Jesus Calls Disciples to Not Judge
Description: Jesus wants His followers to not be judgmental and destructive to others.
Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh
Date: February 21, 2016
Speaker: Pastor Tim
Scripture: Luke 6:37-42
Video: Watch this Sermon
Notes: Read Sermon Notes
Transcript (new way)
“Jesus Calls Disciples to Not Judge” CLARENCE REHRIG: (Luke 6:37-42) “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” And may God bless the reading of his Word. PASTOR SCHMOYER: God does bless it. Amazing, amazing stuff. This is a really difficult passage, because people that need help know this, and whenever you try to help they bring up this passage. “Don’t judge me.” Right, they always say that, “Don’t judge me.” How many of you have that on your Facebook cover photo, don’t judge me? Right, a lot of people live their life that way. When you try to help, when you try to give some advice, when you try to help them over the hump, they say take the plank out of your own eye first. People know God’s word. Believers, non-believers, we all know this passage, and we throw it in someone’s face when they’re just trying to help. Friends, there is a proper use of this passage, and it’s not for the recipient. It’s for the deliverer, right, to check your heart, to check your life. Before you start caring about someone else, take care of yourself and heal yourself and go to the Lord about yourself. So the recipients, more on that next week, right, because next week — today’s sermon is called “Jesus Calls Disciples to Not Judge,” which is definitely the passage here; and next week the sermon is called “Jesus Calls His Disciples to Judge.” So we’ll talk about how to properly evaluate someone, how to care and provide shepherding and provide direction for someone that’s in need of help, that’s all next week. Jesus is not saying don’t give a rip about anyone. He is certainly not saying that, because he in heaven saw us in need of direction, in need of help, in need of saving, and he judged that we were in need of help. He evaluated the fact that you and I needed his saving, and he came down to this world. So judging isn’t about trying to help someone; judging is about trying to destroy someone to lift yourself up. I want to see a raise of hands. How many of you have ever been the victim of someone judging you, judging you? Every Sunday, every Sunday I go to the back, and people shake my hand and say, “That was a great sermon, Pastor.” And on the weeks when no one says that was a great sermon, Pastor, I feel judged. That was a lousy sermon, you know it. You should have worked harder this week. Right, so I feel that; I feel that. Do you ever feel judged, do you ever feel attacked perhaps? That you are nothing, and that person that spoke up is clearly the best; the bright and shining one, there’s none like them. You see, when we judge others, when we step in and judge someone, “You’re nothing,” then what we’re doing is we’re taking the place of God and saying we are clearly the ones that can see and can judge. And the verse goes on, “condemn.” Condemn. You see, Jesus isn’t talking about evaluation; he is talking about belittlement, he is talking about defeat, he is talking about destroying someone. You are nothing, you are worthless, these are the kinds of ideas that judgmentalism has. So there is a proper use of evaluation. I’m carefully using that because that’s more constructive. Because the word “judge” can be very constructive. It can also be very destructive. So there’s a proper, there’s a good, there’s a meritorious evaluation that’s judging someone. I see this in your life, I want to help you overcome that. See, that’s not judging. That’s help. When you go to the doctor, like I did this past week, he says here is what I think is going on. I feel judged. Who are you? Who are you to tell me, right, that I need to lose a couple pounds? Who are you? Who are you? And my medical doctor that went to school for how many years says, I’m your doctor, and if you want to be around a while — this was not my conversation with the doctor. It was blood pressure. All right? I’ll be fully disclosing. He said, it’s not your weight. You’ve actually lost weight, and your blood pressure is higher than it was when you were heavier. I thought, well, I’ll go back to my hamburgers. But no, no. And so we’re working on that, and I said thank you, you’re trying to help me, you’re trying to help me overcome this problem, the symptom. And that’s true of Christians. We’re all each other’s doctors. We are all here to help each other grow, to help each other overcome, to help each other to seek healing. Sometimes we don’t have clear eyes to see what’s going on right here, 18 inches below us. You see, in your heart, in your soul sometimes everyone else can see it and you can’t. That’s what Jeremiah said, right? “The heart is deceitful and wicked, who can understand it?” And if that was true, that’s God’s Word saying, who can understand their own heart? I am so blinded by my loves for wrong things that I can’t diagnose myself. And so I need iron sharpening this iron, because I want to stay sharp, I want to stay fresh, I want to stay close to the Lord, right