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"Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright." Psalms 33:1
Grover Laird, Editor
7030 Dorsey-Evergreen Rd
Fulton, MS 38843
July 2020 Short Messages
"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1)
One of the greatest problems among Christians, which is also one of our greatest weaknesses, is the practice of judging and criticizing one another. We are slow to realize that God can judge and handle the failure of others without us. He has plainly said, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." (James 4:11) There are some things that each of us could do that would help solve this problem.
I. Correct The Wrongs We Do Others
When we do someone a wrong, we should immediately seek to correct it. Jesus said, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matthew 5:23,24) To ignore these words of Jesus and let our mistakes run their course can do a lot of unnecessary damage.
If we have a problem with pride, it will be hard to properly correct our wrongs. Saying, “If I have done wrong,” or “I do make mistakes, but everybody does,” will normally not do much to correct the wrong. When we look into the Bible we hear Saul say, “I have sinned.” (1 Samuel 26:21) Later we hear David say, “I have sinned.” (II Samuel 12:13) Telling it like it is will usually solve the problem and save a lot of trouble. It will also help us to be more careful next time.
II. Tell Our Brother What Troubles Us
Jesus said, "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him." (Luke 17:3) Again we hear Jeus say, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." (Matthew 18:15. See also verses 16,17)
Telling another how they offended us could reveal some misunderstanding on our part, or even our own weakness, or something that the offender did not know. This is the Lord’s way to settle an offense. If we cannot completely get free from the hurt, we are bound by Scripture to give our brother a chance to clear up the problem. The failure to obey this Scripture could leave us a greater offender that our brother.
III. Leave It With The Lord
In the Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to clear our hearts of hard feelings and evil thoughts toward the sins of others– "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us...." (Luke 11:4) Again we hear Jesus say, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." (Mark 11:25)
We are not to carry around evil feelings toward others because of their wrong. The Lord is aware of the sins of our brother, and He will punish all who violate the Scripture. (Colossians 3;25) But we must be careful or we will violate some Scripture in the way we handle the offense of our brother. Notice, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:4) There are some things we need to get out of our mind and leave with the Lord.
IV. Protect And Cultivate Brotherly Love
When our love for others grows weak, their wrongs become more noticeable. Look very closely at two verses of Scripture that will explain what I mean– "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." (Proverbs 10:12) "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
There are two judgments, however, that are profitable. (1) Churches, as such, are to judge her members. (1 Corinthians 5:12) (2) All of us are to judge ourselves in an effort to do better. (1 Corinthians 11:31,32) But most of the judging that is going on would be better left off. At God’s Throne of Grace we can obtain mercy, and find grace to help with this common problem. (Hebrews 4:16)
It Does Matter How We Treat Others
"Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." (Proverbs 26:27)
Many mistreat others without realizing that this could determine how God deals with them. Many Scriptures teach this.
The Bible tells us that if we ignore the cry of the poor in their need, we can expect God to ignore our prayer for help--"Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." (Proverbs 21:13) This verse could explain why our prayers may not bring us the help we ask for.
God will be merciful to us and will deal with us in an upright, pure manner. That is, if we show this kindness to others. But God will deal with us differently if we are stubborn and contrary to others– "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward." (Psalm 19:25,26)
Sometimes a person will devise a plan to hurt another they dislike, only to find that what they had schemed for others come to themselves– "He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate." (Psalm 7:15,16. Look again at our text and also Ecclesiastes 10:8) When we plan trouble for others, we are planning trouble for ourselves.
On the other hand, if we are determine not to criticize and condemn others, we save ourselves of some of this unfair abuse--"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) If we therefore want our Heavenly Father to forgive our sins and remember them against us no more, we will need to do the same for others-- "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." (Luke 6:37. See also Matthew 6:14,15; Mark 11:25)
Actually, forgiving others should be easy, after having been forgiven of God. For you see, the sins of others against us is nothing, when compared with our sins against God. (Matthew 18:23-35)
We cannot survive in this sinful world without the mercy of God. And by failing to be merciful to others, we hold back much of the mercy of God we so badly need . Jesus preached, "Blessed are the merciful;: for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7) This sounds like we must find a way to be merciful to others.
The truth of this study shows up in another area. When we give liberally to the Cause of the Lord, God gives bountifully to us-- "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38. See also Proverbs 11:24,25;19:17; 11 Corinthians 9:6) There is probably nothing that determines the material blessings that Christians have and enjoy, more than how much we give "to the Lord."
When we put all of these Scriptures together it is clear to see: one of the best ways to be good to ourselves is to be good to others. But there is another truth that is more important than being good to others--loving the Lord, (Mark 12:29-31) obeying the Lord, (I Samuel 15:22) and delighting in the Lord. ( Psalm 37:4)
FULL OF POWER
"But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin." (Micah 3:8)
After speaking of the sin and weakness of false prophets, the Prophet Micah spoke the words of our text. Though he was surely an humble person and did not seek to magnify himself, he knew that the power of God was upon him and his preaching. Notice two things that our text should teach us.
