04 Mar 2018
Christians have a responsibility to help one another grow in holiness. This involves pointing out sin in one anothers' lives. It is therefore unfortunate when we wrongly use Mat 7:1, "Judge not, that you be not judged. " as an excuse not to judge. What Jesus is against is not the "act of judgment" but the "attitude of judgmentalism". We are instead to lovingly and gently point out others' faults. To do so, we must first examine ourselves. As Warren Wiersbe said, "The Pharisees judged & criticized others to make themselves look good, but Christians should judge themselves so they can help others look good. " God is a God of perfect judgment. No sin will be unpunished. But this is also the amazing love and compassion of God- that He will send His Son Jesus to bear our sins away. May you find true liberty in Jesus when you hear Him say, "neither do I condemn you. . . go and sin no more!" Listen to this sermon to find out more.
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In the book of Matthew, we have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount in the past few months. The Sermon on the Mount is that which is given by Jesus some 2000 years ago, wonderful principles about the kingdom of God and in particular this morning we are going to look at the subject of judgment, should Christians judge? Should we look at sin in people's lives and point them out? So today the question is, to judge or not to judge?
I give you three scenarios for your consideration.
Scenario number one: a young man is married with wife with kids but one day he has been found out to be watching, surfing and in consuming pornography on the Internet. His parents discovered that and lovingly confronted him about the issue. He was angry when he was confronted and said to his parents, “You should really mind your own business and don't be so judgmental.” So the poor parents had no choice but to watch from the side-lines as his son or their son continues to indulge in pornography and eventually he lost his wife, he lost his kids, he lost his family. To judge or not to judge?
Scenario number two: in your care group, there is a lady who has been seeing an unbeliever. You know that that's not a healthy thing, but that really came to a crunch when she decided to marry the unbeliever. So as a care group, you are concerned because you see that this is unbiblical, this is not healthy, this is not good, it's not God's will. They live on polar ends, one live for God, the other doesn't like God, doesn't want God and so you warn her lovingly that she should really reconsider her decision. Again she says to you, “No, this is what I like, this is what I will want for my life, who are you to judge me? Jesus said judge not that ye be not judged.” The care group didn't quite know how to respond to that statement found in the Bible and so they could only watch and slowly but surely she slips away from church and eventually also from the faith. To judge or not to judge?
Scenario number three: myself, I'm a preacher, I teach the Bible and by and by, I have highlighted and pointed out false teachings that are around in Singapore and in the world today and at times I pointed out even false teachers by name. So I’ve received comments from people who wrote in and said, “Pastor, that should not be done, it is harsh, it is unloving, you should not do that, you're too judgmental.”
So these three scenarios are scenarios that are not unfamiliar and the question remains, should we judge or not? Should we point out people sins and false teachings? Do Christians have a responsibility to do that or should we not do that because that is unloving?
Well, I guess to settle it all, we have to look at the Word of God and in particular what Jesus has to say. So Matthew chapter 7 verses 1 to 6 teach us on the subject of judgment. He says in verse 1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And then He goes on in verse 2, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
So when you look at this, immediately you're struck with the first two words “judge not”, and so it strikes us to say we should not judge, it is not helpful to judge, it is not necessary to judge, it maybe even unchristian to judge. We should not point people sins out, we shall not be so harsh towards them, we should maybe pray for them, hope that God will do something about it but we should not judge because that's what Jesus said, “judge not.”
But that's a very superficial casual reading of it, because if you were to just read a little bit more you know that's probably not what Jesus is saying. Verse 5, just 3 statements later, He says, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” In other words, this is recognizing that your brother, a fellow Christian has a problem. His problem is like a speck in his eye irritating him, affecting him and if you love him, you would want to help him, you will want to remove that irritant, that disturbance in his life that is really affecting him.
So Jesus’s saying do it, help him, don't just sit on the side lines. Moreover, another few verses later Jesus says you are to recognize, you are to look for, you are to be aware that there false prophets, they come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. [Mat 7:15] So, you should recognize them by their fruits. Do you judge? Of course you should, otherwise you will be fooled, you will be eaten up alive by false teachers.
