Program Air Date - 8-26-01



Thanks you for joining us this morning for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.

Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

This morning we again want to begin by mentioning one of our sister congregations which helps financially to make this program possible. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Mansfield Church of Christ in Mansfield, Missouri. This congregation is a newer supporter of our work, and we are happy to have them aboard. We appreciate their like desire to do God's will, as we together reach out to this area with the Gospel of Christ.

If you have opportunity, please take advantage of meeting with these brethren - even this morning. Today, they will assemble together at 10:00 a.m., for a Bible class and at 11:00, they will have a worship assembly. This congregation also offers a midweek service at 7:00 on Wednesday evenings!

If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister Don Garner. There phone number is (417)924-7046.

It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, "In Vain In High and Holy Lays!"
(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS Have you ever noticed all of the talk about the Truth, the Gospel, and about Doctrine in the New Testament? The inspired writers dealt with this topic a lot!

In fact, we find that there seems to be a specific Gospel and Doctrine spoken about, which one had to follow in order to be pleasing to God. You might remember the verses in Galatians 1:6-8, there Paul said, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." Paul here acknowledged the need to believe and follow a specific Gospel.

Paul also warned Timothy about this in chapter one of that epistle. In fact in verse 3, he encourages the young evangelist to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Obviously a warning to help the brethren remain pure. Further down in the same chapter, in verses 10, Paul talks about the "sound doctrine," which we must adhere to - and in verse 11, he states that this is according to the Gospel, which we have been committed with.

These verses should clearly show us that it does matter what we believe and follow. They also confirm for us that God does care about what we do and say. Wasn't it Jesus who said the truth will make us free, John 8:32! Wasn't it our Lord who said, that God's Word is truth, John 17:17! Certainly we can all agree that God has given us the Bible, so that we might know what He would have us to do. Furthermore, the fact is - when we follow God's Word and adhere to that which He has commanded us, then and only then are we acceptable in His sight! Doing those things which are according to the Truth, the Gospel, and Sound Doctrine. Won't you chose to follow God in His Way Today?

Our topic today will again focus on our series called "Socially Accepted Sins of Today!" Our specific study this morning is, "Being Quick to Judge!" So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Jesus Is All The World To Me."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us this morning, as we now have this opportunity to study from God's word. It's one of the greatest privileges we have as Christians is to look into the pages of God's word so that we might know exactly what he would have us to do. As we are looking once again at the topic of looking at sins which are socially accepted today, we want to talk about judging, basically the concept of judging others, being quick to judge. It seems like this is something that is really popular whether you get maybe into religious circles or whether you look into our secular lives because people are very quick to judge others. For example, you might say that when we go to the mall or when we go to a restaurant, it's easy to sit around and look at people who are walking by or sitting next to us and talk about them. Isn't it? Sometimes we quickly judge them maybe because of the clothing that they wear or sometimes it might be the shoes that they have on their feet. Sometimes it might be the hair-do or nowadays it might be the color of the hair or maybe some kind of a rock or a bone they've got through their nose. You just never know nowadays. But we quickly judge about these types of individuals. Sometimes we might be driving down the road and a car pulls up next to us that maybe is on it's last leg and we quickly judge an individual according to that or someone drives up next to us in maybe a BMW or a Mercedes and we again judge quickly that these must be some type of people that really mean something. Well again we might even drive down certain streets in Springfield and we might see houses that are magnificent and beautiful and very expensive and we might again proclaim in our minds and thoughts that, "Boy, these folks must really have the life." But at the same time we might drive down some areas and say, "Well, you know these people must not be good workers or willing to work or these people might be low-lifes or something to that effect."

Well again, we are quick to judge, aren't we? We're very quick to judge. But really as we look in the religious world, we find that the first reaction is that we are not to judge at all. And again, that is just as incorrect as judging incorrectly. Because the Bible does talk about how that we should judge in a righteous way. Many people like to turn first of all to the book of Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1 and it says, "Judge not that you be not judged." That's a great verse and a wondrous verse. But we have to look at it in it's context because the same Bible that considers this concept of discerning or judging or being quick to judge is the same Bible that talks about those who have to learn to discern and those who have to learn what it's all about.

I'll read a verse with you first of all that I think is very good in relationship to mentioning what discernment and judgment is about. That is found in the book of Hebrews chapter 5 and we'll read verse 14 and later we might look at a few other verses from this same opening. But in verse 14 it says, "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." See again the concept that someone can judge between good and evil. You see right here we have the definition or explanation if you will about what discernment is all about. It's trying to determine between right and wrong. It's trying to determine what might be again good or evil in relationship in this study anyway to those things that are religious, those things that are of God. So discernment is important. Discernment will determine in our lives whether we determine whether something is of God. Is it something that God wants me to do? I might discern that. Or is it something that God doesn't want me to do because of something that the Bible says or speaks to us. Discernment is something that we use when we get up every moment. We make judgments as to when we will get up and how we get up and what we have for breakfast. All of these are different types of discernment. Obviously, some types of discernments are greater than others. Some types of judgments and decisions that we make are great and maybe life altering, but then sometimes they are very small. They may be insignificant as we might consider in our lifetime.

