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We are Commanded to Exhort, Teach and Admonish One Another
1 Thessalonians 4:18 — Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 — Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just
as you also are doing.
Colossians 3:16 — Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching
and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Ephesians 5:19 — speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Many of the "one another" verses in Scripture amount to commands from the Lord for us to
use the gifts He has given us so that the church may be built up. We saw previously that
the gifts of exhortation, teaching and admonition are among these.
We have also seen that the word translated "comfort" in our first text, and "encourage" in
the second is the same word, and is also related to the idea of exhortation, of coming
alongside to help someone. Our third and fourth texts make it plain that every member of
the body must be involved in wise teaching and admonition (and we have seen that what is
meant here is not an assuming of the place and the authority of the pastor-teacher, but an
informal ministry of instruction and correction among the members of the
Body. Interestingly note that even when a fellowship sings in its worship services, this gift
of teaching and admonition is being used and believers are building each other up in our
It should be clear from the tone of these texts that no member of the church can be a
deserter and remain obedient to his or her Lord. We must be present when the church is
gathered, for these commands cannot be complied with from a distance.
Likewise, it is not enough to be present with the church, but only as a "sleeping partner",
determined to take in what is being offered, but not to contribute in this body ministry of
encouragement and admonition. Does such an attitude indicate a willingness to function as
a part of the church, and to obey the command of her Lord?
Sometimes we persuade ourselves into a false humility, in which we make the excuse that
we could not possibly have a useful part to play because we know too little, or we cannot
express ourselves as eloquently as others. We are young in the faith, we have too little
knowledge, nothing useful to contribute. The truth in the spiritual realm is different,
though. It is right and proper to show respect to those who are mature in the faith, and to
pay close attention to their words. Yet the most godly saint may sometimes learn valuable
and surprising things from a babe in Christ - just as physical infants can sometimes teach
their parents in surprising ways.
In true fellowship, we are all looking to learn from Jesus, and we are trying to help each
other to become more like Him, using the gifts He has given us. If we have eyes and ears to
see and hear, He can and He does teach us through every member of His Body and through
every interaction that we have with one another. It should be no surprise that our growth
will be stunted, and we will miss out on wonderful blessings if we do not engage in this
genuine fellowship with the body of believers.