Sent this to my friends at Jacob’s Well today, thought to share here on the POCBlog as well:
Last night I had a great privilege to see another part of our great state. At the request of some young troublemakers up in Hoboken, I was able to spend the evening proclaiming the Gospel with a group of students from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Which, by the way, is the Alma Mata of our own Manoj Thomas.
I was asked to speak on Matthew 7:1-5 and Jesus’ command to “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Certainly he does not mean that we should make no moral evaluations in life or no decisions about truth or falsity in the world. Yet there is a hypocritical way in which Christians can judge other people as if we were God. I’m always reminded by the great truths of the Bible when speaking on such topics. First, that I am a sinner in great need of grace and forgiveness. I have but one judge and that is God’s appointed one Jesus Christ. I know that God, in Jesus, has forgiven me and given me a new life and such grace ought to be extended to others in his name. Second, a hypocritical judgmental posture with others, is actually harmful to our witness to the Gospel. So many times people look at the church as smug, self-righteous, without much love, with nothing but condemnation to speak. I’ve always found Jesus to be quite different than the rest of humanity. He never congratulates people for their sin and calls us to repent. Yet he does not condemn us and is in fact willing to take the penalty for sin on himself.
The hypocritical judgment that is in view in Matthew 7 is so clearly illustrated by our Lord. In fact his illustration is actually hilarious. Read his words:
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
I think the ridonkulous nature of this illustration is evident to all. Should we not deal with the huge two by four sticking out of our face before we go hunting for specks of dust in the eyes of others? Yes, we should. The great path that we have to walk is neither to use our freedom for license and sin nor forget that we need grace from God in Jesus.
Jacob’s Well, let us become the kind of people who are living gospel centered lives of repentance and faith. My prayer for all of us is that we would live among the people of this world in such a way that they might see something beyond ourselves. Our prayer is that as we extend hope through the gospel, people would see the holy and loving God who died to forgive sinners of which we are foremost.
As you follow him today, I hope that you taste and see that God is good whatever circumstances may be before you. The hope that we have is eternal and the grace that we experience is ever present as a gift purchased by Jesus.
I love you guys and I’m so thankful to serve with you for the glory of God and for the good of the people among us, by extending hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. There’s so much before us but the most important thing is the one who must stay forever in our view. The living King is the one who rose from the grave and today is making intercession for us and leading us in his mission. We rest our hope in Him.
If you need any encouragement and you missed last Sunday, fire up the sermon where we looked at the case of a man losing his head in a dingy dungeon long-ago. Such happy thoughts are sure to brighten anyone’s day. Actually, if you missed it is important in understanding our lives following him. Flashback and Foreshadowing, Trouble Makers for the Glory of God.
If you are new to the Jacob’s Well community, or have friends or family who are interested in our church, have them hit up the Discovery Lunch on May 6 from 130 to 3 PM at the Jacobs Well offices. Registration is here.
Also, I’m also now an assistant soccer coach…which feels so very weird. My kids think it is funny and I am now known around the house as “Coach Reid” and our family as “a 100% soccer” family according to Tommy Reid. Oh good grief what has happened to me!?!? Prayers appreciated. ;-)