"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth; and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
~ II Timothy 4:1-5 ~
II Timothy 4 was one of the many verses that were reflected on Sunday as we met as a corporate body led by the Holy Spirit through Pastor Kimberly Behrman. The title of the message,
"A Judas Kiss...The Betrayal of the Truth". This message stirred me. I was stirred to seek His face to reveal my heart. I was led to this place of repentance and wanting, desiring to not betray the Truth...MY JESUS! When I came home, the three words that stood out were from
II Timothy 4, "Convince, rebuke and exhort". I wanted to get some understanding of these words. What I noticed immediately was this phrase, "Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering (a.k.a patience) and teaching." I came to the conclusion that when teaching with patience there must at all times (in and out of season) convincing, rebuking and exhorting the things of Jesus Christ. This sound teaching must be maintained and never be 'let up' for one moment. Why? Because it says further on, "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, falling prey to the itching ears, wanting to hear what they want to hear." Paul then warns Timothy, "be watchful in ALL things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry"
Here are the following definitions for 'convince, rebuke and exhort':Convince (To bring by the use of argument or to bring by the use of evidence to firm belief or a coarse of action; to prove to be wrong or guilty; to conquer or overpower).
Rebuke (To criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand ~ admonish: to reprove gently but earnestly; to counsel another against something to be avoided; caution; to remind of something forgotten or disregarded, as an obligation or a responsibility)
Exhort (To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice or appeal; to make urgent appeal: in other words to make an urgent, earnest request).
Wow! These definitions are very cutting. I pray that I do not fall under deception like that which was warned by Paul. O my heart must be maintained at all times. The soil of my garden must be constantly taken care of.
These cutting definitions of convince, rebuke and exhort are definitely not what is taught by the 'mainstream church'. Living for God has nothing to do with "let's fluff each other's behinds, tip toe around issues that must be confronted head on!" We are into this false thinking that the feathers shouldn't be ruffled. I am realizing in my own life that when my eyes are no longer focused on God for Who He is and seeking His face, everything else becomes a religious act. It becomes involuntary movement. There is this passionless, mundane, boring life mentality, that does not reveal the Rivers of Living Water that are abundant and purposeful.
There is a mandate on each of our lives when we say "Yes" to being redeemed by Jesus Christ to stand up for the One who Redeemed us. I must live with passion that ignites the thirst and hunger for God in others who are thirsty for Him, but are sadly seeking elsewhere; just like many of us did at one time.
I am led to this awakening: we can no longer be okay with the world saying, "You can't say the Name of God or the Name of Jesus. You have to 'bow down' to our way of doing things." Immediately, I am reminded of what happened to all the leaders who were gathered together in Babylon ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3. The leaders were brought forth from all the different rankings and ordered to bow before this mighty golden image that the king had built. They were ordered through the proclamation of a herald to bow down after the sound of the music and instruments and if they didn't they would be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. Well, of course the leaders did what they were told. However, Shadrach, Meschech and Abendago did not. I love what happened next: King Nebuchadnezzar says with great pride, "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" Shadrach, Meschech and Abendago answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Wow! That causes me to shout with great exuberance!!! What Boldness to know their God, despite what could happen to them; and they didn't even have the relationship with God that we are able to have through Jesus Christ made manifest through the Holy Spirit!!!!!
This true, powerful story leads me to the voices of those who say, "The law is that we can't say the name of God!" My reply is, "You can't afford not to say the Name of God." If you are not allowed to say His name...the one's who are saying that you can't say His name are missing out on a powerful transformation! I pray that I do not compromise by falling into the trap that I missed out on an opportunity to share the Gospel. There is nothing we can do when we do our part and it is rejected, they aren't rejecting us or our ministry...they are rejecting Almighty God!
The leaders in business and schools who make the decision to say "No" to God will be responsible for the many lives who missed out on hearing the powerful message of redemption, deliverance and restoration provided through the Name of Jesus!
Today's message taught by the power of the Holy Spirit through Pastor Kimberly Behrman was so a 'right now' word! She said, "We can not fall into self-deceit, because this leads to justification. Justification leads to accepting the lie and accepting the lie, causes you to turn from Truth which dangerously leads to rejecting God."
We must do what we have been called to and allow God to do what He does best...and that is Being God! He doesn't need our help to 'fix' the hearts who say, "No" to Him. He wants us to be fixed totally and completely on Him. His love for the lost is indescribably more vast than what we could ever comprehend.
Our love for the lost and hurting is nothing in comparison to His passionate pursuit of them and us. We must uphold that which we are led by, and that is Him. How can we say we are led by the Spirit of God, if we are willing to 'edit' His name out? Many say,"Well, we don't want to offend anyone, people could lose their jobs." Well, guess what? God offends...the name of Jesus offends the world! Notice the world is not offended by Mohammad, Buddha or any other name...but wow...when it comes to the Name of Jesus the world is appalled! As I heard Greg Fritz say, "The name of Jesus must get equal time." If the world can say curse words, speak bitter, envying, strife, death filled words, then there is no problem with my God's Name getting equal time! I am humbly reminded that the laws of man must kneel to the Righteous and Just God who is Holy. We may not see the kneeling and the bowing to our God now...but we better believe that we will one day and I pray soon!
If I am going to wear the beautiful name of a "Christ Follower"...I must wear it by the Grace of God. That Grace provided by God is to allow us to rise above sin and walk in great power and boldness in the name of Jesus. That grace is not provided for us to back down, back off; walking in weakness and timidity. I admit, I feared confrontation. My personality by nature is to have everyone get along. But one day I heard in my spirit, "At what expense are you willing for your personality trait to infiltrate the way you worship and serve Me?" That was a wake up call! If I am not careful, I can fall into compromising situations very quickly. The mentality of, "I don't want you to be mad at me...so I'd rather not say anything at all" does not lead to the fruitfulness of God; glorifying Him. I'm learning that when we know what is right and we say and/or do nothing when we see evil being done...we are just as guilty as the one who is doing evil (James 4:17).
A great example of a Christ Follower was Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul was passionate and there was no such thing as a 'bush'! He didn't beat around the bush; Paul went right through the bush of deception by the power of the Holy Spirit! Especially when they saw the teachings of God be manipulated to selfish agendas and desires. I want this same passion, however my flesh doesn't want that passion; for it is guaranteed that from that passion for Christ, persecution will rise up (Matthew 24:3-13).
Let's never betray the Truth for one moment. Let us be quick to rebuke and admonish ourselves before betrayal can take place.