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Upon reading this title, the question may arise of what exactly is meant by “admoni­tion.” According to Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, the meaning of ad­monition is “the counsel or warning against fault or oversight.”

When we admonish a brother or sister in the Lord, we tell him to repent of a sin which he has committed. But when we come to this point we must be very, very careful. We must not go to that brother or sister in a “holier than thou” attitude and tell him bluntly, “Repent or be damned!” This kind of attitude will only make the brother bitter and harden him in his sin. After all, we are no better than our erring brother. In ourselves, we are all totally depraved and hell-bound. Thank God for His grace and mercy to­wards us, His people, that He sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to die for us and remove our sins.

We must go to our erring brother out of the love of Christ Jesus, as His ambas­sadors, and explain his sin to our brother alone, showing him why he must repent of the sin. When we go to that brother to admonish him for a sin known only to a limited number of people (a secret sin), we may not then go and spread the brother’s sin to the whole congregation. We call this kind of behavior “backbiting” or “wicked gossip,” and then we ourselves become guilty of a great sin and should be severely admonished for it. This back­biting does not build up the brother spirit­ually, but rather tears his soul apart. Is it any wonder then if the brother does not repent but becomes very bitter and stubborn in his ways?

Good will, eagerness, and Christian charity should be ever foremost as we seek to correct each other.

When we admonish an erring brother, we should always desire a confession from him in private, so that the sin will not become public. An erring brother must still be admonished if he commits a public sin, a sin about which everyone knows, such as adultery, but it has to be reported so that the consistory may begin laboring with the brother in the hope that there will be repentance and confession.

If repentance does not occur with the erring brother in regards to a secret sin, then we must take with us a witness to try to move our brother to repentance. If we have labored with a brother for a long time and repentance is still not achieved, then finally we must report both the sin and the brother to the consistory. It is then the consistory’s responsibility to labor further with the brother.

In all of our admonishing, we must follow the principles found in Matthew 18 and we must pray that the brother will see his sin and repent. If as a result the brother does repent, there is definitely forgiveness from God, and so there must also be for­giveness from the brothers and sisters in the church. We must receive the brother back with all of the warmth and affection which the father in Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son gave to his wayward son. Then there will be true harmony and peace, and the love of Jesus in the hearts of His people.

 

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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