Through experience as well as observation, it has been noted that a deviation from the "old pathways" of zero tolerance for rebellion, lawlesness, disobedience, and irreverence within the household of faith, has manifested within the walls of Zion, and it has opened many portals and doorways of entrance for the enemy to come in and delude, weakn, and hold hostage those things of God we were divinely chosen and privleged to receive stewardship over, and will have to stand before God and give account for. It wasn't that long ago that when someone, or "people", in the flock consistlently, and deliberately continued to live a life of sin, to resist instruction and despise Godly counsel, to cause mayhem and malcontent, cause others to stumble, and rebel against the commandments of God and the set leadership within the church, that grace was extended, but rebuke and correction was instituted, without respect of persons. The bold disregard and irreverence that is found amongst God's people would never have been given the free reign and enablement that is seen at this present time, because the principle of being careful to not allow a "little leaven" to infect the whole lump was lived by and adhered to, and in so doing, the open and wildly out of control lust, adultery and fornication (especially amongst the "priests" or ministry leaders), "shacking" by the parishoners, plotting, scheming, isms, schisms, lack of discipline, and other oppsitional activies would've been confronted, corrected, and rebuked with a quickness! There is such great and illegal "license" to live any kind of way that suits an individuals's "fancy", with no conviction, shame, or evident awareness that God still hates sin, and is not "mocked",by any stretch of the imagination. This in and of itself, is a great deal of the reason we are ineffective, powerless, and without an honorable testimony amongst our own ranks as "Christ's Church",or amongst the "gentiles".. We acknowledge the fact that some churches are way over at the other end of the spectrum, and bondage and self rightousness is in operation, and the flock are being governed legalistically and by constraint, but evenso, it is an injustice to those who are in rebellion and resistant to the full counsel of God, when they are not admonished, counselled and rebuked for their error and wrong doing, just as it is potentially detrimental to a child to go through life undisciplined, and allowed to act out and be uncorrectible without ever suffering consequences. No, no one is inferring that the people of God are "children", but the Bible says so, and truly "grown" folk will put away childish things and recognize that the chastening of the Lord is a blessing. David called it "good" for him, because it taught Him GOD'S statutes, and whom the Lord loveth, He correcteth! Deut. 8:5 says this;" Thou shalt consider also, in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.
This matter of tolerance for things we've been commissioned to pluck up, challenge, and bring into correct order and alginment with the will and commands of God, began as a "puppy", but now it has grown to the proportions of a "full grown German Shepherd, and the church of God barely resembles a "church", but rather a religious institute of various religious rituals and ministrations to appease the need for people to feel that they're in "right standing" with the church becaus they've done the "Sunday-go-to-meeting" thing, with a few mid-week Bible studies, and a conference or two! This may satisfy , in their mind, the ritualistic requirements of rightousness according to the estimations of mere men, but being in "right standing" with the Church "ain't" hardly, necessarily being in right standing with God. We are doing no one a favor by overlooking things that the Bible and tenets of conversion clearly expect and command, and many leaders have become complacent and overly accomodating, because they don't want to offend, rock the ship of Zion, or " cause anyone to leave". We are setting the wrong standard, and aborting the standard set by God when we allow new converts to continue to dress like they just left the club, or came straight from the "stroll" to the church. Yes, it is understood that many have adopted the reasoning or justification of "catching" the fish before you "fry" them, but fish out of water for too long, that're not properly oreserved and "dressed" before frying will spoil, or be offensive to the palate when it's served up! We have an obligation to, of course, work with them, but also to instruct them in what's acceptable and expected as they grow in grace daily. You'll not find a job that requires a certain uniform, willing to allow an employee to dress in "what they've got" until they manage to get a uniform, because when the employee applies for the job,he knows the requirements and accepts the responsibility to procur them, if they really want the job! We owe it to the flock and to our peer leaders to provide a "check and balance", so that we're not caught "occupying incorrectly", and that we walk worthy as ambassadors and emissaries of God and for the kingdom to which we've been honored with "citizenship".
