I. Judging Others (1-6)
What does it mean “do not judge?”
Are Christians forbidden from ever judging others?
What does it mean to judge others?
Who is the judge?
If we are not supposed to judge others, then do we just ignore their sin?
So what kind of attitude should we have about judging?
A lot of sinning believers or unbelievers will say that Christians are judgmental and intolerant. They give Jesus’ dealing with the adulteress women as an example that we should we be tolerant. Do they have a point?
How do we balance confronting people with their sin and the fact that God is THE judge? (Use what God said, not our own opinions. Do it God’s way and let His Word do the talking.)
What does it mean “or you too will be judged?” By who?
What does verse 2 mean?
What is Jesus’ point in verses 3-5? How does His use of the word “hypocrite” show us the problem He is speaking against here? How can we avoid being a hypocrite?
What is the practical way we can apply what we learn in these verses?
What do the speck and the plank represent?
What is the meaning of verse 6 and how is it related to the rest of the passage?
James 4:11-12 – There is only one Law giver.
John 3:17 – Jesus Himself did not come to condemn.
Romans 14:1-13 – Let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Romans 2:1-3 – You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on others.
Galatians 6:1 – The spiritual should restore the transgressor.
1 Timothy 5:20 – Rebuke the sinner in the presence of all.
Luke 17:3 – If your brother sins, rebuke him.
Matthew 18:15 – If your brother sins, go and tell him his fault in private.
Verse by Verse Commentary
- Do not judge – Do not be the judge. Do not use your own opinions and thoughts and standards to judge others. God is the judge. God is the one who decides what is right and wrong, not you. This means you should not use your own ideas to judge other people. For example, you should fault another believer for wearing shorts to church or a sister for wearing pants. You should not judge someone for drinking a cup of wine or beer. You should not judge someone for sending their child to private school instead of homeschooling, etc. Does this prohibit sharing your opinions with others?
- It does not mean that you should tolerate or turn a blind eye to other people’s sin – God is the judge, not you. Therefore you can tell other people to follow God’s standards or correct them when they do not. This would mean that use the clear standards in the Bible and not your own standards, ideas, or opinions.
- Or you will be judged – If you tell someone else they should do something, then the odds are very good you will fail in that area someday. When you do, you will be guilty because you did not reach the standard you set for others. I believe God is the one doing the judging here. And He will judge those who cast judgment on others. He will judge them because they fell short of their own principles. And He will judge them because they usurped His role. While it may not be the point of this passage, it is also true that you will reap what you sow. If you habitually judge others, then they may respond to you in like manner. There are some churches where judging others is very common. Judgmental attitudes breeds more judgmental attitudes.
- Verses 3-5 – We should not focus on other people’s sins while neglecting our own. We should always look to ourselves first. We should always examine ourselves and our own hearts and motivations first. Of course this does not mean you have to be perfect in order to correct others. If that was the case, parents could never correct their children. It does mean that you should correct others with a humble and gracious heart. You should not adopt a “better than thou” attitude. You should not blame others and refuse to admit your own wrongdoing. When you argue with your spouse (I assume some of you may do this from time to time) do you always point out their faults and ignore your own? When you teach a Bible study or preach a sermon, do you attempt to do what you tell others they should do? Sometimes we are blind to our own sins, the log in our own eyes. How can we better evaluate ourselves so that we will notice those logs and remove them? Here are some practical applications:
- Be the first to admit you are wrong and apologize.
- Do not be hasty to point out other people’s faults.
- When you have disagreements with others, humbly pray and ask God to show you your own faults and deal with them.
- From time to time ask others to evaluate your character in certain areas. They may be more likely to spot problems you didn’t notice yourself.
- Verse 6 – In verse 5, Jesus said that we can take the speck out of other people’s eyes. We can share the truth of God’s Word with them, provided we do so humbly and with self reflection. But some people do not want to hear it. Some people will not value what they hear, but will instead mock and ridicule. So what should you do if you share the gospel with someone and he mocks and ridicules? The answer is that you should move on. Who would you give a beautiful gift of pearls to? Probably your wife. You would give them to a person who would value them. You would not present them to your pigs as they would not recognize their value. We are to use discernment when we share with others. Invest more time in the faithful and responsive and less time in the hostile and cold. Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out in pairs to share the good news to move on from those villages were their message was not welcomed. Imagine you start a Bible study with someone. That person is always late. He doesn’t prepare. He doesn’t obey what he learns in the lessons. He doesn’t grow. You have to beg and plead with him just to show up. You are investing your valuable time in someone who does not value it. Pray and ask God to lead you to someone who will value the message you are sharing.
II. Ask, Seek, Knock (7-12)
What will you receive? Whatever you ask for?
How should we ask? Who should we ask?
How does this passage motivate you?
What do we learn from Jesus’ illustration?
What logic does He use?
What do these verses show us about God’s heart?
What do these verses show us about our position as God’s children?
What kind of things count as “good gifts?”
How does verse 12 relate to the passage? What does it show us about the importance of our actions toward others?
Piper: “Even bad dads give good things to their children when they ask. God is not a bad dad. He’s the best. Therefore, much more will he give good things to his children when we ask. “
Verse by Verse Commentary
- Verse 7 – There is a simple and practical application here. Ask. Seek. Knock. Do not be afraid to take your requests to God no matter how big or difficult they seem to be. You have a great and powerful and loving Father who loves you and will answer your prayers. See James 4:3. Sometimes you don’t have something because you didn’t ask God for it. Perhaps you didn’t really believe God could or would give it to you. Of course another reason is that your motives aren’t pure. Although the main application here is to take your requests to the Lord and ask Him for your needs, this can also be applied in the world. You want to go on a mission trip, but you are afraid your boss won’t give you time off? Ask. The price on your apartment is high, but you don’t want to move? Ask the landlord for a discount. You need a new job? Seek. At the same time as you “ask, seek, knock” in the physical realm, do the same in the spiritual realm.
- Verse 8 – God will answer those who ask. Notice though that there is not a promise about exactly what God will give you. It says “it” will be given you. What is it? He will give you the thing which you really need even though you maybe didn’t know you needed it. Sometimes what you need is what you asked for and sometimes it is something else.
- Verses 9-10 – Jesus gives the example of earthly fathers. Earthly fathers will not give something bad to their children when they make requests. Note here too, it does not say that he will give exactly what is asked for. Of course we think the loaf and the fish are good, right! Well, if they are, then the father would give it to their children. But there are times when it might not be the case. I read an example of a father whose son asked him for crackers. The father was about to and then noticed the crackers were moldy. So he didn’t give them to his child.
- Piper: “Even bad dads give good things to their children when they ask. God is not a bad dad. He’s the best. Therefore, much more will he give good things to his children when we ask.“ Here is the logic. God is good. He is powerful. Because He is good and powerful, He will give you what is good for you.
- Because you have such a good Father, you should also treat people in such a loving and kind way. This is the “golden rule.” This “rule” which perhaps could be better termed a “principle” will show you how to act and react where memorizing the longest list of rules in the world won’t help you.