JUDGE NOT, OR REPROVE NOT-WHICH IS IT? (Sept 2005)



A TRUMP CARD?

    One of the things that we have heard a lot of lately is warnings not to judge. This bothers me. It seems like whenever you point out something that does not seem right, no matter if it is with the Church or the Bush Administration, some one throws that out. It’s like a trump card.

“We’re not supposed to judge, so you can’t say that. You better take it back?”

I’m sorry, but it is almost childish.  To be clear I am not denying that scripture warns us not to judge...

Matthew 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Romans 2:1  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

     These are just two examples. The question I ask myself and anyone who will listen... Are we supposed to take this to the point that we bury our head in the sand and say nothing no matter what we see and hear?  To be sure sometimes I wish I could answer yes to that question…..and believe it.

    Is it judging to question the Church when it tries to tell us that it is our duty as Christians to support the war in Iraq ? Even when every reason we were given has turned out to be a lie?  Is it judging when we say to our brother or sister in Christ, “that’s not right”.

WHAT IS WRONG? WHAT IS RIGHT? 

    When Richard Land goes on the Diane Rehm Show to support the abomination that is Intelligent Design (creation without God, just some unknown intelligence). Is it judging to want to aim my Jeep at a bridge abutment? 

    Do we not have a responsibility to point out things that just aren’t right?  If we are correct and the Church is rife with apostasy, shouldn’t we say something? For some reason we have been blessed (maybe I should say burdened) with the truth.  I feel it would be more of a transgression not to try and warn those who do not see what is happening.

    Some of the people sitting next to you in Church have come into the Church after things started going down hill. There is a great many things they do not have any knowledge of.  I talked to an individual in my Church this week that has no real working knowledge of what to expect in the end times. Nothing, just a blank. This person, and who knows how many others in the Church are completely unprepared. When the topic is brought up the pastor can’t change the subject fast enough.  If you point this out you will get one of two responses...

  1. They smile and tell you it’s not the pastor’s job to rock the boat 

  2. They wag a finger at you and tell you not to judge.

Lets take a look at Matthew 7:1-5 in context.

Matthew 7:1-5  Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

    What is Jesus really talking about here? Isn’t this a reminder not to get worked up about your brother’s problems, because you have problems of your own? Jesus is speaking out against hypocrisy, something he did quite often. In fact almost every time the religious leaders of his day opened their mouth, Jesus very promptly filled it with their own foot.  

    Now, I am not Jesus and I can not speak with the same authority. He is Lord and Master and without sin. I… well… I am not. I think that covers it. But he was our example; we are supposed to follow in his footsteps. If it looks, smells, walks and quacks like hypocrisy, should we call it a duck?  No, I think we call it what it is. If someone gets upset then we can be sure that we hit pretty close to home. We also had better be sure we are right. Truly the only way I know to do that is thru prayer and study.  

    Keep in mind the glory belongs to God. We are not to point to our own lives as the example. We are not the yardstick by which all others are judged. We must be humble. The only example we should point to is Christ, the only words we should use are his.  

I think we also have to consider verse two. We will be judged as we judge...

Luke 6:36 -38  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

    We are called to have mercy, to forgive our brother. What ever we extend to another, it will be returned and then some. And yes, again we are told not to condemn, not to judge. There is no argument that we are not the one to decide who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. If it were up to me, I doubt that even I would make it.  It is one thing to stand on the street corner and declare that "so and so" is lost because he does or does not do X, Y, and Z.  It is quite another thing to say that "so and so" is doing this or saying that, it does not line up with scripture and here is why... This is not judging or condemning. This is using the word of God for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness...  

2 Timothy 3:13-17  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 

WHAT IS THE POINT?

    Isn’t this why we study scripture? So we will know truth from perversion? What are we supposed to do with that truth? Do you really think we are supposed to keep to ourselves? Paul didn’t think so, and he didn’t want Timothy to go down that road either.  Instead he encouraged Timothy to remember the things he had learned as a child and to put them to use.  

    Just in case you are thinking that this might not apply to us, I will ask you to turn back to the beginning of chapter 3...

2 Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4  Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  

    For those of you who never get around to looking up the scriptural references I supplied it for you. No excuses. :) 

    If you are reading this web site, I think it is safe to assume that you agree that we are in the end times. Does this mean that it applies only to the end times Christian?  No, of course not.  However, for the end times Christian there must be a heightened sense of urgency. Time is short; it is no longer enough that you know that the pastor missed some key points in the sermon last week. Or worse, missed the point all together. You must say or do something. The question is, say or do what?

 

WHAT IS A REAL CHRISTIAN TO DO?

    For every situation there are many ways to respond. Only one is the right way. Only the Holy Spirit can lead you to it.  He will only be able to do that if you are open to his leading. You must be willing to follow that lead for as far as you can. You may never see the result of your efforts as you may very well come to a point where you will have to walk away. After all, Paul reminds us that in the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. There is no need for us to push things to the point where we become the problem.  

Romans 14:10-13  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

    In context, Paul is counseling the Roman believers not to force their dietary standards or their choice of which day to worship on to others. Not to judge someone by what they eat or what day they worship. The principal is the same.  Do not become the problem.  Do not allow it to become about you.  Follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, sometimes he is not telling you to talk, he is telling you to stop talking. Remember the glory belongs to God and he will give the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

    Paul did not always get to see the result of his work. He understood, as we must, no time or words are wasted as long as the time is spent doing God’s work and the words are God’s.  He also understood that it was not about him, it is about the truth.   Please understand... I am not advocating that you get up in front of your church and point out the woman who’s skirt is too short or the man who was at the bar last night. How would you know the skirt is too short unless you have been checking her out?  Do I have to ask how you know your brother was at the bar?  Do you see the point? Go back to Matthew 7: 1-5… what’s with the 2 by 4 in your eye?  

