Pastor George’s Message...
Sunday, May 5, 2013
· Feb 17, 2013 EXTREME LOVE: (Introduction of Focus 40) “All Out Love For God”
· Feb 24, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: “The Test of Deeds” –Matt. 16:21-28 21:28-32
· Mar 3, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: “The Rejection of God’s Appeals” –Matthew 21:33-46
· Mar 10, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: “Be Prepared” –Matthew 25:1-13
· Mar 17, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: “Are All Created Equal” –Matthew 25:14-30
· Mar 24, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: (Palm Sunday) “The Judgment” –Matt. 25:31-46
· Mar 31, 2013 PASSION PARABLES: (Easter) “Making Light of the Kingdom” –Matt. 22:1-14
· Apr 7, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Our Debts” –Romans 13:8-10
· Apr 14, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Love One Another” –John 13:33-35
· Apr 21, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Consumed With Passion For One Another” –Rom 1:18-32
· Apr 28, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Devoted to One Another” –Romans 12:9-21
· May 5, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Stop Passing Judgment” –Romans 14:13-23
· May 12, 2013 MOTHER’S DAY: —Special Surprise Speeker
· May 19, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Same Mind One to Another” –Romans 15:5
· May 26, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Welcome One Another” –Romans 15:7-14
· June 2, 2013 ONE TO ANOTHER: “Submit To One Another in Christ” –Eph. 5:21-32
· June 9, 2013 FAMILY: “The Foundation of a Marriage” –Gen. 2:18-25
· June 16, 2013 FAMILY: “Marriage: A Subversive Activity” –Matt. 19:4-6
· June 23, 2013 FAMILY: “Find God in the Home” –Prov. 22:6
· June 30, 2013 FAMILY: “Handling Conflict in the Home” --Eph. 4:25-32
· July 7, 2013 4th of July Sunday: “The Bonds of Freedom” (See below)
Pastor George’s Preaching Schedule...
Called By God To Be A Multicultural Church
Reaching... Loving... Caring... in Jesus' Name
Tillman Road Church of God
Fort Wayne, IN
ONE TO ANOTHER:
Stop Passing Judgment
Scripture Lesson: --Romans 14:13-23 RSV
Key Verses: (vs. 13) "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”
I want us to take a look at another of the “One anther…” passages; this one is found in Romans 14:13, where Paul says: (vs. 13) "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”
In this whole chapter Paul is dealing with a problem which may have been a temporary and local problem in the Roman Church at the time, but which is also a problem in principle that continually confronts the church today and demands an answer.
And that is the question: “How do you handle disagreements over conscious questions and issues?”
When the Bible is silent on an issue and there’s disagreement over conduct, how do you decided?
In the Roman Church there apparently were two groups of people.
There was one group of people, probably new gentile Christians, who felt that the old taboos concerning what one ate were gone.
They believed that it made no difference what a person ate or drank, --that the old food laws of the OT were irrelevant, --and that the lists of clean and unclean animals which Leviticus describes, had nothing to do with their new found faith and freedom in Jesus Christ.
They believed that Christianity did not consist of the observance of special Jewish Holy Days and they believed that the time of strict Jewish Sabbath observance was gone.
Paul makes it clear that this, in fact, is the standpoint of real and full Christian faith.
But, on the other hand, there was another group of Christians, primarily those who were former Jews, who were very scrupulous, who still felt very strongly about observing all the OT taboos against certain foods and Sabbath practices…
They believed it was wrong to eat certain kinds of meat; and they believed in the strict and rigid observance of one day, as the Sabbath.
Paul calls the ultra-scrupulous person, a person “weak in the faith”. (vs. 14)
But the real question was not so much who was “weaker” or “stronger” in the faith; the real question is: How can we get along as Christians when we have these disagreements over these kinds of issues?
That’s the real question, we are faced with.
There will always be those in the Church who see nothing wrong with certain innocent pleasures or recreations or behavior or habits, but which other people in the Church will strongly appose and would not be able in all good conscious to do themselves… the use of alcohol would be a case in point… certain kinds of entertain might be another case in point… military service is another one.
And so the question is: “How do we get along with each other when there is honest disagreement concerning issues of conscience?”
In answer to that question, Paul lays down two principles in our Key Verse today which I believe is very helpful, and which will alleviate the conflict which often occurs in the Church when we do disagree over these gray issues… these conscience questions.
Stop Passing Judgment: (vs. 13a)
First of all Paul says: “Let us stop passing judgment on one another…”
Paul lays out the same principle in verse 10 of this chapter when he asks: “..Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
There is one fundamental and basic reason why we as human beings have no right to judge anyone else; and that is the fact we are each one of us to stand under the same judgment ourselves.
As William Barclay says, “It is the very essence of humanity that we are not the judges but the judged.”
