Discernment vs. Judgment – II (Command to Judge)
|April 4, 2016||Posted by Pastor Viju Mathai under General, Sermons|
Latest posts by Pastor Viju Mathai (see all)
- Discernment vs. Judgment – V (God’s Guidelines for Discerning) - April 4, 2016
- Discernment vs. Judgment -IV (How do we Discern) - April 4, 2016
- Discernment vs. Judgment -III (Diakrino, Dokimazo) - April 4, 2016
(Developing Character Series)
Issue: Discernment Vs. Critical Spirit, Faultfinding, Judgmental
End time deception: Watch out that no one deceives you (Mathew 24:4).
- The church will face deception like never before from within and without:
- Hypocrites, different gospel, different Jesus, False Messiah, False Prophets, False Apostles, False miracle workers
- False apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
- Rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception,
- Deception through fine sounding argument
- People who are zealous to win you over, but for no good.
- People will try to make us captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
- Ungodly people within the church, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
- False teachers will twist the word and secretly introduce destructive heresies,
- In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.
- Stay focused: Satan will try to distract you to disqualify you, shipwreck your faith, distract you, and entice you.
- Keep watch Or you will stumble and fall
Sometimes we do not know whether we are discerning or we are judging someone. Is it right to judge? Many claim it is not! Have you ever heard these phrases? — “You shouldn’t judge others” or “Judge not that you be not judged.” Still others are accused of being legalists or Pharisees if they dare speak out against the sin or worldliness of another Christian or Christian organization. Lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, murder, drunkenness and witchcraft are all sins which are easily definable from Scripture. Obedience may be difficult, but at least the concept of what the sins are is clear. But when it comes to the sin of judging and other sins of the tongue and mind it is much more difficult. We all know it is wrong to judge, but we don’t always know when we are judging.
- If I disagree with another believer, am I judging him?
- If I rebuke someone who is sinning am I judging him?
- If I write a book review and criticize some aspect of the book am I judging?
- If I point out failures of nationally known preachers or my pastor am I judging them?
- If I disagree with the policies of a certain Christian organization and share them with others, am I judging that group of believers?
- What if another believer’s doctrine is in error and a pastor preaches about that error from the pulpit has he judged that believer?
- Should we separate ourselves from other believers because of doctrinal error or if we do are we judging?
- Is my lack of support for the work of a particular Christian organization because of their doctrinal error judging from silence?
These are not easy questions to answer. Yet God does not leave us to grope around in the dark. The Bible gives some clear teachings on judging. Let’s examine them.
Two kinds of Judgment
- Judgment that God condemns: Krino (James 4:11-12; slander; Matthew 7:1-2)
- Krino: to pronounce judgment or criticize someone’s action, or condemnation, sentence
- Wrong Motive: Flesh driven, Spiritual pride, Anger, hate filled, false humility, religiosity
- Setting: court room, judge, law, accuser, defendant and witness
- Sentencing with wrong motive and false presumptions, without giving the defendant a chance to defend, no witness, not upholding the law of love (James 2:8)
- Krino: to pronounce judgment or criticize someone’s action, or condemnation, sentence
- Judgment that God commends: Anakrino, Diakrino, Dokimazo
- Anakrino: analyze, examine, investigate, ask questions, cross-examine, study, call to account
- Diakrino: decide and discern, Distinguish right/wrong; good/bad
- Dokimazo: test, examine, discern, prove, approve
Meaning: to pronounce judgment on someone’s action, condemn, sentence, criticize, to pass personal judgement
James 4:11-12… Brothers and sisters, do not slander (krino; speaks evil of your brother, bad mouth, trash talk, pass judgement; robbers, evildoers, adulterers) one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law (James 2:8; Law of Love; love your neighbor as yourself) and judges it. When you judge (krino) the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Psalms 141:3-5… 3. Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
“Do not slander one another”: When we slander others, we ourself are the judge, the accuser and the witness. We are holding this pseudo court based on assumptions (self-righteousness, spiritual pride, false humility, religiosity) and weakness (Critical spirit, emotions or anger and not Law of Love). Only God who is the law giver, the just and the omnipresent, omniscient one can be all that in one person.
