Summary: You be the judge.

Who Would Jesus Nominate for Supreme Court Justice?

“Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?”

1 Corinthians 6:1-5

Intro: Justice Antonin Scalia was running late for a dinner at the White House with President Ronald Reagan, when he got pulled over by a rookie Washington D.C. police officer. Don’t you know that I am Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia? The cop went back to his patrol car. After a few minutes he returned and presented the Justice with a ticket. Again the Justice protested. To which the officer replied, That is a good try sir, but I just checked with the White House Chief of Staff. All the Supreme Court Justices are at a dinner at the White House with President Reagan. On breaking the law: “I have exceeded the speed limit on — on occasion.” – Justice Scalia

We have all heard sermons that tell us not to judge others. What do we do with 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 that says “Saints will judge the world and that Christians will judge angels”? We face decisions where we have to carefully weigh their legality. We gauge the ethics and morality of issues. We judge the validity of opinions and ideas. We do this many times every day. In fact the really big multi-million dollar salary earners get paid not for their ability to keep the rules. Not for aptitude to stay within the lines but more for their ability to make good judgment calls.

Let me give you an example: If you come here next Sunday and I say, “I just authorized $10,000 dollars for pink flamingos.” They will have our church name on them. We are going to put one in every yard in town. You might think that was not such a good judgment call on my part. However, if you come in next Sunday and I say, the ground opened up a sink hole large enough to swallow the entire church building and I authorized $10,000 for a construction team to shore up the walls and save the church. You might think that was pretty good judgment call.

What about when the decision is less extreme? What about when the choice is not as clear? Maybe it is a matter of perspective or even personal opinion. Things are not always red or green.

The Apostle Paul was writing to the Church at a time when Christians were still coming out from under the Old Testament Law and sacrifice. Some in the church were taking their religious differences of opinion relating to that Law to secular court judges to decide their religious differences of interpretation. Paul said that was not a good idea. Because secular courts and juries may not be responsive to Christian values. Then he goes a step further and asks if Christians even have Christian values. Paul did not mince words.

Let’s look at the word “dispute” Paul uses. “Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” 1 Corinthians 6:1-5

The original Greek word for “dispute” Strong's Greek: 4229. πρᾶγμα (pragma) -- a deed, a matter) as “A habit against doing what is needed.” Paul was talking about “dispute” as a pattern of not doing what is right. It is more than just a single case but more about a lifestyle choice.

Chuck Swindoll tells a story about preaching at a Christian camp meeting. The first day a man approached him and said how much he had looked forward to hearing Dr. Swindoll and was delighted at now finally being able to realize that dream come true. That evening Chuck noticed the man sitting near the front row. But only a few minutes into the message the man was sound asleep. Chuck thought to himself that perhaps the man was tired after a long day's drive and he could not help himself but fall asleep. But the same thing happened the next night and the next night. Dr. Swindoll found himself growing irritated. On the last night the man's wife came up and apologized for her husband's inattention to the messages. She then explained that he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the medication he was taking to ease the pain had made him extremely sleepy. But it had been a once in a life-time ambition to hear Dr. Swindoll speak before he died.

We make judgment calls every day. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. What do you do about the ones you get wrong? How we handle our mistakes does more to build our character than our successes. That means it is less about how we judge others. And more about how we measure our own quality.

Mother Teresa was an unimpressive person if you only saw her picture. She was not very tall. Her body was frail. She did not look very powerful. She was a little woman dedicated to serving the poor. But she was a tremendous leader. She had amazing influence with others. Small stature. Huge impact. She saw a need and did something about it. In the impoverished town of Calcutta she built a children’s home. Established a center for leprosy. A home for the dying and destitute. A shelter for people with tuberculosis. A hospital for people with mental disorders. Her influence reached a city. Then a nation. Then the world.

In the Old Testament there is a book called the Book of Judges. When a judge died the people faced spiritual decline, moral failure, and social compromise. After the death of Joshua, who would God choose to be the next hero? One of the great tensions in the book of Judges is the people were looking for someone to fight for them. To stand up for their rights. To represent them as a people of God. To save them. Judges 1:1.

God chose Gideon to be the fifth major judge of 12th century Israel. One day Gideon was sitting out under a large oak tree. When a messenger of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, God has chosen you to be a “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” Judges 6:12.

