Friday, October 31, 2008


In 1516, Sir Thomas More wrote a fictional book about an island in the Atlantic Ocean that was home to a perfect society. The book was entitled Utopia.

Today, the term Utopia is used as a metaphor for a perfect place or situation. This week, I sit back and imagine a Churchopia...a church where everything is done exactly how the Bible says it should be done. Here are a few random thoughts to think about and I welcome other ideas for a New Testament Churchopia (remembering our new rules...this is not a place for brawling or fighting, just Truth. If you want to differ and argue, make your own blog and go at it). Anyways...a New Testament Churchopia....

1. In the Church Everyone Loves God.
Of course because of that love, everyone keeps His commandments (John 14:15), everyone lives HOly, everyone tithes, everyone gives an offering (there would never be a need), everyone is surrendered to do what He wants them to do, everyone keeps themselves from sin (2 Cor. 5:14). We love God, so we give, we serve, we love others (Jn. 13:35). Wouldn't it be wonderful?
2. Churches sent out their own missionaries.
There would be no need of para church mission boards or clearing houses. And the missionaries would be sent out and fully supported by their church. No deputation, no time lost on the field due to traveling all across the country. While it is Scriptural for churches to send gifts to other missionaries, I see from Scripture that it was the church that sent the missionary out under their authority.
3. Children would be in the services not constantly pulled away from parents.
We complain that our families are falling apart and our churches need to share some blame in it. We come to church as a family and dad goes to his class, mom to hers, the children to theirs for Sunday School (is Sunday School a mandate in Scripture?). Then Dad and Mom go to the service while kid 1 and kid 2 go to their jr. church. Then we have Master Club/Awana/Patch for them to go to at our midweek. Then of course there is Teen class and teen church for the teens. Then there is a youth activity the first Friday, a kids activity the next Friday, a young adult activity the next Friday, and don't forget about school. Our Christian school keeps our kids 7 hours a day per week from parents, then 8 hours a week for sports practice, and 5 hours a week for games, and choir practice and visitations and bus and nursing home. STOP!!! Now none of those things are in themselves wrong, but in Churchopia, our families are not constantly being torn apart from each other. In the words of Dr. Bob Jones Sr, "Duties Never Conflict." When Paul wrote his epistles to the churches, he expected the children to be in those services, he addressed them even: "Children, Obey your parents in the Lord." (Eph. 6:1) (Col. 3:20).
4. Every church practiced Church Discipline.
It is Scriptural (Gal. 6:1; 1 TIm. 5:20; Titus 3:10; Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5). Can you imagine the changes it would make in our lives?
5. Everyone at Churchopia would be actively involved in the ministry.
God set the members in the church and uses the body as an illustration. Every part of the body (church) has a purpose and needs to be working or the body suffers. At Churchopia the body would be in perfect working health.
6. At Churchopia the color of the carpet wouldn't matter.
Wouldn't it be great? Carpet, paint, order of service, furniture, flowers, they really don't matter, because that is not what it is all about!
7. At Churchopia everybody looks forward to the preaching.
Its the highlight and purpose we are gathered. Everyone has their Bibles, they are actually open to the reference, a pen and notebook are taking notes, the topic is studied and proved over the week, and no one is sleeping or looking out the windows. And the sermon is always too short!!!
8. At Churchopia everyone agrees on the music.
It is to be holy, sacred, and uplifting to Christ. It consists of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and there is no one with 18 piercings and nose rings leading it and the songs don't cause a sudden urge to thrust a hip. Its wonderful!
9. At Churchopia there is no need for campaigns and incentives.
Everyone had someone with them at church because we were constantly working at it throughout every week!
10. At Churchopia the pastor loves his people and serves them.
The thought of being a dictator and master over people is far from Churchopia. The pastor is there to serve, and the people respond with a love and respect to that leadership and provide for that pastor.

