For Lent, Lose the ‘Tude! (2/21/16)

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Sermons | 0 comments

We are now into a season of preparation for the passion and resurrection of our Lord.  This preparation- which we call Lent- involves reevaluating our Walk and then getting rid of anything that’s getting in the way.

With this message, Pastor Jim began a Lenten series called: “For Lent, Give Up Something Bad!”  Too often we think of lent as being a time to temporarily give up something that’s not really bad… just to give up something as an act of sacrifice.  But God is calling us to be more like Jesus.  Most likely, that means we have to give up something more deeply seeded than coffee.

Click the below “Play” button and scroll down to follow along (the recording is from the 11:00 service)…

The sermon was based on 2 scriptures:  Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 14:10-13.  The Matthew passage was read from the King James version and Romans was read from The Living Bible.  Open the drop down boxes to read along.  The New King James and the New Living Translation are used below…

Matthew 7:1-5

1  “Judge not, that you be not judged. 

2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 

3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 

4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 

5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.   NKJV

Romans 14:10-13

10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11 For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'”

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.

13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved. 

Look Out for Mis-Perceptions

Have you ever rushed into judgement about something?  You saw somebody do something and you immediately jumped to the conclusion that what he or she was doing was bad?

What if some long haired hippy-looking musician walked into our sanctuary?  What if a guitar player with a green knit hat walked in and started to sing?  Wouldn’t you be expecting something bad to happen?  Would you expect that their music would glorify God?

Take a listen to this….

Were these the lyrics you were expecting???

Lyrics

  • Preaching the Gospel to everyone we meet
  • Hey Hey we’re the …. Christians!
  • Got the power of the Spirit and we’ve got something to say
  • We’re too busy praying to put anybody down

Don’t we do the same thing in our lives?  We take one quick look and instantly make a decision.  We make judgements.  We react to the outer appearance.

 

Loose the “Judge, Jury and Executioner” Mentality!

In Matthew 7:1, Jesus spoke the words which may have become the most mis-used and mis-understood of anything He said…

 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 

The word translated as “Judge” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize sin.  It doesn’t even mean that we shouldn’t point out that sin, in a loving way, and hold the person accountable.  But what it does mean is that we shouldn’t Condemn someone when we see them do something we think is wrong.  We shouldn’t write someone off without knowing them.

 

 

 

Loose the Self-Righteous Arrogance

As Jesus looked at the religious situation of His day, He saw that judging and condemning others had become a great religious problem.  The religious leaders were self-appointed critics who were quick to pass judgement on those who didn’t live up to their expectations.

Here are a few examples….

Take a look at what happened in Luke chapter 7 (verses 36-39)…

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat.  When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Or, remember this story about two men who went to the Temple (Luke 18:10-14…)?

“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!  I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

The Pharisees had deemed a certain woman a “sinner” who must be stoned.  Here’s what happened in John 8:1-11…

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.  Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

The pharisees, in their self righteous arrogance, had created a special class of people called “sinners,” as they themselves were not such.  They judged; they condemned.  And they do so thinking they were somehow above having any sin in them.  They look over the top part of their bifocals and say, “Oh my!  I’m glad I’m not like that rift-raff of the earth over there.  All the sinful things he does… compared to the holy lifestyle I live.”

That’s the kind of judging attitude Jesus condemns.

Have you ever listened to a man watch a football game, especially is his team is loosing?  He’ll criticize the quarterback for not throwing well, the receivers for not catching the easy passes, and the linemen for not blocking well.

Have you ever thought?— if he’s so good at knowing what to do, then  why is he sitting in a chair watching the game instead of being out  there playing?

What about life in the church?  Are we tempted to be arm chair quarterbacks, quick to criticize but slow to jump in and help out?

 

Dump the ‘Tude, but Keep Your Wits….

When Jesus uses the word “judge” in verse 1, it is the Greek word “krino.”  By implication, it means to “try, condemn, punish.”  That’s a stronger idea than simply making a judgement on what color socks to wear to work today.

J.B. Phillips renders verse 1 as:

Don’t criticize people,  and you will not be criticized.

Eugene Peterson, in the Message, puts it this way:

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults — unless, of course, you want the same treatment.

John Stott prefers the English word “censoriousness” for “judge.”  In other words, don’t be giving to “censure.”  Censuring, or saying “Ah ha!  You’re wrong and I’m right” is not an objective discerning judgement, but the harshness of one who is a fault-finder, a blamer, one who puts the worst possible construction upon and act, one who condemns sternly.

So Jesus says that were are not to judge.  He’s not talking about the judgment in a courtroom.  He’s not talking about judging open and obvious sin.  He’s not talking about judging false teachers.judge-158269__180 400x300

What Jesus is talking about is a hasty,  unloving, “holier than thou” type of attitude.  We sometimes call this “jumping  to conclusions.”  It’s  at the very heart of gossiping and rumor bearing.

Jesus was NOT saying that we should  never employ appropriate judgment  in situations,  but rather that we should not have a harsh, judgmental spirit.

