Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't Get Rebuked

Don't Get Rebuked
August 25, 2014
2 Tim 3:16  "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. . ."

In the Old Testament, a rebuke was considered something rather harsh.  It was more than a tongue lashing, it was something shameful because of foolish and embarrassing actions done out of arrogance.  Most of the time, if there was rebuking to be done, it was by the tongue of the Lord or one of His prophets.  In the New Testament, little changed; Jesus was the one administering the rebukes.  At one such point, the Apostle Peter even tried to rebuke Jesus.  Jesus quickly rebuked him in return.  In the 1800's rebukes were performed by professional clergy, a verbal punishment dealt publicly to an offender in an effort to stop him from his folly.  It was a public tongue lashing that left the offender a bit ashamed of his arrogant actions.

Today we don't rebuke publicly or privately.  It's offensive to rebuke and we would never want to offend someone, right?  If you verbally offend someone for their actions you're labeled as someone with hatred toward another.  No one wants to be a hater.  Consequently, we've erred on the other side in our churches by avoiding difficult topics.  We seldom call out offenders for their actions.  We brush it under the rug or ignore it all together lest we become judges of one another.  We argue that love covers a multitude of sins. Unfortunately, rebuking is still necessary (and required) for spiritual offenders who are living arrogantly against the Gold Standard.  The Gold Standard being the Lord's Word found in Scripture.  If it is spelled out in Scripture then we are to live by it and correct accordingly.  Notice there is a difference in the Bible between correcting and rebuking.  In 2 Timothy, Paul says that Scripture is useful for both rebuking AND correcting.

The difference between correcting and rebuking is rather simple.  You can correct someone who has a teachable attitude.  Someone who is unteachable must be rebuked because of his arrogance.  If you'd like to avoid a rebuke altogether, simply maintain a teachable attitude.  Unfortunately, there are many in our church walls who are not teachable.  So how do you approach someone who is living outside the Gold Standard?  Paul says you should use Scripture.  The Lord didn't need Scripture during His rebukes, neither did Jesus.  Since they are the authors of Scripture, enough is said; they ARE the Gold Standard.  You and I, however, are to use Scripture to set the offender straight.  Paul says that rebuking with Scripture is reserved for believers.  If you rebuke a non-believer, you are simply inviting a mocking from a fool.

But how do you know WHEN it is appropriate to rebuke someone?  Oftentimes, it is such a sensitive area that we want to tiptoe around the subject, even pretend a rebuke is not needed.  Again, we don't want to offend anyone, right?  Offer it as a gentle correction first, if the person has a teachable attitude then it will go over smoothly , especially if you are in the appropriate position of authority.  If the person does not have a teachable attitude after a gentle correction, and he professes to be a believer, then a private strong conversation is warranted (without yelling). Hint: never do it publicly unless you are Jesus or a prophet.  If you ever get rebuked, you'll know it's time to reduce your arrogance a few notches.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Lev 19:17, 2 Sam 22:16, Ps 119:21, Pr 9:7, Pr 13:1, Pr 19:25, Pr 28:23, Ecc 7:5, Jer 2:19, Mark 8:32-33, Lk 17:3, 1 Tim 5:20, 2 Tim 4:2, Rev 3:19

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