Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
There are many examples of people judging others in the scriptures. Paul prayed that our love would abound more and more in all judgment, Philippians 1:9. In light of the scriptures where Jesus and the disciples spoke of judging, it is evident that there must be a right and a wrong type of judging.
In Luke 12:56-57, Jesus uses the words “discern” and “judge” interchangeably. A dictionary definition of “judge” can mean many things from “condemn” to “appraise, to form an opinion about; to think or consider.” There is certainly nothing wrong with discerning or appraising a situation or person. Quite the contrary, we need to try the spirits, 1 John 4:1. Judging when done as discernment, is good.
It is the condemning type of judgment that is wrong. We can defer passing sentence on people to God, and know that He will make a perfect judgment, Romans 2:2, Revelation 20:13. God is ultimately the only qualified judge.
Jesus is not forbidding judgment, but rather He is warning to be careful with our judgment because we will be judged accordingly. There are certain cases where we have to pass a condemning sentence as Paul did or as a judge would do today. Pastors and elders are charged with rebuking and even disciplining church members, but it is not something to be done lightly. Judging is not aimed at the person, but the actions of that person. This warning constrains us to be certain that we have heard from God. We must not simply vent our own frustrations.
Every Christian has a need for wisdom in making judgments about how to live from day to day. How wonderful to know that God through His Word has already equipped us to judge.
Knowing God Is Our Greatest Treasure
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
If isolated from the rest of God’s Word, there are some scriptures that could be interpreted to mean that having money or wealth is wrong. However there are other scriptures that speak of riches as a blessing. The harmony between these two apparently opposite positions is that money is neither good nor bad. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil, and many have committed the sin of loving money who don’t even have a dime, 1 Timothy 6:10! The love of things (covetousness) is idolatry, and this is what Jesus is addressing.
Because it is so easy to lust after money and the things it can provide, the Lord established a system whereby prosperity is a by-product of putting God first. As Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We should no more reject the blessing of prosperity than we should covet it, which is idolatry.
The reason for not laying up treasures on this earth is so that we will not have our hearts drawn away from the things of God. A key to success in the Kingdom of God is singleness of purpose. We don’t have the capacity to do our best in two areas at the same time. If we will simply put God and His Kingdom first in every area of our lives, He will add to us all the wealth that we need. What is more valuable or important than knowing Him?
Salvation Begins Now
Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
We do not have to live a beggarly existence here on this earth and just wait till we all get to heaven to begin to experience the benefits of our salvation. Jesus told us to pray “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” In heaven, He will “wipe away all tears from our eyes”, Revelation 21:4, so here on earth we can pray and believe to receive “joy unspeakable and full of glory”, 1 Peter 1:8. Healing, prosperity, and all the other benefits of heaven are ours here on earth to the degree that we can believe and receive them.
It is God’s will to deliver us from this present evil world. The Lord didn’t save us from our sins so we could be “saved and stuck” until we go to heaven. He made provision for our success in this life as well. Our salvation is effectual in this life too, not just the one to come. Some people have relegated all the benefits of salvation to, “when we all get to Heaven.” But that’s not so. Through the atonement of Jesus, we have been delivered from sickness, poverty and demonic control, as well as sin, in this present life. To the degree we believe that, we will begin to experience the physical benefits of our salvation in the “rough now and now,” not just in the “sweet by and by.”
Our salvation is not just “pie in the sky,” but it is victory in this present life. Today believe God to start receiving every benefit of your salvation here in this life, and help others to receive what has been purchased for them also. We don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven.
Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
What is it that will be cast out and trodden under foot of men? Is it the salt, or is it possible that Jesus is speaking about the world? If we as believers lose our preserving influence, then there is no other way for the Lord to save the world. It will be dominated by men.
God flows through His people. It is not our own power that changes people. It’s God’s power in us. but God will not do it without us. It’s a partnership.
Many people spend a lifetime praying for God to move, not understanding that He is going to flow through them. It is not God who is failing to intervene. It is God’s people who are failing to cooperate and let Him flow through them.
