Why Jesus Said, “Judge Not!”

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 KJV

The NIV version states, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

In order to understand what He was referencing, we must know to whom He was speaking and why. If we read (with understanding) the verses “before” this one, we know that it is the religious leaders of that time who were seeking Him to kill Him because they did not understand who He was.

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. (John 7:16)
This is His response who wondered how He could know so much when He was taught in the Jewish synagogues.

Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. John 7:17

Here, He lets them know they can choose to examine the scrolls used for teaching and determine whether He was saying what God said or whether He was speaking on His own. Jesus never said anything that His Father had not said, because He is God, the Son. Why would He oppose Himself? This is part of the mantra and rhetoric used by those who “want to believe in half of the Bible, but not all of it.”

In order to get a right understanding of Scriptures–we have to study them and know why things were being said and to whom and when it was said. When some “cherry-pick” what they choose to quote, they are misleading others and of course, we who know God’s Word, know that it is a trick of the devil to deceive. Remember this–a half-truth is a whole lie as far as God is concerned. When we know God, we know we cannot selectively choose which parts of His Word to believe and which to ignore.

Wherever Jesus went while He was preaching, He addressed the situation confronting Him and He related His teaching to the people on a level they could understand.

Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? John 7:18-23

Now this is the conversation Jesus had with the Jewish leaders BEFORE He said, don’t judge. From all who recorded what He said, in Matthew, Luke, and Mark–The intent of His conversation, never changes God’s Word.

As I’ve said before, Jesus said a lot more than, “don’t judge,” or just for people to “love.” He also preached about sin, hypocrites, lying, fornicators, murderers, and much more. More than anything, He talked about the need for Him to be here and how a person can be saved and the benefits of salvation. He prayed for us (who Believe) in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and it was His love for us, that kept Him from coming down off that cross. His bloodshed on the cross was for those who “choose” to Believe Him as the Son, and God the Father and obey His Word.

Judge not pic

More of what Jesus said coming in the next week or two on a daily basis. We need to know so we can counter Satan’s lies.

When God Calls!

“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.” (I Corinthians 1:26 NLT)

What a sobering revelation to know that the world–those who knew us and some who didn’t–considered our calling into the ministry of the Gospel–foolishness!

Re-reading this passage of scripture this morning, reminded me of the reaction of people when I informed them that God had spoken to my heart and told me to “teach His Word!” Very few people who knew me, believed me (they were stuck on my past life) and many thought I had just lost my mind (they thought I read too much). There were even a few who told me flat out, “My pastor said, God don’t call no women to preach!” This came from men and women who professed to be Christians.

While I struggled with understanding this calling into ministry, I also leaned on The Word and was in constant prayer. One of the first things I did was to tell God, “If You want me to teach Your Word, then You’re going to have to teach it to me.”

I headed for the main library in our city because I knew it held a large religious section. I pulled information from book after book after book. I purchased books about Jewish history and studied the illustrations that were available of how people dressed, the culture of family, and worship. During a commercial advertising a center for Bible Study, I recognized God’s leading me to see it and went to the school.  I refused to try to tell anybody anything that I didn’t understand about the Bible.

On Father’s Day, nine months after I knew I had heard God’s instructions to me, I delivered my first message and people received it. Their positive response to what was said, gave me the confidence I needed to continue to discover all I could and I am still seeking knowledge because I realize that no matter how I live, I will never know it all.

Over twenty-five years later, there are still people who are skeptical about God’s calling me (and many others) into ministry. There are still some people who refuse to understand that God is not concerned about what we know, but our willingness to obey Him. It is He who qualifies those whom He calls. It is He who speaks to others who are in a position to confirm and recognize the calling on our lives. It is He who leads us to get the recognition and certification (ordinations) needed to operate according to the church and state protocols. It is He who has the first and last Word about what He wants us to do and say!

When God calls us to do something, we have no need to worry about what others will say. When God calls us into ministry, and we follow His directions–everything works together for our good and for the good of the people. When people call people into ministry–they are out of order and where there is no order–chaos reigns!

Now while there may still be those who consider me foolish and unwise–they say–God knows who I am and what I am capable of doing because it is Him, still molding and shaping, me to do His Will. Hallelujah!

What Do They See?

“If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,” (2 Corinthians 12:6 NLT).

With this statement Paul is making, it appears that when we are telling the truth, we are not necessarily boasting, but some could take it that way. Why should this matter? If we’re going to create an environment in which people will want to know our Risen Savior, we must make sure that they “see” us living what we preach and not just hear us–boasting about what we are able to do through Him.

If we are indeed a new creation in Christ Jesus, do people see us doing the same old things we used to do that kept us in a quagmire of ungodly living?

