Monthly Archives: February 2014

“Judge not, that ye be not judged?”

SHOULD WE SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WORLD’S SINS? THEN, WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, “JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

In this day and age of “political correctness,” the Bible-believing Christian is being intimidated to keep silent about sin. As long as people are happy doing whatever they are doing, they should be left alone, and we are expected to stay quiet, no matter how vile or disrespectful the action is. Sadly, Matthew 7:1 is often used against the Bible believer who exposes sin for what it is. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” What did Jesus mean here? Was He teaching that we should be totally silent about the world’s sins? That we should not stand up for what is right and godly? Before someone “judges” the Bible believer in this regard, the critic needs to note the context of the verse to which he or she clings.

It is usually haughtily said to the Bible-believing Christian who exposes sin for what it is, “This is the way God made me, so stop judging me. Jesus said not to judge.” Then, Matthew 7:1 is appealed to: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” In fact, in the recent past, the world’s most prominent religious leader commented about homosexual clergy within his church. Pope Francis stated, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalize [prevent from having attention or power] people for this. They must be integrated into society.” Such apathetic, pathetic words from someone who claims to be “the vicar of Jesus Christ” (which Jesus Christ?; 2 Corinthians 11:3,4). If anything, even the pope seemed to be using Matthew 7:1 to conclude that we should not defend godly behavior and that we should not speak out when moral decay waxes worse and worse.

Naturally, when God’s Holy Word pricks the conscience, the desperate sinner will then “take cover” behind any available “fig leaf” (his or her parents did it back in Genesis 3:7-11). Perhaps nothing is more absurd than when the unholy sinner uses God’s Holy Word to justify his or her sin—completely disregarding the Bible’s purpose (which is to expose sin so man can see his need for the Saviour Jesus Christ!). Rather than being held accountable to God Almighty for wresting (twisting) His Word to make it say something so as to bolster our sin, why not leave it alone and believe it, setting aside our pride and admitting our fault, our unrighteousness, our sin, like the Bible so clearly proves? Rather than idly speculating what type of “judging” to which Jesus referred in Matthew 7:1, it would spare us much heartache and shame if we would—who would have guessed it?—simply read the context!

We will not understand what Jesus Christ meant in Matthew 7:1 unless we read the context: “[1] Judge not, that ye be not judged. [Because/Explanation/Reason] [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” (Matthew 7:1-5).

By simply reading the verse with its context, the clarity is astonishing! When any dear soul attempts to argue, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” politely remind them that there are four succeeding verses to quote too. If you happen to have your King James Bible in hand, let him or her read those verses. To what type of “judging” is Jesus referring? According to Jesus, He is talking about a hypocrite (verse 5). Certainly, Jesus knew what He meant, did He not?

Before we proceed any further, let us define “judge.” To “judge” means “to form an opinion or conclusion about.” God’s Word, the Holy Bible, enables us Christians to form sound conclusions about various life issues, doctrines, beliefs, practices, and so on. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Surely, God intended us to “judge,” for His Holy Spirit inspired the words “prove [test, discern, examine] all things” and “hold fast [seize, take, grip] that which is good.” Unless we “judge,” how will we determine what is “good?”

What Jesus Christ was discussing in Matthew 7:1 is that we should not judge hypocritically. Our Lord is referring to hypocritical judging. Romans 2:21-22 provides an example: “[20] Thou [Jew, verse 17] therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? [22] Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” The Jews should have taught the Gentiles the Word of JEHOVAH God. Alas, the Jews were equally guilty of breaking God’s laws as the Gentiles—the Jews acted liked the Gentiles who did not even know JEHOVAH!

What Jesus Christ meant in Matthew 7:1 is that in His kingdom on earth, no hypocritical judging will be tolerated. Whatever standard by which a Jew condemns others’ actions, his own activities will be evaluated by that same standard. For instance, he will come under God’s condemnation if he ridicules a thief, when he himself has been dishonest (a fact he ignores). He emphasizes the sin of one person (the “mote,” or speck), but he has many sins (the “beam,” or log)—in fact, he is guilty of the same sins!