That's not just here in the Sermon on the Mount, later on Jesus would say in Matthew 18, that “If your brother sins against you,” pretend nothing happened? No, “go and tell him his fault.” [Mat 18:15] Judge that it is sin and deal with it, help him with it, inform him of it, exhort him, encourage him, pray for him that he should repent of his fault, take that speck out of his eye as it were.
Well, the apostle Paul was also very clear that as Christians, as brothers and sisters in Christ, if we see someone caught in any sin, in any transgression, then if you are spiritual, if you're walking with God, then you should “restore him in the spirit of gentleness” [Gal 6:1], that's your responsibility to help him out of this.
Philippians 3:2 tells us to judge, to “Look out for dogs,” I'm not saying on the streets, but look out for false teachers that are pictured like dogs, “look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” [Phi 3:2] Look out for people who are leading you away from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, judge and be aware.
1st John, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit,” you have to exercise judgment, “but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” [1Jo 4:1] So verse after verse there's a whole bunch of Scriptures, in fact the Bible is full of the need for us to be discerning, to make judgments.
So why did Jesus says judge not? Seems to be so contradictory but it really is not a contradiction, if you understand the word ‘judge’. The word ‘judge’ here is the word ‘krino’ in the Greek and the word ‘judge’ can mean, to decide, to judge or conclude or it has a wider scope of possibility in that it includes this stronger shade of meaning that includes, that means ‘to condemn’. So when Jesus says ‘krino not that ye be not krino’, in a sense. We think He's talking about judgment in a neutral way, but really if you understand the context, He's using it in the tone that is stronger, ‘condemn not, that ye be not condemned.’ Now, this word ‘krino’ is elsewhere translated as ‘condemn’.
For example in John chapter 3, you can go back, check your Greek lexicon or dictionary and you will see that the words highlighted, ‘condemned’ here is really the word ‘krino’. And when you look at the word ‘krino’ in this context, it cannot be the neutral meaning of judge. For example, “For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not judged, but whoever does not believe is judged”, no, no, no, it is more appropriately and correctly translated here as ‘condemned’.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” [John 3:17,18] The word ‘krino’, can be neutral - ‘judge’ or a stronger shade, stronger tone of ‘condemn’.
Likewise in 2nd Thessalonians, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,” [2Th 2:11] now, again this is a very strong verse, there are many people today who will not want to listen to God's Word. So they go to churches that teach things that are opposing the Gospel. Why do they believe things that are false? Because they refuse to hear truth and so, God sends a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,”in order that all may be”, ‘krino’, “condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” [2Th 2:12] Scary verse but true.
So why do I show you these verses, because I think “judge not, that ye be not judged” or “krino that ye be not krino” is really to say “condemn not, that ye be not condemned.” In other words, Jesus is not against the act of judgment, every Christian needs to make judgments, every one of us. In fact, you judge today what time to wake up, what breakfast to have, what bus to take, what time to arrive, you make judgments all the time and we are to make judgments also in the spiritual realm. Do I serve? Who do I talk to? Do I read the Scriptures? Do I have time to pray? Do I speak to that person? Do I trust this pastor called Jason, is he speaking? You make judgments all the time. God is not saying don't judge. Judge! But He's against the attitude of judgementalism. So we are to judge but we are not to be condemning, we are not to be mean and proud and self-righteous. See, sometimes we look at people's lives, look at people’s sins in their lives, we develop that self-righteous, proud, arrogant spirit. We judge them, we talk about their sins, so that they look bad, in order for me to look good, and that's absolutely what is forbidden in the Sermon on the Mount.
I think one of the best illustrations is that which is given by Jesus. He says two men went to the temple to pray, one is a religious leader, he's a Pharisee, he's a stickler to the law of God. He thinks that if he were to obey all the laws externally as best as he can, God must accept him because on the bell curve, he's way ahead of the rest of the world, so God has to accept him, so he comes to God with this pompous posture and say, “I give tithes, I fast and I'm not like those dirty, filthy sinners like the publican behind me.”
