By Louis J. Sharp
God always has had “messengers” to deliver his Word to the people. Each “messenger” is obligated to deliver God’s message not his own. By the pen of inspiration, Paul wrote: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-10). Every individual must make a determination in reference to truth and error.
Frequently, when gospel preachers urge the necessity of obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a reluctant hearer seeks to shirk his responsibility by saying: “You are not my judge.” To this, I quickly retort, “No, I am not your judge, and for this I am forever grateful.” I am so happy that everyone will receive righteous judgment from him who judges all.
Yet, those who condemn the preacher for the message he delivers, themselves are guilty of condemning or judging. Self-righteously, they quote Jesus’ words: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Evidently, they have not yet discovered that almost in the same breath, Jesus admonished, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (v. 6). Also, “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (v. 15). Again, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (v. 20). Specifically, these admonitions demand some degree of judgment.
Jesus does condemn harsh, censorious judgment. We must never be guilty of this harmful practice. But, as Malcolm often says, “We are fruit inspectors.” “By their fruits ye shall know them.” A man who habitually lies may be called a liar. A woman who is a tale-bearer very properly is known as a gossiper. One who commits murder is a murderer, make no mistake about it. And the disobedient person, who has never obeyed the gospel of Christ, has not been added to the body of Christ (Acts 2:38, 47). Good people, this is not judging.
Like John, we “warn you to flee from the wrath to come. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matt. 3:7-8).
Guardian of Truth XLI: 20 p. 7
October 16, 1997