Saturday, March 16, 2013

Judge Not....

I believe one of the most misused scripture in the Bible is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” The reason I feel it's misused more often than it is used properly is because it's always quoted out of context. In order for any part of the inerrant, God-breathed Word of the Bible to be fully understood, we should read it, and quote it, in the context of which it was written. In verse 2-5 of this same chapter, it is clearly evident that verse 1 is referencing hypocritical judgment. To put it simply, when it says "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." it means you can't judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin!

Now for those who tend to cling to the Matthew 7:1 scripture to point out and often times condemn those who expose error need to read the whole it's context. Jesus said in Matt. 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves....” And how can we know and warn others of false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? Many wolves in sheep's clothing appear genuine, speak educated, and seem to know the Bible. Well, Satan knew the Bible to or else how would he be able to deceive so many by mocking God? Sometimes it may be hard to spot for those who are taken by their charm. But a closer look and the truth will shine through. A little leaven....In order for us to warn the sheep of “ravening wolves” we must be able to righteously judge them accordingly. Actually, all throughout the Bible we can find proof that they SHOULD be identified and exposed. Many Christians sadly use this verse towards others who call out false teachings because they either don't understand it's true meaning, or they are afraid of ruffling some feathers. And many unbelievers use this scripture to justify why Christians are judgmental because they stand for the rightness of the Word of God and refuse to deviate from scripture in order to appease man. In Matthew 7:16-17, it says, "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? (v17)  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." Is the Lord saying that we can't judge the person (tree) by the fruit of their life and doctrine? Absolutely not! You can't know if it's producing good fruit without judging. ALL judgment should be based on the Bible teaching, and NOT according to ones own whims or prejudices. There's a huge difference!

Let's take a look at another passage in John 7:24, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Here, our Lord is commanding us to "judge righteous judgment," which simply means judgment based on the Word of God. If any judgment is based on anything other than the Word of God, it's in strict violation of Matthew 7:1. A faithful Christian has to be able to discern the type of judgment on the basis of God's inspired law, the Bible. A person that has the ability to discern between the good and evil has at least one of the major traits of spiritual maturity. Hebrews 5:14 is an example of this, "But strong meat belong to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." W.E Vine says of the meaning of discern, "a distinguishing, a clear discrimination, discerning, judging; is translated 'discerning' in 1 Corinthians 12:10 of discerning spirits, judging by evidence whether they are evil or of God." Strong agrees that it means to judge also.

False teachers are free to spread their venomous doctrines today because there is a conspiracy of silence among many Bible believers. Then among the non-believers, or the flocks of the false teachers, there is evidence of the feel good mentality that is awash in today's churches. Nobody wants to upset the apple cart, thus squashing the truth, hidden beneath a bunch of fluff. There are groups specifically targeting those who want to expose the false teachers and have taken it as far as the courts stating it's in violation of one right or another. So wolves in sheep's clothing are able to ravage the flock, destroying many and without a lick of guilt. John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious leaders of his day) "a generation of vipers" in Matthew 3:7. I do believe if he were stating those truths in that way in this day and age, he would be considered unchristian, unloving and most definitely unkind. Even Jesus said the religious Pharisees, in Matthew 12:34, "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." 

Many people believe it is absolutely wrong to expose error and name those who are falsely bearing these bad fruits, being the guilty teachers of today. Let's see how many named names PUBLICLY through the Bible:
1) Paul named Peter publicly being guilty of unscriptural practices, in Galatians 2:11-14, "Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; (v12) for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. (v13) And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. (v14) But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you[b] compel Gentiles to live as Jews?" As you see, when the integrity and the purity of the gospel was at stake, there is no choice but to name names and expose error, as did Paul.
2) Paul named Demas for loving the world in 2 Timothy 4:10, "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." Again, anyone who forsakes the cause of Christ for worldly and ungodly living and pleasures, should be named and exposed.
3) Moses called the name of Balaam in Numbers 22-25 and Peter exposed "the way of Balaam...who loved the wages of unrighteousness" in 2 Peter 2:15. Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for the money just like what could be said of some TV false prophets today who are leading many sheep astray. They beg for money, living like kings themselves, while the multitudes of innocent and desperate people send them all they have of their hard earned money. And how do you suppose we should be silent and keep our mouths shut about those who prey on the weak and still be true to God?
4) Hanani named the king Jehoshaphat. In alot of ways, he was a good king but forgot to practice religious separation. He caused his son to marry the wicked Ahab's daughter. (See 2 Chronicles 18:1; 21:1-6) Hanani said, in 2 Chronicles 19:2, "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you." With this clear statement, one must truly consider who they are supporting, who they are in partnership with and who they are working beside....because whatever you are doing alongside of them, you are supporting their false teachings, helping the "ungodly and loving them that hate the Lord." Know the doctrine WELL and always ask if it lines up with the Bible. If it doesn't then call it out! And those who teach it's been done with the Catholic religious leaders, the Mormon leaders and the New Age leaders. We are talking about the LEADERS and TEACHERS and NOT the followers.
5) Nathan identified the man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. I'm sure this man who held the highest office in the land felt he couldn't be rebuked by some lowly and unpopular prophet such as Nathan, but Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealing the sin in a parable form and then told the enraged David, "Thou are the man.Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul." 2 Samuel 12:7.

