Sunday, January 27, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #18

1 Tim. 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

One of the hardest things for me to do (which is easy for some preachers) is to rebuke someone. If I do it, I try to do it with kindness and gentleness. I would prefer to rebuke someone in private where no one can hear with only the two of us present. This is not so hard as doing it publicly.

But Paul tells Timothy to rebuke the sinner before all. This assumes that Timothy has a public platform from which to speak to every member of a local church. When I preach, I try to tell everything as it is to men as they are even though it may not be the most pleasant thing to do. Preaching the Bible as it is sometimes will suffice to fulfill this instruction of Paul to Timothy.

The Bible is God's infallible word; and when it goes forth, it will not return unto him void; but we must be sure to preach the truth of it before we can be confident that it will do the job. Let us be faithful to preach the word, every part of the word, even the hard parts and the parts that we do not completely understand. We must tell the part of it that we do understand. This is Paul's command to Timothy to "Preach the word."

When we preach, everyone in our hearing should be rebuked. When we preach the Gospel, the sinner who is lost is convinced or rebuked. When we speak about the word of God, those who do not read it should be rebuked. When we preach about living a holy life, those who are not living a holy life should be rebuked and should feel the Holy Spirit directing them to live holy before God.

Preachers should not shy away from prominent sins of the day. We must preach on murder, theft, abortion, unfaithfulness in marriage, money management, lust, habits that hurt our bodies, etc. We should not refrain from the preaching of these things, because we are to rebuke before all concerning these sins and others.

If we rebuke a sin that only one person in the church is practicing, then others who are not practicing the sin will fear the consequences of doing that particular sin. Then we have prevented the sin of multitudes of members of the church by speaking only of one person or simply by preaching on the subject at hand.

We must preach to all publicly so that all will fear God and fear breaking his commandments. They will also fear becoming involved in habits that are binding to the mind and the soul. We must pray for the individuals who are bound to sin and preach on sin until that sin is eliminated from that person's life.

Modernists do not like to preach on sin, because they believe that a man has the right to do whatever he wants and still get forgiveness time and time and time; but the Bible does not teach that. No sin is too large or too horrible to be forgiven; but once that forgiveness has been given, the sinner must abandon that sin. This we must preach to our churches so that others may fear. Let us be faithful to preach these things in our churches so that the church may be offered to Christ as a chaste virgin.

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