on the edge with the Lord, right at the cutting edge of growth and change in my life and my spirit. And sometimes I can’t see that and you can see that, and a constructive person comes and evaluates. That’s not what’s going on here. Jesus is talking to very religious people who think that they’re so great, they’ve got it all figured out, and they come and they defeat everyone else and say, You’re nothing; you’re worthless; God hates you. And we know churches even today that are known as God hates this group, God hates that group. God hates that; that’s what God hates. God hates judgment; that’s what God hates. You see, we step in the place of God and evaluate with what we think are clear lenses when we ourselves have tainted lenses. The only proper judge is the Lord God, the king of the universe. And what does God do with his proper eyesight and his clear vision into our spirits, what does he do now that he sees? He sends us all to hell, right? Fire and brimstone coming on down. Is that what he does? What comes down? A Savior. See, what comes down from heaven isn’t fire and brimstone, although that’s coming and be warned, but what’s coming first is salvation. What’s coming first is a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, the Savior of the world, who cleaned up this wretched soul and can clean up yours as well. And here in the passage he says don’t judge or you yourself will be judged, don’t condemn and you yourself will not be condemned. When Jesus came down to this earth and began his preaching ministry, does he begin with judgment, does he begin with condemnation? He comes with forgiveness. Remember the man born paralyzed at the beginning of the chapter? Before he even heals the man what does he say? Your sins are forgiven. You see, the religious person would have looked at the man on the mat and would have said, ahh, you’re paralyzed; you’re on that mat because of the sinfulness in your wretched life. How worthless you are. Look at you, you can’t do anything. That’s what a judgmental religious person does, and Jesus says no. I’m here to forgive; I’m here to rescue; I’m here to dine with the drunkards, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the gluttons. I’m here to be with those sinners because it’s not the well that need a doctor, it’s the sick; a doctor who comes and diagnoses a heart. You’ll know the story from John chapter 8 when Jesus is presented with a dilemma, he, the proper judge, the proper one that can diagnose a situation. The Pharisees bring him a woman that was caught in the act of adultery. And I always wonder, why did they catch the woman and not catch the man in the very act? But they caught the woman, they brought the woman to Jesus and said, Moses tells us we’re to stone a person like this. What do you say? Now, is Jesus going to contradict his own word? Jesus wrote the Bible. He’s the one that told Moses to write those commands, he’s the one that directed the Spirit to inspire all of the prophets of the Old Testament. He is the Word, Jesus is. Is he going to go against himself to say no, let’s ignore Moses and not stone the woman? And you’ll remember what Jesus said. What does he say? “You who are without sin be the first to cast the stone.” In other words, if you are a hundred percent pure, you’re the one that can throw the stone. One by one the Pharisees, the religious people left, one by one; and alone Jesus stands with this woman at his feet, all the scribblings on the ground you’ll remember. And Jesus, the only one left who is in a right place to throw the stone, he says, “Where are those who accuse you?” She says, “They’ve all left.” And you know his reply? “I don’t condemn you either.” You see, that’s why Jesus came to this earth. We know John 3:16, right? “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, his one and only Son, that whoever believes in that Son will not perish but will have eternal life.” We know John 3:16. Do you know 3:17? Let’s look it up. Go to John 3:17. John is one book after Luke, so just a couple pages later, 3:17. We’ll see some magic words that appeared in Luke 6, they’re now appearing in John 3:17. Listen to it. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the Son of God.” What do we see going on here? God’s default position is to patiently offer forgiveness, offer forgiveness. Whoever believes and takes Jesus at his word, whoever receives that offer is forgiven. And so God’s default position is not condemning, not judging, but rather forgiveness. The Son came into the world not to condemn the world. See, he did not come to condemn the world but what? What does 17 end? But that the world might be saved through him. Jesus was sent to save us, not to condemn us. And so if your default position is to say: pfff, what a jerk; phff, what an idiot; phff, that person’s worthless. So we’re just quick on the draw, quick to find who’s in, who’s out; who has worth, who’s worthless. If that’s your default position, if that’s your go-to action and attitude, listen to God’s default position. God who sees clearly, God who knows what’s going on when no one else sees what’s going on in your heart, he sees that sin, and his default position is I