Faithlife Sermons

Justified Judging

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Justified Judging Romans 2:1-5 This week was a frustrating time for me because I had jury duty. It seemed to last forever and put a strain on my time. The waiting, the worrying, the not knowing what’s going to happen next. It was during this time that I learned not only more of myself, but more of God too. God had to take me out of my confront zone to teach me a lesson. Like I’ve said before, It’s one thing to know about the Bible, it’s something totally different to apply the Bible to life. Just having biblical knowledge is a great skill. But it’s a useless skill until that knowledge is directly applied to life. When Biblical knowledge is applied to life, it transforms from a skill to a discipline. It’s putting your belief into action so people can see your faith. By nature, a discipline has to be put into practice; otherwise it’s not a discipline but an idea. And since God wants us to grow in our faith, we must practice our faith, not simply talk about it. That’s what God did with me with jury duty. He took me out of my element and tested my ability to practice what I preach. And honestly, I didn’t do so good. As the week went by I improved. But you must remember that I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be. I’ve been called to pastoral ministry, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got it all together. I’m just a sinner saved by grace like all of you. But what I did learn? God had to show me that He is patient and that we need to be too. I also learned that God is a God of justice, and so are we as a people. The justice of God is something tons of people overlook. If all I preached about was the goodness and love of God, then all I’m doing is hurting you because I’m not showing you the whole picture. I’m only providing half the truth, which will still let you down. It’s true that God is loving, kind, good, patient, and forgiving, but if you put a period there you don’t have the whole truth. Did you know that the Bible talks more about God’s wrath than it does His love? We are made in the image of God. This doesn’t mean we look like God; it means we share in some of God’s characteristics. One of those characteristics is being just, and God’s justice is seen clearly by our own desire for justice. Sitting there in that jury room, I began to think about how important justice is. So many people dedicate their lives to see that justice is done. We as a people desire justice. We want to hear that justice has been served. We want people to pay for their crime, even though it won’t take the crime away. But on the other hand most people hate being a part of the justice process. I mean how many of you like jury duty? I was there and I wasn’t a fan. A man chosen for jury duty very much wanted to be dismissed from serving. He tried every excuse, but nothing worked. On the first day, he decided to give it one more shot. As the trial was about to begin, he asked if he could approach the bench. He said, “Your honor, I must be excused from this trial because I am prejudiced against the defendant. I took one look at the man in the blue suit, with those beady eyes and that dishonest face, and I said, ‘He’s a crook! He’s guilty!’ So I could not possibly be on this jury.” “Get back in the jury box,” the judge replied. “You’re just the kind of juror we are looking for – a good judge of character. That man is his lawyer.” We all want justice, but at the same time we all want to avoid it. We try to get out of it when the responsibility of being just is placed upon our shoulders. But at the same time, if we have been mistreated, we want justice because it’s personal. When someone hurts you or a loved one, it becomes personal. We want to see justice done, and so does God. So why should we think that God would be any less just than people? God is loving, but He is also a Just and Good Judge. Just as a human judge has a standard, a law, to follow, God also sets a higher standard by which all everyone will be judged. And if we would regard a human judge who let criminals go free as being unjust, then we are also being unjust in saying that God will just excuse any of our punishable offenses. But why does God want justice? Because it’s personal to Him. God desired fellowship, and sin is what caused Adam and Eve to hide from God in the Garden. God created us in His image, but sin separates us from our Creator. God is Holy and Perfect, His Law is Holy and Perfect, but sin is the exact opposite of that perfection. The Bible describes sin as putrefying sores (Isaiah 1:6), a heavy burden (Psalm 38:4), a binding debt (Matthew 6:12-15), defiling filth (Titus 1:15), darkness (1 John 1:6), and a scarlet stain (Isaiah 1:18). Sin is a violation of God’s Law. 1 John 3:4 says, “sin is lawlessness.” Ezekiel 18:4 warns, “the soul who sins shall die,” and Romans 3:23 adds, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone is a sinner that falls short of God’s glory. That’s why today’s Scripture says, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else” (2:1). You have no excuse because if you regard