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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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Who's In Charge?

James 4.11-12

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[Illustration - "While visiting a neighbor, five-year-old Andrew pulled out his kindergarten class picture and immediately began describing each classmate. "This is Robert; he hits everyone. This is Stephen. He never listens to the teacher. This is Mark. He chases us and is very noisy." Pointing to his own picture, Andrew commented, "And this is me. I'm just sitting here minding my own business."] 

 [Considering the context.] 

[James just finished describing a number of terrible divisions in the Church.  There were wars, fighting, and killing among them (James 4.1-2).  These conflicts were the result of warring lusts in the individual members.  The cure for their conflict was to submit to God, and resist the devil.  More specifically James said they needed,] 

o       [An Inoculation of Grace (vs 6)]

o       [The Inauguration of Divine Authority (vs7)]

o       [An Infusion of Divine Direction (vs 8)]

o       [The Introspection of Divine Dependency (vs 9)] 

In this text James reveals, 

A.     The Manifestation of Judgment (vs 11, Eph 4.31-32; Prov 29.22-23) [- Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. -  James now takes us a step further and tells us never to speak evil one of another, because when we speak evil of another person we place ourselves in a position of judgment.  Hence, we must discipline ourselves to watch what we say.] 

[Speak not evil - καταλαλεῖτε (Gk)  - as expressing hostility in speaking speak (evil) against, slander, revile[1].  Some has suggested that this is literally speaking in an authoritative manner, with the goal of pulling another down. Hence , It is self-serving and self-glorifying.  It is not righteous, pure speaking; but is evil to its very core.  When we speak evil of another in a slanderous way we become guilty ourselves.] 

[In this act we piously set ourselves up as the authoritative lawgiver, we seek to render God's Word subject to our opinions.  Thus, we are not a doer of the law, but a judge in and of ourselves; this is a haughty act of self-exaltation.] 

[How should we speak of other people?  The Bible says,] 

[Ephesians 4:31-32 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. ]

[Notice here that Paul says when bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamour seek to pour themselves into you and then out of you that you are to put away from you all of these including evil speaking.] 

[Clamour - κραυγὴ (Gk) - to clamor or cry. An outcry, usually for public information (Matt. 25:6; Rev. 14:18); of tumult or controversy, clamor (Acts 23:9; Eph. 4:31); of sorrow, wailing (Rev. 21:4; Sept. :Ex. 12:30); of supplication (Heb. 5:7; Sept.: Job 34:28).  Syn.: bō (995), a cry for help.[2]] 

[What is it that our sinful human natural side loves to do when we have been offend or wronged?  We love to stir up the clamor.  We love to let the world know how we have been victimized.  In raising our clamor we know that our cries would never be complete without the finger of accusation, no, even more the finger of conviction (guilt).  Our assailant is clearly guilty by our accusation, no discernment is need, no witnesses are necessary we have already rendered the judgment they are guilty.] 

[This is exactly what both Paul and James are talking about.  Paul says put the clamor away, James says speak not evil one of another.  Why?  Because when we strive to bring another down, we are striving to lift ourselves up and that’s when we become judges of the law, or authorities in ourselves.] 

[In contrast to this scriptural truth the Bible says,] 

[Proverbs 29:22-23 22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. 23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. ]

[James takes us from the battles and conflicts that we will certainly face in life and he now gives us the gauge or measuring stick whereby we can discern how we have responded when faced with difficulties in our lives.  What you find yourself saying about those who are involved in your conflict reveals much about how you are fairing through your conflict.  Your words manifest who and what you are.] 

[Are your words clamorous?  Are you tearing others down with your words?  Then you are speaking evil of others and you have made yourself into a judge.  There is but one judge in our lives and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.] 

B.     The Manipulation Of Judgement (vs 11-12; John 7.24; Matt 7.1-3) [- Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? - Know the one true source of authority.  God is the only law giver, our opinions will not last, God's Word will stand forever. Always remember who you are.] 

[Many use the phrase, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” If you are judging for your own personal cause then this phrase needs to become your rule of thumb.  Because, while you think you are right in your cause, the truth may be distinctly different.  The fact is that we must make judgments or judgment calls every day of our lives.  What we really need to learn to do is to,] 

[John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.]

[Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ really did say,]

[Matthew 7:1-3 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?]

 [What did our Lord mean?  He meant that we need to be sure that our judgment is right and true.  This is exactly what James is saying to us in our text.  We must never manipulate the judgment that we render or demand to meet our own end.  When we find anger, bitterness, wrath, and clamour marking our defense, then those are sure signs that we are manipulating the evidence to establish our position.]

[The worst time for people to render a judgment call is when they are in the heat of the conflict and have a personal position to protect.  Notice that our text says,]

[James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?]

[From our text we discover that there are judgments that we are to avoid.  The Bible reveals a number of judgments we should avoid.]