want to forgive, I want to save. That’s his first approach. But hear what happens in verse 18. I read that as well. “Whoever believes is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned because he did not believe in the Son of God.” So God isn’t leaving everyone off the hook. There is a judgment day in store, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has nothing to do with this judgment day, it’s the Lord Jesus Christ. “Terminator 2,” that’s where we were headed with that one. All right, for all you kids out there, that’s what that was, Arnold. Jesus is going to come back; he is going to judge the world. God has fixed a day in the future where he will judge the world through this man, Jesus Christ, whom he raised from the dead, Paul says in Acts chapter 17. And so there will be that day, but God’s default, God’s first approach is calm, is forgive, is love, is be patient, is to save. That is God’s default position. If you’re in Luke 6, go back one verse from where we started. Look in verse 36. “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” And you’ll remember where we left off last Sunday. Where we left off last Sunday was we are called not to act like the world acts but to act the way the Lord God acts. If he is your father, then let daddy rub off on you, his son, his daughter. Let you act the way he acted. That’s what’s going on continuing in verse 37. If you’re going to continue to be like the Father who’s in heaven, who his default position is not to judge but rather to save, and so your default position needs to begin to be his default. Your first approach with someone who treats you poorly or clumsily does something that really is idiotic, and your position needs to be “whoo,” which is different than “phff.” Right? There’s a difference between these two immediate reactions. And so with our parenting we need to be patient with our kids. With our love for someone in our life, a family relationship, we need to be patient and endure and pray for them and help them to overcome and not to criticize, belittle, destroy. Right, our default position needs to be love, care for, seek the best for, save the way that Jesus did. So judge not and you will not be judged, condemn not and you will not be condemned. Listen, God promised us an amazing promise. In Romans chapter 8, verse 1: “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” And if you deserved God’s punishment and wrath and he did not give it to you because of the cross of Jesus Christ, though you did not earn his release of anger upon you, he did release his anger from you because of the blood of Jesus Christ who stands in the way, who extends the gap and bridges the gap between God and man. Jesus did that for you, you did not do that yourself. And if he did this for you, even though you did not deserve it, then the person that you think deserves your judgment upon them . . . Man, God really did deserve to judge me and he chose not to, and so I’m not going to judge — because he’s not condemned me though I deserved it, so I’m not going to condemn even if I think that person does deserve it. This is all what not to do, what not to do. The stereotype is that Christians are all judgmental hypocrites. Have you ever heard that? Ever heard that? And I’m the king of the judgers because I’m the pastor, and pastors are the worst of this, at least the stereotype goes. I’ve endeavored in my six years with you to not be that way; to not criticize unnecessarily, to evaluate but not look my nose down at people. Especially when there’s gross sin in someone’s life, to help them overcome rather than to drive a wedge between them and the Lord that’s even further than the wedge they drove. And so I think it’s important that in our day we recognize the stereotype. I think the stereotype is false, because I think — I know kind of most of you, and I think most of you aren’t that kind of person. Anyone is? No, don’t raise your hand. But if you are, are you? Are you fulfilling the stereotype? Us Christians are a bunch of bigots, a bunch of judgmental, worthless snobs. That’s the stereotype. I think it’s false. But I think it’s prevalent, I think a lot of people stay away from churches because of it. And so knowing what our stereotype is, knowing what people think about us, I think we need to rise above and prove the stereotype wrong; not just endure the stereotype and not act the stereotype but actually go above it and try to prove it wrong. Let me show you that this isn’t true. Let me love, let me embrace, let me care for, let me be with the drunkard, tax collector, prostitute, sinner. Let me be with them, love them, show them the love of Jesus, and let me go above the stereotype and break the barriers that so many people think we are bound and enslaved by. I think if you want to join me in trying to break the stereotype, get out your connection card. This is just you and the Lord, you’re just giving this over to God. God, I’m deciding from this passage to not act that way and in fact to rise above it and prove that stereotype wrong. That was a religious class. That is not us, and I will refuse to allow people to think that that’s the kind of group we are. And if you want