Monday, July 20, 2009

Matt. 7:1-6

I didn't get to church Sunday due to a flat tire (I didn't want to drive the fam with a donut on the van) so here are last week's sermon notes, when Pastor Paul spoke on the infamous "judge not" passage of the gospel account of Matthew. Past Paul pointed out how this is one of the most abuse/abused passage in our post-modern culture, in which there are no absolutes. This is frequently taken out of context and used as a stick to beat back Christians. But the text is actually not saying do not judge, but rather, don't judge hypocritically. If you know the law and don't follow the law, and then judge someone else in regards to what the law says, you judge hypocritically. In our post-modern society, the modern world does not want to be challenged in their beliefs and practices, and, ironically, once given a judgment, the world replies with "you're being judgmental and harsh" (basically, evidencing hypocrisy in return.)

Pastor pointed out some of the recent examples from the headlines, such as the AIG folks testifying before congress. Basically, the spotlight was put on these corrupt executives and their spending, while at the same time the congress is just as guilt of spending ridiculous sums of money that it doesn't have. I thought this was an excellent parallel of modern-day hypocrisy in our own time.

Nominal Christians were also addressed in the message - those individuals who abide by the name Christian yet who live by a pattern of life that is immoral. They need to hear the word hypocrite, as a judgment being made against those who claim to be believers but don't evidence it in their walk. Shepherds (elders) are called to judge wolves in their flock, and in today's churches there is often (sadly) very little actual church discipline or accountability.

The text speaks of "why do you see the speck in your brother's eye".... in other terms, pride. You can't judge rightly with a log in your own eye, and you need to take care of your own sin's before addressing the sins of another. Another angle of this that Pastor Paul pointed out was that we tend to find something that we happen to do particularly well, and we judge everyone else by that standard (in other words, name an area you happen to be strong in, and judge everyone else by that.) This is just as much an example of hypocrisy.

We are all obligated, out of love for others, to help them out of their sin. And if you proclaim the gospel to others and the reaction is an adversarial one, do not continue to give the pearls of the gospel to be trampled. You're obligation is over, and you don't have to continue to proclaim the Word to those who reject. The Sadducees and Pharisees heard the gospel then turned and condemned Christ. If the gospel is rejected, we should pray for those who reject the message.

I thought the last part was one of the most convicting to me, and one of the most difficult: it's hard to get to the point where, when the gospel has been shared and rejected, to just accept this and move on (especially when this is in regards to a close friend or family member.) But at this point, the matter is in the Lord's hand, and our responsibility really becomes to pray for the lost friend or family member, that the Holy Spirit will draw them back to repentance and belief.

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