Jesus himself said: (Matt. 7:1-2) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
One of the hardest things for most of us as Christians to do, especially those of us who grew up in a very strict conservative Church background, is for us to learn to accept one another without judging one another.
That’s part of what it means to love conditionally; --accepting another person without judging them.
We know what Jesus says about judging, --we know what Paul says here about judging, and so to get around “not judging”, we call it “fruit inspecting”.
We quote Jesus’ words: (Matt. 7:16) “By their fruit you will recognize them…”
But we don’t take what Jesus says in context.
In this passage Jesus is not talking about judging one another spiritually; he’s talking about: How do we tell if someone is a “false prophet” or not.
He says: (vs. 15-20) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (How do you know if they are sheep or wolves?) “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a dad tree bears bad fruit. A good three cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Jesus is talking about how you choose leadership.
You choose leadership in the Church by the fruits they have shown… the fruit of the Spirit.
But no where in this passage does it say we are to judge one another’s spirituality, --one another’s personal relationship with God.
Only God can truly judge one’s personal relationship with God.
Even in choosing leadership, we cannot really judge another person’s true spirituality… people can fool us sometimes.
The only person who has any right to judge anyone, --the only person who can really judge another person, is God, Himself.
Only God can look into the heart and soul and mind of a person and judge his real conscious and intent of heart.
We have all been fooled by those who put on a good front; --who seemingly show all the right fruit, --who come to us in “sheep’s clothing”, but inside they are rotten, --inside they are “ravenous wolves.”
That’s why only God can really judge the true spirituality of a person.
When we start judging one another, we are talking on the prerogatives of God, and we are walking on thin ice before God.
When we judge another, we are asking for God’s judgment against us.
Of course the argument comes: “Well if we accept everyone into the Church without judgment, it’ll look like we are condoning what they are doing.”
Taking our personal judgment off a person doesn’t mean we are agreeing with what he has said or done or his life-style.
It simply means we will not play God, --we will not act as his judge, --we will not pronounce a guilty verdict on him.”
We are reminded the Bible says: (Rom. 12:19) “’It is mine to avenge; I will repay’, says the Lord.”
All we have to do is be faithful to what God’s word says, --preach and teach the word in all of its fullness, and let God and the Holy Spirit do the convicting and the judging.
Jesus says: (Lk. 6:37) “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
When we release people from our own personal judgment, we create an atmosphere, where people can feel loved and accepted and where they will be able to hear and receive the Gospel… and then the Gospel will be able to speak to their behavior and lifestyle.
But as soon as we start judging and criticizing people, we create an atmosphere of rejection and there’s no way anyone will come and feel welcome and ever be able to hear and accept the goodnews of the Gospel in that kind of judgmental, --critical atmosphere.
I ran across a rather humorous story that so beautifully illustrates, why we can never truly judge another person’s intentions by his actions:
A Mr. Jones picked up the wrong umbrella in a hotel lobby and was about to walk out with it when the rightful owner of the umbrella called attention to his mistake.
Anyway, embarrassed, Mr. Jones offered his apologies to the other person.
Finding his own umbrella, he went on his way.
The incident, however, reminded him that he had promised to buy both his wife and daughter an umbrella.
And so to his delight he found that a local store nearby had them on sale, so he bought two. (Get the picture!)
Just as Mr. Jones was getting into his car with his own umbrella and the two new purchases, he saw the man he had encountered earlier in the hotel.
The man from the hotel eyed him suspiciously, then seeing the three umbrellas hooked over his arm, the stranger exclaimed rather sarcastically as they passed, “Well, I see you had a good day after all!”
Although Mr. Jones, our friend, blushed and was terribly embarrassed, he was not guilty of any wrongdoing, but from the point of view of the other man, it looked like he was terrible guilty.
That’s why we should never judge another person; we may see his actions, but unless we can see and know his true intentions, as only God can, we have no right to really judge him.
I think we have all found ourselves in the position of Mr. Jones, where our actions looked terribly incriminating and where our actions have been judged wrongly, but our intentions were right.
And when we’re judged that way, it always hurts a great deal; so it should make us realize why we should never judge someone else.
Put No Stumbling Block:
Paul says: “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another”; then we come to the second principle Paul lays down: “Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”
I like William Barclay’s paraphrase of this verse; he says: “So, then, let us stop passing judgment on each other, and rather let this be our only judgment—the determination not put any hindrance or stumbling-block in our brother’s way.”
The Stoics of Paul’s day use to teach that there are a great many things which they called a-dia-po-ra… that is “indifferent”.
These things in and of themselves are neither good nor bad; --they are neutral; --they are “indifferent”.
But how one views or handles these things is what makes them good or bad.
Let me give you some examples:
The medium of Television, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad; it is what we put on TV and
(Continued on bottom of Prayer & Praise Page)