IT IS TIME TO BE FRUIT INSPECTORS,
There are many who want to judge, condemn, find fault, criticize, and think it is the godly thing to do. Yet, we have commandment against such behavior.
Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
The word for ‘judge’ is ‘krino’, meaning to condemn, to determine evil, to sentence, to judge and bring to punishment.
Many of us, no, really, all of us have done wrongs, and have wronged God, have wronged others, have wronged ourselves. All of us deserve judgment, and truly, we cannot find any justification for taking the role of ‘judge’ to ourselves.
Romans 3:23 (KJV)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Those we have wronged are rightfully upset at our wrongs. We get upset at the wrongs of others against us, or against our friends, but we need to remember, there are others upset at our wrongs.
Paul helped stone Stephen. The wrong to the friends of Stephen, to his mother, dad, sister, brother, wife, children, would be hard to forgive. Some perhaps had to get to heaven, before they totally got over what Saul of Tarsus did to Stephen. Paul was unpopular with many, even other Christians. The disciples in Jerusalem, had unforgiveness, some fear, and some reluctance to accept Paul as a Christian. Some would not listen to him preach. Some did not want him to be considered a minister of the gospel.
They finally decided to send him to his home town of Tarsus, and wait there till they called him. He waited 8 years in Tarsus, and they never did call him.
Finally, a soft hearted man named Barnabas, decided to take Paul along to Antioch, where there were thousands of Gentile saints worshiping. Paul would not be known as a former persecutor of Jewish Christians.
Paul was driven away from many cities where he went to preach. Many tried to kill him, those of one city did have him stoned to death, requiring a resurrection to bring him back to minister. Some imprisoned him, to keep him off their streets where he insisted on preaching. Some just chased him from town. This judgment against Paul, much of it from other Christians, caused great hurt to him. He bore it well, he found some answers, but still, he was a hurt, afflicted, judged harshly for his former failures. The church of his time was not much help, they were a big part of the problem.
What confuses some is the passage that does tell us to ‘judge’.
John 7:24 (KJV)
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Some judge from sight, or from outward appearance. This is dangerous. We are to ‘know them by their fruits’, we are to therefore see sin, but not be ‘condemning’ but to be aware of what is sin, who is a false prophet. Therefore, there is a ‘righteous judgment’, there is also a ‘unrighteous judgment’.
What is the difference then? How do we know if we are judging correctly.
Judge not, that ye be not judged
We are not to be condemning, assuming the work of the Spirit, Who is the one who is to bring conviction, condemn sin, and encourage the sinner to come to Jesus for salvation. Our work is to be available to the Spirit, to bring the ‘gospel’, i.e. good news, to the ones the Spirit has condemned, judged. We show them the way to Jesus, we preach the gospel. The Spirit does the convicting.
John 16:8 (KJV)
8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to make people uncomfortable in sin. He comes to reprove, to convict, to bring condemnation for sins. Too many want His job. Some try to be the ‘convicting one’. We preach what is sin, what is righteous, and Who is the Savior of all who fail. All have failed, all have guilt hidden in their hearts. They may deny it. We do not need to bring conviction. We need to show the Answer, i.e. Jesus, the Merciful Savior.
The exhortations of Jesus here, regarding judgmentalism, are pointed, and show that ‘thinking evil, rather than thinking of the salvation offered by Jesus to those who are evil is wrong. The hearers of Jesus in His preaching this in the sermon on the mount, were often in the sin of judgmentalism. Often, then, and still often today, people elevate themselves above others, with jealous and envious hearts, they ignore their own faults, and see the faults and wrongs of others to be their job to condemn.
Judging, in the unrighteous way, is trying to act as a magistrate. In the Old Testament, kings, priests, or elders were the human judges, and even they were held accountable to the Supreme Judge, i.e. God.
Psalm 7:8-9 (KJV)
8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.
9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:
and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
The main reason we qre to be careful in judgments, is that we will reap what we sow.
Galatians 6:7-10 (KJV)
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Jesus confirms the ‘sowing and reaping’ truth, and speaks of the reason being “that ye be not judged."
We are not to be condemners, criticizers, faultfinders. To be a condemner, brings us into condemnation. God does not want Christians to seek God's judgments upon those in which they see sin.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say: "I sought for a faultfinder, and found none." Oh, how wonderful if that verse could be in the Bible, but it cannot be. For the faultfinders are many, and the intercessors are few. God tries to discourage and forbid faultfinding, condemning, and judgmentalism. Yet, it flourishes. God desperately seeks for intercessors, and finds few, if any, volunteers.
None of us could qualify to be a condemner.
"Let him that is without sin, cast the first stone."
Since we are not perfect, at whom can we throw stones? There is only one perfect, and God has ordained Him to be the Judge of all.