When correction, in love, was the order of the day, the saints were far nore reverential, in fear of God, and conscious of their lifestyles and the service they rendered unto Him in every dimension. No one had to constantly remind them to work out their salvation in fear and in trembling, or of the fact that the all-seeing eyes of God are everywhere, and so are the eyes of men who may be watching the way that the people of God live as examples of disciples of Christ! There are several other areas that have nothing to do with the outward appearance or representation, and it's not just new converts who are , sometimes, in need of rebuke, but quite often, it's within the closed ranks of leadership., where the reachers and preachers dwell. There was a time when one would've been embarassed if they had to be corrected because they were causing a distraction, or being a stumbling block to someone, because too much cleavage or too much "back field " was being revealed, especially for those sitting in the pulpit! There was a time that the local "trouble maker", sower of discord and "mess master" would've been nipped in the bud long before their effort at disruption and sabotage had time or room to take root! There was a time when no leader who was in any known sin, would be allowed to preach, teach,or serve in any ministry capacity without rebuke and a "timeout" until restoration was manifested! There was a time when the bold "flirting", and "mating games" that are familiar to the church now, would've compelled open rebuke, before it could evolve into situations of utter shame and scandal! There wa a time when those brethren who slithered from one sister to the other, in the congregation, seducing them and misleading them, would've been aggressively rebuked and corrected, and if they held a leadership position, which most of them did, they were placed on "involuntary sabbatical" until God said better!
Then there's the matter of correction with "partiality" which is a "fat fox" in our midst and it is "partiality" in rebuke and correction, in that everyone is not rebuked and corrected the same! I'm sure that everyone has witnessed circumstances where certain people committed all kinds of transgressions "with no shame in their game", and not covertly, or under the cover of darkness, but "as bold as cuff", and it's as if their actions and behaviour were invisible to the same leaders who had no qualms at all about openly rebuking others for far less infractions. For instance, consider a situation in which particular leaders, who've been 'on board the mothership' since the day the foundation was laid, and so they are allowed to get away with being abusive, contrary, to mishandle people, be arrogant, misuse authority, be conniving, cause intense conflict within the ministry, and wound and offend people whenever they feel like it, and yet their "rebuke" or correction never seemed to manifest, even though people were leaving or not being drawn to the said ministry, purely because of the behaviour of these individuals. This sort of administration of leadership is very destructive for the morale of the others, and it's disheartening and confusing for those who have to witness this. We have an obligation to maintain a "safe" consistent environment for God's people, just as we do for our children , so that they know there are boundaries and rules, and if those things are violated, there will be measures taken to correct those issues, and they can, therefore, be secure. The people of God deserve to be confident that any and all potentially harmful situations that may hinder their journey in Christ will be handled, and they won't be allowed to be prey for those in need of deliverance, and they need to be assured that if need be, correction, rebuke, whether "open" or "closed", will be executed, because if God considered it relevant and "need be", then the servants of God will absoutely honor the obligation to bring correction, in love, and through divine wisdom and authority.
To not rebuke the saints because you're afraid that your tithes and attendance may "suffer" is a travesty and a poor leadership posture, because in being given the oversight and watch over their souls, correction is a part of fulfilling that mandate as a "spiritual parent" or leader. To not correct their spirits, and lives in any area because you "don't want to offend" them or don't want them to" vote you out", or not "bless you real good" for your anniversary ,or birthday
celebration the next time around, is defying your committment to honor the obligation to "not lose one", due to your own misdeeds as a leader! To not rebuke a sister for consistently wearing clothing that reveal the cut of her "thong", and the location of her "tatoos", or for being blatantly seductive with the brothers is not going to fly with God! To not correct things that are directly a contradiction to salvation, because of any feared reaction of "man" is an offense to God, because the obligation to realign situations and correct attitudes and behaviours is TO God, but it is For the flock of God, that they might be presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, and that man/woman of GOD" receive their crown of glory!
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