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Responding to the Sins of Others - Part 2

Tom Pennington • Matthew 7:1-6

  • 2013-09-15 AM
  • The Sermon on the Mount
  • Sermons


Well, I invite you to take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 7. Last week we began the final chapter of our Lord's most famous sermon, "The Sermon on the Mount." And we come back to the first few verses of Matthew 7 this morning.

The people of our world are characterized by a critical, hateful, judgmental spirit. You see it everywhere.

William Hendriksen wrote, "The inclination to discover and severely condemn the faults real or imaginary of others while passing lightly over one's own is common always and everywhere."

It's pervasive. There isn't a single one of us in this room that has not been harshly critical toward the sins of others while overlooking, excusing, downplaying our own. But this critical, judgmental spirit, however pervasive it may be in the world in which we live, our Lord is telling must not be, must not be accepted, must not be tolerated among us who are disciples of Jesus Christ.

Let me read for you again the paragraph we're studying, Matthew 7 beginning in verse 1.

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces."

As I pointed out to you last week, this is part of a larger section that begins in Matthew 7:1 runs down to verse 12. And this section deals with our relationship to others. Verses 1 through 6, the passage we just read, specifically tells us how to respond to the sins of others. Verses 1 to 5 how to respond to the sins of fellow believers, fellow disciples, and verse 6, that sort of hard to understand enigmatic verse, deals with how to respond to the sins of antagonistic unbelievers. We're studying then, in the first 5 verses, how to respond to the sins of other believers.

Now, because this passage has been so terribly misinterpreted, so terribly abused, last week I explained to you what Jesus did not mean, and I just want to remind you of this in case you weren't with us, or you've forgotten, you need to put it in this context.

We know, in light of the rest of Scripture, that Jesus did not mean, when He said, "do not judge" that human courts should never seek to determine human guilt or innocence. He did not mean that the elders of the church should never settle disagreements between believers. He did not mean that we should never identify and confront false teaching and false teachers.

And fourthly, He did not mean that we should never confront the sins of others. As we discovered last week in a number of places in Scripture, we are commanded to do exactly those things. So, if Jesus didn't mean those things, then what did He mean? Well, He meant that we must respond to the sins of other believers with grace according to verses 1 and 2, with grace. Notice how verse 1 begins, "do not judge." Now that cannot mean that we are not to judge in any way, that we are not to evaluate, that we are not to discern, because in the context that's clear. In verses 3 through 6 we have to judge who is a brother and who isn't.

Down later in the chapter in verses 15 and 16, Jesus calls on us to judge who are false teachers by their fruits. So, Jesus is not forbidding all judging, all evaluating, all discerning; instead, He is specifically forbidding having a harsh, critical spirit. We are not to be judgmental. We are not to be censorious. We must never delight in criticizing and finding fault with others. In other words, we are to respond to the sins of other believers with grace.

And Jesus tells us why, notice as verse 1 continues. He says, I want you to stop judging others with a harsh, critical spirit, so that you will not be judged. This is a divine passive as are the rest of the verbs here in verses 1 and 2. He's talking about, not if you judge other people are going to return that judgment in kind. He's saying if you judge, God is going to judge you. Do not judge so that you will not be judged by God, for in the way you judge God will judge you. And by the standard of measure you use, it will be measured to you by God. God is going to deal with you as you deal with others.

Now, that doesn't mean that in the eternal judgment, in the judgment seat of Christ that you are going to be judged harshly. Remember that, in fact, we stand before the judgment seat of Christ not for our sins, those were judged completely and finally and ultimately on Jesus Christ. We stand at the judgment seat of Christ to be judged based on our works, whether we will receive a reward, or whether we will not. What He's talking about here as in this life, He's going to deal with you as a Father in disciplining you in this life in the same way that you respond to the sins of others. If you respond to the sins of others here, whether actual or imagined, with a harsh condemning spirit, then you can expect God to be harsh in His discipline of you in this life. If on the other hand, you are gracious and merciful toward others, then you can expect God to respond to you in the same way.

Let me just say, if you are characterized by a condemning critical spirit, if you rarely extend grace to other people, then it's highly unlikely that you have experienced the grace of salvation. Because people who have acknowledged their own sin, who have received the grace of God, regularly, systematically extend that grace to others however imperfectly, and although we might sin from time to time with a harsh judgmental spirit. So, we are to respond to the sin of other believers with grace.