John Stott put it this way:

Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers which  help to distinguish from animals) but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges).

 

Dump your Desire to be Right

“Setting ourselves up to be God…”  That’s what drives this overly critical attitude: a belief that we can see as God sees.  A hard and fast attitude of, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”  We do need to strive to remain true to The Word, but sometimes our confidence in our interpretation or point of view can lead to an attitude that places condemnation above grace, separation above unity, and selfishness over love.

That’s what Jesus wants to eliminate from His people.  We need to understand that in the Kingdom of God it is never enough to be right.   Jesus was always right, and yet He wasn’t judgmental.  He actually said that God didn’t send Him into the world to judge the world, but so that the world would be saved through Him…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.   (John 3:16-18,  NIV)

Yes, people will be judged, but that’s not why He came.  As disciples of His, we shouldn’t live to judge people either.

 

Don’t be Pushy:  We’re Walking in Shared Shoes

The Native Americans had an appropriate saying:

Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

Joe South picked up on this in his song called “Walk a mile in My Shoes.”  The song states…

Before you criticize and accuse me,  walk a mile in my shoes.

The ancient Rabbi Hilel (110BC – 10AD) one said…

Do not judge a man until you yourself have come into his circumstances or situation.

When the adulteress was thrown down in front of Jesus, he walked in her shoes of harsh criticism and tasted the pain she was feeling.  She was guilty.  She was a sinner.  Jesus does recognize that, yes, “her sins are many.”  But He offers grace and forgiveness instead of condemnation.

Kindness can get us further with kids than being pushy. Judgement doesn’t fit when we’re all in the same boat.  We all need grace and forgiveness.

Genesis 1:26 tells us that all of humanity is created “in the image of God.”  In Colossians 3:11 Paul reminds us that we’re in the same boat:

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.    NLT

Same thing in 1 Corinthians 12:13…

Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.   NLT

So if we’re in the same boat, walking in the same shoes, having the same need of forgiveness, sharing the same Spirit… how can we ever think that we should criticize anyone?  How can we have the ‘Tude that we’re better than someone else???

There is a kind of crystal called a Labrador spar.  At first glance it is “dull and without luster; but if it is turned round and round…. it will suddenly come into a position where the light strikes it in a certain way and it will sparkle with flashing beauty.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote…

A man is a bit of a Labrador spar, which has no luster as you turn it in your hand, until you come to a particular angle; then it shows deep and beautiful colors.

The “deep and beautiful colors” shine when we see Jesus in others; when we realize that we need the same grace and forgiveness that they need.  The colors can’t be seen through the prism of our own self righteousness.

 

Dodge the Boomerang Effect…

Verse 2 of our passage from Matthew 7 says,

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 

With our bad ‘Tude, we tend to quickly look for ways to judge… only to find that we’re just as guilty…

There is a story about a newspaper reporter who was searching for a story about what he called “the laziness that existed throughout the South.”  When he visited an area he saw a man sitting in a chair out in his field hoeing the weeds.  The reporter thought, this HAD to be the ultimate in laziness! 

So he rushed back to his car to start his story.  But before driving off, he looked back at the man a second time.  What he saw changed his outlook.  The judgmental reporter saw that the pants legs on the farmer hung down loose- clearly showing that the man had no legs!  So what was judged at first to be a story of laziness turned out to be a story of great courage.

That goes to show us the limits of what we sometimes see in other people.  The scriptures tell us that “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

We see the same thing in the following passages (all quotations are from the NLT)…

John 7:24

Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.

Jeremiah 17:10

I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.

Luke 16:15

Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.

1 Chronicles 28:9

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

1 kings 8:38-39

And if your people Israel pray about their troubles, raising their hands toward this Temple,  then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart.

How did that reporter feel when he realized he was wrong about the farmer?  Instead of the notion that this Southern farmer was lazy, he realized he was 108 degrees wrong; This farmer was extremely hard working and dedicated.  This harsh judgement “boomeranged” back on the reporter when he was hit by his wrong judgement.  God knew about the farmer’s legs all along, but all the reporter saw at first was the chair.

The Boomerang Can Hit You Right Now!

The judgement that Jesus is talking about in verse 2 isn’t just some future heaven/hell judgement; it happens right away!

What goes around comes around“… that’s not just a threat.  It’s just the way it works!

 

Transform the ‘Tude

Galatians 6:1-3 gives us the attitude we should have if we’re going to dodge the Boomerang…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.

And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 

If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to be part of a church where brothers and sisters would encourage one another to love and good works, and be very gentle with one another’s weaknesses?  Yes, our obligation as brothers and sisters to help one another escape from sin, but we need to carry out this duty very carefully and lovingly, like fine eye surgery.

For Lent, God can replace our judgmental attitude with a new ‘Tude that is humble:  a first reaction that strives to restore someone gently instead of lifting ourselves in pride.

For Lent, let’s give up something BAD, by loosing the ‘tude and developing the mind  of Christ.

 

 

 


Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

+     +     +     +     +     +     +

Click this button to view other sermons:                                                  Sermon Archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *