This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we continued our series “Becoming Real” on the Sermon on the Mount, we turned to Matthew 7:1-6. This is a very pertinent and challenging passage calling us not to hypocritically judge or condemn one another, but to walk in love together.
You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire “Becoming Real” series here, as well as the devotional that accompanies the series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”(Matthew 7:1-2)
Don’t Judge (7:1-2)
What does it mean to “judge”?
The principle of reciprocity
How this relates to our view of God
Gaining Perspective on Ourselves and Others (7:3-6)
Seeing someone’s speck of sawdust but missing your own plank
The way of the hypocrite: Speaking to others while blind to oneself
The way of the brother: Self-reflection before helping the other
Gaining Perspective on What Helps (7:6)
Discerning what people need
Discerning what people can receive
Discerning what really helps (or not)
Condemnation and Discernment in God’s Disciple Community
Don’t condemn or sit in judgment (Matthew 7:1-5; James 4:11-12)
Live free from anger and pride in God’s grace
Do discern and call one another to growth (Matthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:15)
Live free from sin and libertinism in God’s truth
Living as God’s disciple community with surpassing righteousness in Christ
This week dig deeper into Jesus’ teaching on real perspective in one or more of the following ways:
Consider memorizing Matthew 7:1-2 this week.
Set aside some time for self-reflective prayer this week, inviting God to help you see any “plank in your own eye.” You may want to use the words of Psalm 139:23-24 as a guide for this time of prayer: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Join in with the Eastbrook 365 daily devotional for this series here.
We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, but you do need to RSVP ahead of time. Find out more info here.
Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.
If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.
“The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.
“Christian clergy are being kidnapped and killed in Nigeria” – Patrick Egwu in The Christian Century: “On April 24, 2018, Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha were presiding over an early morning mass for about 50 parishioners at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in a village in north central Nigeria. About 20 minutes into the service, gunmen, suspected to be from the largely Muslim Fulani ethnic group, stormed the parish and opened fire on the congregation. Nineteen people were killed, including both priests. The gunmen also razed houses, destroyed crops, and left the community in a state of chaos. After the attack, bishops, priests, and thousands of residents demonstrated to protest the killings. The protesters called on the Nigerian government to arrest and prosecute the killers. Three years later, no one has been arrested or prosecuted.”
“Addressing Racism in Light of the Image of God” – This article by Matthew D. Kim is adapted from “Preaching on Race in View of the Image of God” by Matthew D. Kim in Ministers of Reconciliation: Preaching on Race and the Gospeledited by Daniel Darling (Lexham Press, 2021). He writes: “Race and ethnicity are taboo subjects in many pulpits across the United States. Knowing that some of their congregation will see it as “liberal” talk, a social gospel incongruous with the true gospel, or a ploy of the political left’s agenda, many pastors shy away from teaching and preaching on the issues of race and racism—regardless of their rationale for such avoidance. Two camps emerge out of this salient concern. The first camp wonders why we are still needing to talk about race, while the second camp is exhausted by having to explain to the other why discussions on race and racism are essential.”
“On Correction and Children” – As I was preparing my message on Matthew 7:1-6 for this coming weekend at Eastbrook as part of our series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “Becoming Real,” I came across this article by Dallas Willard on the passage. This is really an excerpt from Willard’s fantastic book The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God, which is an extended exposition on discipleship through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount. I also consider that book as one of my must-read books on living with God through Jesus Christ.
“On ‘getting’ poetry” – Both during Lent and now during Easter I have posted a poetry series (see “Poetry for Lent” and “Poetry for Easter”). I know that many people find poetry hard to understand or enjoy. Here is Adam Kirsch in The New Criterion addressing that very challenge. “I hear the same thing regularly from people who love to read novels and biographies, who are undaunted by string quartets and abstract paintings, but find poetry a closed door. No one is more aware of this disconnect between poetry and the reading public than poets themselves. The debate over why poetry moved from the center of literary culture to the outskirts of the academy, and how it can regain its place in the sun, has been going on at least since Dana Gioia’s landmark essay “Can Poetry Matter?” appeared in The Atlantic in 1991.”
“InterVarsity Wins Suit Against Wayne State” – Kate Shellnutt in Christianity Today: “The fight for campus access for faith-based student groups scored another legal victory this week. A district court judge ruled on Monday that Wayne State University violated the First Amendment with a 2017 decision that temporarily denied InterVarsity Christian Fellowship its status as a student group over the chapter’s requirement that its leaders be Christian. Wayne State’s nondiscrimination policy, according the 83-page opinion by Robert Cleland, ‘violated plaintiffs” rights to internal management, free speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and free exercise as a matter of law.’ The judge ruled that the First Amendment protects religious organizations’ rights to select their own ministers, and that the InterVarsity chapter’s student leaders qualified as ministers. While InterVarsity is open to all students, it asks leaders to sign a statement of faith.”
Each week during Lent I posted a poem that I have found helpful for deeper engagement with Jesus’ journey to the Cross (see “Poetry for Lent“). Because that was so meaningful for me, I will continue into Eastertide with a similar “Poetry for Easter” series. Each week I will post a poem that helps me engage more meaningfully with the message of Easter. Here is George Herbert’s poem “Easter Wings” from The Temple. George Herbert was a priest in the Church of England and one of the most significant poets of the 17th century metaphysical poetry movement.
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store, Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more, Till he became Most poore: With thee O let me rise As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day thy victories: Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne And still with sicknesses and shame. Thou didst so punish sinne, That I became Most thinne. With thee Let me combine, And feel thy victorie: For, if I imp my wing on thine, Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
I first stumbled into the work of Eugene Peterson in the 1990s through his translation work with The Message. It was not too much later, however, that a pastor and mentor introduced me to his writing on pastoral ministry, sometimes referred to as Eugene Peterson’s Pastoral Library.
About three years ago, I re-read and steadily worked my way through one of the treasures of that library, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. Doing that helped to ground me in a time of instability in my sense of what it meant to be a pastor. Through Working the Angles, Peterson became an invaluable conversation partner in re-learning what it means to be a pastor.
As I continue that journey, I want to do something similar with the first of those books, published in 1980, is Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. I want to blog my way through this work to recover a sense of pastoral practice and integrity. I do not mean integrity merely in the moral sense, but integrity in the sense of how something holds together. I am increasingly convinced that the very integrity of pastoral ministry, from calling to character, from practice to disciplines, is at stake in North America, if not elsewhere. We are in a crisis and need a renewal of pastoral integrity. So, here goes…
In the introduction to Five Smooth Stones, Peterson describes what we are about as pastors:
Pastoral work is that aspect of Christian ministry which specializes in the ordinary. It is the pragmatic application of religion in the present. (1)
While such work should be rooted in the biblical sources, Peterson points out the tendency in his day (which is no less present in our own) to turn toward the latest fads or social theories as the basis for pastoral ministry. However, this impulse is not helpful, and Peterson claims:
“When I look for help in developing my pastoral craft and nurturing my pastoral vocation, the one century that has the least to commend it is the twentieth.” (2)
Having found the “counsel of my contemporaries” tried and wanting, Peterson outlines his deep desire—one which I resonate with—and the goal of this book: “I want a biblical base for the whole of pastoral ministry, and not just for its preaching and teaching” (5).
Peterson then walks through four aspects in the work of the pastor that he will explore in the coming chapters. First, there is the tension between the timeless word and will of God and the local and personal place in which ministry is done. This happens best “not by acquiring new knowledge but by assimilating old wisdom, not by reading the latest books but by digesting the old ones” (10).
Second, there exists “the distinction between biblical foundation and pastoral superstructure” (11). Here Peterson tells us “each generation of pastors, and to a certain extent each pastor, has to build his or her own superstructure of pastoral work. But we don’t, and we must not, lay out our own foundations” (11).
Third, Peterson grounds all pastoral work within the action of worship. “Pastoral work has no identity in and of itself. It is a derivative work, and worship is that from which it is derived” (18).
Fourth, pastoral work is not about abstraction, but about “the local, the specific, and the personal” (20). Like a hiker on the trail,
It is the pastor’s task to work along such trails using a style of speech and a mode of action that is local, specific, and personal so that each person met is addressed as an object of the love of God, which is not merely universal but particular in its universality. (21)
It is within the second distinction that Peterson introduces the framework for Five Smooth Stones, which will follow the Megilloth, the five scrolls connected with five key Jewish festivals:
Song of Songs at Passover
Ruth at Pentecost
Lamentations on the Ninth of Ab
Ecclesiastes at Tabernacles
Esther at Purim
Seeing this connection of biblical sources with the community at worship, Peterson seeks to retrieve them for reintegration within the work of the pastor. He writes:
Each of the Megilloth, set by Judaism in an act of worship, deals with an aspect of pastoral work: learning how to love and pray in the context of salvation (Song of Songs); developing an identity as a person of faith in the context of God’s covenant (Ruth); dealing with suffering in the context of redemptive judgment (Lamentations); unmasking religious illusion and pious fraud in the context of providential blessing (Ecclesiastes); and becoming a celebrative community of faith in the environment of the world’s hostility (Esther).(17)
Peterson readily admits that “not everything a pastor does fits into the five areas, but a remarkable amount of it does, giving promise that the Megilloth may be highly serviceable for pastoral use” (17).