A couple of weeks ago I spoke about an Anglican church which broke away from it’s diocese over the issue of denomination accepting homosexuals into their pulpits. The congregation voted 83% in favour of leaving the diocese. I have yet to hear what the fallout of that decision will be. It could very well be that they will be asked to leave the building they worship in. One person wrote and said that I and many Christians were being judgemental in these things. It is the one thing that the world always throws up in the faces of those Christians who want to stand for righteousness. It seems always ok for them to judge us in these matters, making them guilty of the very thing they accuse us of. They use the verses from Matthew 7:1-2 we all know very well. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” It sounds pretty convincing doesn’t it? I’m sure many of you have been told that many times over. If it is the case then we Christians truly don’t have a right to confront anyone about their sin. But is that the whole of what Jesus was saying?
Let’s look at John 7:24; “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Compared with Matthew 7:1 Jesus seems to be contradicting Himself. Let’s look at Matthew 7:1-2 in context;
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
In other words, if you have sin in your life how can you point out the sin of another. First confess your sins and get yourself right with God and then bring the others sin to their attention and help them deal with it.
When Christians persist in sin, they are to be judged by their fellow Christians, as Paul explained to the Corinthians:
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
The person I spoke suggested that we have no right to judge who speaks from our pulpit. That’s not what the scripture above teaches. It says we are not to have fellowship with that person. Pastors need to be above reproach. If they are living a life of sin, they have no right to be teaching the word of God. A leader leads by example and if there is sexual sins in that person life than it must be dealt with. That person cannot be allowed to continue to minister. Sin cannot be allowed run unchecked amongst any part of a congregation or it will poison it to the point that that congregation will become ineffective. Think about how many dead churches there are out there. Empty shells, a shadow of what they used to be simply because they allowed sin to fester in their midst and accepted it as normal.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Matthew 5:13
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6
And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“ I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“ Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
Each of the above scriptures talk about separating yourself from those who walk outside of God’s will and according to these scriptures St. Stephens congregation is right in the steps they are taking.
The only way we as believers can obey these scriptures is by using judgement but it always has to come from a heart that has been cleansed and forgiven. (removing that log) And most of all it has to come from a heart of love.