Kingdom Discernment

March 10, 2024 | Kyle Bjerga

Kyle Bjerga emphasized the importance of not judging others while being aware of one’s own flaws. He warned against self-righteousness and encouraged discernment without condemnation. There are biblical examples to illustrate removing personal sin before helping others. Christians are encouraged to welcome others without judgment and to offer mercy rather than condemnation. Kyle expressed gratitude for the church’s welcoming nature and encouraged continued grace.


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Matthew chapter seven, verses one through six. Do not judge or you too will be judged for in the same way you judge others you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured. It will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there’s a plank out of your own eye. And then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not do God do not give dogs what is sacred. Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Thank you, Bella.

If you have not turned there yet, you can go ahead and get to Matthew chapter seven. If you’re using one of the black pew Bibles in front of us on page 788. If you don’t have a Bible, then that Bible is a gift from us to you. So please take that today. It is a family worship Sunday. So we’re excited to have the kids up here. Now usually pastor Brandon is preaching and I’m leading the Kids Corner where we would then have all the kids come up here. And we do a little lesson together. But since I’m preaching today, we’re just gonna include everything together. So I’ve got some props, as I often do. And I hope kids that helps you connect with the truth of God’s word, and I think it’s gonna help your parents too. But we love having you guys up here. You are a part of this church. We want you as students, as kids to love the community that God has given you here at Cityview. And just know we pray for you, often. We love you guys. And we want you to know, to love to follow and serve Jesus. And so we love having you up here so we can hear your voices, we can see you open the Word with us. And I would encourage you have your Bible open too. If you need some help. There’s somebody around you who can help you find where you’re going. But let’s jump in today. So my first thing that I want to talk about is for kids and teenagers, I want you to pay attention this and I want you to think about something. How many times do you think you have tattled told on a brother or sister? Because they did something that you did not like? And then my question is, how many times? Do you care when you do that same thing to them? So this is hypothetical never happened, right? Mom, dad? My brother kicked me. Isn’t he gonna get in trouble? Five minutes later, you kick your brother. I’m guaranteeing you don’t walk up your parents say I kicked my brother. I deserve to be in trouble. Now adults we’re not? We’re not in the clear here. Think of work. Think of your marriage? How many of you could list off a whole sheet of paper of things that your coworker does wrong and their job? Or your boss? And they go to marriage? How many of you could write lists of all the things your spouse does that they need to change? And you look at your piece of paper for the things you need to change like I’m doing all right. I’m pretty good. Maybe one or two things, but definitely not a whole sheet of paper. It’s an important thing to consider. Paul David Tripp, who counselor and pastor asked these two questions. He says, whose sin or shortcomings bother you more your own sin, or the sin of someone else? He asked it a different way who are you desperate to see change you or someone else in your life. In many ways, that’s the heart of the passage that we’re looking at today, in the Sermon on the Mount. And as Jesus has been doing throughout the sermon amount, he always gets to the heart. And so we continue this theme of greater righteousness as we jump into chapter seven, this greater righteousness that we’ve talked about for weeks and encourage you to go back and listen to past messages. If you haven’t been here yet, because we’ve been we’ve already covered chapter five and six. But as we get into chapter seven, we’re gonna see specifically, how do Christians navigate relationships? How do we engage with other people? How do we follow Jesus in our relationships? So I have three objects up here today that I hope are going to move us along in the passage you’re gonna see them there in your notes are listed for you. Because I hope that they connect these important things that Jesus is saying, and that the word really sticks with us today. So the first thing that you see in your notes is a gavel. So kids, where would you often see a gavel? Do you guys see these? Just yell it out. courtroom and who usually has the gavel? A judge a gavel represents authority. The judge can bring order to the court. People pay attention, people get quiet. A judge can also pronounce judgment of guilty or not guilty. And I think the reason I have this scale is I think this helps us understand what Jesus is actually saying, and not seen in Matthew chapter seven. So we’re gonna look at verses one and six here in this first point and kind of see what I’m talking about, because there is some misunderstanding of this passage. So look at verse one, do not judge, or you too, will be judged. This is one of the most used and abused verses in the Bible. It is very misunderstood. It’s used by Christians, and non Christians usually would hear it when you say something to somebody, and they say, Don’t judge me. And it’s usually something