By DiAne Gates, Crosswalk.com
“You’re not supposed to judge.” And fingers waggle in the face of believers bold enough to confront the current world rebellion against God’s Word. Those finger-shakers cherry-pick—lifting Scripture out of context to squelch our rebukes. But does Scripture really prohibit differentiating right from wrong? Every believer is to judge him or herself according to the Word of God. But many of us don’t know enough of the Word to correctly judge ourselves much less anyone else. Jesus instructed us to snatch the beam out of our own eye before we attempt to rip the speck from someone else’s eye. God, however, gives authority within the body of believers to rebuke and correct when His Word and His righteousness are violated. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4 NKJV).
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1. Before a Marriage Relationship Begins
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31 NAS).
God established marriage between a man and a woman. And He established the home before He established the church. The basis of any great nation is its Christian homes... homes where the Word of God is taught and obeyed. But by ignoring God’s warning about being unequally yoked together with unbelievers, coupled with no-fault divorce, we have constructed a freeway ending in the destruction of two parent families and the shredding of God’s marriage covenant.
The sins of our fathers have become the norm of our lives as we threw the barn door open and squashed the marriage covenant. But God’s law stands and many of us have found out the hard way, by establishing ‘til death do us part—He had our best interest at heart.
We must admit our guilt, repent, and consistently teach our children and grandchildren what God’s Word teaches about marriage, even if society casts God’s commands in the garbage, and our children think we’ve lost our minds. “‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘and him who covers his garment with wrong,’ says the Lord of hosts. So, take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16 NAS).
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2. In the Family Unit
“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:22-25 NAS).
Men and women, this is not a suggestion. And we will be judged by God on how well we followed His instructions. Like it or not, we must speak truth to each other. God is a God of order. Every business, organization, or operation has a rank and file. Someone must be accountable when the chips are down. Otherwise there’s chaos, and nothing of eternal value is accomplished. And that’s what we find in a great many families today. No one’s in charge. The family drifts from one crisis to the next. What a slick trick Satan pulled in the late ‘50s with the women’s movement—destroy the family and you destroy the moral fiber of a nation. And it’s working.
Do you realize if every one of us put these last two rebukes into practice, the majority of the problems we face would be solved? When I came to this understanding, it brought marvelous relief. Wives, when we shut our mouths and work with our husbands, then they can hear God.
When husbands and wives work as a team, with God as the head, the husband next in command, and the wife oversees the family unit—there will be peace, even in times of trouble. But we didn’t arrive at this place of chaos and destruction overnight. It takes two people in covenant with each other and with God to raise a family that will glorify His name.
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3. With Your Children
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3NAS).
And lest we put all the burden on the children, the next verse instructs: “And fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NAS).
How many times have you been in Walmart behind a grocery cart of undisciplined kids, screaming and grabbing objects from the shelf and each other? And mother is either screaming back or pretending they don’t exist. Or this scenario might be your experience. However, this objectionable behavior didn’t begin at the door of the local Walmart. Home is where behavior patterns begin. And home is where all behavior should be dealt with.
Do you have neighbors or friends who suffer this malady? As believers, we have the answer and the responsibility to share: discipline! For the kids as well as the parents. And discipline is never fun, is it? But it’s essential. We have a heavenly Father who disciplines us when we disobey. Why should we accept the world’s deception of being their friend, refusing to accept responsibility for raising this gift from God, rather than rebuking bad behavior at whatever age we regain our senses?
God instructs the older women to teach the younger women, but we must first set the example. Through bonds of friendship and love, we can then share what God has taught us.
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4. With Your Church Leadership
“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:19 NKJV).
Church discipline is a thing of generations past. But the Bible clearly sanctions rebuke, admonition, and restoration or penalties among leadership. Pastors must be held accountable to preach the truth of the Word of God—not a social gospel. And leaders are to be grounded in the Word, having a proven spiritual and behavioral track record. Too often, we rush to recruit any warm body to fill a current need, rather than seek God’s direction. 1 Timothy 5:22 instructs the church not to elect deacons or elders hastily.
If rebuke is necessary, it must be done with a charge by two or three witnesses, and then depending on the situation, to the membership. Sound harsh? Yes, but unrebuked sin propagates, pollinates, and pollutes the body of Christ.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! Says the Lord. Therefore, says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed my people, ‘You have scattered My flock, driven them away and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:1-2 NKJV).
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5. Within the Church Body
Jude warned the early church, “Certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4 NAS).
