Matthew 7:2
For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The Warning in JudgingP.C. Barker Matthew 7:1, 2
JudgingJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 7:1-3
The Mote and the BeamW.F. Adeney Matthew 7:1-5
Sermon on the Mount: 6. Against Judging OthersMarcus Dods Matthew 7:1-12
As we read the Gospel narratives we cannot fail to be impressed with a singular mingling of severity and kindness in the teachings of our Lord. His standard is lofty and he admits of no compromise, yet he deals gently with the erring, and he urges a similar line of conduct on his disciples. He came not to judge the world, but to save it. He bids us not judge one another, while we are to be severe in judging ourselves. Let us consider the evil of censoriousness.

I. IT IS DANGEROUS. In judging others we court judgment ourselves.

1. From men. The critic becomes unpopular. By his irritating conduct he excites animosity, and induces people to be on the look out for his offences. They will be ready to use the tu quoque argument in sheer self-defence. None of us is so perfect as to be able to stand the fire of adverse criticism without a defect being revealed. The fierce light that beats upon a critic should quiet his censoriousness.

2. From God. It is unpleasant for our faults to be exposed by men; it is far worse, it is fatal, for them to bring down upon us the judgment of God. Yet it is the repeated teaching of Christ that God will deal with us as we deal with our neighbours. If we do not forgive them, God will not forgive us. With the unmerciful he will show himself unmerciful. So long as we make it our business to point out the sins of other people there is no hope that our sins will be blotted out (Matthew 6:15).

II. IT IS HYPOCRITICAL. The censorious person is the last to perceive his own sin. It may be huge as a beam, yet he is quite unable to see it while he is busy in hunting for the speck of dust in his brother's eye. There is nothing which so hinders a person from heart-searching self-examination, nothing which so hardens him in self-complacent pride, as the habit of finding fault with other people. The prophet may be a greater sinner than the people whom he is denouncing; yet the very act of denunciation blinds him to his own great wickedness. The English bear a reputation of hypocrisy on the Continent, and are not popular there as a nation, because they are constantly denouncing "continental vices," while dishonesty in trade, self-seeking in politics, and immorality in life belie their exalted pretensions. It is a common habit of Churches to thunder against the heresies and wrong-doings of sister-communions; they would do better to look at home first. Religious people are horrified at the sight of publicans and sinners; but have they nothing to be ashamed of? Comparing their advantages with the temptations of the miserable drunkards and harlots whom they denounce, they might well ask whether their pride, uncharitableness, and covetousness may not be veritable beams in the eyes of God.

III. IT IS FUTILE. While there is a beam in his own eye the critic cannot remove the mote from his brother's eye. To do so is to perform a very delicate operation. Any obscurity of vision will allow only of a bungling attempt, that will give much pain and yet will not effect its purpose. The beam must go first. While a man is blinded to his sin, he cannot save his neighbour. Christ, the Saviour of the world, was sinless. Christians must seek deliverance from their own sins before they undertake a crusade for the saving of their brethren. The humility that confesses personal unworthiness is the spirit best fitted for seeking to save lost and degraded fellow-men and women. - W.F.A.

Know them by their fruits.
The two criteria on which men most chiefly rest for the guidance "of their religious opinions would here be of no avail; authority would be claimed by the prophet; and private judgment might possibly lead his votaries astray. Both these useful, but require caution. Let us get a clear conception of the notion of utility as a criterion. It is an acknowledged fact that every human action and word is followed inevitably by certain consequences, which are good or bad. Those acts which produce happiness are useful; those which do not are injurious. We must extend our notion of happiness beyond the ancient conception of it. Christianity. has made happiness in worldly good things alone impossible. It must now include peace with God. This a criterion which cannot be mistaken. Apply this test.

I. As AN ARGUMENT FOR CHRISTIANITY in the widest sense of the word. "When Christianity appeared in the world, Roman civilization had practically failed. The privilege of Roman citizenship had done much — had kindled a feeling of community of interest; but needed a higher sanction. The Incarnation taught men brotherhood; nations which possess this truth have the principle of vitality.

II. Let us apply this test to our ENGLISH CHRISTIANITY. Doubtless there are physical reasons which make the English race so strong; but also moral, latent in our Christianity.

III. As an argument supplying to us each practical reasons for FOLLOWING IN OUR CONDUCT THAT LINE OF DUTY, which conscience tells us to be right. It is a solemn thought that we can be like a good tree or a bad one. It is the uses of a man which determine his status before God.

(J. T. Coxhead, M. A.)

I. The rule laid down by Christ in the text is INFALLIBLE IN CHARACTER AND UNIVERSAL in application. It is true in the natural world as in the spiritual.

II. By their FRUITS ye shall know them.

1. This test is a reasonable one.

2. It is a sensible one.

3. It is a simple one.

4. It is a just one.

5. It is a sure one.

6. It is one which men apply continually in judging of each other's conduct.

7. It is one which the Judge will apply on the final day.

(J. N. Sherwood, D. D.)

I. That THERE IS A STANDARD of good and evil.

1. It is fixed.

2. It is just.

3. It is evidenced by experience.

4. It is knowable.

5. It is practical.

II. By this standard GOD WILL JUDGE.

1. Men cannot plead ignorance, it being written in the hearts of those who have not the Scriptures.

2. Judgment will not be according to profession.

3. Nor with respect of persons.

4. Conscience approves these principles.

5. The Holy Spirit will, if we ask, teach us the will of God.

III. By this standard CHRISTIANS ARE TO judge.

1. False prophets must needs be, they are foretold, and are busy perverting the truth.

2. We must judge them by the Word of God.

(Flavel Cook.)