"For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
The Bible is plain about the sinfulness of criticizing. Certain speaking is definitely to be avoided by saints. Backbiting, speaking evil of others, and talebearing are definitely forbidden.
"Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?... he that backbiteth not with his tongue."
"Likewise these filthy dreamers, defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities."
"The words of a talebearer are as wounds."
Such sins are terrible. To condemn others is to put ourselves in the same category as the devil, who is called the "accuser of the brethren." His sin was to try and be like God, and many "so-called" Christians today are trying to take over the Lord's job of being the Judge. We are to be Christ-like, i.e. Christian. To truly be like Jesus, we should be intercessors. He interceded for the disciples who were about to forsake Him, and even deny Him. He interceded for the ones crucifying Him. Are we interceding for those who persecute us, and despitefully use us?
"...who art thou that judgest another man's servant?"
Each saint answers only to God, not to the church, not to a pastor (some assume themselves to be "the Shepherd"), not to a denomination, not to any set of rules or dogma. No! We answer only to the Lord Jesus, our only Lord. We cannot therefore judge another saint. We have no right to criticize or condemn another child of God.
"Who are thou that judges another?"
I Corinthians 4:4
"He that judges me is the Lord."
What kind of person are we to be?
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another."
If the world judged the church congregations now, how many would be called "disciples"? If the measure was truly "love one to another", how many are guilty of that? Some protest, "I can't love everyone!" Yet, Christ commanded us to do it, so it must be possible.
We are to love -as we love ourselves(Matthew 22:39).
We are to love - as Christ loved us (John 15:12).
We are to be willing to lay down our lives for one another (John 15:13).
We are to love - without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9).
We are to love - in sincerity (II Corinthians 8:8).
We are to love - with a pure heart fervently (I Peter 1:22).
We are to love - not in word, but deed(I John 3:18).
This love and kindness is beyond human capabilities. The world needs to see it, and our fellow church members also need to see it. We are commanded to have it, and demonstrate it. It is through miraculous reception of DIVINE LOVE. The LOVE is a FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. Just as you once could have an outburst of temper, now you can ask the Holy Spirit for an outburst of DIVINE LOVE. You once did not have to try to be angry! Events, and circumstances simply created the outburst in you. Now, with the Spirit- you should have outbursts of love, every time you see someone fail, need mercy for sins, or be attacked by the devil.
Peter was told:
"Feed My lambs."
It was not, "feed My perfect lambs." NO! It was to feed even the weak, straying, failing, wayward, and obstinate lambs.
"Feeding" means "to care for the needs and nourishment of..." Too many THINK the Bible says:
"Fleece My sheep!"
"Slaughter My sheep!"
"Scatter My sheep!"
"Abuse My sheep!"
"Condemn My sheep!"
However, Jesus commanded: "Feed My sheep!"
"...pray for them that despitefully use you."
People need love, they need compassion! Most are tired of selfishness, hate, strife, abuse, neglect, and persecution. Often we can meet some who have left the congregations for these very reasons. We need to INTERCEDE and BLESS those who mistreat us, and those who mistreat others. We don't do that by praying judgment on them... we do that by interceding for mercy to be extended to them until they have more time to repent. Perhaps they will never repent, but they can have more time to reveal that.
Christ is preparing the church for its rapture. He wants and is demanding that it be holy at that time. The last days are to have a double portion healing power and help in the preparing of the church for its rapture to heaven. The harvest of tares (Matthew 13) is to help purify the church by removing the apostates and false prophets of the church in the last days.
Christ Jesus wants a powerful church. The church must be purified to reach the power needed for that time. Some argue that the church will always have sin. Does that mean we should tolerate and engender more sin? God forbid! We have been blind to many sins. Some sins we don't want to admit. We have tended to play church - while the fires of hell rage about the church. The gift of exhortation needs to be exercised daily.
Society has organized Alcoholics Anonymous, AL Anon, and therapy groups; it has hired psychiatrists, psychologists; and it has read and recommended ‘self help’ books. These can be, often are, helpful to a world of pain and suffering in their souls. Yet, the church was supposed to also be much more involved in the healing ministry.
The answer is exhortation. We have dishonored God by neglecting to stir up this gift in the church. The gift of exhorting is the supernatural exercising of the ministry of comforting the hurting, encouraging the downcast, correcting the ones in error, guiding the wayward, defending the victims, and rebuking the victimizers. This gift allows the exhorters to get up next to the hurting, falling, troubled saints and help them.
Exhortation is the ministry gift given to a congregation to correct problems of sin, to heal those with pain and scars from their own, or others’ sins against them.
Unless someone goes lovingly to the spiritually sick person, with the object of establishing truth, effecting righteousness, bringing reconciliation, exhorting toward restoration, encouraging the pained persons, then the failure of the church is poison to the whole of the congregation.