Judge NOT! (part 1)

I think Matthew 7:1, judge not least you are judged, is the most mis-interpreted and best remembered verse in the Bible. I have heard that so many times from so many different types of people, but always for the exact same reason- someone is being told that what they are doing is wrong. Well, when someone says you shouldn’t judge, they are right (to a certain extent)… AND, at the same time, very wrong. I know that might sound like double speak, but let me explain…

Ever hear the expression, so-and-so has really good judgment? The simple fact is that it is an integral part of our lives. If you have ever said to someone, that person is really nice, then welcome to the club- you have just made a judgment call about someone. It was a positive judgment, but a judgment none-the-less.

Secondly, if there was no judging, then there would be no prisons. In reality, people have no problem judging others, especially if it involves some kind of personal violation they can identify with, like rape or murder. If it can happen to them, they are fine with judging it.

They just don’t want you judging THEM, especially if it is one of the “I’m not hurting anyone” activities people participate in. These include things like pre-marital sex, homosexuality, and getting drunk. I have heard someone justify stealing from department stores because the stores can afford it and then get upset when someone labels them as a thief.

When someone says “you shouldn’t judge others”, what they are really saying is, “I want to live my life any way I want to without having to worry about judgment down the road, and in order for that to happen, you can’t start saying that what people are doing is wrong… unless I agree that that it is wrong.”

So why does that verse say don’t judge? (Dive in with me into Matthew 7:1-5 in part 2)

Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  

I sin but I am not THAT bad!

I have a very close relative that admits that she has “sinned” in the past, but does not believe that she deserves Hell for the things that she has done. She thinks that her sins are just little mistakes that God is going to overlook. She has not done anything that bad that would send her to Hell. Oh, buy the way she calls herself a Christian.electrichalo

She supports her position by reminding me that the Bible was “written by men”, and she does not believe everything that is in that book because men make mistakes. Which is a perfect excuse for her to never read it.

This is ALL too common. Many of the professing Christians I talk with think they are good enough to get into heaven. That is why you cannot take someone’s word when they say they are a Christian, even if they admit that they are a sinner. They might have a radically different definition for what a sinner is than what the Scriptures teach. If this is the case, then there is a problem.

Now, this very well may be a communication problem, because humans are extremely complicated creatures. So I have started using a couple of questions to try and cut to the heart of the matter. If I feel that someone is trying to justify their sin, or thinks that they are a good person, I will probably use the questions below.

  • Do you think that you deserve Hell? –This one is kinda harsh and straight forward, but it does sober people up pretty quick! Sometimes I soften it up a little by asking, “What do you think you deserve, Heaven or Hell?”
  • Would you say that your heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked? (Jer 17:9)   –A Christian is someone who has seen his true state before a Holy God. This question can tell me a lot about a person.

Christ said that many will seek to enter in and will not be able (Lk 13:24). If you are going to be a witness for Christ, you need to understand that the greatest deception does not come from outside the church –atheism, post modernism, etc… it comes from within the church (or more accurately, the professing church). If the devil can get people to think they are already Christians, then that is much move effective than fighting them tooth and nail.


Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Christian who never broke a commandment?

Sometimes I meet someone who really causes me to scratch my head and say to myself.. “I don’t get it!” Let me explain myself. Awhile back I was in Raleigh at an outside style mall, and I had a chance to sit down beside an older lady who said she was a Presbyterian. I started asking her a couple of questions and the conversation started to get interesting. (I never take someone’s word that they are a Christian, if they are, then they will LOVE to talk about their savior, and if their not, then most likely they will get a little snippy.)

She said that she was trying to do the right things in order to get into heaven- reading her bible, being good, praying, etc… So I said, “Did you know that God was going to judge us by the 10 commandments? How do you think you do if God did that?” To that she said, “Oh, I think I would pretty good.” So I started taking her through some of the commandments.. here is how it went.

Me– “Have you ever lied before? That is the 9th commandment”

Woman– “No! I don’t lie to people. I am a very honest person.”

Me– “Wow! Really? Never even once?”

Woman– “No, not that I can ever remember.”

Me– “Ever stolen anything? That is the 8th commandment.”

Woman– “No. I have never stolen anything in my life.”

Me– “OK, Ever used God’s name in vain… Even if you said something like “Oh my G__?”

Woman– “Never. Never.”

Me– “Have you ALWAYS put God first and foremost in your life?” …(Look at Psa 14:3)

Woman– “Yes, I have always tried to put him first every day of my life.”

Me– (Trying to find SOMETHING) “Well, Jesus said whoever looks with lust commits adultery in their heart, is it possible you have ever done that?”

Woman– “No. I have never looked with lust.”