The publican, he's a tax collector. A tax collector is someone who is hated in Israel because they are seen as traitors, they work for the Roman Empire to get money from their own people and to give Caesar. So they are seen as the lowlifes, the outcasts and the Pharisee says, “I judge that I am not like this tax collector. I'm not as bad as he is, look at his sins, look at his life, I judge him as such and I feel superior.” I think this is absolutely the spirit Jesus is warning against, not this critical, harsh, self-righteous, proud, mean attitude.
So let me say this again when Jesus says “judge not, that you be not judged”, accurately it's “krino not, that you be not krino” in a sense, He's saying: I'm not against the act of judgment, but I'm certainly against the attitude of judgementalism. Christians are to judge. You can't, you shouldn't see a brother or sister live in obvious sin and say that's not my business. You can't say, “I want to turn a blind eye towards it.” You can't do that for your kids, right? If your kids are living in sin, what you do as parents? Continue? No! You see that it is the right parental responsibility to speak to your kids about it. Now we need to then speak the truth in love, but don't be judgmental. So Christians are to judge, but we must not be proud or mean in the way we point out their problems.
“So pastor, how do I know if I'm judgmental? I know I've to judge, I, I think I realize this, I have a responsibility to help my brother take out the speck from his eye, but I'm, I'm, I'm concerned if I may do this out of a judgmental wrong spirit, how do I know?”
Just some simple questions for you to consider alright.
1. Am I glad when the sin of another is mentioned?
Number one, are you happy when the sin of another person is mentioned? “Wah, orbiguat, (means you deserve it in hokkien dialect) he sinned, ha, ha!” Did you have that glee and that gloating, then I think I'm concerned about your attitude and your spirit because if you're really concerned about your brother, you love him, you will be broken about his sin.
2. Do I gossip about the sin of another?
So, number two, do you gossip about the sin of another? Do you make it like hot topic of the day, “Eh you know ah that John ah, keep doing this, aiyoh, look at this, aiyoh.” And, and you love to talk about it so that it makes him look bad, subtly you're making yourself look good. I'm not like him!
3. Do I tell him/her his fault though it’s difficult?
Third question, do you tell him or her or his or her fault even though it is difficult? Someone who just likes to judge people in a judgmental way, just like to talk about it but would never do anything positive or fruitful about it.
So these are questions for your consideration. Jesus, I think is very clearly saying here, “judge not, that ye be not judged,” in a sense, don't be judgmental because if you're judgmental towards others, if that's the way you treat people, then that's the way you will be treated. He says, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” [Mat 7:2] A principle of reciprocity, you reap what you sow.
A story is told of a baker, he bakes bread and so on and he buys butter from a farmer. So every time he buys the butter from the farmer he would check the butter and he will say I want to buy a 1 pound of butter and so on and he will receive that butter and over the weeks he realized that the pack of butter even though it's for the same amount of money and for the same amount of said weight, it, it has shrunk in size over time, get smaller and smaller and smaller and so he was very upset. He feels he's been cheated and so he sues the farmer who produces the butter before the court.
The judge then asked the farmer who makes the butter, “Do you weigh your butter when you sell them?” He says, “Yah I do.” “Do you use measuring weights?” “No, I don't.” “Then what do you use to weigh your butter that you say is 1 pound.” He says, “Oh, I realize that this baker has been buying butter from me, so I'll buy bread from him and he always sells this bread, called the 1 pound bread. And so I've been using his bread to measure my butter and if there's any shortage or inconsistency, you can blame it on him. When you are harsh with others, you will be dealt with harshly, I think that's the principle.
Now what does it mean then more specifically? I think here, I admit it's very difficult to be absolutely precise. There are some possibilities, I’ll share them with you the possibility,
1. People will be harsh with you.
Number one is that when you are harsh with people, people will be harsh with you. When you are unkind to people, people will be unkind towards you, if you are judgmental towards others, others would be judgmental towards you, I think that makes sense.
