1 Pet 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” The Lord is the judge. He brings everything into judgment. And he expects us to judge according to his justice. If a thing is right we are supposed to do it. If a thing is wrong we aren’t supposed to do it. In Gen 18:25 Abraham called God, “the Judge of all the earth.” And in Gen 18:19, the Lord said of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment…”. According to Prov 21:3, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Therefore, there must be:
Judgment in our lives – 1 Cor 11:31 – “for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” Our body is temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor 6:19. Therefore, judgment must be in our house of God. We have to judge sin in our lives and turn to righteousness. This is to protect the temple. In 1 Cor 11:29-30, people who eat and drink the Lord’s supper unworthily, eat and drink damnation to themselves. In Corinth, people were weak and sickly and some had even died because they had not judged themselves. We escape this condemnation when we judge ourselves. We protect our lives.
Judgment in our homes – Gen 18:19 – “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment…”. God knew Abraham would do justice and judgment in his home. The principle established in the Old Testament was harsh and swift. In Deut 21:18-21, a rebellious and stubborn son who was a drunkard and a glutton was stoned to death by the elders. In Deut 22:13-21, a woman who had lost her virginity before marriage was considered a whore and was stoned to death when it was discovered that she was not a virgin when she married. In Deut 13:6-11, a person who tried to lead his family to other gods was stoned to death regardless whether he was your brother, son, daughter, wife or friend. These judgments were to protect the family and others who might be influenced by the evil doer. So, in Eph 6:1-4, children are to obey their parents in the Lord and parents are to judge their children by bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture is non-verbal communication that involves not only expressions of love but also chastisement. Admonition is verbal communication the involves instruction, reproof, and correction, when they are old enough to understand. You must do these things to protect your family.
Judgment in our church – 1 Cor 3:16-17 – we are the temple of God. In Eph 2:19-22 we are the household of God. Therefore, in 1 Cor 5:1-13, when a man was committing fornication, the church had to take him away, deliver him to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, purge him out, not keep company with him, and put him away from among them. In 1 Cor 5:12, they had to judge him that was within.
Members of our church agree to a statement of faith. If you are a member and you violate those things to which we agree, we are obligated to exercise church discipline to protect the church. In 2 Cor 7:8-12, Paul’s desire in 1 Cor 5 was to protect the church; he didn’t write to correct the boy. When Paul wrote this he turned him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, consistent with the tenor of the Old Testament commands. The fact that the young man repented and returned to God was an added blessing. Hopefully, if you are ever subjected to church discipline, you’ll come back to God. But that’s not the purpose. The purpose is to protect the house of God. By the way, the preacher is the bad guy in this judgment every time. Like Paul asked the Galatians, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”
Please understand, we’ll have people come to church who are in sin. We don’t judge them; they are without. If they continue to attend the services and listen to the preaching, they’ll either get right with God or they’ll leave so they can sin without conscience. Our desire is that their lives will change like our lives have changed and continue to change. We show grace and mercy. But don’t think because we show them grace and mercy that you are afforded the same grace. Some of us are held to a higher standard. Preachers, song leaders, musicians, those singing specials, Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, deacons, directors, and so forth are naturally held to a higher standard. Jesus was held to the highest standard; he couldn’t commit one sin.
Conclusion: judge yourself. If you are doing something contrary to the word of God, get that thing right with God today. If you don’t want to get right and you are a member, terminate. Attend the services to get the help you need through the preaching, but terminate. Don’t be a hypocrite.
Judge in your homes. If your child is bad, judge him or her. Don’t hide their sin and coddle them.
And if you’re caught in a sin like those in 1 Cor 5:11-13, you are going to be subject to church discipline. Mind you, we don’t go looking for sin in your lives. When this stuff gets bad enough, it will surface. And when it does, we will deal with it.
These judgments are to protect you, to protect your home, and to protect your church.