Sunday, July 31, 2016

Judging Others - A View from Scripture - Part 3

The series = "Judging Others"

Problem = scripture says, on one hand "don't judge", but in numerous places  "do judge".  These places far outweigh the number saying "don't judge".

The Answer = "John 7:24 - don't judge superficially, but with a RIGHT judgment.

So, WHEN is it appropriate to judge another?  There is no comprehensive list or single chapter in the Bible with all the rules, however, we have many examples, instructions, illustrations.

For example, it is deemed proper and even mandated to judge another:
1)  when choosing leadership - Titus 1:5-8
Example:  in presidential elections:  must judge actions, claims, character of individual or individuals

2)  in matters of stewardship - 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-13
Stewards are to be (A) faithful - truthful, honest with God's stuff
                      and (B)  competent
                     and (C)  productive - are to make a kingdom difference if possible

3)  when confronted with blatant sin.  (this is more than just obvious. = shameless, flaunting, arrogant - in your face)
1 Cor. 5:1-5, 12-13  with the proper motive - potentially dangerous in the sense that can do enormous damage or enormous good.

PURPOSE????  #1.  Correction/instruction - example:  Nathan and Daniel
                        #2.  Protection - 1 Cor. 5:6 - example:  yeast, gangrene
                        #3.  Restoration - 2 Cor. 2;6-8, 2 Thess. 3:14-15

Purpose is NOT to condemn, which is God's prerogative.  (Not our place, but God's alone), BUT this is NOT God's desire.  2 Pet. 3:9    

Some things to remember:  

1)  Mostly behavior - (not heart)

2)  According to God's Word - not according to personal opinion and personal preference

3)  with a healthy dose of mercy - "healthy" = a judgment of charity, with benefit of the doubt
BUT, NOT a "judgment of naivete" - not called to be stupid, undiscerning

4)  having examined our self    Matt.  7:3-5, Gal. 6:1

Monday, July 25, 2016

Judging Others - A View from Scripture - part 2

A Problem:  on one hand, scripture says "judge not" - Matt. 7:1-2 - most well known scripture in America.
On the other hand, many scriptures say "do judge" - are many examples --- 1 Cor. 6:1-3

Short Answer - On one hand, reject a hyper-critical faultfinding spirit (judgmentalism)
However, practice thinking, examining, weighing facts, form an opinion (concerning right and wrong)

Touchstone verse = John 7:24 - 'stop judging superficially, but make a right judgment'

Last sermon, asked the question, "what's the chief virtue of society today?"

TOLERANCE:  def. = sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practises differing from one's own.  (allowing)

However, today there is another term which is HUGE in our social construction.

RELATIVISM:  def. = the belief that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context and are not absolute.  (ie:  morals are constructed, changing and should not be held on to, and not be judged as absolute.)
This is the world view of our nation today!  That truth is fluid, moving, changing, and not static!

This has become accepted recently in history.  In 1900 the word relativism and its concept - mostly unknown!!

Further definitions:
Tolerance:  all views are equally tolerated
Relativism:  all views are equally valid (true)

Our concern in this series = Moral Relativism.

Question:  How does the Christian View differ? 

The Christian View says "Right and Wrong" (morals)...

#1.  EXIST - in eternity, is universal, not a fabrication or concept.  Morals exist apart from our assessment, opinion, fabrication.

#2.  UNCHANGING - they are eternal and universal - It IS!!
(our understanding of moral laws may change, but NOT the laws!)

#3.  ESTABLISHED BY GOD - not the Supreme Court, voting block, public opinion, etc..   Right and wrong are NOT arbitrary but align with reality.  Truth just exists!

#4.  REVEALED TO US - generally in nature, reason
                                      specifically through the Old Testament prophets, New Testament Apostles, the Son => God's WORD.  Blackstone:  'Laws exist.  It's up to us to discover them.'

