14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:14-24 (KJV)
I begin my sermon today with a quote from the verse just preceding our Gospel text for today: “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” John 7:13 (KJV) Especially did men not utter words of praise for our Lord for the same fear that emerges in our own society by means of the brain-washing indoctrination of the politically correct social engineers. There were murmurs behind His back questioning His authority and teaching, but none to His face – except those who made the people fear to mention Him – the Jews.
The Jewish rulers marveled at the teaching of Jesus for He taught out of a deeper understanding then they could match. He had not attended a seminary or been taught by any of their elders of the Sanhedrin such as Gamaliel. I have found that many rough and unschooled (in seminary) ministers of the rural South preach with greater truth, conviction, and fervor than some of the graduates of the leading seminaries of today. At least they have not spent a greater part of their studies on market research, conflict resolution, and business management. But Jesus was REAL. He taught the Word of God with great understanding because He was the Person and Author of that Word.
What was the greatest characteristic that separated the compassionate teaching of Christ from the stale and heartless teaching of the scribes? Our Lord Jesus taught as one having AUTHORITY. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matt 7:28-29 (KJV) From whence came that authority? From the Counsel of His Father in Heaven. When we preach likewise, knowing and believing God’s Word from which we preach, we likewise will have that shadow of authority in our sermons that typified the Lord’s teaching.
When they wondered at His vast knowledge of the Word, Our Lord explained: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” If any man will do WHAT? If any man will master his Bible text from which He preaches, He will know and understand the will of God, and He will know true Godly doctrine and differentiate that being taught in error by churches everywhere. The crowds may murmur against us when we preach true doctrine and and reveal the false doctrine being foisted on the people from almost every major denomination. I say ALMOST, because of all of the major denominations about which I know, there may be ONE someplace that teaches truth of which I am not aware.
How proudly do many clerics boast of their diplomas and degrees, their superior learning and calling when the most humble of believers in the audience may have been taught more directly by God the truths of the Gospel! When shall we ever learn that the authority with which we speak the Gospel is not ours, but God’s? Charles Spurgeon was converted by the preaching of an illiterate country deacon. The deacon clumsily spoke the truth of the Gospel to Mr. Spurgeon. It was not the eloquence, or lack thereof, of the deacon that touched the heart of that great preacher, but the authority of God inherent in the Word of God that the beloved old deacon spoke. Who cares how one comes by truth just as long as it is TRUTH?
There are far too many in the ministry today – the majority when even one would be too many – who teach their own opinions on a par with the written Word of God. Jesus points this out to us. Such ministers are not preaching to the glory of God, but rather to elevate themselves in the acceptance and popularity of their denominational authority. Can any true preacher, for example, acquiesce or even belong to a church that teaches abortion is commendable of God, and the desecration of the institution of marriage is acceptable to Mind of God who laid the foundation thereof? These are the cardinal false doctrines being taught, but there are thousands of others. “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”
But bear in mind that it is the responsibility of the believer to compare every sermon preached to see that it aligns with the unadulterated Word of God. Remember, too, that if the truth of God is spoken by a devil, it is yet the truth of God. Remember the words of the ungodly High Priest, Caiaphas, who spoke the truth and prophecy of God even if unwittingly? And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52)
In order to grasp the fuller meaning of the remarks of our Lord concerning the Sabbath Day ( If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?), we will not to consider the events leading up to this exchange in John, chapter 5. “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” John 5:5-16 (KJV)
According to the law of Moses, it was required to circumcise a male baby on the eighth day after birth even if that day fell on the Sabbath. So our Lord reveals their biased animus by pointing out that such work as removing part of the flesh of a child on the Sabbath Day is permitted by them but not the work of making the palsied man whole on the Sabbath Day. For this, they sought to kill our Lord. We, too, often get bogged down in legalism when the greater need for mercy and compassion may be most warranted.
Have you been taught by the modern church that you cannot judge sin? WRONG. Jesus, in verse 24, actually commands us to judge, but He provides parameters for that judgment. “Judge not according to the appearance, but JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.” Any man or woman devoid of judgment will end up as road kill on the highway of life. We must use our faculties to judge in every venue of life. The modern church has been rendered sterile by an over-enthusiastic observance and misapplication of the words of Christ in another place – “Judge not that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) This quote is most often taken completely out of context and places the principle Christ is conveying on its head. Remember the fuller quote and meaning: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; AND THEN SHALT THOU SHALT SEE CLEARLY TO CAST OUT THE MOTE OUT OF THY BROTHER’S EYE.” (Matt 7:2-5) In other words, do not judge others by a more stringent standard than you judge yourself, for it is by the standard you judge others that you, too, shall be judged. Do not judge your own sin with the eye of a mole, and others’ sin with the eye of an eagle!
What does Christ mean when He commands us to judge with righteous judgment? How do we know the definition and standards of such righteous judgment? Do we not hold it in our hands – the HOLY BIBLE! Whatsoever God calls sin, we are obligated to call sin even if that sinner is a brother or sister. 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Men judge not only by appearance, but according to their own personal animosities as in the case of the text today. We must judge by God’s Word – therefore with His Judgment – not ours. AMEN