Introduction: Hello and welcome to this message from Calvary Albuquerque. We are excited to hear from our special guest speaker Pastor Nate Heitzig who serves as Executive Creative Administer at Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses this message to cultivate a deep love for his Word in your life. If he does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving. We invite you to open your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 7, as Nate begins the message "Start a Lovement, Stop the Judgment."
Nate Heitzig: Hey, you can turn in your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 7. We're going to be in verses 1 through 6 this morning for a message that I've titled "Start a Lovement, Stop the Judgment." And as we are focusing on Reload Love last weekend, Reload Love's motto is to start a lovement, and that is just a movement of love, but I believe that before that movement of love can impact the world, it has to impact us. It has to be a groundswell that starts with us. And so my challenge to you this morning is within your own lives and your own communities to start a lovement and stop the judgment. Can I just say, I'm excited to be here. And I often say this, but church should be fun, amen? The first five rows think that church should be fun. [laughter]
Does the balcony, the family room, and the back think that church should be fun? [applause] That was good. That was like 80 percent participation. We're going get to a 100 percent by the time we're done. But I think that sometimes we think that in order to come to church, we have to be super pious, right? We have to put kind of, like, a holy frown on our face and pretend like we're really struggling with some stuff. And maybe we are, but-but I think that church should be fun. And we cheer at football games, concerts, and even politic campaigns, so why shouldn't we get excited when God is speaking to us, amen? Again, we're like---that was like 10 percent participation. [laughter] That's all right. Anyways, I'm giving you permission this morning to get a little Pentecostal, okay?
If you hear something you agree with, it's okay to shout out an "Amen!" It's okay to shout out a "Preach it!" It's okay to hoot or holler. I don't want you to stand up and cluck like a chicken or anything crazy like that, but it's okay to get a little Pentecostal. God will not strike you down if you get happy. And so even if you were born in the church of the frozen chosen, today you're at Calvary, so remind your face that you're happy, smile, and we're going to have some fun this morning. Amen? Amen, there we go. As a matter of fact, why don't you turn to the person next to you and say, "Hey, God wants to speak to you today." And now whoever just told you that, turn to them and say, "Hey, you worry about yourself. [laughter] Don't judge me."
Hey, who's ever heard that said, "Don't judge me"? Who's ever heard that said to them? You know, it's funny that a lot of times when we say, "Don't judge me," we really deserve to be judged, don't we? We're usually doing something we probably shouldn't do. So let me give you a few examples. Maybe you're a manly man---you drive a big truck, you lift weights, you're macho. And you decide you're going to have a guy night. So you're inviting your friends to watch kung fu movies and eat steaks. And so your friends come over to your house and you grill up your big steak. You guys eat it. You guys turn on the DVR to watch the first kung fu movie, and all your macho friends see that you have recorded on your DVR every episode of Downton Abbey. "Don't judge me."
Or maybe you and your girlfriends decide, you know, the New Year's the year we're going to get in shape. "We're going to diet. Just salad for us, no sweets, no sugars, no fatty foods. We're going to diet and we're going to do it together." So you invite your girlfriends to your house to watch chick flicks and eat kale chips. [laughter] And you guys, you know, sit down, you start making the food. And one of your girlfriends goes in the pantry to throw some food away and she sees in the trash can fifteen empty cans of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. "Don't judge me." Right? Or maybe after the service you and your friends load into your car and you're going to go to Taco Cabana, eat some burritos. You turn the ignition and your friends hear loud and proud through your stereo [singing], "I came in like a wrecking ball." [laughter]
Hey, I know I can't sing. Don't judge me, okay? [laughter] You know, judgment's a funny thing, we try so hard to fit in, so that we can avoid it. We pass it on to many people before we ever really know them. Judgment's a funny thing---we hate to receive it, but we love to give it. Let me give you another example. Who in here likes to people watch? I love to people watch, if I'm honest with you. I think it's fascinating. My favorite place to people watch is the mall, right? It's like the cream of the crop for people watching. And inevitably you sit there for a while and these are things you say, "Oh my gosh! You see what she's wearing? Ohh, why would she wear that?" Or you see a guy, "Wha-what is he doing with his hair? No person should have that color of hair."
Or you see a guy and a girl walking together and you say, "That is so disgusting. Why are they walking like that? Separate a little bit, just hold hands. You don't have to walk like this through the mall." And you people watch, right? People watching is great until you realize that you're the one being watched. Or you realize that you're one being pointed at, you're the one being laughed at, you're the one being talked about. Then the tone changes to, "Where do they get off looking at me like that? Who do they think they are? Don't judge me." You know, it's funny, we love to give it, but we hate to receive it. And here we come to one of the most frequently quoted, as well as frequently misunderstood statements of Jesus regarding discernment and judgment.
