Pastor Tim Tseng • June 19, 2016
Admonish One Another (Colossians 3:16, NIV)
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
When Christians stray off-course from their faith walk, what should we do?
- We are called to watch out for one another (see Ezekiel 33:7-9).
– If we see someone struggling or straying, we are responsible for admonishing that person. This is an expression of love!
– But it is also very very difficult. Admonition is the mutuality command we obey least often, and when we attempt to obey it, we usually do the worst job. But it is a command and we are responsible for one another.
- Who provides Admonition?
– Intimacy and authority gives us the right to admonish. Close friends and church leaders have greater right to admonish than others.
– Complexity and ambiguity should make us cautious. All who admonish should be cautious since each situation is usually complex.
- Principle of Admonition: Forbear always, admonish seldom.
– First we listen, sympathize, and affirm. Then we ask “Is anything hindering my friends from growing in Christ? Are they wandering off course?”
– Distinguish willful defiance and normal struggle.
– Distinguish personality idiosyncrasies and deviation.
– Admonish early – nip it in the bud.
- What needs admonition?
– Inappropriate Theology. Not primarily beliefs, but how our choices and life reflects our theology. E.g. God’s covenant with us has implications for marriage and commitment to a church. What does breaking fellowship mean?
– Moral problems. Defiance against God (not struggles). Usually starts with habits of covetousness, materialism, appetite, and lust.
– Disputes in the church. When we are self-righteous and cannot see that others are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The act of admonition (Matthew 18:15-20)
Privately (see addendum), Positively (goal is restoration), Prayerfully (it is risky and therefore we need to leave the results to the Holy Spirit).
- Addendum – Admonition script (from Bob Lin):
– “Hey _____, I noticed that recently you’ve been _______. That’s not very like you. Is everything ok?” “Is that the way you want to _________?”
– (If wanting change) “How can I help you?” Pray together
– (If resistant) “As your friend I’m really troubled by _______ because I can see how it is damaging you, your loved ones and your relationship with God. I’d like to help you and I’ll pray for you. Let me know if I can help you in any way.”