Paul also tells about “… false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4 NAS). Imagine the battles waged in new churches then. And 2,000 plus years later, believers still fight those same battles.
But like the early body of Christ, we are instructed to stand firm in the truth of the Word of God. “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 NAS). There have always been mockers and unbelievers on the church role, and there will be to the end. But we are instructed to teach the Word, rebuke and admonish those who disobey, praying all will come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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6. Within the Church Membership
So how do we identify believers from mockers? A former pastor of our church said, “I’m not a judge, that’s God’s job. But he appointed me to be a fruit inspector.”
Jude listed ways to tell them apart: “They participate with you, but have no fear of God. They are clouds without water, trees with no fruit, twice dead, plucked up by their roots. Like raging waves, they foam out their own shame. They grumble, complain, and walk after their own lusts. They flatter people for their own advantage.”
These people defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile things they do not understand. And churches today are full of them every Sunday. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear…”
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7. Sexual Immorality
Record keepers find there is little difference between those within and without the church. Same divorce rate. Same rate of young people co-habiting before marriage. And same number of professing Christians sleeping around. Practicing homosexuality was never found within the body of Christ, yet, we find churches today, even evangelical churches, caving to society’s demands for equality rather than obedience to the Word.
Unless the body of Christ lives and teaches according to God’s standard, He cannot bless anything about us. In a culture incapable of comprehending purity and obedience within the marriage union and the church—expect defiant resistance. Be ready to give account why you believe as you do. Because I said so, doesn’t cut it anymore—if it ever did. Today’s Christian must be a spiritual Olympian, able to swim in rough seas, then stand firmly against the rip-tide of this rebellious culture, always giving them the truth of the Word of God.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your own body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV).
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“So, you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.” (Numbers 35:33-34 NAS).
Whether pregnancy is within or without the covenant of marriage, taking the life of an unborn child is infanticide. And all Americans are paying the price for the 1973 Rowe v. Wade ruling that has allowed the slaughter of 65 to 70 million-plus babies and counting.
Repentance brings forgiveness because of the blood and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. But each believer is accountable before God to judge and rebuke this reprobate law. Pregnancy centers throughout America offer pregnant moms help and hope, but we must become God’s human arms of love, restoration, and provision for these hurting women. God loves and forgives us, and His mercy and grace are extended when we surrender and obey His Word.
“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… my frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret…” (Psalm 139:13-15 NAS).
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9. In the Educational System
“Children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” (Psalm 127:3-5 NAS).
Years ago, my children were taken hostage by an ultra-liberal school curriculum that stepped way beyond the boundaries of public education. A group of concerned parents involved ourselves and brought suit against the school board, preventing further teaching of this ungodly doctrine. The judge ordered the book banned in our district, but years later, we found this involved a much larger plan that continues to drive public education off the tracks today. And Americans parents are still asleep at the wheel.
Parents have the right to be involved in every area of public education. You pay their salary. It’s your responsibility to check your child’s textbooks to see what is being taught, and to meet and discuss problems with their teachers and principal, if necessary. If your school officials won’t listen, climb the next rung in the ladder until you find someone who will listen and act. Do not allow the educational system to override your God-given parental rights.
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10. In the Voting Booth
America travels along rocky terrain at this point in our nation’s history. We have the right and privilege to elect leaders to represent us. But if we throw up our hands in despair and choose not to educate ourselves or participate in elections, we place the future of our nation, our future, and our kids’ future in the hands of people who may very well be part of Satan’s lies.
My husband and I attended a meet-the-candidate night for one of our national House of Representatives’ seats last night. Before we arrived, we researched the candidate’s history as well as researched the other opponents. Were there other things I would have enjoyed more? Of course. But this election is more important.
Like my finger on the TV’s remote-control judges and censors what enters the hearts and minds in my home, so my finger on the button in the voting booth judges and censors—or aids—the enemies of this land into offices of leadership. Very often in history, God gave His people exactly what they demanded. But reading, hearing, and heeding God’s Word gives us the ability to make righteous judgments.
Wife, mother, and Mimi, freelance artist and photographer, DiAne Gates writes for children, young adults, and non-fiction for adults through her blogs, http://dianegates.wordpress.com/ and www.floridagirlturnedtexan.wordpress.com. She also facilitates a GriefShare support group. DiAne’s award winning, ROPED, first in her western adventure series released July of 2015, and the second book, TWISTED, released by Pelican Book Group July 14, 2017. Third book in this series, UNTIED, is her WIP. Visit DiAne on Facebook.
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