If Your Brother Sins, Rebuke Him

Today’s reading is Luke 17.

If your brother sins, rebuke him. The command is not to hate him, yell at him, hold a grudge against him, be mean to him, hurt him, get in his face, be angry with him, badmouth him, slander him, ignore him, give him the cold shoulder. The command is to rebuke him. As Jesus rebuked the wind and the storm charging them to stop and rebuked demons charging them to leave people, when we rebuke someone we are charging them to change their behavior. Rebuking someone is not venting my hurt feelings, expressing my anger, blowing my stack. Rebuking someone is not yelling at them, hitting them, or even punishing them. Rebuking someone is instructing them to change their behavior, that is, to repent. Why would we do that? Because we love them. Because we know their sins separate them from God and from us. Because we don’t want them to perish in sin anymore than God wants that (see Ezekiel 18:20, 32). Most people don’t rebuke. They either vent their feelings or ignore the situation not wanting to rock the boat. It takes someone who truly loves to offer a sincere, true rebuke intended to bring someone to soul-saving repentance. Will you love those who sin that much?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 17.

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Today’s reading is Luke 6.

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven for so their fathers did to the prophets.”

Please note, Jesus doesn’t say someone is blessed merely because they have been excluded or hated or spurned. We are blessed when the reason we are hated, excluded, or spurned as evil is our support of Jesus Christ and His will. This passage does not teach the modern concept of cultural inclusivity. In fact, what it does teach about goes right along with the fact that the one thing our modern culture is not willing to include is faithfulness to Jesus. We will be excluded. We will be hated. We will be spurned as evil. Don’t be surprised when it happens. And definitely, don’t abandon Jesus because it happens. If you are standing with Jesus, count yourself blessed when people hate you for it. And always stand with Jesus.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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Hate is No Surprise

Today’s reading is John 15.

It is surprising to me how many times throughout the Scripture the Holy Spirit prepares us for hate. Considering how good, loving, compassionate, and kind Jesus was, it is amazing that He was hated. But He was. In fact, so hated, He was taken to the cross. This was the very point those around Him didn’t grasp. If He was the Messiah, even if hated, He shouldn’t suffer for it. And this is, perhaps, one of the largest aspects of following Him that we miss today. If we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we heedlessly believe, everyone should like us. The world and the worldly will be so impressed with our Christlike love and compassion that they will long to hear what we say (if we are doing it right). The world shouldn’t hate us, we think. If they do, we are doing it wrong, we believe. And yet, Jesus prepares His followers again and again and again. It will not be different for us. Hate is no surprise. The world is going to hate us. The world is going to make us suffer for it. Obviously, we aren’t trying to be hated. But be ready. And be ready to keep loving one another and also loving those who hate us. That is what Jesus did when hated.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 16.

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Love the Light Enough to Be Saved

Today’s reading is John 3.

Here is the amazing thing. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn anyone. He came to save everyone. The problem is many people do not want to be saved. Some don’t want to believe they need saving. They want to believe they are pretty good people. Some people don’t want to believe their actions and behaviors are sinful and damning. Some people want salvation, but not from Jesus. Jesus shined the light on salvation, but that light exposes sin, wickedness, and evil, demanding it be forsaken. Those who love their deeds more than Jesus, don’t love the light enough to be saved. They would rather linger in the darkness. We must continue to reflect Jesus’s light of salvation. But be ready. Those who don’t love the light will refuse to be saved, and they will try to put out the light. Don’t give up. Keep shining. The Light has already won.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 4.

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Don’t Be Shocked

Today’s reading is Mark 13.

I know there is a lot of debate regarding the specific application of Mark 13. Is it all about the destruction of Jerusalem? All about the end of the world? A little of both? We don’t have space to tackle those debates. But one thing I do notice is how shocking some of this is to many of our tacit beliefs about being disciples. Don’t be shocked when you are a faithful disciple and people hate you. Don’t be shocked when you are a faithful disciple and your children grow up against you. Don’t be shocked when you are a faithful disciple and life is hard. I’m not saying you should plan on these things. Just don’t be shocked like these things never happen to faithful disciples. They do. What should you do in the face of them? Continue being a faithful disciple.

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 14.

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Everywhere Spoken Against

Today’s reading is Acts 28.

I certainly know our goal is not to get people to speak against us. I know we don’t want to conduct ourselves in such a way that people hate and despise us because of our attitude or treatment of them. Yet, at the same time, I can’t help but notice when the early Christians and churches did what was right when it came to disciple making, they weren’t lauded by the world. They weren’t lifted up and asked to stay. They were spoken against everywhere. While we shouldn’t conduct our disciple making with goal of being spoken against, we must not make the opposite mistake. That is, we must not make the goal of our disciple making keeping people from speaking against us. Let’s just speak for the Lord and let people respond how they will. Only then will God be glorified.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 1.

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