The King is coming to Judge
Are we to do any judging as we wait for that day?
For years the most quoted scripture was John 3:16; today it is Matthew 7:1-6. The king is coming to Judge and to welcome home those covered by the blood of Christ. Should we in the meantime do any judging on our own, or are we told not to judge as Christians? Consider this scripture.
â€œJudge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brotherâ€™s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, â€˜let me remove the speck from your eye;â€™ and look, a plank is in your own eye! Hypocrite! First remove plank from your own eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs; nor cast you pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in piecesâ€ (Matthew 7:1-6.)
What is Jesus saying here, and how does it affect our judging others? First, Jesus is stating as is translated in The Message, â€œDonâ€™t have a critical spirit of putting people down when dealing with them, wipe that ugly sneer off your face.â€ This scripture is all about attitude. If you are critical of every- thing that others do, God will judge you with a critical attitude. And it will come back to you just as you sent it out. The playground at grade school understood this very well, remember? â€œI am rubber, you are glue; all you say to me bounces back and sticks on you.â€
Lori had a roommate in Bible College. This girl was very important in her own eyes, and she was â€œperfectâ€ at everything that she did. She corrected everyone and everything. She came to Vidor and sat in on our Area Thanksgiving program. I was the speaker, and I can always use correcting; she did it a plenty. She also corrected and critiqued the church where we were worshipping as a community, and everyone on the program from all the churches in town. Vidor had a great ministerial alliance, and we had about 30 churches represented on the stage. Everyone did something wrong. Years later, Lori was teaching in Colegio Biblico, and this girl was now roomy with one of my friends that worked at Volvoâ€™s financial office in Dallas. We were in contact everyday for one reason or another. One day my friend at Volvo came on the line with me laughing about our mutual friend. Her car was in the shop, and she borrowed my Volvo friendâ€™s standard transmission Volvo. Now, â€œWâ€s car was* an automatic and my friendâ€™s Volvo was standard transmission. â€œWâ€ assured Volvo clerk, â€œI know all about standard transmissions, and I am an expert in driving a standard.â€
Later, pulling in the driveway, â€œWâ€ got confused in the feet department and a standard transmission, missed a gear, missed the brake, and hit the picture window, parking the Volvo on top of the front room couch, and almost wiping out the TV. Needless to say, â€œWâ€ wasnâ€™t too critical of her own standard technique. Everyone else was making super bad jokes about â€œWâ€ because they all had been trashed by her one time or another. That is what Jesus is talking about; you will be trashed as you trash others.
From the very beginning, God has expected us to be making judgments. He gave Adam one rule and one prohibition. Satan came along and called God a liar. Adam allowed Satan to flirt with his woman, and did not make a judgment to tell Eve to put the fruit back. He also failed to make a judgment on Satan and tell him to take a hike. Due to that failure of not making a judgment, sin entered the world by one man, Adam. God doesnâ€™t even blame his wife. The next thing we find, God is checking up, and Adam blames his wife, and of course she blames Satan. That was the first opportunity for man to make an intelligent judgment, and he failed.
We would have to write a book to cover all times we are told to judge and we failed or judged incorrectly. An important next is Joshua 24:16ff.
Choosing right from wrong or good from evil requires making a judgment. Joshua instructed the Hebrew people, â€œChoose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods that were on the other side of the river, the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.â€ Joshua judged the gods of the Amorites as ineffective and of no real value. He judged that Jehovah God was powerful and real. Upon that judgment, Joshua made his famous statement.
I believe that a pivotal scripture about judging right and wrong, good and evil, is recorded in Deuteronomy 30:19, 20: â€œThis day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.â€ If this were an automatic intelligent choice, that took no effort on the part of the one choosing, then everyone would choose life. It doesnâ€™t take much research to discover that not everyone makes the right choice. This is where the sovereignty of God and the free will of man collide. If we were marionettes or puppets activated by some divine hand up our shirt tail, and God was really good and loving, we would all choose life. That would be consistent with 2 Peter 3, where God is not willing that any should perish. However, a fast scan of this morningâ€™s paper will dispel that thought.
We live in a fallen world. God created a Utopia; everything was perfect, weather (a variance of 10 degrees according to computer simulation at NASA, between poles and equator). No limit of food for billions of people and animals. No mother-in-laws to begin with. No police, no government regulations and taxation. Faulty judgment to begin with blew the whole shooting match. If God wanted to be totally in control, and make every decision, this would have been the place to install that program. Oh yes, there was Satan to contend with; the truth, God could have snapped his fingers at anytime and dispatched him to oblivion. Letâ€™s try to take a look at our privileged planet from a heavenward view, as near impossible at that will be.
