[anzac] "JUDGE NOT!" - by David Kirkwood

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 11:56:51 -0500
"Judge NOT!"
by David Kirkwood.

Anyone who holds to any standard of righteousness in our "culture 
of tolerance" is in trouble. If you say, for example, that 
homosexuality is a perversion, abortion is murder, sex outside of 
marriage is a sin, or that Jesus is the only way to heaven, get 
ready to be labeled. You will be categorized as "intolerant," 
because intolerance is not tolerated in our culture. You may also 
be branded as close-minded, because our culture is not 
open-minded to anyone who is "close-minded." You may be 
criticized for being critical. And you will probably be branded as 
unloving, because our culture just hates people who aren't "loving." 
They really should start putting bumper stickers on their cars that 
say, "I Do Not Tolerate People Who Are Intolerant."

Quite often, those who are are not tolerant of "intolerant" Christians 
even cite the Bible to prove how wrong intolerance is. "Judge not!" 
they quote Jesus as saying. They construe Christ's words to mean 
that no one has the right to make a moral appraisal of anyone else. 
In so doing, however, they make a moral appraisal of those whom 
they accuse of making moral appraisals. If you say,"Homosexuality 
is wrong," they say, "Don't judge!," and in the process they commit 
the very crime of which they find you guilty. This is not something 
that only those in the world do, but something that professing 
Christians sometimes do as well. If you hold to any standards of 
righteousness that exceed the low standards that many professing 
Christians hold, you set yourself up to be a target by some even 
within the church.... They too may judge you as being judgmental---
even if you keep completely silent about your convictions and just 
live them. (I am doubtlessly being judged right now by some 
readers as being judgmental for writing this!) 

So exactly what did Jesus mean when He told His followers, 
"Judge not, that you be not judged"? If we understand what He 
meant, then we can strive to obey Him in this regard. Perhaps it 
will help if we first consider what Jesus obviously did not  mean. 
Clearly, Jesus did not mean that His followers should never make 
moral appraisals of anyone, judging them in that sense. Just a few 
seconds after He said, "Judge not," Jesus instructed His followers, 
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls 
before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and 
tear you to pieces (Matt. 7:6). Surely Jesus was not speaking of 
literal dogs and pigs, but of people who, like dogs and pigs, don't
recognize what is truly valuable and holy. It seems that Jesus 
could have been speaking only of people who reject His holy word 
because they don't value it. If we are to obey this commandment 
and not cast our pearls before pigs, we must of necessity appraise 
people. We must judge if they are in the category of spiritual pigs 
and dogs. How can we judge such people? We certainly can't tell
by looking at them. Sweet old ladies sometimes morph into 
monsters when we attempt to speak to them about the Lord, while 
tattooed tough guys, under conviction, may melt like margarine. 
We must, therefore, cast at least one "pearl" and watch what 
people do with it. If they trample it in the mud, we know they're 
spiritual pigs or dogs. We shouldn't waste more pearls on them, at 
least not until we allow some time for their hearts to soften. For 
now, we should "shake off the dust from our feet" (see Matt. 10:14) 
and look for those who value what we have to tell them. That is 
what Paul practiced, displaying a certain degree of intolerance in a 
manner prescribed by Jesus (see Acts. 13:51).

This should not only be practiced in regard to unbelievers who 
reject God's Word, but in regard to so-called believers who just as 
much reject God's Word. Don't waste your valuable time on people 
who don't value God's Word. But back to my main point. We must 
judge people in at least one sense if we are going to obey Christ's 
command not to cast our pearls before pigs. 

