Do not hesitate to rebuke a sinner!
We are to rebuke a sinner so that he or she turns to the Lord Jesus in the way of righteousness. Now a rebuke does not have to be a loud rant. One can be calm but et bold in rebuking a sinner so that he or she sins no more. You should never be so scared to rebuke someone that you altogether don’t rebuke at all. Now all those who hear rebuke may not every time repent. However that shouldn’t worry you because it will serve as a warning to others. Also pray for the one who you are rebuking so that they receive it with true understanding.
- A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. (Proverbs 17:10)
- If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. (Matthew 18:15)
- Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)
- Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
- Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. (1 Timothy 5:20)
- All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
- My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
Quick Reminder : Preach the Gospel and remain holy too
- Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
- You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2: 23-24)
- But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27)
- Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. (2 Corinthians 13:5-7)
- Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5)
Be On Guard Against False Doctrine
Let us be on our guard against false doctrine. Unsound faith will never be the mother of really sound practice, and in these latter days, departures from the faith abound. See then that your loins be girded about with truth, and be very jealous of receiving anything which cannot be proved by the Bible.
Do not think for a moment that false doctrine will meet you face to face, saying, “I am false doctrine, and I want to come into your heart.” Satan does not go to work in that way. He dresses up false doctrine like Jezebel — he paints her face and attires her hair, and tries to make her like truth. Do not think that those who preach error will never preach anything that is true. Error would do little harm if that was the case. No! Error will come before you mingled with much that is sound and scriptural.
~ J.C. Ryle
Prayers leading to Christmas – 15
O Lord God help me to speak of your Son Jesus Christ, without shyness nor any fear. Guide me by your Holy Spirit to preach about Jesus, and the Holy Gospel to the lost and the unsaved. May it be a witness to them for their salvation. Bless my mind and memory, that I remember all the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, especially in regards to Jesus the savior of the world. Give me the power to refute and resist the lies of the Enemy, God haters and heretics, about your Son Jesus. Let me speak of the greatness and humility of Jesus Christ. Let me speak of His healing and saving grace. Let me speak of his love and resurrection. Let me speak all of this for your glory and not for myself. I ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sow the seed of the Word of God
“Are you sowing into the Kingdom of God?”, that’s one question both good and corrupt preachers tend to ask their ‘flock’ these days. If you hear the preaching on TV chances are more that once you may heard “Are you sowing into the Kingdom of God? And if not then don’t expect God to bless you.” and so on. Questions of these sort make people fear a lot at times while others go even more miserly!
First off we are not to give our offerings to anyone who is preaching a false gospel. Secondly it’s not a sin to give our offerings which can help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations. And thirdly we are not called to live in deception. So, don’t get entangled into giving ‘seed’ offerings to those who are only looking forward to consuming your offerings for their personal luxuries instead of using it actually preach and by preach I mean preach the Gospel in its entirety. Those who preach prosperity as the sole output of believing in the Gospel need a lot of preaching as to why the 12 Apostles of Jesus except for John died by martyrdom instead of living like actual princes. O people of God, please check whom are you considering as a real preacher of the Gospel before you send your offerings to them. I once heard, that which preacher you give your offerings to, you end up partaking of their spiritual legacy. I that to this; so be careful if the preacher is not of the right spirit because you’d end up receiving the bad effects of the same!
With all this being said, there is less emphasis these days especially by quite a lot of preachers who are not telling their TV ‘flock’ to sow the seed of the Word of God into the lives of others. Now I’m not talking about brainwashing others into causing them to give their offerings at so and so ministry or preacher. But rather this is about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Now for many reasons, there are people who are still not able to define ‘others’. So let me make it real to you; your numerous friends, relatives, colleagues, people everywhere who have still not heard of the Gospel are the ‘others’. Let me make it clear your aim is preach whenever possible. However don’t make an excuse that it’s not possible to preach at all. I’d say that if your life is in righteousness in the Lord God, then there is no reason to fear sowing the see of the Word of God into others you can reach out to. I’m not saying go to a remote desert or island and find people to preach to. If that’s however the call of God for you then I won’t mind at all, in fact I’d encourage you. My point is; there are others near enough to preach the Gospel to, so go out and reach to them.
