Judging, Part 1
This series is on the matter of judging. We will look at several issues in this series and find out if it is really true that Christians are not to judge. We will see that true love actually does judge other individuals and those that will not judge really do not love. We will see how we can judge without judging. We will see how Jesus judged without judging. We will examine what constitutes sinful judging versus godly judging. Again, we will see that it is a sin not to judge. If you’re not going around judging, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you’re in sin. We will see how to judge without being perfect yet ourselves, and the tremendous need to allow God to judge us. We’ll discover what things need to be judged. We will look at public judging versus private judging. And, we will see what the cost is when we consider obeying this particular commandment of Jesus Christ.
According to today’s theology and lifestyle in the church, Jesus sinned because he judged and rebuked others harshly. To look at the lives within the church today, to examine the doctrines coming from Christian television programs, radio, and from the pulpits, we would believe that Jesus sinned. I’m sure most of you have said, or heard it said, that Christians are not to judge, or that Christians are the only ones that shoot their wounded. Surely you’ve heard, “That’s just a matter between them and God and it’s none of our business.” As if somehow to judge or to look at the issue of judging would mean we’re in sin automatically. Again, to most people, Jesus sinned because he judged other individuals. How often have you said, or heard others say, “You don’t know my heart. Only God knows my heart”? We will examine whom we are to judge. Surely you’ve heard people say, “Where is the love, if you begin to judge people” Or, as you begin to present things to someone that they need to change, they might say, “Look, where’s the mercy? Where’s the grace in what you are saying?” I’m sure you’ve heard it said from the pulpit, that God’s Spirit only refreshes and loves. It doesn’t condemn other individuals. Or, the final excuse that most individuals use and proclaim is that “God knows my heart and he knows how much I love him.” The passage so often quoted is, Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” And that’s it for most people. To them the issue is settled. Jesus said, “Do not judge…” and so that’s all there is to it, that’s what he meant. We need to leave behind our simple ways, as Proverbs says:
Proverbs 1:22 – How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
The passage in Matthew 7 is tremendously misquoted within the body of Jesus Christ today. And it’s really a sinister form of sin because the church uses scripture against God, against Jesus Christ, against his Holy Spirit. Think how wicked that is. God’s Holy Spirit comes to judge or to work judgment within the church and we quote scripture back to Jesus Christ. How wicked and sinister! We would be better off being pagans or non-believers than to have that attitude. Now it is true that Christians are not to judge, but we are to be a people proclaiming judgment. We are to make judgment and judge others. Now by this time you are probably totally confused. For you’re saying, “How can I possibly not judge and yet judge at the same time?” Well, that’s exactly what we will look at. Let’s read the whole passage in Matthew 7 and see clearly that Jesus is not saying all judgments are to be done away with. Indeed, very often people will accuse me of being judgmental. How can they judge me for judging and still keep the commandment not to judge? Do you see the foolishness of that argument? Jesus is not saying that we are not to be a people without any judgments at all. In that case, we would allow anything in our churches and our lives, because we would not judge anything.
Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
Let’s put Matthew 7:1 with Matthew 7:6. Jesus said in verse 1 again, “Do not judge or you too will be judged” and yet in verse 6, Jesus commands us to decide who is a pig and who is a dog. Now how can I go around judging, deciding who is a pig and who is a dog, without being judgmental? Matthew 7:6 again says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.” As you go about your daily life, at work, school, or visiting with neighbors, you have to decide whether people are pigs or dogs. There are certain individuals that you do not share certain things with. You have to make a judgment. Again, in verse 5, Jesus said, “…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus says that once you get the plank out of your own eye, then you will “see clearly, to remove the speck from you brother’s eye.” So, judgment is not done away with. Jesus spoke about something else. We don’t want to be a simple people that are just mocking the commandments of God or running around saying, “do not judge my heart.” We do not want to do what Proverbs 1:22 said, “…How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” We do not want to be the simple ones who love our simple ways. Let me say it one more time; in Matthew 7:6, you have to decide who is a dog and who is a pig. So, Jesus wasn’t doing away with judging.
