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Judgment and Discipline – Part 2

You can read Part 1 of this series here.

Again, let’s sum up the first post. While the ultimate judgment comes from God, the Lord Jesus makes it clear that judging another is not only permissible, but is commanded to be fulfilled. However, this judgment is only to be based on issues of the heart. It is not to be done with harshness, but in a way that shows humility as well as a true desire to follow the dictates of Scripture. If Scripture is NOT the basis for judging another, then it is wrong.

We come now to the second part of Judgment. How is the matter of judgment addressed by the early New Testament church and in particular by the apostles as they addressed the believers in each local assembly? Were the antics, false teachings, and sin found even in the early New Testament swept under the rug so-to-speak? Do we find the apostles “judging” the lives of those who claimed the name of Christ? Let’s look at a few examples that run contrary to the modern mindset that we are “not to judge.”

1. Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 are a good place to start. They sinned against God and lied to the apostles about a financial matter. Surely, that couldn’t be a really serious matter. After all, I’m sure everybody was doing it to some degree. WRONG ANSWER! God killed them. Judgment fell and it was handled by the church leaders in a way that made it clear to the condemned couple as well as to those in and outside of the church that sin is to be judged.

2. To the Romans, Paul wrote in Romans 16:17, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

3. We move to the environs of Corinth and find a situation where a man was involved in sexual relations with his father’s wife (step-mom). Paul wrote to the believers and encouraged them to embrace this man and just love him back to Jesus. WRONG ANSWER! He soundly rebuked this church for allowing the sin to continue and informed them in harsh terms that if they did not deal with the problem, then he was going to when he arrived. Paul clearly is addressing believers, even those who are deliberately choosing to enjoy the fruits of sin for a season.

1 Cor. 5:9-12, “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?

4. Gal. 6:1-2, “Brethren, 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. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse will feature significantly in regards to the matter of discipline, but is worth mentioning here as well. For there to be restoration, there must be a time of judgment where the sin of the individual is brought to account.

5. Paul then writes to the believers in Thessalonica and gives three words of admonition and exhortation in regards to judging. In each instance, he is referring to those who claim the name of Christ. He does not say one word about “just accepting them as they are.” In the strongest of language, Paul reiterates the position the early New Testament church was to hold against a brother who does not obey the words taught from Scripture by the apostle. DO NOT KEEP COMPANY WITH THEM! Why? So, they will be ashamed and turn from their sin. No other way to describe this term, but that it is judgment against another believer.

A) 1 Thess. 5:14, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
B) 2 Thess. 3:6, “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.”
C) 2 Thess. 3:14-15, “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.”

6. When writing to the young elder, Timothy, Paul says in 2 Tim. 2:25-26, “In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. Again, this judgment is AGAINST those who are believers. They are opposing some aspect of the truth and yet Paul clearly commands a young elder, who was NOT an apostle, to judge those individuals.

7. Finally, Paul wrote to Titus, who was sent to minister to the Cretans. This group of people were notorious for being lazy gluttons. In Titus 3:10-11, he lets Titus know that he is commanded to “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

Let’s summarize – the early New Testament church looked much different than today’s church. Today’s church is self-seeking and refuses to condemn sin. They want to take one phrase of the Lord Jesus Christ to the exclusion of the remainder of His teachings as well as ignoring the teachings of the apostles. The early New Testament church grew tremendously because people FEARED the Lord. Sinners were afraid to be caught in their sin for it meant being excluded from the protection of the local assembly. Judgment was expected both from the church corporately as well as by individuals who noted another who chose to remain in their sin.

It is our responsibility to judge one who remains in their sin. When a person rejects the admonitions of a caring, loving, and humble believer who desires their restoration, that person is to be shunned and treated as an unbeliever. We are not to invite them into our home for fellowship all the while hoping that things will change in their lives. In other words, we do NOT continue to treat them as we would a brother or sister who is striving for a life of holiness.

The bottom line is this in regards to judgment – NO JUDGMENT = NO HOLINESS. NO HOLINESS = NO PURITY. NO PURITY = NO CHURCH. NO CHURCH = NO LIFE. NO LIFE = NO CHRIST!

(…to be continued…)

About Mark Escalera

Name: Mark Escalera - (formerly The Jungle Missionary) Blog: DefendingContending.Com Ministry: I am a sinner saved by grace, and learning every day how much more I need the Lord directing my life. In a graceless world, my desire is to show to others the grace that has been extended to me. Have been married for almost 25 years and we have been blessed with five children with the oldest three serving in the US Air Force. My passion is seeking to minister the precious life-giving Word of God to those dead in trespasses and sins! Humbled that He would choose me as one of His children! Preferred translation: English Standard Version (ESV) Currently studying: Psalms Currently reading: The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

8 comments on “Judgment and Discipline – Part 2

  1. The bottom line is this in regards to judgment – NO JUDGMENT = NO HOLINESS. NO HOLINESS = NO PURITY. NO PURITY = NO CHURCH. NO CHURCH = NO LIFE. NO LIFE = NO CHRIST!

    Great post! Humbling to the flesh, encouraging to the spirit. A wonderful, refreshing look at a topic ignored in far too many churches.