moral, right? You shouldn’t be doing that with don’t judge me, who are you? To judge me? It’s a common thing, a common passage. Some people know it’s the Bible. Some people don’t, but they use it. Anyway. The problem is, we need to investigate that there’s some verses around this verse that really helps us understand what it means and doesn’t mean. So we’re going to first focus on what Jesus is not saying here. So first, Jesus is not saying that we are never allowed to make any sort of judgment call telling somebody that they shouldn’t judge you is a judgment call. Because you’re saying you shouldn’t do that. And so it is a judgment call. So it can’t be all the time. Because we as Christians are called to say, what what is right or wrong? What is good and bad, what is true or false. Now, the whole sermon on the mount then is telling us that it’s okay to judge. It’s okay to discern things. Because Jesus is saying, This is what it means to live in the kingdom of God. This is what it looks like. And this is what it looks like if you follow the world. How do we know the difference unless we judge and we discern. So that’s been going on throughout the whole sermon on the mount. But even in this passage, just a few sentences later, Jesus tells us this in verse six, go ahead and look at it. He says, Do not give dogs what is sacred. Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces. It’s a little jarring of a verse when you read it the first time. But it does make sense here. Here’s what it’s saying. He’s saying you have holy and precious things, sacred things, holy things that are yours that he has given to us. In Matthew chapter 13, he talks about this pearl, and the pearls, the good news of the kingdom of heaven. So we have this great news, these holy things. And it would be foolish to give those to people who can’t appreciate them. Don’t understand that. The the pigs and the dogs this time were scavengers, you just throw things out there and they would eat it. If you throw pearls to pigs, or dogs and they think it’s food, they’re not going to appreciate the value of the pearls. And so they’re mad that you didn’t give them actual food. And so they’re going to attack you. So what Jesus is saying here is you need to judge between those who are ready to hear the good news. And those who are not. Not everybody is willing and ready to hear. So here’s a scenario that I hope makes the point. Let’s say I take you as a Christian, you have this Holy Gospel message, and you’re ready to share it with somebody and I give you two rooms. And I tell you rule number one is a bunch of people who despise Christianity, who believe all religion is bad for the world who mock it, persecute it, ridicule it, don’t feel there’s anything like sin. They don’t need Jesus. That’s rule number one. And I say over here, rule number two, these are people who know there’s something wrong. They feel there’s something off in their life. They want hope and purpose and meaning they see that what they’re doing is not working. And so I say you have the Holy Word of God, the gospel message, Which room are you going to go in if I give you just one room? Now some of you would say room number one, because you just like a challenge.
And you’re like, well, these people need to hear it. Guess what, both rooms need to hear it. One room is ready to hear it. One room wants it. Desperate to hear it. It’s like Paul, when he would go into a play some people hated his message. Didn’t want him back and others said, We want to hear you again, Paul. We want to hear this message again. Now, it doesn’t mean room number one is never going to hear the gospel. It doesn’t mean that they’re not gonna be ready one day, but I’m just saying right now. There’s some people that if you put the time and energy and effort into sharing, they will not hear it. So Jesus said we need to judge We need to discern, we need to know who is ready to hear this message and who is not. So we need to be wise with the holy things that God has given to us. Okay, so it’s very clear that this isn’t a prohibition against all kinds of judgment. So what is Jesus saying? The word judge in every language, not just in our language, not just in the original language, but every language has multiple meanings. So how do you figure out what it’s actually saying what that word judge means? And I think that’s where the gavel is important here. Because as we take all the verses surrounding this, as we look at this whole passage, what we see is that Jesus is saying, and prohibiting a hypercritical, like self righteous, condemning judgment, a judgment of people who go like that, who make judgments pronounce judgment and condemnation on other people. He prohibits that. So the question is, is, is this a problem for us? So we need to ask some hard questions of our heart. And so I want to ask these, and maybe later, there’s some time for confession. Because these are questions that should penetrate our heart. The first one is, do you find yourself thinking you are better than others? Have you ever questioned the motives of someone’s heart? Even though you can’t know their heart? Do you assume the worst in people? Is everyone guilty? until proven innocent? Do you encourage others? Or are you always the one to quickly point out faults? The things that are wrong? If none of those picked your heart, maybe this one will. If I was to list off some names of people in public life, names, we would all know. Or I would go to your private life and list people in your life that you know how many of you, at some point, have taken the gavel and pronounce judgment on that person.