Let’s look at the need for judgment within the church. Then, we will see how we judge without judging. 1 Corinthians 5 clearly shows churches as a place of judgment. We should be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we judge our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 5:9-12- I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
Now, the key to all this is if an individual claims to be a Christian, then we are permitted, in fact, we are commanded to judge them. Later we’ll examine how to judge, but right now we’re just looking at the need to do so. The church has this flip-flopped. The church looks down on the world and thinks, “How can the world be so wicked and how can the world do all the things that it does?” We blame the homosexuals, liberals, and all kinds of people for the problems around us. And yet, we should not judge those people. Where the judgment needs to take place is within the church. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 5:11 again: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” You are not to eat lunch, fellowship, have dinner with, and certainly not share the Lord’s Supper with anyone who claims to be a Christian but does not live up to the standards of Christianity. Do you obey this command? Probably not, because if you did, most of you would have to leave your churches. Most of the pastors would be kicked out from their pulpits. You couldn’t even eat lunch with them. There is no judgment within the church today because we love our sin. We like to misquote Matthew 7:1 that says, “Do not judge…” because we don’t want our sin dealt with.
Matthew 15:12-14- Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
The disciples were offended at a judging Jesus. You’re probably offended at a Jesus that comes with judgment. You might find this tape series to be offensive. Most people like a soft, marshmallow, mushy kind of Jesus that no longer judges within the church. Indeed, even those churches that do talk about judgment, don’t know what they are talking about. The disciples were offended at Jesus, because he spoke clearly about the Pharisees in public. In fact, as you speak clearly about what other ministries do wrong, individuals will say, “Look, don’t say those things, you’re just being harsh and unloving.” They will be offended at your public proclamation or judgment of these other ministries. Yet, Jesus said, “Leave them; they are blind guides.” Not only are we to judge, but also when other people become offended at our judgments, we’re to tell them to leave those ministries, and have nothing to do them. If everybody walked away from corrupt ministries, they’d have to repent. Or, at least the true gospel would go out. Jesus didn’t do away with judgment; he just showed us how to judge.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 – But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
That fits most churches today, with the worship of football, baseball and other sports, and eating out.
Anyway, that’s beyond our topic at this point. 2 Timothy 3:5 says, “they have a form of godliness but deny its power. Have nothing to do with them.” We have to judge who these individuals are. We have to do what 2 Timothy 3:1 says, and mark these ministries who claim to be Christians but live worldly lives. What are we supposed to do as true Spirit-filled individuals? We are to “have nothing to do with them.” Are there people, right now, that you have judged by the power of the Spirit? Have you told them that you will have nothing to do with them, because they do not live up to the standards Jesus Christ came to bring? If you are not doing that you are in sin. Indeed, you don’t love them, and, you are not full of the mercy and the grace and the kindness of God. 2 Timothy 3:5 is clear, “have nothing to do with them.” You must make a judgment.
Ephesians 5:3-6 – But among you, , there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
And, the commandment is this:
Ephesians 5:7 – Therefore do not be partners with them.
Any church or person who claims to be a Christian, but has a hint of sexual immorality, a hint of any kind of impurity (That’s broad I know, but that’s the commandment); anyone who is greedy, you are not to have anything to do with them. You are not to be partners with them.
Ephesians 5:6 – Let no one deceive you with empty words…
This goes on within the body of Jesus Christ. People run around with all kind of empty words, saying, “I’m covered, by the blood of the Lamb; no one knows my heart but God. You’ve got to be patient, because nobody’s perfect.” We use empty words, and bumper stickers, and all kinds of things to justify our sin. But, Ephesians 5:6 is clear, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Do you understand clearly? There can be no hint of foolish talk, or of obscenity, or of coarse joking, within the body of Jesus Christ. If you are in a church like that, and they are not repenting of that sin in a major way, then do not be partners with them. You can’t fellowship with them or call them Christians. You have to judge and say they will go to hell and they need to repent, because God’s wrath is coming on such individuals. The blood of the Lamb does not cover them and you need to judge them by the power of the Holy Spirit. You need to say, “I cannot be partners with you. I cannot associate with you and I will not eat lunch with you. I will tell everybody I meet that you are not really a Christian, but that you are a liar who claims to be a Christian.”
