Members of One Another
Admonishing One Another
Watch Out For Snakes!
When brother Hugh Bozeman and I hunted the swamps and woods of Southern Louisiana we were constantly on the lookout for Cottonmouths (sometimes referred to as water moccasins). We warned others about how prolific they were and how easy they are to overlook. No one resented the warnings. We appreciate warnings like “Bridge Out Ahead” or “Poison.”
Do you ever wonder why, at the end of a drug commercial, the pharmaceutical companies warn of how many ways the drug can sicken, maim, or kill you if you take it? The point is that they have a responsibility and thus liability and need to legally cover themselves.
Christians have the reciprocal responsibility/duty to warn one another of the dangers of sin, false doctrine and teachers, faithlessness, backsliding, etc.
Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” (Act 20:28-31, NASB)
To the brethren in Rome he wrote: “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.” (Rom. 15:14, NASB)
What is Admonition?
Dictionary.com defines “admonish” as:
- to caution, advise, or counsel against something.
- to reprove or scold, especially in a mild and good-willed manner: The teacher admonished him about excessive noise.
- to urge to a duty; remind: to admonish them about their obligations.
From the Greek word noutheteo, it “means to put in mind, admonish, warn...distinguished from padeuo, to correct by discipline, to train by act...Vine’s Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words.
Who Does It?
Only those who are qualified, that is, who are “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge.” Admonition or warning is always properly offered and best received when it comes from someone who knows what they are talking about and who genuinely and deeply cares for one’s wellbeing.
Fathers - "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4, NKJ, “discipline and instruction”, ESV, nouthesia)
Evangelists – “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning” (Tit. 3:10, NAS)
Brethren – “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle (unruly, NAS, disorderly, ASV), encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thess. 5:14, ESV)
There is more to say but I will finish with this: Admonition is not for the fainthearted. It requires knowledge, courage, resolve, a tough skin and a soft heart. It requires love that runs deep enough to risk rejection and enforce discipline. It is a command of God and is therefore not optional.
God bless you.