to join me in trying to rise above that stereotype, just check off that first connection point on your connection card. “I will do my part to change the false stereotype of the judgmental Christian.” It’s too prevalent in our day. Let’s prove it to be wrong, let’s show it to be wrong. Here’s one way to break that mold, the end of verse 37 going into 38. We talked about what not to do, let’s talk about what to do. If Jesus doesn’t want us judging, hating, condemning, destroying, what does he want us to do? Well, the end of 37 moves into this, still under our first point. “Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, it will be put into your lap. For with the measure that you use it will be measured back to you.” Instead of seeking to destroy, God is saying let us strive to actually build. So many people want to tear down people and destroy their reputation, and too many people want to do that. And Jesus is saying no. Instead of destroying things, build things; build people up, care for people, forgive them, and give, forgive and give. And so helping people, identifying needs and actually helping people; not just riding on autopilot, blind to everyone else’s problems, just clocking in, clocking out, ignoring everyone else’s issues. No, but to identify a need and try to lift that circumstance up. This is what Jesus calls us to do. When someone does you wrong, it is your opportunity to show them I am not a judgmental Christian, I am not the stereotype, so I am going to forgive you even when you’ve done me wrong. I’m going to care for people. Give is what 38 says, give, and it will be given to you. He goes on, “good measure, pressed down.” He’s saying this is how you are to be generous, not just give someone and slap it away and forget that you did it and ignore them from here on out. No. He goes on to describe the way that you are supposed to give. When he says good measure . . . all right, that the cup is actually standardized, that you’re not just carelessly measuring, but it’s a good measure, it’s a reliable measure. You got out the measuring cup, you measured out a cup of flour. It’s measured, it’s standardized, it’s the fair thing to do, you treat people fairly. That’s what good measure is all about. But not just treating people fairly, not just giving them what is owed for the standard, but then he says packed down, shaken together. This is an illustration of the baker’s dozen. All right, I’m going to pack that flour down and pour in even more and then shake it all together and pack it down. This is making me very thirsty for coffee because in espresso you take the grounds and you put them in the bowl, and then you tamp them down so you get even more coffee in there. Oh, and it’s such a beautiful thing. And you wonder why I need blood pressure medicine. All right. That’s the culprit. Shaken together, running over, and I just see all of this beautiful tiger-stripe espresso coming into my cups, and oh, it’s just beautiful. Because why? Because I was generous with the beans, and now it’s being generous with the caffeine. You can coin that phrase. Running over, and it will be put into your lap. No, I want it put down my gullet. Oh, espresso is just wonderful. But put into your lap, so here, here. I was generous, I gave. I didn’t just carelessly gave, I measured it out and I packed it down and I gave you even more, and here. And let me put it in your lap, this is a gift for you. I picture Christmas Day, and the giver is putting — you’re all sitting around the living room and putting the gift in the recipient’s lap. This isn’t just with your name on it, this is here, I’m presenting it to you. And Jesus is saying if you treat people that way, the Father in heaven is going to treat you that way, and then everyone else is going to treat you that way; that when we care, we will be cared for, right? With the measure that you use it will be measured back to you. And so God is saying I’m keeping score. I’m in heaven watching what you’re doing, watching how careful you care or how carelessly you care or how blinded you are to the world’s problems. I’m watching. Would you invest a little bit more? Would you be more intentional with your concern for people? This is what Jesus is calling us to do. Not just to not destroy but to actually build up; and too many of us aren’t doing either, we’re just in the middle living our own self-centered life. He’s saying don’t destroy, don’t be lazy; actually build other people up, actually invest in others. Which draws me to your connection card again. On our second point of the connection card, it says “I will identify and meet the need of someone in my community this week.” It might sound like we’re a broken record because we say something like that every week. That’s not because we’re lazy; we actually craft that statement every week a different way. It’s because we actually want you to care for your community, get out and do something, care. Maybe it’s going to Relay for Life and walking with someone down the path and talking to them about their cancer and how Jesus is hope in that hopelessness. Maybe it’s helping out with Luke’s Closet at Northern Lehigh. Every other Saturday they’re up