So far, have you seen in all these passages the need for judgment? I hope so, because this is the whole issue. Within the body of Jesus Christ we need to return to having a spirit of judgment that comes from God. Otherwise, we will be doomed to hell ourselves.
Let’s begin now to look at some examples of judgment that we find in Scripture. Ask yourself, is this the kind of revival that I am praying for? I’m sure your church talks about revival. They bring in special speakers and have all kinds of programs that they present to revive everybody. Never mind that if your church needs revival that’s something to be ashamed of. Yet, we promote it like it’s a party. After all, if you have to stand up and say, “Our church is in the midst of revival,” isn’t that something to be ashamed of? We don’t need revival at our church. To say we need revivals means there is a deep and serious need for repentance. It would mean we’ve fallen away from our first love. Is that what you mean when you say revival? No, it means you’re having a party. You’re trying to bring in more numbers. And, you like the money they bring in. Let’s see true revival in action. Let’s see purity happen by the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself, “Is this what I pray and fast for? Is this what I’m weeping and longing for within the body of Jesus Christ? Is this what I hope God works through me?”
Acts 5:1-3- Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”
Let’s stop right here for the moment. This is a crucial, turning passage concerning judgment. I know you’ve heard it said a hundred times, and you may have even said it yourself, “No one knows my heart, but God.” That is a true statement. The only problem is, you forget one major thing. God may reveal your heart to men. In Acts 5:3, listen to what Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…” Peter spoke about his heart. He judged the heart of Ananias, didn’t he? He even knew that Satan had filled his heart. So, while it is true that only God knows your heart, you better begin to walk with some fear and trembling, because, God will reveal your heart to his other servants who have learned to be broken and humbled by the cross of Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:4-5 – “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
Now, the whining begins. People in the church complain, “You’re just making people afraid of God. Who will want to join this kind of church?” Yeah, right! Only those people who really love Jesus Christ will want to join this kind of church. But, this is the kind of church we are all supposed to have. If somebody lies to the Holy Spirit, they’re struck dead. Are you praying for leadership like Peter, who can see the hearts of individuals and pronounce judgments on them? Are you rejoicing that those kinds of activities could take place? You know you are not. You would rebuke Peter. “Peter, don’t be so harsh! You’re not being very loving with all this heavy judgment. We know God came to bring us peace, joy and abundant life and to fill us with all kinds of joy. All you’re doing is filling us with fear.” All of this happens, because we don’t understand the cross, or the message of Jesus Christ anymore. We don’t understand the true joy and abundant life that Jesus came to bring. Notice also, that Peter did not give Ananias a chance to repent. He didn’t take Ananias aside privately and say, “Ananias, we really need to pray about this thing. I really sense in my spirit that you have some things you need to repent of. Is there anything you’re holding on to and not letting go fully to the Lord? Because, you know, God has some powerful plans for you. He really wants to bless you. The more you hold back, the less God is going to be able to work through you.” We’d come to Ananias with flattery and bribes. We’d feed his flesh. Actually we would rebuke the church and say, “Look, look at how much he gave! Yeah, I know, he kept back a small percentage. But, look at all the rest that he gave. Not everybody is perfect, and not everybody can give as much as others. Everybody has certain gifts. I know he made a mistake by saying he gave it all, but his heart is in the right place. He’s really trying to love God. After all, nobody knows the heart of an individual except God.” This is the whitewash, sin, and compromise that you have within your church. It is total sin; it is opposed to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. What you call the Holy Spirit in your church is not the Holy Spirit. Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit. He sees the heart of Ananias. And, the Holy Spirit moved him to speak clearly and powerfully with judgment.
