Ready for Rebuke
In September 1997 I made the first of what would be many trips to the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. My initial reaction wasn’t too favorable. Previously I hadn’t heard any sermon tapes from Pastor John Kilpatrick or Evangelist Steve Hill and wasn’t quite prepared for their in-your-face preaching styles. I would have preferred attending more renewal meetings in Toronto but the Lord continued sending me to Pensacola. Since then I have grown to appreciate the ministry that went forth from Brownsville Assembly of God. Their leadership’s passion for purity and holiness is greatly needed in many of our churches.
A couple weeks ago I posted on my Facebook page a recent Steve Hill article warning against heretical teachings (such as universal reconciliation) invading the church. A fellow minister responded to it with mocking comments. On his own Facebook page he wrote, “I always cringe when people/prophets/fruitcakes say they have a word of rebuke from the LAWd. He is the God of ALL ENCOURAGEMENT.” Ironically I spent time with this minister last year in Pensacola.
Yes, God wants to encourage His people. But Jesus Himself said in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” The dictionary defines rebuke as “express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behavior or actions.” Nobody likes to be rebuked. Yet it is sometimes necessary if we are to grow up spiritually. Proverbs 1:23 says, “Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”
Because we live in the dispensation of grace, some Christians won’t give or receive correction. Yet the Epistles contain many instructions to confront an erring believer…
“Those [elders] who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” - 1 Timothy 5:20
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” - 2 Timothy 4:2
“This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” - Titus 1:13
“Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.” - Titus 2:15
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him’ - Hebrews 12:5
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11
Keep in mind the Lord brought correction to five of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. So if you want to fulfill God’s plan for your life, don’t tune out godly correction when in comes. Be ready for (and receive) rebukes spoken in love.
“Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.” – Proverbs 13:18