    These kinds of things are not your problem. Everyone has things in their lives that need work. Each of us knows what our problems are. We don’t need someone else to point them out. These are things that we will have to work out with God. These are the kinds of things that I believe Jesus was talking about when he said judge not.  Let me go on record here as saying that I agree completely, don't judge.  I don’t run into a problem until you try to use Christ warnings against judging to stop me from questioning the false teachings in the Church today.  

    Our Lord warned us against hypocrisy, he warned us against setting ourselves up as the standard and expecting others to meet it. This will most assuredly get us into trouble. To further that point let us go again to the scriptures...  

Matthew 23:1-4  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  4  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  

Matthew 23:13  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Matthew 23:15  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  

 

CHRIST IS OUR EXAMPLE, THE BIBLE IS OUR GUIDE

    When Christian leaders tell me to support this war and use phrases like holy war, a just war and crusade. I will hand them a Bible.

Exodus 20:13  Thou shalt not kill.

Luke 3:14  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.  

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  

Matthew 26:51  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. 52  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  

If you jump over to the Luke’s account of the same night you will find this..  

Luke 22:50  And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.  

    The Christian Right works its way deeper and deeper into the government.  Forsaking evangelism for legislation, telling us that we must bring the country back to God. When they tell me that we really are a Godly nation, I will hand them the same Bible...  

John 18:36  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  

I would also remind them who this worlds kingdoms do belong to...  

Matthew 4:8  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

    This temptation and the others recorded in chapter 4 had to be real for them to mean anything. Thus the kingdoms of this world had to be Satan’s to give. They were his then, and they are still his today. In every kingdom God will have a remnant who will call upon his name. There is only one nation that can be called his, its called Israel , not America .  There will be a time when God will reclaim the kingdoms of this world...  

Revelation 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

    This day will come. It will be on God’s timetable. It will not be brought about by mans efforts. It will be sooner than you think! There is one other misuse of scripture I would like to touch on...  

 

WORLDLY LEADERSHIP... UNDER GOD'S CONTROL?

Romans 13:1-3  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  3  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

    This, contrary to what I have been told many times is not a commandment to blindly obey the government without ever questioning it. The American Church has pulled this out and used it as a hammer to beat into submission any one who questions Bush and his motives.  They have taken this to mean that it is wrong to disagree with our president as he is in power because God has allowed him to be there. Thus anything that he does must be according to his will.  I would agree with that. Everything that happens works to further God’s plan. That does not mean that every leader is a Godly man that Christians should follow without question.  

    There is a rather large hole in their logic, one through which you could drive a truck. Through that hole walks people like Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini and Bill Clinton. All these people were leaders of their countries, allowed to rise to power by God, but I’ll bet that the Church can find a reason why each of them should have been removed by any means necessary.  If you really want to see their eyes glaze over, add George Washington to the list. Our first president was very instrumental in the revolt against the English monarchy. It seems he did not agree with the current interpretation of Romans 13?  

    I really don’t think there are many people who would disagree with the idea that there have been rulers that should not have been obeyed. (See Daniel chapter 3 and chapter 6, Revelation chapter 13. I’ll trust you this time). So if Paul wasn’t calling for blind obedience, what was he talking about?  

Romans 13:4-7  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.  

    Verse 4 – 7 begins to clear it up.  Government is put in place for the common good.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but that is the basic goal. It brings order where there would be chaos. It keeps the water running, the electricity on and the roads paved. Government provides laws and the ability to enforce those laws, for the greater good of its citizens. Paul instructs us to contribute to this by paying our taxes, obeying the laws and customs of the land.

Verse 8 – 10 furthers the point.

Romans 13:8-10  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Be a good citizen. In a message that harkens back to the words of Christ, Paul tells us exactly how to do that. Love your neighbor as yourself...  

Matthew 22:37 -40  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38  This is the first and greatest commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  

    If you truly love God and your fellow man, everything else will just fall into place. As a Christian, being a good citizen should already be part of our everyday lives...  

Romans 13:11-14  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  14  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.  

    Time is short! Paul tells us we must walk in the sun, where everyone can see us, no sneaking around in the dark!  As you can see there is far more to Romans 13 than the first three verses. Those who never read beyond verse 3, stop there for a very good reason.  If they go on to verse 4 and from there to the end of the chapter, they might have to move outside of their comfort zone. They would have to listen to those of us suggesting that our government might be into things it shouldn’t be. They might have to take a good hard look at our leaders, both political and Christian. They might even have to start thinking for themselves.  

    Paul was right, time is short. The truth is getting "left behind" in the mad dash to consolidate what the Christian Right believes is it's grip on the government. If there are alarm bells ringing in your head, there might be a very good reason. Take your concerns to the scriptures, pray for guidance, and let the Holy Spirit lead you to the truth. When you find the truth, don’t let anyone stop you from telling others. Don’t let them gag you with a verse or two they pulled out of context.  

Remember they want us to be quiet because they are afraid we might be right.

In Christ,  E.D.Smith

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