PASTOR STEVE VAN NATTAN:
Editor-- Blessed Quietness Journal
August, 1993 You may copy this paper, but you may not change it in any way without
PART ONE: JUDGE NOT!
JUDGING A BROTHER
The first thing to say is that
we are not to judge our brother. Let us look at the parable of Christ that teaches
powerfully on this subject.
Luke 18:10 Two
men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto
heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for
every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself
shall be exalted. 15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would
touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus
called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid
them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever
shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter
FIRST- VERSE 10- shows us that these men are Jews. They are of the
household of Israel, not Philistines or pagans. It is interesting to notice that
the saints can be very understanding with the ungodly, yet they can be rough on
rats with the other saints. This at once should make us fearful since we see that
the Word of God encourages us to "judge righteous judgment" (Jn. 7:24). We are
to hate the enemies of the Lord as David did (Ps. 139:21-22). Instead, we come
to despise the saints and hug the wicked. What joy this must give Satan.
SECOND- VERSE 11-12- shows us who the standard is when we judge
our brother. I have heard this so many times, sometimes from myself, that I cannot
be talked out of it. Saints who have accomplished some things for the Lord are
so vulnerable. They begin to notice that other saints seem to be less zealous
than they are, so they start comparing those other saints with themselves. It
is a rare thing to hear a godly saint complaining about another saint because
they are not like Jesus.
We had a infiltrator from a large religous
organization in a past church we served. This fellow worked very hard in
the church, and he and his wife came early to every meeting. They would
then use their alleged zeal as a standard to mock and ridicule other saints who
were late or missing.
When we use ourselves as the standard
of judging, we can be sure that we think they have arrived in the area under discussion.
The Pharisee was not any of those things he listed at the end of verse
11, but you can be sure he had a problem-- PRIDE. This is one of the abominations
Proverbs 6:16 These six things
doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look,
a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth
wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false
witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Please notice that the list starts with pride
and ends with destruction of fellowship. One thing we can say for the Pharisee
is that at least he bragged only to God. In the Lord's Church it is so often otherwise.
The pride in our good works or zeal sends us to others in the Body whom we imagine
are on our level of zeal, and we start fretting and complaining about those in
the Body who seem to lack zeal.
As with the Pharisee,
we use ourselves as an example. We reason from our works for which Christ might
have rewarded us at the Bema seat judgment, and we might have gotten a reward.
But, after we cheapen our works by using them to judge one of Christ's servants,
I am certain He will not dignify our meanness with His approval. The reward is
lost. Let us remember Paul's stern words here:
14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which
eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou
that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.
Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man
esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every
man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth
it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard
it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that
eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none
of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live,
we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live
therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
We have no business
pretending that our brother lives unto us rather than unto Christ. That
is what we are doing when we degrade him for not keeping up with us in zeal or
good works. If he is not as good a witness as I am, that is his business before
What is really happening here? The judging brother prefers
starting a clique of those who judge the backward and weak Christians. No amount
of, "let us pray for brother so an so" will cleanse this breach of New Testament
courtesy. And NO Christian can ever become so spiritual that he is above this
This problem has destroyed more missionaries on the field
than any problem Satan could conceive. From my experience, I have known some very
godly servants of Christ, and in this area they are never caught speaking of another
saint except to rejoice over them. If they ever rebuked a brother, it was so private
that I didn't find out. There is no other model. It is always the "strong" in
their own eyes who think otherwise, me included if I am found doing this.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and
revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why
dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we
shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
This plainly means two things:
Your brother will answer to God for his zeal, works, punctuality, integrity, witnessing,
law keeping, eagerness in vocation, family decisions, leisure activities, eating
habits, choice of cars and cigars, and dealing with debt-- you name it. If you
noticed that you are doing better than he, you over the edge. You are taking Christ's
place in the judgment seat.
TWO- YOU will answer for your judgmental
words also. What makes you think Christ is on your side in the cheap little bar
of justice you opened against your brother or sister in Christ? You will be dethroned
before you stand before His throne. If you arrive in heaven as a judge,
it will be because you are NOT born again. Beware friend.
We are reminded of the scam in Colorado several years ago when a judge and some
highway patrolmen were running a little home made justice arrangement on the side.
They would arrest a tourist on the highway, haul them to their "court", then let
them go after they had posted a fat bail. The state was mighty rough on them when
they were caught. How are you and I different than that when we open a private
court to examine Christ's Body?
11 For it
is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue
shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself
to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this
rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's
It is a heartbreaking stumblingblock to a believer
to learn that he has been secretly court-marshalled by a tribunal of the folks
he loves. He usually falls lower if he is weak, or he runs away to join the Liberals
or a cult. Then the judges look down their long noses and pronounce a final verdict
Who is the Weaker Brother after all?