Churchopia. I've said many times if I could find a perfect church I wouldn't join it because I would mess it up. Churches are made up of imperfect people like me and you, but that does not release us from striving to be the most Scripturally sound church we can possibly be. I write this some in jest, but at the same time what a difference our world would see if I, every pastor, every church member strove just to do what Scriptures say we should do. A pastor friend of mine said recently: "There are many areas we could debate as being right and wrong; but if we all just did what we know clearly to be right, we wouldn't have time to worry about the 'gray' areas." Yeah, Verily!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Being Judgmental

I truly have been re evaluating the whole "blog" thing. Reason being I have watched as some blog sites have become a place of gossip. Some have become a preachers excuse to vent. Some have become a way to become a brawler and a striker without the repercussions. I even made the comment to another preacher that I liked it because it got people fired up. I was wrong in saying that. So I wrote a little light heartedly the last few weeks as I evaluated my purpose.

I have thus decided that the purpose for my blog is to keep others up to date on family events and to teach Truth because I am a preacher and have an obligation to do so. Thus our topic this week is Judging. I write this because a few people have asked me what is "being judgmental." I write this to answer their question...not to get people upset...not to pick a fight with anyone...not to get 20 comments on why I am wrong. I am right on this because it is based on Scripture. Thus we begin...

"Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged"
"God says to Forgive everyone whether they ask for it or not"
"It's Not our PLace to Judge"
"You are Judgmental!"
"Why can you pick and Choose which sins to jugde"

And the list goes on and on and on and on. Many excuses are shared, but none are legit. The cry is "We shouldn't judge." Well then, don't vote this election because you have judged. Don't pick a magazine over another. Don't tell that child not to put the fork in the light socket. Don't you stop that guy in black and a mask from entering your back door at 3 a.m. You don't know his heart. He may be coming to pray for your household or did you judge him by his clothes? Point is we all judge...everyday...and well we should.

Scripture tells us the following....
Luke 7:43 "Thou hast rightly judged"
Luke 12:57 "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?"
John 7:24, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
1 Cor. 10:15 "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say"
1 Cor. 2:15 "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."
Romans 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets" Hard to do without judging them.
"From such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5). "Withdraw yourselves." (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11)
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test, judge) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). "

It is most difficult to obey these Biblical mandates without 'judging.' You see it is our Biblical responsibility to judge. Not with the attitude of being critical of those who do not share your opinions, but rather to encouragin their spiritual upbringing. We are to judge on matters of Biblical doctrine and morals.

We are not to judge preferences (Romans chapter 14; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; and Colossians 2:16-17.) We are not to judge motives (1 Cor. 4:1-5). We are not to judge whether a soul is saved (2 Tim. 2:19). But Scripture teaches us that there are things we are to judge.

We are to judge false propthets by the standard of the WOrd of God. We are to judge those causing divisions and offenses in the church. We are to judge immoral living (1 Cor. 5) We are to judge disputes between Christians concerning things that pertain to this life (1 Cor. 6:3). We are to judge to keep the purity of the church. The churches that will constitue the Bride of Christ will be presented one day before God as without blemish spotfree and wrinklefree. We are to judge to keep the spots and blemmishes out. Such things are found in 2 Peter 2:13-22: Rioting, adultery, those that cannot cease from sin; those who beguile unstable souls, covetous practices, cursed children, the way of Balaam. These things must be judged Scripturally.

Then comes the argument "well no one is perfect so you need to judge everybody else." True. The only ones who get upset are those who will not cease from sinning which is who Peter is talking about. Those who are told they are wrong, but they will not change.

Then comes the favorite argument: "Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Sounds convicting doesn't it? If we take a verse or part of a verse out of its context, we can make the Word of God pretty much teach whatever we want. Let's look at the verse in context. "Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold,a beam is in thine own eye? Thou HYPOCRITE, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

You see, Matt. 7:1-5 is addressed to a hypocrite, not to a person who truly wishes to discern between right and wrong in accordance to God's Word. This is a warning against hypocritical judgment. Matter of the fact, this Scripture again endorses Scriptural judging in that "then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother's eye."

Fact is we all ought to judge ourselves (1 Cor. 13:5). What a change would take place if we would judge our own faults as much as we did the faults of others, but the fact is we should judge people after ourselves.