Gideon does something that not all judges will do. He puts God to the test. Some say it was a mark of Gideon’s doubt and fear. Some say it was risky for Gideon to ask God for a sign or proof. If you are going to make good decisions you need the facts. Gideon demanded extra proof. The bible says Gideon called on God. He said, “God if you truly are going to use me to rescue Israel as you have promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put out a wool fleece tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, Then I will know that you are going to help me as you have promised. The next morning it happened just that way. Gideon got up and squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowl full of water.

Then Gideon said, “God, Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. This time let the fleece remain dry and the ground around it be wet with dew.” That night God did as Gideon asked. The next morning the fleece was dry but the ground was covered with dew.

Today we don’t have to ask for sign or put out animal skin to know God’s will. Today our greatest means of knowing God’s guidance is His Holy Word found in the Bible. The Bible is God’s complete wisdom revealed to us.

In 1884 a young man died. After his funeral the grieving parents decided to establish a memorial in his memory. With that in mind they met with Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University. Eliot talked with the modest couple in his office and asked what he could do for them. After they expressed their desire to start a memorial, Eliot impatiently said, "Perhaps you have in mind a scholarship." “We were thinking of something more substantial than that...perhaps a building," the woman replied. In a patronizing tone, Eliot brushed aside the idea as being too expensive and the couple departed. The next year, Eliot learned that this plain pair had gone elsewhere and established a memorial fund. It was named after their son Leland Stanford and $26 million dollars later it became what is known today as the Stanford University. (Today in the Word, June 11, 1992.)

Who should be the judge?

John Wesley wrote October 6, 1774. “I met with those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against; 3. To take care that their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

We know where there are hurts and suffering and pain. So this church spends its time and energy helping. It acts like a community of faith. This church is fruitful. It is part of transforming lives. Others may not judge you fairly. But we can judge others with fairness.

“More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly.” – Justice Scalia

We can treat others the way we want to be treated. We can judge others the way we want to be judged. The purpose of the church is unity and oneness of the body of Christ. It is people being able to reason together and work together for the community good. When we fail to do that we become less than what Christ intended the church to be.

There was a group of people who wanted to plant a new church in a largely Asian American area. The church planting committee met with the group. They had lunch together. When the service was over the pastor asked the group to form a circle and hold hands for prayer. As they did a young child held the hand of one of the committee leaders next to him. He looked up and asked, “Are you a bad person?” When it was over the father of the little boy came over to apologize. He explained, “It is because you are white. I suffer so much at work that when I come home at night I often cry. My little boy hears me and sees how painful it is.” It is difficult to talk across the divisions of race and gender and orientation, and denomination, and political party. But it is not impossible.

God is a merciful God. God is also a just God and cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. So what God did was send his Son Jesus to save the world. Jesus is both human and divine. He suffered and was tempted in every way just like you and I. But Jesus was perfect. He did not sin. Because He did not sin Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for your salvation. Jesus died on the cross. Jesus rose from the grave. The cross and the empty tomb is our redemption, our means of salvation. God so loved the world that he gave. Does this make sense to you?

You are the only one who can be the judge of this. You have to decide is Jesus real? Or is Jesus false? Is Jesus telling the truth? Or is Jesus a liar?

Who Would Jesus Nominate for Supreme Court Justice? Jesus would choose a person who knows how to tell if a fleece is wet or if a fleece is dry. Can you tell the difference? There is one decision that you have to make and your judgment will have eternal consequences. You believe the moon is real but you have never been there. You believe dinosaurs once roamed the earth because you see a pile of bones. I believe Jesus is real because there is an empty tomb. It is not something I can see. It is not something I can touch but it is something I know. If died today I would go to heaven. Would you?

Would you like to know for sure that if you died today you would go to heaven? "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life" I John 5:13 Some people hope they have eternal life. Because God’s Word is true we can have assurance and you can know for sure. God has promised that he has given us victory over sin and eternal life through his Son Jesus. By faith we can be certain in eternal life. It is not based on a feeling. It is based on facts. Our relationship with God proves that every day.

If you are not sure that you are a Christian then ask yourself the question. Have I fully committed my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior? When you have, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are a child of God. Only you can be the judge of that.

Saving faith is trusting Jesus Christ alone for our eternal life. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Salvation is a promise you can be sure of. If you have never trusted Jesus to save you then do so quickly. Don’t put it off any longer. Your life can be filled with joy. You can finally have peace. That journey begins the moment you trust in your heart in the living, saving faith of Jesus Christ. This altar is open. Come now and receive forgiveness of your sin and receive your free gift of eternal life.