VERSE 13- (Please refer back to Luke study text above.)- The pitiful thing is
that often the saint being judged is stronger than those who judge him. Judges
wear wigs and black robes because underneath is a men with faults and sometimes
treachery. The "weaker brother" may in fact have the chief quality needed to make
him useful to the Lord-- humility. The problem is, if it is genuine, he won't
notice his own humility, and he will think only good of those who judge him.
This will make certain that he is grievously wounded when he finds out
his friends have secretly condemned him. Are you starting to get the message?
Do you see why Satan was so pleased with Korah and Job's friends? That is the
final blow to a saint, that is, to learn he has been betrayed. That is why Judas
was so helpful to Satan. If only Jesus could be broken by the sorrow of betrayal,
perhaps he would sin in lashing out in self-defense. The judgment of fellow saints
is no different than Judas' betrayal of Jesus, "in as much as ye did it unto one
of these... ye have done it unto me".
So, What's it to me anyway?
VERSE 14- Read it carefully. God will get you. You won't lose your salvation,
but God will knock you down, probably until you need the brother you judged to
help you back up. Either God will do that, or you will become a "castaway",
meaning God will take away your zeal and victory to serve Him and let you suffer
until you close your punisimous court. If he doesn't, you are not born again.
You are an infiltrator in the Body, being used of Satan to destroy the Church.
God can show that openly also. Beware.
To see how God deals with impostors
who judge his saints, read what God required of Job's three lousy friends:
Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had
spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is
kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me
the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now
seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves
a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept:
lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing
which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad
the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded
them: the LORD also accepted Job. 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of
Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he
FIFTH- VERSE 15-17- (Please read the verses in Luke again as above.)
Here we need to see that the disciples were forced to learn the ultimate
lesson. Even a child is not to be judged. Christian kids are not subject to the
court of pious saints. They too are subject to Christ first, then their parents.
No exceptions. There is NO similarity between loving and steady discipline
on one hand and mindless judgment on the other. Discipline teaches and builds
saints. Judgment destroys them.
There is nothing more
disgusting than an old saint, who raised a bunch of brats, standing in the foyer
griping about other kids or their parents. Not only are they tempting the kids
to hate the Church when they learn of this aged meanness, they are also calling
those kids away from Christ and suggesting they submit to the human who judged
them. Again, this guruism is treacherous. If there is a real problem, go to the
parents, speak of the problem, then shut your big mouth, and pray for them in
your closet. Let the parents come under the conviction of the Holy Ghost,
not your authority.
QUESTION: I have been doing this. What do I do?
1. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much.
2. Get a right perspective
Luke 17:7 But which of you, having
a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come
from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto
him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have
eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9 Doth he thank
that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded
you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to
QUESTION: My brother really has a problem. How can I help him?
ANSWER: Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that
they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much
wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to
be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet,
chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of
God be not blasphemed.
Women have no business ever
rebuking a man other than their own husband. The other men are under Christ, not
women. The other women and children are under "their own husbands" and fathers.
So, a woman who judges and openly passes verdicts on other saints is a busybody
(I Peter 4:15). Much wickedness has been done in the Church by women who leave
their homes and their husband's authority over them to open court on the saints.
One comment can destroy a whole church. The most helpful device in this
pattern of treachery is the telephone, right?
2:6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing
thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary
part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Your way of life in Christ is the best thing you can do to lead a saint out of
weakness. If that is not enough, if you want to whip him into line, you are not
born again. You are a hireling who couldn't care less if you maim the sheep carelessly.
Remember, "whom the Lord loveth HE (not you or I) chasteneth"! If you are truly
spiritual, your example is all God needs. Live it.
If reproof is needed,
follow the instruction in the Word of God:
Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
One last thought about motives.
If we are witnessing, working for the Lord, coming to church, teaching the Word,
helping the saints, or any other good work, for selfish reasons, then we lose
all of our reward. If we measure others by our good works, we show that we are
working for the wrong reason. Three texts come to mind, and they speak for themselves:
Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them
that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness
of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but
as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With
good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that
whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether
he be bond or free.
3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed
and in truth.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God and the Father by him. Can you thank God for your relationship to
ALL the saints?
1. Let us stop examining
other saints behind their backs, even as husband to wife.
2. Let us
stop using ourselves as open examples, describing our zeal, witness, works, or
punctuality at the church house as some sort of standard.
3. Let us
exalt the Lord in the zeal we do see, praising God for EVERY saint's progress.
4. Let us hate passionately cliques, or party spirit. Let us go as
easily to one saint as another for fellowship. Let us not have favorites among
5. Let us not grumble over those who are not present
at services. Let us rejoice over those who come, and be ready to learn that those
absent had burdens keeping them away.
Let us be eager to lift their
burdens in a quiet spirit. If we are moved to rebuke or reprove a saint, let us
follow the pattern of authority and complete confidentiality of the New Testament
6. Let the assembly know that this area of
temptation may well be a weakness of their pastor, and let them keep any fleshly
judgmental spirit to themselves.
