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!