To do that, we will have to take a close look at ourselves and realize that we were created in the image of God; check out Genesis 1 to 3. We have the limited creative genius of God; check out Genesis 11:1ff, â€œThen nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.â€ That is God speaking to His Son, not some fat, old, bald preacher. When God exactly placed this privileged planet in space, and put life all over it, he placed man and woman, created in his own image, on the planet to be stewards over it and to populate it. Man and woman are a perpetual motion machine that can reach toward glory with creative genius, or become a perpetual motion machine gone berserk creating their own hellish destruction.
Now, take a fast trip to heaven, uncountable legions of angels, a servant class, that are timeless, can move at the speed of light from here to there, and seem to have great powers. These beingâ€™s name means messenger. They obey and do well; they disobey and are cast to Satanâ€™s demons. They cannot procreate, nor can they know the mind and heart of God, â€œAngels long to look into these things.â€ There also are the beings about the throne that worship God day and night saying, â€œHoly, Holy, Holy.â€
Now imagine a lonely shepherd with two thousand sheep on a quiet hill- side, longing for someone of his own kind with whom to relate. There are the two thousand sheep, and yes, you can hold a lamb and pet it, feel its warmth against your body on a cold night. But, you canâ€™t share your dreams, make plans for a shared future together. He at best was designed to be a warm blanket, and lamb chops.
Perhaps James Weldon Johnson expressed it best in one of his excellent poems, â€œGod was lonely, and he bent down and fashioned him a man, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And Man became a living soul.â€ I know many good people that believe the chief duty of man and the reason for which he was created was to worship God. I love to worship God, but the angels most likely carry a better tune than I do, and without question, are more holy, and they are in the presence of God and worship him day and night.
I have a different view of man, and I believe a more biblical view of man. We were created in His image to become his partners in all of life and eternity. Those that seemed to walk closest to God had a very distinctive qualifying phrase about their name in the book; they were called the friend of God. God walked and talked with them in the cool of the evening as good friends should and do. God could come and visit Adam and Eve, sitting on the back porch, rocking and planning and sharing together. Perhaps it was here that God explained to Adam and his sons how to mine iron ore, smelt it, and make iron tools. (Geneses 4:22). I know that Tubal-Cain did not figure it out by reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. Now, let me be clear here, Junior Partners at best, but God has chosen to hitch His wagon to us for future accomplishments. His plan to disciple the world was placed solely on the back of 12 men. When God got serious in reaching the Gentile world, he chose a bi-cultural Jewish-Roman and called him to do a 180 and told Ananias, â€œGo! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my nameâ€ (Acts 9:15.16). God is not always easy on his junior partners. But partner with us He does.
Now, let me put another layer on the wedding cake as we approach Revelations 21.
I have been blessed with a number of sisters, daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters. I have a youth group and Sunday School full of little girls. Now, granted some little girls are content to curl up with a book, others want to roam the out-of-doors on a four wheeler or on horse back, but most little girls, even so, play dolls.
To play dolls takes a great deal of imagination to do it right. A 3 or 4-year-old can handle it. By 5 they are a regular little mothers. They can set their table now with little play-plastic dishes, have imaginary food, drink, and talk at the table with a doll that sits motionless in her own chair. Depending on the imagination of the little â€œmamaâ€, and I have had some girls with tremendous imaginations, and they still have them and are using them in partnership with God, the mama and dolls carry on a dinner conversion. Soon it is bed time for the doll and mama, and little mama puts the dolls arms around her neck, gives the baby a hug and the two talk in the very real world of a 5-year-old. For us standing a few yards away, in privacy, watching this encounter, we hear the 5-year-old speaking both the part of mama and the little girl being mothered.
â€œMamaâ€ says, â€œTell mama that you love her, and nighty, night.â€ The Doll speaks the words in the imaginary inanimate way, and â€œmamaâ€ puts the baby to bed.
