Summary: Sermon 2 in the Love As Christ Loved Us series
When I preached the previous sermon of this ‘one another’ series, I said that our repetitious theme would be, LOVE AS CHRIST LOVED US.
My wife’s comment to me during lunch afterwards was, “That’s the harshest sermon on love I’ve ever heard”. Anyone reading this who was there, may remember that some of that sermon was indeed rather unpleasant.
But I want to remind you that I also said in the beginning of that sermon, that some parts of this study would not be pleasant. They would be things difficult for us to hear.
Nevertheless, they are for our good, and they are things that I, as a teacher of God‘s Word, am obligated by the Word of God to tell you. They are for your instruction and for warning.
In fact, what I was doing in the second part of that previous sermon, was admonishing you.
That will be more fully explained today, as we study this verse from Romans 15.
“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am
convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to ADMONISH
That word that is translated ‘admonish’ here in Romans 15, means to warn. I’ll be talking about the distinctions between this word and simply ‘objecting’, or ‘teaching’. It means to warn, as it does in other passages of Paul’s epistles.
Let’s look at one of those now. Turn to Colossians 3:16 for a moment and let’s read it.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,
with all wisdom teaching and admonishing
one another with psalms and hymns and
We needn’t go further with that verse right now.
I think that probably, when sermons are preached on Paul’s exhortation to admonish one another, this verse from Colossians is most likely to be used. It is certainly the most popular one; I’ve heard it read and quoted much more often than Romans 15:14.
But I chose the verse from Romans to be our text of study here, because of the spirit in which Paul was using the word, ‘admonish’.
In a sense, Paul is beginning the conclusion to his letter with this verse. In verse 15 he refers back to some of the things he has said in earlier chapters, and refers to his boldness in reminding them of some things, but in verse 14 he prefaces that comment with an expression of confidence that they themselves are mature and spiritual enough to remind each other.
Now remember that when Paul wrote the letter to the Romans he had never been to Rome. He had heard about their faith. He said accounts of their faith were being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
If you read the 16th chapter you will see that there were those in the church in Rome that he knew and had ministered with him in the past. So Paul knew some things about these people, and that is why he was able to say with confidence that they were full of goodness and knowledge and able to admonish one another.
So let’s talk about what ‘admonishment’ is, and what Paul saw in these Roman Christians that gave him such confidence; and discuss the proper time and method of admonition.
As I said, this word ‘admonish’ means to give warning. To instruct, to give counsel. This is not just an objection to another’s behavior. An example of what I mean can be found in I Samuel 2:24. Eli has grown old, and his sons are profaning the house of God .
They are lying with the women who serve at the temple, and they are taking sacrificial meat for themselves before it is properly boiled or the fat cut off.
Now, there is much to say about the implications of their actions, but the point I’m driving at is that Eli was guilty of being a patronizing and permissive father. And in verse 24 of chapter 2, rather than admonishing them for their actions, he simply objects.
“No my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord’s people circulating”.
You see, the difference between admonition and remonstration (or objection), is that he was concerned about the gossip going around and what people were saying, when he should have been concerned about what the Lord said, and warning his sons about the wrath that was sure to come if they did not repent and turn from their ways.
In the 3rd and again the 7th chapters of Leviticus you’ll find instructions for the preparation of the sacrifices; boiling the meat for the priests and burning the fat as an offering to God. If you read those chapters you’ll see that God finished his instructions through Moses, saying that those who disobeyed or perverted these instructions were to be ‘cut off from the people of Israel’. That meant that they were to be stoned to death.