Every Christian has God living in them. Therefore we are carrying around other people’s miracles. If we fail to walk in the supernatural power of God, then somone will miss their miracle. We are God’s salt to preserve this putrifying world. Today, get out of the shaker and let the life of God which is in you flow to someone in need.
The Best Defense
Matthew 5:39 “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Which would you rather have – God defending you, or you defending yourself? That’s the choice that Jesus is offering us here. “Turning the other cheek” is not a prescription for abuse but rather the way to get the Lord involved in your defense.
Many people feel that these instructions of Jesus guarantee that others will take advantage of us. That would be true if there was no God. But when we follow these commands of Jesus, the Lord is on our side. He said in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
When we fight back, we are drawing on our own strength. But when we turn the other cheek, we are invoking God as our defense. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that these instructions are for our own good.
James 1:20, says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.
When we defend ourselves, we stop God from defending us. It has to be one way or the other. It cannot be both ways. When we turn the other cheek to our enemies, we are loosing the power of God on our behalf. Let God defend you today.
Only The Hungry Are Fed
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
In the natural world, people eat even when they aren’t hungry. Many of us can prove that by turning sideways and looking at ourselves in the mirror. But in the spiritual realm, only those who are hungry can get fed. One of the worst things that can happen to us is spiritual complacency.
Being hungry for the things of God is one of the best things that can happen to us. Most people don’t feel that way. They would rather have the feeling of being full. But Jesus promised us that fullness would follow hunger. No hunger, no fullness.
Therefore, what many people hate is actually a sign of spiritual health. Longing for more of God is a healthy sign. No one hungers for God on their own. That is not the nature of man. No man hungers for God unless the Spirit of God is drawing him, John 6:44.
Hungering for God doesn’t cause God to move in our lives, but it is a sign that God is already at work in us. We should praise God for spiritual hunger and be encouraged. He doesn’t make us hungry and then let us starve. He does so in order to fill us with His blessings and love. We need a hunger that will never be satisfied until the marriage supper of the Lamb.
At Thy Word
Luke 5:5 “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
Peter and his companions had been working hard all night. Their efforts had not produced even one fish. They had given up and were headed home. But Jesus told them to try it just one more time.
It would have been easy for Peter to reject Jesus’ command. After all, Peter had been a fisherman all his life. Jesus was just a preacher. What did He know about fishing? Yet something, or rather someone, caused Peter to try just once more.
Many people are like Simon Peter and his partners. They have done all that they know to do and yet they’ve come up empty-handed. This breeds a despair and hopelessness that causes many people to quit trying. Yet, just one word from Jesus could make the same tasks that have been unproductive on our own bear great fruit.
The key to success or failure lies in doing things at the word of Jesus. Peter said, “at thy word I will let down the net.” God’s words always get results.
Today, make sure your efforts are directed by God and you will experience the results that have eluded you in the past.
Drawn By His Power
Mark 1:37 “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.”
This is an amazing statement. Jesus’ ministry was only a few months old and the masses of people were already seeking him out.
This is even more astonishing when you realize that Jesus had not used any of the conventional methods of publicity. In fact, Jesus had already rejected publicity during His first ministry in Jerusalem, John 2:24-25. There was no natural explanation for Jesus’ success. God is the one who promoted Jesus. And He used supernatural means to do it. It was not the slick techniques of Madison Avenue that brought the crowds–it was the awesome manifestation of God’s power.
Just the day before, Jesus had cast the demon out of a man at the synagogue in Capernaum, Mark 1:21-28. This caused the whole city to gather at Peter’s house and Jesus healed every one of them, Luke 4:40.
Jesus’ display of the miraculous power of God was the spark that the Holy Spirit used to light a fire in the hearts of these people. Jesus had this power because of His intimate relationship with His father. It is no accident that He was praying while all men were seeking Him.
As you seek to touch others with the new life that you’ve found in Christ, let God confirm His Word with the miraculous manifestations of His power through you.