Benchmarks for Evaluation of God’s Judgment by Pastor La Fayette Scales – Rhema Christian Center, Co
I was so blessed last night when I heard Pastor Scales speak. He has a way of making us aware of where we are in our walk with God. It is very convicting. What I wish you could hear is the joy and humor he uses to make his points. He is so humble and gentle in his dealings with people.
Pastor Scales talked about how the Bible lets us see more of the nature of God by the various nicknames that are used for God, and he gave a few examples. During this season between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we can use these aspects of the nature of God as a measuring rod to see where we stand, and how we can improve.
God is Faithful and Reliable. He is consistently dependable.
1. God is consistent in character. Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I do not change…
2. God is consistent in His Judgments. God’s Judgments are always right concerning everything that is. Psalm 119:137 Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are your judgments.
3. God is consistent in His Performance. Philippians 1:6 …being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
4. God is consistent in His Results. Whatever God has declared will be the way He declared it. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
When God calls us to Himself he wants us to be Faithful and Reliable, consistent in character, consistent in judgments, consistent in performance, consistent in results. (Heather’s note: Remember, He did make us in HIS own image, so why would the requirements for us be any different than for God?)
Pastor Scales said, “Our ministry is what we do, our character is what we are.”
Our Judgment is the choices we make and do every day. Moses and Joshua chose to serve God. Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Our performance relates to how much we rely on Him to perform in and through us, He needs our availability.
Regarding our results, God wants to be able to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He wants us to win the gold crown in the race, and he isn’t going to say, “Nice try.” God has equipped us to get results and he wants us to do as he has done. We need to be faithful stewards of his gifts, and bear fruit.
Pastor Scales told us that we want to pray that all who come behind us find us faithful, walking a straight, not a crooked path.
Romans 1:18-24 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes were clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise,they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.
There are two judgments – the judgment of the faithful where rewards are given, and the Great White Throne Judgment where all will be judged according to their works.
When man changes the glory of God, God judges him. Atheists resist and ignore God, but they can’t get around creation. Where did everything come from? Pastor Scales took off his watch and said an apologist once held up a watch and said, what if I disassemble this watch into it’s tiny components, and shake it up, in millions of years, will they come together to form a completed watch. People laughed at that because they can believe that the things on the earth from cars to watches, to TV’s and computers have a creator. It takes a lot more faith to believe that the earth was created from a random series of fortuitous accidents than that there is a universal creator.
He then talked about Genesis 1 and said that when he was doing a conference in another country (not sure which one Pastor Scales said), he started out at Genesis 1 and said about 20 times to the people, “In the beginning, GOD.” Pastor Scales kept saying that until we got the picture and when he would say, “In the beginning…” we would all with emphasis say “GOD.”
Then he said about 20 times “Before anything there was GOD.
Then Pastor Scales put both lines together – In the beginning, GOD. Before anything there was GOD. Then he said, everything that exists came out of God, for He spoke it and it was so. If you bumped into God before there was anything created, you would have bumped into everything. Therefore, if you have God in your life, you have everything.
Most people want God to relate to us on our terms, but God wants us to relate to Him on His terms. Those who refuse to relate to God, end up worshipping lesser things like the beasts of the field or idols. Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
Some subscribe to the Big Bang theory, but that is inadequate in describing creation. Our bodies are so fearfully and wonderfully made that there are doctors that make a specialty of studying just one part of the body – the foot, the eye, the heart, etc. There is no way that we can come into existence as a bunch of random elements coming together.
Pastor Scales asked us if we are totally dependent on the God of the Bible as He reveals Himself, and as the Word reveals Him. God is a God of Covenant. In fact, when God cut covenant in the Old Testament, he swore by himself. (Heather’s note, just like we saw with Abraham, God cut the covenant while Abraham slept). Hebrews 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself…
God cannot lie – what He says is true.
The immutability of the covenant of God is 1) God is faithful – he cannot change and 2) God is true – he does not lie.
When the winds blow, and tough situations come into our lives, let us remain faithful and true – let us not give up God’s glory by running with the circumstances our adjusting our belief to circumstances. Press into Him, and He will respond.
