As we continue to talk about individual change, we ask ourselves when that change occurs.  Sometimes we don’t know when that change is happening.  Sometimes we are aware.  The Bible gives imagery that we are like clay in the hands of God allowing him to mold us.  Last week we looked at the standards that are there to bring about change.  We saw the Bible as the truthful standard of change in our lives.  It leads to behavioral, attitude, directional, discernment, and the external changes around us.

So as we move forward in our guiding scripture in 2 Timothy, we see that Scripture is there for rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  So as the information in the Bible begins to move into our lives, the process of moving from where we are to where we need to be is called conviction.

Conviction can have multiple meetings in our everyday lives.  In one sense it means “guiding principles in our lives”.  The second means a person is convicted of a crime.  And the third means some sort of guilt and we are convicted if we did something wrong.  The Biblical meaning is actually a little bit of all of these meanings, but not fully one or the other.  It leads us to know where we are wrong, it confronts us of our wrong doing, and then guides us to change and a new way of living.

God wants us to be right, for us to be righteous, more than we ever could know.  By exposing ourselves to God’s word, he can effect all the areas of life.  We don’t need to find that one scripture that speaks specifically to some issue.  But just by being in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit is now free to effect all aspects of our life.

So another very important act on our part is important in this process of change, and that is the action of repentance.  When the behavior is revealed, we have to turn away from that and turn toward God.  That is repentance.  Rebuking encompasses the actual process toward righteousness, repentance is our choice to accept the rebuke.

In this passage of Revelations, Jesus is pointing out there are church people who are living lukewarm Christian lives.  They are trying to both claim Jesus as savior but living life apart from him.  Jesus even wishes that they either were on fire for him, or completely against him.  His reaction to their lukewarmness is that He wants to vomit them out!  Jesus points out that the wealth they think they have, is instead a wretched and empty life.

So how does Jesus move them to change?  He says that their lives need to be refined by fire just as gold metal is refined.  You can become rich and be full, but everything in your life must be measured against the redeeming fire provided by Jesus.  They cannot see the truth.  Distancing themselves from the Truth.  They say they have everything, but without Jesus they have nothing!  Jesus then says he will rebuke and discipline.  Modern thought wants us to ignore guilt and shame.  But Jesus wants us to understand that, if we are His, we are to understand that the guilt is shame is the rebuke from Him.

Conviction is becoming aware and acknowledging the failure to meet the standard of God’s Word.  Rebuking is to show someone their sin and to summon them to repentance.  God doesn’t focus on the sin, instead focusing on the solution.  But He must show us of our sin.   He needs to make us aware of how we are not in line with Him.  He wants us to turn toward us, away from sin, and move into righteousness.

It is possible to acknowledge guilt inwardly or outwardly without repentance, but there can be no repentance, change of direction, without acknowledging guilt.  It is up to us.  We need to be informed of God’s Word.  We have to be sensitive to God’s will in our lives. And we have to be thankful of the rebuking to know God’s love is driving us towards righteousness.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (ESV)

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (ESV)

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (ESV)