Somewhere in the late teens, or twenties, the little â€œmamaâ€ is a grown woman, and there is the doll of a guy that has attracted her attention. As they get to know each other, and share dreams together, there comes a place that this girl, now an intelligent woman, longs to hear the words â€œI love youâ€ from this living, breathing doll of a guy. She is smart enough, and mature enough, to realize that this time it cannot be manipulated. For it to be real, he must, on his own free will, with his own energy, place his arms about her shoulders, and hold her tight, and whisper in her ears, â€œI love You.â€ Suddenly, all the bells of heaven are ringing. â€œHe did it!â€ The lightly brushed kiss on her check as he pulled back from her ear, has the warmth and excitement that a million angels could not bring. Of his own free will he has said, â€œI love you, I want to make you a partner in my life.â€
Now, back to Deuteronomy, â€œChoose;â€ understand, God emotionally is not all that different from that young lady He created in His own image. He is longing to hear from us, of our own free will, by our own strength, â€œI love You. I want to partner with you for life.â€ Now, I am very aware that there is a great amount of Protestant Theology that says that scenario is impossible, that man or woman cannot choose God, unless he draws them to Him, and whispers the words in their ear for them to repeat. I just donâ€™t find that theology consistent with the whole of the Bible. I am sure they will make heaven anyway, and God will straighten them out in time. There will always be a dichotomy between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, and I know that God will no doubt have a big job getting all of us straightened out at the proper time. But then God did say â€œChoose,â€ didnâ€™t He? That requires an action on our part, and a judgment about our choice. If God meant that command, and I believe he did, we must judge between life and death, between right and wrong, between good and best; He is still calling out, â€œChoose Life.â€
In choosing life, we have judgments to make about abortion, about the value of life of the mentally challenged, the physically limited, and the bed-ridden elderly. What do we do with a woman that is very much alive, but has to be fed with a tube or with a needle? What do we do with a special needs child that takes twice as much care and love as a regular child. These are judgments that are being fought over in our hearts and courts today.
To choose life, we have to make a lot of judgments about the environment in which we want to rear our Children. I must judge what media is allowed in my home, what music I want played in my hearing and the hearing of those around me. I must make judgments about dress and the lack thereof for those that are in my patriarchy. I must decide how much freedom I allow others to have, and how many choices I make and demand to be followed. The larger the island of your influence, the more judgments you must make.
I chose a long time ago not to issue the official mimeographed list of 4,000 supreme commandments that must be followed to be in my fellowship and/or family. I believe the way to handle judging is to teach some simple rules that guide proper judging. And here we go back to Matthew seven. To teach how to judge. This goes back to the apprentice system of education.
Recently, our youth group has been watching movies on Monday night then having a full discussion about the movie and what we have learned from it. From the youngest to the oldest, we get a lot of feedback. Last week we watched the movie Nativity Story. The story of Mary and Joseph. In more than an half an hour of discussion, the subject of engagement, divorce, virginity, chastity, reality travel, and hate and anger came up with our pre-teens. Out of this discussion came the request from them for a First Promise Ring to God, that promises chastity, and faithfulness to God in sexual purity until marriage and beyond.
A week ago, we allowed Enrique to bring the film Transformers, and we showed it. This film brought up the discussion about cussing, and Why God said in Ephesians that we not only donâ€™t take Godâ€™s name in vain, but that we are to avoid course talking, dirty language, course jesting (dirty jokes), and violent talk. We talked about hard decisions that the outer space transformers had to make and about hard decisions that we have to make. Drama and music speak to the mind, and open up the opportunity to teach how to make judgments. I know of many parents that banned their kids form seeing movies. Yet, they allow them to visit friends and even have sleep overs. I can tell you, from 55 years of youth work, that at the friendâ€™s home, they are seeing movies, watching MTV, and hearing and seeing things that such parents would not allow in their home. These childrenâ€™s only hope is to be trained how to make judgments and to choose life when mom is not around to make their decisions for them.
Every day each of us must make judgments about our personal life and habits. The members of the Pinney family needs to exercise good judgment about food and eating. I believe that Jessica just may be the only Pinney, or Pinney derivative, that will be petite. I go to her Middle School to find her, and I cannot see her in a crowd. They all stand head and shoulders above her, she comes in from school to the office crying, â€œI am hungry!â€ She eats all the time and stays tiny. The rest of us, especially I, would be 500 pounds if we ate like she does. Linda Dawn has made the judgment about her life, that she wants to be healthier at 50 than she was at 40. She works very hard to make good judgments about everything that she eats, her exercise, running many miles a week, and the quality of the food that she eats. These are hard judgments for all of us to pay attention too, and to follow as we can. Each one of us need to make good judgments about food. As a family we have different limitations. Loriâ€™s heart condition make exercise very difficult, but health concerns, of great importance.