The Command Not to Judge
(Matt 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; John 7:24; Rom 2:1-5; 14:3-4, 10, 13; I Cor 4:3-5; Col 2:16; James 4:11; 5:9)
Matt 7:1-5… 1. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you
Rom 14:13… Therefore let us stop passing judgment (krino) on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
Why are we not to judge? Because only God’s judgment is always just and always correct. Discerning right and wrong and being judgmental is two different things. You can discern right and wrong without passing judgment (sentence) upon a person.
“Anakrino” – concluding on a matter
“anakrino” (Ana=up: Krino=to judge; analyze, examine, investigate, ask questions, cross-examine, evaluate, study, call to account; scrutinize carefully in order to make a judgment)
Investigate — evaluate — conclude
Investigate: To Analyze, investigate, scrutinize, question, study thoroughly, investigate in court, cross-examine
Acts 17:11… Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Acts 28:18 (Paul in a roman court) … They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.
Evaluate: Study the data
- scrutinize carefully in order to make a judgment
- your boss evaluates your job performance
- Call to account: Ask one to explain, justify ones behavior, action, policy, performance …etc.
- Call to account: to be forced to accept responsibility for something, to challenge or contest, to hold answerable for
- He is judged by all: i.e., the light of the heart-searching testimony of the assembly probes the conscience of the unregenerate, sifting him judicially
1 Corinthians 14:24-25… But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment (anakrino: forced to accept responsibility for something; conscience is alive) by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Conclude: Reach a verdict, Examines/discerns and then judges the motives or the value of an action (guilty or not guilty verdict).
- You see someone steal and deciding they shouldn’t do that (because you know right from wrong)
- You carefully select fresh fruits and vegetables at the market
- It is just like a jury weighing the evidence before them to reach a verdict of guilty or innocent
- Forced to accept ones responsibility
- Human spirit is never accurate – rely on the Holy Spirit. You need the help of the Holy Spirit to anakrino or discern ones motives and actions.
For too long now Christians have confused krino with anakrino. We have stopped speaking up about the sinful actions of others for fear of judging. When really, what we failed to understand is that there are different kinds of judging: two good kinds (anakrino and diakrino) and only one bad kind (krino).
As Christians, we are to evaluate what is right and wrong before God so we can help each other prune our lives to be Christ-like. Recognizing wrong and speaking up about it is okay–even expected. We must still be ready to forgive the wrong of others, because Christ forgives us to the same degree that we forgive others. This is the “judgment” (anakrino) that Paul is speaking of in I Cor. 5:3.
1 Corinthians 5:3 (Incest, sexually, immoral, greedy, idolater, slanderer, drunkard, swindler.)… For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment (anakrino) in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.
This is the basis of Excommunication in church.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13… What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
The framework of operation is always Direct (not indirect), faith, hope and love
Matthew 18:15-17 (Dealing with Sin in the Church)… 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. ’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Anakinro without krino: We are to go to them in love like Paul did, letting them know what they are doing is wrong. We should show them in the Bible why it is wrong, but we must be careful to show them the love of Christ by forgiving them and loving them inspite of their shortcomings. Anakinro without krino.
Why Are Our Prayers And Ministry So Ineffective?
Consider our lack of discernment: Of the causes mentioned in Scripture of God, the world, the flesh, the devil; each Christian sect seems to focus on one and ignore the others.
- Diseases are assumed to be demons and “rebuked” without discernment or effect.
- Demons are assumed to be sickness, and “treatment” is attempted.
- God’s discipline is attributed to Satan, and made light of.
- The obvious promptings of the flesh are assumed to be the spirit, or even of the soul. The soul is confused with the flesh and spirit.
A mere matter of terminology, right? With such faulty diagnosis, we attempt “ministry”, to no effect, and often to great harm. Is this ministry? Is this us?
Counterproductive Ministry or Spiritual Malpractice
It is important that we judge things properly, or discern. If a medical doctor were to make such outlandish mistakes, we would put a stop to his “practice”. If a person with appendicitis is diagnosed as having an ulcer, it may seem a mere matter of terminology, but if judged improperly, treatment could lead to death! If a baby has a fever, you wouldn’t put it in the freezer to cool it down. Treating the symptom may make the problem worse!
