Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Trickle Down Effect

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God...
...and the Word became flesh!

We can all remember the words of John as he wrote about Jesus. It is easy to see by reading the Scriptures what he says about Jesus. Jesus was in the beginning with God, in fact, Jesus is God. He became flesh and dwelt among us.

Now, imagine a pastor who would take this scripture and twist it so that he could create his own message. A man by the name of Joseph Smith did this. He was not a pastor, but instead was a self-proclaimed prophet. He said that Jesus was the brother of Lucifer. He also claimed that Jesus was "once" a man who became God. He then went on to teach his followers that they too, could become a god of their own planet. Today, millions of people are still following after this lie, they have been deceived by the great deceiver himself, Satan!

There is a trickle down effect. What the people are taught, is what many people will believe and will also exhibit in their daily lives.

Case in point...
I have written lately about a pastor here that is not teaching the Bible in its full authority. He is a story teller and has no ability (at least he has not demonstrated an ability) to properly teach the Bible. In fact, he is the first to tell you that he is not a teacher of the Word. He is a "pastor."

Now, we look at a person who serves under his leadership. A youth leader.
Upon visiting his myspace account, I came across a listing of songs on his site. Kid Rock songs which are filled with the "F" word and a completely sexual theme. Also, on his page is the mention of what he likes...
girls, girls, girls!! This person has been arrested in the past for having sex with a minor.
This person is a youth leader in this church!

When I confronted him about the vulgar songs, he became extremely defensive and said I was judging him. He said it hurt his feelings that I would judge him. He also said, "why are you picking on me??" He said the Bible tells us we are not to judge. He then went on to try quoting scripture to me in an effort to defend himself and to knock me down.

While the bible does say we are not to judge the world, we are called to make a righteous judgment.

Righteous judgment is being restored to the church. A religious spirit has deceived us for far too long into believing that we are not to judge. In fact, you’re probably quoting Matt. 7:1 to yourself right now (or is that a religious spirit ministering to you)?“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” That seems to be pretty clear cut. Some ministers have pounded it into our heads from pulpits for so long, that we all are real quick to pound someone else with it if they try to speak a word of correction to us, “you’re judging me brother, judge not lest you be judged!”

We desperately need to rightly divide this passage of truth, and not with the human reasoning and American dictionaries that has led to such wrong understanding resulting in a destructive lack of knowledge.It was Jesus Himself who said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” but then we find Paul saying in I Cor. 5:3 “For I.. have already judged.. concerning him who has so done this deed.” Was Paul being directly disobedient to the words of Jesus here? Of-course not! But he would have been told that by the religious church today- “Now Paul, you’re judging that man, judge not.”Yes, Paul is judging and rightfully so! Paul goes on to tell the Corinthian Church to deliver such a one to Satan and put away from yourselves that wicked person, and that they were to do it in the name of Jesus and with the power of Jesus (I Cor. 5:4,5,13).

Then in verse 12, Paul openly challenges them in an attempt to awaken them to righteous judgment, “Do you not judge those who are inside?” I Cor. 5:12 in the T.E.V. reads like this- “But should you not judge the members of your own fellowship? The Anderson Greek N. T. - “But isn’t it true that you people must judge those in your own group?It would seem as if we do have a contradiction here; the instruction of Jesus in Matt. 7:1 vs. Paul’s actions in I Cor. 5:1-13. Why is it, that when we know God is leading us to speak a word of correction into a situation that needs it and we have already discerned the heart of the Father about it, that the very words “judge not” shuts us down?

It’s because we have a wrong understanding of Matt. 7:1, and ministers have beat the sheep with it for so long that we now beat each other with it ourselves.So what is the right understanding?The Greek word for judge #2919 Κρινώ, pronounced Krino, means here in Matt. 7:1- to condemn, to damn, to punish and avenge. Whereas, in I Cor. 5:3&12 it means- to judge properly, an issue of decision, to distinguish. This living understanding, rightly dividing the word of truth, sets us free to now obey both Scripture passages. Let’s remove the controversy and the ignorant & demonic attempts to stop righteous judgment.We are to obey Jesus’ instruction not to condemn lest we be condemned. For with what condemnation we damn with to punish and avenge, the same measure will be measured back to us. We will reap what we sow. And at the same time, we must obey our responsibility to judge. In fact, this life within our church experience prepares us to execute righteous judgment on a much larger scale- one day we shall judge angels and the world (I Cor. 6:2-3).

Also consider this, Jesus went on to say in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets... you will know them by their fruits.” For us to be able to beware and know calls for a judgment which allows us to distinguish and produce a decision. This truth can free you and destroy that false mind-set. The entrance of His words give light. The NAS says- The unfolding of Thy words gives light, It gives understanding to the simple. Prerequisites for Righteous JudgmentThere are prerequisites required of us to be used by God in any significant capacity, especially righteous judgment.Knowledge and Understanding. What is righteous judgment? It is to be judged or governed by a pronounced verdict which is just and fair. “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous.” (Ps. 119:75 NASB).

