Wednesday, October 22, 2008

True Fellowship

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
Proverbs 9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
Proverbs 28: 23Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.

It has been said 'he who loves you the most is he who tells you the most truth."
Yet how hard it is to receive that truth, how odd it is to be given the truth. Even more than that how hard it is to give that truth.
How do you view rebuke, is there a way you want it or do you long to hear truth no matter how?
Paul Washer recently made the comment how many people try to excuse themselves from rebuke by stating 'how' the person said it, NOT whether it's true. That is a MAJOR difference and a MAJOR problem.
There is nothing sweeter than true fellowship, it is indeed a means of grace and it's something that has to be sought and fought for. True fellowship is not easy. When you consider the many admonitions of how believers in Christ should support, encourage, rebuke, stir up, pray for and help one another, you must realize that such a duty cannot be supplied by the best of churches. I mean no program can facilitate such a thing. After all the groups, after the church meet times, whom do you fellowship with? With whom do you pour your heart out with, with whom do you sharpen?
Privacy, Privacy, Privacy--Hogwash!!! It's all garbage, we have gotta to strive to live more OPEN lives, or else who could really challenge us when they only see our church face?
Even true church discipline can't be carried out (which is to restore believers and uphold the glory of God through His bride), when we aren't rubbing shoulders with other believers.
Passing conversations just won't do, those conversations are so awkward when another brother (or sister) asks you a 30min question and you know they plan to walk away in 2mins- so you revert to the same ol' typical chit chat.
True Fellowship is a means of humility, yes indeed it exposes are faults, yet it helps us when those we love can point those things out that we are either ignoring or blind to. I for one am quick to defend myself, yet after i can't escape the remarks and am forced to reevaluate it by the truth. There's nothing like the good fruit that comes out of being rebuked or even the good fruit (and the bond) of giving rebuke to someone who welcomes it.
On the other hand it's so hard to give rebuke, when it's not welcomed. Even though you may tremble to give it, you may have tried to put it off yet God won't let you shake it, for me personally it's like i have the whole conversation already in full circulating through my mind, and after much struggle i give it. What's odd is when people pretend to want it, but that's not what they really mean. Indeed I've heard countless ministers that have stated how they wish people would point out things they see, especially if it's error: few there are that seem to be honest in saying that. I wonder how many out there are frustrated at all the complements because they feel people are flattering them, not being honest, and they would rather hear some helpful rebuke? hmmm
Brother, Sister who could rebuke you? When you talk with others do you only give certain details so the only thing people could do is encourage you? Are you leaving out some areas that you know need addressed. Surely we could avoid a lot of gossip if only we'd be more open to giving and receiving rebuke.
Note: I hope when the word rebuke is stated that you are able to look at that word without reserve, but joyfully. Even many parents have ruined and are ruining their children's lives because they don't equate rebuke with love. Many shepherds hardly ever face a church discipline issue because they won't adopt a biblical view of rebuke. Many preachers are nothing but fuzzy cheerleaders who won't address the real problems, at the most they might drop some hints and this because they refuse to acknowledge the biblical mandate of rebuking.
IT'S not easy, but it's necessary, it will not only humble the one receiving but it will humble the one giving it.
If it is easy then you have no business doing it, I mean of course that if you have a thirst for blood, for strife then you've totally missed it. It's not a 'Christian" way of knocking (slamming, insulting) someone. What is the INTENT? The intent should be to see restoration, to see healing, to see repentance, you rebuke with a broken heart.



It is a rare exception when I hear someone accept responsibility instead of complaining about "how" they were spoken to or the "tone of voice" that was used.

But then I rarely hear genuine admonishments either. Most people want to avoid confrontation. Rather, they enjoy an unspoken agreement that they won't hold you accountable if you don't hold them accountable.

I'd like it if the unspoken agreements slanted in the other direction. That is, I'd like to assume that my friends are holding me accountable without the need to ask.

Julius Mickel

Amen brother, what you have said is true- it seems many don't even consider the posibility of addressing things. Although most probably do and it's in the form of gossip.
It has been said those who love you the most are those who tell you the most truth-I believe that- can someone love me enough to hurt my feelings?

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