JUDGING YOURSELVES UNWORTHY
Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
Here we are now in Antioch in Pisidia. It is on the mainland of today’s Turkey and not to be confused with the Antioch of Syria. For Seleucus 1 Nicator has founded and named several cities by this name, which was his father’s name. (He also founded and named Laodicea, which was his mother’s name.) And our lesson begins at the close of the Apostle Paul’s first recorded message, which took place in the Jewish synagogue there.
The only recorded reaction of the Jewish attenders was that they went out of the synagogue. It seems that even the scathing remarks included in Paul’s message concerning synagogue rulers who read the scriptures every sabbath without understanding them, nor coming to know Christ, leading them to his condemnation, (v.27), had no noteworthy effect upon them. But with the Gentiles, there was quite a different reaction from this gospel message!
And it is interesting to be aware that in the end of this ministry among those of this Antioch, these Jewish religionists, seemingly unmoved by the Spirit’s message through the Apostle Paul, are in the final days, said to be filled with envy, but those receiving the word were filled with joy. And this apostle later writes that his preaching of the gospel God always causeth us to triumph. (2 Cor. 2:14). For he says that the purpose of the gospel is not limited to the salvation of God’s elect, but it is also for the bringing of Christ rejectors to death! Therefore we come to see that there was indeed a gospel judgment, as there is every time the Holy Spirit sets forth the gospel through preaching. So the gospel rejectors get “filled” with the unholy spirit, while those receiving the word, are “filled” with the joy of the Holy Spirit!
It should also be noted that although there was no adverse recorded reaction from the Jews concerning the preaching of the word, this strong spirit of envy, bringing forth the blaspheming of that message, comes from the Holy Spirit giving a large number of the multitudes to the apostles! Satan does not like it a little bit when the stronger than he comes upon him and liberates those long held in bondage to his deceptions! (Luke 11:21-23). It is one thing to oppose preachers with the truth of the Word, but it is “a whole different ball game” when the Spirit leads their attenders from them and joins them to one preaching the spirit of the word!
And sadly, this judging of ones self to be unworthy of eternal life by these religionists of long standing, is how this great Book of Acts ends! For in his final days in Rome, the Apostle Paul invites the chief of the Jews to come and hear the gospel. Here is the record of how that ends: Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
But this is exactly that which the Lord Jesus prophesied would happen! Matt. 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Now let us set forth the scriptural reality of gospel judgment. Here is what our Lord said concerning his beginning to judge this world by the gospel. And in these following verses he clearly proclaims exactly when this judgment starts! John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. Contrary to popular religious belief, the Lord sets up the throne of judgment at his cross! Read those two words, “now” in verse 31. That’s not our “now,” of the day in which you read this article! That’s our Lord’s “now,” on the day he spoke these words!
For it was then that he became enthroned and became presently reigning Lord! Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; And it was then that the judgement, by his gospel began! For it was then that his saints began to possess his kingdom, by being born again, (John 3:3,5), and began the gospel judgment of this world! Daniel 7:22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
The scriptures tell us that upon the return of our Lord, the entire mass of human beings shall already be judged! The sheep are already sheep! And the goats are already goats! All he then has to do is to separate them, informing them of the basis of his judgment! Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
There is no individual judgment set forth here! For all have been individually judged by the gospel in their time on earth! But some will say that everyone has not heard the gospel. All may not have heard a ‘gospel sermon!’ But all have the gospel of creation to render them inexcusable! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
And all shall be judged according to the light they had available to them! Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
It is clear that gospel judgment sets up and leads into the final judgment. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Notice that those not believing and relying upon the Person and work of Jesus Christ leave this world with the wrath of God already “abiding” on them! Their rejection of Christ, due to their love of their sin, judges them here at the time of their gospel rejection, so that eternity shall only have to separate them into eternal, outer darkness!
Listen to how this happens. 2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. The truly called preacher of the gospel, by the Holy Spirit, does not seek personal advancement in his preaching. He only sets forth Christ. And in doing so, he does reveal the spiritual integrity of his heart to his listeners. But should they believe not his Lord, while that preaching is proceeding, Satan is allowed by the Sovereign Christ to forever blind their minds in order that the gospel will never shine forth in saving effect to them again! For that is how gospel judgment goes forth!
We also see this in a verse often quoted in order to render all judgment to be exclusively in the future. But it actually states that future judgment shall already be set by everyone’s conduct in this life! 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. For we have already noticed that the judgment scene as recorded in Matthew chapter twenty five is without personal and individual judgment; but only for the separating of those already judged. And so it is here in this verse. For the appearing at Christ’s judgment seat is said to be solely for the purpose of “receiving” proper results for those actions done on earth!
Also notice in the following passage that the vengeance that God shall take upon those unprepared to receive him at his his return is said to be due to the fact that they have not obeyed the gospel! 2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Therefore we again see that it is the gospel that renders one as sealed up to receive the vengeance of flaming fire from the Lord!
And none can find a clearer verse than the following, found in the apostle’s writings to the Corinthian church! 1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. There are two ways that the Lord uses in the cleansing of the world – water and fire. He used the waters of Noah to wash the entire globe. And he shall use fire to melt the elements (2 Peter 3:10,12), in the final cleansing at the last day. These are also how he cleanses the individual soul! Either he washes them by the water of the gospel. Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; or he cleanses by the fires of providential trials and afflictions. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
We are so religiously hardened to the spirit of the word! We have but learned suppositions from our long involvement in tradition, so that truth actually seems strange to us! The spirit of the Whore church has intoxicated our masses insomuch that it is almost impossible for truth to penetrate! Except the Sovereign Lord come with effectual midnight cry to awaken even the sleeping, wise virgins more religious rhetoric will not do! Isaiah 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Pastor Gene Breed
March 1, 2013