So is it right to expose error and name those in error? Yes, it is! There are many more examples throughout the Bible to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt and for those who refuse to use Matthew 7:1 in the context of which it was written! It is absolutely the right thing to do to do what Jude 3 tells us to do..."Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." False teachers and prophets are truly breaking down the barrier of the separation between God's people and false religion because there is too little preaching and teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit fornication with the Moabite women then breached the doctrine again of ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down to Baal which brought a curse upon Israel. We need to get back to the teaching of the TRUTH about personal and ecclesiastical separation or we will just have to expect the continuation of the widespread havoc and false "tolerance" that we see in the world today!

Now to how the Bible admonishes us to expose error, and it does tell us to admonish them!
First we are to TRY them as it says in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." ALL doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. In Isaiah 8:20, another reference is made, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The church at Ephesus was commended because they had "tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." in Rev 2:2. It's never right to tolerate false teachers but there will be those who want to disobey the Word and will avoid this teaching.
2) We are to MARK them and AVOID them. In Romans 16:17, " Now I urge you, brethren, mark those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." This is telling us that those who contradict the teachings of the Bible are to be marked and avoided. Any contradiction, whether it's false doctrine or ritualistic worshiping of false gods and idols are to be avoided. In order to do this, it requires discernment and judgment in the light of the Bible.
3) We are to REBUKE them as it states in Titus 1:13, "Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith." This was written because they were going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false doctrine (v.10-16). We can't just sit by and silently hold our breath while whole houses are being subverted in false doctrines, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their teachings!
4) We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them as it is written in Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Reprove simply means to condemn, find fault, rebuke and refute so how can we obey this particular Scripture unless we do what it says!?
5) We are to WITHDRAW from them. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 states this command clearly, "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us." The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is what Paul has in mind because he says in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, "And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. (v15) Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." 
6) We are to REJECT HERETICS. In Titus 3:10, it says, "A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject." We need to reject those who deny redemption by the blood of Christ. We are to try to admonish them first, and if they refuse this or don't respond to it, then we are to reject them.
7) We are to TURN AWAY from them. 2 Timothy 3:5-7 says of the last days, "...having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (v6) For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." If we can't identify these false teachers or heretics, then how are we to turn from them? It requires that their message be compared to the Word of God. As a true, God-called preacher/teacher to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." as it's stated in 2 Timothy 4:2. Typically it's an unpopular task but it's the duty of the God-called man to do!
8) We are to LOOK OUT for those who preach ANOTHER GOSPEL. Paul warned about those who preached another "Jesus....another spirit...or another gospel." in 2 Corinthians 11:4 and in order for us to KNOW them, we have to judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God. Here's what Paul said of such preachers preaching another gospel in 2 Corinthians 11:13, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ." In verses 14-15 Paul explains that these preachers are the ministers of Satan.

Multitudes today are preaching a watered down, perverted gospel of the Lord God and they will not go unpunished. In Galatians 1:6-9, listen to what Paul warned them about, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, (v7) which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (v8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (v9) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." Those who are teaching salvation by baptism, salvation by works, who command their people to worship a man by kneeling down and kissing the ring he wears (the pope) teaching a salvation that can be lost, all paths lead to God, that God is in all things, and teach a resting place of purification or temporary punishment called purgatory by which those who die in a state of grace are all preaching and teaching a perverted gospel. I have sat down on different occasions to watch a Christian program only to immediate recognize a false teaching! I recognize it because the Holy Spirit warns me against such teachings. I have had many discussions with believers and non believers about some of the cult leaders, false teachers of doctrines and surprised at what they are afraid of....the TRUTH.

Do Not Falter!
We live in a world that has now changed the definition of "tolerant" and true solid, God-fearing and God-loving Christians are being cast aside for a newer version of Christianity. One that has sold out to the government, the minority groups who bring senseless lawsuits against anything they find hurts their feelings and have allowed the louder voices of the "world" quiet ours. It's time we stand up, stand firm and be bold for Jesus Christ because HE is the only way, truth and the life! He wasn't ashamed of us and neither should we be ashamed of Him! We need to warn the sheep of all heretics, identify them by name and stand against the false doctrinal teachers that preach a different gospel. If we don't, the young lambs coming up behind us will not understand and will be devoured by the wolves!

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