But the modern church carries on in this “anti-ministry”, leaving behind a wake of damaged souls. It is a very bad symptom when we don’t care if our prayers and ministry are effective; it shows that the object of our “spirituality” is self-glory and not love. We don’t dare look to see for fear of realizing how badly we are doing. Ignorance is bliss. Clearly, we need to learn to judge properly before we act. We need discernment.
Discernment by outward appearances, out of ignorance, confusing cause and effect, symptom with problem, can be devastating–even with the best of intents.
2 Cor 10:7 (NIV) You are looking only at the surface of things.
Prov 19:2 (NIV) It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
1 Cor 4:5 (Phi) “The moral of this is that we should make no hasty or premature judgments.”
If we were willing to ask, willing to wait, willing to listen, we might gain discernment, so that we could “know”, and not have to waver. We might achieve real faith. We would see past the surface, into reality. Our prayers and ministry would be effective. We could know God’s will and see it done.
James 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given unto him.
Luke 12:57 (NIV) “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
Hosea 4:6 (NIV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
How do we discern?
The danger of Enthusiasm without Discernment
That brings me to an important issue. Why are many Christians enthusiastic and yet lack discernment? This concerns me. It concerned the Apostle Paul also. He said it was his prayer that believers would continue to let their love grow but, love was to be guided by knowledge and judgment. Let’s read the verse —
Philippians 1:9-11… 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge (the knowledge that enables one to avoid error) and depth of insight (judgment or discernment or spiritual perception), 10 so that you may be able to discern (approve of things) what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
There are two key words that we need to look at — knowledge & judgment. The Greek word translated knowledge is epignwsei (epignosis, ep-ig’-no-sis 1922) refers to “the knowledge that enables one to avoid error.” (Lexical Aids to The New Testament; Zodhiates Hebrew Greek Study Bible p.1690)
Judgment is the Greek word aisqhsei (aisthesis, ah’ee-sthay-sis, 144) discernment or spiritual perception.
So, what is this passage saying? Many times when people come to Christ they experience a new love that fills their lives and they should because they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who fills them with God’s love and passion (Rom. 5:5). But often believers are naive and if this new trusting love is not tempered by knowledge pand judgment the believer is easily drawn into error and sin. That’s why Paul prays that these believers will allow their intensity and vibrancy to be guided by knowledge and judgment.
Think of love as water. Then think of knowledge and judgment as the banks of a river. Believers are to channel their love, intensity and vibrancy by a practical knowledge of the Bible and spiritual judgment, that is, understanding how the Bible applies morally and ethically to their personal life. Those who stay within the riverbanks of knowledge and judgment will, as verse 10 says, “…approve things that are excellent” or make the right choices in life. Those who don’t will wander like a river out of its banks.
The Bible is a discerner (judge) of the thoughts and attitudes of the heart
Hebrew 4:12… For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
- The Greek word for discerner/judge here is kritikos (κριτικός ) and is used only in Heb 4:12. It is the word from which we get the English word critique.
- Correctly handle the word of truth or rightly divide the word of truth:
- In order to exercise righteous judgment or biblical discernment we must know the Word of God. As believers become familiar with the Word of God they become better equipped to judge righteous judgment.
2 Timothy 2:15… Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles thep word of truth.
Discern all things with the help of the Holy Spirit. Human spirit is never accurate
The spiritual gift of discernment – gift of distinguishing between spirits (NIV) = “diakrisis (διάκρισις) from diakrino”
1 Corinthians 12:10… to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing (diakrino: human, evil or Holy Spirit) between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
You need the help of the Holy Spirit to “anakrino” or discern ones motives and actions.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16… 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned (diakrino) only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments (anakrino: scrutinize carefully in order to make a judgment) about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
- said of the exercise of a discerning “judgment” of all things as to their true value, by one who is spiritual; in the same verse, “is judged (of no man),
- “examined,” i.e., the merely natural mind cannot estimate the motives of the spiritual
The ultimate judge of our motive and action is God alone
1 Corinthians 4:3-4… I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
- “I should be judged,” i.e., as to examining and passing sentence on the fulfillment or nonfulfillment of the Apostle’s stewardship; so in the same verse, “I judge (not mine own self),” and in 1 Cor 4:4 “(he that) judgeth (me is the Lord);