The Sermon on the Mount Part 15

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14 1-23 NASB)

When God caused all things to work out so that I became Reformed in my theology and so the precision of my teaching in my Bible classes at my old Church caused me to not only discard the SBC material I was given from which to teach my class, but also when I was asked to explain certain passages such as John 6:22-59 or Romans 1 & 2 and there would arise such acrimony that it became nearly impossible for me to continue there. However, along with that commitment to never compromise came with a deepening discernment for which I prayed along with wisdom every day. When the leadership began the process of going Purpose Driven I detected it very early and began asking very direct questions and received deceptive answers and was actually lied to many times about what was going on. So when I was finally asked to come on board I had been working with Ken Silva quite some time on the old Slice of Laodicea web site in dealing with apostasy that is the “Seeker Sensitive” movement. My stance against it made it impossible for my wife and I to remain there so we left.

What I just described was time-compressed. The work of drawing me from spiritual mediocrity into one who walked the narrow path carrying his own cross daily following my Lord began at the end of 2003 and culminated in the early Fall of 2004. By then I had become not only totally committed to serving my Lord with all parts of life, I became Reformed in my Theology, which coincided with meeting Jim Bublitz and Ken Silva online at Slice of Laodicea late in 2005. It was from that that I developed my own blog and discernment ministry, which eventually became part of the CRN discernment team in 2006. In the early days of that, a group of fellows who hated what we were doing created a site called CRN.INFO. It was an ugly, hateful place. No matter what I wrote about, someone there had a problem with it.

I remember writing a few articles using some quotes by Martin Luther and a few of those fellows tried to do all they could do to discredit him and if what they were saying was true then, of course, the whole Reformation was a sham. The same thing happened when I quoted John Calvin, or Spurgeon, or even John Bunyan.

It was during that time that we were exposing the fallacy of the “Seeker Sensitive” movement and we had a lot of ammunition because we had many refugees like myself from churches that had been taken over by the PDC paradigm. The accusation from the CRN.INFO boyz was that we were violating our Lord’s command in Matthew 7:1 to not judge. It was from that accusation that I wrote my 16 chapter ebook Judge Not! The thesis of that book is the same for the entire Sermon on the Mount. Believers, true believers, are to be free of hypocrisy. The command to not judge in Matthew 7:1 (below) is put into context by the Apostle Paul in Romans 14 (above). It is a command to not judge one another in hypocrisy, not to ever judge anyone under any circumstances.

1 “Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 For in the manner you judge, you will be judged, and with what measure you measure it will be measured to you.  3 Why do you see the speck in the eye of your brother, but you do not consider the beam in your eye?  4 Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck form your eye,’ and behold the beam is in your eye? 5 Hypocrite, first take the beam out from your eye and then you will see clearly enough to take out the speck form the eye of your brother. ” 6 “Do not give holy things to dogs nor throw your pearls before the pigs lest they trample them with their feet and, having turned, they will tear you into pieces.” (Matthew 7:1-6 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

If those making the accusation that exposing the “Seeker Sensitive” movement was a violation of Matthew 7:1 would have simply put it into the context of Matthew 7:1-5 it would be very clear that our Lord was referring to hypocrisy here, not a admonition to never judge. However, I know some “Christian” leaders who take this passage and Romans 14 together to say that it is improper to question the ministry of anyone no matter how far out of bounds theologically they are. I find it interesting that they have no problem being critical of those who are truly exercising Biblical discernment.

In my own experience in doing this since God drew me into this over 6 years ago is that I am held to a much higher standard than anyone else. Isn’t that what Jesus was saying here? First we must examine ourselves. This is why it is imperative that we spend time in prayer and the Word carefully examining what is being taught as truth. How can we discern the truth if we do not know the truth?

One of the most shocking things that I have experienced, which is also Biblical, in this time is that the most grievous wounds I have received as I have served my Lord in the ministry have come from professing Christians. When I have dealt with atheists or former professing Christians (apostates) or even Muslims or Hindus their attacks have been nothing like the attacks I have received from those believing their attacks upon us are them doing God a favor.