We have it so much easier in America, but makes us lazy spiritually. In those countries where food and medicine are scarce, believers need to believe God for necessities. Their faith grows strong because they must work it so often to just survive.
K.C. Price once said that people need to start believing for a pair of socks, or little things, so that when the bigger, tough circumstances occur we have exercised our faith enough to believe for the tough circumstances. By building our faith muscles, we can have mountain moving faith.
Romans 1:24-25 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen.
We need to make sure our worship is directed to God, not to creation, idols, our own beliefs that do not line up with God, our own version of what God is saying.
Pastor Scales spoke of three dimensions of worship.
1. Thanksgiving: 1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. This kind of worship is expressing gratitude for the goodness of God. Pastor Scales mentioned that when he wakes up in the morning there are a multitude of things that he is thankful for, first of all, he woke up. He is thankful that he has a bed to sleep in, his feet work, his plumbing works, he can see, hear, taste, has a home. There is a multitude of reasons why we can be thankful. So many times we forget that God has given us so much to be thankful for. We get used to our material things.
2. Praise: Psalm 48:1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised… Hallal is wild and extravagant praise, sort of like what David did when He brought the ark back to Jerusalem. When we praise and worship God we need to take the focus off of ourselves and put it onto God. It doesn’t matter what our neighbor feels about our worship and praise – it is for God.
Pastor Scales said Hallal-you-Jah (which when sounded out sounds like hallelujah) Jah being short for Jehovah. We want to praise God because he is a God of covenant. We want to give our praise to Him, to bless His name. We are not to worship God with Slim Fast worship, with anorexia or bulimic worship. God isn’t into surrogate praise. We praise as congregation or individually. We may have a magnificent praise and worship team, but they are not to be watched like a spectator sport, we are to praise and worship TOGETHER. We are to be engaged in our worship – He is our bridegroom and we are His bride. We praise God’s character and His attributes are revealed.
3. Worship God: We move from songs about God, to songs to God, and then we enter another phase of worship which is very deep and intimate. Pastor Scales described it in terms of how the Israelites entered the temple. First they made an offering on the altar of sacrifice (the flesh gets burned up – our sins are atoned for), then we enter the Holy place where there is the laver to wash, the candle stand with the oil (spirit), and the bread (word). After we have been refreshed in spirit and word, the veil is parted and we enter the Holy of Holies, and are in the presence of God. We lose site of what is around us (and this does not happen all the time), and we have an experience of God. We see God as Holy and want to be Holy like God, good and want to be good like God, just and want to be just like God, merciful and want to be merciful just like God. It is like when the bride and groom are together, and when we have that transformational type of worship we come away from it changed. People will see how different we are, for we will be impacted by being in His Glory.
Pastor Scales said that when we are worshipping God, our car can be the Holy of Holies, our bedroom, the bathroom, the cubical at work. Wherever we are worshipping God will become the Holy of Holies. That is not to say that we don’t set aside a time and place for worship too, but we do not have to limit that worship to just then and there.
Pastor Scales said to not change the glory of God and not neglect worship.
Romans 1:26-32 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting: being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness: full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Many today are trying to change the natural use and order of things to something that God did not design. Pastor Scales mentioned how even public TV channels are putting on programs that glorify things that are not of God. The humor and sitcoms now glorify the flesh in ways that God did not intend. Now Pastor Scales prays for early discernment, so that if he flips on a channel before he gets too involved in a program that the Holy Spirit will tell him to change the channel.
He also pointed out that we approve of those who practice these practices when we watch them on tv or movies. Someone once convicted him of laughing at an off-color joke, telling Pastor Scales– “If you grin -you in.”
Romans 2:1-2 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.
We must evaluate ourselves, let’s not judge someone else as being wrong, and then do the same thing ourselves. He mentioned about a pastor he knew whose daughter got pregnant out of wedlock. This daughter and her mother were planning on an abortion, but the pastor found out about it and told them that wasn’t an option. The family repented for even considering such an action, and chose the route more pleasing to God. It was important for them to do that because they also were standing on anti-abortion lines, and if they had disobeyed God when the circumstances were tough for them it would have compromised their witness.