If you see a problem in this paper,
don't even bother me unless you have sound Bible proof of your complaint. If so,
then you must tell me, so that I can correct any errors. God bless you as we serve
7. When we are judged in the unbiblical model,
what shall we do? Answer:
4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of
man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat,
or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath
Even if you have an area of need, NEVER take the
judgment of a saint who is in the throne of judgment against you. Seek the
precious wounds of a saint who loves you with biblical rebuke.
SO WHO AND WHEN DO WE JUDGE?
As is so
often the case in the black and white teachings of Jehovah and His Word, there
is a time to judge, and it is essential to do so if we are going to maintain spiritual
purity in our lives and in the life of the Lord's Church. Let us simply
review some of the texts which tell us we must judge in certain situations:
John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance,
but judge righteous judgment.
How does this agree with:
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged:
condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
We are back to the study principles we discussed above. We cannot
judge anyone in order to condemn them. Our judgment is for the sole purpose
of exalting the holiness of God. In old Israel the judges and Moses sat
under a tree and judged the people. Why? Answer: To preserve
the holy standard of God within the whole life of the camp or the nation.
Here is an example:
Ezekiel 23:45 And
the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and
after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and
blood is in their hands.
Again, Ezekiel speaks of the
future conditions in the priesthood of the coming Messianic Kingdom:
Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference
between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and
the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they
shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes
in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
SO, IS THERE A TIME TO JUDGE IN THE CHURCH AGE?
If you don't have a King James Bible, you will not have a basis to understand
the following instruction. "YOU" in the text below is "YOU" Plural-- collectively.
"Thee" or "thou" would indicate that the action was to be taken by individuals.
"YOU" means that Paul is telling the local church to do this judgment openly
Romans 16:17 Now
I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary
to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that
are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words
and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
There is NO similarity between this cleansing the church of wolves and the hateful
butchery of saint by saint which we discussed previously. This is righteous
judgment-- Judging and marking publicly those who teach heresy. We
do a lot of this in this journal. Those who PROFESS to be saved while they
teach heresies get no mercy from us:
5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house,
he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
How much more a man who stands in a large place and "provides not"
sound teaching for the House of the Lord? Timothy had a couple of these
in the church he pastored, and Paul classified them as pagans:
Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies
which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith
have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have
delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Every time an alleged preacher mutilates the King James Bible, when
he appeals to the Greek at the expense of the English Bible, or when such a hireling
declares that he has found an error in the Word of God, he should be blasted with
the utmost zeal. He is a wolf. Stand right up and rebuke him for what
he is. Do NOT do this in a corner where he can weasel out of it. A
very good silent statement is to stand right up and turn around and ignore him.
WE ARE TO JUDGE THE NATURAL MAN
unsaved men blasphemes the Spirit of God, the Word of God, or the Church of our
Lord, he is to be judged and exposed plainly so that the saints will avoid that
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But
he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1 Corinthians 5:3 For I verily, as absent
in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present,
concerning him that hath so done this deed,
not even present, and he did not have two or three witnesses. There comes
a time when the fire of sin and Satanic attack is raging in the Lord's Church.
It is a sin to hold back judgment at that point. But, we must be 100%
sure that our objective is to guard the holiness of the Lord Jehovah and His Church.
THE CHURCH IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO SETTLE A MATTER
1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter
against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall
be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know
ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them
to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel
1 Corinthians 11:31
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
JUDGE THE WOLVES
1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation,
it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly
contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there
are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation,
ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the
only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a
word of caution in the following. If the witnesses are present, then the
rebuke, quite by contrast, must be sudden and open, especially with regard to
a leader in the Lord's Church.
1 Timothy 5:19
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
IS IT LOVING TO JUDGE?
This is really
a stupid question. There is a text from Solomon which sums up Part One and
Part Two of this paper. This proverb describes the fellowship of godly judging,
for it is not possible to rebuke a friend in the Lord without making a judgment
call based upon the Word of God. The intent and spirit is the key here.
Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better
than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses
of an enemy are deceitful.
I have found from experience
that my worst enemies are judges in the local church. On the other hand,
I have also found that my best friends are those saints who walk so close to the
Lord that, when they wound me, I feel blessed and encouraged by their faithfulness.
I realize that there seems to be a contradiction-- First-- Judge.
Then-- Judge not. The problem we have these days in the Lord's
Church is that we fail to just take the Bible 100% literally. It is so easy
to understand if we take it literally. Ah, but it is not easy to believe,
right? If we are to take the Word as black and white, then we have to conclude
that at one time we are totally forbidden to judge. But, at once we learn
that there are times when we MUST judge or we are rebels.
Tell me saint, how is your judgment ministry doing these days? :-)
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