Monday, March 26, 2012

Who's the Judge anyway?

I had a vision while I was reading a book called “TheUltimate Treasure Hunt”, by Kevin Dedmon.   The author was talking about how Jesus came to serve (minister) and to provide forgiveness and healing.  In the vision I was preaching to a crowd, not sure where.  I was admonishing the church, telling them that they needed to love the prostitutes, and that the gay and lesbian communities needed to be reached with love.  As I was sharing I got the sense that the people in the crowd were getting angry and offended at what I was saying.

Then I saw a picture of the church setting up its own throne and judgment seat in front of Jesus.  The judgments that came from the fake throne were spoken from a spirit of religion and provoked hatred, a spirit of fear was the driving force behind the whole thing.  The throne was situated so that anyone that tried to enter The Throne Room was blocked by the fake throne and people were denied access to Jesus.   I then saw Jesus on His Throne and he was grieved by the false throne and that no one was making it to Him and He wept.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 the Apostle Paul is giving instruction on immorality, the people in the church were turning their judgment to those outside of the church, yet Paul’s focus was inside the church.

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 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.

In verse 11 Paul explains that anyone that is named brother, in other words anyone that is a part of the church, that participates in these things that you should not have fellowship with them, in fact he says to not even eat with them.  In my opinion this would be reserved only those that persist in this behavior not first time offenders, I think ultimately we should work toward restoration.  Paul lays this out to protect the people from being drawn into the same behavior.

12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

Paul says that it isn’t even his job to judge what is outside the church, but we do have responsibility to judge what it is in the church.

13 But those who are outside God judges….

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus instructs us:  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

And in Mark 16:15-16: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

We cannot “Go make disciples of all nations” or “Go into the all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” if we are sitting in judgment of those we are called to reach.  We are called to demonstrate His love not judgment.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (AMP): But God--so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation).

We so easily forget where we came from and the love and grace that was shown to us. It is not that we need to remain strapped to our past, but we do need to have memory markers showing where we came from.  We should never forget what was granted to us.

Another thing we need to look at is our discipleship process.  This process needs to be more about helping believers develop a deep personal relationship with God.  It should be more about learning to hear God’s voice, finding your identity in Him, being quickly obedient and accepting of discipline that comes from Jesus.  It has nothing to do learning about spiritual laws, qualifying for nursery duty, guilting others into service or propagating a judgmental religious spirit.

When we look at the world outside the church too many times we have a viewpoint of it is US vs. THEM.  Which brings us down to a level below what we are called to, we forget that we are victorious and He has authority in all things.  Instead we need to look at the basics of God’s heart and why He sent Jesus for us.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God’s Desire: That the whole world be saved because of His love of His creation

The World’s Condition: Broken and full of sin and sickness, because of broken relationship with God caused by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

God’s Solution:  Jesus, the final sacrifice for our sins, the mender of our relationship with Abba

Church’s Condition: Creating worldly structures driven by a spirit of religion to invoke fear in the hearts of the people in the church and keeps those that need Jesus the most from being able to see Him, know Him and be able to receive His love.

God’s Solution:  A great shaking that will remove these structures from their foundations, so that their foundations will be exposed. The churches that truly have Jesus as their chief cornerstone and built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:19-22), they will remain intact, but the others are going to need to do a remodel, they are going to need to go back to the basics and to do so under attack and persecution like Ezra and Nehemiah faced when they rebuilt the wall and the temple. But only those that receive a mandate from The King will be successful, the others will fall away because of the devastation that all they thought they knew and were building was exposed as a lie. It will then be up to the saints that have a strong foundation to reach out to these broken ones and bring restoration and the truth.