Judging Spiritual Leaders 

Just a few more seconds after Jesus said, "Judge not," He also
instructed His followers to appraise spiritual leaders by their fruit. 
By so doing, they could determine if a leader is a wolf disguised as 
a sheep. This requires that Christ's followers judge spiritual leaders, 
and it seems that there isn't enough of that kind of judging going on 
because so many of us are being misled and devoured by wolves 
that appear to be sheep. Sincere believers are often afraid of 
judging spiritual leaders because they think that they shouldn't 
"pass judgment" on them or "touch God's anointed." They couldn't 
be more wrong. Jesus commands us to examine the fruit of 
spiritual leaders and make judgments about them! We should be 
looking at the fruit of every spiritual leader in the church. Don't 
make the foolish error of "judging their fruit" by counting how many 
miracles they perform or by how many thousands of people attend 
their meetings. That is not the kind of fruit Jesus was saying we 
should be examining. Speaking of spiritual leaders, Jesus warned 
that many would say to Him, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy, 
cast out demons and perform miracles in Your name?," and He 
will say, "I never knew you" (see Matt. 7:22-23). Miracles are not 
the proof of God's endorsement of a minister. (According to 
Scripture, God may actually test our love for Him by means of 
false prophets who work miracles; see Deut. 13:1-4.) A big crowd 
may only be a sign of a big deceiver. The fruit of which Jesus 
spoke is the fruit of holiness (see Matt. 7:21, 23). Are spiritual 
leaders obeying Christ's commandments? That is the test. We 
should also judge the teaching of spiritual leaders to make certain 
their teaching is the teaching of Christ (see 2 John 1:7-11). If it isn't, 
we are instructed by Scripture not to receive such people into our 
homes (which takes on additional meaning when you realize that 
the early church met primarily in homes), and not even to give 
such teachers a greeting (much less an offering). Otherwise, says
John, we "participate in their evil deeds (see 2 John 1:11).

It is sobering to realize that we bear part of the responsibility for 
the spiritual deception that is propagated by false teachers if we 
support them in any way. It is amazing to me how many Christians, 
whose hearts have been enlightened to fundamental and essential 
biblical truth, attend and support churches that promote a false 
gospel while leaving the "voices that are crying in the wilderness" 
to continue crying in the wilderness, unsupported. They are eating 
at Red Lobster and paying at Burger King. Some excuse 
themselves by saying, "I'm giving to the Lord and my heart is right, 
so it makes no difference where I give my money." The truth is, 
you are supporting the devil with God's money. And God is not 
likely to reward you for that! Like John, Paul also instructed us to 
"beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the
false circumcision" (Phil. 3:2), and he, too, warned of false 
apostles (see 2 Cor. 11:13-15). To obey these inspired instructions 
given by Paul and John requires that we make judgments about 
spiritual leaders and act on those judgments. Yet, again, it seems 
that too few in the church follow such biblical instructions

According to the consistent teaching of the New Testament, the 
outstanding characteristic of a false teacher is that his teaching 
downplays the necessity of holiness (see Matt. 7:15-23; 
Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 2:1-22; Jude 1:3-4). By that criteria, the 
church today has been inundated with false teachers. In Scripture, 
some of the New Testament authors go so far as to name the very 
names of false spiritual leaders of whom the church should beware 
(see 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 4:10; 3 John 1:9). This 
required a judgment on the part of those authors. By exposing and 
warning the church of certain false teachers, something that is 
often today classed as "passing judgment" or as being "unloving," 
these authors actually showed their genuine love for Christ's body. 
Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for judging correctly 
certain men as being false apostles (see Rev. 2:2). 

Judging Other Believers 

So far we've seen that we should judge, in some sense, unbelievers 
and spiritual leaders. But what about judging fellow believers? 
Believe it or not, Scripture teaches that we all have a responsibility 
to judge, at least in some sense, everyone within the church.

Surprised about that? Read what Paul wrote to the Corinthian 
Christians who had failed to judge a man in their midst who was 
living in an immoral relationship with his stepmother: For what 
have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who 
are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.
[The clear implication is that they should judge those within the 
church.] Remove the wicked man [this requires a judgment] from 
among yourselves (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

