Church of Christ
Mission USA
Only Behind Closed Doors
By Perry Sexton

      Great evils of every kind have taken place behind closed doors or in other out of sight places.  However, we live in a time when people are no longer ashamed (cp. Jer. 6:15; 8:12).  Couples are shacking up; marriage has become an evil thing to many and others take no thought of ending a scriptural marriage in order to be engaged in the modern promiscuous life style their friends and the younger generations “enjoy.”  The abortionist has been speaking unashamedly loud and clear for a long time.  The homosexuals have long forgotten “the closet,” and from the “house tops” and even from the Capitol of the United States they spew forth their abominations!  I firmly believe this is one of the key reasons they have gained such a hold in this country.  The evil proponents are speaking more and louder than those who have right morals.  They are publicly speaking and promoting those abominations loudly!  Of course we, as righteous people, are “vexed” (cp. 2 Pet. 2:8), and I long for former times when at least such evils were done “in secret,” but even more we should long for the time when God will bring it all to an end.

      But there is another great evil and perhaps an even greater evil than all these because had this evil not been done, the above evils would surely not have gained such a hold in this country and in the world!  And that is the sin of speaking only “in secret” the things that should be boldly proclaimed from the “house tops.”  As Jesus told His early disciples in Matthew 10:27, 28 “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  We are to speak the whole counsel of God to the whole world (cp. Acts 20:20, 21, 26, 27).  We are to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).  Are we ashamed to let our denominational friends know where we stand on baptism, denominationalism, etc?  Are we afraid to speak out among the “tolerant” concerning abortion, homosexuality, etc?   We need to be admonished by our Lord: Matthew 10:28 (above); Luke 9:26; Revelation 21:8.  

      But what we are to do and what we do is often very different!  Great and bold preaching is often done “behind closed doors,” but not where the real public can hear it.  Some will not speak certain things before the public as if they are ashamed or afraid for the public to know where they stand (Mark 8:38; 2 Tim. 1:8).  Others water it down so that it is hardly recognizable, if at all.  I am not speaking of proper discretion; I am speaking of a failure to speak out against all evils!  Even within the church there are those who know of certain problems and sins but will not speak out as they should.  We are to rebuke those who sin (Luke 17:3; Tit. 1:13), even elders (1 Tim. 5:20).  We are to have the mind of God: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (cp. Rev. 3:19).  If we have the love of God in us we will “rebuke and chasten” those among us who sin, any sin. 

      We are to call sin sin, we are not to be mealy-mouthed.  Let us note one example: Lying is a terrible sin (1 Tim. 1:10) and those who do such are worthy of eternal destruction (Rev. 21:8).  Those who lie do much harm to the church.  What is God’s instruction on this matter?  Titus 1:12, 13 “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies13This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;” Note Strong’s definitions of these words: “rebuke”  #G1651,  ἐλέγχω, elegchō, el-eng'-kho, Of uncertain affinity; to confuteadmonish:—convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.”  Thayer says: “to reprehend severely….”  And: “sharply” #G664, ἀποτόμως, apotomōs, ap-ot-om'-oce, Adverb from a derivative of a compound of G575 and τέμνω temnō (to cut); abruptly, that is, peremptorily:—sharply (-ness). 

      Sin of every sort must be strongly preached against and those who are found guilty must be rebuked and disciplined.  Of course, discretion is always in order: How long has the person been a member of the church; what is their knowledge level, etc.  But every sin must be dealt with or else we who know of the sin become guilty of sin ourselves.  Discipline is an act of love (cp. Rev. 3:19), and is a must (2 Thess. 3:6).  It involves instruction and punishment.  The following illustration is an example of what happens far too often in the church: Years ago when I was but a babe in Christ, a member of the church who had a reputation of forsaking the assembling of the saints had been absent for about a month.  When he came through the doors, one of our older and prominent members immediately asked him if he would lead singing.  I guess the older brother thought this would be an encouragement to him.  What we often fail to recognize is that God truly does know best.  By such weak and ungodly actions, without doubt, the brother was embolden in his sin, and also every member, especially the weak and ungrounded, were lead to believe that such behavior is acceptable.  

      Let us speak loudly and clearly concerning moral issues, the doctrine of Christ and His glorious gospel.  We have the truth in all of these areas, why should we then be timid?  Compare: Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 11:6; 19:2; Isaiah 58:1; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Cor. 6:9-11.  Are we obeying God in all things?  ♥