Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 8
Today, we come to the very last in a series of messages which I entitled it "Appropriating the Happiness That's Already in You," and we're gonna see this "By Judging Carefully". What is this judging that Jesus is talkin' about? And probably out of all the passages in the Scripture, this one is the most misunderstood by vast number of people whether they're Christians or not. So what is this judging? Is he saying that we need to suspend our critical faculties? Is he saying that we just need to accept falsehood and never say anything about false teaching, that it's being false teaching? Should we just accept it? Is Jesus telling us to accept sin and rebellion without any complaint and take them as an acceptable thing? What is he saying? Well, what does that mean? No, our Lord is not telling us to turn a blind eye towards sin and rebellion.
Jesus is not telling us to turn a blind eye or be willingly accept perversion and say, "Well, that's okay". No, no, no, no, no, no. Remember, this whole Sermon on the Mount that we've been going through it, that we've been spending quite a bit of time with it, going through this, we saw the entire time there is a contrast between true religion and false religion, between the spiritual truth and spiritual hypocrisy between God's righteousness that is in Jesus Christ, imputed on the believers, and self-righteousness between the truth and falsehood, between the internal faith and the external rituals and the appearances of the Pharisees, between God's way and man's way. It's a contrast all the way through.
In fact, if you go down to verse 15 of Matthew 7, you see our Lord Jesus saying, "Beware of false prophets. Beware of false prophets". In other words, you need to judge between those who speak truth and those who speak falsehood. We need to judge messages whether they are sound doctrine or false teaching. We need that, to "beware of false teachers". That is one of the warnings our Lord gives us. So what is this, what Jesus mean by this, "Judge not, lest you be judged"? The Greek word for "judge" or "judging" is "krino". That's K-R-I-N-O, "krino". Now, here's the bad news, okay? There are 12 different shades of meaning to that word, and that is why I told you, people really get them confused. Twelve different shades. You say, "Well, how do we know"? From the context, from the context. So what does Jesus mean here in Matthew 7:1, "Judge not"? First of all, to is referring to judging of another person's motive. You see, judging motive, literally, the Lord is saying is a no-no. No one can judge another person's motives except God himself.
Now, we can judge action, we can judge words, we can judge policies, we can judge activities, but we cannot judge motives. Secondly, it is a reference to hasty judgment, hasty judgment, judging before all the facts are in. You know people like that, judging before all the evidence are in. Proverbs 18:13, said, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it's folly". Only God is omniscient. Only God has all the facts in hands. Only God sees the past, the present, and the future, but there's more. There's more. Hasty judgment is often merciless judgment, often merciless, and merciless judgment manifests a wrong view of God, who's a very merciful God, and that is why judging motives is the same as playing God. It's playing God.
Now, I want to make this very abundantly clear. Jesus is not, not, not asking us to stop discerning and denouncing sin, but he is saying, "Don't be quick to judge your brother or your sister's motive". Why? Because the very standard by which you're gonna judge your brother or sister's motive, God is gonna use that same standard by judging your motives. And so, my beloved friends, first of all, judging motives can distort our view of God. Judging motives, secondly, can distort our views of ourselves, can distort our own views. Look at verses 3 and 4. I want you to use your imagination, just for a few seconds, okay? Use your imagination. Imagine you are watching or looking at a comic strip, seriously, and here is an eye surgeon, and he is performing a very delicate eye operation in order to remove dust from the eyes of his patient, but instead of a magnifying glasses so he can see clearly, he's got two logs in his eyes. There are two logs blocking his vision.
You say, "Michael, that is ludicrous in the extreme," and you'll be exactly right, and that's what Jesus is saying here, but it's all connected. When we judge a person's motive, your view of God becomes distorted, and when your view of God becomes distorted, your view of yourself becomes distorted, which brings me to the critical person again, hah, the person who's constantly judging another person's motives, particularly in the body of Christ. He's talking to the believers here. I'm gonna show you how he switches, but he's talking to the believers. Judging motives is counterproductive.
You see, the reason why we often look for something to criticize and somebody else is because we are internally holding something that's even worse as diversion. As we've been seeing throughout the series of messages, the worst sin is the sin of self-righteousness. The worst sin is the sin of self-righteousness 'cause a self-righteous person can never be saved. Jesus said, and I preached on this in the last several weeks, "unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees..." You say, "Wait a minute, these guys are meticulous. How can anyone to have righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the Pharisees"? Yeah, the righteousness of Jesus. That's the only righteousness that surpasses those guys, and he gives it to us. He imputes his righteousness on us, so God the Father looks upon us as if we have never sinned.
See, that's the worst sin, self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is the person who sees no sin in their own life, or even if they see sin in their life, they minimize it. They rationalize it. They ignore it, or they, oh, blame somebody else for it. Please hear me right. Jesus is not saying to turn a blind eyes on your brother's sin, not at all, not for a moment, but you better do some self-examination and do some confession and repentance of your own sin before you can point your finger or help somebody else over their sin. Once you're able to mourn over your sin, and that's the very, very, very first message, "Blessed are you who mourn over your sin". That's the first of the beatitudes, and once you're able to mourn over your sin, once you're able to repent of your sin, then you're able to help your brother or sister. Only then will you be able to see their sin in proper perspective. Only then will you be able to see God as the only perfect Judge.
Now, you notice from the Scripture, there always is a balance here between one's confession of their own sin and then able to help others with their sin. You remember the story of David, I know you do, and Bathsheba and Uriah? And he, just, was going along his happy, merry way until the prophet Nathan comes in, and he confronts him, and then he cries buckets, and he repents, and then he writes Psalm 51. It's the Psalm of confession. There's a balance in that psalm, and I wanna show it to you. I'm gonna show it to you in black and white. What does David say? "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit". What is David doing? He's doing self-examinations. He's taking the logs out of his eyes. He's confessing his own sin, and then and only then he's able to say, "I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You," only then.