I was born with a broken back, and tail bone, and was calcium deprived, so I have several short ribs, no second set of teeth, and wore shoes with braces as a child. Dr. Lindsey told me at 9 years-of-age, before all the x-ray knowledge, â€œI donâ€™t know what is wrong with your legs and feet, but I will give you exercises that will help. Then climb every mountain, and ride a bicycle everywhere you go.â€ He gave me 2 round quart milk bottles to put under the arches of my feet, and showed me how to role them under my arches and strengthen my legs and ankles. To stand on them under my arches. That carried me for over 60 years of my life, I climbed a lot of mountains, rode many a mile on bicycles. I had problems with ever getting anyone to go hospital calling with me; I never had time to wait for the elevator, and I ran the stairs. Eleven years ago, the calcium deprivation of my body, a mutated staph and septic infection came close to wiping me out. Today, I still enjoy eating, and I have to watch my calorie intake. It is especially important today. I try to walk as far as possible each day. I climb stairs one at a time, and very carefully. I take my calcium supplement as well as the Vitamins C,D, E, Selenium, and multis. Because I am rebuilding my body at 73, my eyesight is coming back to my right eye, and I have to wear a patch until the process is complete, and they can medically align my eyes so I donâ€™t have double vision.
I say all of that, to say, many get upset that I donâ€™t always seek or worry about the closest parking spot. Melba wanted me to get a second handicapped parking sign for in front of our apartment. I got one for her, and I need to walk. I take the stairs when there is a choice instead of the elevator, or ramp. I get up to get items, and transport finished work when others are saying, â€œjust call me, let me get it.â€ This is all a judgment I have made to show the doctors that I can walk with a walker when they wanted me to be wheel chair bound because they did not think since my right arm was cut off and the shoulder rebuilt, I could ever be strong enough to be stable on a walker. Do I ever have problems? â€œYesâ€, last night when Melba ran out of gas taking folks home from church, I was called, went to a convenience store, and was getting ready to fill my three gallon gas can, leaned over to put he nuzzle into the can, and fell head long on the cement and gas pump. Nothing hurt but my pride, and I have plenty of that. Many donâ€™t understand why I wonâ€™t let them help me. Every move I make is important to strengthen my body for twenty more years on the walker before I submit to a wheeled chair. Linda wisely runs and diets, Lori and others will have to make their own judgments on how to stay healthy and productive, and in harmony with their own body. I have to make my judgments and decisions as to the best for me. All I know is that years of mountain climbing, bicycling, running up stairs when I did not have time to wait for an elevator allowed my heart to be so strong that one doctor in Albuquerque told Melba when many were talking about taking me off the breathing machine and letting me go, â€œIf we do, we will have to take a stick and beat his heart to death.â€
Every day we all have many judgments to make. We have been selected to be partners with God in a great many areas of the world. I follow Daleâ€™s exciting winter camping trips and dream of the campfire, pealing the baked mud off a hot potato and enjoying a camp fire meal and snuggling in a mummy bag, and listening for the first sounds of morning to jump up and get a before dawn start on a new day. I thrill to all that Lori and Queno are doing in Guatemala, and vicariously share in their excitement and work. What can I say of all that Edgar and Linda, Dennis and Dawn and kids of each family, What Dean and Lisa, Jeni and Paul, Jeannie and Gene are doing? We are all partners, I work at getting a young mother out of jail, and we need a place for her to live that is approved by the courts; Jeannie and I juggle around and handle it. We live with court restrictions, with economic limitations, we make choices and sacrifices, and the Father is our partner in all of it. It is for his glory because a long time ago Melba and I, sitting in the front seat of that Packard Motor Car, made some life decisions and judgments. One, there would always be room for one more, and that our love for each other and for our progeny was not based on performance; it was based on our heart decisions, we would love as Jesus loved us. But, beware, the King is coming to Judge.
The best part of that, we have all decided long ago, that we were to be adopted into the family of God. God is our Father, and Jesus is our elder brother, and we are family by the blood of Christ and the will of God, and our decision to choose life, be buried with him to rise in a new life here and eternal life to come. We will be bystanders at the Judgment.
Our scripture of the day is 2 Timothy 4:1, The King is coming to judge and bring His kingdom. For those that have not chosen life, chosen Jesus Christ, not born again into the new relationship with God the Father and God the Son, adopted into the family of God; the judgment will be harsh, one way, and the only verdict will be â€œGuiltyâ€ and the sentence will be an eternity in the lake of fire, total separation from God and the family. Read about it in
Revelation 20:11ff. The Great White Throne Judgment, each person that was not under the blood of Christ was judged according to what he had done, and was tossed into the lake of fire. â€œIf anyoneâ€™s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.â€ This fact requires a lot of judgments on your part today, and some action; Choose Life!