Now that brings us today to verses 3 through 5, and those very familiar images of our Lord. In these verses our Lord teaches us that we must not only respond to the sin of other believers with grace, but we must also respond to the sin of other believers with humility, with humility. Now in verses 3 and 4 He begins by explaining to us how pride responds to the sin of others. He wants us to see the contrast; ultimately, He wants us to move toward responding in humility. But to help us see it, He shows us how pride, our pride, responds to the sins of others. First of all, in verse 3, pride will make us quick to notice the sins of others and be blind to our own. Notice verse 3, "Why do you" Stop there a moment.

You know, throughout this sermon, Jesus has done something interesting, and you can see it easily in the Greek text, It's not quite as obvious in the English text. In the Greek language there are pronouns that are clearly singular or plural, and that includes the second person pronoun you. In English "you" is singular, and "you" is plural, and you have to distinguish it from the context. In Greek that's not true. There is a singular "you," and there is a plural "you." Same thing with the ending on the verbs, it can be clearly singular "you" as in one person "you," and it can be plural as in "you all" – to use a southernism.

Now, in the first two verses, as He often does, as Jesus gives the general principle, He speaks to you all. All of you who are My disciples. But here in verse 3 He gets individual and specific. The "you" that begins verse 3 is singular. He says when you and you and you are doing this. So, notice again verse 3, "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"

Like others of Jesus' illustrations, I think you have to read this with a smile. There is humor intended in this, it's an intentional sort of overplay, an overstatement, that if you really try to imagine what Jesus is describing here, it's humorous. I think Jesus is undoubtedly remembering the nearly twenty years that He spent in the carpentry shop before He began His ministry. And this picture comes very clearly out of working in such context.

The Greek word for speck is used of a small piece of straw, chaff, that fine dust that blows away when the grain is winnowed, or wood. It denotes something quite insignificant, a speck, a splinter, a chip, or even a piece of sawdust. Jesus says, "why are you fixated," [that's the idea behind that verb at the beginning of verse 3,] "'why are you fixated on the piece of sawdust in your brother's eye, but you do not notice the log that is in your own eye."

Now the word for log in both secular Greek and in the Scripture is used in a variety of interesting ways. It's used of a piece of heavy timber. We're not talking about a 2 by 4 here. We're talking a piece of heavy timber that's used for example to hold up a roof. These are rafters, beams, huge beams to support a structure. They're used of the bars that were placed on massive gates to keep the doors from being accessed from someone breaking it down, a beam of wood.

In fact, one of the most interesting uses of this word, Josephus the Jewish historian uses this very word that Jesus uses here that is translated log, to describe the huge beam of wood that Titus Vespasian used as a battering ram when he assaulted the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. According to Josephus, that battering ram was the size of the mast of a ship. And on the front of it there was a huge piece of iron that had been cast into the shape of a ram's head, hence battering ram. This battering ram was so heavy and so huge Josephus said that, when it first, just once, struck the walls of the city, the massive brick walls of that city shook, with one blow. That's the very same word Jesus uses here.

Now notice what He says in verse 3. He says, "why do you look at, that is, why are you gazing at or fixated on the piece of sawdust that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice." Here He uses a different word for seeing. The word translated "do not notice" means to observe carefully, to contemplate, to consider, to reflect upon. He says you fix your attention on the piece of sawdust in your brother's eye, but you don't carefully observe, you don't contemplate, you don't reflect on the battering ram that's in your own eye.

Now, this is a common problem. Even secular writers see this in human nature. Horace, the great Roman writer, says, "While you see your own faults with eyes bleared, why is it that in the faults of your friend's your vision is as sharp as an eagle's?" John Calvin commenting on this passage says, "While they are two quick-sided in discerning the faults of others, and employ not only severe, but intentionally exaggerated language in describing them, they throw their own sins behind their back." So, severe, exaggerated language to complain about the sins of others while putting their own sins out of view.