Now even before you decide to preach to others, I’d strongly suggest that you get right with the Lord God. Don’t get disqualified when you aim to help others to grasp the Gospel and embrace it. Any sinful tendency must not cling to your heart when preaching. Don’t lie to your heart ever; that unless you tackle sin you won’t preach the Gospel but you don’t know when you’d stop sinning. Self deception is a great hindrance to preaching the Gospel! Some take pride in ‘living’ a holy life and consider themselves superior to sinners. That pride itself is a sin. If you are not sinning, then don’t exalt yourself but praise the Lord God for that.
The work that you do for the Lord God in sowing the seed of the Word of God into the life of others, must also be accompanied by sincerity and humility, else it would be dead works. You’d not like to lose your eternal reward that comes from the Lord God due to silly reasons like clinging to pride or lack of belief in the Gospel. But if you preach the Word of God for the love of God and in purity then be assured that your reward will surely endure forever in heaven and in new heaven and new earth to come.
Reflect on the below verses:
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:31-38)
Quick Reminder: Live and preach the Gospel
- There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others.(Saint John Chrysostom)
- For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)
- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
- But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Explain the Gospel but don’t change it
If someone doesn’t understand certain terms in the Gospel then feel free to explain to them the clear meaning of it. There could be people who are of a different culture or region might not be familiar with certain things in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can do this, without changing the Gospel to them and ensure that they get the right knowledge and understanding of it. There could be people who might wonder why they need to help the poor because in their place begging is forbidden. So you could tell them it’s not about encouraging others to be poor always but rather about how one cares for them.
However if someone gets upset that the Gospel forbids adultery because that someone is secretly an adulter or adulteress then don’t worry about offending them. You are not to go overboard on mercy that (ironically) you don’t offer them mercy. In plain words I mean you say those who repent of all their sins including adultery and believe in the Gospel have a place in heaven with Christ but never ever should it mean that you say adultery is harmless if you don’t get caught. Because even if a person who commits adultery is never tackled by his or her spouse, be sure that in the afterlife the person who died a sinner will not go heaven but rather to hell. So why change the Gospel for them only for them and you to face judgement in the afterlife?
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.(Galatians 1:8-9)
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.(Revelation 2:2)
A Red Letter Church vs a Grace Based Church
What is the Difference between a Red Letter Church and a Grace based Church?
The Christian Church has Jesus as the Foundation. It is built upon the Red Letters of the Bible, the words that Jesus Christ Spoke Himself. Build upon that, are the many pillars of Scripture, revealed through Prophet’s, Apostles, Kings, Priests, ETC
The Pillar of GRACE
The Pillar of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Pillar of JUDGMENT
Altogether these pillars build up the teachings of the Church.
But in many Churches, a problem arises when, the Red letters of Jesus are removed as the foundation of the Church & the Pillar of Grace, is set as the new foundation.
With GRACE being the new foundation of the Church, Some pillars fit nicely on that.
Love & Mercy
Forgiveness & Blessing
Peace & Joy
But other pillars don’t fit so nicely on this Foundation. Therefore those subjects need to be de-emphasized, and rarely brought up.
While other pillars of Scripture don’t fit at all on this foundation.
The Fear of God
Those subjects need to be ignored, disregarded or just briefly mentioned. Those subjects were from the God of long ago, who no longer exists. (Edit: This part as per hyper grace teachings is basically saying the Lord has changed his behaviour in the New Testament times, but reality is that the Bible never says the Lord God has become permissive of sin because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
The Sermon topics of the Grace based Church are VERY important topics, that need to be thoroughly covered. But as many people have discovered, it wasn’t that those topics were being covered, it was that other topics were just being ignored. The problem is that anytime you ignore parts of Scripture, it distorts the image of God.
The Grace based church presents the congregation with a Path of Salvation, and a Doorway to go through. The problem is that the path presented is Wider than the Narrow path depicted in scripture. This will result in a rude awakening for some people, who feel secure, yet are not on the RIGHT path.
Jesus taught that the House built on ROCK, does not fall. Therefore if we ignore parts of Scripture when building the Church, then the Church becomes less stable, because it’s missing part of the foundation.
Because Jesus is the Cornerstone of our Faith, His teachings demand greater focus over the teachings of any other. As Jesus even said, “My testimony is weightier than John’s”
But in many churches we see that the Greater Focus is given to the Teachings of the Apostle Paul, over that of Jesus. Which Paul even warned us NOT to do.