And it is not only people within the church who are living in immoral
relationships whom God expects us to judge. In the same passage, 
Paul declared, I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate 
with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people 
of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; 
for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote 
to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be 
an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a
drunkard, or a swindler---not even to eat with such a one 
(1 Cor. 5:9-11). To obey this instruction, we must make judgments 
about people within the church and act on those judgments. If we 
discover a professing Christian who is an immoral person, greedy, 
an idolater, a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler, we are not to
associate with him or her at all. The reason is because such 
people bring a stain and reproach on what the church is supposed 
to be---the holy followers of Christ. Such people are not true 
followers of Christ, regardless of what they claim, and they are on 
the broad road that leads to hell, as Paul wrote in the same 
passage, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor 
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,nor 
thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, 
shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but 
you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified 
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God 
(1 Cor. 6:9-11). Paul warns us not to be deceived about this, but 
again, so many are. When entire denominations agree that 
homosexuals are fit to be ordained for ministry, they've abandoned 
the Bible and bought into the world's "tolerance message." They 
are deceived in their tolerance. But this is not the only way we are 
told in Scripture to judge those within the church. We are also 
instructed by Jesus to confront those within the church who sin 
against us (see Matt. 18:15-17), and this, of course, requires that 
we make a judgment about offenders. If they don't receive us, we 
are to take one or two others, who must also make a judgment 
about the offender and confront him a second time. If an offender 
doesn't receive the testimony of those two or three, he should be 
taken before the entire church, who must also then make a 
judgment about him. (Keep in mind that Jesus was thinking of 
small churches that met in homes---as all churches were until 
A.D. 300 when Constantine married the world with the church---
churches that were like families, in which everyone knew and loved 
the offender and the offended person. This third part of His 
instruction could never be followed in large, modern churches 
without it resulting in a church split. In such cases, the third step 
should be administrated in a small group of believers who all know 
and love both parties.) If the offender doesn't receive the church's 
call to repentance, he should, according to Jesus, be "treated like 
a Gentile or tax-gatherer" (Matt. 18:17). That sounds quite 
"intolerant," doesn't it? Some professing Christians might accuse 
a church that followed this practice of being intolerant" and 
"unloving." But the truth is, those churches who are tolerant in this 
respect are the ones that are not loving. They help deceive 
unrepentant sinners within their ranks to think they are on the road 
to eternal life. 

In any case, we see that when Jesus said, "Judge not," He could 
not have meant that we are not to judge in any sense those within 
the church, otherwise He contradicted Himself in other places, 
and Paul contradicted Him as well. The truth, as we have seen, is 
that Christians are to judge, in some sense, unbelievers, spiritual 
leaders and believers. Thus it seems that we don't need less 
judgment by Christ's followers these days; we need more judgment. 
We've been entrusted, by God Himself, with the very important 
responsibility to judge---and primarily to keep the church pure. 
What could be more important than that? 

If we ever hope, however, to judge the world and angels in the future, 
we must properly judge now. Judging Righteously In all of these 
cases when Scripture instructs us make judgments about people, 
we must be cautious that we don't make assumptions and wrongly 
judge anyone. In regard to Himself, Jesus once said to some of 
His detractors, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge 
with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Similarly, God commanded 
every Israelite in the Law of Moses: You shall do no injustice in
judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, 
but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. You shall not go about as 
a slanderer among your people.... You shall not hate your fellow 
countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, 
but shall not incur sin because of him (Lev. 19:15-17).  If you've 
ever been a victim of people's wrong judgments or been slandered, 
you know how much it hurts. We should therefore take every 
precaution that we don't make wrong judgments about others, 
much less spread our wrong judgments to others, which amounts 
to slander. Our judgments should be based on facts, and we 
should always strive to believe the best until we know the worst. 
And if we love fellow believers whom we judge, we will speak to 
them first, and not others, about their sin as the scripture we just 
read says. In the case of false believers and false teachers (who 
are of course unbelievers), a different rule applies, as is clear from 
Paul's instructions and dealings with the immoral man in Corinth. 
False teachers, especially, should be publicly exposed. Not only 
should our judgments be based on truthful facts, they should be 
based on scriptural truth as well. For example, Scripture does not
give us the right to determine that someone is not saved because 
he drank a glass of wine or because she doesn't wear her hair in 
a bun. We must also be cautious that we don't judge what is 
impossible to judge. For example, we don't know the motives of 
people's hearts (see 1 Cor. 4:5). On the other hand, according to 
Jesus, there are times when we do know something about what is 
in people's hearts, and we can judge righteously in this regard to 
some degree. Jesus told us, For from within, out of the heart of 
men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, 
adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, 
sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil 
things proceed from within and defile the man" (Mark. 7:21-23).

