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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Principles of Judging Part 8

I must admit when I first started this series I planned on it being no more than five posts in length. We’re already on the eighth part of this series, and Lord willing I’m hoping to wrap it up today since there are many things God has been pouring into my heart that I want to get on the page before I get distracted by something else. Before going any further however, I want to say 'happy mother's day' to all the mothers, and thoroughly encourage those who are not mothers but rather sons and daughters to give your moms an extra special hug today and tell them you love them.

While it is day, we must labor, for the night is upon us, and soon no man will be able to work. I’ve been getting comments as to the accelerated frequency of my posts on this blog, and all I can say is that it is something God has been dealing with me about in recent months, and I’m just being obedient to His urging. Yes, I plan on continuing to post as frequently as possible, and getting as much truth on this weblog as I am able because the deception that is permeating the house of God nowadays is reaching its zenith, and those who stand for truth are shrinking in number with each passing day.

Too many people within God’s house have an aversion to being disliked or outright hated, and so they water down the truth or omit it from their teachings altogether. If we are to walk in righteousness, than we must purpose in our hearts that being disliked, hated and despised will be a given. Expect these things, because they will come. The flesh rebels at the notion of truth, it rebels at being confronted with its sin, and whenever we have the spine and backbone to confront sin within the house of God it is never a cordial and demure affair. I’ve been accused of being judgmental, I’ve been accused of being legalistic, I’ve been accused of being closed minded and intolerant when all I did was point to the Word of God, and reiterated that which God states are absolutes concerning sin. I realize there will be some who will quickly go to the default scripture of the letter killing but the spirit giving life; however this does not apply to the righteousness which God demands of His children. Should we sin that grace may abound? By no means! Certainly not! How can we who have died to sin live any longer in it?

It is not legalism to uphold the standard of righteousness in God’s house; it is not legalism to demand that those who call themselves children of God live as children of God. Too often we get browbeaten into silence by those who use grace as a license to sin, and those who are unwilling to repent and be restored, but rather believe that they can live like the world, sit in a church, and make it to heaven.

For those of the world, we are to be a light and a guidepost, we are to show them the love of Christ, and speak the truth of Jesus into their hearts. For those of the house of God who call themselves brothers yet continue to live in sin however, we are to be the watchmen who keep that sin from spreading, and who confront it with authority. It is an act of love to keep a man from walking over the edge of a cliff, even if you have to grab his arm in order to do it.

Much shame has been brought to the house of God and the name of Christ due to our indifference towards sin in the camp. If one calls themselves a believer, then the world assumes that they are a believer, and when it is revealed that these individuals have been living in the most heinous of sins, the world lumps us all together, shakes its head, and says ‘you’re all the same, all hypocrites, all twofaced, why should we come to know the God you serve if all it is, is pretending to be something rather than being that something you claim to be?’

This is why the Word of God calls us to holiness; this is why we are repeatedly warned that light and darkness cannot coexist, because you are the gospel the world reads, you are the examples they gravitate toward when they want to see what it is to be a believer.

Before I end this series, I wanted to cover what is, as far as I’m concerned, the most important issue when it comes to judging and that is judging doctrine, teaching or theology. There’s this overwhelming instinct in some people to believe everything they hear, no matter how farfetched, no matter how strange, and no matter how unbiblical. And so, we have believers checking their molars in the morning to see if they’ve sprouted gold fillings, we have others who comb their hair over newspaper hoping to get a few gold flakes, and never once do such individuals go to the Word of God to see if these experiences are included therein. There is enough of the supernatural for which we have Biblical precedent that we do not need to manifest glitter, or get oily hands in order to feel the presence and the power of God.

Rather than following after Christ, many today are searching for the evangelical versions of catholic stigmata, looking for external manifestations when the inner presence of Jesus in a heart is so much more glorious.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

There are some who dismiss the prophetic offhand, without giving it a second thought, yet the Word tells us not to despise prophecies. There are others however, who receive everything they hear, every ‘word from the Lord’, yet the Word tells us to test all things. It is because we dismiss the Word that there is so much confusion within the house of God today; it is because we do not obey it, that countless souls no longer know what to believe. Do not quench the spirit, do not despise prophecies, but do test all things to see if they are of God.

Don’t give anyone a free pass, and that includes me. If I start teaching universalism, if I start telling you that Jesus isn’t the only way, if I start straying from the path of righteousness and holiness, then pull the plug, stop reading, rebuke me, call me out.

One good teaching does not excuse ten heretical ones, and this is why we must test all things, and not just some things. Be vigilant as to what you allow into your heart, be vigilant as to what you allow to feed your spirit, because not every doctrine is good for you, not every teaching will grow you spiritually, and there are many that are outright toxic if not fatal.

If Jesus is nowhere to be found, if Christ is omitted, then chances are you should stay away from it, even if it sounds good to the flesh. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the flesh and the spirit are in direct opposition to each other, and what one desires is harmful to the other. In order for the spiritual man to grow, the flesh must die, and in order for the flesh to grow, the spiritual man must wither. We must choose which has preeminence in our lives, we must choose which of the two we feed. Test all things, and hold to what is good.

Romans 16:17-18, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Wolves in sheep’s clothing do not congregate with other wolves, they come among the sheep, using smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple. Why the deception? Paul tells us because such individuals do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ, but rather their own bellies. I don’t understand people who know that they are being taken advantage of, yet remain in the same environment. As ministers of the gospel, we were called to serve, not be served, we were called to sacrifice, and we were called to obey. Examine, test, not through the prism of your preconceived notions, but through the prism of the gospel of Christ.

Revelation 2:2, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”

Too often we let man’s appearance dictate whether or not we will judge the content of his character, or the things which he says. It is a trap many fall into, because well, the guy really looked the part, and he had nice things to say. Beyond the nice things however, beyond the quaffed hair, and the manicured nails, was he pointing the way to Jesus, or to himself, was He admonishing you to follow after Christ, or after his own teachings?

John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Test all things, examine all things, judge all things, but don’t pass judgment, because there is finality to passing a sentence, or sentencing someone that we wouldn’t ourselves be comfortable with if it were happening with us. Especially now, especially with everything that has been happening within the church, wisdom is paramount, and taking the time to filter out the harmful things from our spiritual diet will go a long way into helping us grow in God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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