I. The Holy Spirit Can Give Power To Our Preaching.
Much study and preparation is very important in preaching. Yet our total trust should be in the Lord for the message, the words, and the power. For it is the Holy Spirit that makes preaching interesting, profitable and powerful. The Apostle Paul is a good example of one who depended upon the Holy Spirit in his preaching.
He depended upon the Holy Spirit to give him the words to say when he preached– “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (1 Corinthians 2:13)
Paul depended upon the Holy Spirit for the results of his preaching, not upon enticing, or persuadable words of man's wisdom-- "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4,5)
Paul did not just say good words, the Spirit made them powerful words-- "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." (I Thessalonians 1:5) The lack of this power in our preaching today may be part of the reason that some churches are not growing. I feel convicted to think that this could be true.
II. God gave Micah power to show Israel their Sins
Through the ages God has called upon His preachers to show His people their sins. While it is to be done "in love," (Ephesians 4:15) "with all longsuffering," (11 Timothy 4:2) and with a prayer that the Lord will use it “to edification, and not to destruction." (II Corinthians 13:10) it still is to be done.
God sent Elijah to show Ahab his sin. (1 Kings 21:17-24) He sent Hanani to rebuke Asa for wrong. (11 Chronicles 16:7-10) God sent Jehu to Jehoshaphat with a message that pointed out his transgressions. (II Chronicles 19:1,2) Isaiah was commanded to, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1) Ezekiel had a similar commandment from God– "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations," (Ezekiel 16:2) Preaching against wrong has always been part of God's assignment for his preachers.
I think, that since God gave Micah the power of the Spirit so that he might "declare unto Jacob his transgressions, and to Israel his sin," he could have lost the power of the Spirit upon his preaching had he not done so.
The Bible clearly teaches that apart from Jesus all are lost in sin– “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." (1 John 5:19) The Bible teaches that it was the love of God and the death of His Son Jesus that provided a salvation that all could be saved – "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The Bible repeatedly points to Jesus as the only hope of salvation for this perishing world.
When the angel spoke to Joseph concerning the birth of Jesus he made it clear that JESUS SAVES-- "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21)
We learn that JESUS SAVES from what Jesus said to the house of Zacchaeus-- "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
When Paul wrote to Timothy he stressed the truth that JESUS SAVES--"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (I Timothy 1:15).
Therefore Christ did not come to help, to assist, or have a part in our salvation. He came to SAVE us. If our sins are ever forgiven, He will forgive them. If we ever become a new creature within, He will regenerated us. If our name is ever written in Heaven, He will see that it is put there. If we escape Hell and gain Heaven Jesus will take care of it. If we are saved at all we are saved altogether, and Jesus did it. JESUS SAVES!
It was not the good that Jesus saw in us that moved him to save us. It was the mercy that He had for us that moved Him to save us-- "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 2:5)
If the Lord only saved those who deserved to be saved, He would save none-- "God looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 53:2,3) All have missed the mark-- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
It can therefore be said that salvation comes to man by God's grace-- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Because of these wonderful truths there is no need for any to go out into eternity lost. Jesus saves all that come unto God by Him, and He saves them all the way--"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
May we spread the good news to everyone that JESUS SAVES!
ALWAYS EXPECTING A VICTORY
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." (11 Corinthians 2:14)
To triumph means "to gain victory or success." In our text Paul is praising the Lord because He always gave him victory and success in his work. Most of us who work for the Lord do not feel this confident about our efforts of service. There must have been some difference between Paul and most of us.
For one thing, Paul was unusually dedicated to his work. Few, if any, could speak of losing all for Christ, (Philippians 3:7,8) or laboring more abundantly that any other Apostle. (1 Corinthians 15:10) We hear him say that he would “very gladly spend and be spent” to help others. (11 Corinthians 12:15) He placed no value upon his life in order to finish his course with joy. (Acts 20:24) He seem to always be ready to die "for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13) Paul did not give half-heartedly service with only the "left-overs."
Another thing, Paul moved under God's direction as he ministered. He seemed to always be in the place where God sent him at the time the Lord sent him there. (Acts 16:6-10) Most of us are not sure that this has always been true with us.
Another reason that Paul was special with God was that he felt his insufficiency, (11 Corinthian 3:5) and ministered in the Lord's strength. (Philippians 4:13) Also, when victory came he gave the Lord all of the glory for whatever was accomplished. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
His prayer life was also unusual. People who stay before God in prayer will see victories, and Paul knew something about this-- "night and day praying exceedingly." (1 Thessalonians 3:20a)
We may also see some of Paul’s greatness when he spoke of his life being "...in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God...." (11 Corinthians 1:12)
These, and many other things, put Paul in a different class than most of us. And, as the Bible promised, the Lord is with those who are with Him. (11 Chronicles 15:2) The Lord therefore gave Paul victory after victory until it became easy to always expect them.
This expectancy, coupled with his strong faith in God's promises, gave him the assurance he spoke of in our text. While most of us are not there, we could be closer than we are. May the Lord give us grace to “press toward the mark” which Paul had reached.
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