Carefully read v6 above. This requires discernment and wisdom on our part. This is to be done in respect for what is holy, not merely out of contempt for the dogs and swine. This principle governs how we handle the gospel in the face of those who hate the truth. It is a total waste of time to press the theological truths of God’s Sovereignty over all to those whose presuppositions are founded upon the sovereignty of man’s free will for instance.

The following is the conclusion (Chapter 16) from my ebook Judge Not!

Jesus’ command for His disciples to “judge not,” has caused much confusion. Some twist His words to say believers should never judge anyone at any time. However, as we have seen, our Lord was speaking of hypocrisy. In this study, I have endeavored to present a case for the only realistic cure for hypocrisy, which is humility. Christlikeness is unattainable for anyone who is not humble. The journey each believer takes in becoming humble is unique to him or her. However, each will consist of God-designed tests and trials whose purpose is to strengthen faith, destroy pride, and cultivate humility.

This maturing of the Christian heart is likened to the purification process a silversmith uses to refine silver. Raw silver ore is contaminated with impurities. New believers are contaminated with bad spiritual habits, besetting sins and fleshly desires. Just as the silver ore is heated to separate the pure silver from the dross, the crucible of tests and trials is God’s proving ground for His people. Each test and trial is allowed in believers’ lives to remove his or her reliance, dependence, and love of temporal things. As this process burns away self-focus and self-desire, a miracle of repentance takes place in the heart of those who abide in the midst of the pruning. This repentance replaces those distractions with devotion to God. This process continues throughout the physical life of each genuine believer.

The cultivation of humility and destruction of pride in our hearts produces fruit. This fruit is godliness or Christlikeness. The Christlike believer is not hypocritical. Jesus’ command to “judge not” gives us a measuring stick, if you will, that reveals to us how we are doing in our sanctification. If we are still struggling with gossip, bullying, or self-focus then we are still in need of purification. However, if we are experiencing newfound successes in these battles then we know that God is actually working his miracle of Repentance in our hearts.

This study’s purpose is both to provide a venue for the Holy Spirit to arouse conviction in believers as well as provide encouragement. I pray that as you read and meditated on the Biblical truths in each chapter that you surrendered more and more to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As this maturing unto Christlikeness takes place in the believer’s heart, hypocrisy diminishes as humility increases and pride is uprooted. The humble believer does not hypocritically judge because he or she compares self only to their prime example, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Heavenly Father, hallowed by thy name. Oh Lord, be glorified in us. I pray right now that you will confirm Your truths from this study in the heart of the readers. I pray that these truths will be cultivated and grow to unimaginable levels of spirituality in their hearts. I pray that you will take these maturing believers deeper and farther on the way of the cross than they ever thought possible. All for Your Glory Lord—Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria!

21 thoughts on “The Sermon on the Mount Part 15

  1. Was reading in a book suggested to me by a brother in the Lord…Back in Roman times, a murderer was often bound face to face with his victim till he, the murderer died! This is a picture of what must happen to us as we are bound face to face with Christ, whom we are as guilty of placing on that cross as those who cried, “crucify Him, we have no god but Caesar.His blood be on us and our children!” Thus as flesh murderers we must face Christ till our flesh too is crucified with Him. “For when we die with Him we shall certainly live again with/through Him!”

  2. I just cannot understand for the life of me how a Christian or someone who professes to be a Christian can flat out lie. I’m sorry but I can’t conceive of such behavior from Christians?? And for Christians to become acrimonious

    The Lord has been so good to you and your wife Mike. Jesus really is the good Shepherd and has led you into a ministry which no doubt is for HIS glory and honor.

    I think the saddest and most heart-wrenching part of it all is when you truly learn to love the very people who have hurt you so because of God’s love in your own life. It really hurts when you learn the gentleness and love of Christ and desire to see people be set free from such a visceral attitude and yet they continue. Yes there’s righteous anger when people have wronged you. But as the love of God grips our hearts it’s this bittersweet longing to be more like Jesus who said “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”. It’s so different being a mature Christian when you long more for people to be so free like a newborn calf jumping around in the fields.
    Oh how Jesus must have been so brokenhearted right after he scalded the Pharisees and YET his heart was filled with compassion for them “”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”-Mat.23:37..

