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Splinters and Logs; Pigs and Dogs (Matthew 7:1-6)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Splinters and Logs; Pigs and Dogs”

(Matthew 7:1-6)

Series: God’s Fulfilled Promise [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

February 3, 2019

The Passage

Matthew 7:1-6

1 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. 3 Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. 6 Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

Introductory Comments:

What do splinters and logs, pigs and dogs have in common?

They are all found in Matthew 7:1-6!

Today’s passage also contains one of the most misunderstood and improperly referenced verses in Scripture. 

Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.”

Rarely when someone references that verse do they use it in the way that Jesus meant it. 

So, as we look at today’s passage, we’re going to learn what Jesus meant when He spoke those words. 

Further, we are going to learn about splinters and logs, as well as pigs and dogs. 

This sounds like a lesson that may come from a 4H class or at the county youth fair. However, this is indeed part of the famous sermon that Jesus is delivering on the mountainside. 

The Sermon on the Mountainside is contained in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, and today we are starting chapter 7. 

Let’s pray together as we dive into this passage. 

(Prayer)

Remember that Jesus is telling us how to really live as followers of God our Father. 

One of the warnings He gives us repeatedly is to avoid hypocrisy. We are not to be hypocrites! We are not to be fakers!

In today’s passage, He speaks about hypocrisy again, and He does so in the context of judging. 

So, let’s look at three choices we are to make regarding judgment. 

First, . . .

  1. Don’t judge others (1-2) [on screen]

This is very clearly spelled out in verses 1 and 2. Let’s look at those verses again. 

1 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.

Jesus says very clearly here that we aren’t to judge others. We must ask the obvious question, “What does Jesus mean here by the word judge?”

The judgment that Jesus is talking about here is harsh and extreme judgment, which is based on our opinions and ideals. 

This is not judgment that is based on the godly accountability towards fellow Christians, or discernment towards the beliefs of non-Christians. 

You might ask, “How do you know that, pastor?” Well, there are two main reasons I know this and you can know this also. 

First, we’ll see in verse 5 that Jesus tells us that we can, in fact, make some sort of judgment towards others (we’ll look at that in a minute).

Second, the pages of the Bible are full of commandments for us to make judgments, and rebukes, and corrections towards people. God’s Word would not contradict itself in this way. 

So, there is a certain type of judgment that we are to avoid. 

We are not to judge others with pride, arrogance, and evil in our hearts. 

We are not to judge in a way where we think we are superior to others. 

We are not to judge in a way where we are playing the place of God. That’s the main point here. 

As we finish this passage, we’ll see Jesus is saying that judgment is a matter of the heart for us. 

In the same way that Jesus says in Matthew 6:14-15 that we will not be forgiven if we don’t forgive others, so also, Jesus says in verse 2 that if we are harsh in our judgments towards others, we will also have harsh judgments placed against us.

Again, what Jesus is saying here is that this type of attitude of judgment towards others is evidence that we have not truly been changed by God, and as a result, we are still subject to the judgment of God. 

If you’ve been changed by Jesus, live as someone who’s been changed by Jesus!

We’re not to play the place of God. God can see the heart; we cannot. 

Make a choice not to judge others. 

Next, we see that Jesus gives us this fantastic illustration to understand what He’s talking about. 

Through this illustration, we’ll learn this second choice we are to make:

  1. Do judge yourself (3-5) [on screen]

Look at verses 3-5. 

3 Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

This illustration is splendidly simple, yet supremely specific. We know exactly what Jesus is getting at here. 

Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy in our judgment towards others when we have our own major issues for which we should be judged!

(pause)

There’s something about the way that we operate as humans that it is far easier for us to judge others than it is to judge ourselves. Jesus is calling us out on this!

Jesus is calling us to look at ourselves. We must look at our own sins! We must look at our own hearts! We must judge ourselves!

This idea of self-reflection is rampant throughout Jesus’ sermon on the mountainside. 

We must examine ourselves. 

We notice the smallest sin in someone else: just a splinter, just a speck; but we don’t notice the huge sin in our own hearts: a massive beam of wood!

Illustration: when I was in high school I was the editor of the yearbook. I remember getting angry with one of the section editors because their section wasn’t just perfect. Later on, when the yearbook came out we found out there the worst section in the yearbook was the JV baseball section. Also, there was a graduate whose picture didn’t make it in the senior section. She was left out of her senior yearbook! Guess who was in charge of both the JV baseball section and the senior section. It was me! I was the one with the two biggest goofs in the yearbook. I was too busy worrying about someone else’s section that I failed at my own responsibility. 

Jesus says that when we do this we are hypocrites. We are fakers, not genuine followers.

However, if we deal with our sins first, we are living the way Jesus tells us to live. We are faithful followers. 

(pause)

Notice, also that Jesus says that if we do remove the log from our own eye, then we will indeed be able to see better to help the person remove the splinter from their eye. 