Some of you, some, some people like my wife, she's very nice to people. She always tries to put the best construction on people and I realize people are very nice to her. I'm a bit mean and so people are mean to me, so there's a principal of reciprocity, you, you, you reap what you sow! Well, maybe that is one interpretation.
2. You may be unsaved and face God’s wrath
Another possibility here is a little bit, it's way more severe and it is this, if you are harsh towards people, you harbour that kind of pharisaical, proud, self-righteous spirit, judging people then that may reveal, you were never saved in the first place. And so if you demonstrate this on a consistent basis, it just shows that you're not saved and one day you will face the wrath of God in judgment. So, you may be unsaved and face God's wrath, that might be what it means. So it raises the stakes real high.
3. You may be chastised
And then the third possibility is a bit more simpler I suppose and it is this, if I am harsh towards others, God, I'm saved, I'm still saved just that in this instance, I'm not doing it in the right spirit. So if I'm harsh towards others, God will decide or discipline me or chastise me, you may be chastised. So if how you judge others you will be judged either by man or by God. Which one is the right one? I cannot be certain, but I think the point Jesus is making is - be warned against judgementalism.
So now you say, “Alright pastor, I get it, I, I see that it is God's will for me to remove specks from people's eyes, to warn them, to restore them, to point out their problems so that they may live rightly before God, you're telling us don't be judgmental, mean, proud, arrogant, self-righteous in the way you talk about people, but genuinely help them to get right. Can you give us more, can, can you tell us more about what Jesus is saying in a way I am, am to do it?”
I say sure and Jesus is a master teacher, He gives us a powerful, very graphic illustration in verses 3 to 5, He says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye.” [Mat 7:3] that plank that is in your own eye, “how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” [Mat 7:4-5]
So He says the process of judging other people, seeing people’s sins and removing, helping to remove that sin in people's life is likened to removing a speck, a foreign body from the eye.
This is a gross picture because it's super close up, but you can see that this person is probably not having a nice time right? His eye is all red, inflamed, all the blood vessels engorged and if it remains there, maybe there will be corneal scarring, he may get blind, wah, it's severe problems. So He says or Jesus says, helping someone with their sins is important and you need to do it as if some doctor as it were is removing a foreign body from someone's eye.
Now, I must say this, I've worked as a doctor for six years but I've never done this before and I think I'll be quite nervous to do this, the hand shaking and aiyoh, it, it if you are not careful, the eye also dig out, so you got to be, you got to be very careful when you remove foreign body from people's eye.
So in order to do this, what do you need? What is the most important thing to remove the foreign body? You got to be medically trained. I, I was trained for five years, alright, still cannot. Yup, okay, you need training, what else? You need to have a sharp eye, okay good, sharp eye. What do you mean sharp? Poke? You need to have a clear vision right, so you're absolutely right. You need to have clear vision to help someone with this, you cannot go to a doctor with one-eyed doctor maybe there are in this world, but to remove foreign body you shouldn't go to that guy. You need to see clearly, that's what Jesus says.
You cannot help someone with his sin if you are not seeing clearly. And what you mean by “you can't see clearly?” Well, you have one log in one of your eyes. How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is a log in your …. it's quite humorous don't you think? Ay, I want to help you, I want to help you and then one toothpick there, how you help, your, your toothpick is blocking your vision, so you can't help if you're not seeing clearly.
Ok I’d like to do a simple demo, can I have a volunteer? Very simple test, I hope he doesn't do too well, if he does very well then, it's not so obvious, but here it goes, Joel, I need you to raise your left arm, are you right-handed or left-handed? Okay, never mind, left arm and point to your nose and then point to my finger, alright. So you do this, can? And as accurately as you can, tip of my finger, alright.
So try one, good, wah he's so fast, can you see that? He is good right? Okay, so Joel, what I wanted to do now, is to close your right eye with your right hand, that's right and then you try to do that now. Ah, ah, you see that, ah, ah, ah, alright, let’s give a round of applause to Joel.