Beloved, you cannot minister effectively to another person when you have a sin in your life. You have to first repent of your sin. Any confrontation of sin in another person's life must be done, beloved, listen to me, must be done in meekness. It must be done in humility, not in pride, for we have nothing to brag about except the blood of Jesus Christ. This whole time that we just been looking at so far, Jesus is talking about brothers and sisters in Christ and families and homes and church family, but then at verse 6, he literally switches gears. He switches gears, and same theme but different application.
Now we're going from dealing with sisters and brothers and then going to dealing with those outside of the Christian faith, with those who are nonbelievers, the ones who have rejected the truth. He tells us how to deal with those too. He tells us how to deal with those who have perverted the truth and twisted the truth, and hear what Jesus is saying: "If and when they've rejected your message, you've witnessed to them and they rejected your message, what you need to do is just leave them to me". Sadly, there are too many Christians, are so busy shooting at each other and attacking each other, they don't have any energy left to witness to the outside world. They're so busy shooting down the saints, they don't have ammunition left to tell people about the love of Christ.
Look at verses 7 to 12, of Matthew 7. Look at them with me. Instead of shooting the saints, what you need to do is pray. Ask, seek, and knock, because you have a benevolent Father, a merciful Father, who wants to give good gifts to his children, and we saw that in the last message. He wants to give good gifts to those who are broken in spirit. He wants to give gifts to those who trust him and trust his promises. He wants to forgive, and that is why, as a forgiving heavenly Father, he said, "Ask". Because he is so wise and a wise heavenly Father, therefore, Jesus said, "Seek". Because you have a generous-hearted Father, "knock on the door," and keep on knocking. "Who of you, when your child asks you for something good, you give him a scorpion or a stone"?
But Jesus is not talking about material things. God promised his provisions, that he's gonna provide. He's gonna meet all the needs of those who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And here, he's talking about spiritual blessings that is beyond our ability to comprehend. God's common grace is like the rain and the sun. They come on everybody, believers or nonbelievers, but there is a special grace that God promised only for those who put their trust in him, that he have promised those who place God as the Master over every aspect of their life. Don't miss this. Jesus is saying to his own about the spiritual blessings that comes with salvation: daily forgiveness, daily deliverance, daily peace, daily contentment, daily increase in faith, hope, and joy, daily victory over Satan, daily triumph over temptation, ah, daily victory over the critical spirit, and daily overcoming judgmentalism and judging motives.
Someone will say, "Well, Michael, if God knows all of our needs, why do we ask, seek, and knock"? That is a great question. I am so glad you asked it. This is really a great question. I have a three-pronged, and these are not three points, but there are three things, very quickly, I'll tell you. It won't take but a minute. In fact, if you blink, you'll miss 'em. I have a three-pronged answer. First of all, prayer suppose, or presupposes knowledge. So what is "knowledge"? God, knowledge of knowing that God only gonna give you that which is according to his will, therefore, it is our responsibility to discern the will of God. How do you discern the will of God for your life? By getting to know him. I'm not talkin' about know about him. A lot of people know about him, but getting to really, really know him?
And, beloved, listen to me: Whatever it takes, however long it takes for you to get to know God and spending time with him in his Word, you need to do it. There is no substitute for it. That is the only way you become discerner and a discerning believer. Secondly, prayer presupposes faith. It's one thing to know the will of God, and it's another thing to trust him that he's gonna fulfill his will. Beloved, I've been there many times. In fact, I'm gonna tell you more. One time, I was absolutely certain of the will of God. I mean, I heard God literally, audibly, but it took six years for him to fulfill what he already promised. I could've given up, and I was tempted many times. Even when others give up, even when others get impatient, even when others move on, even when others say, "Whoa, God is not giving me what's on my grocery list. I'm out here".
Ah, but you keep on trusting. Keep on believing. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking because, if your prayer... and you're praying according to the will of God, sooner or later, God will answer that prayer. Beloved, listen to me, God's delay is not always denial. And the third thing I wanna tell you in answering your wonderful question, "Why do we seek, ask, and knock"? Because prayer presupposes desire, a longing in the heart. You have to have that longing in your heart 'cause you may know the will of God, you might even believe that God's will will be fulfilled, but it's really having the desire for the will of God. If you desire the will of God with all of your heart, you will discern that he and his will for you is never punitive. Did you get that?
He loves you too much for that, and he will always, always, always give you what is best for you because he sees the future, and you don't. He will always give you that which is for your best interest in the long run. We're always thinking about the short run, but God is thinking of the long run. When you desire his glory above everything else, when you come in total agreement with him, he will bless you out of your socks. I know of what I'm talkin' about. That is my testimony. It really is my testimony.
In fact, these three things, asking, seeking, and knocking, they are in the present imperative. This is not "take it or leave it". This is in the present imperative. Those of you grammarians, you all understand what I'm talking about. But not only that, they are in the ascending order. They are in the ascending order. Before you ask, you must know, what you're asking is according to his character. According to his character. And when you know what the will of God is, you must unfailingly believe that he will grant it. If it took years, he will.
Now, beloved, as I said, I've been there on several occasions. One time, it took six years. I said, "Lord, I know, I know, I know that's your will," but he let me wait and wait and wait, and the longer I waited, the greater the desire of my heart for that will of God. He was preparing me. He was preparing my heart to receive because I would not have been prepared to receive at the time. Sometimes, people that pray the will of God and they want the will of God, but they don't have a prepared heart to receive the will of God. How to overcome the critical spirit? How to overcome judging other's motives? By spending time with him in his Word, asking, seeking, and knocking, and never give up.