The Burden to Confront Sin
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
One of the true signs of a man of God is his burden to confront sin. Perhaps the single most horrible manuever of Satan is that of setting up many churches that are really good places, with good likeable people, and a great dynamic pastor that preachers wonderfully, but not of that actually confronts sin. There is no Burden to Confront Sin. This is a church where you can go and feel good about yourself, and where you can really go in total confidence that nothing there will challenge the sin in your life. These churches are often designer specific, such as the homosexual church, or the rich person’s church, or the yuppie young people’s church. The thing that stands out about them is whenever there is a public rebuke, it is like the end of the world. “We never heard that before. Why did the preacher just ruin our church?“
Not on a personal level, not on a general church exhortational level, nor on a church administrational level is there a direct identification of somebody sinning, and a strong rebuke towards that person. To say like Paul said…
Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
would be the greatest insult in the world to this church. The false prophet makes his members “feel good” about themselves and their church, and there is not a constant diet of rebuke and exhortation as the Scriptures show.
God says in Titus 1:13 Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
The idea is that by rebuking sin, the individual’s faith is built up, and it is healthy. His spirituality, his relationship with God, his salvation is sound and healthy. We all need to be exhorted, and a preacher that is a man of God cannot escape preaching against the sins of those that sit in front of him every Sunday. A false prophet easily makes wonderful sermons that never change moral character. We can take it as a given that a true man of God seeks change in morality in those sitting under his sermons. Maybe some take this to a wrong conclusion by having an altar call at the end of every service, and they even force deacons and others to come down and kneel so that it looks like there is something spiritual going on (this is common in easy believism churches), but there should be something spiritual going on.
At times I as a pastor want to choke at the words “spiritual edification.” I have seen so many pastors teach and preach facts and information from the Bible without making any attempt at moral change, no exhortations or calls to change their lives, and when asked, they say these sermons are for the spiritual edification of the flock.
1Cor 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
Knowledge puffs up, and love edifieth. There needs to be an actual practice of love in the life of the person for edification to be actually done.
See my tract Ch29 What should we preach?
Commands to Confront Sin
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Jam 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
There is a spiritual duty for every Christian to examine the lives of others around them. When a brother is overtaken in a fault or sin, those who are truly spiritual should take it upon themselves, in humility, to confront that person with his sin. Moreover, this duty is much more important in the administration and leadership of the church.
This has to be saturated in humility, because there is a very easy and common tendency among arrogant and haughty people to condemn others. This cannot be the situation within the church of God. False prophets will use this to deflect any criticism of themselves, saying that you are haughty and arrogant, and you have no humility.
2Th 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
1Tim 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Matt 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Matt 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
This passages clearly indicate that confronting sin is biblical, although one should not enter into it lightly. It is a very important part of our Christian life. As a preacher and pastor, this is the central theme of our preaching to edify our members by correcting what is wrong or lacking in their spiritual lives.
A wise man, as Proverbs says, is a person who looks favorably on those who would take the time and risk friendship in order to correct things in his life.
Prov 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Prov 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
Prov 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
Prov 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Prov 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
Those who receive rebuke and honestly consider it and if it is valid, change their life are people who are wise, reasonable Christians.
Who should be confronted?
First of all, we need to understand that this on a personal level is primarily for believers. Yes the preaching of God does like John the Baptist and rebukes sin in society, but the purpose and direction is different. For an unbeliever, any rebuke of his sin should be a step in bringing him to Christ. For a believer, rebukes come from a heart of love wanting to see him truly be blessed of God.
Secondly, a local church has a responsibility towards its members, and when they are out of line, it is the duty of the pastor (representing the church) to try and bring that member back into fellowship with God and the church.
What should be confronted?
We confront sin, not our preferences as not seen in the lives of others. It is unfortunate that in our day and age most Christians want everything their way, or they brand anybody that has differences with them as a person with a devil.
False Prophets as Pastors
The issue is that a false prophet does not confront real sin. Many will make up issues that are barely even considered in Scripture, always taking things to an extreme rather than being balanced. They beat this straw man they invent so that they can claim to be “hard on sin”, and so they can get a reputation of “preaching hard” when in reality, the real issues of their people they do not confront, and they gloss over and ignore their own sins.
If anyone crosses them or gets out of line, then they will come down very hard on that person, using anything that they can, whether it is a sin or not, they will present it as a sin, and be very hurtful on those rebells to their own power and dominion.