there. And maybe it’s joining Don and helping out with our quarterly Food for the Hungry, and we’re preparing meals for people here at the church. Our first opportunity is Tuesday, March 15. All right. And that’s coming up, so be thinking and praying about that. We’ll get some signup information next Sunday. But identifying some kind of need and actually proactively doing it. Not just praying that it happens, not just hoping someone will step up, but you stepping up to identify and meet some kind of need. Let’s talk about why. Why should I not treat people horribly? Because they’re clearly worthless, I’m clearly better. Well, because God wants you to be humble the way he’s humble. That’s probably the short answer. Let’s read verse 39 through 42. He gives an extended answer. “He told them a parable.” Parables always explain the command that he just gave. That’s what parables are for, to give you a story of why the command makes sense. Here’s the story, verse 39. “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into the pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he’s fully trained will be like his teacher.” So two parables, 39 and 40, two parables, both with the same idea. Here’s the idea. If you are judgmental the way that everyone else in the world is by default, we tend to be judgmental people. We judge people by the color of their skin, we judge people by the language they speak, we judge people by how much is in their wallet, we judge them by what’s in their wallet, we judge them by what kind of car they drive. We judge people by, you know, put the best foot forward. Oh, well, your best foot is not as good as my best foot. We watch shows like Jerry Springer and Montel Williams and all of those kinds of shows. What are those shows about? The parade of idiots that you are clearly better than. That’s why people watch those things, because you are clearly better than anyone on that station. That’s a judgmental spirit. So we see our society is just filled with this kind of judgment. And Jesus says here’s why you don’t act that way. If you’re acting like that, it shows that you are blind; and if you’re trying to help someone, you’re the blind man leading the blind man. What do I mean by that? Grace. The concept of a gracious God who treats people graciously, that message is the glasses that keep you seeing. When I treat people in a judgmental way, I’m taking off the grace glasses and I’m evaluating people on what I see. And God says we walk by faith, not by sight. The grace glasses help me to see inside a heart instead of what the outside is showing. The grace glasses help me to see my own heart before I begin looking at your heart. This heart was wicked and desperate and in vile wretchedness before God, and God in grace forgave me. He loved me despite myself. And now he calls you, wear those grace glasses. You love wearing them when you’re looking at your own heart; now wear them when you’re looking at someone else’s heart. Instead when you think you’re trying to help someone by judging them: “What in the world were you thinking when you did that?” Right, so you’re trying to help them. That’s not helpful. That’s destructive. And you’re destroying their reputation, you’re destroying any motivation within them to actually try, because when you treat someone like they know nothing, then they feel like I don’t know anything, how could I possibly get out of this ditch; because I’m clearly an idiot the way that that person told me I was. And so you’re the blind leading the blind. You’re both going to fall in the ditch, you’re both going to be trapped by your own blindness. When we by faith choose to wear the grace glasses when we look at our own heart and when we look at other people’s heart, it teaches us patience; that God worked with me over the course of these many long years to bring me to where I am, so I’m not going to expect that they’re going to “whammo” change, but I’m going to patiently endure with them as we walk this road together. See, that’s grace, and that’s me seeing so I can help the person that’s blind. That’s me having taken the plank out of my own eye so I could put on the grace glasses, right? Now I can see so I can actually help you, I’m not blind. I’m wearing God’s grace glasses. Then the next section, verse 40. “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he’s fully trained will be like his teacher.” This goes both ways. When from the pulpit, from the religious leaders they’re teaching their people to be very religious but very judgmental, when Pharisee-ism and legalism is the par for the course and the drink from the spigot and everyone’s drinking the judgmental legalist Kool-Aid, everyone is going to be judgmental and you are going to end up like me. So I got to bone up and make sure I’m the person that I want you to become. Paul put it this way: “Imitate me the way that I imitate Christ.” This is not easy stuff for me to say because I realize my own weaknesses and my own inadequacies. But everyone will be like their teacher. This works in the legalism, that a legalistic teacher is going to create legalistic disciples and followers, and a grace-based leader is going to create grace-based