And there's two wrong responses to judgment, two incorrect views. Number one is going overboard in the area of judgment, having an arrogant, a self-righteous attitude toward those who have sinned; and sometimes toward those who haven't sinned, but those we perceive as having sinned because we jump to conclusions. And, number two, which is equally as dangerous---that is, completely lacking within the area of discernment, completely lacking in accurate judgment, being taken in by practically every Christian or every con artist wielding a Bible, believing anything we hear, anything that's told to us in the name of Christ. So what is the place of the believer within the area of judgment and discernment? Are believers meant to judge others, and, if so, on what basis?
We're going to see these and we're going to answer those questions this morning. Let's turn to Matthew chapter 7 verses 1 through 6 and see what Jesus says about the topic. "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."
We're going to see two things this morning regarding judgment and love: number one, we're going to see "stop condemning"; and, number two, we're going to see "start considering." Let's look at your first point: stop condemning. What does it mean to "judge not"? The Greek word here that's used for "judge" means basically to separate, to choose, to select, and to determine. Now, this word has a dozen or so meanings, and each one varies on the context in which it is used. But here in this passage that Jesus is dealing with, he's dealing with motives. He's dealing with motives which no human being can know of another. He's not speaking of actions. He's not speaking of lifestyles. He speaking of motives, the reason for doing things, for what doing those things means within a person's life.
And Jesus is saying, "Don't try to judge a person's motives in the sense of writing them off completely and not leaving any room for grace." In short, what he is saying is "Don't condemn unless you want to be condemned." And here's the takeaway for us, and you can write this down if you'd like: Don't judge for condemnation, but for evaluation. Don't judge for condemnation, but for evaluation. You know, a lot of Christians judge for condemnation, and they view the Bible as just a big ammo book of verses they can use to condemn sinners with. And so they have these verses memorized, they walk around, and when they encounter somebody in sin, they find the perfect bullet of a condemning verse to get them with. And so they're stuck in sin. They're in a hard place. They're broken. They're lost.
And they pull out this little snippet, it's bam! "Take that, you bad sinner. I hope you feel bad about what you're doing. I hope you feel bad about the sin that you're stuck in in life." And they use it to condemn, not to show compassion, not to restore, not to help the person, but to condemn the person, to hurt the person. Don't condemn, evaluate. Judge not for condemnation before evaluation. And what Jesus is doing here is rebuking the self-righteous person who becomes hypercritical of others and draws conclusions from his limited exposure, what someone else has said, what someone else looks like, who they hang out with, who they talk to, what they do in their free time, where they're seen. Let me ask you a question: When did it become okay for Christians to treat broken, lost, and hurting people like lepers?
When did it become okay for Christians to treat broken, hurting, and lost people like lepers? Because we do it every single day. Even if someone is living in outward, blatant sin, it doesn't give us the excuse to write them off. But so many Christians treat sinners like lepers, and they say, "I just can't be seen with you. I can't associate with you. I can't talk to you. I can't hang out with you, because you're a sinner. You've got too much stuff going on in your life, and I don't want it to contaminate me." And so we end up treating sinners like lepers. I think we can take a lesson from Jesus, and instead of shunning these people, we could invite them in. We could encourage them. We could help them, we could love them not judge them. [applause]
Where do we get off seeing a guy on the street corner strung out on heroin, and taking the long way around the block, so that we don't have to talk to him, God forbid? Or seeing two girls kissing at a restaurant, and so we sit and stare and whisper to our friends about how ungodly it is, as if people can't tell when you're talking about them. Or hearing about a marriage falling apart through social media, and instead of actually helping somebody, instead you just take it upon yourself to post snide remarks on their Facebook about what the Bible says. When did it become wrong to just tell people, "I love you, Jesus loves you, and if there's ever anything that I can do for you, please let me know"? I think that needs to be our response---looking for ways to help people, not condemn people.
When's the last time you said that to someone in your life who was hurting, who was lost in sin? When's the last time you just said, "I love you and Jesus loves you. Is there anything I can do to help you?" Because that would go a long way. It would go a lot further than telling them about why they're wrong, or telling them about what their sin is leading to. They've heard it before. They don't need to hear it again. They need to hear love. They need to hear care. They need to hear compassion. Now, notice verse 3, because as I read this passage I became incredibly convicted by this verse. Verse 3 says, "Why do you look at the speck in a brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" This was convicting to me because I realize most believers ignore this verse and just skip to verse 4.
We think that it's only wrong to try and remove the plank, to try and remove the speck. We think it's only wrong to talk about the speck. It's only wrong to condemn the speck. It's only wrong to criticize the speck or to make fun of the speck. But verse 3 clearly says, "Why do you look at a speck in another's eye?" "Why do you look?" How often are we guilty of looking at others in judgment and contempt? We might never say anything to them. We might never tell them they're going to hell. We may never ridicule them. But in our hearts we're looking at them and we're showing judgment and hate rather than grace and love. And if there's anything that Jesus teaches over and over again in the Gospels is that sin starts at the heart. Before you murder somebody, you hate somebody.