This, however, does not mean we Christians are to remain apathetic—silent—about sin. Clearly, Jesus, in Matthew 7:1, was not teaching we should be silent about exposing sin (He merely forbade hypocritical judging; verses 2-5). The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul preached against sin in order to show lost people they needed to be saved from those sins through the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:26-41; Acts 14:11-18; Acts 17:16-31; Acts 24:25; et cetera). Notice the Holy Spirit’s references to specific sins which gender His righteous wrath—murder, envy, pride, homosexuality, drunkenness, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, disobedience to parents, theft, hatred, gossiping, cruelty, lying, and so on (Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:9,10; 1 Peter 4:1-5). Notice Paul’s divinely-inspired instructions about having no relations with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, extortionists, idolaters, railers, and drunkards (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Christ declared, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48). God in His Word has already declared what is and what is not sin. Technically, we are not judging the world; God’s Word does that when we believe it and preach it! Remember, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15,16).

Dearly beloved in Christ, let us be bold to speak out against sin by sharing God’s Word with others, but let us do it in meekness and love (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Our goal is not to be unkind to lost people, but to tell them the answer to their sin problem is only found through the shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! By preaching this Gospel of Grace, we remind ourselves we were once where they are.

Also see:
» Why is there sin in the world? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Is not hell only reserved for “bad” people? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Do all religions worship the same God? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

Can God really use even me?

I AM JUST ONE PERSON, AND I HAVE MANY WEAKNESSES AND IMPERFECTIONS. CAN GOD USE ME ANYWAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“How in the world could God possibly use me?” “I am a homemaker with no secondary education.” “I stutter and I am forgetful.”  “I am too poor to do anything for God.” “How could I possibly share Bible verses with others when I have no seminary training?” “I am too old and too tired to serve the Lord.” “My memory is poor and I am shy.” “I am physically impaired, and I cannot travel around the world as a missionary.” Do you have limitations, weaknesses, and disabilities? Then, you qualify for service for the Lord Jesus Christ!

The LORD appeared to Moses and informed him that He will use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses replied, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Pharaoh’s daughter had raised Moses, but God could not use him in that state. After 40 years of herding stinky sheep in the desert, the LORD called for Moses out of the burning bush. Moses rarely spoke to people every day while out in the wilderness, and he may have had additional speech impediments (some suggest he stuttered). Now, Moses was a “nobody,” so God could—and did—use him to deliver His people from Egypt, a mighty world empire in those days.

Centuries later, the Midianites persecuted Israel, so God informed Gideon that He would use him to deliver Israel. Gideon argued, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15). An angel reassured lowly Gideon, “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (verse 12). You can read about Gideon’s military victories over the Midianites in Judges chapters 7 and 8. God used him to save Israel out of enemy hands and the land had rest for 40 years (Judges 8:28).

Centuries later, the Philistine giant Goliath taunted Israel, but her armies are no match for him. Little David, a lowly shepherd boy, nevertheless had faith that the LORD would give him the strength to slay Goliath, which he did using one rock and a sling (1 Samuel 17:50). David, the “nobody” that he was, grew up and became the greatest king Israel ever had!

Centuries later, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn apostate Israel, but Jeremiah refuted, “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (1:6). This “child,” whose age Scripture withholds, still went on to become a mighty spokesman for God before and during the Babylonian captivity of Judah.

Centuries later, when the Lord Jesus Christ needed apostles to convert Israel, He chose four fisherman, brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and brothers James and John (Mark 1:16-20). Peter and John are later referred to as “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13). These four non-seminary graduates, uneducated fishermen, were mighty vessels of God who led thousands of Jews to faith in Jesus as Messiah during the Acts period.

The Apostle Paul carried out his ministry with infirmities/sicknesses/weaknesses.  The Bible says about Paul, “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Galatians 4:13 says, “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” Paul had to stay in Galatia because he was sick, and yet, that delay gave him opportunity to see people in Galatia saved and learn sound Bible doctrine!

God will oftentimes use for His purposes those people we would never expect Him to utilize. This could not be said any plainer than what we read in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “[26] For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in his presence. [30] But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: [31] That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

If you, dear Christian, doubt that the Lord can use you because of your disabilities, social status, weaknesses, age, or education, just remember Moses’ speech impediment, Gideon’s poverty, David and Jeremiah’s juvenility, Peter and John’s ignorance, and Paul’s infirmities. God used them—people who did not seem like much—for His glory. What made the difference was not their strengths, but the Almighty God who worked in and through them. “That no flesh should glory in [God’s] presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29). 🙂

 

Also see:
» What is God’s will for my life? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» I have recently trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. Now what? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» What should I do when I sin? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)