Acts 5:6 – Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
Why do you think God took the time to inspire the writer of acts to write the words “young men”? Every one of you who are young in Jesus Christ, or maybe you are young in terms of spirituality, should go forward, look at this body, wrap it up, carry it out and bury him. Examine carefully—this is the kind of holy God you call upon. When you go to revival meetings, when you see things happening on television, and you don’t see this spirit of judgment happening within the church, it’s not true Christianity. It is not the Holy Spirit moving but rather a demonic spirit. Let every young man come forward, look at these dead bodies, wrap them up, bury them and check their own hearts. Let fear seize the church and everyone who hears about these things. Let them know we worship a holy God. In the church today if Ananias dropped dead, a committee group or some woman’s group would run out and warn Sapphira and say, “Look your husband just dropped dead. Peter pronounced judgment on him, you better tell the truth. You better not lie.” But, that’s not what happened in Acts. It’s really a set up, at least in terms of our sinful viewpoint. About three hours later, his wife came in not knowing what happened. Nobody warned her. If this happened today people would try to warn her. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes.” She said, “that is the price.” See how Peter sets her up? I mean Peter could have said, “Look, tell me the truth right now and repent, because your husband just lied to the Holy Spirit and died. Now, you better tell the truth.” But, that’s not what he did. He set her up to reveal her heart, and show what was deep inside her spirit. So, all of that talk about really loving God and giving everything will be revealed for what it was—a lie. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not holding back some money. The sin was the lie of saying they gave everything to God, but didn’t. How many people in your church try to act like Christians by saying, “Oh, I give everything to God, I surrender it all,” but really they really liars? Just think right now, if God passed over the land and went through every church killing everyone who claimed to give everything to God—but was really lying, how many people would leave?
Acts 5:9-10 – Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Then in Acts 5:11, something very noble and holy took place. We need this in the church today.
Acts 5:11 – Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
This kind of revival and purity is not taking place in your church. We are talking about being seized with fear. You can’t run from it, you can’t hide from it. No matter what another brother or sister would say. Suppose a brother or sister would come up to you and say, “Oh, just meditate upon the blood, forgiveness, and the grace of Jesus Christ. That fear comes from Satan.” No matter how much they justify or whitewash what took place, this kind of fear seizes you and will not let you go. This is true revival and judgment in practice. God longs to bring this in the church, but he can’t find surrendered individuals to work it. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. They knew what kind of God they were calling upon. They understood that judgment would take place in the church. We know judgment will not take place in your church. You would lose too many members if you began to really preach the gospel. This sermon is really dedicated to the few who are interested in following Jesus Christ with a total heart. Let us pray for this kind of revival. Let us plead before the living God to kill every member who claims to have given everything to God, but holds back one percent or point zero one percent. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. God wants judgment within the church.
We will see another example of judgment. Again, we are not looking at how to judge, rather we’re just looking at the need for judgment within the church. We’ll discuss the how to’s later.
Acts 8:18-21- When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”
Again, Peter said, “…your heart is not right before God.” Peter didn’t give the whitewash that we see today. He didn’t say, “Gee Simon I know that you’re doing the best that you can. You’re a young Christian. You’ve just come to Jesus Christ and I know that you are inspired by what you see me doing. But, your question is bad. I don’t mean to offend you. I’m not trying to bring judgment on you. I’m just trying to love you. I’m coming with all kinds of gentleness. But, you really need to change your words a little bit. Nobody really gets this by paying for it.”
Peter deals powerfully with the sin. Peter saw the heart of Simon, because God reveals people’s heart to his servants. It’s that simple. Simon’s heart was exposed before God. God turned to Peter and said, “Peter, this is what’s in his heart.” So, why do you still believe whitewash? Why do you tolerate other Christians who say, “Only God knows my heart? You don’t know my heart. You don’t know how much I love God.” Judge them by the power of the Holy Spirit. Strike at that whitewash. Don’t let it come out of anybody’s lips again. If your pastor says from the pulpit that we can’t judge, leave that church and don’t go back. It’s really that simple. Peter answered, “May your money perish with you…” Not only did he reveal Simon’s heart to him, but he also said, “May you perish…” He pronounced judgment on this man, all because he had this wicked thought. In Acts 8:22 he says, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps…” He doesn’t guarantee it. “…Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” So, what’s going on here? It is very simple. Peter knew the righteousness of God. He knew the holiness of Jesus Christ. He knew in his heart, in his soul, and his life, what kind of God he worshiped and what God demands of His people who claim to follow Him. “…Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” There’s no guarantee that God will forgive him. Again, we’d put our arms around him and say, “God loves you and God will forgive you. I don’t want to bring you under judgment and I don’t want things to come across too hard. But, you really need to pray and let’s do some inner healing. Let’s go through counseling or therapy.” I don’t know what kind of gimmick you’d come up with. Anything but, “There’s sin in your heart and you better repent. Maybe God will forgive youI don’t know.” In Acts 8:23, Peter pronounced more judgment. He said, “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Remember what Matthew 7:1 said? You know the famous passage that says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Remember Matthew 7:44? “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:5 – You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Acts 8:23 – For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
Peter was able to see the heart of Simon. He was able to see that Simon was captive to all kinds of sin, because Peter allowed Jesus Christ to get the planks out of his own eye. If we will allow God to judge us and find that to be a joy, then, we too will see clearly the other individuals around us who are taken captive by all kinds of sin and bitterness.
