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Sept 9, 2017 Judging Part Two

 

 

Scripture reading:  Genesis 3:1-6; Leviticus 19:17 (NKJV, NIV, NASB); Zechariah 8:16-17.

 

[I. Introduction]

 

 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.“ (Lev. 19:17; NKJV)

 

There is an idea among the people of the world and, sometimes, even among Christians that we should not judge. This is due partly because people do not want to be corrected themselves. They wish to be free to live in sin if they so choose.  Among Christians this is not so much the reason although, sadly, there may be some who even name the name of Christ who still love their sins. But, some Christians may be under the false idea that we should not judge because of an extreme ignorance of the Bible.

 

Judging is Christianity 101. It is one of the most basic tenets of the faith. It is an embarrassment that some Christians do not understand this.

 

13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. (Heb. 5:13, ESV).  The milk here means the fundamentals of the faith in word of God. If we only know the most basic matters of faith then we are unskilled in the word of righteousness. It is lamentable that there are some who name the name of Jesus who are not even familiar with the elementary doctrines of the faith. Judging rightly is one of those.

 

Last time we saw two reasons why Christians must judge:

 

  • We must judge because we are commanded to do so.
  • We must judge because we are competent to do so.

 

We are commanded to judge, not just once or twice, but over and over again in Scripture. So, in John 7:24 –

 

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

 

And, in Zechariah 8 –

 

These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17             do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.” [1]

 

“These are the things that you shall do:” Is that not plain? What are the things that we shall do?

 

  • Speak the truth. Yes. Let us be truthful with one another. Lying is wrong and everyone knows that.
  • In verse 17 – “Do not devise evil in your hearts.” We should never wish or plan to say things or do things that will ruin the reputation of another brother or sister. Neither should we take advantage of others.
  • When you take an oath let it be true. (That coheres with speaking the truth.) But, we should also expose those oaths that we know to be false.
  • In verse 16 we also read that we must render judgments that are true.

 

The spiritual person must render judgments. It is too plain.

 

Not only must we render judgments, but we are competent to do so. (See Part One for verses showing this.)

 

Let us now consider a third reason for the necessity of judging.

 

[II.] We must judge because it is the loving thing to do.

 

 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.“ (Lev. 19:17; NKJV)

 

Rebuking means communicating the wrongness or sinfulness of an action. Rebuking is also a form of judging. Judging is the more general term and rebuking is a more specific kind of judging.

 

First, note that the second part of the verse says, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor…” In order to obey the Lord, rebuking is not optional. We must surely do it! Now, we have to do it with the right attitude and with love. But, we shall consider that next time.

 

Note also the very beginning: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.” Do you see what the Lord is saying through Moses? He is saying that if we do not rebuke our neighbor then we do not love him, we hate him. How is that so? It is so for this reason: If we do not care that he or she is in sin, or if we don’t care enough to risk being thought poorly of (unwise people don’t like to be rebuked and most people are not wise), then we do not love them. Let me repeat that:

 

If we do not care enough that someone we know is in sin, then we do not love them. The opposite of love is hate. We hate those we do not correct or rebuke.

 

If we know that sin harms the sinner and that, if not forsaken, will exclude them from the kingdom of God and we do not warn them, then this reveals that our hearts love our own status more than the welfare of our neighbors and friends.

 

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” (Revelation 3:19, NIV)

 

The Lord Jesus himself rebukes us because he loves us. The same motivation must guide us.

 

For those unfamiliar with baseball, Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

 

  • He holds the record for walk-off home runs (tied with Jim Thome) at 13.
  • Is considered the greatest switch hitter in the history of the sport.
  • He had the highest percentage of stolen bases at the time of his retirement.
  • He had the highest on-base percentage and slugging average of any center-fielder.
  • He had a 98.4 percent fielding percentage.
  • His batting average was over .300 ten seasons.
  • He had 536 major league home runs.

 

Mickey Mantle recalls that as a teenager in the minor leagues he began playing poorly. Discouraged, homesick, and feeling sorry for himself, Mantle tearfully called his father to come to take him home.