Me– “Wow, it kinda sounds like your perfect. Are you perfect?”

Woman– “Well, I am not perfect; I have made some minor mistakes, but nothing bad.”

Me– “Let me ask you this, why do you need a savior? If you have not broken any of the commandments, why did Jesus have to die?”

Woman– (Very politely) “I don’t think I want to talk about this any more.”

See what I mean? I just don’t get it!! Isn’t Christianity supposed to be about forgiveness of SINS?? Why join the club if you’re not a SINNER?? It is important to remember that just because someone attends all the church functions, or carries a Bible around, or lifts their hands in praise to God, it doesn’t mean that they are a child of God. I will talk about what a true Christian looks like later.


Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments (3)  

He who continues in sin…

… is of the devil (1Jn 3:8).

Lets say that you went up to a stranger and asked him what was going on in his life, knowing nothing else about him, and his answer was something like this- “Well, I was caught having a homosexual affair on my wife… again. It would have continued if I had not been caught. I have been lying to everyone, trying to hide it so I would not get in trouble.” What would you say about that man? Do you think it is possible that he is right with God? What if he said to you, “Oh, I am a Christian”, would your attitude toward him change?

I have seen situations like this where people have said, “Oh he is still a Christian, he is just a backslider.” One such incident was concerning the Ted Haggard scandal. Bloggers were defending Pastor Haggard’s salvation while others were saying that it was not possible that he was a Christian at all.

This begs the question, at what point can we say that a person is really a false Christian? Some would say that we cannot make that judgment at all. Or are these people, who are living in a lifestyle of sin, just backsliders who need a little TLC? Do we need to dust them off and prop them back up in the pew, or should we witness to them as we would someone who never claimed to be Christian in the first place?

What if I told you that I am a Christian, but every two weeks I go out and rape a woman and then murder her because I am ashamed of my actions? Don’t all Christians still sin? This may be an extreme case, but I have had people try and justify their actions. Here is the answer I give them.

The answer is YES, Christians do still sin. I am sure I sin every single day, but understand that there is a distinction between falling into sin and diving into it. The unregenerate heart runs to sin. It drinks it like water, it is unrepentant. It is a slave to sin, it can’t help it. People with unregenerate hearts live in a lifestyle of sin, they may know that what they are doing is wrong, but it doesn’t stop them from fulfilling their lusts.

But the heart that has been crucified with Christ is made anew, with new thoughts and new desires. That heart HATES sin. Those people are marked by a thirst for holiness and repentance. They read God’s word, they reach out to the lost, they spend time in prayer and the look to grow in Christ and die more and more to themselves. They are broken by their sin, not empowered by it. If they sin, it is against their will. They FALL rather than DIVE.

The problem is, we are so quick to pronounce someone saved that we forget that true salvation shows itself in our actions not in our profession of faith. I know people who go to church on Sunday and raise their hands in praise to God and then sin to their hearts content until it is time to go back to church.

The apostle John wrote that if you say that you have a relationship with God, but you walk in darkness, then you are a liar and the truth is not in you. And for those of us who know people who are living in persistent sin, we need the courage to reach out to these people and let them know we are concerned for their salvation.


Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Buddha loves you

I know people who think they are sharing their faith just by saying “Jesus loves you” to non-Christians, but what if I told you, “Buddha loves you”? What impact would my statement have on you? I doubt any; in fact it sounds kinda foolish. In the same way the bible says that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But why is that?

Imagine this, you are sitting on a dock overlooking some turbulent water, but you are safe and sound, enjoying the view. All of a sudden, a man comes running down the dock screaming, “I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!” and jumps in the water and drowns. What would run through your mind… lunatic, nutjob, wacko?

Now lets say you actually fell into that churning water, you were drowning, there was no way to save yourself, but suddenly a man dives head first into that dangerous water without hesitation. With all of his strength he thrusts you up onto the dock, crying out, “I love you, I love you” and slips beneath the water. Knowingly giving his life to save YOU. What would you think of that man now?

The love of God is a sacrificial love reflected in the cross of Jesus Christ, but to the world, they are safe on the dock of their self-righteousness. From their point of view, then don’t need saving. They don’t see that they are drowning in their sin. It makes no sense to them. It’s like telling you that Buddha loves you. To tell someone the love of Jesus, first, show them the water they are drowning in by holding up the mirror of the 10 Commandments, the holy laws they have violated, and then preach Christ crucified.


Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 7:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Friend Day… and a heavy heart

At a church that I have been visiting, they had their annual friend day, which reported some impressive numbers visiting Sunday School. The evening service was mostly dedicated to talking about what happened and it kind of left me with a heavy heart. Let me tell you what I experienced and show you my perspective.

