Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rebuke

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Titus 1:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "For there are many insubordinate both idle talkers and deceivers ... whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of dishonest gain .... Therefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith." Titus 1:10-11,13

A friend was sharing the story of her spiritual journey with me the other day. She told of a time, about a year into her walk with Christ, when substitute teaching jobs kept coming up on the day of her women's Bible study. Feeling the need for more money, she almost always accepted them.

One day when she again phoned her Bible study leader to tell her she would be away, the woman confronted her. "You know," she said, "you're a new Christian and you need this Bible study. You need to get off the fence."

"My leader's words really made me think," my friend said. "We don't reprove or rebuke people much these days."

My friend is right. Rebuke, reproof, confrontation—whatever word you use for it—our tolerant society isn't very tolerant of such corrective speech. But this is what Paul told Titus to do when he encountered the idle talkers [mataiologos  = speaking that lacks reason and worth and gives evidence of an undisciplined lifestyle - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1720] and the deceivers who influenced entire families against the gospel with motives of personal gain.

Titus isn't the only place the Bible mentions rebuke/reproof.

  • Proverbs speaks of the people who rebuke the wicked as having delight and gaining a blessing (Proverbs 24:25). However, the writer is realistic and also warns of the bad reception such rebuke may cause (Proverbs 9:7).
  • Luke tells us to rebuke with care, and forgive when the wrongdoer repents (Luke 17:3).
  • Paul tells his readers to expose the deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). He lists "rebuke" as one of the routine duties of the pastor, along with "preach, exhort, convince, and teach" (2 Timothy 4:2). He tells Timothy to rebuke publicly so that onlookers will examine their own actions (1 Timothy 5:20) and Titus to rebuke sharply (our reading) and with authority (Titus 2:15).

Have you ever been rebuked? Have you rebuked someone? Maybe this is a biblical practice we should do more of, with the intention of helping people mature (Titus 1:13) and as an expression love to fellow members of God's family (1 Corinthians 4:14).

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to have the courage to rebuke a fellow Christian if there is a need. But more, help me to accept rebuke. Help me to see it as an act of love. Amen.

MORE: Only 10 more sleeps

Advent Calendar - December 1

Christmas Fact:
A fun tradition observed by some families during the holidays is to put together a Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzle. A large board or card table works fine as a puzzle holder. Spread out the pieces and leave them out so they are a constant temptation to whoever has a few minutes to work at the puzzle – until the picture is complete.




Here’s a simple computer puzzle to try.


Bible Drive-Thru


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