Before you commit adultery with somebody, you lust after them in your heart. Before you steal something, you envy something. And before you're rude to somebody, before you condemn somebody, you judge somebody in your heart, not with your words. And this shows me an important principle: Judgment begins at our core before it ever walks out the door---begins at our core. Judgment starts in your heart before it goes to your lips. Judgment starts on the inside before it's ever manifested on the outside. And so the issue is a heart issue. The issue is what's going on in your heart, what's going on within your life. That's the real issue, not what you're saying or what you're doing, but what is happening within your heart.
I think we as Christians need to learn to look at people and love them, not judge them. Now, I'll be honest---I'm guilty of this. And you can be honest too. You know when you pull up off of the freeway and you see a homeless person, the first instinct is to not make eye contact, because if you make eye contact, then they're going to walk over to you and you have to give them money. And so you'll sit there and you'll say, "Don't look, don't look, just look at the---wait for the green light. Wait for the green light. Don't look at 'em. Don't look at 'em." And then you start having thoughts go through your head: "If I give them money, they're just going to get drugs. They're just going to go get alcohol." We don't know if they've ever done drugs a day in their life. We don't know if they're alcoholics.
We can very easily begin to write people's stories for them before they've ever had a chance to tell us who they are or where they've come from. When you see people, love them, don't judge them. Amen? Love them. Show them the love that Jesus Christ showed you. Jesus didn't write you off when you were yet a sinner. He came and he died for your sins. He loved you with a sacrificial love and that love changed your life. Show that love to others. And the principle is that we need to leave the ultimate judgment of motives up to God, because there's coming a day when we will be judged, when our hearts and our motives---including the love that we showed to others both outwardly and inwardly---will be judged.
And here's the question: Are you ready to be judged with the same severity that you judge others with? Because the manner in which you judged, you also will be judged. And the manner and the measure in which you condemn, you also will be condemned. And this is a problem in the church today. It seems like the only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions. We're so quick to judge, to make those snap judgments without any information. The world is all too often told that Christians---and by proxy, Christ---hates sinners. It seems like every day a different group of Christians is hating a different group of sinners. Westboro Baptists post daily saying that "God hates fags." When Osama bin Laden was killed, Christians took to Twitter saying, and I quote, "I hope he's burning in hell with all the other Muslims."
When we see a prostitute or a drug addict on the street, we avert our gaze, because if we make eye contact, they just might try and start a conversation with us. Can I exhort you to spend a little bit less time focusing on where people are at and a little more time on focusing on where they've been? It's really easy to focus on where people are at, and Christians do it all the time. Someone's stuck in sin, they're stuck in something, and we want to help them in the now, and so we give them Bible verses. We tell them things to help them now, to help them in the sin that they're in. And we said, "You know, you need to pull yourself out of that sin. You gotta flee it. You gotta run from it. Here's the verses that talk about that."
But spend a little less time focusing on where they're at and a little more time focusing on where they've been, who they are, what's happened in their life, their story, what makes them them. Find out about who they are, where they've been, before you focus on where they're at. You might find that the reason that they're in the situation they are in today is because of a really painful situation yesterday. The reason they're stuck in sin now is because of something really terrible that happened to them in their past. Maybe they're so used to being shown hate, that all they need to be shown is a little bit of love. So instead of coming to them in judgment, instead of telling them immediately what the Bible says, why don't we try to build a relationship with them?
Why don't we go out of our way to show them and cover them in the love of Jesus Christ? Cover them in the love of Jesus Christ. Instead of finding reasons to judge people, start finding reasons to love people. You know, it's easy to find reasons to judge people. If we were to all talk to each other for a few hours, we could probably find ten reasons to judge each and every person in this room. It's easy to find reasons to judge people; it's hard to find reasons to love people. Find reasons to love people. Find a characteristic, a trait in that person in your life that you want to judge. Find something that you like about them. Find something that you can relate to, something you find beautiful. Find those reasons to love them and focus on those reasons to love them.
Talk about those reasons to love them, emphasize those reasons to love them, and over time you will begin to stop judging them and start loving them. You will start a lovement and stop the judgment. Because, let's be honest, there was a time when you were lost in sin too. And, no doubt, there was some Christian who went out of their way to tell you, "Jesus loves you," not "Turn or burn." You know, it always boggles my mind, I don---do people actually think those signs work, "Turn or burn"? Like, someone's like, "Oh, man, hey, okay, I'm doing it." Does that actually work? I wonder if they realize that people are just about as likely to come talk to them as they are to go talk to the drug addict or the drunk on their street.
And so it's kind of funny that those people holding the signs are judging a lot of people and they don't realize that a lot of people are judging them. I think a far better message, a far better banner to hold over people is that Jesus loves people. First Corinthians 6 talks about the sexually immoral, adulterers, prostitutes, those are who practice homosexuality, thieves, drunks. It's like the hotbed of bad people, right? It's like the nightmare of every parent. It's like, "Okay, don't become one of those people." And we look at that group and say, "Okay, you gotta stay away from that group. Don't talk to that group. You know, just keep them outside of the church." But what does First Corinthians 6 says about them? It says, "Some of you were like that."
