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Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Judging" and the Local Church

I read recently where someone used 2 Timothy 4:1-4 as a call to be judges in peoples lives. A call to "stand for the truth..." judging sin. (Let me point out, I don't know this person, nor she I so I have no fear of her feeling like i'm preaching at her. It was just something I read).

Let  me post 2 Timothy 4:1-2 here real quick:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. 
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

My first note, is that whenever there is the word: therefore it is supposed to take you back a little ways. Therefore implies that he has just said something and this sentence is a continuance of a previous thought.

Chapter 3 of 2 Timothy is talking about Perilous Times and Perilous Men. 
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of goliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
For  of this sort are those who creep into household and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith: but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs was also.
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perserverance,  persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra- what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But eveil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood ou have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness,, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I charge you therefore,.... (2 Timothy 4)

The Purpose of 2 Timothy was this:
Paul's immediate purpose int he letter was to issue an affectionate appeal to Timothy to come to him. However, Paul's main concern was the welfare of the church, and he gave Timothy instru=ctions for perfecting its organization and safeguarding the gospel. With the realization that his death was imminent, and that Timothy might not reach Thehim in time for a final visit, Paul injected into this letter solemn words of admonition. His preoccupation was with the gospel, and he expressed to Timothy his concern that his young coworkeer would faithfully transmit the gospel after the old warrior's death. The letter urges Timothy to be faithful in the face of hardships, desertions and error.

See, the church at the time was becoming infiltrated with those who perverted the gospel living vile lives and those would try to turn they who were established by faith in the Grace of Christ Jesus back to the false religeon of performing laws and ceremonies for righteousness. Paul was exhorting Timothy to preserve the Gospel and protect the church from such men... Thus we see Chapter 4:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. 
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

This is not a charge to judge the church in general... and definitely not a charge to judge the lost.
There were very specific problems that Timothy was to address which called for good judgement, etc. We tend to ignore the word "longsuffering" included in Paul's exhortation to Timothy. 

Longsuffering: makrothymia
1) patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance
2) patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs

Matthew 7:1-3 (Jesus) says:
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you" use it, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own?"

and again in Luke 6: 37 (Jesus) says:

"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

We are most definitely not to be the judge of our brothers and sisters in Christ (outside of gross immorality and the perversion of the gospel)... any attempt to do so indicates a lack of a true understanding of Grace found thru Faith in Christ Jesus.
However, we also are not to judge the lost!

1 Corinthians 5: 9-13:
"I wrote to you in m epistle not to keep the company with sexually immoral people.
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.
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. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges, Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person."

Now before you harp on a brother in Christ who you believe is covetous... You need to know that Paul is not addressing small one-time issues with the Corinths here. The church of Corinth was infiltrated with brothers who were sueing brothers in the church for selfish gain. Paul was addressing that harshly as that does not adorn the Gospel.
And, before you go preaching against drinking in general... here's the definition of a drunkard:
One who habitually drinks strong liquors immoderately; one whose habit it is to get drunk; a toper; a sot.

Once again, Paul isn't giving license to judge as we feel necessary... But was giving those over the church of Corinth insite into dealing with very severe issues that were harming  the body of Christ.
We all know that Christ's heart is for the church... anything that harms the church... He is passionately against.

2 Corinthians 5: 17-20 I believe, gives us good insite into God's heart:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconcilation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Hiimself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconcilation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's bahalf, be reconciled to God."

1 Corinthians 6:12 has good insite regarding how to look at yourself and even others:

"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."

If you find yourself being "brought under the power" of something.. at that point I would ask myself if this is helpful... healthy... for me? and if you find that your brother in Christ is being "ruled" by something then....

Galatians 6: 1-5
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who [are] spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law (insertion of my own here... law... not laws plural. Previously it was stated... for all of the law is fullfulled in this one law: love on another) of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 
For each one shall bear his own load."

The last sentence says it all for me... I am responsible for myself first and foremost.

I am going to end this note here as it's getting quite lengthy but...



MrsWendy said...

Excellent post Hannah! And yes, I have been accused of judging and I have been guilty of judging. Your post is an excellent reminder of what the Scriptures says about it all. Praise God for His Grace that covers us and enables us to extend Grace to others. Again, this was an excellent post Hannah! Keep 'em coming! Love you!!

Hannah McConnell said...

Thank you Aunt Wendy. I too have been, am still and am trying to run from judging others. May God in His great mercy show me when I err this way!

Summer said...

We have all been in both positions as people of faith .... I have seen friendships fall apart because of it and I personally had to end what started out as a very good friendship gone sour because the woman was critical judgemental and self righteous (now this was inside the church family) ... I always think of how " they will know we are Christians by our LOVE " so i really try not to judge or be critical ....Great words Hannah ... You have a gift of presenting words on paper just as your mother does keep up the great posts !!! and have a good day .

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