Healthy, Growing Churches (6)
Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Romans 15.14
Commentary on Paul’s Epistles
Ambrosiaster (fl. ca. 366-384)
“These are words of encouragement. By praising them he is exhorting them to better understanding and behavior. For one who sees himself praised develops the works he has been given, so that the things which are said might be true. Therefore he did not say that they should teach one another but that they should exhort one another. Exhortation normally occurs when it becomes clear that something is undermining the mind or that it has grown slack. The rest is clear and needs no explanation.”
Watch a college basketball game, and see how many times the coach exhorts his players to talk to one another. Mature and successful teams encourage, direct, warn, summon, affirm, and celebrate one another. Losers hardly ever talk among themselves. Paul says that church members should be strong in the Word of God, so that they can teach and admonish one another (Col. 3.16). Our witness for Christ begins within His Body, as we channel the grace and truth of the Lord to our fellow members by overflowing with the words of life in which we bask each day. Disciple-making that doesn’t equip us to talk to one another is failing its mission. Educational settings that accommodate only one or a few people for talking, need to be redesigned. Healthy growing churches are characterized by talkative, mutually-encouraging and -edifying members. We must think about what we will say to one another, to encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10.24); but we must reach out to one another in a wide variety of communications, that we may stand firm together in our witness to the larger world. Learn to talk among ourselves, and we’ll chatter about Jesus among the lost much more readily and confidently.
Would you describe your church as a talkative body? Explain.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Quotations from Church Fathers are from the Ancient Christian Commentary Series, published by InterVarsity Press.