Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 2. Who are you to judge? .. Who are you to judge? Judging our attitude

.. Who are you to judge? Judging our attitude

Article Index
.. Who are you to judge? Judging our attitude
. Principle 1. Welcome one another
. Principle 2. Personal conviction is okay.
. Principle 3. Consider your brother in your freedom
. Principle 4. Consider your concience
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JUDGING OUR ATTITUDE

 

Introduction:

We have been focussing over the last six sermons on the whole issue of judging, legalism and slandering. So where to now, how do we make sense out of all of this? Can we get to a point where we understand the issues sufficiently so that we can deal with it?

Judging others and legalism are very much based on two simple statements: ‘I judge you, because you are so different from me,” and ‘my laws work fine for me, so why should it not work fine for you?’ We have said it many times before – we go beyond what is written and we become the standard of Christian living. We become like the Pharisees who set up fences around themselves with their laws, but then they end up breaking their own laws and in so doing Christ calls them hypocrites. Their problem was that they majored on the minors and they minored on the majors. Their concern was to ‘look good’ instead of ‘doing good’. Remember how they criticised the Lord for healing a man on the Sabbath. Even though what Jesus did was good, their problem was that when they tried to figure out what He did in the light of their understanding of the laws governing the Sabbath, it did not look good. Christ had to continually remind them that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

He accused the Pharisees in Matthew 23 that they cleaned the outside of the cup while the inside was dirty, when they should have in the first place taken care of the inside of the cup. Jesus then proceeds to call them whitewashed tombs. Outwardly they appear righteous, but on the inside they are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. In Mark 7:5-7 (ESV) we read: 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘this people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” So their legalism led to hypocrisy and in their hypocrisy they were blind judges, who went beyond what was written for the sake of the commandments and traditions of men. Their spirituality was nothing but false spirituality. They actually deceived themselves.

And so it is in our day. Christians raise fences up around themselves, and make laws that others cannot keep. They look good when they keep their own laws, but cannot even do that faithfully, but in their pride they judge others and slander others, and this just makes for one big mess in the church as far as relationships are concerned.

Now, let’s face it, we are all different and we function different than what some other believers do in other congregations. Even in our own group we are going to have different standards and views. Some of us are going to commit what others would classify as sin. How do we prevent a wrong attitude prevailing in our midst? How can a church hold together when some of its members are so different from one another? So for today I want to stand still at Romans 14 and just skim the surface.

I believe if we understand the principles shared in Romans 14 we will be able to eradicate the conflict that arises due to our high view of non-biblical principles.

The central message with which Paul starts his discussion in Romans 14 centres around the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols. Some Christians were okay with going to the market place and buying some braaivleis (barbeque) and they even gave thanks to God for it. Other Christians were disgusted as they felt that a Christian who buys such meat is associating himself either with the system or the idols of the system that this meat was related to. The second group according to Paul was wrong. He says in verse 14 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” On the same topic he says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” What Paul is saying here is this. If the Word of God does not say something very specific and very clear on the issue, it is lawful. God has never said it is wrong to eat meat offered to idols, so if some Christians are okay with it, that is okay and the rest of us must live with it.

Now, we need to ask the following? What about those who think eating such meat is wrong, should we force them to eat such meat because we believe we can eat such meat and glorify God, and secondly, are we not a stumbling block to them if we do eat such meat at all? Now eating such meat is only one example, but there are hundreds of things we can disagree on in which both convictions can be done to the glory of God. This can be applied to any issue, TV, movies, smoking, dancing, moderate controlled drinking, music, participating in a beauty pageant, worship styles, service styles, educational choices, women working, antidepressants or not, and so the list goes on. Should the men in our midst not all be able to say, ‘I do not dance, drink or smoke and I do not go out with girls who do?’

So how do we act in regard to all these issues? Paul teaches us in Romans 14 at least four principles that we can apply whenever we encounter people who are different from us in their views on issues not addressed in Scripture. In understanding these we should be able to sort out our attitude. Let me also say, that there is not one set of rules for pastors and another set for church members. Now we might say, but does Paul not give a different set of rules to elders in Timothy and Titus? No, he does not do that. He is simply saying that if a normal Christian does not meet the standards of what a Christian should fully be, you do not elect him as an elder. He is not saying that the rules are different; otherwise we must conclude that a normal Christian can have more than one wife, can linger next to his wine, can have an angry nature, and does not have to rule his household well etc.  So let’s look at these principles that affect us all.