Ready for Rebuke
Over twenty years ago 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 sermons from Pastor John Kilpatrick or Evangelist Steve Hill and was taken aback by their in-your-face preaching styles. I would have preferred attending more renewal meetings in Toronto but the Lord kept 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 our churches.
Once I posted on Facebook a link to a Steve Hill article warning against heretical teachings invading the church. A fellow minister responded to that with mocking comments. 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 in Pensacola the year before.
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 and/or receive correction. That’s why there are too many immature believers (and non-believers) sitting in church pews week after week. Hebrews 12:8 warns, “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” John Paul Jackson once said, “We are life long students of the ways of God; trouble starts when we think we have graduated.”
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 His plan for your life, don’t tune out godly correction when it comes. Instead of shunning and unfriending people who care enough to point out where you’re missing it, 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