Better Is Open Rebuke Them Hidden Love, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Proverbs 27:5-6, “Better is open rebuke them hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”

Have you ever been in a situation where someone you know has sinned and you felt you needed to confront them on it? Perhaps right now you are thinking not me, I’m no better than they are, I sin too, and I don’t want someone confronting me, that won’t help matters. The area of accountability, confrontation, confession, and church discipline is an area that is very weak in today’s church. Why, perhaps because we live in such a rebellious society nowadays. A rebellious son refusing to mend his ways in the OT was stoned to death. God wants holy people, and holy people cannot live like the world who feels that ultimately they will answer to no one. Remember at the Last Supper Jesus secretly confronted Judas with His statement about dipping bread, but Judas’ return was as an enemy (in the Garden of Gethsemane) that gave kisses, the kiss of selfishness and death.

Look at the following two accounts of confrontation in the Scriptures.

In John 4 we see how Jesus confronts a non-believer over their sin. John 4:16-18, “16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17, “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” Jesus used God’s law (the 7th commandment) in His confrontation to bring conviction.

Jesus confronted her sin, by asking her to call her husband. After her confession, Jesus pressed the issue of her sin further. Now before anyone can say that it’s God’s job to confront sin, what do we do with this passage from 2 Samuel 12:1-7? “The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!…”

Sinners and Saints are both confronted. God desires sinners to be confronted over their sin to be convicted and be converted to Christ, and for saints to be confronted and convicted over their sin because they are converted and represent God Himself who is sinless. Now pray for wisdom in both instances, but when the Lord directs you, obey quickly, if not that person may ruin their lives, or die in their sin. Remember “The wages of sin is death. The Scriptures give us a model of how to confront someone. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Matthew 18:15-17). Our job is to confront, the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict.

Application: Is there someone that comes to mind to confront. Pray for wisdom, but obey the Lord, you may save their life. But do so in a spirit of humility seeking to win them over, not to hang manipulation over their head. Remember “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Blessings Pastor Phil

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