We need to walk the talk. It is easy to talk about what we need to do, a lot harder to do the walk.
He mentioned that we sometimes have an experience and then preach about it – explaining what happened and how we resolved it. Sometimes God lets us preach about something and then we experience what we have preached about – and then we see of we can live what we have advised others to do.
Are we living up to the standards we set for others. So often Pastors are not eating what they are serving – if it is good for the church, it is good for the pastor.
Romans 2:3-5 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
This is the day of the Lord, we will either look forward to it with joy or dread. Pastor talked about the Goodness, Forbearance and Longsuffering of God. Before we got saved, there were circumstances that we wrote off as luck. One example Pastor Scales gave is if you drank a lot, got in your car, drove home and didn’t remember anything about the drive home – you were preserved from deadly accident by the Goodness, Forbearance and Longsuffering of God. And many of the good things that happened to us before we were saved can be chalked up to this. After we are saved, if we do things in our own understanding, do things outside of the will of God, he may permit them due to his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering – but that does not mean that God is approving of the things we are doing outside of His will. He is just waiting and hoping that we will repent and come back into His will.
Some people with alternate lifestyles, or those who are saved and not acting within God’s will take God’s silence to be approval of what is going on. It isn’t. It is his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering that permits this to go on while He waits for us to repent.
Romans 2:6-11 who “will render to each one according to his deeds.” eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
Jeremiah 32:19 You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.
Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
(Pastor Scales, as an aside, after being asked to repeat the Bible chapter and number was, suggested this: Pastor Scales’ Helpful Hints for Bible note takers: when a pastor gives a Bible passage, write down the numbers first, then go back and write the book, you will most probably remember the book, but the numbers are harder. That will increase your ability to take down passages if they are quickly cited.)
God judges the fruit of our labor. Our labor will stop with our death, but the fruit of that labor will continue on past our fleshly life. For example, if you write a book that people read after you die, the fruit of your work continues on. If you give a donation to a missionary fund and die, the fruit of the money you donated will continue on even after you have died.
Haggai repeatedly suggests considering our ways, for our ways produce fruit. Is it a fruit of righteousness that produces glory for God, or is it the fruit of satan that produces evil. We need to cut the bad fruit to the ground with the axe of the Word, cut down or out the wicked ways.
Psalm 27:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Romans 2:12-16 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified: for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to My gospel.
Some are judged without the law, for they did not have Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They did not have the ceremonial law or the civic law. They just had a moral law given to them by their conscience. Those that know the 10 commandments would be judged by that. Pastor Scales says that he uses the 10 commandments to unpack the two laws that Jesus gave us about loving God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and loving others as ourself. The 10 commandments give guidelines about what that is. Commandments 1-4 deal with the relationship of man and God, Commandments 5-10 deal with our relationship with each other. We are blessed because we are judged innocent because Jesus died for our sins.
Remember that Jesus said that God also looks at our heart, and gave the example of murder – it is more than just physically taking the life of a person, it can be harboring evil thoughts towards a person.
If you are not under the law, you still have your conscience to guide you. There is no excuse.
Pastor Scales suggested we ask the Holy Spirit to help us be sensitive to our conscience, to our inner voice, and the suggestions of the Holy Spirit. We want to be clean vessels as we come into this season of Yom Kippur. So that there is no contradiction between who I say I am and what I do.
He suggested that we read Romans 1 & 2 and evaluate ourselves in relation to what these chapters teach.
Pastor Don took the session to another level, having us write down a few things we know we need to work on in our lives, we then turned and prayed for each other and shared these with someone else. Pastor Don is now waiting to hear the testimonies of what God is doing regarding these things.
Hope this teaching blessed you. It is a hard teaching, but we need to be honest with ourselves if we are going to be used mightily in God’s kingdom. I want to please God in what I say and do. Have a blessed night!
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