But there are some verses that we want to look at now also back in the gospels starting in the book of Matthew chapter 7, because here we have again this beautiful reference, a reference that says we are not to judge, but then he turns around in verse 2 if you'll read with me from chapter 7 and verse 2. It says, "For what judgment you judge, you will be judged and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." You see the judgment that is spoken about here is in relationship to an improper judging, a judging that wouldn't be right because it says the same judgment you use, you will receive from not only others but from God. The story goes on to say that you need to sometimes worry about that problem in your own eyes before you worry about the problem in your brother's eyes. Well, on the other hand, we go to verses like Galatians chapter 6 and verse 1 where it says, "Bear your brother's burdens." It says to "look at your weaker brother to see what the problems, the sins might be in his life and help that brother and be careful as you are helping them to bear their burdens," as it goes on to say in verse 2. Why? Because when you do this, when you do this, you might also be tempted. So here we're told on one hand that we aren't to consider, we aren't to judge. On the other hand, we say, "Well, we are told that we must look at a brother's problems and be able to help because we see those problems." Well you see it is easy to understand if we take the Bible as a whole, if we really consider what determines good and righteous judgment.

I think we can look at one verse and we'll come back to Matthew in just a moment. But if you'll turn over a few gospel accounts to the book of John, we want to look at chapter 7 in the book of John. And let's look at verse 24 together there and see what it has to say in relationship to our topic. It says there, "Do not judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgment." Now who is speaking here? If you are looking at your Bibles, most likely it is in red like it is in mine. These are words of Christ. And it says here, "Do not judge in what way? As an appearance." Now you see, that's what we started out with in the beginning. Many times we like to judge just off appearance or what we might see in the outwardness of man. Well here we see that we shouldn't do that. We need to look really at the inward, what is important, just as God does. God doesn't look at the outward. He looks at the soul, the inward, the heart, the mind of man. But notice it says here and talks about "a righteous judgment." He says here "the judgment that you use must be righteous." Now what would determine a righteous judgment? Well, a righteous judgment as we see here in scripture and as we find examples would be according to the concept of that which can be right or confirmed, that which is factual, that which is proof, not that "Hey did you hear ole so and so..." You know we like to do that. We like to gossip sometimes. We like to talk about what we heard or what so and so told so and so about 5 or 6 people back. By the time it gets to us it's a big old confusing mess that we're gossiping about and we're judging someone on when we ourselves don't know it to be the fact or know it to be factual.

Again, if you'll go back to Matthew 7, I think we find out exactly the concept that's mentioned as far as judgment in that same passage. If you go further in chapter 7 and you look there in verse 20 it says, "By their fruits you will know them." You mean to tell me if you find a man who for instance is a drunkard and he's staggering all around and he's had several DUI's and he doesn't have a license anymore and we look at that Man and we see him staggering and we can't discern or judge that that man is a drunkard when we smell it on his breath and we see his blood-shot eyes? Well certainly we can. It's not an unrighteous judgment or somehow we're effecting and harming that man by saying he's a drunkard when he has become such and chooses to be such. The same might be true about a friend. We might have a friend who has lied to us many times. Are we misjudging that individual when we know for sure that they have lied and are lying to us in many cases? Well certainly not. Well how do we know? We know by their fruits, by their fruits, what we see and hear from an individual, what they themselves have proven, not what God has shown us, or not what maybe we have perceived in our own minds or heard from somebody else, but what we see with these eyes, our own eyes and what we can prove and know to be of God. That is righteous judgment. That which we say, "Look this individual here, you are involved in this because I have seen it and I judge you and say that it is wrong because this book, God's word, also condemns such practices. Now if you see, actually if we'll look at the whole situation and we consider the judging, it really isn't I who judges at all, is it? It really isn't you who has to judge. It is God who judges. It is God who condemns or uplifts according to what they do. It is God whom we may look at someone and say, "God says we shouldn't do those things." It is God who determines that and then again it is God on the other hand who says, "A fine job brother, good job you did this morning." It's God again who judges and shows us that what he did was righteous or acceptable. So yes, we need to understand judgments. We need to understand what they're all about, and we need to understand how they affect us also in our lives as Christians.

How do we discern again then? We find here that we discern by knowing the fruits. What should be then the basis? What should be the basis of a good and a proper discernment? We mentioned back in the book of Hebrews a moment ago and we want to look at a few verses there, a few that we've already passed by, but he's actually talking about some who should have known a lot about the Bible here in chapter 5 of the book of Hebrews, and in verse 12, he says that "some of you ought to be teachers by this time but you really need someone to teach you again the first principles of the first oracles of God and you have need of milk and not solid food, for everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word and righteous for he is a babe." Then it goes on to talk about the concept of discerning between good and evil. Notice what it said in verse 13 though as he is talking here about individuals who should either eat the meat or the milk of a situation. What is he talking about? He's talking about in verse 13 the word of God, the one who is unskilled in the word because they haven't gone on to maturity. What again is that foundation for discernment? Well you and I can clearly see that the foundation then would be God's word.