In scripture we are told to behold the kindness and severity of God, and God is revealed as both a Lion and a Lamb.
But in the teachings of many Churches, we see this Principle is changed to. Behold the Kindness of God.
The LION is de-emphasized, and most sermons only reveal God as the Lamb. And this causes an imbalance in doctrine.
Put back the Words of Jesus, as the Foundation of the Church. Where the teachings of the Apostle’s and Prophets are built upon the ROCK. Not ignoring any portions of scripture. This is the Church that Jesus Built.
– By Robert Brownell
My note about teachings/letters of the Apostle Paul (call it a disclaimer if you wish):
Generally I wouldn’t put in a note at this point but I felt since the above quote somehow makes a distinguishing mark between the teachings of Jesus Christ and those of the Apostle Paul, so I felt it’s best to clarify this out for you.
To be clear enough; the letters of St. Paul in the Bible are fully part of the Holy Scriptures and are fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. However some people have tried to use that justify elimination of certain key doctrines of the Bible, in fact the very things that Jesus taught! The teachings or letters of St. Paul are not of his own but are of the Lord God who spoke through the Holy Spirit and inspired his letters.
Like I said the letters of St. Paul are inspired by the Holy Spirit, this means that they are to remind us of things which Jesus Christ taught during his ministry on earth and even more revelations of God without undermining the truth of the Gospel.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14: 25-26)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15)
Preach the true Gospel
To the conservatives, preach the true Gospel,
To the liberals, preach the true Gospel.
To the communists, preach the true Gospel,
To the anarchists, preach the true Gospel.
To the religious, preach the true Gospel,
To the indifferent, preach the true Gospel.
To the healthy, preach the true Gospel,
To the sickly, preach the true Gospel.
To the Gentiles, preach the true Gospel,
To the Jews, preach the true Gospel.
To the far away peoples, preach the true Gospel,
To the neighbourhood, preach the true Gospel.
To the men, preach the true Gospel,
To the women, preach the true Gospel.
To the children, preach the true Gospel,
To the elderly, preach the true Gospel.
To the first, preach the true Gospel,
To the last, preach the true Gospel.
To the hopeful, preach the true Gospel,
To the depressed, preach the true Gospel.
To the sinful, preach the true Gospel,
To the self righteous, preach the true Gospel.
To the left, preach the true Gospel,
To the right, preach the true Gospel.
And he [Jesus Christ] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
And he [Jesus Christ] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42
Effects and dangers of preaching an incomplete Gospel
Any person who preaches the Gospel whether in church, home or elsewhere must take a serious note that they are to preach the complete Gospel. One must never get bullied or pressured to only speak the points of the Gospel that the congregation likes to hear such as healing and salvation but avoid topics like martyrdom and sanctification. You are not here to impress the people, you are in fact here to preach the Gospel. And this means that you are not to compromise with the preaching of the Gospel at any given point of time and place.
Sometimes the preaching of an incomplete Gospel might have the actual words of the Bible and even sound impressive but that still leaves a lot of gray areas in the spirit. For instance, saying that Jesus picked up his cross for you but skipping up the part of the Gospel where Jesus wants us to carry our cross and deny oneself, leaves a person to have a lot of guess work as to whether to indulge in worldly luxuries or spend time helping the poor and needy.
Speaking about the Gospel where you focus a lot on love but miss out on mentioning that Jesus actually rose from the dead, is basically an incomplete Gospel. As a result the person hearing such a Gospel will be surprised when someone actually mentions that Jesus had to die for us and then rose from the grave.
I had encountered one such person from another religion who claimed to know everything about Christianity as he attended a lot of Christian worship services at a particular place. I felt that he was boasting too much, as a person who hears the complete Gospel won’t brag about his knowledge as the Gospel clearly speaks about being humble. So I asked him, “I hope you know that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead on the third day, do you?” And to this he replied that he doesn’t believe in the resurrection at all because this was something he heard from me for the first time and never heard it in the church he attended. I told him to read the Bible and see what the Gospel actually says about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and he was still in shock. In hind sight, this incident made me realize that certain preachers are consistently NOT preaching the complete Gospel.
