Summary: Avoid critical judgmentalism while embracing careful judgment.
Rev. Brian Bill
May 20-21, 2017
I came across some surefire ways to get someone to quote the Bible.
• Share your belief in biblical creationism and dare to call evolution just a theory.
• Speak up by declaring that because life begins at conception, abortion is murder. BTW, I’m pumped about the Baby Bottles for Life Project – please pick up a bottle or two and fill it with change for Pregnancy Resources. Also, I’m thrilled to learn that the largest provider of abortion is closing four clinics in Iowa, one right here in Bettendorf!
• Show that another religion or worldview is in error. I met with a high school senior recently who wrote a paper on the errors of Islam. I can’t imagine how much courage this took.
• Share with your friends that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
• State that the Bible forbids the practice of premarital sex, extramarital sex and homosexuality.
• Stand up and say that marriage is between one man and one woman for life.
Sydney McMeekan is in the 8th grade and participated in a school debate this week where she stood up for biblical marriage. I asked her to put her experience into words. Here’s what she wrote: “Before my debate I was feeling very nervous because I felt that people were going to judge me…I walked into that classroom knowing that no matter who voted for me, I had the only person I needed already on my side. When the debate began I was beyond scared. The reality of this set in as I realized that almost all of the students were supporters of gay marriage…After my debate was done and I said all I could, I felt proud for standing up for what I believed in. I knew God was on my side through it all, and through prayer I got through it.”
If you’re still standing after making these Scriptural statements, stick around and you’ll often hear a specific Scripture quoted, even by those who know no other verse: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This verse is often used against Christians as a way to intimidate us from speaking the truth.
J.D. Greear, in a sermon on this passage, says that our culture holds to two unshakable assumptions:
• Religion is private
• Morality is relative
There are different kinds of people when it comes to our topic today:
• There are those who say, “whatever.” This person believes anything goes and therefore one should never speak up for what is right or wrong.
• There are others who whack everyone. It’s like these people are playing “Whack-a-Mole” at Chuck E. Cheese, just waiting for a sinner to pop up so they can whack away.
I believe there is a third category– those who follow the Word of God. The problem is that very few are actually in this category.
Some years ago, researchers with the Barna Organization asked Americans Christians for their views on issues like lying, cheating, the nature of God, and sin. They found that while more than seven out of 10 Americans call themselves Christians, just one out of every 10 were able to answer basic questions about the Bible and the faith. Tragically, only 10% of Americans have a biblical worldview.
In research that was done among 20-somethings for the book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity, nearly nine out of ten young people view Christians as “judgmental.”
Not surprisingly, in a just-released Gallup poll, Americans today are more permissive on moral matters than ever before. Commenting on this trend, Albert Mohler said this on Tuesday: “On virtually every issue, especially every single issue related to sex, gender, and sexual morality, Americans have been moving steadily to…a more liberal or permissive direction.”
We’re continuing with message #5 in our CONTEXT series as we unpack what the Bible says about judging. I’m grateful to Pastor Kyle and Pastor Ed for preaching the past two weeks. Didn’t they do a great job?
I wanted to thank several of you for suggesting some additional sermon topics – we’ve added four more topics in July. Here’s where we’re headed.
May 20-21 Judge Not Matthew 7:1-6
May 27-28 Forgetting what Lies Behind Philippians 3:2-14
June 3-4 Plans to Prosper You Jeremiah 29:1-14
June 10-11 Money is the Root of All Evil 1 Timothy 6:3-10
June 17-18 Be Strong and Courageous Joshua 1:1-9
June 24-25 No More Than You Can Handle 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
July 1-2 I Can Do All Things Philippians 4:10-13
July 8-9 All Things Work for Good Romans 8:18-28
July 15-16 God Wants You to Be Healthy and Wealthy Isaiah 53:1-6
July 22-23 God Helps Those Who Help Themselves Luke 18:9-14
Our passage is positioned about 2/3 of the way through the Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew 5-7. In chapter 5, Jesus begins with eight blessings available to the obedient Christian. He then challenges us to live as salt and light in a dark and decaying culture. Jesus proclaims himself as the fulfillment of the Law and then identifies several sins to avoid – like anger and lust. This chapter ends with a call to love our enemies. In chapter 6, He teaches us how to give, how to pray and fast and how to seek His kingdom above everything else.