We are all familiar with the story in the Bible of Ely and his sons. Ely was a doting father who did not discipline, reprove, or rebuke sins in the lives of his sons, much to the displeasure of God. Retribution came all too soon. There was a battle with the Philistines. Israel was defeated, and the Ark of God was taken. Both Ely's sons were killed in this battle. Upon hearing the news of his sons' death, Ely fell over, broke his neck and died.

We do not want to follow in the footsteps of Ely in not disciplining and correcting his sons, do we? Instead, we want to follow the counsel in Isaiah, Chapter 58 to "cry aloud and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions and the House of Judah their sins."

But how do we cry aloud and spare not? How do we rebuke sin in the camp? We simply follow the example of Jesus Christ. We look to Him for He is our Pattern. In this discourse we will learn how Jesus rebuked sins when He was here on earth.

Jesus was the embodiment of truth and perfection. He was God in human form. His nature recoiled at sin. He hated sin with intense hatred, but yet loved the sinner and showed mercy, pity, compassion and tenderness to him.

There's a prophecy in Isaiah concerning Jesus Christ. It's found in Chapter 11, verses 1-3. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears..." --Isa 11:1-3.

Notice the last part of the above texts--"He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears..." What does this mean and when was this best fulfilled in the life of Christ? In John, Chapter 8, we find the story of Mary Magdalene who was caught in the act of adultery. She was brought to Jesus. Her accusers, the church leaders of the time, told Jesus that the woman violated the Seventh Commandment and caught in the very act. "What do say about this, Jesus?" they inquired. Jesus saw the woman with his eyes; he heard the scribes and Pharisees with their accusations with His ears, but yet, Jesus did not judge the woman with the sight of his eyes nor the hearing of his ears, just as the prophecy said He would.

In the book Desire of Ages, Page 462, we read: "In the act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness."

The character of Jesus shines forth in perfect righteousness when He did not judge the woman after the sight of His eyes or the hearing of His ears. Likewise, our character will shine forth in perfect righteousness when we do not judge after the sight of our eyes or the hearing of our ears. To have righteous characters we need to follow the Branch, Jesus Christ, who did not judge the weaknesses of the sinners He came to save.

Continuing with Desire of Ages: "While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, "Go, and sin no more."

The non-judgmental attitude and spirit of Jesus is seen again in His treatment of His disciple Thomas. Again, in the book, Desire of Ages, Page 808, we read: "In his treatment of Thomas Jesus gave a lesson for his followers. His example shows how we should treat those whose faith is weak, and who make their doubts prominent. Jesus did not overwhelm Thomas with reproach nor did he enter into controversy with him. He revealed himself to the doubting one. Thomas had been most unreasonable in dictating the conditions of his faith, but Jesus, by his generous love and consideration, broke down all the barriers. Unbelief is seldom overcome by controversy. It is rather put upon self defense, and finds new support and excuse. But let Jesus, in His love and mercy, be revealed as the crucified Saviour, and from many once unwilling lips will be heard the acknowledgment of Thomas, "My Lord and my God!"

Again, this non-judgmental attitude and spirit of Jesus is seen in His dealings with Simon the Leper. As Christ was in his house and Mary Magdalene was anointing his feet and kissing them, Simon was questioning in his mind whether Christ was indeed a prophet. If He were, He wouldn't have anything to do with this filthy woman. The Bible tells us that Christ read his thoughts, didn't it? And what did Christ do? Did He openly rebuke Simon before all the guests? No! And the result was positive, wasn't it? Read the account in Desire of Ages, Page 567,568, "Simon was touched by the kindness of Jesus in not openly rebuking him before the guests. He had not been treated as he desired Mary to be treated.. He saw that Jesus did not wish to expose his guilt to others, but sought by a true statement of the case to convince his mind, and by pitying kindness subdue his heart. Stern denunciation would have hardened Simon against repentance, but patient admonition convinced him of his error."

Are we seeking to expose the errors of our brethren to others? Christ never did. It was Christ's attitude and spirit that caused Simon to receive the reproof given to him in an object lesson whereas open rebuke and stern denunciation will have hardened him against the truth. It would be our attitude and spirit that would cause the erring ones in our midst to receive the reproof given and to go and sin no more.

The devotional book, Upward Look, Page 59, says: "Angels take note of our works, of our words, of the spirit which actuates us. Those who desire to reform others must begin the reformation in their own hearts, and show that they have acquired kindliness and humility of heart in the school of Christ. Those who have charge of others must learn first to master themselves, to refrain from blunt expressions and exaggerated censure. There are cutting words which are indulged in, which may often, hurt, and leave upon a soul a scar which will remain. There are sharp words that fall as sparks upon an inflammable temper. There are biting words that bite like vipers."

A most fitting counsel is found in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, Page 128 and 129. "No one has ever been reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many have thus been driven from Christ and led to seal their hearts against conviction. A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins. The revelation of Christ in your own character will have a transforming power upon all with whom you come in contact. Not until you feel that you could sacrifice your own self-dignity, and even lay down your life in order to save an erring brother, have you cast the beam out of your own eye so that you are prepared to help your brother."

Christ's character shone forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness when He did not judge sinners. He is our example. He is our Pattern. Before we can carry out the command in Isa. 58 to "cry aloud and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their sins" we need to look upon Christ and emulate Him in His gentleness, tactfulness, compassion, mercy and love when dealing with the erring.

--Taken from campmeeting notes of sermon by James Rafferty.



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