And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
John 12:44–48, ESV
One of the greatest accusations against Christians is that we are judgmental. This we can own to some extent because we have not always acted in accordance with the Word of God. We are still fallen in our nature after all. Yet, the words that we teach that are in accordance with the Word of God are not judgmental. We are not to walk around with placards saying, “God hates so-and-so,” nor are we to go around cursing people. When we proclaim the truth of the Lord, people will be convicted. As a pastor, I have always found it odd when people have become angry at me and accused me of preaching a sermon against them. Now I will admit that I preach about behaviors that are contrary to the faith and the will of our Lord with the goal of helping people recognize that behavior and not live into it. The goal of preaching is not just to convict but to bring the Word of Christ’s forgiveness to all who hear. Sadly, when we want to be justified in our behavior, we may miss the Gospel. The Pharisees were often offended by the Words of Jesus because He called out their behavior, but many at the time of Jesus believed but did so secretly for fear of being rejected by the leaders. We still find this today, don’t we? Many seem to fear the world more than they do God and, in turn, reject our Lord’s saving Word. As Christians, we are not called to judge, but we are all called to proclaim Christ’s truth to all who will hear. It is about the eternal salvation of another who will find eternal separation from our Lord if they reject the Word.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.