Do you notice something? It's quite subtle, it's not so obvious because he’s quite coordinated, but what do you see? Sorry? He, a bit miss lah, ah. The first one with both eyes, he can point out very quickly and accurately but when one eye is covered, even though he can still see the finger, he might have passed pointing, right? He shoots past it or like that, I'm exaggerating but it's not so precise, why? Because God has made you, two eyes for a very good reason. This is for binocular vision or stereo vision, it's like hearing, right? If you have only one ear, you can't hear and locate the source of the sound so precisely. When you have two ears, it allows you to locate the sound more precisely, same thing for vision.
So if you see a doctor with only one eye, please don't ask him to remove the foreign body, because he might poop, “Aiyoh, sorry too deep, I couldn't see properly.” So you can't, alright! So, the principle is, let me take this speck out of your eye when your both eyes are not hindered in vision. I think that is very true, don't you think? You can still, so basically Jesus is saying, “If you want to judge someone, if you want to help someone, make sure you have clear vision on both sides.” And that's exactly what He says, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly.”
Notice this, first, you want to help someone, what's the first thing you do? First, examine yourself, check yourself! It's like, “Eh, how come the car drivers are so lousy, every time cut my car.” Actually the first person to check is me, “Do I also do the same thing?” “Aiyah, my friends always late one lah.” Check yourself, are you also always late? “Aiyah, my wife always waste money, buy those dress and shoes. ” I, actually first person to check is me.
You see, when we don't check ourselves we tend to have a rosy view of ourselves, we think we are the perfect Jesus Christ and everyone else we have an exaggerated view about their sins. Now when you have such a vision, when you're blinded about your own sin and you just focus on other people sins, you will tend to be proud and mean and self-righteous. You don't see clearly, you don't help well because you're not doing it right, you're not seeing it right.
So Jesus says if you want to help someone examine yourself first. See many of us we think we are very clever, we think we are very smart, eh, I can point out the sin in him and her and him and her and her, actually, that's not good, what you need to do is to see whether there be any sin in your own life first.
I like what Warren Weirsbe has to say. He says, “Pharisees judged and criticized others to make themselves look good, but Christians should judge themselves so they can help others look good.” Let me highlight this, Pharisees judge and criticize other people to make themselves look good, the Pharisee and the publican, but the Christian should start judging himself so that I may now be willing and able to help others look good.
Judge, but judge yourself first so that you may now judge clearly, so that your vision is clear, so that you can really deal with the problem in someone else's life accurately and so that you may now deal with that problem gently. You realize that you're equally vulnerable, you're not mean, you're not proud, you are not arrogant, you are gentle, you don't assume the worst in others, you take time to listen, you are patient, you don't pronounce judgment on them too quickly, you want to really know their situation because you know you're vulnerable.
Actually those who examine themselves and realize that they have been in such sins and have been forgiven of such sins are the best people to help another who’s living in this sin. David, he blew it big time with Bathsheba, in lying, in murder and, and adultery and he asked God for forgiveness. He says Lord, if you forgive me and when you forgive me, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to you.” [Psa 51:13] He's saying, after this episode, this very sad episode in my life, I think I will be more ready and prepared to help others get right with You. When you examine yourself, when you realize you're equally sinful, saved by the grace of God, I think it softens your approach in helping others and you will help others better.
I'm not saying soften your position, I'm not saying waiver in your position. Call a sin, sin, don't call it anything else, don't make excuses for it, but though your position is clear, your posture need not be strong, your posture need not be antagonistic. We can be firm, but loving and gentle at the same time, so restore someone in the “spirit of gentleness.” [Gal 6:1]
It is terrible when people think they know what is right and they go and blast everyone in their path and show that they are superior, it helps no one. It grieves God I believe but when you examine yourself, you're repentant, you are humbled, you see that we are all fellow strugglers, you deal with a person clearly, humbly, gently, you will be a blessing, you'll teach transgressors God's ways, alright.