Judgments here is the Hebrew word #4941 Mishpat, meaning- a verdict pronounced judicially, to be judged or governed to promote justice. “The LORD is a God of [Mishpat]” (Isa.30:18) and “loves [Mishpat]” (Ps. 37:28).Righteous judgment is required when disobedience, idolatry, arrogance, cruelty, persistent unfaithfulness, abominations, ect.. continue. Most of the time, the desired end result of righteous judgment is to produce repentance and bring restoration- “Brethren, if anyone among you wander from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one..” (Gal. :6:1).

Know and understand that it’s not condemnation, but rather righteous judgment if someone has determined that you have wandered from the truth into error or have been overtaken in a trespass if they seek to restore you. Quit telling people not to judge you if you need to be judged. What you don’t need is condemnation. That’s not righteous judgment, and neither is slandering, criticism or false and malicious statements which are injurious to a persons’ character or a ministries’ reputation.There are other prerequisite conditions that must be met before one is to administer and execute righteous judgment.

Self Examination.
Ministry without self-examination will never be used by God to execute righteous judgment. Too much ministry is built on unresolved anger, unhealthy needs for approval, and the instinct to control. Failing to explore our own soul for unwholeness will only lead to hypocrisy and partiality when we try to judge a situation and bring correction, it will not minister the wisdom that is from above.Jesus said, “Hypocrite! First remove the plan from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). “First remove the plank from your own eye.” First before what? First before what would follow and be second- “..then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus desires for us to be able to remove the speck out of our brother’s eye, but He demands that we first examine ourselves and purify our motives. We must first remove any obstacles that would obstruct or pervert our vision to see clearly to minister to our brother. Let us remove the planks of pride, arrogance, ignorance, contention (a quarrelsome spirit), insincerity, operating out of a wounded spirit and especially presumption (to speak or act without warrant, performing actions without authority). Our brother will be delivered by pure hands (Job 22:30). “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).We must abound in Love and be Spiritually minded. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent [or distinguish between the things which differ. Note from NASB] (Phil. 1:9-10 NASB).

Love precedes everything, including real knowledge and all discernment.We also must be spiritually minded to make righteous judgments and restore those overtaken in trespasses. “..he who is spiritual judges all things..” (I Cor. 2:15). “..if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). This verse in Galatians also shows us right approach- spirit of gentleness; and right motive- to restore. This verse also reinforces the self-examination principle- considering yourself. The NASB says “looking to” yourself. The Greek word is #4648 ,,κο,,έώ, pronounced skopeo, and means - to look toward, to contemplate, to spy out. God will always speak the truth in love and by His Spirit.

When people cry out, "Stop judging me!" it makes a person wonder, "why are they yelling back?" Is it because they do not want their sins to be found out? This youth leader has just graduated from bible school and yet he has not got a clue on how to use Scripture. And his life is bearing no good fruit. Sure, he has improved on some parts of his life. No more drugs, no smoking and drinking. That is awesome and I pray he continues in that path. but to promote vulgar and sexual themes on his myspace site, which is visited by all of his youth, is completely irresponsible and immoral. We are called to make a righteous judgment concerning this lack of moral leadership within the church. He is a professing believer but his walk does not match his talk.

When God's Word is not preached from behind the pulpit, is it any wonder why the rest of the leadership fails?

Do you want to see this trickle down effect...
A pastor that does not teach God's Word in its fullness...
A youth leader who does not live as a Christian and is teaching the youth...
Youth themselves openly engaging in sex and feeling no problems with it as Christians.

It's happening and it is sad. God's Word MUST be preached in its fullness. Sin must be preached against and the need for repentance MUST come alive once again in our churches. Friendship evangelism is showing its fruits and it has gone bad.

God's Word will never fail. Teach it, preach it and live it to its fullest!


WayneDawg said...

Amen -

The fruit of friendship evangelism has always been small berries of poison.

Very good post

pastorbrianculver said...

The fruit of friendship evangelism has always been small berries of poison.

ooh, very good!!!!!

Question of Identity said...

"it’s not condemnation, but rather righteous judgment if someone has determined that you have wandered from the truth into error or have been overtaken in a trespass if they seek to restore you."

Thanks for this very clear post Brian. It has certainly helped me to think through the difference between condemnation and judgment and I will be more able to clearly defend my position when being accused of being 'judgmental'.


RHEA said...

"This person has been arrested in the past for having sex with a minor.
This person is a youth leader in this church!"

Wow...so that's really messed up. I wonder if the parents of the children in the youth group now about this.

pastorbrianculver said...

I doubt if they do! It all falls under the guise of...
"We have all sinned and we must keep the past in the past!"
It bothers me when the past keeps up with the present!!!!