Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

It would appear to be indisputable that same-sex marriage and the open celebration of homosexuality is quickly becoming a part of the global cultural agenda—and responding to the rise of the homosexual agenda is a teaching that is permeating even the Christian world, claiming that since Jesus never mentions homosexuality nor does He specifically condemn it, homosexuality must be legitimate in Jesus’ eyes.

This is not a judgment against those who maintain a homosexual lifestyle. I have always maintained that we are not to judge those outside the Church, but we are told to judge those inside the Church—those who claim to be followers of Christ but live a life not consistent with God’s Word. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

This is a very important issue for the Church. For if there is no accountability to God, then the secular worldview would have us to believe that homosexual marriage is a completely legitimate issue. Pedophilia and bestiality would not be out of the question either, should the prevailing secular worldview deem these lifestyles to be acceptable and the “new norm.” The biblical worldview, however, is grounded in the unchanging tenets of the Word of God. This is where the loudest cultural clash occurs and the two worlds collide.

So, did Jesus condemn, speak of, or even mention homosexuality? As it turns out, yes, he did. As a matter of fact, he spoke very clearly and directly about the issue. Let me begin with Matthew 19:4. Here Jesus is answering a question from the Pharisees regarding divorce. However, his answer is very telling concerning the entire issue of sexuality, marriage and the proper form of marriage. Here are the words of Jesus:

“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:4)

Here Jesus upholds male and female procreation as a part of male and female marriages, and the sanctity of male and female sexual relationships within male and female marriages. His answer tells us that since creation anything outside God’s standard for sexuality and marriage is a perversion. This truth cannot be legitimately explained away. And yet many pastors and religious leaders are teaching just the opposite! In the words of Billy Sunday, “What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today!”

We read in Galatians 5:19-21, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) We would expect, therefore, that while the Son of God was on earth, he taught much regarding sin. Indeed he did, and we would profit from a humble reflection on some of the sayings of Jesus about sin.

Some of the Lord’s remarks about sin have been misapplied. For example, when a woman was taken in the act of adultery, she was brought to Jesus for judgment. He dispersed the multitude by stating, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) The verse is loved by many who hope that its recitation at just the right moment, will free them from judging or being judged.

Note the following: First, Christians should judge one another (1 Corinthians 5:12-13; John 7:24). Second, the Lord did not condone this woman’s sin. He commanded her to “go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.” (John 8:11) Third, Jesus revealed the hypocrisy of the accusers who were more interested in ensnaring the Lord than preserving holiness in their community. (cf. Mark 7:1-13) And where was the MAN who also was caught in the act of adultery? (cf. Leviticus 20:10) Fourth, Jesus respected the Mosaic law that prohibited adultery and the punishment that the law prescribed. He also regarded the laws of accusation and testimony, which may not have been satisfied in this case. And lastly, the response to this situation by Jesus was not designed to insulate wicked and unrepentant individuals from rebuke or discipline in the Christian Age.

Other sayings of Jesus teach us regarding the nature of sin itself. Sin is a master to whom we become enslaved to. (John 8:34) Sin is blinding. (John 9:39-41) Only the truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

By joining with the secular worldview on sin we have become spiritually blind. Only complete submission and sincere obedience to Jesus Christ and God’s Word will remedy our spiritual blindness.

When the Lord was criticized for eating with sinners, he revealed the purpose of his coming by responding, “They that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)

But if there is no unrighteousness and no need for repentance, then there was no reason for Jesus to come and his death and resurrection was meaningless.

One of the most memorable sayings of Jesus on sin is found in Matthew 26:28. It reminds us of the purpose for which Jesus was born, suffered, died and was risen from the dead. Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins.”

This ought to enlighten us regarding what Jesus taught about sin. Sin is so horrible that only the spotless blood of Jesus can atone for it. His love for the sinner is so deep, he was willing to pour it out for them. Thanks be to our Lord for teaching us the truth about sin and providing the ransom.

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The Bible says, “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.” (Matt. 7:1-2)

But is judging the same as condemning? Judging is used in more than one sense in the New Testament writings. The Greek word ‘krinō’ (or a form of it) is used for judge and judgment.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church said: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. (1 Cor. 5:1-3)

The Apostle concluded by telling them that they had to ‘judge’ this man by the word of God and then act on it! “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.” (v.12-13)

“For judgment, (krima- condemnation of wrong) I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:39)

Jesus said, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not ‘judge’ (krinō) him, for I did not come to ‘judge’ the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)

It seems that Jesus contradicts himself until we see how John uses two different Greek words for the word ‘judge’ and examine the context in which they are used.  The judgment in John 9:39 speak of final judgment. In John 12:47 the judgment Jesus said that he came to bring is krinō; i.e.; making a distinction between right and wrong. As in John 7:24: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” And Luke 12:57: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

What kind of judging does God not forbid?

God does not forbid the judgments of the civil courts, (Rom. 13:1-7) or the judgment of the church upon disorderly members. (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thes. 3:6)

Matt. 7:6 tells us: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”  So we must be able to recognize, (make a judgment) who the dogs and pigs are so we will know who not to give that which is sacred to.

