Matthew 7 1: "Do not judge, or you too will be
judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and
with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The other day an email was sent over the internet. The sender
did not know the receiver nor did the receiver know the sender. Here is
"Is it not written that "The kingdom of heaven is within
you" and "Know ye not that ye are the temple and Jesus Christ
is in you, unless you be reprobates".It's also written that
you cannot serve two masters. Which one do you serve?
I'm curious, do you believe the words of Jesus are true? One reason I
say this is because I believe God and His word and it is written that
many will come in His name and deceive many.
Please respond if you are able
This week’s virtual church message is based upon this email.
All of us have a mountain of work to do on ourselves before we
ever get to the point of being judgmental about anyone else. Being
judgmental about non-Christians is bad, being judgmental about
Christians is even worse.
In this email the receiver was asked two questions.
(1) "I’m curious, do you believe the
words of Jesus are true?"
(2) "Which one do you serve?"
First, I want to address the background, the motives, and the
underlying thought of the questions.
I have been in the church a long time. My church life began at
the age of 3 and I am now 56. Over the years, I have developed special
"antennae" that pick up background, motives, and underlying
thoughts of questions like these. The questions are confrontational in
the context they are asked. The are not confrontational in themselves,
but when these questions are asked of fellow Christians, or people
seeking Christ’ truth then they are confrontational in the context
they are asked. I find not love in these questions although the word
"love" was used in the email as a closing word. I find a lot
of anger and hostility, and the desire to pick a fight with the
receiver. At the very least, I find in these questions the desire to
pick a splinter out of the receiver’s eye by someone who does not know
the receiver and who has never met the receiver.
As a servant of Christ, I wouldn’t mind someone picking a
splinter out of my eye or yours but there would have to be some
prerequisites established prior to any action on anyone’s part.
The first prerequisite would have to be that there is an actual
splinter in the eye. We may have a virtual church but virtual splinters
don’t count. Now in the real, people-type church, there are people,
who are splinter pickers. These people find splinters in the eyes of
others even when the eye holder doesn’t know there is a splinter in
the eye. These splinter pickers are always looking for the fault, the
defect, the mishap, the misstep, the minor mistake, and the slipup. When
something like this occurs, the splinter picker is the first person to
charge up to a fellow Christian. Then, with a pair of big water pump
pliers, the poor Christian gets his or her eye gouged out to get at the
splinter. These splinter pickers somehow put themselves above others and
feel appointed by someone, normally God, to do the gouge work. They are
what others call "Holier than thou" since these splinter
pickers have appointed themselves, or feel appointed, to be above the
rest of us. More often than not, these splinter pickers find splinters
that are not really there. The splinter pickers gouge out the eye, they
split the church, they make new Christians fall away, and they cause
trouble and dissension when there was no trouble and dissension to begin
The second prerequisite I would establish before having a
splinter taken out of my eye or yours is that I would have to know and
you would have to know there really was a splinter in the eye. I used to
work outdoors on construction projects. Lots of saw dust, dirt, and
other stuff would fill the air. I’ve had splinters or specks in my eye
and believe me, when I get a splinter or speck in my eye I know it. Now
if I ever had a splinter in my eye and did not know it nothing happened
to me because my vision was never impaired, no watery eye, no infection,
nothing to report in any way. So if I or you do have a splinter in the
eye or someone tells us we have a splinter, I would first require that
we would have to be experiencing some kind of discomfort just to be sure
there really is a splinter. I would never let a splinter picker take a
splinter out of my eye or yours if neither of us was not experiencing
some kind of, in this case, spiritual discomfort. What you must be
careful about is the splinter picker who tries to make you believe you
have a splinter when you do not.
The third prerequisite is that the splinter picker would have to
be someone who knows all about my life and yours, my heart to serve my
Savior as well as your heart, and in my case has read everything I have
written on my web site. If you are to have someone find fault with you
they should know all there is to know about you.
The fourth prerequisite would be that the splinter picker would
have to be someone who does not want to pick a splinter out of anyone’s
eye. This person never looks for the splinters, never is disagreeable,
never looking for a fight, and never looking to confront others. This
person is a person of Christ-like love, caring, and compassion and who
is repelled at the idea of confronting others in a direct and angry way.
