Hello Project Ezra! This week we will be reading Luke chapter 7, and in addition to dealing with the issues presented within the chapter, I want to deal a bit with the issue of judgment. If you have spent any time in public evangelism, or if you have even so much as stated your Christian beliefs to another person, you have likely been accused of being judgmental. While at one point in our country’s history the text of John 3:16 was probably the best known passage in the Bible, now “though shalt not judge” is, though it is very seldom used correctly. In fact, while reading 1 John open-air last weekend, I had someone walking by accuse me of judging. To be clear, I had not shared the gospel, had not done any preaching, and had not even spoken to the young man. I was simply reading scripture aloud, and because of that I was deemed “judgmental”. And although the characterization was not fair, it certainly wasn’t surprising. It wasn’t the first time I have heard such an accusation, and I know it won’t be the last. In fact, it was almost a positive thing from one perspective, since I was only reading God’s word, and because it is true that judgment is of God, and His word, not of us.
So, what does this have to do with Luke 7? Luke 7 gives us two good examples of people who had at least some level of understanding of their true standing before God. While most people who will accuse of judgment are doing so pridefully, and out of a desire for moral autonomy, both the Centurion and the sinful woman spoken of in Luke 7 showed a measure of humility in the way they approached Jesus. Although it is impossible to know the true condition of their hearts and whether their souls were regenerate, the fact that their humility before Christ moved Him to honor their requests certainly gives us an indication that they may have been. Regardless, it is that heart of humility, a heart of stone that has been broken before God, that He will replace with a heart of flesh. And it is that heart they we should hope to see in those we share the gospel with.
So, let’s be sure we are clear when sharing the gospel, with this reading and always, that although we cannot judge anyone, there will indeed be a day when all men and women will stand before God and give an account of themselves, not before us, but before their creator. And on that day it will not matter what we think, and it will not matter what those we speak to think, about the truth or fairness of God’s standards, only what is true. So the best thing we can do is to present as pure and unsullied a picture of the truth of God’s word as we can, so that those that hear will see themselves in truth, examine themselves to see if they are in the faith, and by God’s grace, perhaps turn from their sins and to the savior.
All for His glory,
READ LUKE 7
Christians often accused of judging
Only one law giver and judge, one able to save and destroy (James 4:12)
Not here to judge, but want you to know there is a God who can and will judge
Do not judge by our standards, but by His
Examine yourself, in light of God’s word, to see if you are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5)
Don’t let pride get in the way. Pride comes before a fall (Prov 16:18)
Come before God in humility, as those in this passage
Passage shows two people who seemed to realize how they stood before God
Both came in humility, and God honored their requests
Centurion’s servant healed
A heart for God, and for people
Had faith that Christ could grant his request
Came in humility
Recognized Jesus’ authority
Sinful woman who anointed Christ’s feet
Understood the depth of her sin
Came in humility
Loved much, because she was forgiven much
Both realized their unworthiness before God
Do you realize your standing before God?
God is holy. Perfect, pure. Cannot and will not allow anything impure or evil in His presence
Apart from Christ we are evil and impure, alienated and hostile in mind (Col 1:21) cannot stand before God
Even the prophet Isaiah, one of the holiest men in scripture, was fearful when He stood before God
He said “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5 ESV)
See what God says about sin, and compare yourself with His standard
James 1 says he who hears but does not do the word is like a man who sees himself in the mirror, then forgets what he looks like.
Look In the mirror of God’s law, and see yourself in truth
For the truth is those who willfully break God’s law will not enter the Kingdom of God, but will have their part in the lake of fire
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 ESV)
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)
Every one of us has broken these commandments, and is guilty before God
GO THROUGH SOME OF THE SINS, AND BE SPECIFIC. PEOPLE NEED TO APPRECIATE THE DEPTH OF AND CONSEQUENCE FOR THEIR SIN OR THEY WILL NOT SEE THEIR NEED FOR A SAVIOR. THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW. (Gal 3:24, Rom 3:19, Rom 7:7)
James 2:10 Says he who stumbles in one point accountable for all
God knows you heart, says if you love me, keep my commandments
If you know the truth and continue in sin, you have reason to fear.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6 ESV)
If Christ has not changed you, you have reason to fear, and likely don’t know Him
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31 ESV)
God a just judge, will punish all sin completely
We have sinned, how can we escape judgment and wrath?
But just as the sinful woman in Luke 7 received God’s grace, so can you
Jesus forgives sin, not by ignoring them, but by paying for them
2000 years ago Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on a Roman cross
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (Revelation 1:5 ESV)
Jesus demonstrated His power over death with the widow’s son
Then demonstrated His power over death by rising for the dead
I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18 ESV)
Through Jesus Christ, we are set free from sin and death
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)
Our fine was paid, justice satisfied, so we could go free
How can that payment be applied to you?
Through repentance and faith in Christ alone (Acts 20:21)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, (Acts 3:19 ESV)
Only through Christ is your debt paid, so only through Him can you be forgiven
Have you done that? Have you placed your trust in Christ, and Him alone?
If not, please do so today. Life is short and none of us is promised tomorrow.
IT MAY BE APPROPRIATE TO SUGGEST READINGS TO THOSE WHO HEAR OR COME TO TALK. FOR UNBELIEVERS I USUALLY SUGGEST THE GOSPEL OF JOHN. FOR PROFESSING CHRISTIANS I ALSO SUGGEST 1 JOHN. IF SOMEONE SEEMS TRULY BROKEN BEFORE GOD, SUGGEST THAT THEY READ PSALM 51, AND MAKE THAT THEIR PRAYER. IT’S NOT A FORMULA FOR SALVATION, BUT IT IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF A HEART THAT IS RIGHT BEFORE GOD.