NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (March 17). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning. This sermon is part two in a series that deals with some of the most commonly misunderstood and misused Scriptures. The series title is I Do No Think It Means What You Think It Means. This second sermon in the series deals with Matthew 7.1 and is entitled “The ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Verse.” Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below are from the CEB.
To examine familiar Scripture more closely, so as to correct our misunderstanding.
• Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will stomp on the pearls, then turn around and attack you. (Matthew 7.1-6)
• Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. (Matthew 7.15-17)
• … be wise as snakes and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10.16)
• Don’t judge according to appearances. Judge with right judgment. (John 7.24)
• So don’t judge anything before the right time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring things that are hidden in the dark to light, and he will make people’s motivations public. Then there will be recognition for each person from God. (1 Corinthians 4.5)
• In the case of prophets, let two or three speak and have the rest evaluate what is said. (1 Corinthians 14.29)
• Brothers and sisters, don’t say evil things about each other. … There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you? (James 4.11-12)
• … don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God … (1 John 4.1)
Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.
1. What do you do to help you decide when you must make a very difficult decision?
2. In what ways is “judge” today’s “J” word? Give some concrete examples.
These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.
1. Who is giving the judgment we receive in Mt. 7.2: others, God, both, or can’t say?
2. What is hypocrisy and how does it relate to any of the texts above?
3. What is the connection between Mt. 7.6 and the statements preceding it (vs. 1-5)?
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.
1. What’s the difference between discernment/testing and judgment/condemnation?
2. What damage results from giving (or receiving) judgment/condemnation?
3. How have you been hurt by words of judging directed toward you or how have you been helped by realizing you were guilty of such yourself and then fled from it?
4. What fades in Christian faith when the exercise of discernment/testing diminishes?
5. What is necessary in a Christian’s life for them to grow healthy discernment/testing?
6. What are some practical steps you can take to avoid giving judgment/condemnation?