#5.  REVEALED FOR US - Right = good which leads to better, blessings.
                                       Wrong = bad which leads to detriment, damage, destruction

#6.  TO PRACTICE - not merely argument, debate

IF this = your view..., then you are at odds with most Americans, most Christians
IF this = your view .., then your stance on judging others will differ dramatically from society.

The Christian view = I'm bound by the revealed will of God.  You can anticipate being mocked, ridiculed, persecuted for this view.

However, FIRST - 1 Cor. 11:31 - self-judgment according to God's Word.

From a Biblical perspective, Preparation for judging others?  (a Biblical, but dangerous realm)
A.  Accept Christ - as Savior and LORD
B.  Accept His Word - revealed will - there is NO criteria to judge without this.
C.  Examine yourself.

THEN, begin to pursue a "proper judgment" - John 7:24

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Judging Others - A View from Scripture

Question:  What is considered the chief virtue of our society today?
Answer:  Like candidate = "tolerance"
Definition:  "sympathy and indulgence for beliefs or practises differing from or conflicting with one's own".   (the act of allowing something)

The irony = "tolerance is a virtue and we'll not tolerate those who disagree".    Example:  college campuses, Hollywood entertainment, Presidential Campaigns!

Journey of the past 50 years (over-simplified) -
Pre-modern - "these are the rules.  By these rules we judge" - right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable)

Modern - "are these the rules?  can we judge?" - (beyond question and examination --> RAW SKEPTICISM)

Post-Modern - "there are no rules.  We cannot judge!"  (which collapses under its own weight, self-defeating statement.  Therefore, tolerance is the virtue, and we won't tolerate you having no tolerance)

So, question = 1) is there right & wrong?  (moral concerns, human behavior)
                       2)  how do we determine right or wrong?  (how to know, measure)
                       3)  are we allowed to say so?? - Am I allowed to make a judgment call concerning human behavior?

JUDGING OTHERS - A View From Scripture.

Scripture says:  on one hand, "don't judge" - Matt. 7:1-2, Rom. 14:4 - Rom. 14:13
                        On the other hand, "do judge" - Matt. 7:6
                                                                        Matt. 7:15
                                                                        Titus 3:10
                                                                        1 Cor. 5:12-13

So, On one hand - James 4:12, however, on the other hand, Lev. 19:15

Question:  Is Scripture contradicting itself?  or, do we need a clearer understanding?

#1.  The Greek work for 1 'to judge' has broad application.
       In addition to translated to judge,
also translated - to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discern between, to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude, to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to vindicate, to condemn

Point being:  can't come to a reasonable stance based on 1 verse (like Matt. 7:1)

#2.  What's being addressed in Matt. 7:1 is:
       A)  A hyper-critical spirit which sees minute faults in others while ignoring (major) faults of own.
and  B)  is assessing not just actions (hands) but motive. (heart)

#3.  Making judgments of other people is essential to responsible living.
Examples:  A)  parental decisions (regarding who teenage daughter dates)
                 B)  everyday life choices   Prov. 4:14, 9:8, 14:7
                C)  within Christian faith, the church - Rev. 2:14-16, 20 (you're tolerant)

#4.  (Mostly) we're called to judge actions, not people.
can't always know the heart, motive, intent, but can judge actions, behavior, lifestyle.

(PROBLEM!!  Not easy to separate action and actor/behavior and behavee)

#5.  Jesus calls us to make good judgments.  John 7:24 - Amplified version:  "be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance --- superficially and by appearances; but judge fairly and righteously"

2 things necessary to getting it right:

#1.  Proper Scale/Measure - ie:  the Word of God/ the Revelation of God's will/desire/intent - 2 Tim. 3:16-17
God revealed Himself to us through nature, prophets, Jesus, Apostles, the Word.