The New King James says, "And such were some of you." And here's the ironic part: the people that we spend all of our time judging are the very people that make up the church. The church is full of sinners. The church is full of lost and broken and hurting people. Let me tell you every single person on that list should be the people that we go out of our way to make feel comfortable when we see them at the church. They should be the people that we greet at the door and say, "Welcome home. God loves you. God cares for you. God wants a relationship with you, and you're safe here in this place." The church should be a safe place. The church should be a place full of love, not hate. The place should be a place full of grace, not judgment, and it starts with us.
Some of us were in the same place of those who we judge today. And just like us, they just need to be shown some love. Jesus is not saying that we shouldn't be discerning but rather that our judgment and our evaluations should always be with a view to restore, not condemn. Galatians 6:1 says, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual restore him gently." I love that because a lot of Christians want to restore harshly or want to restore quickly. And so we see a sinner stuck in sin and we say, "Hey, stop sinning. Get up, go and sin no more. You gotta get rid of that. You gotta stop it right now." You know, I think we can take a lesson from parenting in restoring gently. I've got a son named Seth. He's four years old and he's crazy. Seriously.
He thinks he's a ninja all the time, like, not sometimes, all the time he's a ninja. And he's going around jumping off things. You'll see him after the service, he'll get on the stage and jump off the stage and do somersaults. And he's always hurting himself. Give him five minutes and he'll hurt himself. Well, when we hurts himself, when he scrapes himself, do you think I go up to him and say, "Seth, get up! Stop crying. Stop hurting"? No. I restore him gently. I pick him up. I say, "Seth, I love you. Are you okay, buddy? Did you hurt yourself?" "Yeah." "Where does it hurt?" "Right here on my knee." "Can I kiss it?" "Yeah." "Okay, you feeling better?" "Yeah," "You want to keep playing?" "Uh-huh." "Okay, have fun, but be careful, okay?" "All right." I restore him gently.
Why can't Christians do that with sinners when we see someone stuck, someone who's fallen down, someone who's broken? Instead of saying, "Get up! Stop sinning." Why can't we say, "Hey, are you all right? What happened? What part of your life hurts? What led you to this position? Is there anything I can do to help you? How can I make you feel better?" And then after we've shown love, care, and concern, say, "Okay, be careful. Stop sinning." That should be the response of Christians---to restore gently, not harshly. Verse 3, it says, "And why to you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?"
You know, what's interesting about this analogy is that the words Jesus used for "speck" and "plank" indicate that they're the same material. It's the same substance. The speck that's in your eye is made of the same material as the plank that is in mine eye. They're both made of the same thing. They both are composed of the same material. And that's why I can spot certain sins in other people so easily, because they're my sins. I can sniff out someone else's sins, because they're all over me. Look at how intolerant David was toward the person that Nathan spoke of in his story. David wanted to kill him. The law at its most severe only required restoration. Why was David so angry? Maybe he just needed a Snickers bar. I don't know. No. The reason he was so angry is because David had a log in his eye.
He was so harsh in dealing so brutally with this sin that he heard about because---here it is---it's easy to smell the sin that you've been walking in. It's easy to smell the sin that you're covered in, the sin that you're engrossed in, the sin that you're stuck in. It's easy to smell it, because chances are you're smelling yourself. It's easy to smell the sin that you've been walking in. David prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God . . . then will I teach transgressors your way." Sadly, there are those in the church today who thrive on condemning others. Their attitude is the opposite of what a true believer should manifest, that love believes the best of every person. They rarely know the facts, just hearsay, and from that hearsay they draw conclusions and pass judgments.
Jesus dealt with the same attitude when he rebuked the disciples for wanting to call fire down from heaven, and he said, "You know not what manner of spirit you are. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save men's lives." So, number one, stop condemning. Number two, start considering. And the first thing we need to consider---we're going to see three things here---is to consider yourself. Start considering, consider yourself. Look at verse 5. "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." This is where it all starts.
Before we can consider another's sin, before we can stop judging and start loving, we have to consider ourself. We have to repent and confess our own sin before we can ever address another's sin. Now, confession is something that we have a hard time doing. We think that once we get saved that life should be pretty good. We think that we should be perfect, we shouldn't mess up. And we definitely think that when we do mess up, we shouldn't tell anybody about it. We should hide it. We should conceal it. Put it under the rug. Don't let anyone know we've struggled with that. God forbid someone asks us what we're going through. "Nothing, I'm good." We like to hide our sin. But the principle we find in the Bible is that we need to confess our sin.
We need to be willing and ready to say, "Look, I'm a sinner. I'm messed up. I'm broken. I'm lost. And Christ loves me, and I'm resting in the grace and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ." That's the first place that it's got to start. Before it can ever be taken to others, it's got to start with us. We have to confess our sin, often times the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of a condemning spirit towards others. And then and only then when our sin is cleansed, when the log or plank is taken out of our eye, then we can see our brother's sin clearly and restore them, not destroy them. Then we can see that we're the chief of sinners that our spiritual bank account is more bankrupt than anyone else, and that God forgave us and so we can forgive others.
