——————————————————–“JUDGE, … JUDGE NOT”
Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.
Jesus taught us not to judge.
John 7:24: judge with righteous judgment.”
And Jesus taught us to judge.
2 Timothy 2:15: rightly dividing the word of truth.
On both occasions (“judge not,” and “judge”) Jesus spoke “the word of truth.” But His words often require “rightly dividing”.
When Jesus said, “judge not” He meant do not judge the heart of another man with a sense of condemnation. Jesus went on to say, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye?” That is the issue…. why?
Why does that “speck” in the eye of Brother Whoever bother us? Is it out of concern or out of contempt? Is it because of our insecurity? Does looking down on another elevate us?
When Jesus instructed, “judge with righteous judgment”, He was telling us to make an intelligent assessment of a situation to determine right or wrong.
Acts 10:42: He who was ordained by God to be Judge
That is our awesome Jesus. There are some judgements only He is to make. Only Jesus has the authority and ability.
2 Timothy 4:8: there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me
Paul will get exactly what he deserves because he will be judged by a perfect “righteous Judge”. The value of Paul’s “crown of righteousness” will be precisely what his obedience has earned him, nothing more, nothing less.
Revelation 2:23: I will give to each one of you according to your works.
Even if our rewards are little it will be deeply satisfying that the judgement of our “works” was fair and exact.
Romans 14:10: why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
It must be said that as we ventilate the doctrines of the way it is we are not to judge the hearts of those of the ‘ministerial’ or those of the ‘laity’. Jesus will judge everyone. Nobody gets away with anything.
We are all in the same camp of guilt. I don’t know a person who has not empowered the way it is (by direct involvement and/or endorsement) to one degree or another. And this is a definite advantage because no one is in a position to pass judgement.
Galatians 5:15: if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Flapping tongues can destroy a congregation. One makes an unkind judgement, another retaliates, people take sides, grudges are spawned, the Spirit is grieved, the life of the congregation is sapped.
Galatians 5:17 (NIV): the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit.
There is something in us (“the sinful nature”) that likes to hear and speak perversities. Another part of us hates it. What is the answer?
Galatians 5:16: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
How does one “walk in the Spirit”? The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Christ”. (1Pt.1:11) You cannot have One without the Other. When you have One you have Two. A Christ-centred believer walks “in the Spirit” and “shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Don’t feel bad if you are not ‘there’. Neither am I. Becoming Christ-centred is a process. It is possible to love Him more than we did yesterday. It is possible to love Him more tomorrow than today.
Romans 14:13: let us not judge one another anymore,
“Let us not” judge with a heart to condemn, nor with a holier-than-thou attitude.
Hopefully, it is clear the kind of judgement we are not to make. Now let’s look at the other kind.
1 Corinthians 14:29: Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
A foolish man would say, “But who am I to judge?” If we are to judge what “prophets speak” we are therefore to judge what everyone speaks. But do we judge someone’s behaviour?
Galatians 2:11: when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
One apostle judged another apostle. Peter did something really dumb, Paul judged his behaviour and “withstood him”. The right or wrong of Paul’s heart (in making this judgement) is determined by the why. Why did Paul make a judgement of Peter’s actions?
We are, on occasion, to judge a brother’s actions, but the motive must be pure.
But what about judging someone’s motives?
3 John 1:9: Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them,
John did judge another’s motives but this is rare. Again, the issue is the why.
1 Corinthians 5:12: Do you not judge those who are inside?
That is, “inside” the body of Christ.
Sometimes it is necessary to make a judgement on another or on a situation for the good of all. Some would say that only leadership should make such evaluations, but these words were directed to everyone (“to the church of God which is at Corinth”).
2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
The standard for judgement should always be the Word.
Romans 14:10: why do you judge your brother?
There are always some who think they have the ‘ministry of correction’. In a sense we all do, but some think they are ‘full time ministers’!
There are people who direct their anger at themselves and those who direct it at others. Correction of others can be nothing more noble than venting one’s frustration. Even though words of correction may be truth, motive is everything.
In most circumstances one should only speak correction to “he who has ears to hear”, from pure motives, by the leading of the Spirit, after sufficient prayer.
1 Corinthians 10:15: judge for yourselves what I say.
If the Corinthians should have judged Paul’s words, should they not have judged everyone’s words? And ought we to do less?
We are free in Christ (and responsible) to judge everyone’s statements for validity and accuracy. We are free to discuss those statements with whomever we choose.
It is right to judge the way it is. It is wrong not to judge the way it is.
A young man from the Watchtower Society, (a jehovah’s witness), came knocking on my door and soon we were in a debate. He argued that since the christian church was split into so many factions, it could not possibly be God’s representative on earth. On the other hand, the jehovah’s witnesses were in strong unity throughout the world, a sure sign they were God’s true agent.
I knew much about their history and asked if they had ever been united in error. Listen carefully to his answer: “Yes, but it is better to be united in error than divided over truth!”
To that jehovah’s witness unity was god.
Jesus said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.”
Jesus is the ultimate divider!
Today millions worldwide curse His name; today millions worldwide worship Him. He is the most hated and most loved. It has always been so.
And Jesus brings division to the church, His own “body”. For example, Jesus brings revival and revival brings division. He pours out His power to awaken a sleeping church, some embrace the visitation, others (most?) reject it.
Jesus also brings division to the local assembly. An excited ‘layman’ can’t wait to tell PastorWhoever about his recent baptism in the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gift of tongues, but is deflated by his response. “We don’t do that in our assembly!” This member must submit or find another church.
Every manifestation of God has its enemies, ardent protectors of the way it is. For every person who welcomes God’s “demonstrations of the Spirit and of power” (1Cor.12:27), many scoff and reject. Preachers are divided. Some exhort the people to accept the manifestation, others just as passionately condemn it. An individual’s entire future can be determined by which preacher gets to him first!
“If it brings division it must be bad,” proponents of the way it is proclaim. Sometimes I can hear the young man’s words in their logic, “It is better to be united in error than divided over truth!” To them, unity, not truth, is the goal.
————————————————–A TRIBUTE TO JESUS CHRIST
“i determined not to know anything
… except jesus christ and him crucified.” (1Cor.2:2)
and him crucified
nails in his hands
the scourge’s stripes
the reed’s bruises
the thorn’s gashes
swelling from angry hands
spittle in his beard
blood all over
between earth and sky
shame and guilt
washing men clean
paying a debt
he did not owe
rejected of men
a man of sorrows
acquainted with grief
we hid as it were
our faces from him
we did not esteem him