Now notice in verse 3, Jesus is asking a question of us. "Why?" Jesus doesn't ask the question because He expects us to answer. Nor does He expect that there is a valid answer. Instead, He's asking this question in the same way that a parent might ask a child, "why did you run across the second story and jump over the balcony onto the den couch." That question doesn't expect an answer. It's asked to say – that makes no sense. That's what Jesus is saying. Why would you do that? What are you thinking?

Now, the most profound New Testament example of being fixated on the sins of others, while ignoring one's own much greater sins, is what group? The Pharisees, exactly. Turn to Luke, Luke 18. You remember Jesus tells a parable here, He tells a story. Luke 18:9 and here's the reason He told it.

"He also told this parable" Luke 18:9, "… He told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and they viewed others with contempt:"

And by the way, the two always go together. Either you see yourself for all your sin, or you're self-righteous. Those are the only two possibilities. And He told this parable to those who trusted in themselves that they were pretty good. You know, I'm really not that bad. It's not that they denied they had any sin. Pharisees didn't do that, they just didn't see their sin as very significant, and they viewed others as really sinful.

He says in verse 10, "Two men went up to the temple to pray," This would have been one of the two times a day when Jewish men went up to the temple, at either the time of the morning sacrifice or the evening sacrifice. They went to pray, and one of them was a Pharisee. This would have been the social elite, the top of the ladder in that culture. This would have been the guy you would have wanted for your next-door neighbor. And the other guy was a tax collector. He was the lowest rung, the lowest of the low, a traitor to his own country. He sold them out for money in conjunction with the Romans, involved with all kinds of seedy people.

Jesus says, "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself." By the way, don't make too much of the "to himself" that simply means he didn't have the chutzpah to say this out loud. But he's talking to God, he thinks that he's talking to God. And he says, "God, I thank You that I am not like other people:"

I'm so grateful I'm not like others, that I'm not a swindler, that I'm not unjust. I'm not an adulterer, ornot even like that tax collector over there. And then he says, "I fast twice a week." That was more than the law required, more than their rules required. "I pay tithes of all that I get."

Here's a guy who thinks he's pretty good. He magnifies what he doesn't do, and says to look at what I don't do. And he magnifies what he does, and putting the two together, he says you know I'm pretty good. Verse 9, he trusted in himself, that he was righteous.

And then there's the other guy. Verse 13, "But the tax collector, standing some distance away," You see here in everything about this guy, he understands the magnitude of his sin. "standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his chest saying, "God be merciful to me, the sinner!"

You know what he really said? This is a whole sermon, but I don't have time. He said be propitiated to me, the sinner. What does that mean? Remember it was the time of the sacrifice. He was saying God let that animal's death be in my place. He got it. This is a perfect reflection of the first beatitude. He understood that he had nothing. He had no righteousness of his own whatsoever. And that all he could do was, as a beggar in spirit, cry out for God to forgive.

And Jesus says, "I tell you, this man went to his house justified." In other words, God in a moment of time declared that tax collector just. This is justification in the ministry of Jesus.

Now go back to Matthew 7. Because, unfortunately, Jesus doesn't just see pride and self-righteousness in the Pharisees. He doesn't just see this tendency in the scribes and Pharisees. By the way, when I was reading, I hope, when I was reading that Pharisees' self-description, you were remembering last week in Matthew 23 Jesus' description, when He said, "you're like white washed tombs that look really good on the outside, but inside you're full of death and decay and uncleanness." So, here's a guy magnifying the sins of others, and minimizing his own, and magnifying his own righteousness.

But this tendency isn't just with the scribes and Pharisees. Here in Matthew 7, Jesus says I see this in My followers, verse 1, stop judging. Verse 3, why are you doing this, why are you noticing the sins of others and not your own. So, understand then, pride will make us quick to notice the sins of others and blind us to our own, just like the Pharisees. We will excel at inspection and fail miserably at introspection. Pride does something else though. Pride will also make us quick to correct the sins of others and to tolerate our own.

Look at verse 4, "Or how can you say" [or how dare you say] "to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold the log is in your own eye." Here's how seriously our own sin can ruin our spiritual perception. We not only ignore the battering ram in our own eye, and fix all our attention on the speck in our brother's eye, but in our self-righteousness, we even decide he needs our help. And so, we volunteer to help him. By the way, this doesn't mean we should never help our brother with his sin. At the end of verse 5 He's going to tell us that's exactly what we ought to do. What Jesus is saying, how can you volunteer to help your brother when you're ignoring the beam in your own eye? You say, does that happen? (chuckle) All the time.