    Adrian Rogers once said, “a Selfish person sees it from His own point of view. A loving person sees it from the other’s point of view. If you’re impatient with the faults and failures of other people, it’s because you’re an unloving person. So you are to be filled with love. You will know if a person is filled with love because almost nothing will provoke him.”

    Maybe if we learn to see things from God’s point of view and the other persons point of view in light of Scripture then there would be less hypocrisy ~

    the purification process::: Mature Christians (by the grace of God) learn to make a distinction in when we are trying to establish our own self-righteousness or when we are seeking the Only righteousness that comes from faith in Jesus Christ in our Christian walk. Once we see the uneasiness, that lack of contentment trying to set in, the griping and grumbling, the attitude of unfairness, the self defensiveness –well that’s the ugly green monster of our self-seeking pride and arrogance trying to pacify SELF. God is not here to shield us from pain and heartaches and disappointments. He is all I need and I have to stop and lay down my self and die. I think many Christians (mostly immature ones) get caught up in this ugly attitude and become very bitter and angry—it’s all self righteousness.

    There’s only ONE righteousness that we are to hunger and thirst for and that’s whatever brings Jesus all the glory and honor –not me…..and when I repent of seeking SELF to have things go right or my way and turn to seeking God’s will be done even if it means pain —it’s all about JESUS. He alone is worthy of all and he fills us up to full satisfaction-Mat.5:6.

  3. You say of your critics ‘Some twist His words…’, but all this means is that they interpret his words differently from you. Here’s an example: you say Jesus’ command not to judge means not to do it from a position of hypocrisy, but that’s not at all apparent in the actual words he uses. He says, as does Paul, we should not judge, period. The comparison between the log and spell is meant to suggest the enormity of what must deal with in our own lives, which puts us in no position to judge others – hence, the message ‘don’t even think about it’.

    You disagree? Yes, surely, and that’s precisely my point. It all comes down to interpretation and you can’t constantly be telling other believers, however humbly you think you’re doing it, that they’ve got it wrong and you have it right. If you do, adverse reaction is all but guaranteed.

  4. No Neil, it is you who have it wrong. Jesus does say not to judge in the context of hypocrisy period. All through his ministry he judges continuously as do his disicples and it is always right. Context rules in scripture interpretation, not opinion.

    In Christ

    Mike ratliff

  5. Yup, there you go again, ‘I’ve got it right, you’ve got it wrong’. Isn’t that the point of my original comment?

    Judge others by all means, Mike, but don’t complain when it comes back at ya — that’s exactly what Jesus says will happen. And of course, you’re right; he judged too and just as he predicted was judged in return, to the ultimate degree. THAT’S the context – you’d think knowing how judging rebounds that he, and you, could see it coming.

  6. No Neil, you ARE WRONG. This is not my judgment according to my opinion but according to proper Biblical interpretation. Opinion is useless and you are proving my point. I stand firmly on the solid ground of Biblical Exegesis. I translated the text from the Greek and I put it into the proper context and the only ones who disagree with what I taught are those whose minds are full of holes because they have lost the ability to reason due to postmodern thinking. There are absolutes son.

  7. Absolutely Mike,,, we have to preach the whole counsel of God…

    Jesus said “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment”- John 7:24

    one verse that helps support what Mike has said about hypocrisy and what I believe Jesus was speaking from is Leviticus 19:15 “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. this verse helps to shed light on Matthew 7…

    May God richly bless you and yours and may his face shine –his glorious face the beauty of Jesus – the glory of God and may we be struck with awe and wowsomeness that he is Wonderful Holy Lord! May his TRUTH penetrate to the very depths of our being and set us free and our hearts resound with the proclamation of joy due his NAME–Jesus the name above ALL names where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father”….Praise the Lord!!

  8. In fact Neil, by the Holy Spirit we judge all things, yet are judged by those not Holy Spirit lead incorrectly continuously!
    I will let you look in scripture to prove this wrong, before I will give you the verse in context. Perhaps as you search you will find this verse I reference, and that friend would be a good thing!

  9. Yes, of course I’m wrong. My interpretation is mere opinion because my mind is full of holes. And how do you know my mind is full of holes? Because my interpretation is mere opinion. That the sort of circular reasoning ‘the solid ground of Biblical Exegesis’ leads you to, Mike?