When the elder Mantle arrived, Mickey expected sympathy and reassurances that yes, it was time for the father to take the boy out of his cruel environment. But Charles Mantle jarred his strapping son by saying, “Okay, if that’s all the guts you’ve got, you might as well come home with me right now and work in the mines.”

Snapped awake, Mickey Mantle stuck it out that year—and wrote his name in baseball history.

 

Mickey’s father loved his son. That is why he rebuked him.

 

Since rebuking is judging, we must judge because it is the loving thing to do.

 

[III.] We must judge because it is the example of all godly persons in the Bible.

 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. [2]

 

This passage records the fall of man – the beginning of all the woes of humanity. Even our individual, personal woes can be traced back to this incident for the eating of the fruit brought about a change in Adam and Eve and all of their progeny. We have a sinful nature that is the source of all our problems.

 

The Bible teaches that Adam’s sin did not merely effect him. The Bible teaches that Adam was the head, the representative, of the whole human race (Romans 5:15-19; I Cor 15:22). It was Adam, not Eve, who is the head of his race. It was his sin, not Eve’s, that plunged the human race into ruin. Since that is true, the last three words of verse 6 are three of the saddest words in the Bible: “and he ate.”

 

[A.] Realize this: Adam did not judge the actions of Eve in offering him the fruit. If Adam had judged and judged rightly (John 7:24) then he would not have eaten of the fruit and the human race would not have fallen. Do you see the significance of judging and of judging rightly? By not judging, Adam ruined the entire human race!

 

[B.] Noah judged. He is called “a preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) And, the Bible says that “he condemned the world.” (Hebrews 11:7) Noah preached against sin. To preach against sin you have to judge sin in people’s lives. There is no way of getting around it. Then Noah judged his son, Ham, for gossiping about his father’s sin. Noah judged.

 

[C.] Abraham judged that he was able to defeat Chedorlaomer even though he and his servants were likely outnumbered. Then he judged Chedorlaomer himself, defeating him in battle (Gen 14). Later, Abraham judged that the daughters of the Canaanites were not good enough for his son, Isaac (Gen 24).

 

[D.] Isaac judged both Jacob and Esau even though he had defective perception and was deceived as to who they were (Gen 27). Not only did his judgment stand but it is proclaimed by Paul to be in accordance with God’s judgment (Romans 9:10-13).

 

[E.] Jacob judged his uncle Laban (Gen 31).

 

[F.] Joseph judged the baker (Gen 40).

 

[G.] Moses is called a judge (Exodus 18) and had to do a great deal of judging. So much so that his father-in-law, Jethro, gives him good advice and had him delegate some judging to others.

 

[G-1] Phineas judges the fornicators (Numbers 25).

 

[H.] There is an entire book of the Bible called Judges and it records the judgments of Israel’s leaders. They are good judgments that delivered the Israelites from bondage and oppression. The famous actor, Ian McKellen, who played both Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Magneto in the Marvel movie franchise of The X-Men, admits in an interview that when he stays in hotels he tears the pages out of Bibles that judge homosexuality since he is a homosexual. There are some Christians that should just tear out the entire book of Judges from their Bibles.

 

[H-1] Deborah judged Israel.

 

[H-2] Jael judged Sisera. She didn’t just judge him with words. She judged him with an iron spike! Thus, we see that women should judge just as well as men.

 

[I.] Elijah judges Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18).

 

[J.] Speaking of Ahab, Ahab declined to judge his wife, Jezebel, for having his neighbor, Naboth, killed. God holds Ahab accountable for saying nothing,  considering him a participant in the murder even though it was all his wife’s doing (I Kings 21:19).

 

[K.) Elisha judges 42 young men so that they perish by the power of bears (2 Kings 2).

 

[L.] Job judges his three friends. And God confirms his judgments.

 

[M.] David judges atheists (Psalm 14:1).

 

[N.] Solomon judges those who trust in their own minds rather than God’s words (Proverbs 28:26).