Let me show you the classic example of a believer doing this. Turn back to 2 Samuel, 2 Samuel 12. You remember the story of David, how he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then he had her husband put at the front of the battle, Uriah, where he would be exposed. And then the fellow soldiers were pulled away so that David didn't kill him technically, the other army did. But David was every bit responsible for that murder, as if he himself had done it. But David lived as best we can tell, from putting the text of the Old Testament together, David lived with that sin, those terrible sins without repentance for at least 9 months. And that brings us to chapter 12 verse 1.

"Then the Lord sent Nathan (the prophet) to David, and he came to him and said," [Now stop there a moment. You know how this story goes, and you know it's really a parable of sorts. David didn't know that when he's hearing the story. This is the same thing that happened to him all the time. Men from throughout the kingdom would come when they had a problem, a case that was hard to solve. They would come and say here's the case, lay it before him and ask for his legal opinion. That's exactly what's happening here. So, as far as David knows, this is a real situation.]

Nathan says, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many great flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb" [One little female lamb] "which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, … [it] was like a daughter to him." This is a little pet lamb. This is all this guy has, and it's like a pet to the family.] "Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling" [The rich man was] "to take from his own flock or his own [vast] herd[s], "To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man's female lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."

Now, don't forget what's going on here. For nine months David has lived in unrepentant adultery. He has lied. He committed an act of murder, and he's just been told about a man who stole and killed someone's sheep. Watch his response, verse 5. "Then David's anger burned greatly against the man,"

[By the way when you are often angry with the sin of someone else, it may very well be a reflection of your own struggle with hypocrisy and a beam in your own eye. David gets mad about this guy,] "and he says to Nathan," [and you see the false spirituality here,] "As the LORD lives" [You mean the very Lord against whom you've sinned these nine months?]

"As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die." [Not technically, because the Old Testament law didn't call for the for capital punishment for someone who stole, it was supposed to be restitution. But David is mad about this, he can't believe this, how would anyone dare do this?] Verse 6,

"He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion."

Here's David with a massive battering ram in his own eye, and he is angry that someone would have stolen a little pet lamb. And [then] "Nathan … said to David, "You are the man!" You are the man. This is how pride always responds to the sin of others. It causes us to fix our attention on the sin of others when we are blind to our own, and it encourages us to correct others while we are tolerating our own.

Go back to Matthew 7 and notice verse 5, because in verse 5 Jesus describes how humility responds to the sins of others. He's shown us in verses 3 and 4 how pride responds. Now watch how humility responds. "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Jesus explains here how to respond in humility to the sins of others.

First of all, accept His diagnosis of hypocrisy, accept His diagnosis of hypocrisy. Jesus says you're living in hypocrisy. Now why does He say that? Because here's a man who plays a part. He pretends so that he can hide the reality of his own sin and guilt from others. Sin and guilt which he, at first, is painfully aware of. But one of two things eventually happens. When you begin to play and pretend that you don't have sin, and you act more spiritual than you are, and you cover and hide and downplay your own sin, one of two things is eventually going to happen.

Either you will eventually confuse your act, your pretense with reality, and delude yourself into thinking that you have actually become what you started out pretending to be. You will become convinced that you are actually better than the people around you, that it's not just an act, that you really are, and you'll become completely self-deceived, completely unaware that you have a beam in your eye at all. Or, the other option is, you continue to be aware of your own sin, but you just downplay it, excuse it, ignore it, act like it's not as serious as it really is. But at the same time, continue to sit in judgment on others.

Sinclair Ferguson writes, "To have strong feelings about the sins of others that are not matched by a ruthless dealing with our own sins is hypocrisy." If you are harder on the sins of others than you are on your own, it's hypocrisy. He goes on to say, "And further outbursts of anger can be the expressions of a heart that does not know how to say, there, but for the grace of God, go I." We must accept Jesus' diagnosis, it's hypocrisy.

A second way that humility responds to the sins of others is to take the log out of your own eye first. Again, notice verse 5, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye."