Jesus then went on to say, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” [Mat 7:6] So He's saying when you judge, when you give your advice, counsel, rebuke, exhortation, not everyone will appreciate what you say, even though you say in the best intention, in the gentlest of ways, not everyone will appreciate it. They may turn around and bite you. So Jesus says these people are like dogs and pigs. You say what are dogs and pigs, like my puppy at home? No, not the cute ones, the dogs here are the vicious ones, alright.
I think the Bible presents these animals as unclean, presents these animals as vicious. In fact, they are likened to false teachers in 2nd Peter chapter 2. Talking about false teachers, the proverb that applies to them, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” [2Pe 2:22] and so on and so forth.
So what Jesus is saying is, there will be those who despise Scriptural teaching, there will be those who do not want to hear the Bible, no matter how well-intentioned you are, no matter how gentle you have been, no matter how patient you are dealing with him, at the end of the day he just refuses, he throws the Bible back in your face and says, “I don't want to hear this rubbish.” Well, they may be dogs and pigs according to the Word of God and in such cases, you're not obliged to keep doing it the same way. In other words, the blood is not on your hands.
I think this is what the proverbs tell us, “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” [Pro 9:8] Do your best but understand not everyone would always accept Biblical advice and counsel.
So, to judge or not to judge? Does the parent, do the parents have the right and indeed responsibility to help their son who's living in pornography? Does the care group have the right and responsibility to warn a fellow sister or brother living in sin? Do preachers have a responsibility to mark out false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing? I think so, but what is to be of utmost importance is the spirit with which we do it, the reason why we do it, how we do it, I think that's what it means to judge or not to judge according to Jesus.
I'm going to close but I want to remind you that today God is a perfect judge. All His judgments are in righteousness, everything that He judges will be of perfect justice and all of us, all of you will stand before God for judgment one day. Judged for the things you have done, for the things you have said and for the things you have thought. All of us and because God's judgments are perfect, absolutely transparent, every single word, thought and deed will be judged rightly. There will be no man who is innocent who will be punished. No innocent man will be punished. Problem is - there is no innocent man in this world; and all men who are guilty will have to have their sins paid for in full, everyone, every sin will be accounted for and one day you will stand before God. Let me ask you, will you stand on that Day of Judgment? Will you be able to pass the judgment of God for everything you have ever done, said and thought? Let me tell you the result even before we arrive at that day because God has already declared that in the Scriptures, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” [Rom 3:23] The verdict is clear but herein is the amazing compassion and love of God. The Bible tells us God sent His Son, now, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” [Joh 3:17]
We are people who will be damned because God is holy and we are sinful and every sin will be judged, but this is the grace, the mercy of God, before that day of judgment, God sends His Son to die for your sins, so that you might be saved and not be damned. So what do you need to do? The Bible says, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” [Joh 3:18]
I tell you, this is Good News, amazing news because you by yourself can never undo any of your sins. No good works of yours can ever atone for any of your sins, but what Jesus did on the cross is able to save you utterly from all your sins. And the Bible, God calls out to you if you're here today for the first time, you do not know Jesus, I say to you, please think about this, if you repent and believe in Jesus Christ, the promise here is that through Him you might be saved, rescued from the wrath of God on the Day of Judgment. This is Good News now, but on the Day of Judgment if you have yet to believe it is terrible bad news because it's too late, so would you do that.
You know, long time ago, two thousand years ago there was a group of men and they are actually religious leaders, they found a lady committing sin. This lady was caught in the act of adultery whatever that meant, they brought this lady to Jesus and the religious leaders said to Jesus, “This woman, we just caught her in the act of adultery, the Law of Moses commands that she should be stoned to death, she should be condemned to death. Jesus, what do you say?”
Jesus stooped down and He began to write on the floor, we do not know what He wrote, we don't know what He drew, but He wrote and then He said, “He that is without sin among you guys, amongst the religious leaders, let him cast the first stone.” I think there was a deadening silence, and the Bible tells us, the religious leaders who are all convicted in their conscience and they left the scene quietly one by one.
