Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Time to Judge

And He was also saying to the crowds ... When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.

And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, It will be a hot day, and it turns out that way. 

You hypocrites! 

You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? 

And why do you not even on your own initiative ... judge what is right? Luke 12:54-57

Does Jesus teach that there is ... A Time For Us to Judge?

Wait a minute ... didn’t Jesus make it perfectly clear we are not to judge? 
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

Why then did He call His followers hypocrites in the verse above because they did not judge? 

Isn’t this a clear example of Jesus contradicting Himself? 
No, that can never be. There is no contradiction here. Jesus is the eternal Truth. 
If the words appear to be contrary, then we are only misinterpreting what is being said.

The answer to these questions is not difficult to understand. 
In Mathew, Jesus is clearly telling us not to judge others. And in Luke he is talking about judging the difference between what is right and what is wrong ... this passage is NOT about people, but rather beliefs and actions. Only God is to judge people. But He does not want us to confuse the difference between judging people and judging right and wrong, or between sin and righteousness. And He has made the difference between right and wrong clear to us. For a Christian to look at wrong beliefs and actions, and to then remain silent or to say there is nothing wrong with that … is sin.

This is a big problem in our world today. 
In America people have the right to do pretty much whatever they choose as long as they do not hurt other people or break society’s laws? Our secular educational system has taught our children a values neutral belief system. The so called separation of church and state has ruled that there is no place for teaching children morals and values in our schools. The idea is that each person must decide for himself what is right and wrong. But the fact is that personal opinions do nothing to change God's eternal truth. And the moral foundation for living in our society has been removed for the two most recent generations.

As adults we are told that in  free society, we should tolerate the beliefs of others. 
We should not force our beliefs on others. This is fine up to a point. But society wants to then carry this idea of tolerance to the next level. We are told that we are being judgmental or a bigot if we do not support beliefs that Jesus has clearly defined as sin. It is no longer enough for us to just accept the person. We are now told that to call attention to wrong beliefs or sinful actions is being intolerant.

The result is that Christians are not wanting to offend other people; or to appear to be judgmental; and so they remain quiet, or even worse, in many cases actually call evil good. All religions, philosophies, and beliefs are suddenly viewed as equally valid. It no longer matters that beliefs or religions contrary to one another cannot possibly both be true. But Jesus is very clear here. There is only one God. And those who believe in him will not be judged; but that those who do not believe in Him have been judged already. John 3:18. According to Jesus … well meaning people who follow other religions and philosophies are already judged right along with the worst of people.

Do you see the problem with this picture we are creating? 
This is a repeat of ancient Rome or Babylon. Let’s pretend for a moment. What if all people believed that there is no right or wrong? What if situational ethics ruled the day? What if all people who believed in Judeo Christian values and the difference between right and wrong were suddenly removed from the earth? What would become of those who were left? What if all people just decided to follow their feelings, and do whatever they wished, whenever they wished; and they allowed their lust, pride, and ego to guide them wherever they wanted to go? What would the end result be? Survival of the fittest and all forms of evil would rule the day. CHAOS would be the end result, and the destruction of our world would quickly follow.

The problem is that this is the opposite of what Jesus says we are to do as Christians. We are to love the sinner which each of us is as well … but we are to hate the sin. And while not judging others, we are to judge the difference between right and wrong. But friends will reject me, and turn away from me, and think I am a religious fanatic ... you might say? That may be true, but would you rather have your Lord and Savior call you a hypocrite?

Jesus predicted all of this. 
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Although we are born into the world physically … 
from the moment we became born again, we are no longer of the world spiritually. 
We are now his ambassadors and he wants to speak to the world through us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

How can we be used by God to reach the lost world, if our beliefs and lifestyle are no different than the worldly? If we do not allow the love of Christ, and the truth of Christ to control and guide us, we are hypocrites and Jesus says to these: "because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth" Revelation 3:15-16

Acts 17:16-34 As Paul clearly demonstrated when talking to the men of Athens. 
Sometimes it is wise to find common ground from which to speak. But our purpose must always be to share the truth and to challenge the false teachings and beliefs of the world. Do you really think that the Apostle Paul was concerned about the people of the world being offended by his truthful testimony? Not in the least. Paul was a true bond-servant of Christ.

So in closing my friends, the lesson here today is that there is A Time to Judge the difference between right and wrong ... and that time is every day. And if we choose to look the other way, Jesus will surely view us as hypocrites.

Christians cannot have it both ways.

God bless you my friends, Bob