Now, try to picture what Jesus is describing here. Try to imagine an ophthalmologist, someone who does surgery on eyes, trying to do surgery on you, maybe to remove a cataract, or maybe to deal with glaucoma, or whatever it might be, while he's got this massive battering ram sticking out of his own eye. It's a pretty humorous picture, but that's the very thing Jesus is describing. He's saying it can't be done. You got to first get the log out of your own eye. You've got to get the beam out of your own eye.

Why is the beam in our eye a problem? Well, first of all, it keeps us from accurately evaluating our own sin. You've got a beam in your eye, you miss your sin. Jesus uses a speck of sawdust versus a beam to show the relative magnitude of the sin in our lives versus the sin we're trying to correct in others. We can become consumed with the relatively small and insignificant sins of others when compared with our own. Why? Because the sin of self-righteousness, and the sin of showing no mercy to others are greater sins than the sins we see in others. So, the log keeps us from an accurate assessment of our own true spiritual condition before God. So, it keeps us from evaluating our own sin, but the log also keeps us from accurately evaluating the sin of others.

In the sight of God compared to our own sin, the sin of another believer might be no bigger deal than a piece of sawdust. But that's not how we see it when we've got the log. We are convinced that the other person's sin is far more serious than our own. Ours is relatively small and insignificant. John Stott says we have a fatal tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the gravity of our own. And by the way, let me just say this happens in all our relationships, but this is a real temptation in the context of marriage and particularly where there are troubles in the marriage.

The log in our eye also keeps us from seeing well enough to actually help the other person. This is why, in the same context in Luke 6 in the parallel passage, Jesus says, it's like the blind leading the blind. You've got a log in your eye, you're not going to be able to see to help the other person. So, we must first take the log out of our own eye. What does that mean?

It does not mean, listen carefully to me, it does not mean that we must never notice anyone else's sin or attempt to help anyone else in correcting their sin until we have completely corrected every fault of our own. None of us is completely free or ever will be completely free of fault or sin. That's not what Jesus is saying. What He is saying is this. We must repent of our own sin before we can help others deal with theirs. And then there's one other part of responding in humility to another believer's sin, and that is, then we can help our brother with his sin.

Notice how verse 5 ends, "then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Understand that getting the log out of our eye first doesn't mean that we don't have a responsibility for our brother even if it's just a piece of sawdust. We do. But if we have renounced and repented of particularly heinous sins, then we can help others deal with their relatively smaller sins. And when we do attempt, and we must attempt to help others to remove the specks from their eyes, it must always be in a spirit of humility. That's what Jesus is saying.

This is what Paul says as well. Turn over to Galatians 6:1. He says, "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass," [Some brother of yours is caught in a sin,] "you who are spiritual" [That doesn't mean you're a spiritually elite person, you've got to be a pastor or an elder, that's not what he's saying. He's saying if you're walking in the spirit, if you've confessed your own sin, if you're endeavoring to walk in obedience,] "you who are spiritual, restore such a one" [This is your responsibility, try to restore them, but do so in the right way, notice this.] "in a spirit of gentleness;"

And in a spirit of humility, "each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." [You see a truly humble response to the sins of others says] "there but for the grace of God go I."

As we prepare our hearts for the Lord's Table, we each need to deal with the sin that's in our own heart. It may be a piece of sawdust, or it may be a massive beam, a beam to which our self-righteousness has completely blinded us.

But how? How do we take the log out of our own eye first? Let me give you a couple of practical ways to approach this. How do you do it?

Number one, sit in judgment on your own sin. Instead of sitting in judgment on the sin of others, sit in judgment on your own sin. Now understand that sometimes we know exactly what our sins are. We are painfully aware of them. But what have we done? Well we're tempted to downplay them, to ignore them, to excuse them, to underrate their seriousness compared to the sins of others. We get used to those sins that are a part of our lives, and we begin to act as though they are not really that bad. We need to ask God to give us a fresh glimpse of the sinfulness of our sin.

Other times, however, we are completely blind to our own sin. I mean Jeremiah the prophet says in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is … deceitful … [above all things and terminally ill,] Who can [know] … it?' [You can't know your own heart.] You remember what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:4, he said, "… I am conscious of nothing against myself." [In other words, as far as I know everything's right between me and God. No issues. No sin.] And then he says, "[but] … I am not by this acquitted."