Verse 2 gives us the warning against this when it says, "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." And here's the warning, we said it before: Are you prepared to be judged with the same harshness that you judge others with? You can dish it out, but can you take it? I was at the trampoline park the other day with my son. And I'll be honest, I get a little intense when I do anything somewhat athletic or that can be perceived as a competition. I get a little intense and I can be a little mean. So anyways, that aside, we were at the trampoline park and we were in the dodgeball part of the trampoline park. Has anyone ever been to the trampoline park? If you haven't, even if you don't have kids, you should go. It's just great.
I would go there without my kids and just have fun. But anyways, I was at the trampoline park in the dodgeball area, and I was just kind of playing the dodgeballs, and I was throwing the balls at my son. He was having a great time. He was having a blast. And then some bigger kids took a ball. And my daughter was in there. She's so cute. She's just beautiful. She's perfect. She's just bouncing and some bigger kid throws a ball and hits her right in the head. And I was like, "Ohh, I'm going to take that kid out." [laughter] You can dish it out, but can you take it? So then I start grabbing the ball and I'm chucking these balls. I'm just---boom!---throwing the ball as hard as I can. And these kids are like trying to dodge the balls. And I got him a few times. I tagged him a few times.
I felt vindicated and also a little horrible about myself. [laughter] But the principle is---you can dish it, but can you take it out? You can judge others, but are you ready to be judged? You can throw a dodgeball of condemnation at somebody pretty hard, but are you ready for that same dodgeball to come back and tag you in the face? Judgment's a funny thing---we love to give it, but we hate to receive it. And it's true to say that there's no one more sensitive to criticism than those who are constantly criticizing. Those who are most quick to say, "Don't judge me," are often the guiltiest of judging. They dislike it, they complain about it, but they love to do it to other people. So, step one, consider yourself. Step two, consider others.
You know, so often if you say something to a believer who has a certain inconsistency, who has sin in their life, their response is, "Hey, bro, judge not, lest you be judged." And this is like some kind of bulletproof Jesus juke. We think, "I can do whatever the heck I want to, and then when someone calls me out on it, I can say, 'Hey, judge not, lest you be judged. This is my life. Stay out.' " Is that what Jesus is talking about here, that Christians can just kind of do whatever they want and pull that out as, like, the trump card, the "get out of jail free" card? "Judge not lest you be judged." Are we to never be critical, to never make our voice or opinion heard, to never acknowledge sin? Notice in verse 6 he tells us to not give what is holy to the dogs.
Let me ask you this: How can I put this into practice without some sort of judgment? How am I supposed to tell who are the dogs, who are the swine? How can I distinguish one from the other if I'm not exhibiting some form of righteous judgment? In other words, the words following this command tell me to some degree I must judge. Then later in verse 15 he says, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing." How can I be aware of them if I'm not evaluating them? And this is where it comes into play. We should be evaluating them. We should be considering others. After we've considered ourself, after we've viewed ourselves in the light of being the chief of sinners, then and only then can we consider others.
But it's only a select group of others, and we're going to see this in a second. Consideration, evaluation, judgment is reserved for those who are in the church, not for those who are outside the church. Notice in verse 15 he says, "Beware of false prophets." Paul tells believers in Romans 16:17 through 18, "Now I urge you, brothers, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned . . . For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting," again, talking of people in the church. Hebrews tells us, ". . . because of practice have your senses trained to discern good and evil."
And Galatians 1:8 says, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." "Mark those that cause divisions among you . . . and avoid them." Second Peter 2:1 says, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will introduce destructive doctrine, denying the sovereign Lord who bought them---bringing swift destruction on themselves." So clearly we are to be discerning, careful, and making certain judgments on what is taught. But, again, notice that these verses all speak to those who claim to be a part of the church. They speak to religious people. Judgment is reserved for those who call themselves a part of the body of Christ.
You can't expect nonbelievers not to sin---they're sinners. What would be surprising is if these sinners were all of a sudden righteous. That would be surprising. But when sinners sin, that's just every day. And I would also say it shouldn't be surprising---unfortunately, it is in our culture---but it shouldn't be surprising when Christians love. Christians should not judge the unbelieving world because they're unbelieving; what Christians should do is be discerning, be considering of others within the church. We can actually change that to consider brothers, to look at the brothers and sisters, those who claim to be Christians, those who claim to be walking with Christ.
When we see a Christian, someone who's in the church, having inconsistencies in your life, there is room and there is a place for a believer to---I'm gonna say this---gently restore them, gently restore them. Again, even someone in the church, even someone who's been a Christian for a long time, you never want to come to them and say, "Hey, you're not living what you preach. You're not doing what you're supposed to do. Your life's inconsistent." You don't want to do that, because they're immediately going to write you off. They're not going to listen to a thing you have to say. Do it in a gentle spirit with love, care, and concern. So, number one, consider yourself; number two, consider others; and third and finally, consider the situation.