In addition, this person should not have a log in their own eye. They
must have clear spiritual vision.
This email contained questions that I do not believe the writer
really wanted the receiver to answer. What the writer wanted was not an
answer from the receiver but an excuse to tell, lecture, or preach at
the receiver. A number of people ask you questions so they can tell you
and do not ask you questions because they really want to know.
Let’s look at the second question first.
"Which one do you serve?"
The verse the email writer is partially citing is the following.
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will
hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (NIV)
Unfortunately, the asking of this question carries a terrible
implication. The implication is that the receiver of the email may not
serve Christ but may be only pretending to serve Christ just to make
money. The question might also imply the receiver of the email may be
serving Satan since the question is pulled out of the context of Matthew
6:24. These kinds of accusations by implication against people, whether
the people are Christians or not, are uncalled for. Again, if the
question is about whether someone serves chicken or beef there is no
problem. But when we ask the question in the context of serving God or
money there is a problem if the receiver is a devout member of our
faith. In my particular ministry and life, my wife works and I live on
disability and make NO money or receive NO income (not that the ministry
doesn’t need it because it does). My internet ministry work is all I
am able to do because I am disabled. My wife and I even cover the
expenses of the ministry. If I serve money rather than God I don’t
know it and is done without a sinful motive on my part. I serve my Lord
and since I make no money (or receive any either) I serve only Christ.
It could be that God has not healed my disability just to make sure I
serve Him and Him only.
Now, let’s really take an even closer look at what was said in
this email. I love the truth so here goes the truth about what was
The writer states…"Is it not written that "The
kingdom of heaven is within you" and "Know ye not that ye are
the temple and Jesus Christ is in you, unless you be
Strike One: Citations made here are not connected to anything about the
receiver. What we find in these citations is that the writer suspects
and obliquely accuses the receiver of being a reprobate. A reprobate is
a depraved, perverted, corrupt, degenerate, and immoral person. I would
love to be humorous about this but I will refrain. Implying someone is a
reprobate who you do not know is not a good thing to do. It is not a
good way to start any kind of relationship. We are called to treat
people with kindness, caring, and compassion and not be judgmental about
them even if they are depraved, perverted, corrupt, degenerate, and
The writer wants to know…"I'm curious, do you believe the
words of Jesus are true?"
Strike Two: This question is not a true and genuine seeking of
the truth. This is a leading question with hidden statements and
questions waiting in the background to be spoken. Again, this question
is not being asked to find out the truth from the receiver. This
question is deceptive. This question is hiding the intention and desire
to tell, preach at, or lecture the receiver, not to seek the truth. This
question is not based on honesty.
The writer says…"One reason I say this is because I
believe God and His word and it is written that many will come in His
name and deceive many."
Strike Three: Bad enough that the word "reprobate"
comes into the receiver’s picture but now the word "deceive"
comes into the picture as well. Not a good way to start things unless
you want to fight, argue, or just do a spiritual punch out on someone
you don’t know.
The writer wants to know…"It's also written that you
cannot serve two masters. Which one do you serve?"
Strike Four: (O.K., I know you only get three strikes but its
spring training and I’ll be generous). Strike four and the writer it
out even if it IS spring training. The writer accuses the receiver, by
implication or just the asking of the question, that the receiver serves
Christ just for the money.
Matthew 7 1: "Do not judge, or
you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will
be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your
brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How
can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,'
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite,
first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly
to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (NIV)
The words of Jesus tell us that before we look at others we
should look within ourselves. If we are going to look at someone and
judge them, then let us look within ourselves first. Let us put our own
house in order first. The way things work in the world and in our
Christian faith is that we all build our own house. The house we build
will be of poor quality if there is a 2 by 4 in our eye. It is bad if we
build a poor house because the house we build affects others. What is
even worse is when we have a 2 by 4 stuck in our eye and we try to tell
other people how to build their house. A speck, most people can handle
on their own anyway. In our Christian walk, our walk starts and finishes
with us and Christ, not with us making judgements about others. It is
with humility and meekness that we are to reach out to others. When we
are humble and meek we want to serve others regardless of their
May His peace and love be with you this week.