You may be sitting there this morning saying, I don't know of anything, I'm fine. But that doesn't mean you are. So, this is a problem. How do you take the log out of your eye when you don't know if you have a log in your eye? You pray what David prayed in Psalm 139:23 and 24. You pray, "Search me. O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any … way in me, [that causes You pain] And lead me in the everlasting way."

You say, God, even as I have had to do this week as I prepared this message, Lord I'm not aware of a beam in my eye, but it may be there, and I'm unaware of it, show me. Open my eyes through Your spirit and Your word to see. The Spirit convicts, convict me, let me see it so that I can deal with it. That's what you need to pray as well. And then, when you see it, when you see the guilt of your sin, confess it to God.

David did that when he finally saw it. I love Psalm 32:5, "I acknowledged my sin to you, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my … [acts of rebellion] to the LORD", and You forgave the guilt of my sin." [We serve a forgiving God who, if you will sit in judgment on your sin, He will forgive.]

There's a second step that's very important though. Not only should you sit in judgment on your sin. If you're going to take the log out of your eye, you've got to sit in judgment on your sin, and secondly, you've got to be willing to turn from that sin and pursue obedience. You see a lot of Christians spend their lives confessing. Lord, here I am again, confessing, please forgive me. But they take no active steps to cut that sin out of their lives. Listen, Jesus said if your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out. If your right hand sin causes you to sin, cut it off. He didn't mean maim yourself, He meant do whatever you have to do to deal radically with your sin.

If you're going to show God you're serious about your repentance, be willing to do something to move toward cutting that sin out of your life. It may mean turning off the television, or it may mean putting an internet filter on your computer. It may mean getting rid of the internet altogether. It may mean changing jobs – whatever your specific sin is. I don't know what it requires, but the point is, be willing to take active steps to pursue obedience.

Those two things together constitute true repentance. Sit in judgment on your sin. By the way, that's what confess means. In 1 John 1:9, "if we confess our sins." The Greek word is "homologeo." If we say the same thing about our sin that God says, if we sit in judgment on our sin as God would, "then He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And then be willing to turn from your sin and pursue obedience.

It is that sitting in judgment of ourselves that we're supposed to do when we come to the Lord's Table. Turn to 1 Corinthians 11. First Corinthians 11, you're familiar with it. Here, Paul explains the Lord's Table, and then in verse 27, he says, it is possible to eat and drink the Lord's Table "in an unworthy manner." How do you do that? Well, the Corinthians were doing it by taking care of themselves at the love feast that accompanied the Lord's Table and not taking care of their fellow believers.

But there's another way, notice verse 29, or look at verse 28, "But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup." You need to examine yourself. "For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks God's judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly."

In other words, if you undervalue what's happening in the Lord's Table, if you don't take it seriously, if you're sitting there taking the Lord's Table thinking, what's for lunch, and when do the Cowboys start.

It says you better not take this lightly. "For this reason" [for this drinking in an unworthy manner] "many among you are weak and sick," [God's disciplined, He's chastened and a number have died.] Now watch verse 31. "But if we … [judge]" [There's that word] "if we … [judge] ourselves rightly," [Then we wouldn't face God's judgment, His chastening.] What we're supposed to do right now is to sit in judgment on our own sins.

Let's do it together. Take a moment, prepare your heart as the men come.

Our Father, we do sit in judgment on our sin. Each of us is aware of specific sins that are in our own hearts and lives and right now, Father, we each, from our hearts confess those sins to You. We judge them as You have judged them. We take full responsibility. We don't blame our parents or our environment or anything else. We blame ourselves.

And Father, we plead for Your forgiveness. We express to You a desire and a willingness to turn from those sins, and we will take whatever steps we ought to take in wisdom to cut those sins out of our lives.

But Father, we're also aware that there may very well be sins in our lives even massive blinding ones of which we are unaware, and so we pray with David, search us, O God, and know our hearts, and see if there is any way in us that causes You pain. Help us to see it by Your Word and Your Spirit and help us to genuinely repent.

But Father, every sin that we know of, we confess and seek Your forgiveness so that we can eat and drink of this amazing reminder in a way that honors what our Lord did for us. Prepare our hearts now to remember Him.

We pray it in His name, Amen.

The Sermon on the Mount