IF WE WOULD JUDGE OURSELVES – Part Four
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning (respecting, appreciating) the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Corinthians 11:29-32)
The Apostle John was the last Apostle to die and lived to be about 95. He wrote the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation. He was the one who leaned on Jesus’ breast. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? (John 21:20)
It would be disrespectful to John to accuse him of being off base for saying there is a sin unto death. To accuse John of not understanding how to live the Christian life would be unreal. To accuse Jesus of loving the wrong disciple would be folly. For two thousand years John has held his place as the “Apostle of Love.” John saw a lot of people pressing into Christianity and watched as the wolves invaded the churches, trying to make merchandise of the saints. He found it necessary to write words that would separate the wheat from the chaff and to encourage the true believers to hold fast. He encouraged the true believers to live up to God’s expectations of them in holy living.
He pressed them not to love the world in its godless way of living. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1John 2:15-17)
John had to deal with sin in the lives of believers. His ultimate statement to them was that there is a sin unto death for the Christian. (John agreed with Paul in our featured text above.)
John wrote: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (1John 5:16-17)
John doesn’t say how Christians would recognize “a sin unto death” as opposed to “a sin NOT unto death.” He assumes that those who were praying would know the difference in their spirit. God’s people are encouraged to “pray in the Spirit.” Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:18)
All sin is not the same. The sin unto death was different in the sight of God than a sin that was not unto death. John points out in verse 17 that all unrighteousness is sin. And in the same breath, he says there is a sin not unto death. He wants to make it clear that all sin does not carry the death penalty. It was also that way in the Old Testament.
The words: “sin” and “sins” occurs a combined total of 620 times in the King James Bible. The words: “abomination” and “abominations” occur 102 times in the King James Bible. The words: “abomination” and “sin” are not interchangeable. “Abomination” is more offensive to God than “sin.” Abomination is an especially offensive sin. God’s judgment upon people in the Old Testament bears this out.
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and two other cities in the plain were burned to the ground. And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. (Gen 19:28) …the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: (Deuteronomy 29:23b)
They were not the only cities in the world that were sinning. Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for common, ordinary sin. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49)
We have a cameo shot of what that pride spawned in their lives. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. (Genesis 19:4-7)
They exalted themselves against God in pride and their pride gave them permission to embrace the sin of homosexuality. A plain reading of Scripture bears this out and it has been the prevailing interpretation of Bible students for many centuries. Only recently have some church leaders been twisting the Scriptures to suit their own perverted lifestyle.
All sin is not the same. All sin does not invoke the same penalty in this life from the Lord. That is true among the unsaved and true among the saved people. The solution to “sin unto sickness” and “sin unto death” is to judge ourselves and repent of our sins. We must remember that 1Corinthians and Hebrews and 1John are all in the New Testament.
Paul says that in Corinth many were sick and many were dead because they were living in sin and covered it over by disrespecting the Lord’s Supper/Communion. That’s in step with what God did to some people in the Old Testament. This whole thing revolves around the corrupt condition of their hearts and there was no fear of God in their eyes (Romans 3:18)
You can do anything you like if you do not respect God and have no affection for God. It doesn’t matter if it’s Old Testament or New Testament. We’re not discussing the eternal destiny of people. We’re talking about earthly behavior and God’s reaction to it in the here and now. The entire book of Ephesians is about the warfare of the believer. Becoming a Christian does not make us sinless. Christians cannot lose their salvation but they can lose their fellowship with God and lose their fear (respect, affection) of God.
MOSES COMMITTED A SIN UNTO DEATH. God Himself explained that Moses committed a sin unto death when he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock. Moses was closer to God than any man on the face of the earth, but his long-standing anger problem took hold of him and he lost the fear of God before his eyes. He did not lose his salvation. (He appeared later on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah to meet Jesus, Peter, James and John.)
Moses lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land because of his sin and Joshua took his place. And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. (Numbers 20:11-12)
Moses’ last assignment was to go up onto the mountain to die (Deut. 34:5). Moses had the opportunity to take charge of himself and obey God. But, like the Christians in Corinth, he chose to publicly dishonor God and he had to go to the mountain and die for it. I have great respect for Moses. In eternity he can tell his own story if it needs to be told. We can say this, if Moses had judged himself, he would have obeyed the Lord and would have spoken to the rock.
A HANDFUL OF REBELS OPPOSED MOSES AND GOD. The earth swallowed them up and closed back over them. And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. (Numbers 16:32-33) There was no fear of God before their eyes. If they had judged themselves, this would not have happened.
NADAB AND ABIHU OFFERED STRANGE FIRE UNTO THE LORD AND HE BURNED THEM UP. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. (Leviticus 10:1-2) There was no fear of God before their eyes. If they had judged themselves, this would not have happened.
It is fitting to quote Charles Spurgeon in our picture for the last four days: “If you will not have death to sin, then you shall have sin unto death. There is no alternative. If you do not die to sin, then you shall die for sin. If you do not slay sin, sin will slay you. As long as a man is alive and out of hell, he cannot have any cause to complain.” Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
October 23, 2017 - MONDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 9-10 P.M. 1 Timothy 3
(BIBLE GATEWAY will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2)
Song for Today:
O to Be Like Thee (3:06) (Dailey & Vincent – Acc. Quartet)
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