Tag Archives: judge

Is your church “pre-screening” people for heaven?

How many times have you heard in church that people who do … or if people do not do … will not go the heaven? This is not a new Phenomenon for the church. It has been happening since the beginning of the church.

In the 10th chapter of Acts, we read about how Peter (a devote Jew) has a vision about God sending a sheet filled with animals that were considered unclean food and tells Peter to kill and eat. But Peter responds that he has never let any unclean thing enter his body. God had to tell him two more times before God took the sheet of food away.

About the same time, Cornelius (a believing Gentile) has as vision about going to find Peter.

As Peter was thinking about the meaning of his vision, Cornelius comes to the house and asks for Peter. So Peter goes to the house of Cornelius.

Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. Acts 10:33-48(NIV)

Did this end the debate between the Christian Gentiles and the Jews? No. Later, the Jews were telling the Christian Gentiles that they needed to be circumcised to become a believer because this is what was required in the covenant God made with the children of Israel.

The church today has problems trying to pre-screen Christians. It may not be circumcision or eating certain foods, but we have several others: Type of worship, translation of the Bible, baptism, place of worship, instruments used in worship, pastor’s salary, church membership, etc.

We need to give the same message that Peter gave in Acts 10. Peter told them that God was not show favoritism. He also told them what God had done for him. He told them about the Holy Spirit that was given to the believers and that Jesus died on the cross for everyone. God loves everyone. Christ died to redeem people from their sins, not to condemn them.

Rather than separating ourselves from the nonbeliever, we need to witnesses to them about what God had done in our lives. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit so we will speak only what the Holy Spirit tells us to speak.

God did not plan for the church to ‘pre-screen’ people for heaven. God wants us to tell unbelievers about the love of God and what He did for them on the cross. The assignment to the church is to make disciples, not judges and critics.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

How to you remember other people?

In a lifetime, an individual will meet hundreds of people. Some of them you see for only a moment and others you see for longer periods of time. When people get older, they look back at their life and think about the people they have encountered. Someone will mention a name and they will say something like “I remember that person; he was the one who …”

What will you put in the blank? When people have hurt you, you will probably remember them for the hurt that they caused. You may think of every negative thing that you can think about that person.

On the other hand, when a person has helped you achieve something, you will remember that person by the good they did to you. You will think about all the positive things that the person did.

How do you want people to remember you? Do you want them to remember you as a judgmental person who criticized everything and everyone you come in contact with, or do you want them to remember you as forgiving individual, who was always trying to help someone?

Remember Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ? Do you remember him as the person who betrayed Jesus? Or perhaps you remember him as the person who Jesus called Satan? Or perhaps you remember him as the disciple who sank into the water because he took his eyes of Jesus? We may criticize Peter for taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking into the water or we can praise him for having the courage to go to Jesus even when it was humanly impossible.

Even though Peter made several mistakes in his life, He learned from his mistakes. He later wrote two Epistles that are recorded in our Bible today: 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Because Peter seemed to make a lot of mistakes, he has some excellent advice for Christians. In 1 Peter 2:11-12 Peter wrote these words:

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:11-12(NIV)

Peter is telling us that everything we do should glorify God. Even when people falsely accuse us, we should continue to live Godly lives rather than seeking vengeance because of their false accusations.

Often the reason we remember the negative things that people have done to us, is because we have never forgiven them for the wrong they did to us. We tend to hang onto all the wrongs that have been done to us, rather than forgive them.

The Apostle Luke, in chapter 6 record Jesus telling this to the followers of Jesus:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38(NIV)

Jesus is telling his followers, not to judge or condemn people but rather forgive them.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things for people to do. Forgiveness requires the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God is the only one that can forgive, but he will not force us to forgive. We must surrender it to God and let him seek vengeance.

Paul in his letter to the Colossians says:

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

When we forgive someone as Christ did, we will remember the offence no more. We surrender our right to ever bring up this offense again. Regardless of the severity of the offence against us, we are still instructed to forgive.

How are people going to remember you? Are you going to remind them of Christ and His forgiveness or are we going to remind them of a judge who never forgive?

NOTE: All scripture in the blog were downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com