If this is your first time here, my name is Jeff and I’m one of the pastors here at Genesis Church. We are in a series of messages called Body Language. The word Body refers to the church body and the word Language refers to how we talk to one another and treat each other. In this series of lessons we are focusing on the “one another” statements in the Bible. So far we have looked at how to encourage one another, love one another, forgive one another, accept one another and serve one another.
Today, we are going to examine what it means to admonish one another. Generally speaking, we are getting admonished or admonishing all the time.
- Parents admonish their children when they do something wrong.
- Your boss admonishes you when he or she wants you to improve something.
- Coaches admonish their players every day in practice. Our world is full of admonishing. This is not something new, nor is it something only Christians do.
The only difference between everyday admonishing and Christian admonishing is that Christian admonishing is for the purpose to help you grow spiritually, becoming more like Christ and becoming a healthy believer.
When it comes to admonishing in the Bible, you find three main areas of admonishing. If you are looking for these in your notes they are not there. So you will need to find a place to joint these down. Three areas where you need to admonish others in and others need to admonish you in.
- The first area is theologically. This is what people believe. When you became a follower of Jesus, there were things that you believed about Jesus, God, yourself, the devil, marriage, money, heaven, and hell that were wrong. That bad theology needs to be corrected. When another believer warns you about a wrong or strange belief you have they are admonishing you.
- The second area is emotionally. This is how people feel. There are times you become angry, but you shouldn’t be. There are times when you become afraid and there is no need to be. The Bible has a lot to say about not being angry, jealous, bitter, worried, fearful, or bitter. There will be times we need to admonished regarding our emotions.
- A third area regarding admonishing is our behavior. This deals with what people do. Here is where we are admonished to not steal, not lie, not cheat, and not deceive. It’s the does and don’ts of the Bible.
What are some things you need to know when it comes to admonishing one another.
Admonishing one another involves counseling
First, admonishing one another involves counseling. Let’s start with Romans 15:14 which says, “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another” (NASB). Notice the word “admonish” (noutheteo), it means to counsel, advise, steer, direct, warn, and encourage. It is a comprehensive term for counseling. To catch the meaning of this word different Bible translations will use words like counsel, teach, and instruct. Admonishing someone is not casual conversation. It implies a definite correction of some type.
Let me give you three quick observations from Romans 15.
- Every believer has the responsibility to admonish. The phrase “one another” means me admonishing you and you admonishing me. There are people in your life that you are the right person to give them good advice, direct them in the right direction, or warn them about something or someone harmful in their life. But now listen, there are also people in your life who are the right people to advise you, to warn you, and to direct you in the right direction.
- Admonishing requires character. Paul tells the believers in Romans 15 he is convinced they are able to admonish each other because they are “full of goodness.” This means they had high moral character, they hated evil and loved righteousness. True “goodness” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was at work in their lives and one of the evidence was they were “full of goodness.” This also means they produced good works (Eph. 2:10). They did good things. They were kind, helpful, generous, and were blessing among people for God’s glory. Because of them being “full of goodness” they were able to admonish others successfully.
- Admonishing requires knowledge. Paul also tells the believers in Romans 15 he is convinced they are able to admonish each other because they are “filled with knowledge.” This is not referring to general human knowledge but of the deep “knowledge” of God’s truth. They were doctrinally sound. They had a good theology. They had a good and solid understanding of what the Bible says. Colossians 3:16 tells us something similar when it says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…” (Col. 3:16, ESV).
When you admonish someone correctly it requires both of those to do it successfully. A good character and Biblically solid mind.
Admonishing one another involves compassion
Number two, admonishing one another involves compassion. Paul told some believers, “For three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone one with tears” (Acts 20:31, ESV). Paul cared about the people. He had compassion for them and he loved them. It was obvious. When you admonish someone, it should be done out of love.
Correcting someone or giving someone advice they need but probably don’t won’t is hard to do and hard to receive. But it does make it a little easier when truth is spoken in love (Eph. 4:15).
- When you are admonishing someone you should be doing it because you have compassion for them, because you love them, and want the best for them. It should be heart felt, not in anger or bitterness or in some way to hurt them. Let the Holy Spirit love them through you, let your words of admonishment be seasoned with grace.
- When you are being admonished try to remember that you are being loved at the moment. The person correcting you, warning you about a behavior or attitude in your life is actually concerned for you. If they didn’t care, they would simply let you keep heading in the destructive direction you are going. When someone gives you advice, even if you didn’t want it, try to receive it in love.