#2.  Proper Balance.  Model = Jesus who 1) addressed sin and embraced the sinner
                                                            2) exercised truth w/o compromise while showing grace and mercy (ex.  woman at the well)

Summary verse:  Micah 6:8
act justly
love mercy
walk humbly
        with your God.  He's God, we're not!!!

Always remember, but for the grace of God, there go I.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Concerning the Future of the USA

World Magazine - informal readers' survey from 2010 - concerning this:

1)  Optimistic - 25%
2)  Pessimistic - 35%
3)  doomsday cataclysmist - 40%

A more recent secular pole = "80% of adult citizens polled say our nation is on the wrong track concerning our future".
(However, must acknowledge that there is VASTLY DIFFERING views of what track we should be on!  What correction should be made!

So, in doing research, compiling notes, etc, on the question 'are your optimistic or pessimistic about the USA?

Pessimist says "we'll crash if we don't change course.
They cite:  failed education system, aging populace, way the government is not working, growing racism, changing views of morality, what was a melting pot is now becoming a patchwork quilt, family life is deteriorating, 40 of babies born to unwed mothers, out of control spending by government, entitlement mentality, personal rights outweighing the greater good, lack of moral leadership, and list goes on and on.

Optimist says "yes, but knowing that, we will change our course." citing recovery from Civil War, Great Depression, two world wars, cold war, etc.

Yogi Berra says "it's tough to make predictions .... especially about the future".

It's helpful to read knowledgeable and thoughtful optimists, but for the Christian, our hope is not in the nation, government, people, etc.  Our hope is in the LORD!!

He's promised... 1)  He'll be with us (either way)
                          2)  in the end, He'll make it right!!
There will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever to a perfect government until Jesus comes and sets His up!!

#1.  God is in Control - need to keep that in mind all the time!!  God is greater than _______.  (fill in the blank)
#2.  His Promises still stand - Matt. 16:18 - gates of hell will not overcome it - EVER!

#3.  His Purpose is unchanged - 1 Tim. 2:3-4 - praying for people in authority - He wants all people to come and be saved.

#4.  He does not (quickly) abandon His people.....  He doesn't abandon His people AT ALL.
Example:  Israel - pre-exile, in exile, post exile.

Question:  Are we His people?    Some church attendance stats:
Regarding rates of religious adherence - 1776 - 2000 (taken from "The Churching of America" - Roger Finke/Rodney Stark)  copyright 2005

% of "churched" American Adults  (definition = (A) make a denominational claim
                                                                        (B) attend services at least occasionally
1776 - 17%
1860 - 37%
1906 - 51%
1952 - 59%
1980 - 62%
2000 - 62%
(figure 1.2/pg. 23)

#5.  We still have opportunity to turn - Jer. 18:7-10 - a great deal of this is determined by us.

#6.  Even after all seems lost, God is able to revive and restore.  No nation is beyond.   Hope is in Him.
Ezek. 37:1-14 - dry bones prophecy


#1.  We're to seek the good of our nation. Jer. 29:1,4-7 (letter to exiles) - our nation is not our enemy - God places us here.

#2.  We're to obey all we can.  Rom. 13;1-7  (1 Pet. 2:13-17)   Civil obedience precedes civil disobedience - if the government tries to implement things against God.

#3.  We're t be salt and light in this nation - Matt. 5:13-16 - here in this nation, where God placed us.
(ie:  ministry, teaching, preaching, politics, etc.)

#4.  We must accept that this nation may choose to reject Him.   On one hand, USA has Christian roots.  However, it's written in that it's the people's right to reject those roots!!  We can't force people to follow God's rule!

#5.  Consider that difficult times may be God's hand of discipline. 
Examples:  Assyria, Babylon, exile - not to destroy but to turn.

#6.  Remember that Christians have often lived and ministered in a hostile nation.  Example:  Rome.  And in 300 years, they turned it around!

We do have an obligation to the nation  (where He placed us), but our FIRST commitment is to Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 15:58 - Therefore,, STAND FIRM!!