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Text Box: Self-Examination


Text Box: (Matthew 7:1-6 NIV)  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 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 is 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.  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 then turn and tear you to pieces.
(1 Corinthians 2:15 NIV) The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgmentÖ
(2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
(Hebrews 5:14 NIV)  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Text Box: In a time where toleration and permissiveness have become the way to avoid accountability and responsibility, those who judge correctly and advocate accountability in Godís eyes are accused of being legalistic and judgmental.  
Such is the situation clearly described here:
(2 Timothy 4:2-4 NIV)  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
In order to preach the Word and hold others accountable to it you must learn to judge correctly.  This involves being able to hold yourself accountable in the eyes of God first (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).  It involves you being able to give a response (an account) that is accurate and true (objective) -- not opinionated, subjective (subject to your emotions or feelings), philosophical or exculpatory.  Jesus demands an account from us, not an apology.
A right attitude and the right motivation are needed to fulfill the righteous conviction expected from Jesusí words in chapter seven.  Jesus taught us in chapter five of Mathew the kind of attitude Kingdom citizens have.  In chapter six He teaches us what motivates Kingdom citizens.  Whereas in chapter five we learned the proper relationship and motivation between God and man, in chapter six we learned the proper relationship between people themselves and God.  What keeps that triangle relationship intact is the cement of conviction that is mixed to perfection in chapter seven of Matthew.  Otherwise, our feelings and emotions lead us astray (James 1:6-8) and make us useless in the Kingdom of God (Jeremiah 13:1-11).
Learning to distinguish between your ways and Godís ways is the beginning of training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). In this chapter we see that the Kingdom citizen not only chooses Godís way of doing things, but demands righteousness from others as well, out of his love for them and for God.  This is why it is so important to learn to judge correctly.  Jesus is not teaching us to be opinionated, He is teaching us to live by our convictions (1 Corinthians 2:15).
When you train yourself to live by Godís Word, you donít subject yourself to manís judgement, but to Godís, for you learn to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).  In this way you will be able to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly In His FootstepsÖ (Micah 6:8).

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Text Box: Self-Examination




Read the first five verses of Matthew 7.Is Jesus commanding us not to judge?Look up judge or judging in a good dictionary to understand all the implications of its usage.Does the first two verses remind you of the saying ďwhat goes around comes aroundĒ?What else do you need to keep in mind when you are judging a situation (verses 3-5)?Read Matthew 18:21-35 to learn about judging in the Kingdom of God.What prompted Jesus to use the parable of the unforgiving servant?Does forgiving someone mean that you donít judge him or her?Does judging someone mean that you are unforgiving?What must be present when you act justly (Micah 6:8; Zechariah 7:9)?This really ties into your own personal life, right?What does Paul command Timothy to do in 1 Timothy 4:16?Can you, in all good conscience, effect righteous judgement when you are not applying Godís judgements to your life?Does this mean you are being merciful? Absolutely not!!!God is righteous and He is just.That is what makes His actions toward us be gracious (Isaiah 30:18).How can we continue receiving Godís kindness, instead of His judgement without mercy (Romans 11:19-22; James 2:12, 13)?



Read Matthew 7:3-6.When are you NOT to judge someone?Does this mean that you shouldnít tell them what is right or what is wrong?What should your desire to counsel and judge someone else bring about in you?Is it OK for you to stop counseling on right and wrong things just because you donít want to change?Do you think this is what mercy is all about?Our relationships need to reflect what Proverbs 27:5, 6, 17 says. Is there any other way to be accountable and hold each other accountable in the eyes of God?Isnít this what Jesus teaches us to do in Matthew 28:19-20 when He says ďteach them to observe everything I have commanded youĒ?How do you judge (discern) who are the dogs and the pigs?What are you encouraged to do if you determine they are dogs and pigs?This teaches us to judge out of love and with the right motives, not for the sake of being critical and opinionated.Donít think critically or air your own opinions (Proverbs 18:2) unless you are going to face the person and gently teach them with all conviction.If you judge those who donít want your counsel, of what advantage is that to you?



Today we will examine what it takes to learn to judge correctly (discern). Start by carefully examining Hebrews 5:11-6:20.Why did the Hebrew writer, who I believe to be Paul, have a hard time explaining spiritual matters to the Hebrews?Are you caught up with the elementary truths of the Word, still struggling with a weak faith when you know what you need to be doing?Is it that you are afraid of the commitment required to be mature in the faith?In this state, are you really acquainted with the righteousness God requires (verse 13)?How do you become mature in your relationship with Jesus (verse 14)?Notice the encouragement from Paul to go on into maturity, beginning in chapter 6.What cyclic behavior does he tie into the illustration speaking of the land that produces thorns and thistles?Do you see yourself as land that receives blessings from God?What kind of fruit are you producing?If you are resistant to change, are you in danger of being cursed and burned? What kind of fruit would you produce if you are maturing in your relationship with Christ (6:7)?How does your attitude need to be like Abrahamís in verses 13 Ė20?Was he lazy or lacked diligence in believing Godís promise to him?



Are you the type to believe anything you read or see?Are you quick to believe what anybody says about God or Jesus, especially when they are talking about something you donít know?In order to judge correctly you need to know how to discern the truth in the word of God.Read Acts 17:11.How were the Bereans different from the Thessalonians?Were they practicing Johnís advice in 1 John 4:1?Were they skeptical or simply careful in what they decided to be convicted by? How did they receive the Word?Paul illustrates to Timothy the importance of correctly handling the Bible in 2 Timothy 2:15-18.What kind of teaching spreads like gangrene?Anything that is not Scripture can turn into godless chatter, particularly political, scientific and worldly talk that is not grounded in the Word of God and therefore worthless and in no need to be proven or supported. Study carefully the following Scriptures concerning this matter: 1 Timothy 6:20, 21; Colossians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 3:15, 16 and Ephesians 4:29)



In the Beatitudes, Jesus balanced the attitude of hungering and thirsting for righteousness with blessed are the merciful (Matthew 5:6,7).I believe these two attitudes always balance each other out.If we crave righteousness and forget how much mercy God has shown us, we can end up being very judgmental peopleóhypocrites (Romans 2:1-5)! Self-examination always accompanies good judgement, just like gentleness and compassion must accompany a good rebuke or correction.Read Matthew 9:36.How did Jesus feel about the people when He saw their sin?Is this how you think about people, especially when they are sinning against you (Luke 23:33, 34)?How many times should you tolerate someoneís faults against you or another?Re-read Matthew 18:21-35.Was the unforgiving servant judging correctly?Why or why not?


Examine yourselves to see whether you are still in the Christian faith. Test yourselves! Ė 2 Corinthians 13:5a


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