Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Forever Paradox
Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete,
it shall be measured to you again.
And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye,
but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?
Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye;
and then shall you see clearly to cast out
the mote out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Every day, every hour, every minute ... we all make judgments.
It is in our DNA ... It is how we are wired.
There is no getting away from judging.
You made a judgment when you decided to read this post … or Not.
And I made a judgment when I decided how to title the post. I considered using a title that was more about judgment, but I decided that many would be more apt to be drawn to a post about Paradox than with a title about judgment.
So why the picture of Barney Fife above?
Well ... he is a caricature of all of the foolish people that think that they are qualified to judge you and I, which quite often includes you and I ... being Barney Fife.
Besides ... I also judged that Barney is much more likely to bring smiles than Ruth Bader Ginsberg; at least for most of us.
You see most of us have already settled or judged this issue in our minds and have concluded we are not to judge, but then within minutes we make one judgment after another. In fact some of you might begin to feel put off by where you feel this post might be headed, and make a judgment to move on, and to read something else.
Don’t do that ... I promise not to judge you and call you a hypocrite.
Are you understanding, what I am saying here?
None of us can totally follow this instruction from Christ.
We make decisions or judgments all day long.
Somehow our brain shifts onto autopilot and then we are just off to the races ... making one judgment after another.
So, what’s the point?
Well, my contention is that we must all judge what Jesus meant and did not mean when He said ...
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Did Jesus really mean that we are to stop making judgments;
or was He speaking to specific types of judging?
Jesus has given us an Every Day Paradox that we will try to better understand here ... and what it means for each of us.
I’ll give you two specific examples.
Not long ago, I ran into an old friend who used to serve in an ongoing ministry at a church where I also attended in the past. We sat down over a cup of coffee, and in the course of our conversation, I asked; “why did you change churches?”
His response caught me off guard.
“Well ... I had a meeting with a pastor, who had been reviewing my giving record, and he told me that I am a hypocrite, and that I'm not qualified to serve there."
Now I don’t want to judge my friend or the pastor, since my understanding is totally out of context. But what if I told you that my friend had one of the most faithful and thankless ongoing ministries in the church kitchen, and that my friend is an epileptic with minimum wage income?
Your mind can hardly keep from jumping to a quick judgment ... can it?
Later the same day, I went to a church meeting where a large local Presbyterian church was discussing the dilemma that their church body is faced with as a result of a decision made by the Presbyterian Church USA to change church bylaws instructing them to ordain homosexuals and others who are active sexually outside of a man/woman marriage. This church body and their leadership will eventually be forced to judge their organizational leadership’s decisions. Will they follow the clear doctrine of the Bible; or will they follow the shifting whims of a society at large that chooses to disregard God’s Word? The consequences of not being tolerant, politically correct, and just going along with the crowd could include the loss of pastoral pensions, and a large church facility that has been built over the past 50 years.
Now, if you think like I do; the judgments on both of these examples are quite clear. There is not much need for discussion. Why is it clear? Well, I just know, you say? That answer my friend is not good enough. This is what any good legalist would also say, and the legalist Pharisees were the ones Jesus was talking to in text above. Jesus does not want us to judge like they judged.
Well, you ask; “what are we to do?”
Now I beseech you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10
Christians must have a Biblical foundation of beliefs that goes beyond ourselves in order to be "perfectly joined together." When men in a ministry context establish their own rules, contrary the Biblical foundation our Lord has given us ... the next thing you know, large numbers of pastors and ministries become open to evolution, abortion, amorality, and false religions.
In a free society, we must be tolerant to others beliefs, non-beliefs and religions; but there is a difference between being tolerant and not drawing the line between what is true and false, and between what is good and evil. to be tolerant of a false religion or someone else's right to believe and live an amoral lifestyle does not make those false religions of value.
Our personal opinion or the laws of our society has no effect whatsoever on those issues that are eternally true or false. Evolution, amorality, and murdering unborn babies will always be wrong ... regardless of what a majority believes or has ruled.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds ;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
These two verses clearly explain Paul’s understanding and instruction. Speak the same thing; no divisions; perfectly joined together; in the same mind; in the same judgment. Oops … there’s that word again, Paul is leading us to make judgment. And then he says: casting down imaginations; bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
How can we do this you ask? Through prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit and with the Truth of God’s Word (our primary weapon: the sword of the spirit, the Word of God) we can know God’s will in all things. Only when we are perfectly joined together in the same mind, following the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word will there be no divisions and we can then make judgments that will be pleasing to Him. This comes when believers humble themselves to God's Word.
Does anyone really think that if Jesus was here advising any church that He would choose an adulterer or a homosexual to be the pastor?
Some would say, god gave me a mind to think, and I intend to use it; but His Word says: "to cast down imaginations and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." That's not hardly an instruction to follow your logic, feelings, experiences, and the teachings of the world ... is it?
That is heavy; many will say: I didn’t buy in for mind control. And some actually did grumble when Christ presented them with things that were difficult for them to accept and what did He tell them?
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said; this is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said to them, does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." John 6:60-66
The bottom line is that His teachings were not optional, they either followed or they walked no more with Him.
But there was one Pharisee whose judgment Jesus honored.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:1-3
Nicodemus made a judgment that was contrary to all of the other Pharisees. He judged that Jesus was a teacher from God and that God was with Him. This was the exact opposite of the judgments directed at Jesus by the other Pharisees. And how did Jesus reply to Him? He simply gave Nicodemus more Holy Truth from above. Nicodemus; “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
You see, the problem that the Pharisees had was that they were basing their judgments on their own understanding and worldly wisdom. Like the church leaders noted above the wisdom of the world, and not God's Word was guiding them. They were following the leading of their flesh and their pride. Their false beliefs, pride, and lust were the gods of their judgments. And these worldly forces ultimately lead to wrong judgments and decisions. Sometimes they might stumble across an obvious truth and piously stand there; but most often worldly wisdom leads down wrong paths to destruction.
Jesus then went on to explain more about God’s plan for reconciliation and eternal life. He then gave Nicodemus God’s ... "either/or" choice: “He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18
These are hard words that would never be considered loving by many who call themselves Christians today. But I ask; how is it being loving to NOT share these words with those we love? The truth here is that we should never be accused of judging others where those whom Jesus the Creator has clearly explained are ... already judged and condemned.
Jesus was giving Nicodemus instructions in how to take the log out of his eye.
Nicodemus followed the instructions, and the rest is history.
There is much more to be said about judging others in future posts.
I suggest you read and meditate on all of Matthew 7:1-28
But the first thing we must all do is get right with Jesus Christ and His Truth. We must all test or judge ourselves to determine where we stand with Christ. Are you a born again believer; or are you a religious person like Nicodemus trying to live the life of a good person?
Are you Born Again or are you a reprobate living a pretend type of Christianity?
"Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates? … For we can do nothing against the truth; but for the truth." 2 Corinthians 13:5-8
Are you committed to stand up for the Jesus Christ and the Truth of God?
This is the Truth:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1-14
The Presbyterian Church USA would not be struggling over this idiotic idea of ordaining reprobate clergy if they had not made a decision in the past century to follow the teachings of men over the teachings of God. This is all about the inerrancy of Scripture. There are many people who love Christ, but who have compromised His Word. Now is the time for all to stand on the inerrant Truth of God’s Word.
To disregard God’s Word is to disregard Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all.
God bless you my friends, Bob