 

[O.] Isaiah judges throughout his book.

 

[P.] Jeremiah judges.

 

[Q.] Ezekiel judges.

 

[R.] Daniel judges.

 

[S.] Every prophet of God in the Bible judges including Malachi, the last OT prophet. Someone may say, “But that is the Old Testament. Under the New Testament we are not supposed to judge.” Really?

 

[T.] Hear John the Baptist:             But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8             Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. [3] He judges the religious leaders to be a brood of vipers. And, he judged that they had not truly repented. He also judges the king and tells him that it is unlawful to take his brother’s wife as his own.

 

[U.] Paul judges the apostle Peter! (Gal 2:11)

 

[V.] Peter judges the High Priest! (Acts 5:30)

 

[W.] John judges those who stopped meeting with them (I john 2:19) and he judges those who do not love their brother or sister in Christ (2:9-11). He judges those who continue in sin after they have made a profession of faith (3:4-10).

 

[X.] James judges both the rich (James 2:6-7) and those who favor the rich (2:1-4).

 

[Y.] Jude judges teachers who are teaching the wrong things.

 

[Z.] Jesus judged, not as God (he will come again to judge the whole world as God in the future) but as a man. He calls King Herod a fox (Luke 13:32). He judges those who divorce (Matthew 5:32) and those who live with someone without marrying (John 4:18). His whole ministry was one that was characterized by judging. And, he is our example.

 

[IV. Conclusion of Part Two] The world and Christians who don’t know their Bible well will try to tell you that it is wrong to judge. But we have seen four reasons why we must judge.

 

  • We must judge because we are commanded to do so.
  • We must judge because we are competent to do so.
  • We must judge because it is an expression of love and a failure to judge is an expression of hate.
  • We must judge because it is the example of all the godly people in the Bible, including Jesus our Lord and our Example.

 

Each one of us, everyone, is both the recipient of judging and a judge. Avoiding judging will not work. We must judge. What does matter is why and how we judge. By the Lord’s grace we will look at those matters next week.

 

We are also the recipients of judging. We are judged by the world. We are judged by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. And, we are judged by the Lord Himself.

 

Regarding being judged by the world, this should not be our concern if we are obeying the Lord. The world will hate you if you live according to God’s word. Jesus forewarned of this, so it should not be a surprise (John 15:18).

 

Regarding being judged by our brother or sister, how do you react when you are corrected by someone? How you react says far more about you than it does about them, even if they have not rebuked you in the best way, even if they have rebuked you in a way that you deem harsh.

 

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8, NKJV)

 

I appreciate the Good News Translation here:

 

Never correct conceited people; they will hate you for it. But if you correct the wise, they will respect you.

 

When a rebuke comes, we should set aside our pride (our conceit) and be grateful. If there is any measure of truth in what we are told, then we do not want to carry that sin with us to Judgment Day. (I am preaching to myself this morning, too. I do not find it easy to receive correction. But we all need it. I need it!) We ought to love those who rebuke us. Oh! That requires us being in spirit! Our natural man chafes against correction.

 

Finally, the Lord is judging us right now. He judges us as we read his word, the Bible. We see something in the Bible and we recognize our shortcoming or our sin. We need that! And, he judges us when we do not conform to Him and stubbornly go our own way. He judges us by disciplining us – through the circumstances of life that are under His sovereign control.

 

Two weeks ago in our Sunday School class, someone mentioned that when she gets very sick, especially with a stomach flu, she begins confessing her sins to the Lord and asking for mercy. We all laughed because many of us have that experience. We also laughed because we didn’t have the stomach flu that morning! We recognize that the Lord brings suffering to awaken us to our own condition. This is often his judging.

 

Not only is the Lord judging us now, but there is coming a great day when he will judge us for our lives on earth. Are you ready for that day? If you are not certain that you are ready, know that Jesus Christ, the Judge, is also the Savior and is merciful. If you are not certain that you are ready, come and speak with any of the elders here and we will gladly share with you how you can have confidence in facing that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Zec 8:16–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 3:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 3:7–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.