“And why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
Jesus called people hypocrites for not reaching right conclusions.
How does the Lord expect us to “interpret the present time”? v. 56.
Here’s a point that I’m going to use in tomorrow’s sermon from John 5:31-47 that could be used in a lot of other places:
God’s word doesn’t pick sides – it makes them (Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 1:17, John 5:39)
A thought like that can cause us to think about, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) in the right way.
Churches are crossing borders into previously untried ground. Stained glass and steeples are out and coffee shops and strip malls are in. Blue jeans and shorts are replacing suits and dresses. Some will look down their noses at these efforts to reach into previously untouched and unreached population segments. But we should remember that Jesus went where the people needed help. At least one of these leading the way said, “We break with tradition, but we don’t break with scripture.” One thing we need to remember, when Samuel assumed Eliab was God’s chosen, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance, for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This is Just-A-Minute
“The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”…The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.” (John 4:25-26, 28-30)
After meeting the man who gave her a drink from the fountain of life, the thirsty woman forgets her waterpot and gets to work spreading the word about Jesus. And what was that word? It was, “Come meet a man who told me about everything I’ve done – I think I’ve found who we as a people have been looking for.” When she said she believed that the coming Christ would be able to tell all that needed to be told, she meant what she said and she was willing to tell others about it!
This woman was ready for a change. She went from thirsty to quenched. She went from collecting water for others to collecting others for the water. And I don’t about you, but I bet that man she was living with (John 4:16-18) slept by himself that night.
Jesus didn’t only know what the woman at the well had done in her life, he knew what she could do, he knew what she was capable of and he knew what she could be all at the same time! Because of this the disciples were going watch one of the most unlikely harvesters that they had ever seen start bringing in the sheaves to Jesus.
We never know who might just bring more people to Jesus than we thought if we just focus on who they could be with Jesus instead of who they are without him!
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Christians understand the role “judgment” has in the lives of each. We understand that we are not to use a standard of judgment that is unrighteous (Matthew 7:1-2). We also understand that the standard we are to use is to be a righteous one (John 7:24). With this in mind read I Corinthians 4:1-5.
Paul was a preacher doing the Lord’s work. It appears from the text that some were calling into question what Paul was doing; in fact, they were calling into question not just his method, but his motivation. Learning this, Paul said the following: (1) he is a servant of God, with God’s mystery of redemption in hand (if you will); (2) as a servant (or steward) he understood the importance of being faithful with that task given him (cf. Acts 26:19); (3) Paul was unaware of anything that could stand against him; (4) thus, when others, who called themselves Christians, did judge him it meant nothing to him. He brings it to a close with the exhortation that Christians are to judge nothing before the proper time, but at that time it will be the Lord who judges.
Someone might reply, did not Paul say we are to judge those inside (within the church) in the next chapter (5:12)? That he did. How shall we understand the apparent problem? The context of both chapters clear up any misunderstanding. In C-4 the problem was judgments of the heart that was made by man, but only belongs to the Lord. In C-5 the problem was a failing to judge what man is obligated to judge: immoral actions. Paul called upon the brethren to address the outward actions that brought discredit upon the Lord, His church, and name of the guilty one. Those who fail to hear what Paul says will have the Lord judge them at the proper time. RT
If I might be so bold, a sensible remark would be one that I have been speaking for a good while. Of course, it does not originate with me, and as surely as one reads it, the quality of its value will be apparent.
JUDGE NOTHING UNTIL YOU KNOW
It is so easy to judge something before one has sufficient information that allows that judgment to stand a critical test. All too often people form their judgments based upon their own point of reference, but one’s point of reference belongs only to one, not the one that the judgment is being rendered toward.
However, some will note, it is nearby impossible for me to not come to a judgment on something I have seen or read. Perhaps this is correct, but should your judgment be final when you have incomplete information? Your judgment of a situation is important and it might influence many; surely it is a matter of prudence to judge rightly – and this can be done when further information follows. Moreover, when further information follows, what point of reference will you use? Will you use your own? It is likely that you will, but if your point of reference is the Lord’s, how much firmer ground will your feet be planted on then?
“Do not judge according to appearance. Judge justly” (John 7:24, Montgomery)
Why do people look at the outside and judge so quickly? Stephen said it was because of pride, and this would be true. But pride in what? He offers that we have pride in thinking our insights are better than another. Mike said it is because people are lazy and impatient. This, too, is true. But why are people lazy and impatient? Ed said it is because it is the nature of who we are, we are people of the flesh and those of the fleshly way of thinking need to retrain their mind. Paula said it is because with our own field of experience, and this certainly is true. Finally, Glenda said it is because we do not look at people through the eyes of love. In sum, the following is offered: pride, lazy and impatient, our fleshly environment is at war with God’s standard and we are susceptible to weakness, our point of reference encourages (allows) us to interpret quickly, and we refuse to operate by the standard of love.
All these answers, it seem to me, are “spot on” answers. Whatever it is that I say I can’t imagine it will offer any improvement. Nevertheless, not bet being one shy of sharing an opinion, I will offer what I think along these lines.
I think the best answer to this is associated with the following: we think our insights are ….well….insightful (Stephen); we believe our opinion of a situation gets right to the heart of the matter and because we have a frame of reference (Paula) we have utmost confidence that we have it exactly right. This is associated with that which Glenda offered, and that is the lack of the love of Christ in our heart toward another person. It might be that we are correct in our interpretation of a situation, circumstance, event, or matter, but are we so sure of that – especially since we have not enough information from which to judge? Because the Lord knew all things that were before Him, He could make a perfect judgment each time. We, on the other hand, have not that capability. Still, we arrogate to ourselves the Lord’s perch.
This brings us to what Mike and Ed offered. It is most definitely the case that we are rather impatient and that our struggles with the flesh is over-whelming. We drive up to McDonald’s and want it our way (Burger King), and if we do not get it, it is likely we will stop and take up the matter with the store. All this is likely to take 10 minutes at most. When we sit down at a restaurant if the waitress does not come by within five minutes of our arrival, this gets our attention. We have grown accustomed to moving quickly and receiving quickly (cf. internet traffic). This plays well with our problem of judging much too quickly. Add to this the constant struggle of wanting to interpret accurately what we witnessed and talk about things with other people – with no malice intended (presumably) we have a ripe situation for trouble. If one adds malice as an intention, then a disastrous conflagration is stooping at our door!