Acts 8:24 – Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Simon didn’t say to Peter, “Look Peter, what you say may be true, but you have know that I really love Jesus Christ. He’s my personal Lord and Savior. I’ll go back into my prayer closet, I’ll ask God if this is true or not. Then I’ll ask God for forgiveness.” Simon had the humility and the brokenness that comes from heaven. He just flat out asked Peter to pray for him. He confessed his sin. He didn’t play this little game of saying, “Well, I don’t really see it right now. I’ll go back and pray about it. I have to hear this from the Lord.” We’ll look at this in more detail later on. You’ll see these things and God will work this spirit of judgment when you let him deal with the plank in your own eye. The reason you do not judge, and the reason you haven’t seen this before and lived it is because you had so many planks in your eye that you couldn’t see the gospel. You didn’t understand what Jesus Christ was about. Let’s look at the teaching of Jesus Christ. Again, we’ll continue to look at examples of judging.
Acts 13:4-9- The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper. They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said.
Now, notice the judgment that poured from Paul’s lips. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t playing a game.
Acts 13:10-11- “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
Now, look at Acts 13:12. It is such an amazing passage!
Acts 13:12- When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
The teaching of the Lord comes with judgment! When we remove judgment from the church and from our lives, we’re not preaching the gospel anymore. It’s no longer the teaching of Jesus Christ. Paul judged a non-believer. Of course, you know what would happen today, we’d love the guy to death. We would go over to Elymas, the sorcerer, and say, “I’m praying for you. I’m trusting that the Spirit of Jesus will just convict your heart and change you. I want you to know that I love you. We all love you and our whole church is praying for you. I know that you don’t understand all these things. Maybe other Christians have wounded you. Maybe you’ve got some things in your life that have caused you to be bitter before God. But, know this, we really do care about you.” Then, we’d get in a debate with Elymas and he’d pour out all his venom and garbage and we’d let him do it. Then, we’d share our point of view and we’d be back and forth, presenting the gospel. It would be talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. That’s not what happened with Paul. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil…” No game playing here. No mixed words. He was clear and to the point. We would say Paul had a judgmental attitude, wouldn’t we? Paul said, “…You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” And then, he pronounced judgment from God, “…Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind.” That is the teaching of Jesus Christ. We don’t see that in America, because we will not let God judge us. We will not get the plank out of our own eyes. We will not refuse to eat lunch or to fellowship with anyone who claims to be a Christian but doesn’t live up to the gospel. We are liars. We don’t really love Jesus Christ. We don’t love righteousness. We represent what 2 Timothy 3:5 says, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” We are the people that true Christians should not associate with.
Acts 13:12- When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
The teaching of the Lord comes with judgment. It comes with power and it comes clearly. Another example of judging can be found in:
Titus 1:10- For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.
Please, let’s not get long winded with those who are of the circumcision group. A circumcision group is made of simple people who do all the outward forms of Christianity, but it’s not in their heart. That’s the definition of a circumcision group—your church. Titus 1: 10 again, “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers…” probably the people you fellowship with. They’re rebellious. They don’t follow the commandments of God. Otherwise, they would judge. You’d see them living all of this out. They are mere talkers. They talk about holiness and righteousness. Ironically, as long as I preach about holiness, revival, repentance, and purity, everybody says, “Yes and Amen.” But, the minute I say, “This person needs to be judged. You need to kick him out of the church. You can’t eat lunch with your neighbor, because he claims to be a Christian but doesn’t live up to the gospel,” then, suddenly people say, “Oh no, that’s too much, that’s unloving!” You see, you are just a mere talker; you’re a deceiver.
