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Defending Against a Critical Spirit

October 1, 2017:  Matthew 7:1-6 Defending Against A Critical Spirit!    Matthew 7: 1-6:“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  3 “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? 4 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? 5 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. 6 “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 turn and tear you to pieces.   The one verse that it seems as though every non-Christian knows is Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  This is I believe the most misunderstood verse in the bible.
  • Paul - II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training and righteousness.”
  • Jesus-Matt 7:15: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
  John 8 3-11 tells us what Jesus wants us to hear: 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  11 “No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”   This is the KEY: God Always Focuses on Restoration…Not Condemnation!   God’s Word gives us Correct Discernment so that we do not Judge incorrectly. Luke 7:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. The Christians Standard for discernment is God’s Word!   Matthew 7:16-20 says, By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.   What Fruit??   The Fruits of God the Holy Spirit!! Gal 5:22-23:   “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.   It is easy even as Christians to be guilty of a Critical Spirit, or Condemning Judgments.  One defense against a critical spirit is, to evaluate the standard that you use to judge.
  • Matthew 7:2: For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
  Romans 2:1-3, 6  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment…6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”   Here is What I have Found…When I use Jesus as My standard…I realize that I am Not perfect…And it changes my Attitude toward my brothers and sisters in Christ! God’s Word Gives Us Perfect Discernment   There are three poisonous “roots” that support the critical spirit tree:
  1. Thankless Instead of being grateful for every gift, action, or kind word, the critical spirit weighs everything against an imagined standard of unattainable perfection and gripes and grumbles when it falls short. It complains about what it doesn’t have instead of appreciating what it does.
  2. Selfishness. Critical spirits reside in people who expect and demand to be served. They believe their needs should be met first, their wants attended to quickly, and their preferences honored.
  3. Critical spirits build themselves up by tearing others down. Pointing out others’ failures, errors, and flaws, makes them feel smug, smart, and superior.
  There is a cure for a critical spirit, although it’s often a slow and painful process. The habits of tearing people down instead of building up, criticizing instead of commending, and griping instead of being grateful are hard to change, but not impossible.  Luke 1:37 assures us that nothing is impossible with God.   Here are four steps to banish this most destructive enemy:   Acknowledge that a Critical Spirit is Sinful. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”   Seeing our negativity through God’s eyes allows us to apply the principle of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sin, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Once we confessed our critical spirits, God can help us gain victory.   Be thankful. Every time you’re tempted to grumble, turn your grumbling into gratefulness.  There is always something to be thankful for in every situation, but we have to train ourselves to look for it.   Fight selfishness. An unselfish heart thinks of others ahead of itself. It gives instead of takes. It serves instead of demanding to be served.   Phil 2:4 gives us a healthy balance: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”   Believe that you are valuable and loved. When we fully grasp that God’s love isn’t dependent on our ability to earn his favor, we can stop measuring ourselves against everyone around us and find our value and self-worth in Christ.   POINT:  The Opposite of a Critical Spirit is a Gracious Spirit.
  • People with a gracious spirit have a deep understanding of God’s mercy & goodness. They’re quick to recognize their own need for mercy and are willing to extend that same mercy to others. They’re also aware that the way they treat others will, in large part, determine how God will deal with them.
  James 2:13 warns us, “So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.”   Today’s Take Home: Don’t let people keep you from Sharing God’s Word in Love!
  • There are times in the body when we will have to make a judgment based on God’s Word, (Matt 18) but if we evaluate our standard, our life and motive, in view of God’s Word with an attitude of Restoration of that Person…God will be Pleased.
  • Satan will try to keep you from Sharing the Truth of God’s Word…So that Lives will Not be changed. Resist that Temptation to be Mum…It is the Our Great Commission.
  • The KEY…Is to focus on Restoration of a Life or a Relationship with Love!