Now the following seven points are just a few of the effects and dangers of preaching an incomplete Gospel to the people:
1. People are not clear about who Jesus is
2. People are not sure if they are to leave their sins
3. People are not sure if they should pray for healings and miracles
4. People are not warned of persecutions and rejection they might encounter
5. People are not on guard against false prophets and false gospels
6. People are not encouraged to do good works
7. People are not sure of their salvation
A detailed explanation is given below for each of the above points so that you understand them better.
1) People are not clear about who Jesus is
It’s completely vain to preach a Gospel which doesn’t clearly identify Jesus as the Lord and as the Son of God. I wonder how do people even tolerate a preacher who doesn’t want to mention Jesus, not even one bit in church. If you don’t mention that Jesus is the Lamb of God how are they to understand his sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf?
Here are a few verses to consider:
- The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)
- The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
- Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
2) People are not sure if they are to leave their sins
I notice that certain preachers avoid any mention of repentance. They will say stuff like ‘You don’t need religion. You only need Jesus’ as if they really know what they are saying. (On a side note, if you not sure whether if Christianity a religion or relation, then I’d say it’s both. To know about why I said that please refer to my earlier post Is Christianity a religion or relation?). The fact is that people have to both accept Jesus as their Savior and also repent of their sins.
Anyone who says that once you repent, each and every of your future sins are automatically forgiven can read my earlier post titled : ‘The heresy of pre-forgiven sin‘ which shows you must repent every time you sin.
Here are a few verses to reflect upon:
- No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
- Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)
- “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
3) People are not sure if they should pray for healings and miracles
Some preachers try to focus a lot on good conduct but leave out the fact that miracles in the name of Jesus did happen in the Gospel and can still happen today. Miracles and healings are for today and have not gone by with the Apostles. They are still available for the glory of God. It’s vain to talk about miracles and healings as something that were only available at the time of Jesus but now it’s gone. (You can refer to my post titled Signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing are for today, which explains it up).
Here are a few verses to ponder upon:
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
- As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Matthew 11:20-24)
4) People are not warned of persecutions and rejection they might encounter
If all one is preaching is about the comforts of heaven and the joy of salvation but not warning the people about the persecutions and rejection they might encounter on account of believing in Jesus Christ, then they won’t be ready for it if it were to happen to them by any degree. This is not about scaring them but helping them be prepared to hold on to their hope in Christ even in the face of danger to life or ridicule by others. If Jesus could speak about that, why are you fearing to talk about the same thing?
Here are a few verses to think about:
- and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:22-25)
- “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
5) People are not on guard against false prophets and false gospels
If Gospel that is preached doesn’t warn against false prophets and the false gospels which emerge from these deceivers, then even though that Gospel is very clear on repentance it is still needs a lot of catching up to do. Because the people won’t have a clue and so be off their guard when false gospels, false prophets and even false Christ’s come to them and as a result believe in lies which can be damnable heresies.
Here are few verses to take heed of:
- And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christ’s and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:21-23)
- Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
- As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.…. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. (Matthew 24: 3-5, 11)
6) People are not encouraged to do good works
Any preaching of Gospel that relies solely on mental assertions but doesn’t encourage to do good works is lacking the depth of love in action. Your good works are meant so that you glorify the Lord God. We are called to be both hearers and doers of the Word of God.
Here are a few verses to put into action:
- In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
- Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, NLT)
- Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
7) People are not sure of their salvation
Preaching the Gospel in such a way that it overemphasizes on doing good works but does not speak in clear terms about salvation can end up confusing people. There might be a danger that people will incorrectly presume to their own hurt that their goods works will grant them salvation. So it’s important that the salvation is preached to them as per the Gospel instead of any man made doctrine.
Here are a few verses to believe in:
- When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
- The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:35-36)
- Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
A suggested prayer:
Dear Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ your Son. Please forgive me if at any point of time in my life whether knowingly or unknowingly I did not preach the Gospel in all its fullness. Give me the courage and hope to preach the Gospel for your glory and without any fear. Bless my will power and memory so that I recall your greatness, mercy and victory in the Gospel and exhort those who hear it to believe in Jesus Christ. Be with me Holy Spirit that those who hear the Gospel from me and are in sin turn back to their One True Shepherd so that they love and serve him all the days of their life. Amen and amen.