Verse 6 said, "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before the swine." Now this obviously requires, again, some kind of judgment and evaluation. And to properly make this evaluation we have to ask God for discernment. We have to ask God to help us consider the situation in which we're in, consider the person to which we're speaking to, what they're going through, before we can accurately make a decision of what needs to be said. How did Jesus himself implement this teaching? Well, he never dealt with any two people exactly the same way. To some he revealed himself, to others he did not. We've seen this over and over again in our series Jesus Loves People. Jesus responded to people differently because people are different.
Take his handling of Nicodemus, Nathanael, and the woman at the well---each response varied because each person was different. Now, this is the danger of giving out the gospel in a mechanical way, in some cliché-ridden, lacking-in-compassion form, is that there's no heart behind it. There's no care. There's no concern. And any true, effective sharing of the gospel has to begin with your care, your concern, and your compassion for the person to which you're speaking to. And this is one of the reasons I'm not a big fan of tracts. I'm not a big fan of tracts and I can't stand those little silver coins that make someone think that it's something cool, only to realize it's just a crappy, silver coin that says John 3:16 on it. I can't stand those because it's a gimmick.
And for me it takes away the onus from a Christian starting a relationship with somebody. It's like, "Here, here's this coin. Read that on your own time. Bye. I don't want to talk to you." I think that sharing the gospel should be sharing the gospel, not delivering the gospel, sharing the gospel, having a conversation with somebody, talking to somebody, asking them about their life, what they've gone through, what they're going through, who they are, what they struggle with. Build relationships with people; it'll go a long way in sharing the gospel with them. Jesus went out of his way to meet and reveal himself to the woman at the well. At first glance this woman had a sarcastic tone. She had a sour attitude.
And we would look at her and say, "Man, she's a lost cause, Jesus. Don't waste your time. Don't talk to her. There's no way she's going to come to you. There's no way she's going to have faith in you." But Jesus saw through her facade and he saw to her history. He saw to her past. He saw to what made her tick. And he knew she had gone through a difficult life. She had had difficult circumstances pile up upon herself. And he looked at her and he loved her. He showed her compassion, he showed her love, and it opened a door for him to share the gospel with her. To the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said, "I don't condemn you." And can you imagine what a relief and a shock that must have been to this woman? All she had ever been shown was condemnation, was judgment, was hate, was ridicule.
She had probably been used and abused by men over and over in her life. And now the very men who had helped to damn her soul now demanded her execution. And, notice, Jesus didn't say, "Hey, stop sinning, and then I won't condemn you." No. He said, "I don't condemn you." Basically, "I accept you. I accept you just as you are. Doesn't matter what you've done or what you're doing, I accept you. Now because of that fact, go and sin no more." Because who could make it, honestly, if Jesus said, "Hey, stop sinning and I'll forgive you"? None of us could make it. Forgiveness comes first. Jesus, when dealing with people, in the terms of the same truth, dealt with them in different ways. He accommodated his teaching to that person. He did not vary the truth, but he varied the method of presentation.
And I believe that love does two things: number one, love lifts up the broken; and number two, love knocks down the proud. Notice that anytime Jesus encountered someone who was lost in sin, someone who was desperate, someone who was alone, someone who was broken, he lifted them up. He didn't knock them down, because they were already down. He lifted them up. He encouraged them. He helped them. He didn't come to the prostitute caught in adultery and say, "You know what? You really deserved to be stoned. You're a pretty bad person, but I'm going to help you anyways." No. He didn't say that. He showed her compassion. He showed her love. And once she trusted him, once she knew that he loved her then Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."
And this is what it reveals: his compassion gave him an opportunity for commission. And the same happens in our lives. Our compassion will give way to commission. If we find someone lost in sin, stuck in sin, broken, hurting, alone, if we show them compassion, that will give way to commission to be able to tell them, "Go and sin no more." When you find someone who's lost in sin, someone who's been knocked down, don't kick them while they're down. Lift them up. Help them. Show them that love that care, that concern. But when Jesus encountered the religious elite, he responded a little bit differently, didn't he?
To those who were proud of who they were, those who rested on their own righteousness and good works, those who judged other people that couldn't meet their standards, these people we see Jesus very harshly and directly knocking them down a few notches. He said things to them like, "You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say." First Corinthians 5:12 sums it up, and this is the takeaway verse for us: "It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning." It's not our responsibility to judge the outside world, God's going to handle that, but it is our responsibility to be discerning, to be considering. Stop condemning, start considering.
Considering yourself first, because you're part of the church. Then consider others. Then consider the situation and trust that God will give you the words. You know, it's sad to me that a lot of Christians can become very bigoted. They can believe that if they don't tell every single person who's in sin exactly what the Bible says about their sin, then they're not doing their job. And so they may have a gay waiter at a restaurant, and they'll say to him at the opportune time, "You know what the Bible says about your sin, don't you, son?" As if that's going to help. As if he's really going to want to talk to him after that meal. There goes that guy's opportunity of ever having a meaningful conversation with that person, ever sharing with that person that Jesus loves them.
