Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 2. Who are you to judge? .. Who are you to judge? Judging our judgment (Part 2) - .. Question 4. How would I want this person to think of me if roles were reversed?

.. Who are you to judge? Judging our judgment (Part 2) - .. Question 4. How would I want this person to think of me if roles were reversed?

Article Index
.. Who are you to judge? Judging our judgment (Part 2)
.. Question 3 Am I missing any facts that are necessary for an accurate evaluation?
.. Question 4. How would I want this person to think of me if roles were reversed?
.. Question 5. How can I show the grace of the cross to this person?
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Question 4. How would I want this person to think of me if the roles were reversed?

 

There is a very simple question we need to ask. Would I like it, if someone would conclude that I was sinning without all the necessary Biblical evidence and facts? Would it be fair if they judged your motives in a way that seems to indicate that they know you better than you know yourself? I am sure that all of us would love another person to withhold judgement of us until they have fully and sympathetically listened to our side of a story. The golden rule expressed in words of Jesus comes to mind here in Matthew 7:12 (ESV) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." If this is faithful to the teaching of the Law and of the Prophets and of Christ should we not take it serious? Put yourself in the shoes of the other person, when you come down on them in judgment that goes beyond what is clearly written, and implies that you know their motives.

They the rule that I have just shared applies to many more areas than our judgment of one another. But let me share a text in which Jesus puts the shoe on the other foot as it applies to our judgment of one another. Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV) “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

We find an example of this in Matthew 18. We all know this section well, where we are told that if our brother has sinned against us we must go and sort it out privately, if that does not work, then you take somebody with you, and if we still cannot sort out the issue then we take it to the church. Now without doing an exposition on this text here, I just want to say this, that too many theologians view Matthew 18 as a four step process of Church Discipline when it should be a three step process of loving restoration, and if that does not work then we treat the brother as an unbeliever and lovingly evangelize him.

Allow me this to disagree this morning and then to agree with a man I highly esteem and whose sandals I am not worthy to tie, and that is Dr MacArthur. Dr MacArthur talks about the fourth step in Matthew 18 and then then explains it in his commentary: “The fourth and final step in church discipline is ostracism. If a sinning believer refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be ostracized from the fellowship. Let him be to you, Jesus said, as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Both were seen as despised outcasts.” Now, with this part of the statement I want to disagree with Dr MacArthur, because if the person is a sinning believer, we need to ask what God’s view on the matter is. If God according to Romans 5 gives more grace the more a believer sins, should we not? To ostracize means to banish, to hate, to cold shoulder, to shun, to ignore and to excommunicate. We need to ask ourselves if we are going beyond what is written when we ostracize a believer in sin.

I have two problems with this view.  Firstly, it is our view that Gentile and Tax collector means to be ostracised. Was that clearly the view of Christ?  Secondly, will Christ use common sinful human behaviour as a reference point for how we must treat people? Did He not set different standards for believers so that according to Matthew 5:48 we may be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? Were the Jews not commanded throughout scripture to reach out to and to evangelise the gentiles and not to shun and to hate them? Did Jesus not reach out to the Tax-collectors and prostitutes? I believe that this man I highly respect joins the great throng of theologians who are forcing their own preferences on the text. By this I am not claiming that he is entirely wrong.  I think the spirit of Matthew 18 requires a deeper look and a more balanced approach. We would have been on safer ground if Christ actually used the words, ‘cut him off’, ‘ostracize him’ etc.

Well, I said I am going to disagree and then agree with Dr MacArthur. What can Jesus mean with the words ‘let him be to you… as a Gentile and a tax-gather”. Here I need to agree to a certain extent, with Dr MacArthur in the commentary in his MacArthur study Bible and I quote him again: “the idea is not merely to punish the offender, or to shun him completely, but to remove him as a detrimental influence from the fellowship of the church, and henceforth to regard him as an evangelistic prospect rather than as a brother. Ultimately the sin for which he is excommunicated is a hard headed impenitence.” This is a very different comment between his commentary and study Bible. Now why did I go to the trouble to agree and disagree with Dr Mac Arthur? Firstly, because we need to heed the warning that we must not go beyond what is written and even in the context of Matthew 18 we must be careful to enforce our views on the text without clear views of Scripture in its entirety.  Secondly because Jesus continues with an illustration that will make clear the dilemma of being judged with the same judgment we measure out. Jesus continues in Matthew 18 with a statement to Peter to forgive seventy time seven and He then continuous with an illustration in Matthew 18 of a man who was forgiven debt of app. R 7 million. He then went and found a man who owed him about three months’ worth of servant wages and had him thrown in prison. What did the King do when he heard about it? He had this man thrown in prison and he was to be tortured until he could repay his debt.  The man who could not forgive his fellow servant forgot the golden principle; he forgot what it is to be in the man’s shoes. He forgot what it was to be a forgiven person.  So before you go beyond what is written, ask yourself the question, what if I was in his shoes? And remember that according to the same judgment you measure out you will be measured.