Titus 1:11-13 – They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.
Do you see the spirit of judgment flowing here? Paul said, “…rebuke them sharply.” Calling someone a liar, an evil brute, and a lazy glutton, is not a sharp rebuke? Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” He was too harsh and unloving. Think about the judgment that took place. This prophet said, “…Cretans are always liars.” Always liars. They never, ever tell the truth. If you asked a Cretan, “Hey, is the sky blue today?” They’d say, “No, it’s green or orange.” We would rebuke this prophet, declaring, “They’re not always liars. Sometimes they tell the truth.” What is an evil brute, anyway? Think about that. This guy went to the church and said, “You guys are brutes.” Being a brute is a sin. But, how many of us know what a brute is? Or, what lazy gluttons are? When was the last time you saw the lazy gluttons judged in your church? Truth is, you’re too lazy. You’re not busy doing the works of Jesus Christ. You’re not really on fire for righteousness and purity. You are the glutton we can’t eat with. Think about this judgment for a moment. Would you accept somebody who said, for instance, “Baptists are always liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons?” By the way, those are true statements. Would you accept those individuals? Would you say they are of God? Paul made this blanket judgment and this all-encompassing statement was true.
Titus 1:13- This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.
If somebody stood up in your church and said by the power of the Holy Spirit, “You guys are always liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons,” would you really accept it? You know you wouldn’t. You’d rebuke him and tell him he comes from Satan and the pit of hell. You’d tell him that he doesn’t really love God and doesn’t know what the gospel’s about; that he’s bitter on the inside and in need of counseling. There is to be within the body of Jesus Christ a spirit of judgment. The problem is, we don’t know the kind of God we call upon. We are liars, deceivers, and mere talkers. We belong to the circumcision group.
Here we see that the church as a whole should judge. Don’t you love these signs churches have outside with their cute little sayings on the board? Some of them even have, “Visitors Welcome.” How come we don’t want to be known as a judgmental church? We are supposed to judge. How come nobody is afraid to come to our church? People were afraid to join the first church, you know. Because, most churches don’t really love God or the Holy Spirit. There’s a spirit there, it’s just not the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:23-25 – So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Falling down and being slain in the spirit is not from God. It’s the same as the spirit of football, or a sporting event. It’s all emotional hype. When is the last time you saw the secrets of a man’s heart laid bare? When was the last time the whole church judged a visitor so that he was convinced God was really there? It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t take place, because we don’t love Jesus Christ. Let me read this again. “But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all…”
Let me repeat something. It’s true that only God knows your heart. But, God reveals your heart to other men. Does that make you afraid? Then, you need to repent. It’s no wonder you won’t judge other individuals, because, you don’t want your heart exposed. Those who love God don’t mind their hearts being exposed and put out in the open, because they know their sin will be dealt with. The scripture goes on to say, “…So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
When visitors come in and are taken in by the spirit of play, party, eating, and drinking, and they say, “I can really feel the Spirit of the Lord in this church,” they don’t feel the Spirit of the Lord. They feel the spirit of Satan that feeds the flesh of men. This mushy love, this wide road Christianity that takes place in this type of church, is not the Spirit of God. It’s the spirit of Satan, of the world. It’s the spirit of your preacher, preaching in such a way that men are moved. 1 Corinthians says everyone judged the visitor. The secrets of his heart were laid bare. And then, he fell down and worshiped God, saying, “God is really among you.” This is true life and holiness in Jesus Christ. This is what the Holy Spirit wants to work. Now, on the issue of prophesying, to preach the word of God is the spirit of prophesy.
