God is in Control of our Judgment
Matthew 7:1-3 / Revelation 20:11-15
Today we will wrap up the series that we’ve been in for the past month. We’ve looked at God’s control over our lives, our trials, the church, the results of our faith, and today we’ll address a difficult subject, we are going to look at who is in control of our judgment. Since it is such a heavy subject, let’s open this morning with a little something different. I recently heard and then read this and wanted to share it with you. It is titled, “Poor RD Jones”:
The following is an ad from a real-life newspaper which appeared four days in a row - the last three hopelessly trying to correct the first day's mistake.
For sale: R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.
Notice: We regret having erred In R. D. Jones' ad yesterday. It should have read "One sewing machine for sale cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly, who lives with him after 7 P.M."
Notice: R. D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday. The ad stands correct as follows: "For sale -- R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him."
Notice: I, R. D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I intentionally broke it. Don't call 948-0707 as I have had the phone disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she has now quit.
Can you imagine if an ad like this ran in town? Everyone and the brother would be pointing a finger at R.D. Jones and Mrs. Kelly all because of a misprint. We so easily fall into this pattern of misjudging someone without all of the facts. If you remember a while back, I had asked you to write down what would make this church Christ’s church, and the phrase, “not judging each other,” came up quite frequently. So let’s talk about it. Are we the judges of man, or is it God? The simple answer is that it is God, but just for fun, let’s look into it. Turn with me to Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1. Matthew 7:1:
Do not judge, so that you won't be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?
Have you ever judged anyone? Are you prepared to receive the judgment that you just laid on them against yourself? That is what Jesus is saying here. How you judge others, you too will be judged in the same way. Why is it that we are so concerned by others appearance; you know, their clothing, hair style, and shoes, that we immediately dismiss them as not one that we would want around us? As a society, we have become so judgmental on others, that we often play God with their lives; deciding that they don’t deserve our attention or our care. We are more concerned with the speck in their eye than the blatant log of sin spewing out from our own.
I once was at a church where a man heard the music and it drew him in to the church. He walked in 20 minutes late with dirty clothes, smelled like he had spent the last week in the bar, and had a strange look in his eye. What would the reaction be if someone walked in our church in the same way? Would we love them and invite them, or would we pass judgment and shun them? In this church that I was at, I was pleasantly surprised when, as the man walked to the front pew, not one person gawked at him or started whispering. The man sat through the first few minutes of the sermon and began weeping uncontrollably. The pastor stopped the service long enough to sit with the man and speak to him about Christ. I would like to think that if the same thing happened here, that we would be willing to do the same. Am I looking through rose colored glasses? Perhaps, but we should strive towards not looking at our fellow man with judgment in our eyes, but with love and compassion to share the truth found in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I recently heard a song that speaks to our constant judgment of each other. It is by a relatively new artist, and I would like to play it this morning for you. The song is called, “My Jesus,” by Todd Agnew. Please listen to the words of the song as it plays. It is a little convicting, or at least it was to me.
Does this song hit you like it did me when it says how so many churches of today wouldn’t let Jesus in their church in fear that the dirt and blood on His feet might stain the carpet? It rings so clear that we live in a world today that is forcing Christians to conform to live a life striving for material things, and judging one and other based off of the world’s pleasures. Are we going to stand firm on the Word of Jesus that tells us, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37); or are we going to continue to judge each other based on the things of this world? Jesus Himself didn’t come to judge the world. In John chapter 3 and verses 16 through 18, Jesus says:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB) For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. (HCSB)
If Jesus didn’t come to judge, what makes us think we have the right to pass judgment? We as Christians get stuck on verse 16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life,” and we don’t continue on to see that Jesus, from His introduction, didn’t come to judge the world. If we are to strive to become more Christ like, then we need to heed the example of Jesus in not passing judgment.
There are many that won’t walk through the doors of a church today because they feel that they will be judged, or worse yet, one of us has already judged them in the public eye, and now they are hardened to God’s Word because of the judgment that we passed. There is only one Judge that has the right and authority to judge anyone, and that is God Almighty. James 4:10-12 says:
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. Don't criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
We don’t have the right to judge, but God does; and He has been gracious enough to write to us who and how He will judge. Let’s look at the book of Revelation, chapter 20 and verses 11 through 15. Revelation 20:11-15:
Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.
Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is some pretty heavy material. Here’s what you need to ask yourself as we are going through this: is your name written in the book of life? [Pause briefly] Let’s go through this passage, but keep that question in the back of your mind.
Everyone, including those who are living today or have passed on will face this judgment. Christian and non Christian alike will stand before the great white throne and be examined. Now, there are two books that are opened: the book of life and the book of deeds. Wait a minute, I thought we were saved by grace and not works. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” So why would there be a book of deeds?
Imagine someone implanted a microchip into your brain so that it records each and every thing that you think and do; both the good and the bad. How scary would that be; every thought and every action. This is what is recorded in the book of deeds. Many think that only the good things that you do is recorded in the book of deeds, but what is a deed? A deed is and act, gesture, or something done, performed, or accomplished. So everything you do is a deed and is recorded in this book. If you were judged by what you have done, would you go to heaven? The answer is no. Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities [or our sin], like the wind, have taken us away.” (KJV)
Our deeds do not save us, they condemn us. Not even the best that we have to offer can save us the wrath to come because of our iniquities, our sin. Have you ever seen a chandelier hanging from its chain? What happens when you take one of the links out of the middle? The chandelier falls to the ground and breaks. Our sin causes the same thing. If we sin but only once, and it can be as simple as telling a lie; we have removed one of the links holding us up. When we remove that link, we will fall and will break.
Folks, we have all fallen and are all broken in the eyes of God. But God knew this was going to happen, and from the beginning has provided us with the safety net that will bring us back up to Him; the Messiah – Jesus Christ. O.S. Hawkins so rightly said, “Jesus died our death on the cross so that we may live His life on earth.” If you accept the fact that Jesus died in your place and have accepted Him as your Savior, your “safety net”, then all of your deeds will be blotted out of the book of deeds because your name has been added to the book of life. The condemnation that would await you has been wiped clean by the blood of the Lamb, and you will be found not guilty due to lack of evidence. It would be like taking whiteout to a book of deeds and removing all of the lines under your name.
But for the one that has not accepted Jesus as their Savior please listen to this with an open heart and an open mind. A day will come when you are no longer on this earth, and you, just as the Christian, will stand before the great white throne; and when God opens the book of life and does not see your name written down, He will turn to the book of deeds; and judgment will follow. This is not the most pleasant message, and I realize that, but I want you to feel the reality of our situation. For each and every person that has not accepted Christ as their Savior, that person will not go to some place of waiting or a place to pay a penalty and be released. They will not automatically enter heaven. They will be thrown into the lake of fire.
These are not my words or my passing judgment on anyone; but are the truth of God’s Word that so many churches today want to leave out because it isn’t popular. The Bible tells us that the lake of fire is a real place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:46) We are told that “…the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) This is the same place that the person that has not chosen to follow Jesus, accepting Him as their Savior, will go. If anything, dear Christian, I hope that you have the compassion for the lost that you would go out and become, at the very least, a speed bump on people’s way to the lake of fire.
The sad reality of today’s world is that many don’t think about where people are eternally headed. They go about their day, secure in their salvation, and do not think that their neighbor, their friend, their brother or sister, or even their parents could be the one headed to eternal torment. Hell is not just eternal separation from God, which most unbelievers don’t think is “all that bad,” but it is a place where they will be separated from any sense of relief from their eternal torment, and it has become too late because their judgment and their sentence has already been passed. For all who follow Jesus and have accepted Him as their Savior, share the gift of salvation with someone this week, and every week to come. We can’t stand idly by and watch people walk through the wide gates of hell and continue to say that we are devout followers of Christ. If we are devout followers of Christ, we will become devout witnesses for Christ. Don’t let someone you know go unwarned of the judgment to come; and it is not your judgment, but the ultimate judgment of God.
I plead with you today, if you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Savior; not just a head knowledge of God, but placing your trust in Him as you would a parachute to save your life if you had to jump from a plane, please do so right now. We don’t know what tomorrow brings for us, so today is the day of salvation. If you leave here today unsure of your destination, please find a quiet place and ask Jesus into your life. Talk to Him just as if He were sitting in the room right next to you. To coin the phrase, the life you save may be your own. If you have walked away from God in your actions and don’t know how to come back to obedient service, please come up front or see me after the service, and we can pray together. Let’s close in prayer.
 deeds. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deeds (accessed: September 19, 2007).
 Pastor’s Primer