And when you pronounce judgment, how many of us had hearts that were happy? excited about it. This is a warning passage. This is something to take very seriously, we must be careful. Jesus is speaking against this condemning spirit where we play God. Because God is the only one that has the gavel. So we cannot play God, we cannot judge in this way. That’s why this is here in the Sermon on the Mount. Because playing God is a serious matter. So instead of playing God, what should be true of us, and this is that kind of first fill in the blank in your notes there. We don’t judge. be discerning, be discerning. That’s what the church is called to do. But unfortunately, sometimes because of our own. We brought this on herself in the church, we can concede that we have been judgmental. So sometimes it’s on us other times it’s an a wrong understanding of what judgment actually is. But either way the church has for many become synonymous with Judge mentalism. Just talk to some people and see what they think about Christians or the church. And you’ll probably hear it come up at some point. But this should not stop us from discerning between things that are good and evil, right or wrong, true or false. We judge between these things, because this tells us what is right and wrong, and good and evil, and true. And false. So we must discern between these things, but not at the expense of people. Not destroying relationships over it. Not making others to be our enemy, or removing ourselves so far from them. There is no relationship anymore. Because what did Jesus do? He moved closer to people without ever compromising what was true and false. Right and wrong, good or evil. He moved closer because he wanted to show them that he loved them that his father loved them. But judgmental people aren’t warm and fuzzy. You wouldn’t say that person really loves me. So we need to be discerning but we leave the gavel to gavel goes in God’s hands not ours. Jesus continues to go on in verse two. And he tells us why we shouldn’t judge others. So look at verse two with me. For the same way you judge others you be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. So you guys see this, this measuring stick that I have up here. If I say this is the standard, this is what I say is right and wrong. This is how people should act and behave. And I hold it up to myself. Hey, I’m doing pretty good. Like, I’m exceeding the standard right here. So my eyes I’m, this is a good standard. All right, Shane, how you doing? You’re about two inches. Not so good. I go up in the balcony here, who half an inch. You see it’s prospective. Next to me, this is my standard. I’m exceeding this, but you’re not living up to my standard. But if I was to take this and give this a shame, fellas, give it to somebody in the balcony and say, now, now measure me against my own standard? How will I measure up just like they would be careful with the measure you use, because it will be measured to you. It’s 2024. We’re gonna buckle in for a fantastic year in politics. The reason I bring that up, is because of this. Both sides, measure the other side with a different standard. And then when somebody on their own side breaks their own standard, what do you do? Well get a new standard. It’s what happens, we’ll get a new standard or oh, you know what, ah, we rationalize it. We make excuses. Well, this is why this happened to them. But we don’t really have to hold them to that standard anymore because of these reasons. So dangerous. This is to say this is the measure I’m going to use? Are we really ready for it to be measured against us? We take this warning seriously, because all of us will stand before God as judge. Look at Romans 1410 through 12. We should see it on the screen. Paul says you then why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written as surely as I live says the Lord, every knee will bow before me Every tongue will acknowledge God. So then each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Do we want to stand before God? And say use the same measure I use and other people? Do we really want to say to God that we were comfortable playing the game of being God of pronouncing judgment and condemnation on people? Are we ready for that? Don Carson in his commentary says the point of verses one and two is not that we should be moderate in our judging in order that others will be moderate toward us. There’s an element to that, of course, but rather that we should abolish judgmental attitudes lest we ourselves stand utterly condemned before God. A judgmental attitude excludes us from God’s pardon. It’s very similar to what Jesus has already said in the Sermon on the Mount in chapter six. When he says if you do not forgive others, their sins, your father will not forgive your sins. If we continue in our judgment of others, that may actually be a sign that we have never experienced the forgiveness, the grace and the mercy of God. Or else we wouldn’t judge them by our own standard. So that second fill in the blank that you have there. We don’t want to judge. Instead, give mercy give mercy. You see, there’s only one measure one standard that matters. And it’s God’s standard. And it is a perfect standard. And when it’s held up against us, we fall far, far, far short of it. We cannot attain it. You know what makes his measure even better than ours. When I hold this up, all I can see is the things that you do. When Jesus holds us up, he sees our hearts. He knows our motives. He knows what’s going on inside. He knows that things that other people won’t see us do because we don’t act on that. But he knows what’s actually building up in our heart and our thoughts and our speech. And so when he holds this up, he would be perfectly just to condemn us perfectly just in doing that. And yet when Jesus holds this up, He has mercy and compassion on us. He shouldn’t he should hold us up and say you fail. Take up the gavel condemned judged rightly, by the way that that’s not what happens instead He takes all that judgment, that condemnation on himself. And he hangs on a cross. So that Romans eight, let’s read it again. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life set you free from the law of sin, and death, For what the law was powerless to do, because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. We’re no longer condemned. Don’t meet God’s standard. You don’t need it. But we know the one who does. And he looks at us with charity. I love how RC Sproul says this, he says in light of all this, we should be charitable to a fault with each other, with others charitable to a fault, we should give people the benefit of the doubt, we should see people in the best possible light. Not always negative, not judging, not because they’re so good, or they look great against his perfect standard. But because he is good. And he has changed us and he can change them. So we need to take the gavel. It’s out of our hands, we know the perfect measure has been met in Jesus. And now we move on to the last object, the plank. Look at verses three through five. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank? In your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there’s a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite. First, take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. So the question for us now is when do we judge? Right? When do we judge and so I have a plank.
