Sunday, February 10, 2013

GOD CALLS HIS SAINTS TO JUDGE ONE ANOTHER

By Helena Lehman of the
Pillar of Enoch Ministry (POEM)

CLICK GRAPHIC TO ENLARGE
There is much confusion in the Church today over the concept of judgment. This is because believers are not being taught that there is a major difference between human judgment, which focuses on outward appearances and behavior, and God’s righteous judgment, which weighs a person’s inner qualities and spiritual gifts against the Word of God. To do so, God’s Word constantly admonishes us to act with love, compassion, generosity, kindness and self-control when we seek to uphold biblical standards of morality. 

These positive inner traits are gifts of the Holy Spirit, and should be sought after and cultivated by all believers so that they will be a better reflection of the holy God of Love that they serve. As it says in Galatians 5:22-24: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

As believers, we are called to a far higher standard than the world. As such, we are not to be ruled by the world’s lusts, passions and desires. Instead, we are called to figuratively crucify our fleshly desires at the foot of Christ’s Cross so that we can allow the Holy Spirit of Christ to live within us. This spiritual transformation that comes with belief in, and complete surrender to Christ as Lord is what caused the Apostle Paul to write: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

As reflections of the Light of Christ in the world, believers have to balance what Yahshua said with what He did. For example, when Yahshua Ha Mashiach, our Bridegroom and King of kings said: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged” in Luke 6:37, He meant that we should never judge others by human standards, such as a person’s outward appearance, clothing, wealth, ancestry, or manner of speech. We are, rather, to judge others the way Yahshua did. He judged human behavior by God’s standards, which calls us to do the following:
1) Honor Yahshua’s sacrifice by repenting of and fleeing from sin, and asking God for forgiveness even as we learn to forgive others (Mark 11:25; Luke 24:46-48);
2) Learn not to love the world or the things in the world, but to focus on the Kingdom of God rather than the kingdoms of men (Matthew 9:35; Matthew 24:14; 1 John 2:15-16);

3) Give what we own in excess of our needs away to our brethren in the Body of Christ - which is NOT the Church building, but the people in it - so that we can become spiritually rich, and take up Christ’s Cross and follow Him (Matthew 19:21-30; Mark 10:21);
4) Love one another and show kindness and compassion to our neighbors - especially our brethren in Christ - by teaching them how to understand and do God’s Will. Furthermore, we are to extend the same kindness to our enemies and preach the Gospel to them in love (Matthew 7:20-23; Luke 6:27-28; John 13:34-35; Galatians 5:22-23); and last, but by no means least:
5) Love Yahweh God with our whole hearts and souls. What loving God this way calls us to do is to keep our minds and bodies free from desecration from carnal excesses such as gluttony, inebriation, sexual sin, the love of pleasure, and other forms of immorality (Matthew 22:36-38; Romans 8:6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 1 John 2:15-16).
In order to evaluate and judge ourselves by the preceding list of five standards for godly behavior, we need to know how to understand and apply the Word of God, which is listed in the Scriptures that are linked to after each standard. So Yahshua told His audience to avoid judging others because they were still spiritually blind, and they needed to know how to understand and apply God’s Word before they would be ready to judge others by God’s standards. This was made clear in the following passage:   
~*~ Luke 6:39-42 ~*~ 
And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
In Luke 6:39-42, Yahshua laid the groundwork for teaching his disciples how to judge everything by God’s standards. That is why He said that we would be ready to remove the speck of sin from our brother’s eye once we had removed the plank of sins from our own. He also told us how to remove the plank of sin in our eyes by using the things that Yahshua “says, or His Word, to judge ourselves! Yahshua clearly says this in the same Chapter of the Gospel of Luke:
~*~ Luke 6:46-49 ~*~ 
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
To reinforce this teaching, Yahshua also said: “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:23-24). In this way, Yahshua was scolding the Pharisees for judging His works without viewing them as acts of compassion in keeping with God’s loving-kindness to His people. As such, healing others is a thoroughly acceptable work to do on the Sabbath!

