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Judging Ourselves

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 Cor. 5:12-13)

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord,
that we may not be condemned with the world.
(1 Cor. 11:31-32)

The Bible clearly teaches that we should judge ourselves, and not others. "Ourselves" hereby refer to the members within the local church. We are to judge those inside the church, and God will judge those outside. We are exhorted not to condemn those in the world about their sins.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul addressed and exposed the sins within the church:

"Everyone is talking about the terrible thing that has happened there among you, something so evil that even the heathen don't do it: you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father's wife.

And are you still so conceited, so "spiritual"? Why aren't you mourning in sorrow and shame and seeing to it that this man is removed from your membership?

Although I am not there with you, I have been thinking a lot about this, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I have already decided what to do, just as though I were there.

You are to call a meeting of the church-and the power of the Lord Jesus will be with you as you meet, and I will be there in spirit- and cast out this man from the fellowship of the church and into Satan's hands, to punish him, in the hope that his soul will be saved when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

What a terrible thing it is that you are boasting about your purity and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don't you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected? Remove this evil cancer-this wicked person-from among you, so that you can stay pure. Christ, God's Lamb, has been slain for us.

So let us feast upon Him and grow strong in the Christian life, leaving entirely behind us the cancerous old life with all its hatreds and wickedness. Let us feast instead upon the pure bread of honor and sincerity and truth.

When I wrote to you before I said not to mix with evil people. But when I said that I wasn't talking about unbelievers who live in sexual sin or are greedy cheats and thieves and idol worshipers. For you can't live in this world without being with people like that. What I meant was that you are not to keep company with anyone who claims to be a brother Christian but indulges in sexual sins, or is greedy, or is a swindler, or worships idols, or is a drunkard, or abusive. Don't even eat lunch with such a person.

It isn't our job to judge outsiders. But it certainly is our job to judge and deal strongly with those who are members of the church and who are sinning in these ways. God alone is the Judge of those on the outside. But you yourselves must deal with this man and put him out of your church.

Very evidently, Paul exhorted the Christians to judge the insiders and not the outsiders. And he made his spiritual reference to Deut. 17:6-7:

Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil person from among you.

Herein are three important lessons we can learn:

  1. If sin is tolerated within the church, it will be like a cancer spreading inside. If not dealt with properly, the church will soon become unhealthy, and the work of God will be hindered. The transgressors and their sins must be properly dealt with, while the other members of the same body must pray for forgiveness from God. If one suffers, all suffer. If one rejoices, all rejoice.
  1. Godly discipline must be exercised within the church. Without which, the church will soon differ little from the world. The church leaders have to be the doctors also. If they are too easy and tender, they may permit the spiritual gangrene to remain until the whole flock is infected with it. But if they are too hard and rigid, they will destroy everything. They need to have a balance of justice and mercy. Like the surgeons, they must destroy the cancers without killing their patients. Similarly, the church leaders must deal with the sins without destroying the sinners.
  1. Sometimes, the church has to exercise the final resolution to expel some Christians from the flock if they refuse to repent. When they are outside, God will judge them. Their last state is worse than their first. Dogs returning to their vomit, and clean pigs wallowing in their mire again (2 Peter 2:20-22):

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

Sin is not just spreading outside the church, it is very much alive inside! The Church and Christians in the West have been condemning their world of sins such as abortions, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, idolatry etc. But behind the walls of their churches, the same named sins are crouching within. The light of the gospel is dimming in America. In early 2006, some renowned charismatic leaders gathered at the annual meeting of the Charismatic Leaders Council. Steve Hill, a revivalist, asked a woman sitting at the back of the conference room to dim the lights. After speaking for a few minutes, he asked her to dim them even more.

"This is what is happening in today's church," Hill told the council included Benny Hinn, Peter Wagner and Dick Eastman. "There is a dimming of the gospel taking place in America. We've got to start preaching the Cross again," Hill said.

The Church in America is facing a depressing fact that only 4 percent of their teens today are evangelical Christians - the lowest percentage of Christians in any generation of American history. They are currently losing in this battle of the souls! Many of their children and grandchildren have no godly examples to follow! Many charismatic church leaders lack integrity, failing to disciple faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Many of the American churches are watering down the gospel, and making their messages politically correct in order to attract crowds.

Our current generation are now self-seekers instead of God-seekers! Most worship services are tailored to make the people happy, and not God happy! Worship has only one Audience - God Himself! The rest are participants! But this is not so in many churches. The church members have become worship service audiences.

It is time to return to our Father, following the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16):

Thus says the LORD:
"Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' "

Let's begin from the inside out!

Written on:
7 February 2006