And we see our brother or sister. And they have a they have a speck speck of sod us in their eye like there’s something there and needs to be removed, we want to help them. And yet we walk up to them and say hey, I want to help you. So there’s a couple things wrong with this. One, we’re going to freak them out when we come with a plank in our eye, but here’s the thing, if I try to start removing that speck of sawdust from there I one I’m going to take out their other eye first. too, if I move I’m going to hit them upside the head. It’s funny, because you think about like the Three Stooges. I grew up watching the Three Stooges. You got these guys wanted to help, they wanted some jobs. And so you’d see them in the lumberyard carrier to buy for or paint their painters, their plumbers, anything that was long on their shoulder, what happened, they started to move, and they started hit people, they start hit paint all over, and they made a mess, and they made everything worse. And it’s hilarious on the screen. But it’s not funny in life. When you think you can walk around with the plank in your eye and help other people out and know what to do. And to not be judging them in those moments. Like we should want to help. But this is not going to be helpful for anyone. It’s a perfect illustration in the Old Testament of this. King David, who had many high highs in his life and many low lows has a very low low in his life when he ends up taking another man’s wife. And then in order to cover up that sin, make sure that that guy dies in battle. And we were in the 10 commandments series last year and walked through the stories that David basically broke almost all if not all of this 10 commandments in this one episode in his life. And when he does this, God sends the prophet Nathan to him. And Nathan is going to tell David a story. Now imagine Nathan walks in before the king and David’s sitting on the throne and Nathan sees this huge plank in David’s eye. And he knows he’s going to tell them a story. And what does he tell him in Second Samuel 12 He tells him a story about a rich man. A rich man and a poor man and this rich man had many sheep, many cattle and the poor man had one little lamb that he loves. And he took care of it. It was like a child to him. And that rich man has a guest come to his house. And instead of taking from his sheep and cattle to make a meal, he he steals and takes the poor man’s one lamb and serves it to his guest as a meal. And as Nathan finishes his story, this will we find out from David In this what happens, David Burns with anger against the man and said to Nathan, as surely as the Lord lives, This man must die. He must pay the lip for the lamps four times over because he did such a thing and had no pity. David sees a little speck in the eye of the rich man, while he’s walking around like this. And Nathan holds up a mirror to David. And he says, You’re the man. It’s you. And what happens in this moment? Is Nathan goes on to tell David the judgment that is coming for him and his house and his dynasty? Because of this sin, because of this plank in his eye, and what does David do? He’s got this plank, and he responds, I have sinned against the Lord. And he goes on to write Psalm 51, in light of this whole episode, repenting of his sin, and taking the plank out of his eye, and resting in the forgiveness, the grace and the mercy of his God. Now, if I’m honest, my temptation, I hear that story is a stand up and say, Come on, David. You know what’s going on? One little lamb compared to what you did. And then I have to step back. But who am I? I’m walking around like this a lot. No, I know that. Because anytime I try to help my kids with anger, it’s usually after I get angry at them. And so my heart breaks when they’re angry. And I want to help them. But I make it worse by blowing up and being angry myself. And then I have the audacity walk in the room and say, let me help you with that. It happens far too often. So it’s good to ask the question, Why am I so angry? Why am I bothered by somebody else’s sin? When I’m not nearly as broken up about my own sin, we need to sit and pause and reflect and hold a mirror up to our face that mirror the best one is God’s word. And say, Lord, where is it in my heart, search my heart, show me show me the plank so that I can remove it. And in Christ, there’s no condemnation, we have freedom to remove the plank. We don’t have to hide it. So that’s what should happen. That’s your third point there that fill in the blank. We’re not going to judge we’re going to help humbly. Instead, help humbly we are going to be humbled by God. And when we are we are better able to help others. So when the question is asked, who has sinned, you care more about yours or someone else? If you can say my sin, now, we’re ready to help someone else. When that question of Who do you want to see change more you or someone else, when you can say I want to see change in my life, now we’re better able to help someone else. Because we’re taking care of our own sin our own struggles first. So if I can wrap all this up, you’ll see the big idea at the bottom of your notes. The big idea here of taking all this together is mercy received should be mercy, given mercy received should be mercy given? And how do we do that we’ve received the mercy of God, not condemnation and judgment. So we take the gavel out of our hands, and we give it back to God because it’s his anyways. Mercy received should be mercy given, we stop using our own measures or the measures of others. Because we know we fall