And in Matt. 7:15-20 Jesus tells us to: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”  But how can we fulfill this command if we are not able to judge who is a false teacher and who is not?

James exhort us to help restore those who have wandered from the truth and have been led into sin: Jas. 5:19-20- “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” But unless we can determine (through an examination of the word of God) that a person is in sin (thus making a judgment), we cannot not turn him from the error of his way.

What is the wrong kind of judging?

  • Any judging that is neither positive nor conclusive or anything that is from insufficient evidence or from ill will is prohibited.

Romans 14:1 – “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Jas. 4:11-12: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”

Sadly, I have experienced this more in group prayers than anywhere else. When asked who needs prayer someone will say something like, “Please pray for ‘Joe Christian’ because he is no longer walking with God and is using drugs again. He has also been seen with underage girls.” This is nothing more than ‘prayer gossip’ and is slander against someone who is not present to defend themselves.

  • Judging others while doing the same thing yourself.

Romans 2:1 –“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Matt. 7:1-5 – “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. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

According to Matt. 7:1-5 we have the responsibility to remove the plank out of our own eye first so we will be able to see (judge) clearly another who needs our help to remove the splinter out of his eye. And sometimes it is a matter of perspective. It is easy to see others’ flaws at a distance; for example, a small speck of dirt in someone’s eye. But place that same speck close to our own eye and it becomes a plank; blocking our view. God did not commission us to be speck inspectors!

Judgment is forbidden when it is harsh, unfounded, hypercritical, malicious, slanderous, or ill-natured because its aim is to hurt, defame, and damage, rather than to encourage and build up. Judgment is only encouraged to settle matters in civil courts, to correct and restore a believer who has wandered from the truth, and to identify false teachers and evil people.

We must remember that forbidden judgment will almost always result in hurt, but godly judgment will almost always result in building up and restoration.

We would do well to live by the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:10-14)

“O LORD, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and have done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our leaders, and our fathers.

LORD, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame; your people both near and far, and in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes, our leaders, and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But you O LORD are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against you; we have not obeyed you or kept the laws you gave us through your servants the prophets.  The entire world has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us judgment. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what is being done today.

Just as it is written in the Law of Moses and the prophets, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. LORD, you will not hesitate to bring judgment upon us, for you O LORD, are God, and you are righteous in everything you do; yet we have not obeyed you.  Now, O LORD our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. O LORD, in  keeping with all your righteous acts; turn away your anger and your wrath from us, your own holy people. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Now, O God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O LORD, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open our eyes so that we might see the desolation of the people who bear your name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

O LORD, listen! O LORD, forgive! O LORD, hear and act! For your sake, O my God – do not delay, because of your own name’s sake and for the people who bear your name.”

(From Daniel 9: 4-19)

re·viv·al  noun /riˈvīvəl/

1. An improvement in the condition or strength of something

2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.

3. A reawakening of religious fervor, esp. by means of a series of evangelistic meetings

4. A time of reawakened interest in religion.

One only needs to read the headlines in local newspapers or on the internet to know that our world is in serious trouble:

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency; Two shot, one attacked, at NFL pre-season game; Egypt, Israel tries to defuse tension over killings; London riots: police lose battle as lawlessness erupts; Chicago Police Brace for ‘Flash Mob’ Attacks; Gunman opens fire at Philadelphia basketball game…. And on and on it goes.

Throughout history God has called for people to repent and turn away from their ungodliness and every time they could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as a result, God had to discipline his people with judgment. It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and instead continue to sin and listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Many of God’s prophets in the Old Testament delivered God’s message of impending judgment but time and time again the people would not listen because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same as it is today. The message of repentance!

I believe that the time for revival is now! Not the revival that is planned with big tents and special ‘Revival Evangelists’ but a true Holy Spirit revival that changes the lives of believers.

Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new compassion, zeal, and new life. And what a great responsibility this lays on the Church of God! Because if you hinder the work of God’s spirit by your unrepentant hearts, then the people who are perishing in the world are the ones who really suffer! Revival is not excitement, or emotionalism. It is not even evangelism! Revival is the moving of God’s Spirit, through the power of His Word, to the hearts of His children, that resurrects new life in those areas which have been lying stagnant, dormant, or out of balance, and that results in a new love and obedience to Jesus Christ.

The captives in Babylon missed revival because they placed their idols above their one true God. And if revival is being withheld from us today it is because some idol remains still enthroned in our hearts; because we still insist in placing our reliance on human schemes; and because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that, “It is not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)  Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.”

What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that was once fruitful, but then it has been unplowed and left alone. After a time, it becomes so hard that no seed can be sown in it and it becomes unproductive. In order to plant again this ground must first be plowed up and turned over to kill the weeds that would crowd out the crop or compete with it for water and nutrients. Notice that the scripture says that we are to break up our fallow ground. Psalm 85:6 states: “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” So, without revival, without breaking up the fallow ground in our hearts, there is an absence of joy and our lives become unproductive.

I have read of the revivals of the past, great sweeping revivals where thousands of men were brought into the Kingdom of God. I read about Charles Finney winning his thousands and his hundreds of thousands of souls to Christ. When you read the messages of Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgen you can feel their desperation for sinners falling into the hands of a just God, and understand why men and women trembled and fell down at the altars and cried out in repentance and sobbed their way to the throne of grace!

