Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 10 October 2015
Page 9

By the Book

Chad Loveless

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:1-6 NKJV)

We live in a “Don’t judge me” world, with many who war cry, “I do what I want!” I hope people judge me by the book.

It is judging to look at someone’s life and examine if that one is a legitimate follower of Christ, but understand, as Jesus teaches, if I use God’s standards to judge who the dogs and swine and wolves and bad trees are, then I am judging correctly. It’s only when I judge with my standards that I’m in danger.

If I judge you by God’s Word, and approach you in a godly way because I am concerned about your soul and because you are my friend, my family member or someone about whom I care, and I make you angry โ€“ are you judging me for judging you? Judging by our personal standards is what Jesus condemns, but we all must differentiate between the false teacher and the teacher of truth by asking, “Does what the person says or does live up to God’s Word?”

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV)

Now that’s judging by the Book.

Shark Bait

Russ VickersA sailor on a fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean found himself in a very precarious situation โ€“ he was swimming with the sharks! Of course this wasn’t by choice. He was hired to process fish, but the captain had a temper problem. One day, a school of sharks was following the ship, and in a fit of rage, the captain seized the slow-working crewman and threw him overboard. The poor man swam as fast as he could, caught up with the boat, and was pulled back on board.

Oftentimes, we are swimming in dangerous waters as Christians. Sometimes we are thrown into a situation where the ungodly are “swimming” all around us. It could be at a business meeting, convention, a college dorm, vacation, etc. โ€“ and the temptation seems overwhelming. We are in a lot of danger. Spiritually speaking, we are shark bait.

When that happens, our best option is do what the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to do. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). We are to flee them! That may mean that we are to get up and walk away from the situation as fast as possible. This is what Joseph had to do. Notice what he did when confronted with temptation. “And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Genesis 39:12). Whatever the situation, we need to reach out to the Lord, call on Him for our strength, help and protection. This way, we don’t become shark bait. You won’t fall into sin if you flee from it!

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