Hebrews 4:12-13- For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
If you and your church really preached the word of the Lord, hearts would be revealed. Not just actions or words, but also the hearts of individuals would be revealed. So, you’d never find within a true Spirit-filled church anybody saying, “You don’t know my heart, only God does.” You’d never, ever, hear a true Christian say, “Only God knows my heart, and you can’t judge me.” Because, a true, honest, Spirit-filled church knows that to preach the living word of God means the thoughts and attitudes of the heart will be exposed and judged. Down to a very fine detail.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
To worship in a church really filled with the Holy Spirit creates a tremendous amount of pressureat least, to those who don’t love God. Remember when Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead, everyone was seized with fear? What did the word of God do? It judged the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. It divided bone from marrow. It was a double-edged sword that penetrated. It didn’t wait for people to confess their sin. The word of God didn’t wait for them to get to a certain level and then encourage them on to more righteousness. The word of God went out. It purified, cleansed and revealed things. All of this was done out in the light, out in the open. Judgments happened and things took place. Those who loved God were made pure and holy by it. Those that did not love God were killed by it. So, if you preach the word of God, you prophesy and declare judgment. You bring judgment while revealing the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. “Nothing in all creation is hidden…” Hebrews 4:13 says, “…Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” So, don’t even think for a moment you can preach the word of God and not have someone’s heart revealed. Specific and detailed things will be revealed. Down to joints and marrow. Down to dividing soul from spirit. Down to a double-edged sword, that no matter which way you go with the word of God, it will cut. It will cut them and cut you too. So, let me ask you a question: How come your preaching has not gone out with this kind of power? If you claim to be in Jesus Christ, then why don’t you find the spirit of judgment going on in your church? How come people are not being powerfully dealt with? Instead, sin is excused and covered up. Everybody says they’re covered by the blood of the lamb and you can’t judge them. How come you can sit down with someone, share the nice little five steps to bring them to Jesus Christ, but their hearts are not revealed down to a very, very fine degree? Simply put, you don’t preach the living word of God, and you will wind up in hell.
The church prides itself in toleration and not judging other individuals. We want people to feel comfortable. The visitor is always welcome. We don’t want to be known as the judgmental church. We back down and cower away from judging the world. Even within the church we’d lose many Christian friends and brothers and sisters if we judged. They’d call us self-righteous. They’d tell us, “So, you think you’re the only one going to heaven. How can you be judgmental like this? Show some patience and some love. Where’s the grace, where’s the mercy?” All of those excuses.
1 Corinthians 5:1-3 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.
Paul was not even there at the church. He didn’t hear both sides of the story. The Holy Spirit made the situation clear to him. He said, “…I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.” How the church is proud of its toleration. What a shame! What a disgrace to the body of Jesus Christ, because judgment does not take place within the church. The church needs to fill itself with grief. But, that’s not what will happen because pastors love the numbers game. The more people you bring in, the more excitement that happens. But it’s not the gospel they preach. When individuals live and preach the gospel, a spirit of judgment accompanies it. We should seek out to see who is in sin. Granted, this can be abused. I know churches that are abusive with this kind of power and that’s not from the Holy Spirit. We’ll look at all that later. But, just because people take it to extremes, doesn’t mean we aren’t to live it at all. Indeed, let us live it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us demonstrate and show other individuals how to live it. I know this can be used to control people, but that’s a separate issue. Right now, all we are examining is the fact that the church tolerates too much sin. Way too much sin! In fact, the church is totally in sin. We are past the toleration stage. We wallow in it.
Revelation 2:18-20 – To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Our concern today is about Jezebel or who the Jezebels are in the church today. Our concern is this: you tolerate. All manner of things are tolerated within the church. We tolerate anyone who says he is a Christian. But, notice the power of the word of God again, Revelation 2:18, “…These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” The word of God is living and active. It penetrates and divides soul from spirit, bone from marrow. It judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart. It examines and goes out with fire. His eyes see. His eyes look to purify and cleanse. If we will have the eyes of Jesus, if we will let the Spirit work the humility and the brokenness and put us on a cross to crucify our sin, then we too will become the people that we need to become. I don’t care about your deeds, your love, your faith or your service and perseverance. Thyatira had those things. Jesus still holds against you the fact that you tolerate, you eat with, you associate people that you should have judged a long time ago, and totally left. Remember what Scripture said? “Have nothing to do with them. Leave them. Do not be partners with them.” We need judgment within the body of Jesus Christ. Until we have this, don’t even bother saying you love God. This is the living word of God. These are eyes full of fire. This is a love on fire for God.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.