I remember once being rebuked by a parishioner because I said
that a certain political leader who claimed to be a Christian was 
certainly not a Christian because of his immoralities and lies. 
"You don't know what is in his heart," I was told. However, not only 
did I make my statement based upon the fact that Scripture tells 
us not to be deceived in this matter (that no adulterers will inherit 
God's kingdom and that all liars will be cast into the lake of fire), 
but actually, in this case, I knew what everyone else could and
should have known about what was in that particular adulterer's
heart---adultery. We know and can thus judge what is in the heart 
of every adulterer when he or she committed his or her sin---
adultery. Likewise, theft was in the heart of the thief, murder was 
in the heart of the murderer, and deceit is in the heart of the 
deceiver. In all of these cases and others like them, we can judge 
what is in people's hearts. Of course, if people repent, their hearts 
change, but repentance of the heart is also something that shows 
up on the outside and can thus be righteously judged. As hard as 
it is for us to accept this in an age when "toleration" is the word, 
that is precisely why John wrote, By this the children of God and 
the children of the devil are obvious [that is, it is easy to judge who 
is saved and who is not]: anyone who does not practice 
righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his 
brother (1 John 3:10). Do you believe this? By this criteria, there 
are multitudes of people who consider themselves born again 
within the church who are actually children of the devil, and we 
have the clear biblical right to make such a judgment. 

So What Did Jesus Mean? 

"Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you 
will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be 
measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in 
your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own 
eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck 
out of your eye," and behold, the log is 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" 
(Matt. 7:1-5). Clearly, in light of the greater and lesser context of 
Jesus' command not to judge, He was speaking about the sin of
searching for small flaws in fellow believers (thrice He speaks of 
"brothers" in this passage) by those who have bigger faults. As 
Jesus warned, God will hold us to the same standard to which we 
hold others. He doesn't appreciate those who don't practice what 
they preach. Those who do are in danger of being judged by God, 
and He often does so by exposing their hypocrisy. So if we point 
out the faults of others when we are guilty of the same or greater 
faults, we are guilty of the kind of judgment that Jesus here forbids. 
But don't read more into what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-5 than 
what is there. Read exactly what He said. Jesus did not 
completely forbid finding fault (or "judging" in that sense), and if He 
did, it would contradict much of what He said elsewhere. Note that 
Jesus said, "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" 
(Matt. 7:5). That is, first repent yourself, then help others to repent. 
Too many of us are stagnant in this regard, examining neither 
ourselves nor helping anyone else after our repentance. We have a
superficial relationship with God and a superficial relationship with 
each other. We've nurtured a complacent attitude that either says, 
"Hey...I m OK, you're OK...we're all OK," or worse than that: "Look, 
we're all just a bunch of sinners here, so let's have another round of grace."

If we are to help others enjoy all the blessings of holiness (a true 
act of love on our part), we must first be holy ourselves. Nobody 
receives correction from those whom they don't respect and those 
whose own faults are glaring. And God becomes angry with those 
who hold others to a standard by which they themselves don't live. 
Such people are hypocrites, as Jesus said, pretending to be what 
they are not. How many preachers (like myself) have heard the 
stinging yet loving words of their spouses on a Sunday afternoon, 
"Great sermon today, honey. You really ought to consider living it 
yourself!"? Ouch! 

One Final Thought... 

Please note that every scripture we've considered in this teaching 
is addressed, not to pastors, but to every follower of Christ. This 
leaves us with one overriding thought: Every believer is expected 
by God to be passionate and active in the pursuit of personal and 
corporate holiness. Paul didn't tell the pastors in Corinth to judge 
and remove the wicked man from among them. (In fact, Paul gave 
no specific instructions to pastors, elders, or overseers in either of 
his letters to the Corinthians or in the majority of his other letters, 
a significant fact.) Removing the wicked man was something every 
member of the body was to be involved in. Similarly, Jesus made 
it clear that every believer has responsibility to judge spiritual 
leaders by their fruit so that no wolves in sheep's clothing will lead 
the church away from holiness. Every believer, according to what 
we read, should judge and not associate with those who claim to 
be Christ's yet who practice unrighteousness, lest the church be 
stained before the world. Every Christian should judge himself and 
remove the logs from his own eyes so he can be personally pure 
and can then see clearly to remove the specks from his brothers' 
eyes. How many of us have a relationship with God and other 
believers like that? May God have mercy on us and help us to 
grow up! And may judgment, biblical judgment, increase within 
Christ's church.

For more online teachings by David Kirkwood, please visit his
website-  http://www.shepherdserve.org/
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