have hurt people too… I make mistakes too…”

And then final thing, let God be the final arbiter of a persons life. Leave it to him, and trust that he is a good and merciful judge. 

  •  Of course there are unspeakable things that people do, and flaws in people that mean we need good and strong boundaries…
  • But we believe in a God who does not write people off while they have breath in their lungs. 
  • Jesus is sent to seek and save the lost… and we must believe in his ultimate plan for redemption and then also that there will be a judgement at the end of times. 
  • But isn’t our God wonderfully merciful.
  • He has been with me… he is with you. 

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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