Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. – Proverbs 23:12-18 ESV
There is a trend these days that has even invaded many gathering places that shies away from discipline – it shis away from any real discussion of sin, repentance, or anything that could generate conviction in those still in the clutches of deep sin that the Word of God confirms as “sinning unto death” with words like “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”. It seems almost to be a knee-jerk reaction against those religious people who rely upon “legalism and works” as their own justification for why they are “worthy of a grand seat at the table in heaven”.
A lack of sound doctrine, compromise on the Word of God, tolerance of sin, and a focus on the whole “gathering experience” being “pleasing to self” and emotionally and entertainingly charged seems to draw great crowds that are never turned away by the Truth of sermons like “eat of my flesh”, “sell your possessions and give to the poor”, “pick up your cross and bear it”, “go tell the nations”, “in this life you will face trial and suffering”, etc. “Positivity and good vibes” rule the roost of “spirituality” that is masked by the outward appearance of being a church. But without disciplining instruction, without poeer, love, and self-control playing its part in sanctifying a life and reconciling a life to be more Christ-like, has the deceitful worship of self and feelings and opinions left men denying that Christ is even still alive in the hearts of believers to demonstrate victory and to lead them in all truth? Do they truly believe that God is dead and silent and unwilling to teach His people? Do they truly believe that mental mastery and understanding of the letter of the law has ever been on past with an abiding, faithful relationship with the LORD? Do they believe that the LORD is a “get to sin freely card” instead of a savior, a redeemer, a master, a teacher, a disciplinarian, and a righteous judge?
Do not be afraid to share truth. It will not kill them. In fact, if they refuse to hear it, they are already dead. The Good News of the Way, the Truth, and the Life is the only rod of repentance and hope that brings life.
Will you hear? Will you believe? Will you apply this instruction to your life?