  10. No Neil, you are wrong because you reject the truth that God’s Word is Truth, complete, and inerrant. When we interpret it correctly as I have done here then your arguments are always seen for what they are, man-centered and unsupportable using consistent Biblical exegesis. Hence, the reason for what I said to you. No, it is not circular reasoning. Your accusation is nothing more than a fleshly shot from one who has no argument from Scripture, but resorts to emotion, et cetera. Are you listening?

  11. Mike, I was going to ask you if you happen to know how long the SBC has held to the beliefs that crept in? Were they part of the Church creeds?
    Thanks

  12. Linda, actually the SBC has Calvinistic roots. Yes, I know that may shock a lot of people, but its true. The radical Arminianism that you are talking about began to become prevalent in the early 1900’s as the mainline Protestant denominations (which were Calvinistic as well) were compromised by Liberalism that began in Germany. The drive to counter that in the U.S. gave rise to what we know now as Evangelical Fundamentalism, which is highly anti-intellectual. Well, since intellectualism was de-emphasized in the SBC and other Fundamentalist denominations, it was only a matter of time that doctrine also became less and less emphasized as the older generations died off who knew doctrine. Now the SBC and other denominations that came along on the same ride are sitting with a man-centered theology that holds to a world-view of God and man that is not in the least Biblical. Instead, everything is tradition based and those traditions cannot stand up to Biblical scrutiny from those who really know Doctrine, hence the battles we have been having…

  13. So, all that were against the Roman Catholic church were protestant at one time whether they be baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran etc and we all held to Calvinism at one time. Now we have all who are so called protestant being divided because of liberalism seeping in the Churches dividing us with man-made free will and other traditions of men rather than the word of God which is what Calvinism actually is from….

    I like what Spurgeon said -“One ounce of what God has to say is worth more than a ton of what man has to say”-

    “We will believe only what the Scripture teaches.” “I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it. But because I have found his teaching in the word of God.” We believe something not because John Calvin we believe it because Matthew, Mark and John taught it. And because the great head of the Church– the Lord Jesus Christ teaches these matters. I am content to be a mere repeater of Scripture. In other words if it’s new it’s not true. All we have to say is what the bible teaches. Everything must rest upon the pure teaching of the word of God. Calvinism did not spring from Calvin, we believe that it sprang from the great Founder capital (F) of all truth. We believe what we believe not because Great men have taught it but b ecause we can put our finger on chapter and verse.” end quotes

    I was reading the Counsel of Orange and it has some very powerful cannons in it that refute most of the erroneous teachings i’m sure in the SBC. I haven’t read their statements of faith..

    I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to some of these counsels, but did the SBC at one time hold to the Counsel of Orange? If they did then they need to take a look at just how far they have fallen…

  14. Mike, thanks for defending the faith my brother! I find that the “seeker sensitive” and the “emergent church” types constantly take Matthew 7:1 out of context and try to apply it to those of us who are discerning. I believe we are commanded to test what is being said “in the name of God” to “what God has actually said.” I believe this verse applies to judging “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) We are told in God’s word that “you shall know them by their fruit.” If we don’t make a judgement how can we know a person has “good” or “bad” fruit? I have been called arrogant by other Christians for believing what the bible says about homosexuality, woman pastors and the perspecuity of scripture. Simply amazing! But I also know that the Lord’s word tells us apostasy would increase the closer we get to His return. I find it funny that those who tell us “not to judge” are actually making a judgement by telling us not to judge.

  15. You are welcome Lee and thank you for your “judgment” on this. Yes, you are right and I allowed Neil serveral comments before I stopped him when it became ugly because he was doing exactly what you described. We either submit to the Lordship of Christ and obey the Word and God and His Law or we are in rebellion and are in some form of antinomianism. Those in that dredful state are inconsistent in their judgments and their reasonings because they are in darkness. The ways of the world are not the ways of God and that means man’s opinions are rubbish. All that matters is What God says is trutha what he says isn’t.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  16. “You are welcome Lee and thank you for your “judgment” on this.”

    LOL good judgment call Mike

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