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Paul & Peter: Galatians 2:11–14
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong.
Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.
And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Bereans Acts 17:10–12
The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.
Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.
Paul even requests that they judge his words (1 Cor 10):
I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
The writer to Hebrews complains that they are not mature enough to be discerning:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
2. When do we judge?
Truth and falsehood
1 Thes 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
1 Cor 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Rev 2:2 I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
Judging the world: 1 Cor 5:9–12
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.
In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world.
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.
For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside?
2. When do we judge?
Truth and falsehood
Public moral issues, like injustice
Speaking the truth in love to brothers & sisters But not attacking non-Christians
Judge not, and you shall not be judged.
Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.
But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge—the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbour?
But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?
Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.”
1 Corinthians 4:3–5
So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court.
In fact, I do not even judge myself.
For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this.
The one who judges me is the Lord.
So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes.
He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts.
Then each will receive recognition from God.
The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God...
But you who eat vegetables only—why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything—why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God...
Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths
4. So, why is it so important?
It’s all about love, attitudes, vulnerability e.g. Gal 5:14–15
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
It is very important to distinguish between judging a person, i.e. their heart, and judging behaviour.
Wise words from Bruce Smith:
It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood.
Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others.
Stop having a measuring stick for other people.
There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation.
I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.
Why is this so important?
Many Scriptures link unity with the pouring out of the Spirit
“…making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, There is one body and one Spirit…” (Eph 4:3–4)
Unity is the evidence to the world that we are followers of Jesus
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples — if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)