I. Doubt loosens the moral hold of the principle of the Bible upon our personal obedience.

II. The position of antagonism into which doubting throws a man is, in itself, unfavourable to growth in moral virtue.

III. Doubt presents no incentive to holiness like that which Christianity offers.

(Bishop Cheney.)

We do not usually connect fruitbearing with children. This is a mistake. Notice three things.

I. WHAT ONE FLAVOUR SHOULD THERE BE IN ALL FRUITS? Many different flavours in fruits, yet there is something common to them which makes us approve of them all. This may be applied to children. There are many varieties of disposition, but we can call all children good, if we can detect in them the flavour of godliness — Christlike-ness. That is just the wonderful, beautiful thing about the Lord Jesus; He can he a model for all — for the young and for the old.

II. WHAT PECULIARITIES OF FLAVOUR SHOULD THERE BE IN CHILDREN'S FRUITS? Unselfishness, thoughtfulness, truthfulness, gentleness. These flavours are to be found in our words and in our deeds.

III. WHAT IS THE SECRET WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR THE BEST FLAVOURED AND MOST ABUNDANT FRUITAGE? For even in fruits of one kind of flavour, we find differences, "From me is thy fruit found" — the Lord Jesus, the life.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)


1. Their deception.

2. Their artifice.

3. Their end.

II. THE SATISFACTORY AND EQUITABLE TEST by which they are to be ascertained, Of this rule we remark

(1)that it is infallible;

(2)it is easily comprehended;

(3)it is of universal application — to personal religion and doctrine, etc.;

(4)it will apply to the several views of Christianity which are propagated in the world.

(J. E. Good.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. That action, and not appearance, is the test that determines the genuineness of religion.

II. The announcement of the law of moral certainties — "A good tree cannot," etc.

III. That mere sincerity is not salvation.

IV. Christ and His gospel are man's only security.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

It has pleased God to make every tree and herb "after its kind." There are three reasons for this: —

1. That people may know what to expect.

2. That diligent work may be rewarded.

3. That great results may be caused to grow out of small beginnings.

4. We reap what we sow.

(E. R. Colder, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.
Conduct indicates character.

I. As illustrated by the WELL-KNOWN COMPARISON which is here employed.

II. In reference to the SPECIAL CHARACTERS which are here described.

1. Their office.

2. Their outward aspect — sanctimonious.

3. Their evil designs. "Inwardly they were ravening wolves."

III. In its general APPLICATION.

1. This is the only true standard by which to judge either ourselves or others. Profession, feelings, are deceptive.

2. According to this rule the decisions of the great day will be regulated.

(Expository Outlines.)

1. Upon the laws of nations.

2. Upon the liberty of nations.

3. Upon the morality of nations.

4. Upon the charity of nations.

5. Upon the literature of nations.

6. Upon the acts of nations.

7. Upon social life and domestic relationships.

8. Upon individuals. Thus judged by its fruits it is a good book.

(J. H. Hitchens.)

Not by our acquired knowledge, or fancied experience, or creed; but by fruits.

I. THE PRIMARY AND IMMEDIATE DESIGN OF OUR LORD IN THE DECLARATION BEFORE US. This text connected with the preceding (vers. 15-20) — "Wherefore." The greater part of the Sermon on the Mount was designed to rectify the errors of the Pharisees.

1. The false prophets whom our Lord condemns were guilty of lowering the standard of moral duty by explaining away the spirituality and extent of the law, and reducing the whole of human obedience to a few unimportant ceremonies.

2. They frustrate the free grace of the gospel by insisting on the meritoriousness of human obedience. Thus did the Judaising teachers in Corinth, Galatia, and Ephesus.


1. The influence of genuine Christianity is always practically holy.

2. Let the actual results of the influence of Christianity upon the world be examined, and it will be found that they are uniformly of a holy and felicitating character.

(J. Savill.)


I. The man who expects to obtain happiness without a holy life.

II. The man who expects to obtain a holy life without a renewed heart.

III. The man who expects to obtain a renewed heart without faith in evangelical truth.

(R. Halley, D. D.)

There is a schoolboy, yawning over his lesson. He sits with his books before him, but he is not working. If we ask him why, he says, "Oh, I hate Latin! .... Well, perhaps you like arithmetic better? .... Oh no, I hate doing sums." "Well, do you like geography? .... Oh no, I hate geography worst of all." The real truth is, he hates work. He is sowing thistles; and by and by, when his school-days are over, the prickles will sting him, and the empty, useless seed be a plague in his neighbours' fields.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

The apples appear when the sap is not seen. It is the operative and lively graces that will discover themselves. A man may think well, or speak well; but it is that grace which governeth his actions which most showeth itself.

(T. Manton, D. D.)It is all very fine to plead, as some have done, that they are doing inside work; if their fruit is all within, they will have to be cut down that it-may be got at. A true epistle of Christ is not written in invisible ink, and then sealed up, but it is known and read of all men. A tree of the Lord's right hand planting bears fruit to His glory, visible to all about him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Those who travel through deserts would often be at a loss for water, if certain indications, which the hand of Providence has marked oat, did not serve to guide them to a supply. The secret wells are for the most part discoverable from the verdure which is nourished by their presence. So the fruitfulness of good works of the believer, amidst the deadness and sterility around him, proclaim the Christian's life.


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