The Bible tells us that, “Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’” [Joh 8:10] Has no one thrown a single stone at you, has no one, after examining themselves, has no one after checking if they have a log in their eye, said that they need to kill you and stone you? “She said, ‘No one, Lord.’” She knew something about Jesus, He's not a carpenter's son alone, He's the Lord. She said, “No one, Lord.” “And Jesus says, ‘Neither do I condemn you.’”[Joh 8:11]
Now, don't get me wrong, don't get Jesus wrong, Jesus is certainly not saying that this woman had no sin, she was just caught in the act of adultery. He's not excusing her sin, He's not saying I pretend as if nothing happened. I think what He's saying to her is that though you are a sinner, I do not condemned you because I will pay for you. I'm going to go to the cross and die for the sins of those who would believe upon Me and though it is righteous for God to judge your sins in your life, it is mercy and grace that I would take your sins and let God judge Me in My life that you may be set free, woman, neither do I condemn you.
You know as a church we can all be right doctrinally and say this is true, this is that, this is good, this is wrong, but let me ask you what will our spirit be like? What would be the attitude of Gospel Light Christian Church? Now, we must point out sin, now we must be against false teachings. But how do you do it, that's the question. Will we be a church that says, “This says the law of God and they should be damned” or will we be a church that says, “That is wrong, but herein is the love of God for you.”
You see, I think we can easily slip into being a bunch of Pharisees in Gospel Light. You can follow the Pharisees and say, “Thus says the law let them be damned,” or we can follow Jesus and say, “The law says it is wrong, it is wrong in God's eyes, but herein is grace to cover your sins, come to Jesus.” What kind of a church will we be? When we see brothers and sisters living in sin, do we come in with a high and mighty attitude or do we come lowly and meek and say, “Let me help you, let me pray with you, let me support you because I am a fellow sinner like you.”
If let's say someone who's living an alternative lifestyle, homosexual lifestyle, for example, comes into this church, do we say, “Eerrr, that's a, that's a terrible sinner and they shall be damned,” or do we say, “We all should be damned and herein is the Gospel of Christ, neither do I condemn you.”
“But pastor if you teach this Gospel of grace, if you tell people it's not how they behave, but first of all, how they believe in Jesus saves them, then what, what will happen if they take advantage of that?” Well, look at what Jesus says “Go, and from now on sin no more.” [Joh 8:11]
Real grace, real understanding of grace will lead you to a desire and, indeed, a consistent life of holiness and obedience to God. What sets people free today is not our legalistic do's and don'ts. What sets people free is the grace of God that leads to true holiness from the heart. What kind of a church will you want to be? What kind of a Christian will you want to be? To judge or not to judge? You can follow the Pharisees or you can follow Jesus Christ, I hope you will make the right choice today.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together. As in so many times in Scripture the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart, for Jesus is not against the act of judgment, He's dealing with the attitude of judgmentalism. Knowing what is right is fantastic but serving people in love is even more crucial. Jesus is not calling us to become spiritual or modern-day Pharisees, He's calling us to follow Him in knowing what is right and wrong and in loving people that they might be saved.
Today you and I can follow Jesus, lovingly helping our brothers and sisters live in purity, not so that we might feel superior, but that we truly want to serve them for the glory of God and I pray this day, maybe you have bitterness, unforgiveness in your heart, I pray you repent of that and ask God to fill you with a spirit of humility and love and compassion. Perhaps this day you come to church and you say what is Christianity about? I think Christianity is about how God is the judge of all the earth, He will do right. All sin must be punished, sinners must be punished but God is also a God of amazing grace and love and He sent His Son so that you today might not be condemned but be saved. And so this morning He calls out to you, my dear child, repent and believe in Jesus my Son and you might be saved. I pray this day will be a day of wonderful salvation for you, as you humble yourself and open your heart to Jesus.
May Gospel Light be a church filled with men and women following Jesus in this loving spirit, may God help us to be such a community. So Father this morning, we thank You for Your Word, bless each one here that we would learn, we would obey, we would grow, we would repent, for some here today also to believe. Make this church a church that follows Jesus, thank You, and we pray all this in Jesus’ Name, amen.
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