Counseling for Growth

2 Thessalonians 3:15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

When a Christian falls away from God, or sins against the Lord, it is the duty of a Christian who loves the Lord to prayerfully guide, encourage, plead and, if need be, rebuke or chide them with the expressed goal of bringing them back to the Lord. However, some may say it is none of their business but will continue to “fellowship” with them as if there was no offence against the Lord. The apostolic instruction with regards to this area is threefold: avoid them, admonish them and count them not as enemies but still regard them as brothers. Admonishing the brethren is an important aspect of christian living: it shows our care and love for our brethren’s spiritual life, and our faithfulness to the principles of biblical truth. What do we do when admonishing the brethren? The word admonish gives us three areas of responsibility:

We are to remind them of the truth they have turned from
When a believer is not faithful in service, in giving, or they have stolen or have taken the name of the Lord in vain, we are to tell them what are the Lord’s words and where they have erred. The first approach in our admonishment is to remind the brethren of the error of their ways.

We are to reprove them
Many times the erring brethren will contend that they are right or are justified in their ways. We are to reprove them, to provide biblical proof to instruct them and to persuade them that they have broken the Lord’s words and therefore are guilty before the Lord. It may mean a confrontation, a potential conflict with the brethren in question. Yet it is needful for us to do so in order to facilitate the growth and healing of the individual backsliding brethren. Just as a nurse would gently but firmly apply ointment to clean an infected area of the skin, so the brethren may need to highlight the wrong in our brethren’s life that we may help them.

We are to warn them of the consequences should they decide not to turn
Warning is part and parcel of the admonishment of the brethren. When the truth has been presented and the reproving has been done and still it is not heeded, then the warning must be given in order to persuade the brethren to repent and turn away from the error.

May we be faithful to the Lord in obeying His word and loving our brethren by admonishing when we have to. That we may help each other to grow.

Evangelist-Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church

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