Rebuke and Reproof

Rebuke and Reproof I. The way of Christ is a strait (constricted, tight, difficult) way which repulses many. MAT 7:13-14; JOH 6:64-66. A. The primary characteristic of Christ's kingdom is not fun, sweetness or daintiness but righteousness. MAT 6:33; ROM 14:17. B. When a pastor is fulfilling his duty in the stead of Christ by pressing King Jesus' claims upon others, that will grate against their nature. But he must do it. JER 48:10. C. Every pastor must decide if his goal is to please men or God, for there are times when those things are incompatible. GAL 1:10; 1CO 4:3-4. II. The man of God is commanded to not only preach the word but impose it upon men by way of reproofs, rebukes and exhortations. 2TI 4:2. A. Definitions. 1. reprove: To reject; to express disapproval of (conduct, actions, beliefs, etc.); to censure, condemn; to reprehend, rebuke, blame, chide, or find fault with (a person). 2. rebuke: To beat down or force back; to repress or check (a person); to repulse; to reprove, reprimand, chide severely. 3. exhort: To admonish earnestly; to urge by stimulating words to conduct regarded as laudable. B. It is when a pastor executes this responsibility that Christianity becomes too burdensome for some. 1. I have personally heard church members shout out charges like “Tyrant!” when the man of God was issuing needed rebukes and drawing tight lines. 2. Modern Christianity in general seems to have developed a notion that ministerial toughness was OK when Jesus or the apostles were leading the church but not now. 3. But the strict methods of Christ and the apostles were meant to be a durable order by the authority of Christ Himself. MAT 28:18-20; TIT 2:15. C. Pastors are not the only ones under obligation to exhort, reprove or rebuke. LEV 19:17; PSA 141:5; LUK 17:3; HEB 3:13; 10:25; 1TH 5:14. D. This is life. PRO 6:23. III. Rebuke and reproof may be justified in private or public contexts. A. When possible, private reprimands are the first option. JAM 5:19. 1. The goal here is to work for salvation without public shame. 2. First, “...go and tell him his fault between thee and him ALONE...” (MAT 18:15). 3. Depending on the circumstances of the fault, private reprimand may or may not be appropriate. a. If someone's bad conduct is private in nature, then it is appropriate and necessary to address that privately to him. This, though, does not exclude public preaching against his conduct without identifying him. b. If someone's bad public conduct is not something for which Scripture would demand exclusion from the kingdom of God, private reprimand is possible but is not the only remedy. A public rebuke may be in order. c. If someone's bad public conduct is something for which Scripture would demand exclusion from the kingdom of God (e.g. drunkenness, GAL 5:21), then a public reprimand is required. 2TH 3:14; 1TI 5:20. Rebuke and Reproof 6-5-11 Page 1 of 3B. Public reprimands may be general (a group chastisement) or of an individual. 1. Group reprimands are the “easy” ones since no individual is “spotlighted.” 2. Public reprimands of an identified individual's bad public conduct are an entirely different story since there can be no “hiding in the herd.” 3. Such a reprimand may be owing to an individual's unacceptable public conduct which does not merit church judgment (chronic late arrival for church, not controlling children, texting during the church service, etc.). C. At times a pastor may have to rebuke or reprove a brother in a public situation for a fault which would not necessarily merit church exclusion. This generates some questions. 1. Is a pastor overstepping his boundaries in so doing? 2. Is it ever even proper to publicly reprove a brother? 3. Isn't the man of God supposed to gently and patiently “ meekness instruct those that oppose themselves...” (2TI 2:25)? 4. Isn't it true that public praise and private reprimand yield the best results? 5. Isn't it true that shaming people you love is no way to treat them? 6. Isn't a minister sinning if he gets angry at someone? D. Open rebuke is not only NOT wrong, it is sometimes commanded. PRO 27:5-6; 1TI 5:20. 1. Christ openly rebuked His own disciples for their folly. LUK 24:25-26; MAR 16:14. a. upbraid: To bring forward, adduce or allege (a matter) as a ground for censure or reproach. b. Upbraid translates oneidizo (SRN #3679), which means “to defame, i.e., rail at, chide, taunt: cast in teeth, (suffer) reproach, revile, upbraid.” c. revile: To subject to contumely or abuse; to assail with opprobrious or abusive language. 2. Christ openly rebuked Peter in the presence of the other disciples. MAR 8:33. 3. Paul openly rebuked Peter likewise. GAL 2:14. 4. The general epistles were to be read in the churches. Those letters sometimes specifically named people who needed to amend their ways. PHIL 4:2; REV 2:20. 5. Nehemiah singled out offending elements for public rebuke. NEH 5:6-7. E. As to the assertion that private reprimands yield the best results, we do not measure the rightness or wrongness of our conduct based upon results. Remember, Moses got results in NUM 20:7-12. F. It is not necessarily a sin to be angry, especially when rebuking someone for their folly. TIT 1:7; EPH 4:26; MAR 3:5; JOH 2:15. 1. Anger does not necessarily equate with sin or hatred. DEU 1:37; MAR 3:5. 2. Paul's instruction to Titus was to “...rebuke them sharply...” (TIT 1:13). a. Remember that rebuke means chide severely. b. chide: To give loud or impassioned utterance to anger, displeasure, disapprobation, reproof. c. sharply: Of speech, rebuke, command: sternly, severely, harshly; in cutting terms; in stern or angry tones. d. See ISA 58:1. 3. Someone might say, “But Pastor, you're not Jesus Christ.” That logic would nullify any godly conduct which models Jesus Christ. 4. Someone might say, “But Pastor, Jesus said, 'Judge not...'” That Someone is passing judgment by such a statement. 5. PRO 29:9 implies that rage in contending with a fool is a possibility. Rebuke and Reproof 6-5-11 Page 2 of 36. Nehemiah must have needed an anger management course. NEH 5:6-7; 13:25. 7. It is rapid anger (JAM 1:19) or anger without cause that merits judgment. MAT 5:22. G. There is a time for shaming people into repentance, even those you love. REV 3:19; 1CO 6:5; 15:34 c/w 2CO 2:4. H. That a man of God is to demonstrate meekness in his correction of errant members does not conflict with his responsibility to rebuke as required. 1. Moses was exceedingly meek. Yet godly, angry rebukes were part of his ministry. NUM 12:3 c/w EXO 32:19. 2. Jesus Christ was meek, but also a man of intense holy passion. MAT 11:29 c/w JOH 2:13-15. 3. Biblical meekness is meekness to do what is right. ZEP 2:3. 4. Biblical meekness is submission to ordained authority. 1PE 3:4-5. IV. How a person (or church) receives rebuke/reproof says a lot about his character. A. The wrong reception. 1. PRO 10:17. He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. 2. PRO 13:1. A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke. 3. PRO 15:10. Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die. 4. PRO 15:12. A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise. 5. PRO 15:32. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. 6. PRO 12:1. Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. 7. PRO 29:1. He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. 8. ISA 29:20-21. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: (21) That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. B. The godly reception. 1. PRO 9:8. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 2. PRO 13:18. Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. 3. PRO 15:31. The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. 4. PRO 15:32. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. 5. PRO 25:12. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. 6. PSA 141:5. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. C. The Corinthian church had the correct response to Paul's scathing letter. 2CO 7:8-11. Rebuke and Reproof 6-5-11 Page 3 of 3

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