I believe that the message that the Bible teaches plain and simple is that Jesus loves people. He loves all people. He loves lost people, he loves broken people, and he loves hurting people. [applause] And guess what? He loves you. He loves you and he loves me in spite of the fact that we were yet sinners when he died for us. He loved us. Jesus loves people. He loves all people. He loves homosexuals, he loves terrorists, he loves prostitutes, he loves criminals, and he loves atheists. Don't you think it's time that we should too? [applause] And there's still some of you sitting there saying, "No way. I'm not going to love 'em." [laughter] Look, I'm not telling you, you have to agree with them. I'm not telling you, you have to share their worldview. And while we may not agree with everyone, we are called to love everyone.
You don't have to adopt their worldview. You don't have to do what they're doing. You don't have to agree with everyone, but you certainly have to love everyone, if you want to call yourself a Christian. If you're not going to love everyone, please don't call yourself a Christian, because we've done a pretty good job giving ourselves a bad name as it is. Share love with people. Stop judging, start loving. Start a lovement, stop the judgment. I think it's time that we rise up and shine love in the face of hate, grace in the face of judgment, and salvation in the face suffering. Instead of being condemning, self-righteous people, may God help us to be compassionate, yet discerning people, considering people.
When we see others overtaken by sin, may we see it not as ammo to condemn them, but rather information to help restore them. Amen? And I want to take a second and ask you is there anyone here who's ever been judged by a Christian or somebody in the church at any point in your life? If you've been judged by a Christian, if you've been ostracized by the church, if you've been mistreated by the church, then I want to take a second and I just want to apologize to you on behalf of every true Christian, on behalf of the church, on behalf of Christ. I want to apologize to you and I want to let you know that what you've seen in the church is not an accurate representation. It's not a reflection of Christ. Jesus Christ loves you. He loves you so deeply.
He loves you with such an all-consuming love that even if you were the only person on this earth, he still would have died for you. He still would have shed his blood for you. It doesn't matter what you've done in your life. It doesn't matter what you're stuck in right now. You might be here today and you say, "Nate, I am in sin and I don't care. I'm in sin and I'm stuck. I'm in sin and I don't know how I could ever get out of it." He loves you right where you're at. And I want to let you know that we love you too. This church is a safe place for you. This church cares about you. This church is concerned for you. And if there's ever anything that we can do for you, please let us know. But I also want to say this: even if you've been mistreated, that doesn't give you an excuse for unbelief.
Encountering an unloving believer doesn't excuse an unbelieving behavior. The Bible says that each person must give their own account to Christ. Look, the person who's judged you, they're going to have to give account of that to Christ; but you're going have to give account to Christ for your belief or disbelief in him. And it doesn't matter what you've done or what's been done for you. He wants to take all of your sin and he wants to take all of your baggage. He wants to take it upon himself. He wants you to come to him as he hung on that cross. He wasn't dying for you; he was dying as you. And all that sin, all that baggage, all that pain all that despair, all that loneliness, it died there on the cross with him if you'll accept him. Let's pray.
Lord, we thank you so much for your Word and for the truth that is revealed in your Word. God, we thank you, Lord that you died for us while we were yet sinners. And so, Lord, for us as believers we want to show that same love to others. We want to stop judging. We want to start loving. We want to go out of our way to love people, and I pray that you'd help us to do that. And, Lord, I pray for anyone in here this morning, Lord, who doesn't have a relationship with you. They felt so ostracized by the church. They felt so judged by the church. Maybe they're only here today to get their friend off their back. Lord, I pray that you'd help them to stop using excuses so avoid salvation. Lord, you love them right where they're at. I pray that you'd show them that and you'd draw them to you.
And as we're praying right now, as we have our eyes closed and our heads bowed, if you're here today and you hear this message and Jesus is speaking to you this morning---you might have had a tough life. You might have had lot of stuff go on in your life that I don't know about. But I want you to know that Jesus is ready and willing to take that. He's ready and willing to give you joy in the place of your sadness, to give you peace in the place of your chaos. He wants to give you love in the place of hate. And if you want to receive that, if you want to know that when you die you can go to heaven and be with Jesus Christ forever, if you want to be forgiven of your sin, you want to turn to him, I just want you to raise your hand. And you're saying, "Nate, pray for me. I need Jesus in my life."
Raise up your hand and keep it up. Amen, right here in the front; in the back towards my right; a couple of you in the center; over here in the middle to the left. Anyone else? Just raise up your hand---over here to my far left; in the family room, a couple of you. If you're in the balcony, raise your hand up. Anyone, just raise your hand up if God is speaking to you right now. If God is calling you right now, you respond to that call. Maybe you're here and you've been a Christian for a long time. You said a prayer a long time ago to accept Christ in your heart, but you realize today that you're not really walking with him. Maybe you're saying one thing and you're living another thing, like the Pharisees. Maybe you've been a very judgment mental person.
Maybe your pride, your arrogance has gotten in the way of your relationship with Christ. If you're here today and you want to rededicate your life to him, you want to come back to him, you want to give your life back to Christ and start walking with him again, I want to you raise up your hand. And you're saying, "Nate, pray for me. I want to rededicate my life to Christ." Several of you. Lots of hands. Lord, I thank you that for each hand that's been raised symbolizes a heart. And, Lord, I pray that you would help those hands speak to that heart, Lord, and you would help that heart to speak to the feet, and help those feet to stand up and walk with you, walk for you, march boldly to live for you in Jesus' name we pray, amen.