The numbers were outstanding. it was reported that, overall, there were more vistiors than all the goals of the individual Sunday School classes combined. Therefore, God MUST have been in this effort. It was also reported that a lot of people worked very hard in inviting people to come. They were persistent, asking people over and over. Even going so far as getting people to sign commitment cards and mailing it back to them before the service to remind them to come. They emphasized the hard work that people went through to invite people.

The congregation gave a standing ovation when the numbers were read. It was also suggested that for the church members that new someone that didn’t come, keep on being persistent and ask them, “What about next Sunday?”

Let me say that I don’t mind people inviting someone to church, but I do have an issue with church being an outreach program. Let me be absolutely clear, you are not fulfilling the great commission by inviting someone to church. That is NOT evangelism! Our churches seem to spend massive amounts of time, effort, money, and prayer getting people into our churches, but what we should be doing is pouring this effort in equiping the members to GO OUT and preach the Gospel to every creature. You want your church to grow? THEN GO OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF YOUR CHURCH WITNESS TO SOMEONE!!! Tell a stranger about sin, judgment to come, righteousness, and give them the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to say that the numbers verified that God was working in this effort, then I would have to say the same thing for Joel Osteen’s church, or Rick Warren’s, or Rob Bell’s, or Perry Nobel’s, or Bill Hybel’s. Is it possible this was a man centered effort, producing a result from hard work instead of divine blessing?

I think we have lost our orginial mandate and we have looked to our pastor to do the heavy lifting. That is why my heart is heavy.


Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Never heard the name of Jesus

I want you to think about this statement and then think about why it totally drives me crazy! “People go to Hell because they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior”. So what happens to those who never get the opportunity to even hear the name of Jesus?

Now think about this… If you had to jump from an airplane at 20,000ft without a parachute what happen? The law of gravity would take effect and you would plummet to your death. Did the parachute kill you? What if you had never even heard of a parachute before, would that alter the law of gravity? No? If you violate the law of gravity, you suffer the consequences. In fact, it’s the parachute saves you from that law.

In the same way, if you violate the law of God (His 10 commandments), you must be held accountable. The bible says that God has given everyone a conscience. The world conscience means “with knowledge”. You know it is wrong to lie, steal, hate, have sex out side of marriage, commit adultery… and yet we do them with full knowledge of what we are doing. The Bible calls this the law of sin and death. Jesus Christ is the parachute that saves us from that law. The Bible even tells us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:14).

People go to Hell because they are guilty of breaking Gods laws- NOT because they don’t accept Christ. If someone never hears of Jesus, they will be alright as long as they have not violated God’s laws, but if they have, then they have done it WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE. That is why Scripture says that the whole world is guilty before God. Ya know what I mean?


Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Funny and convicting? What a combo!

Here is a funny video about tithing called “God’s pies”. It really convicting too. Check it out…

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is Sunday morning your church’s outreach program?

Most churches tell their members to reach out and invite people to church in hopes that they might hear the gospel, and give their lives to Christ. Even visitation is about getting people to come to our church. So what does Scripture tell us about outreach and what is the primary role of the church?

First and foremost, church is about God, not people. Believers coming together to worship Him. Church is also about fellowship- “forsake not the gathering of the saints together” (Heb 10:25). Another function of the church is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12). The church instructs us for the outreach that we are supposed to be doing outside of the church walls. Non-believers are welcome, but church is primarily for believers.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. Each one of us has been commanded to go. Just inviting someone to church or saying “Jesus loves you” does not fulfill your obligation.

One local group I know of did a prayer walk and they thought that was “outreach”. It’s not. Reaching out is when you reason with someone about sin, judgment, righteousness, or Hell (Acts 24:25). Reaching out is when someone is given the gospel of Jesus Christ. Outreach is not the responsibility of your pastor, it sits on our shoulders to take the gospel into a dying world. Are you ready to go?


Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Have you no wish for others to be saved?

The Prince of Preachers

The Prince of Preachers

I was talking with a friend on my porch one weekend about the series I was going through called “Way of the Master“, and I asked him if he felt any obligation to reach out to those who are perishing and going to Hell; to which he responded- “no”.

So I said, “Imagine you died and you standing before the gates of heaven, about to enter in, and you see you friends and family being cast into Hell for their sins. You had the knowledge of everlasting life, if you would have spoken up, they might have turned and repented. How would you feel? Wouldn’t that be horrible?”

Then he replied, “There will be no tears in heaven.”

The only thing I could think of at that moment were the words of Charles Spurgeon when he wrote, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” Ouch… I will repeat that.

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.

Jesus Christ came to seek and save that which is lost. If he lives within you, then his burden will be your burden. His passion will be reflected in your life.


Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 6:55 am  Comments (1)