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The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline

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    09 REBUKING SIN

    “THERE are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” Titus 1:10-14.COOD 44.1

    It may be asked, does not this testimony show that the servants of the Lord are to use sharp rebukes, and that they are not always to be as tender as before stated? We answer: The rebuke here spoken of by the apostle does not give license to sharp words proceeding from the carnal heart, but in using the truth of God deftly and pointedly in exposing errors.COOD 44.2

    This thought is again expressed in the same epistle, where, after speaking of our Saviour Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” the apostle says: “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” Titus 2:14, 15. The rebuking is the exposing of sin, iniquity, and all departures from Christ, not with human zeal and words of man’s devising, but by teaching “these things”-the plain truths of the gospel.COOD 44.3

    This is again seen in Paul’s solemn charge to the ministry, as given to Timothy, where he says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.... I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 4:1, 2.COOD 44.4

    This is in perfect accord with what he had taught in his first epistle to Timothy, where he says: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, do nothing by partiality.” 1 Timothy 5:20, 21.COOD 45.1

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