Jesus told us, “Do not judge,” but the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to judge. So who was right? Stay tuned.
Hi, welcome to today’s little lesson. We’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. Thanks for joining me on this special farm field edition. And here we are once again in the first verses of Matthew chapter seven, Jesus’ very famous words about, “Do not judge, lest you be judged,” and so forth and warned us about looking for the speck in our brother’s eye when we’ve got a log in our own eye.
Now notice what He said to do. He didn’t say, “Don’t worry about at all about the speck in your brother’s eye.” He said, “First, take the log out of your eye, you hypocrite, and then you’ll see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
So there is a place for finding a speck. You’ve just got to make sure you don’t have the log in your own eye, and that’s the jist, the overriding message of what Jesus is saying in these verses. He’s not saying we should never make a spiritual appraisal, because the fact of the matter is, we have to make spiritual appraisals if we’re going to obey even everything that Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount. We’re going to have to make spiritual appraisals.
He’s about to say, in just a few verses here, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine and don’t give what is valuable to dogs.” Now He’s not talking, obviously, about literal pigs and literal dogs here. He’s talking about people who have, spiritually speaking they’re pigs and dogs, and He says, “Don’t be taking what is valuable and giving that to people who don’t value it.”
Well, you have to make a spiritual appraisal, don’t you, to determine whether a person’s a spiritual pig or a spiritual dog. And I’ll give you a little hint on how to do that. You throw them one pearl. Sure. Throw them one pearl. He just said, “Don’t cast your pearls.”
So if you cast one pearl, that’s not pearls, that’s singular pearl, and then you see. What do they do? Do they appreciate this? Do they value this? Are they interested in spiritual things? Are they interested in Jesus? Are they interested in the Gospel? Do they want to talk about God? Or do they quickly change the subject or come up with some smokescreen and so forth? Well then you know. I cast my pearl and I’m not going to cast any more pearls because I just discovered myself a spiritual pig or a spiritual dog. But my point is, you have to judge them, right? Right.
And there are other passages of Scripture that help to bring a balance to all this, sure. Paul writes to the Corinthians, and there’s a problem in the Corinthian church. There’s a guy there living in an immoral, sexually immoral, relationship apparently with his stepmother. Somebody has his father’s wife, Paul says.
Let me read to you First Corinthians chapter five, verse number one. “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you. An immorality of such a kind does not even exist among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.” This is a gross immorality. This guy posing as a Christian in the church and sleeping with his stepmother. “You have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead,” Paul says, “So that the one who has done this deed should be removed from your midst.”
So Paul’s saying this guy should be gone. He should have already been removed from your midst. You should have judged him. Not misjudged him, but the reports are true. There’s no doubt about it. The evidence is stacked against this guy. This is not a rumor. This is not some kind of an innuendo. This is a fact. The guy is sleeping with his stepmother.
So Paul says in verse number three of First Corinthians five, “For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this as though I were present.” See, so Paul didn’t interpret Jesus’ words, “Do not judge” like a lot of Christians do. Why? Because Paul was not stupid, that’s why, and he realized that what Jesus said was within the context of everything that Jesus said, and Jesus was not saying, no way was He saying, “Don’t make a spiritual appraisal.”
As I’ve already said, He told us to make spiritual appraisals of people. We have to do that. Jesus was talking about being the fault finder, particularly the fault finder who doesn’t have a right to find fault because he or she has the log in their own eye, right, and they’re setting a standard for other people to attain that they themselves don’t even attain to. That’s hypocrisy. Jesus doesn’t want us to be that way.
So, Paul says, “I’ve already judged this guy as though I were present,” and so he gives them instruction. “In the name of the Lord Jesus, when you are assembled and I with you in spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.” So, I’m not sure I fully understand that, but they’re doing some kind of public proclamation.
They’re saying, “We excommunicate this guy from our midst. You can’t be calling yourself a Christian and doing what you’re doing, so we have to disassociate with you. We can’t eat with you any longer. We can’t allow you to come to our gatherings and so forth because you’re misrepresenting Christ. You’re a gross stain on the church. We don’t want people looking at the church and think it’s made up of people like you because it’s not, not the true Church anyways. And so we’ve got to get you out. So we’re delivering you to Satan, but our hope is not that you’ll be damned in the end. Our hope is that you’ll saved. We’re hoping that this will cause you to ponder, cause you to think, realize that you really can’t be a Christian and do what you’re doing, because no immoral person’s going to inherit the kingdom of God. So we’re hoping you come to your senses and repent, and therefore your spirit will be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.”
A couple of verses later, Paul elaborates even more. “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people,” so a previous letter. “I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, with the covetous and with the swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you’d have to go out of the world and you can’t avoid these people. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother. He’s not really a brother if he is an immoral person, like the guy I’m telling you to excommunicate and deliver over to Satan. Or covetous. Or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders,” Paul asks. “Do you not judge those who are within the church?”
So what he is saying, is it’s a rhetorical question. “Come on guys. You’re supposed to be judging people within the church. And if people don’t measure up to the standard that God has set, when God says, “If you do these things, you’re not a Christian.” If you’re not keeping God’s standard, well, you’re failing as a church. You’re failing as a church. Lot of things we could say about this.
“But those who are on the outside, God judges.” So he’s saying the church has the right to be judging its own members. Now, not again, looking for the little specks. We all have plenty of specks. But when somebody has a log in their eye and they’re guilty of sexual immorality and you’re not, because you’re being faithful sexually. You’re not sleeping around. If you’re married, you’re faithful to your spouse and so forth, then you have a right. You don’t have a log in your eye. You’ve cleared the log out of your eye when you came to Jesus if you were sexually immoral. Now you repented of that, and now you have not only the right but the obligation to be looking at those within the church, not with condemnation but with love.
“Oh my goodness, you’re in the church, you think you’re a Christian but you’re sleeping around? I love you. God loves you. You’re deceived. You don’t want to be in that situation, so let me help you understand how God feels about this. We have to send you out of here. You can’t come anymore, until you repent. Then we’ll welcome you back because this is a church or merciful, gracious people who’ve all repented.” Amen.
Okay. Well, more to say about this in our next little lesson. Thank you so much for joining me. It’s been a joy sharing with you out here in this beautiful place this evening. God bless.