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Daily Thought - "demolition Christians And The Gift Of Rebuke"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 13, 2012.


  1. Do not rebuke an older manharshly,but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger menas brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. – 1Timothy 5: 1-2

    It seems sometimes with the modern church some fancy themselves as having the gift of rebuke. Armed with the Bible verses that fit their critique they spend most of their Christianity telling others what they are doing wrong, and often quite harshly. Their usual calling card besides the stinging criticism is an unyielding refusal to look inward. They will always have opinions about seemingly everyone. Pastors and Elders are certainly not exempt and often the harshest censure is saved for them. It is a dangerous road to go down and one that we often are tempted to travel. I remember one time a major initiative was announced by my pastor and immediately I was against the idea. Before service had ended I already knew what Scriptures would back up my opinion! I went home and prayed because something did not feel right. God spoke to my heart that night and simply said, “I don’t remember giving you that decision.” Talk about a rebuke! God was of course, right. Too often we seem more enamored with matters that God did not ask our opinion about nor needs our input in. The decision in question was one that was given to my pastor. My job as long as I support him spiritually is to pray for him – not tear him down for decisions that are not mine to make.

    Please keep in mind I am NOT speaking about judging fruit. The Bible says we most certainly are supposed to do that. There are too many Christians who think that they are exempt from examination because of the “judge not” verses. Even worse there are always the misinformed calls for unity that seem to think that Christian leaders are beyond examination. None of this is accurate or Biblical.

    Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. – Ephesians 5: 11 (NLT)

    Realize the threshold here though. It is not our job to be nitpicky Christians. I remember once a friend asked me for advice on what come back she could have for her Catholic aunt she was arguing with about doctrinal differences. I suggested she try and talk to her aunt about what they agree about. Talk about Jesus! Because the truth is there is no such thing as the gift of rebuke beloved, even though some seem to be very gifted with it. In the key verses the Apostle Paul reviews this with his protégé, Timothy. There are two important points for us to consider today from these verses. The first is that Paul draws a clear distinction between rebuking and exhortation.

    The dictionary defines rebuke as “to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprove; reprimand.” We have some professional rebukers in the church today! This is not an exercise in denial beloved. The truth is the truth is the truth. I write all the time that the truth of the Word of God must take precedent over everything else. I have also said however that just because I know the Bible is the truth that does not give me permission to smack someone over the head with it. Look at this definition and you will see the primary problem is in how the message is delivered. A reprimand places you above the other person and quite frankly, we do not often belong there. It is the sharpness and sternness of the message that becomes the problem. The truth must be spoken but God has shown us how:

    Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. – Ephesians 4: 15 (NLT)

    We are such prideful beings to begin with. Pricking that pride by attacking someone is not likely to garner you a positive reaction. Speaking in love however, wins the brother or sister to you. The definition of the word exhort is “to give urgent advice, recommendations, or warnings.” Advice is something someone can take or dismiss but expressing stern disapproval signals that you have made a decision already without even getting the other person’s input. One comes at them and says – “You’re wrong!” The other comes to them and says, “Have you considered?” Exhortation can even contain warnings and still be done in love. My pastor used to say that if the people you are trying to reach cannot tell that you care about them, it doesn’t matter what the message is. When people in the world want to berate me for sharing my faith, my answer is how much does it say that I care if I don’t share with you the path I believe you are on? Too often we are afraid of offending people but as a prominent pastor once said – where are you going to offend them to – hell # 2? Our message is one of love. Our God is a God of love. He so loved us that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son that we might live again! That is the message! What was supposed to define us according to Jesus?

    So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13: 34-35 (NLT)

    Lord I pray that is what they see when they look upon us. Exhorters in love not rebuking in pride. What it comes down to is why we are engaging in the correction to begin with. The other point from the key verses is – absolute purity. Is our heart pure before the Lord? Are our motives pure? If we are exhorting or rebuking for the wrong reasons then we need to examine ourselves. The right reasons are godly reasons. They involve kingdom business not personal matters. Absolute purity means we are concerned about the eternal destination of the souls of men not the politics of this world or even of the church. The Bible says that all of our works will be tested by fire anyway. What was not done with purity of heart will be burnt up and cast aside. People ask me sometimes why I might sound so serious in some of my writings. It is not about me. It has nothing to do with me. I believe that there is a God in heaven and there is a hell to shun and the clock is ticking. While I would be the first to admit that I need to work on my delivery sometimes, the purity of motive has all to do with kingdom business.

    So lets us examine ourselves when it comes to the area of criticism. Let us ensure that our hearts are pure before the Lord and that our concern is of the kingdom. Let us also be aware of how we deliver our messages. Let us be exhorters to our brothers and sisters out of the love that God has shown us. The Bible says that we are to encourage and edify each other. That means we are supposed to be in the construction business. Too often it seems Christians are in the demolition business instead. It is time to take off the hard hat and extend ourselves in love to one another. Never ignoring the truth but representing it the way Christ intended us to.

    Rev. Anthony
     
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