So, we are allowed to make judgments about sin in the lives of others, and we are even able to help them in overcoming their sins, but only after we have subjected ourselves to vulnerability and repentance. 

This whole process is to be guided by humility and holiness. 

So, in order to be a faithful follower of the Father, you should judge, but that judgment should be directed to yourself. 

Finally, make this choice:

  1. Do use good judgment (6) [on screen]

Now, this is a different kind of judgment. This is what we could also call discernment. 

Look at verse 6. 

6 Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

Now, if there is ever a confusing verse, this is it. However, with the help of God’s Spirit, we can understand this. 

I’m going to tell you what it means and then walk you through it. 

Here it goes: what this verse is saying is that some people will not be receptive to the truth of God’s love and His ways, and we should not waste our time continuing to share it with them. 

Now, let’s walk through this.  

First of all, we see these two references to animals: dogs and pigs. 

Dogs were scavengers during the time of Jesus. They were not pets. They were more like possums or raccoons. They weren’t like American dogs today. There were not cute and cuddly. You didn’t keep them in your house, and you certainly didn’t pay $1,500 for them. They were unwanted. 

Jesus speaks of a type of person who is like a dog in the sense that they are like scavengers who don’t really value what is holy. 

Pigs were unclean to the Jewish people. They are also scavengers. They eat slop. They eat anything put before them. They have no discernment and you certainly wouldn’t trust them for determining what is valuable and what is not.

So, we have these two types of animals.  

Second, we see this idea of not wasting what is valuable before those who don’t appreciate it. 

We’re not to give what is holy to dogs and we’re not to throw pearls before pigs. 

Those things will be destroyed, and we can even get hurt, or trampled upon, in the process. 

Now, we shouldn’t read too much into every aspect of this illustration, but the point is clear enough. There are some who do not value the truth of God once we share it with them. 

Once the beam of wood is out of our eye, and we are at a point where we can share God’s truth with someone, we should do so. However, sometimes those people will not be responsive, and we should practice good judgment in those situations. 

It’s important that we understand that the dogs and the pigs are not just a certain class, ethnicity, nationality, or even religion. Rather, these are people who have no appreciation for the truth of God and continually reject the proclamation of the Gospel. 

Jesus gave similar instructions as this when He sent His disciples out to share the truth of God two by two. 

Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 10:1-12

1 After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 3 Now go; I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 6 If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they offer, for the worker is worthy of his wages. Don’t move from house to house. 8 When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’ 10 When you enter any town, and they don’t welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We are wiping off even the dust of your town that clings to our feet as a witness against you. Know this for certain: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. [on screen]

Clearly, Jesus has set a precedent and given us instructions for proclaiming God’s truth, and doing so with discretion and discernment knowing that some will reject it. In that case, we must continue on and share with others because there are so many who need to hear the saving truth of God’s great love. 

Next week we’ll see that Jesus says His blessings are freely available. We simply have to ask for them and seek them. However, if someone rejects His blessings we are to find someone else who will treasure them for what they are.

Give God’s love away to anyone that will receive it because there are so many who need it!

Concluding Thoughts:

We must first focus on our holiness and be prepared to faithfully share the love of God with others, both those who need loving correction and those who need to hear the truth of God for the very first time. 

Don’t judge others with harsh judgment, do judge yourself, and use good judgment when sharing God’s truth.

Here’s our bottom line this week:

Bottom Line: Judgment is God’s, so look out for the logs, and don’t waste time on the dogs. [on screen]

(repeat)

Get your heart right and get your head right. 

Be humble, be holy, be compassionate, be wise. 

Again, the point here about dogs is not to share with a certain type of people while excluding others, but to move on to the next person if someone rejects your sharing of God’s love. 

Be prepared to share with anyone and everyone and keep sharing! You will find those who are receptive because God is calling people to salvation and they will respond!

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Stop and watch for logs. [on screen]

You better believe that the logs are more dangerous than the dogs.

The sins that are in your heart are way more dangerous to you than those that may reject God’s truth. 

Deal with the beam in your eye before you do anything else! Get it out!

Examine yourself to look for the logs and deal with them and don’t let any others come into contact with you!

  1. Seek to bring people closer to God. [on screen]

Gently and lovingly rebuke those who are in sin. 

Share God’s truth with all who are willing to hear the message of God’s great love. 

Seek to be compassionate towards others and cautious towards your own sin. 

Closing:

Jesus is telling us how to really live as a follower of His. Does it matter to you? Are you listening?

When’s the last time you’ve looked at the sin that may be lurking in your heart? Ask God to forgive you and take it from you. 

Have you ever received the valuable treasure of God’s love and forgiveness? Don’t reject it. It’s the most priceless inheritance in all the world. It’s freely offered to you today. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Living for Jesus

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Don’t forget about our Soup-er Bowl Fellowship tonight at 5:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. I hope you bring out your best soup, chili, or sweets. There will be a prize for the best soup and a prize for the best chili. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Bond of Love. 

(Sing Bond of Love)

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