We might also go back one chapter to Hebrews chapter 4 and we might read together verse 12 there as it talks about a verse that we have as an introduction to the Living Word program here as it says, "The word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and the joints and the marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." What discerns? The word of God. This book is that which is powerful enough to teach us and then because we understand what God has said to us, we are able to discern according to other's actions whether what they do is according to God's word or whether what they are doing is contrary to the word of God. So again we might ask the question, "Should we be quick to judge?" Certainly not. We shouldn't judge in a way that is improper, but at the same time does that mean that we should never judge? Again, certainly not, because there is a such thing as a righteous judgment, a judgment that is based on that which is proper in the eyes of God, that is based on God Himself and His word and that really allows God and the word to condemn or uplift rather than we ourselves having to be the one to do that.

I like the way that it was said in Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 12 as it says, "There is a way which seems right unto man but the end thereof is the way of death." We must not be individuals who allow ourselves to be caught up in a physical or spiritual death because of the way that we might act or the things that we might say or the things that we might do or the way that we might judge. Just because it seems right that we might by appearance choose that an individual is one way or another, maybe because of their race or something, is incorrect. It's improper in the eyes of God. We must again do it according to God's way and as we have found here in our study so far that is again based on His word. In the Bible we find so many different ideas and if we had enough time I would like to look at every one of the verses where we find the concepts of good and evil men. We find the concepts of good and evil works, good and evil speaking, a good path and a bad path. We find adversity and we find counsel. We find a good name and an evil name. We find good fruit and evil fruit. We find good hearts and evil hearts. We find good morals and evil dealings. We find good reports and bad reports that were received by the apostles. But at the same time, all of these show us again that they themselves were able to determine.

I might also ask this question. As you look throughout the books of the Bible, the New Testament primarily, we find that so many times the different individuals there Paul, Peter, so many other writers, James, talked about sins and problems that they saw and knew about in these different churches or with the Christians and whom they wrote to. Now how were they able to do that if they were not allowed to judge according to God's word? How were they able to do that if they couldn't even discern whether someone was doing right or wrong? Well again, I think you can see that there is a righteous and a good and a proper judgment when we base it on the right thing.

The Bible talks about those who did it improperly. In the book of 1Kings chapter 13 we find there a young prophet who decided to lie. He decided to lie eventually because he was deceived himself by another who claimed to be a prophet. He was righteous and good in every way. He was fearing God, following His commands, not doing anything against the word of God, and he said he never would. But there in 1 Kings 13 and verse 18 we find that finally he was deceived by another one and he listened to someone else. He misjudged the situation and instead of doing what he knew God's word to say, he went against it and we know that it caused him to lie against the will of God.

What about the rich man, the rich man who was referred to as a fool in the book of Luke chapter 12 and verse 16? A man there who had everything in his life, a man who had discerned that he was blessed, a man though that by his own judgment determined that he would build greater barns to hold all that he had instead of helping those who really needed help.

What about the Pharisees often trying to trap Jesus as we find in Matthew 22? The ideas there that they would try to tease Him and try to ask Him questions, ask questions as we've studied before such as, "Shouldn't we pay taxes to Caesar or is it lawful to do such?" Well Jesus would say, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's."

Again people who try to judge and discern and make judgments to do things that are contrary to the will of God. Martha made a decision one time that was wrong that she would serve and care for the physical needs rather than sit down with her sister and hear those precious words of Jesus Christ. Do you remember that story? Do you remember the story of where she was sitting at the feet of Jesus, that is Mary and then Martha was doing all of these things. She made a bad choice. She should have chose the better and that was to be at the feet of Jesus.

You see we all also make bad decisions from time to time. We all do things sometimes that are contrary to His will. We all make judgments that are not good, that are unrighteous, that are improper, but we usually do it because we do it from man's standpoint, the wisdom of man rather than the wisdom of God. My encouragement today is that as we discern, as we be those who do judge, who have the authority through God's word to judge and with it as the foundation. My encouragement is again that we use it only and judge only as God would judge, leaving our own thoughts and opinions, all of our own preconceptions and those things that have been from the past in our lives, the way that we were raised. Leaving all of those things behind only to glorify God, and to bring honor to those who hear it. Why? Because when we truly say, "Lord, Lord" in the end we want to know that that reward is ours. We want to know that He's going to give us the gift of eternal life and he'll give it because we have lived faithfully in all areas as God has commanded us to. The question is yours. Are you willing to discern as God has told you in His word?
(SONG # 3 - "Take Time To Be Holy!")

CLOSING COMMENTS Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all learn to better discern between good and evil, right and wrong - using God's Word as the final authority!
(Program closing)