Are we living with others in an intimate relationship outside of marriage–as God defines marriage?

Are we subjecting ourselves to the fallout of using illicit drugs?

Are we mindful of the laws designed to protect the innocent and do we adhere to them?

Are we allowing our tongues to wag and snag others into the pits that kept us receiving God’s best in our lives?

If we say we are born again, and yet–others see us as though we have never heard of Jesus Christ, what benefit is that to the Kingdom of God?

Are we not aware that we when we “say” one thing and yet do another–we are hypocrites?

Do people see us being friendly and courteous to others–no matter what the situation that arises?

Do they see us respond calmly to negative events or do we clown like the heathens and then–five minutes later–we are heard praising God?

If we really want to win others to Christ, we must become “living epistles read of men” for the glory of the kingdom of God and not our own.

It is not what people hear us say that convinces them our God is an awesome God–it is what they see us do–in trying times as well as the good times–that convinces them of our God.

God is faithful to keep us focused on Him when we allow Him to do so. If we’re going to boast–let this be our boast–He is faithful–and we must learn to do the same.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to become more like You with each breath we take and show others by what we do, not what we say–just how awesome You are.

Speak Boldly!

“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—” (2 Corinthians 3:12 NKJV).

In the beginning of this passage of scripture Paul is making a case for how people felt when they looked upon Moses saw the glory on his face. Now, the glory that Moses had, ceased to exist with his death, but the glory of the Spirit, that lives within us, never passes away, never ceases to exist whether we remain or not. The Spirit of the Lord is in the earth realm, abiding in whoever will receive Him and as such, we have no need to be shy or doubtful when we speak The Word of God!

Speak The Word boldly wherever you go, whenever a need arises, never doubting or being fearful of what others may think. Speak what God has already said, knowing all glory belongs to Him and not us. Speak with clarity, demonstrating both a relationship with God and understanding of what He has said. Speak as the Holy Spirit urges to speak, whether it is convenient or not; whether people want to hear it or not, speak The Word of God boldly!

When the enemy rises up with false doctrine, speak the truth boldly, countering every word the enemy speaks with God’s truth. Speak the Word boldly–in the face of ignorance and wilful disobedience. Speak the Word boldly–to preachers who have backed down from preaching God’s Word and into preaching their own doctrine. Speak the Word boldly to the lost so they might be saved. Speak the Word boldly to those who are trying to understand, but are yet flailing in a sea of doubt. Speak the Word as boldly as the enemy attempts to dilute, pollute, and convolute God’s intent of the Word.

After praying and asking for God to give you boldness, get up and get out and Speak The Word, boldly so that none will doubt your sincerity as a follower of Christ. Don’t back down, don’t turn around, look forward and speak boldly–God’s Truth–knowing that we will be judged for all that we either do or don’t do.

Whoever You Are!

“For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 NKJV).

I am so glad that I am a “whoever” and I have called upon the name of the Lord and I am saved from an eternity of unrest and agony! How do I know? For the bible tells me so.

When Paul wrote the letter to the church in Rome, he knew there was great misunderstanding among those who were trying to convert others.  Apparently, in the midst of the bickering, there were some who attempted to convince some they would never have the opportunity to see heaven. If we look at the beginning of this chapter, we see the discussion and the “formulaic response” (v.9) by many when a person makes up their mind about receiving Christ.  So, yes there is something every person must do–believe, confess, repent–and then “call on Him–call on The Lord!”

What is so great about this is that anyone, no matter how many sins committed, can repent and receive the heritage of heaven with Jesus as their Lord and Savior! God is not a respecter of persons and He will respond to the sincere prayer of whoever calls upon Him!  Hallelujah! Thank God for saving for me when I called upon Him!

Okay, I’m getting a little carried away, but moving right along, through the scriptures–how can anyone believe unless they hear the Good News?  “Faith comes by hearing (seeing in this case) and hearing The Word!” We must proclaim the Gospel however we can, through whatever venue we have, and as often as we can!  Preach the Good news and bring others into the knowledge of Christ. Pray that God will provide them with an experience that lets them know they need Him in their lives.

For those of us who are promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the laying on of fingers upon a keyboard and publishing on the Internet, God is pleased! We don’t know who we are reaching and the difference we are making in how we express what The Bible says. As long as we are saying what God says and not getting in the way of people being saved by promoting what “we say,” we are paving the way for others to be saved. Hallelujah! The love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts and keeps us moving forward to make sure others have the same opportunity we have–assurance of our eternal resting place and receiving the many benefits of being a counted a child of the Most High God.  Whoever we are–we can do this!