Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 23
March 30, 2008
:Stop trying to use "law" to get your own way.
:As we return this morning to our studies in the Gospel of Luke, I want to remind us of the fact that Jesus was laying out the nature of the Kingdom of God for those who would be His disciples. To do that, He set forth a series of contrasts in the form of statements of "blessings" and "woes" that form a kind of "absolute context
" for the proper understanding of that Kingdom. That this context focused upon poverty, hunger, tears, and rejection in this present time, and participation in the Kingdom, physical fullness, laughter, and greatness of reward in the future is no accident, but it does require us to move beyond the narrow boundaries of those categories to understand what the Kingdom is like. Because words can be easily misunderstood, Jesus went on to deal with the real
cause of the contrast between participation in the Kingdom now and participation in it later: relational conflict
; i.e., the existence of "enemies". He spent a significant number of words attempting to get His disciples to address this "conflict" reality with "love", "doing good", and "being liberal in giving to meet real needs". But, those instructions tend in the direction of being "activity" issues. For them to be an actual
practice of the Kingdom's essence in this present, fallen world, they have to have a more basic root than simply "apparently good activities". They have to have legitimate "internal" motives. Thus, in the paragraph before us this morning (6:36-38) we run into "compassion", "judgment", "condemnation", and "liberality" in a context of the possibility of terrible blindness [the parable(s) of 6:39-49].
In our last study together in this text, we looked into Jesus' insistence that those who would be His disciples permit their compassionate Father to develop His compassion in them. This is, after all, a most fundamental root for dealing with relational conflicts: a compassion that reaches beyond the superficial evil of men to the bedrock of what is going to happen to them if they continue in their wicked ways.
This morning we are going to look into an issue that has, perhaps, the greatest potential for disallowing God to produce His compassion in us: the misuse of the Law. If there is one primary barrier to the development of true compassion, it is this: the self-satisfied sense that a person is simply "getting what he deserves" when the hammer falls.
So, let us consider the words of Jesus: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged."
- I. The Enormous Misunderstanding.
- A. These words may well be among the most quoted words of the Bible in our cultural setting.
- 1. Whenever people do evil, but do not wish to be held accountable for being evil, they try to hide under Jesus' admonition by saying, "You are judging me".
- a. It should go without saying that anyone who says that in a context of their own personal evil is misusing Jesus' words.
- b. However, people are seriously intimidated by that accusation -- so they try to back off.
- 1) It is never wrong to correctly confront evil.
- a) Luke 17:3.
- b) Ephesians 5:11.
- c) 2 Timothy 4:2.
- 2) It is always an exercise of "judgment" when one confronts evil.
- 2. Quoting the words of Jesus when rejecting His Kingdom ethic is the worst kind of hypocrisy.
- a. In Luke 12:56 Jesus called those "hypocrites" who selectively "judge".
- b. This was not, as some would like it to be, a matter of Jesus' own hypocrisy in teaching others to "judge not" while doing the same Himself.
- B. Misunderstanding is inevitable when two things occur...
- 1. There is no serious interest in understanding for the Truth's sake.
- 2. There is no care in considering the context of the words.
- II. The Path to Understanding.
- A. Begins with the beginning: John 5:30 makes "judgment" legitimate when it is the will of God that is being pursued in contradiction to the pursuit of "mine own will".
- B. Continues with a pursuit of meaning.
- 1. What does "to judge" mean?
- a. Luke 7:43 -- "to judge" means "to use one's abilities to think logically".
- b. Luke 22:30 -- "to judge" means "to oversee the application of Law in a setting where people's lives are involved".
- c. In every case, "judgment" is the use of reason in a context of a standard in order to determine what is righteous.
- 1) One cannot ignore the will of God in any sense and still be righteous.
- 2) One cannot ignore the revealed Truth of God in any sense and still be able to understand what is righteous.
- d. Summary: In other words, "judgment" is simply using the reasoning processes to come to a proper understanding about how things work.
- 2. What is the context of Jesus' use of these words?
- a. First, the most immediate context is the command to permit God to develop His compassion in us.
- 1) This has little to do with what has caused the "problem".
- 2) This has little to do with who was "at fault".
- 3) This has little to do with whether the person is actually going to get a solution to the "problem": one can be compassionate while executing a criminal for his/her crime (even God "takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked).
- b. Second, the larger context is the insistence that one "love the enemy", "do good to the one who hates", and "lend expecting no return".
- 1) Any "reason" for not doing these things in a legitimate way can be traced back to a lack of compassion.
- 2) The most fundamental block to compassion is a false application of the Law in these terms: I have no compassion because he/she is just getting what he/she deserves.
- a) What people deserve is quite beside the point.
- b) What is happening to people is the issue [Note John 3:17 and following].
- c. Third, the even larger context is the blunt demand that we get out of the "getting even" mentality.
- 1) According to Romans 12:19 "getting even" is outside of the scope of any believer's privilege/responsibility.
- 2) According to any sense of real "T"heology, "getting even" is impossible for any man.
- 3. What is the conclusion?
- a. John 7:24 brings the issue to a potent conclusion: "judge righteous judgment".
- b. John 5:30 identifies the foundation of "righteous" judgment.
- c. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 clarifies the motivation.