justice, it’s because you are deferring to a standard of right and wrong that’s higher than you. If the standard for right and wrong is higher than an individual person, then it must come from God. If people truly believed the lie of “what’s right for you is wrong for me,” then nothing would be offensive. And if nothing is offensive or wrong, then our laws, even our very own conscience, is worthless. To judge someone in any way is to reveal a standard of right and wrong and to place yourself above that standard. Because if you judge someone for doing the same things that you do, you're condemning yourself because you’re not being impartial. A thief judging a thief would not be fair. So to live in a world where people always want fairness and equality would require a world in which the standard of right and wrong is higher than an individual’s opinion. To be perfect and fair there must be a universal standard of right and wrong that’s the same for everybody. That’s why our Scripture says, “God’s judgment is against those who do such things and based on truth” (2:2). God’s judgment is based on truth. The Bible says that God is truth, so God’s judgment is based upon Himself who is True. Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.” As A.W. Tozer said, “Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything, He is never surprised, never amazed.” You can’t have any fairer a Judge than that. So if you, an imperfect person, judge someone, how much more do you think a perfect God will judge? Sometimes the sin we judge others for most is the same sin that dug its roots deep within us. People feel the weight of their sin and in failed attempts try to divide the weight of their sin with others to make themselves feel some relief. People try to share the burden. The problem with that is the burden is still there. Whether the weight of your sin feels like 100 Lbs. or 1 Lb. it’s still there. And if your sin is still there, you’re still standing imperfect before a perfect Judge. Thankfully, God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God is patient, so don’t be fooled by mistaking God’s patience for lack of judgment. Verse 4 of today’s Scripture says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” God wants everyone to repent and patiently waits. The Psalmist declared, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4). God says in Ezekiel 18:23, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, and not that he should turn from his ways and live.” God wants you to come to Him, but He won’t force you. God gives you time to come to Him, but eventually your time will run out. If your time runs out, God’s patience with you runs out, and you’ll die in your sins. A warning is given to everybody in verse 5, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgement will be revealed.” Nahum 1:3 says, “The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” Don’t store up wrath for yourself because God’s judgement will be revealed. You cannot escape God’s wrath without repentance. Sin must be paid for. It must be Atoned for. God is a Patient God, but justice will be done. Just like sitting there for jury duty, you wait for hours, or even days, before the judge calls in the jury. But in the end, justice is still done. A verdict is still administered. Romans 14:12-13, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop judging one another.” Folks don’t let your verdict be guilty. Don’t put off coming to Christ because your tomorrow is never guaranteed. Don’t judge others for what you do. Instead, show other’s their sin and need for a Savior. Put it this way; God is the Judge, you are the prosecuting lawyer. When you witness to someone, you reveal evidence of their sin. The lawyer is not judging to condemn but revealing their sin. It’s up to the Judge to decide the verdict. But since there is nothing we can do to bribe the Judge and earn God’s forgiveness, our verdict is guilty every time. God must punish sin. You know, it’s rare to find someone excited over jury duty. If they’re out there, I’ve never met them. When the summons for jury duty arrives in the mail, how many people scream, “Yes!” and run to clear their calendar? I’m thinking none. Our first reaction is, “Oh man. How can I get out of this?” And that’s only to serve on the jury. It’s totally different being on the other side of the courtroom as the offender. God’s Word says that we are the offender. We are the ones who have broken the Law. And we all ask, at some point in life, “how can I get out of this?” There is only one answer, Jesus Christ. Christ will still punish sin. John 5:27 says, “He has given Him (Jesus) authority to judge because he is the Son of man.” But Christ will also save you if you accept His free offer of salvation. Christ is in the courtroom with you and took your spot. God’s punishment for sin was paid for by Christ, but you must believe. You must accept Christ’s payment for sin. When you believe, your verdict is, “Not Guilty.” You pass from death to life. And you will “eat and drink at God’s table in His kingdom” (Luke 22:30). Amen.
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