    I thank the Lord for men who shrink back not from preaching the Word of God.

  2. Desert Pastor,

    Today’s church is self-seeking and refuses to condemn sin.

    Well… we wouldn’t want to offend them.

    I mean, after all… how can we address their unmet needs if we constantly preach sin and righteousness?

    Besides, studies show that motorcycles racing around and rock bands attract a lot more people to ‘church’ than an expository sermon from the Bible… Didn’t you know that?

    It’s what the goa.. I mean PEOPLE want!

    (/sarcasm)

    Your post hits another home run, Desert Pastor.

    Thank you for blessing us with this series.

  3. Hi DP. I assume this is the explanation we discussed. I read the first installment, but didn’t feel like commenting. I can understand why you’ve enacted “Rule #8″ on this blog – Christian tolerance doesn’t entail that we should allow anyone with a Christian blog to represent Christians because we shouldn’t judge them, and when y’all see red flags in “the church” of course they need to be addressed. I do not advocate an “under-the-rug” policy for responding to biblical distortion. Hopefully the knowledge that we agree there might help my original message become more clear. I was never saying that as believers we are not to judge; rather, I’m saying as believers we should use discernment, grace and salt.

    “While the ultimate judgment comes from God, the Lord Jesus makes it clear that judging another is not only permissible, but is commanded to be fulfilled. However, this judgment is only to be based on issues of the heart. It is not to be done with harshness, but in a way that shows humility as well as a true desire to follow the dictates of Scripture.”

    That hits the nail on the head. All I was saying in that original thread (about Garrido) was that I felt harshness coming from various believers here, and you the author of the post. As you say, scripturally-justified judgment must be based on issues of the heart. All that had to be said was, “[Garrido's actions] aren’t in line with Scripture” and that would have been sufficient. We don’t need to actually insult or attack the man. It seemed like the original post addressing Garrido was written “in the heat of the moment,” in response to the many atheists who took the issue and ran with it – and in such moments, it’s easy for other motivators besides God’s absolutely righteous focus to influence us. From the position of an outside observer who had never visited this blog before, it seemed like you got a bit caught up in the political backlash, and accidentally transferred some anger onto Garrido. When all we have to do is voice our disagreement and “avoid him” like Paul suggested.

    That such is my opinion doesn’t mean I’m some infidel who needs to be condescended to (and you’ve been cordial, pastor – I have others in mind here – those for whom telling atheists to ‘hang themselves’ is apparently ‘fruit produced in keeping with repentance.’)

  4. I love this website but I’m struggling as we speak with people in the “church” We just left a legalistic church a year ago. Now we’re in a church where sooooo many people who could care less of the things of God. The preaching is good but the leader of the worship team and several others (including other leaders in the church) gossip and slander. I’m not perfect and I struggle with this myself but I know it’s wrong and God is changing me. These people don’t seem to care. But is it any different anywhere else? Sometimes I think we should just stop going to “church” and do a home church with true believers

  5. That such is my opinion doesn’t mean I’m some infidel who needs to be condescended to (and you’ve been cordial, pastor – I have others in mind here – those for whom telling atheists to ‘hang themselves’ is apparently ‘fruit produced in keeping with repentance.’)

    It is always difficult in a written forum to determine the tone of the author. I can only speak for myself to say that everything I wrote to you was said out of care and concern for you, cl.

    That being said… It is also, at times, necessary to be very direct in our speech or posts.

    How can we read Paul’s letter to the Church in Galatia any other way? Paul is NOT mincing words:

    “1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…” (Galatians 3:1)

    That such is my opinion doesn’t mean I’m some infidel

    cl, I have asked you MANY times on this forum, and you have not yet answered the most important question:

    Are you saved, cl?

    In Jesus,
    – Jeff

  6. We can’t simply stop going to church because so many refuse to do what is right. We will not have to answer for what others are doing but for what we are doing. Besides, having a house church isn’t going to stop the gossip, the legalism or anything else that is wrong in God’s eyes. Keep your eyes on the Lord, address the situations according to the Word of God as was posted here, and live your life according to the Word of God no matter what man may say! It is hard not to do that but the Lord gives grace and help in time of need. I know as we’ve been there many times.

  7. DP’s Wife,

    Amen! As my elders pointed out a while back while preaching in Genesis – Lot and his daughters ran away from two sinful cities, but when they ran to the hills, they did NOT run to Abraham; they ran the other way and were isolated. And horrible sin was found in their midst.

    No brotherhood is perfect – and would be tainted once we joined anyway. Yet we are rightly called to fellowship with one another because sin dwells in us and we need one another. I think there’s a compelling metaphor using the human body that may describe this :-)

  8. Very true! I pray the Lord continues to remind us over and over again about these facts. I know the Lord uses what I post to remind me of the importance of following Him. Most times I post to help other people but I am myself helped, encouraged, rebuked, etc. etc. etc. I enjoy reading on this blog because the Lord uses this to keep me focused on Him! I know some people believe that this blog is used just to blast others out of the water but I know it is NOT the case. How gracious the Lord is to remind us even if it’s a rebuke that hurts our feelings. Yes, you are so right and we definitely need one another!

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