by Mike Ratliff
24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24 NASB)
Our pastor has been preaching through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) since October. Today he preached through Matthew 7:1-6, which as I hope many of you know was the foundation for my series Judge Not!, which I wrote back in 2006. One thing I really appreciated in his sermon was that as he got to v6, which is where Jesus tells us that we must be discerning; i.e. that we must make proper judgments, he quoted John 7:24, which I placed at the top of this post. He even contrasted improper judging that Jesus was preaching against in Matthew 7 with proper judging that requires discernment and humility and the mind of Christ. I almost fell out of my seat when he gave the example of righteous judgment being warning Christians against the unbiblical preaching that was preached this very day by the pastor of the largest SBC church in California.
He also named some very hot topics that are being heaped upon Christians in our time by our anti-Christian society such as abortion and homosexual rights. What are Christians supposed to do when we are confronted with these and other “dividing-line” issues about which so many other professing Christians have crossed the line of compromise in order to not be an offense? His answer was exactly what we have been saying here. Our standard has to be the Word of God. What God’s Word says about any issue governs our stance on anything and that means our discernment, like our conscience, is educated by it. The more truth we know the better at discernment we will be, but there is another element. We cannot be discerning if we are not also humble and abiding in Christ at the same time. If we are not then we will respond in pride and that is not going to be anything resembling “righteous judgment.”
Lastly, and because of this I had to really take to heart and do some confession and repenting. We are to be discerning and make righteous judgment about what is said and what is done using that evidence in light of what God’s Word says, but we must not go beyond that into their motives. That one got me. I am a problem solver at work and I want to get to the root cause of everything that is not working right. However, our role in discernment ministry is to be discerning and make righteous judgment and leave the rest to God.
Let’s pray about this my brethren and commit ourselves to be obedient servants of the living God doing what he has given us to do where has put us and for us to not go beyond that in any way.
Soli Deo Gloria!