Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book of James - Part 11: To Save and Destroy

The Book of James
Part 11 - Judging Others
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

James 4:11-12
 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?


In the last few verses we have studied, James, who is speaking to the Twelve Tribes as believers in Christ, as the head of the Jerusalem Council, directs the listeners to stop living worldly lives, placing other things such as money before morality in their lives while claiming to be followers of God, this is a contradiction to scripture.

The scripture calls them adulterers for doing so in Chapter 4 verse 4, and tells them to stop following their lusts.  He also tells them they need to refocus their lives, submitting to God, and be truly remorseful for their sins they committed against God.

In today’s verses, we read that James is also telling them to stop judging people by the Law of Moses. It is not the Law of Moses that holds the power to save or destroy, but God alone. When they act as judges, using this law, they themselves are trying to take the place of God, determining for themselves who shall be saved, and who shall be condemned.

We as followers of Christ need to remember that although the Law reveals our sin against God, it is not the Law itself that condemns or saves, but God alone!

When we say by the Law you have sinned, so by the Law you are condemned, we in turn are teaching that also by the Law you are saved, and this is not so, for no one can fulfill the Law but one, Jesus Christ.

We need to remember that the Law was given, not to save man, but to reveal his sin.  Therefore, it is by YOUR SIN you are condemned, and by CHRIST’S atonement, you receive Salvation!

       I.            DO NOT SLANDER OR JUDGE

a.      James speaking to the Christ believing Jews
                                                             i.      They are supposed to be followers of Christ now

                                                          ii.      Jesus fulfilled the Law, and in doing so the Law has been satisfied and is of no effect to those who are rightly in relationship with Christ.

1.      Luke 24:44 “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

                                                       iii.      Placing the Law back on to the believers is re-bridling them with the bondage of sin. (Book of Romans)

b.     Do not slander
                                                             i.      This may cause others (if not yourself) to want to carry out the next step of slander, krino (Greek for Judge)

                                                          ii.      krino means to decide for yourself to try, condemn, punish, avenge or damn a person.

1.      You make yourself the ultimate judge, placing yourself as God.

                                                       iii.      We cannot determine another’s destination, because we are incapable of looking at their heart.  Only God knows the heart of man, and judges it accordingly.

                                                         iv.      A godly man will share with others WHAT God’s Word says and what they can do about it.  We do not want to attack people with the only thing that can save them...the Word.
c.      This is about being a self-appointed judge of others
                                                             i.      Matthew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For 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? 4 How 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? 5 You 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.”

1.      I wish I had a dime for each time someone came to me pointing out someone else’s sin, yet completely overlooking a great sin in their own life that needed to be dealt with.

2.      You see, the Law points out sin, and we need to examine ourselves with it.  It is only when we rightly correct our own lives, will we be able to help others correct theirs.

a.      Matthew 7:5 “You 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.”

3.      Jesus never calls us to tell people they are saved or going to hell;

4.      Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

a.      Why is there so much confusion about judging?  Because we are told to judge a brothers fruit, we are told if we see a brother in sin we are to correct him in love.  Then we read not to judge...this can cause confusion.

b.     But if you step back and look at the two types of judging, it becomes clear and easy to see the difference.


John Doe comes to church regularly, and openly confesses that he IS a Christian.  John is married, and his wife also attends church.

One day you are walking down the street and you see John Doe with another woman, and they are holding hands and you see them kiss.  What do you do? 

If you go to him and point out his sin in love, are you judging him?

Absolutely not, you are not telling him whether or not he is going to heaven or hell, but simply doing what God tells us to do in His Holy Word!

The Word of God tells us that if we see a brother in sin, we are to first go to him in private, and show him his error. 

If he refuses to listen, then we are to return with a few others from the church to speak with him in love once more. 

If he still refuses to listen, he is to see the Elders of the church, and they will give him the opportunity to listen to scripture. 

If he still refuses to listen, then the elders are to tell him he is not allowed to come to church until he repents.

This is so all those in the congregation will understand that you cannot call yourself a follower of Christ, and live in sin.  If he repents, then he is welcomed back into the congregation.  If he does not, then it is still up to God on how to condemn or save him...not us.

c.      In this illustration, scripture was followed, and no one judged incorrectly.

d.     We can be a doer of the word, judge our brothers in love accordingly WITHOUT judging whether someone will be saved or destroyed.  That is God’s job.

a.      There is only one Lawgiver and Judge.

b.     He alone is the one who is able to save and destroy.

c.      But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?
                                                             i.      The original Greek says, “but you - who are you?” or in other words, “Who do you think you are?”

There are two types of judging we can do.  One is commanded by God and the other condemned.

We are commanded by Christ in Matthew 28 to teach all the world to obey what Christ has commanded, and also to correct a brother who is sinning. 

James 5:19-20
 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save their soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

This is being a doer of the Word, and judging accordingly as commanded by Christ.

Only God can see a man’s heart, and say whether that man is condemned to hell or received Salvation for eternity.

If we try to tell someone they are going to heaven or hell, either one, we are in essence trying to take the place of God, and this is the judging we are told NOT to do!

There is only one God, and one Judge.