hearers. You will become like your teacher. So I will say evaluate me. What am I never saying that needs to be said? Because I want to train you in all things. I want you to be hearers that hear all of God’s Word and can handle all of God’s Word. What are you not ever hearing that needs to be said? Because you’re going to end up like your teacher. I would also encourage you to think about what you listen to. On television, on the radio, on the internet, on the blogs you read, on your Facebook feed, what are you giving your attention to? Who are you being discipled by? Do you want to end up like that person? We can go off on politics for a million years. Let’s move on. Forty-one. “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” He wants us to use these grace glasses on ourself before we start working on other people. The reason that Jesus wants us to start with ourself before we start working on other people is this: When I never pay attention to me and always pay attention to you, it will create judgmentalism. Because even when you aren’t saying it, you begin to subtly think it: I am way better off than this person is. This person is aimless and hopeless and they need me. You begin to feel much about yourself and less about that individual when you’re only focused on others and never look in to the heart. Why should I look into my heart before I look into someone else? This is why. Because you will always be more patient with yourself than you are with anyone else. Is that true? Parents, is that true? You’re always patient with your own faults, but you’re quick to notice when your kids need some instruction. They’re a kid after all. Well, you’re a kid, too, right? Faith like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. When we begin to do work on ourselves first, it trains us to be patient. Because we do want to treat ourselves graciously, and now that I’ve trained myself to treat the erred person, the person in wrong, when I treat this person with error in a gracious way to help them overcome, meaning myself. Now I train myself to treat someone graciously, now when I start to treat you I’m going to treat you graciously. Why? Because when I’ve received God’s peace, patience, forgiveness, now it helps me to treat you with that peace, patience, and forgiveness also. Notice also in the passage, and this is going to steal some thunder for next week, notice in the passage he never says don’t bother about the speck in your brother’s eye. No. What does he say in the next verse? In verse 43, or the end of 42. Forty-two is a long verse. What does he say? “First take the log out of your eye, and then you can see clearly to help your brother with the speck in his eye.” I just picture this scene of a guy trying to take a speck out of someone’s eye when he’s got a telephone pole sticking through his head. Okay? There’s this really great video on YouTube about a couple, and she’s talking about her feelings. I just feel something right here, and there’s this giant nail sticking in her forehead. And she says, “I feel this tension all the time,” and the husband says, “Maybe it’s that nail that’s sticking in your forehead.” I just picture this guy with a giant telephone pole in his eyeball, and he’s trying to, you know, micromanage everyone and take the speck out of their eye when he’s got this telephone pole. Like take the telephone pole out. When I learn to treat myself with God’s grace and it is his kindness that leads me to repentance . . . Romans 2, verse 4. If it’s God’s kindness that I’ve experienced, now I need to be kind when I’m trying to help you with your speck. The text never says ignore other people’s specks. It says deal with your own issues, deal with your own sins, and then try to help the person. It does no good to try to help the person by judging them to death when you yourself have a telephone pole sticking through your forehead, right? Deal with your junk and then talk to the person about their junk. It has been too often the case when I as a pastor tried to help someone overcome some sin in their life, and they’ve quoted this passage and said I’m out of here because you people are judgers. When they’re sleeping with their neighbor, when they’re lying through their teeth, when they’re treating other people sinfully, you know, they’re gossiping, they’re lying, but I’m the one that’s judging them. And I own that. Like I have to always inspect my heart, why am I coming to this person? Am I coming to look better than they are? Or am I coming to actually lift them up from where they’re living? And friends, we need to help each other lift up. Otherwise we’re all stuck in the mud. We must lift each other up, bear each other’s burdens, and help others overcome their sins. But it begins with myself, it begins with yourself. Until we help ourselves overcome our own sins, we’re never going to be of any help to anyone else trying to overcome theirs. So judge yourself first, and then you’ll patiently be able to judge others in a constructive way rather than a destructive way. The last thing I have for you is on the connection card, this last takeaway. Maybe God is saying to you this is your takeaway from today’s