As believers, we are constantly called to judge ourselves and our loved ones by God’s standards. How can a mother discipline her children if she is not allowed to judge them by the Word of God? How can a pastor alter the bad behavior of any member of his congregation seeking help without judging him or her by the Word of God, and pointing out where their deficiencies lie using the same scriptures? How can any believer live life without judging the caliber of his friends and family by the Word of God? In short, it would be impossible to live a righteous life if we did NOT judge ourselves and others by God’s standards on a daily basis! Yahshua confirmed that we must judge our brethren when they sin in the following Scripture:
~*~ Matthew 18:15-17 ~*~
 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
According to our Messiah's own words, we are to treat unrepentant sinners within the Church like we would wicked outsiders. We should keep apart from them and pray that they would repent and return to the fold. This is also likely why the Apostle Paul called believers to judge the behavior of fellow believers and stay away from those who are still engaging in sin:
~*~ 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ~*~
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
This Scripture is clearly calling believers to judge one another's behavior as regards how well each of us is following God's Moral Law. Indeed, this is why Paul also taught that the Word of God is useful for instruction, reproof, and correction:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 
Taking the two preceding Scriptures into consideration, we should not allow adulterers, fornicators, liars, pedophiles, homosexuals and other immoral people who call themselves believers to fellowship with other believers until they repent and stop sinning. It also stands to follow that we cannot do this unless we judge believers by God's standards! In short, we cannot instruct, reprove or correct anyone unless we know how to make righteous judgments based on a balance between God’s Laws and God’s compassion and mercy, which is an extension of His Grace (i.e. God’s unmerited favor), when dealing with others.

Besides Luke 6:37, where it says: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged, another Scripture that is often quoted out of context is John 12:47, which says: “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” If read out of context, this statement sounds like an admonition that we should not judge anyone for any reason since Yahshua didn’t come to judge the world. That is, until we read the next verse, which says:  “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In other words, God judges us by how well we follow Yahshua - Who is the Word of God - and how well we listen to and apply His spoken Word as recorded in the Bible! Therefore, this is also how we should judge one another!

We find further support for this in 1 Corinthians 6:1-3, where the Apostle Paul taught that, once we are familiar with God’s Word and know how to rightly apply it to our lives, we should consider ourselves ready to judge others by the same standards:
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life!” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:1-3
Paul asked the questions, and made the statement above because the believers of his day were using the Pagan court system, rather than their own leaders, to judge cases involving fellow believers. For this reason, Paul chastised them, and explained that they were fully equipped by the Word of God to judge their own cases. In this way, they did not have to resort to such inadequate outside courts to find justice, and to reach solutions to difficult problems between believers.

When taken together, all of these Scriptures that discuss the idea of judgment within the Church make it clear that our Father God Yahweh does call all of His children to judge and instruct one another in righteousness. We are to do so using His Word in the Bible, coupled with His Grace and the Holy Spirit’s gifts to each member of Christ’s Body. Together, these form the ideal legal and spiritual standard in which to judge the works of the Church as a whole, as well as the deeds of every believer within it. 

These biblical principles, built on the foundation of the Ten Commandments, originally inspired the system of courts and laws that were established in England and the United States, though the guiding principles of biblical morality are no longer being adhered to in this country, or any other. That is why America and the entire world are swiftly becoming ripe for God’s Judgment. As a result, they are bringing judgment down upon our nation, and upon all those who ignore God’s standards of right and wrong, and lack godly discernment.

A sad example of this includes the legalization of abortion on demand at any time, for any reason, which violates the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder”. Likewise, the acceptance of homosexual “marriage” violates the Fifth Commandment to “Honor your father and your mother”. These are two glaring instances where our government, and our courts have failed to live up to the standards set forth in the Bible, which defines all true morality. 

Another example of the failure of believers to apply God’s standards of judgment applies to the spread of Churches with pastors that teach a False Gospel, which is either incomplete because it ignores the need for repentance of sin and holiness, or grossly incorrect because it teaches doctrines of demons such as “Once saved, always saved”, Positive Thinking, Chrislam, Social Justice, Ecumenism, Gay Pride, and other lies from the pit of Hell.

For those churches and pastors that can clearly be determined to be False Teachers by their lack of following God’s Word, it is NOT gossip to tell others about this! Maliciously telling others about someone’s private life is gossip, while their public lives are open to everybody’s scrutiny in the way that it compares to the Word of God.

It is never wrong to talk about the public policies of leaders within the Church with other believers! We need to do so in order to instruct fellow believers when we see doctrinal problems, or to be instructed by those within our circle of brethren that see and want to warn others of doctrinal problems.

I pray that this article will bless you and help you to grow in spiritual understanding as we await the Rapture. In the meantime, remember that...

Yahshua is coming SOON! Maranatha!

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