The Judge

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WHO IS THE JUDGE? 

Scripture: Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43; Luke 6:27–37; Romans 12:17–21, 14:12

Memory verse: Luke 6:37
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned."

Lead—In

If possible, wear a dark robe to help simulate a simple courtroom scene. Prepare two fact sheets or write the following material on the chalkboard. These facts will be used as the “evidence” in a classroom court case.

(John was baptized in water when he was 15 years old. John is active in his church and attends Bible study regularly. His best friend James does not attend church. John has been seen outside the Bad Way Video Store with James. John is accused of not really being a Christian.)

Divide the class into two teams—one to present the case to defend John; the other accusing John of being a hypocrite. Give each team a fact sheet or refer them to the material on the chalkboard. Each team will need to choose a “lawyer” for their side.; The other students can represent schoolmates, friends, and neighbours who testify as witnesses.

After a few moments of preparation, let the “trial” begin. Allow one team to present its case and the other to counter. When both teams have completed their presentations, give your verdict. Say something such as, “I have considered the evidence, but I cannot make a judgement. If John is serving God, only He can decide the answer to this case. I have faults of my own and have no right to judge the heart.”

After this enactment, ask the student if the judge came up with the right verdict.

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “How many of you like to hear stories?” (Allow response.)

Jesus often told stories called parables to teach people truths. They involved common things everyone was familiar with, like plants. Most who heard Him knew about planting and harvesting crops.

If you have ever worked with your parents in a garden or farm, you know what a big job it is to pull weeds. This job has to be done consistently throughout the growing season. You cannot weed the garden once and forget it. If you do, the weeds will quickly grow back. You have to keep pulling them to keep them from growing and choking the good plants.

The Parable of the Wheat and Weeds

Jesus told a parable about a crop that had a problem with weeds. (Read Matthew 13:24–30.) This is interesting because while weeds are growing, it is almost impossible to distinguish them from wheat or barley. The difference becomes obvious only after the plants have grown.

In the parable of the wheat and weeds, Jesus told about a farmer who planted a wheat field. One night an enemy came along and planted weeds in the farmer’s field. The weeds and wheat grew together unnoticed for a time. Then the farmer’s servants noticed what had happened. They went to the farmer and asked what they should do.

Ask: “What did the farmer reply?” (Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 13:30.)

The farmer did not want the weeds to be pulled out yet. The roots of the weeds and the wheat were entangled by this time. To pull out the weeds would likely damage the wheat. So the farmer told the servants to let the two grow together until it was time to harvest the crop. Then the weeds could be bundled for burning and the wheat could be put in the barn.

The Purpose of the Parable

Jesus used this story to show us that the good and the bad can grow together in the same place. There always will be people who love and serve Jesus as well as people who do not serve Him. Right now those two groups live together here on the earth. But this will not always be the case. One day there will be a time of harvesting and separation. Those who have lived for God and served Him will receive a reward in heaven. Those who serve Satan will be eternally punished. (Read Jesus’ interpretation of the parable from Matthew 13:36–43.)

We can learn some important facts from this parable. Let us talk about some of them and how they apply to our lives.

Only God Knows the Heart

Fact #1: God knows the real from the false. Only those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour are truly Christians. Other people may live good lives, but we cannot see their hearts. Only God can tell if a person is sincere or not.

Ask: “Have you ever seen someone who was supposed to be a Christian do something you thought was wrong?” (Allow response.)

Ask: “Did you go around telling others what you saw? What should a Christian do in a case like that?” (Allow discussion.)

God did not ask Christians to go around pointing out other people’s sins. Rather, He expects us to pray for those who appear to be having a struggle living for God. We too may have times when we are tempted.

We cannot make excuses for the person who has done wrong. Sin is sin. What we must do is ask God to show us how we can help the person, not condemn him. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be a great influence upon those who may be doing wrong.

Overcoming Evil with Good

Fact #2: Evil cannot be removed by returning evil for evil. Only good can overcome evil, Jesus showed us this in His parable. Remember, the servants had wanted to pull up the weeds, taking them out by force. But the farmer said to let them grow until the harvest.

God will not force people into His kingdom. His kingdom is built upon love. Jesus gave His life to make it possible for everyone to be forgiven of sins and receive eternal life. Because of that, anyone can become a part of God’s kingdom. It does not matter who he is. But the decision is up to each individual. No one can receive forgiveness for someone else. It is a personal decision everyone must make.

What about people who have already decided to serve Jesus?

Ask: “Why do we need to know about overcoming evil with good?” (Allow response.)

Think of someone you know who is hard to get along with.

Ask: “Do you need help showing Jesus’ love to that person?” (Allow response.)

Most of us would be tempted to forget such people. We might decide they will get what they deserve. But much of the teaching in the New Testament gives instruction on how to get along with others—even our enemies. That is not easy for any of us. In fact, it is impossible without God’s help. As we depend on Him, He will help us and give us strength to show His love to those who need it most. (Instruct the students to read Luke 6:27-36 and Romans 12:17–21. Then list on the chalkboard various ways Christians are to treat those who do not know Jesus.)

God is the Judge

Fact #3: Judgement is God’s business, not ours. Jesus stressed another point in this parable. It is the job of Christians to sow the seeds of truth and love and help others as much as possible. But we are to leave the judgement of others to God. This week’s memory verse emphasizes this point. (Say the verse through together.)

When we judge and condemn others, we often forget that we have faults of our own. (Ask a student to read Matthew 7:1–5.) We all make mistakes. When we judge others, our wrongdoing becomes even more noticeable. Only God is perfect. That is why He alone has the right to judge others. Our job is to care about people, pray for them, and help them find Jesus as their Saviour.

Judgement is Coming

Fact #4: A time of harvest is coming. Just as judgement is God’s responsibility, so is setting the time for harvesting the wheat and weeds. Right now God is allowing good and evil to grow together. He knows the good seed must have time to ripen and bear fruit. But the harvest will come someday; we can be assured of that. Then the Church and the world will be cleansed of all evil, and the righteous will be gathered into God's kingdom.

Merely belong to a church does not cause a person to have eternal life. Knowing about Jesus is not enough either. We must know Him personally and give our lives to Him. Remember, even if no one else sees us do something wrong, God sees and knows everything. A person may get by with wrongdoing for a while. But the day is coming when he will have to answer to God for the things he has done. God will judge him. (Instruct a student to read Romans 14:12.)

Do you know someone who is not living for Jesus? If you do, remember your job is not to condemn him or point out all his sins. Instead it is to pray for that person and be a good witness to them. Help them see God’s love in you so they too can be ready when the time of judgement arrives.

Accepting God’s Word

Briefly review the parable about the wheat and the weeds. Explain that both Christians and sinners live together in the world. But one day God will judge and separate them. Each person decides where they will go to spend eternity. The person who chooses to accept Jesus as Saviour and to live for God will go to be with God in heaven. The person who chooses not to accept Jesus as Saviour will be separated from God forever.

Reaching Australia

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Unreached Tribes of Australia

1. All 20 of the unreached tribes hear the gospel message,
2. Faith to arise in their hearts to "just believe,"
3. New believers to put their trust in Jesus, accepting His gift of salvation.                

Prayer Promise

"Jesus told him (Jairus) 'Do not be afraid; just believe' " (Mark 5:36).

Remember: WHO IS THE JUDGE?

Memory verse: Luke 6:37
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned."

1. May the Lord help me to be kind to sinners with whom I attend school.
2. I want to judge my life according to the teaching of the Bible.
3. Rather than condemn, I will pray for sinners with whom I daily interact.

Pray for Unreached Tribes of Australia.

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Study 4 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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