Hey, will you stand up. We're going to close and we're going to sing a song. And as we do, I'm going to ask every single person that raised your hand, whether you raised it acknowledging you need Christ for the first time or for a second time or a third time. This might be your hundredth time; it doesn't matter. If you raised your hand acknowledging your need for Christ, I'm going to ask you to get up from wherever you are, come here to the front, and say a prayer to accept Jesus Christ. And I know what you're thinking, because I've thought it before too: "Hold on a second. I don't mind raising up my hand when no one's looking, but you want me to take a step, you want me to walk forward and be seen?"
I do. And here's why: If you can't stand for Jesus Christ in a room full of people that love him, how are you going to do it in a world that hates him? Jesus Christ died for you publicly because he loved you, and now it's your chance to take a stand for him publicly, confess your sins, and be forgiven. So if you raised your hand up, right now wherever you are, you come down here to the front. We'll wait for you. Amen. [applause] Let me tell you something: You've got a room full of people here who love you, a room full of people here who care for you. We want the best for you. And it doesn't matter what the person next to you thinks. Guess what? The person next to you didn't die for your sins, only Jesus Christ did that. Jesus Christ died for your sins. Jesus Christ cares for you.
Jesus Christ wants a relationship with you and it's free. He's not going to charge you anything. We're not going to tell you, "Hey, you gotta give us some money now." It's a free gift that he wants to give to you. Are you going to accept that gift, or are you going to continue to reject that gift? Perhaps you're here and your pride is getting in the way of your relationship with Christ. You know, it doesn't matter what you've done in your life, every sin is forgivable, except for the sin that you're unwilling to confess. And there's never been anyone who's too bad to go to heaven, but you can be too good to heaven---you can be too good to go to heaven. And so this morning you get your life right with Christ.
Don't let your money, don't let your wealth, don't let your pride, your arrogance, your family, don't let anything get in the way of this relationship with Jesus Christ. [applause] If God's still speaking to you, we're going to give you just a second to respond to that call. We're going to sing this song, and as we do, if God is speaking to you, you get up from wherever you are, you come down here to the front, and you join a family who loves you and wants to welcome you home to a new life in Christ. You come now. [cheers and applause] [worship music playing] Amen. We're not going to sing this song through anymore. In just a second I'm going to pray with those of you who have come forward. But I always like to throw that net out one last time.
And, again, we're not going to sing this through, but I believe there's still people on the edge of their seat who need to make this decision. And I believe God's speaking to you right now. And the last thing I want for you to do is to avoid this call, to not make this decision, and to go home with guilt, to go home with shame. And you might say, "Well, I'll do it later on." Guess what? You're not promised "later on," you're only promised right now. You don't know what's going to happen on your way home. Just this morning one of our pastors was T-boned. He's, luckily, safe. He's not hurt. But in the blink of an eye, you don't know, you could get hit by a car and this could be your last moment to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. There is always time, until time's gone, and we don't know when that's going to happen.
This is your time. If God is speaking to you, you make this decision. Maybe you're late for everything in life. You're late to pay your bills. You're late to work. You're late for your taxes. You better get on that. Don't be late for this appointment. Before we pray, is there anyone else? This is the last call. Is there anyone else, you know you need to make a profession of faith? Amen, you come. Anyone else? Anyone else, God is still speaking to you? Amen. Don't let your excuses get in the way. Don't let "later on" get in the way. [applause] Don't let anything get in the way of this decision that you need to make to accept Jesus Christ. [cheers and applause] Amen. You come. If you're in the amphitheater, if you're outside, you're in the family room, you come. If God is calling you, God is speaking to you, you make that decision.
Maybe the person that you're scared of, sitting next to you, what they're going to think, maybe they need to make this decision too. And maybe by you taking that step of faith that will encourage them to do the same. This is between you and God. You keep coming. We will wait for you. As long as you're coming, we'll wait. [applause] Amen. The Lord is working in your heart. Amen. Amen. Praise the Lord. Well, hey, for those of you who've come forward right now, I'm going to lead you in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ into your heart. And this is the best part of my entire day. And this prayer is a simple prayer, but it's a prayer that you're going to say from your heart, and you're going to say it to Jesus. I'm going to say it with you.
And so as you say these words, I want you to mean these words from your heart, and say them directly to Christ. Let's pray together. Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I've done many things that have hurt you. But, Lord, I believe that you died for those things, and I believe that you rose from the dead. So, Lord, I ask you to come into my life. Forgive me of my sins. I turn from my old life and I turn to you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to live for you, in Jesus' name I pray, amen. Let's give them a round of applause. Praise the Lord!
Closing: We hope you've enjoy this special service from Calvary Albuquerque featuring our guest speaker Pastor Nate Heitzig. How will you live out what you've learned from this message? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder that you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this special teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.