far short of that perfect standard. And we point people to Jesus, Mercy received and Jesus is mercy given to others. And finally, we help humbly we deal with our own sin. And then we’re better able and equipped to help others with their sin with their speck. Because we have to go back to that they do have a speck in their eyes, they do need help. And we can help them once we’ve removed the plank from our own eyes. And so I just want to wrap up by talking to some groups of people here today. The first is if you’re here, and you’re here, because you’re here to see a baptism. Or you’re here because you’re questioning Christianity, you have questions about who Jesus is and what the gospel is. We’re so glad that you’re here. But we also need to say there’s a plank in your eye. You’re going to hear stories in the baptism today of people who had a plank in their eye. And it was the fact that we want to be God. But we end up like the Three Stooges a lot. We think we’re helping in our life and then we just make things worse. But there’s freedom from condemnation. If there’s freedom from guilt, freedom from shame, because of what Jesus has done, God will help you remove that plank, He died for that plank. So lay it down, see clearly. Because there is a God who loves you, a God who wants to be in a relationship with you, to give you that mercy and grace and the mercy you receive, can now be a mercy you give to others. So I’d encourage you to come to him today. If you’ve been walking with Jesus for a while, it’s time to ask them those diagnostic questions. Am I walking around trying to help with a plank in my own eye? You know, Jesus did not harden his hearts towards people who needed help, he softened his heart and we can soften our hearts to as we take care of that plank in our own eye, and then go and help them. So don’t be quick to judge. Don’t play god he has not given us that responsibility. Be smart, discern and leave the judgment to him. Be charitable to all discerning what is right and wrong, what is true and good. Not condemning others, but loving forgiving them and pointing them to Jesus. Kids and students. We want this to be a place where you guys can struggle with sin, and not be judged for it. But to have people who love you enough to say, this can get you into trouble. This is not the path you want to go down. We want to offer mercy, not judgment to you. So I hope you know that this is a place where you can do that. There are people here who love you, and want to help you.
And finally church, we are called to help each other, remove the specks from each other’s eyes. Remove the playing from your own. And then give permission to those around you to say, please help me lovingly rebuke me point out where I need to be called up into godly living, be there to help other people grow in their faith, the best place to do this certain community group and journey groups. But this week, we’re going to talk in community group about that plank in our eye. So bring it up, talk about it, work on it together, remove the specs from each other’s eyes. And in Journey groups who do this all the time, their accountability questions, diagnostic questions of our hearts, and where they are. So encourage you to be in one of those groups to do that, if you’re not already. This is a warning passage. There’s a whole lot of do not in here. But if I can pivot for a moment, I want to encourage you, as a church. I want to encourage you, because as a church, pastors and elders here extremely grateful for who you are extremely grateful for how you have welcomed people into this church. And I say this, because we’ve talked to them. And there are people that have come to this church in the last couple of years who have felt judged by others before, who expected to walk into this church and be judged for what they look like, for their checkered past. For the fact that they didn’t know what to do when they walked into a church. Maybe they look different than us. And what we’ve heard from them, is not this church judge me, but this church has welcomed me in. And I’m here because of them. And that is a testament to you, and your faithfulness to God. And to not judge but to welcome in. But if you’re sitting there wondering, like, I don’t know how all this stuff is supposed to kind of come together. How do we judge but not be judgmental? It’s exactly what I just said. You welcome people in and from this pulpit, we will preach that there is sin. There are things we have to give up in life and repent, have to follow Jesus. But we do it. And we love everyone who’s here. And so that’s just what it means what it looks like to do this. That’s what Jesus is saying, You don’t you don’t judge you love everyone, you give mercy. And when you give mercy, people will start to feel that sin in their life and they’ll start to deal with it, they’ll start to want to take the plank out of their their own eye because they see that mercy. They want to receive it and then they want to give it so can I just encourage you to please keep it up. Keep doing that. Keep being that type of church. Because this is what it looks like lived out. It’s easy to talk about grace and mercy. It’s very hard to live it out. So I just want to encourage you in that because we are encouraged by you. Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for Your Word. We thank you that you have made a way for us to be saved away for us to not be condemned, to not be judged, but to be welcomed and to receive the mercy. Amen.

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