Where are the men and women of desperation today? Why do we not care if our loved ones depart this world without salvation? Why are we satisfied with a dull watered down Gospel in exchange for the fire of the Holy Spirit? If you are waiting for a pastor or Bible teacher to lead the world to revival you will have a long wait; because religious leaders seldom welcome revival.

Leonard Ravenhill, one of the greatest revival preachers of our time said, “I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is in this moment. I don’t think our nation has. Whatever we shall say about revival we have to recognize this: There are three things about natural life: conception, gestation, and birth. You can’t alter the program. There has never been revival, that I can trace, that has not been preceded by agonizing prayer. You might say, “I haven’t got to that stage yet of agonizing prayer. How does is come?” Well, it comes through vision. If we are really going to get a concept of revival we have to get a vision of God’s sorrow over sin. We have to get a concept of how, day by day, we offend God. As a nation we offend God in millions of ways. If we are going to realize how much we need revival we need to recognize the dimension of sin. We have to recognize that sin offends God.”

This is the one thing that Israel and Judah did not recognize. Even though God sent prophets to warn them, they refused to repent. And because they refused to listen, they were taken captive into Babylon. And this is the one thing that God’s people today fail to recognize.

Characteristics of Revivals of the past

During revivals of the past, people were making money hand over fist. (Due to the railroad and the industrial revolution) because of the economic bubble, there was also a very serious spiritual decline. But at the same time, many were speaking out against the social injustices of the time, such as slavery. Some abolitionists felt so strongly against slavery that they felt justified in the killing of slave owners. Then as the economic bubble began to burst many people found themselves in a sudden economic downturn. Revival started as the result of intense prayer and God seemed to answer prayer in places that they least expected it and the power of God seemed to fall spontaneously in many different places. Soon afterward the Lord breathed new life into the Church where there was widespread repentance and brokenness of Christians and backsliders alike. There were also conversions of ministers during these revivals.

Why America is ready for revival

In the past decades Americans have experienced an economic boom. The 2007 World Wealth Report, issued by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini, showed a record number of millionaires in North America and abroad. The survey said there were 9.5 million millionaires in the world at the end of 2006. The millionaire population increased 8.3% between 2005 and 2006. And these millionaires controlled $37.2 trillion in wealth. By 2011, that wealth is expected to grow to $51.6 trillion. In North America, the number of financial millionaires grew 9.2% to 3.2 million. Their total wealth grew by 10% to $11.3 trillion.

In recent years some of those opposed to abortion, (The social injustice of our time) have sometimes resorted to very public demonstrations of violence in an effort to achieve their objective of curbing the termination of pregnancy. Those who engage in or support such actions defend the use of force—as justifiable homicide or defense of others—in the interest of protecting the life of the fetus.

The financial crisis in the late-2000s is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market has also suffered, resulting in numerous evictions, foreclosures and prolonged vacancies. It also contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth, which lead to a severe global economic recession in 2008. Due to the foreclosures and evictions the homeless population continues to increase and currently the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old!

The characteristics for revivals have not changed; and the Satan’s tactics to keep people from God has not changed either. Unfortunately, people tend to fall for his same old tricks. Mankind continues to put its confidence in ourselves instead of God; all the while expecting God to bless and prosper us as a nation. And then we question why He has not! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results!

Real revival is taking place, but not in America. It is occurring in Korea, where the Church has grown from less than one million 25 years ago, to over 12 million today. And it is occurring in Africa, where the Church is growing so fast that Muslims attack preachers and disrupt meetings to try to stop its progress. It is taking place in Central and South America, in China and Malaysia, but in America? No! We are so smug in our presumed spiritual superiority, so at ease in our comfortable buildings, so fat in our land of plenty that we have no need of God. That may be why God has allowed the current financial crises to occur.

Just like the ancient people of God, we have not realized our sin, and we have failed to acknowledge the holy God that we were called to serve. Why is it only when we feel threatened that we turn to God? When our money can’t help us, we may cry out to Him. When the doctors can’t save us, we may pray for a healing. When we feel we might not be quite as good as we should be, we might respond to an invitation and let the preacher massage our conscience by telling us that now that we have accepted Jesus we’re alright. We might come to God to be “blessed”, we might go to meetings to hear how God wants to “prosper” us and make us wealthy – but surrender to God? Devote our whole lives, hearts, minds, souls and strength, to His cause? Never! We have become a nation of jail house converts!

America will only see true revival if we begin to pay more than lip service to God and His Word. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We have heard it preached many times but we must believe it and obey it if we are to see God move in our land. Our church leaders must obey the admonition of Joel, who declares, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” (Joel 2:17) In Habakkuk 3:2 the prophet prays, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” This must become the believer’s heart cry! Elisha exclaimed, “Where is the God of Elijah?” But God is now crying out, “Where are the Elijahs of God?” America can have true Holy Spirit revival if the Church recognizes the need for it and does what it takes to bring it about.

                           Oh Lord! Send revival to your Church now!