When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”– 1Corinthians 5: 9-13 (NLT) We should not be so quick to deal in the judgment that belongs to God. Judgment itself is such a misunderstood word in theology. Thin skinned Christians everywhere have turned the word into lodging any form of criticism. We do this of course because we like our sins we cling to. It doesn’t matter to us if we know they keep God at a distance from us. As long as nobody messes up our neat little apple cart of a church. You say I shouldn’t date someone when my divorce isn’t final yet? Who are you to judge! You say that I dress immodestly for church – who are you to judge! There is a vast difference beloved between correction and judgment. The key verses come from a chapter where Paul is dealing with a gross sexual sin within the Corinthian Church. Specifically, Paul says that there is a member of their congregation who was living in sexual sin with his own stepmother. As the key verses indicate, Paul instructs the congregation to expel the member. In the second letter to this church we find out that this man repented and was restored but for today I want us to focus on the instruction Paul gives us involving judgment. It seems this early church had some of the same predilections as we see alive in the church today. Reflexively protecting their sinning peers while passing the judgment of God upon the unsaved. I love the incredulity expressed by Paul here. He says to them that we should not associate with those who indulge in sexual sin. The church apparently took this to mean people in the world who indulge in such sin. Paul is astonished that they would make this mistake because he correctly points out that if we were truly to avoid people in the world steeped in sin we would have to actually leave this world! No, Paul was clarifying that he meant people who claim to be believers in Christ and live a lifestyle opposed to Him. Then we get to the main point Paul is making for us today – it is not our responsibility to judge people in this world because God will judge them. It is our responsibility to keep the Bride of Christ however, as undefiled as possible. I say this as a backdrop because every time there is a natural disaster such as we saw this week in Oklahoma, there inevitably is some Christian with a microphone misrepresenting God when they have no business doing such and blaming the sins of the world on the “judgment” God has delivered. We saw it after 9-11 when prominent televangelists blamed the terrorist attack on abortionists and homosexuals. We saw it after Hurricane Katrina where the decadence of New Orleans was blamed for the wrath of God by Pat Robertson. Unfortunately, we see it this week again as the son of the Pastor of Westboro Baptist sent this absurd tweet: “OK Thunder's Durant flips God by praising fag Collins. God smashes OK. You do the math. #GodH8sFags” Ok, I will do the math. We have a rogue outfit pretending to be a church thinking that an unsaved Oklahoma Basketball player praising a gay basketball player drove God to send a two mile wide tornado through an Oklahoma town? People this stupid should not be allowed to have a platform to speak; let alone to speak for God. What about the fact that Oklahoma is considered God country? What about the fact that tornado did not even come near where Durant actually lives? Did God miss? What about the people who died in this tornado that had nothing to do with any of this? What about the believers who died? What about the children who died? Besides being in violation of the key Scriptures today, Fred Phelps organization is in violation of the majority of what the Bible teaches us. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. – Romans 12: 17-18 (NLT) There is nothing honorable about picketing funerals of fallen soldiers. There is nothing honorable about holding up signs claiming God hates anyone. The Bible outlines seven things God hates: There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. – Proverbs 6: 16-19 (NLT) I see at least four violations committed by the Westboro clan. And what exactly is the church charged with doing? Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The reprehensible actions of Fred Phelps and his followers do so much damage to the witness of Christ. How many people do you think you can draw to the cross holding up a sign that says the God you want them to believe in hates them? And while we are at it, God does not hate them. God sent His only Son to die for them. The Bible teaches us that He does not wish to see any perish but all to come to repentance – even Fred Phelps. So I pray for Phelps and his misled congregation. I pray they can see the blackness in their hearts. I pray they can see the hatred they live out daily and how it is not of Christ. I pray that they truly repent and start leaving the judgment of man to the God who created him. In the interim however, I pray he just shuts up. I pray that they stop damaging the witness of Christ. I pray that as the church we denounce hate groups posing as Christians. I pray as the church we stand up to the Westboro Baptists and snake oil salesmen who crawl out from under their rocks to declare tragedies as God’s wrath and judgment. I pray as the church we do as the Scriptures teach us to do and expel the immoral brother. Rev. Anthony.