message. “I will renew my appreciation for God’s grace, and I will treat others with the same grace that I’ve received.” Man, if you just walk away saying that is what I have to be doing, that is the Lord’s business in my heart this week, man, that will be so helpful to your walk with Jesus. Because when we think we’re doing this life in our own strength, we’re going to fail. But when we renew ourself in his grace, that will be the strength that carries us through for a better future. God, thank you for your Word, for its power in our lives. We, your people, lay at your feet and say Jesus, this is what we needed to hear, this is you shaping us. And we renew the fact, we renew our awareness of the fact that by nature we treat others in a very destructive way. When we’re not keeping check, when we’re not evaluating our hearts regularly, we will slip into that kind of mistreatment of others, and we resign ourselves to your grace and we feed ourselves upon your love and we’re going to treat others kindly because we are recipients of your kindness and your mercy. We will not destroy others. We will instead build them up in your name. Lord, help us in this endeavor. We cannot do this in our strength. It is a work that your Spirit will do in us, and we’re now saying do that work, begin that work all over again. Start from scratch and build up the beauty of your grace in our lives. Lay brick upon brick as we grow in our faith, that this grace and this appreciation of grace and this giving of grace to other people, undeserved favor to other people. Oh, Lord, we will change the world if we treat people that way. Your love will impact hundreds and thousands of lost people when we, your people in this congregation, begin doing that for insiders and for outsiders. Again we resign ourselves to your truth that says they will know, the world will know that you are my followers when you love one another. And so help us to love one another; help us not to judge each other and destroy each other and chase each other away but to bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. We pray for this. Lord, I pray in this room if — there’s a vast number of people with a vast experience and story. Many of us knew you from the day that we were born. Our parents raised us to love you, we decided early in life to trust in you, and we’re growing in that faith all these many long years. Others of us came to you very recently. A very, very hard life, hard story, but we came to you and you changed us with your mercy. Others of us, we’re still not yet there, we haven’t yet decided to follow you. And friend, if today’s the first time you’re hearing of God’s love, that God didn’t come to judge us and condemn us but to save us, but you’ve never experienced that saving grace of God, maybe, friend, today is the day that you need that. Maybe today is the day that you will for the first time experience that. And so I pray, Father, that you would show those who need salvation, show them that they need it, show them that you love them. I can’t convince anyone. It’s your Spirit that will show them that God truly does love them. And friend, if you want to ask Jesus to come into your life, to both save you and direct your steps going forward, you can just pray with me in the quietness of this moment. If you’re ready to ask Jesus to come into your life and begin a friendship with God, no one is looking, everyone’s eyes are closed; would you just slip up your hand so I could pray with you and lead you in this way? It’s a beautiful experience to trust in Jesus as your Savior. Friends, let’s pray. If you’re ready to pray that prayer, would you just follow me with your lips, with your heart towards the Lord. Lord Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God, that you came down from heaven to save me. But that’s never happened, and I want it to happen. Today, Lord Jesus, would you save me? Come into my life and forgive me of everything wrong I’ve ever done. I believe that what you did on the cross did save me, that you shed your blood to give me life, you breathed your last so that I could breathe my first. I pray, Lord Jesus, that you’d come into my life. Help me to overcome the sins that so quickly ensnare me and trap me. Give me strength to say no because on my own I never could. Save me, I pray. Friend, if you pray a prayer like that, you’re no longer my friend, you’re my brother, you’re my sister. Welcome to God’s family. Christian, I would ask you, if there’s something that God and you need to talk about, would you just talk to him during our last song? Just talk to him. You don’t need to sing, just sing in your heart to the Lord. Talk to him about maybe you’ve been too judgmental and that needs to stop. Maybe you have been called by God to help someone, but you didn’t want to look like a judge, so you never tried to help them, and God is showing you now I need to start trying to help that person. Whatever it is, friend. Maybe you were mistreated by others judging you, and you need God’s cleansing love to come in and wash away those painful memories. Whatever it is, just talk to him while we sing, and as we do so we’ll give you honor and glory, Lord Jesus. Amen.