Admonishing one another involves persistence
Number three, admonishing one another involves persistence. Paul told some believers, “For three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone one with tears” (Acts 20:31, ESV). The specific admonishing that Paul is referring to is false beliefs. He was concerned for their theology. What they believed about Jesus, God, or certain behaviors. His admonishing dealt with false teachers and false beliefs. Paul didn’t just mention these things once or twice, he was persistent for over three years.
- When you are admonishing someone it may take you confronting them once, but more than likely you will have to lovingly admonish them many times for the same thing. People normally don’t change the first time they are corrected. They may change for a while, but the old habit or old thought can creep back into their lives even when they are unaware of it.
- When you are being admonished don’t be offended when someone lovingly corrects you about the same things over and over. They are demonstrating they are caring about you. Be thankful there is someone in your life who sees these hurtful thoughts or hurtful actions creeping back up in your life and are willingly warn you about them over and over if necessary.
Admonishing one another will require persistence, endurance, and much patience with others and ourselves.
Admonishing one another involves sensitivity
Number four, admonishing one another involves sensitivity. Listen carefully to 1 Corinthians 4:14 which says, “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children” (ESV). When you admonish someone you are addressing either a belief that is not correct, an unhealthy emotion that is not honoring Christ, or a behavior that is sinful and hurtful to them or to others. This can often cause them to feel embarrassment, shame, or humiliated. When admonishing someone you need to be sensitive to the fact that what you are about to say may hurt them or shame them, but that is not to be your intent. That is not to be your purpose.
- When you are admonishing someone you want to treat them like you would when correcting children that you love very much. Admonishing is not about shame, but about strength. Admonishing is about building up, not tearing down. Admonishing is about helping them turn the steering wheel of their life in the right direction.
- When you are being admonished, even though what they point out may be embarrassing for you, you need to know that the confrontation is for your good, for building you up, and replacing what’s weak with God’s strength.
In some ways, admonishing is like repairing your house. There are areas in your house that have been watered damaged and the wood is beginning to rot. So you point that out, get the materials you need, and remove the rot and replace it with the new material. When people admonish you or when you are admonishing them, you are simply pointing out an area that needs some attention, that is a major problem or could become a major problem later. Admonishing is one way God repairs your house, your life by addressing your beliefs, your emotions, and your behavior for the purpose of remodeling with beliefs, emotions, and behaviors that honor Him.
Admonishing one another is for the purpose of spiritual maturity
Number five, admonishing one another is for the purpose of spiritual maturity. Colossians 1:28 puts it this way, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (NASB). This word “complete” means mature, fully developed. It does not mean you have reached the end of your growth and you don’t need to grow any more. To be “complete” means to be whole, comprehensive, and full. You view life from a Biblical perspective. You make decisions based on what God’s Word says. You think about honoring Christ in how you work and treat others. You have a kingdom mindset.
This maturity involves three areas of your life.
- Admonishing one another helps us to mature in our theology. We have a stronger understanding and belief in the Word of God. Our faith goes deeper when it comes to trusting God’s truth about Himself, about Jesus, about life, about marriage, about money, and about the future.
- Admonishing one another helps us to mature in our emotions. When we lose someone or something that is important to us, we still grieve but we don’t grieve like the world does. When we are hurt we still get angry, but we don’t sin in that anger. We still may experience fear, but our fear is not crimpling. We combine fear with boldness and do what we need to do anyway.
- Admonishing one another helps us to mature in our behavior. We keep each other accountable, we encourage each other, we care for each other, we protect each other through admonishing one another. As a result we say and do the right things.
When you are admonishing someone, you want your counsel to help them grow spiritually and to become “complete in Christ.” The reason behind your admonishing others is not simply to prove you right and them wrong, or to make you look better than them. It is for their spiritual growth.
When you are being admonished remember it is for your personal development. Being admonished can sting, but remember Proverbs 27:6 which says, “Faithful are the wounds from a friend” (ESV). When you are being admonished or rebuked by a friend it will hurt. No one likes to be corrected. No one likes to be warned. No one likes to be told what they are doing is hurting themselves or others. No one wants their sins to be addressed. But remember, it is for your personal development. Wounds from a friend will help you grow, even though they may sting.
God’s Word tells us to admonish one another.
- Is there someone in your life that you have influence over that you need to admonish? Are they doing something that is hurtful to themselves and others that you need to talk to them about? Are they caught in a sin or habit that you need to help them see the danger of it in their life? Set up a time and talk to them. Lovingly admonish them.
- If you have been admonished by someone how did you respond? Did you receive it humbly and seriously consider what they had to say or did you become angry and tried to turn the conversation in another direction, where you rude to them, or have you shut them out because of what they said? Do you need to make that right?
If you need to talk to someone today about any of this, need prayer for something, or just need to talk about what’s going on in your we have people that will be up here this morning to talk to you.