Judgments we should avoid,

1.      Judgments Concerning Salvation (vs 12) [- There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: . . . – Have you ever seen someone who while in the heat of a conflict declared that the other party in their conflict must not be saved.  Your disagreement with someone does not determine whether they are saved or lost.  Their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ does that.  Now, we know from scripture that we examine the fruit of ones life, or their conduct and get a pretty good sense of their spiritual condition.  But, there are, have been, and likely will be times in the midst of a conflict when others looking at our situation will determine that you must not be saved. ]

2.      Judgments that are Sanctimonious (Luke 6.39-42: cf. Matt 7.1-5) – These are self-righteous judgments that condemn someone for being or doing something that you do yourself.  Jesus said,]

[Luke 6:39-42 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.]

[Paul wrote,]

[Romans 2:21-24 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, . . . ]

[We might best recognize this principle in judgment with the memorable phrase, Do you practice what you preach?]

3.      Judgments that are Silly (Titus 3.9) [– But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. – There are many things that people debate and argue about that are just wastes of time.  They render no saving or sanctifying results and they just are not worthy of the time they consume.  This is never more true than when you are in the heat of a conflict and you are trying to defend your personal position.]

[Consider again for a moment what we discovered last week in,]

[James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.]

[If you are praying about your conflict, and God is not giving you the answer you have been praying for, then perhaps you ought to consider the possibility, even the reality that your desired end is not God’s will and perhaps your justifications for your positions are out of God’s will as well.  Be careful to avoid manipulative judgments that misrepresent your Heavenly Father.] 

C.     A Magnificent Judgment (vs 12; John 7.24; 1 Cor 5.1-13; Matt 18.15-17) [- There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? – There are judgments in life that we are called to render.  Again our Lord said,] 

[John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.]

[Are we ever supposed to judge?] 

[Paul taught the Church to Judge (1 Cor 5.1-13) - Paul judged a man for fornication with his father's wife.] 

[Paul judged this man even to the point of delivering him unto Satan (vs 5).]   

[1 Corinthians 5:5 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. ]

[This may appear harsh but it in reality expresses the serious nature of the judgments we will be called upon toe render.] 

[Paul's standard for judgment (vs 6-13).] 

1.      [A little leaven destroys the whole (vs 6) – Leaven is never a good thing in the Bible.] 

2.      [Purge the leaven out, and cleave to Jesus (vs 7).] 

3.      [Be careful that this purging is sincere and bound up in the truth - righteous judgment (vs 8).] 

4.      [Don't go to extremes - we must live in this world (vs 9-10).] 

5.      [However, purge your fellowship, those that you would trust to watch for your soul (vs 11).] 

6.      [Care carefully for the Church, and leave the world in God's hands (vs 11-12).] 

7.      [Christian judgment must always have reconciliation as its goal (2 Cor 2.5-11).] 

[2 Corinthians 2:5-11 5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. ]

[Paul commanded the Church to execute judgment.] 

[Jesus gave the discipline of the Church (Matt 18.15-17)[3].  Jesus commanded the Church to judge within itself.  This judgment must be: 

1.       [Personal (vs 15) -  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.] 

2.      [Persuasive (vs 16) - But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.] 

3.      [Protective (vs 17) - And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.] 

[The only way to judge righteous judgment is to be sure you allow your Heavenly Father to guide your judgment, so that you are absolutely certain that He is rendering the judgment and you find yourself in absolute agreement with Him.  Hence, in life there are judgments we must render and these are revealed in the Bible.]

[Hence, from scripture we discover that there are judgments that must be rendered.]

Judgments that must be rendered, 

1.      Judgment For Purity (1 Cor 11.31) [- For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. - One must filter his or her own life through the filter of God's Word.] 

a.       [It must be COMPREHENSIVE - Reaching to the inmost depths of ones being.] 

b.      [It must be COMPARATIVE - Considering every portion of God's revealed Word, barring none.] 

c.       [It must be COMPELLING - Causing a positive, repentive change within the individual.] 

2.      For Preservation (2 John 1.7-11; Matt 7.15-20) [- To judge others for their potential affect on the Church in fellowship and on individuals in their spiritual gorwth.] 

a.       [Deceivers - Do not bid God speed (2 John 1.7-11).] 

[2 John 1:7-11 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. ]

b.      [Judge their fruits (Matt 7.15-20).] 

[Matthew 7:15-20 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.]

[To Judge Or Not To JudgeSo where has this study taken us?  On one hand I have preached that we must not judge with a manipulative judgment or an unrighteous judgment; which is what we tend to do when we are in the heat of a conflict.  This is what James is writing about.  But James is not telling us that we should never render any judgment for judgment calls are a regular and necessary part of our lives.] 

[Christians must render righteous judgment that is based on the Word of God and the character of God.  We must, as a Church, and as individuals make those necessary righteous judgments that protect our purity and preserve our doctrine and faith.] 

[In the end this study leads us to consider why we feel the way we do, and why we are saying the things we do about one another.  Are we exercising Godly and righteous judgment in the way we are talking about and treating one another?] 



[1]Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. (2000). Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library (219). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

[2]Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G2906). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[3] See note at Matt 18.15



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