“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Three words in verse 16 end in “ing:” “teaching,” “admonishing,” and “singing.” Some of us would not know the difference between a participle from a pickle! However, these three participles are the by-products or side-effects of the previous part of the verse. If the Word of God finds lodgment in our souls, then we will teach, admonish, and sing. These three characteristics will trend in our lives and will become a pattern. It will not be sporadic or intermittent.
“teaching and admonishing one another”
Paul employed these verbs in Colossians 1:28 with the same meaning. Here, however, he adds that we are to do this in music.
“Teaching” has to do with the communication of truth. If we are going to teach, we must learn. If we are going to talk, we must listen. If we speak, we must hear.
“Admonishing” has to do with showing someone else how to execute the Christian life. “Admonishing” means to place in the mind personally. Sometimes the New Testament translates it “warn” (Acts 20:31).
It is our privilege not only to teach others but to warn them. Most of us do not like to become involved in the problems of other people. All of us have a circle of Christian friends to whom we are a blessing (all things being equal). God expects us to warn them graciously when an occasion arises to do so.
Admonish has to do with the application. Some people cannot apply Scripture for themselves. They need others to help them. When a person learns to fly, he needs someone to show him how to turn without stalling out. If you stall out, things can get quite messy! Admonishing helps another person make an application. We do not teach another person how to shoot by saying, “Here is a gun; go out and shoot.” He must squeeze the trigger for an accurate shot. It is in the application where we hit the target.
Note some “one another” passages of Scripture: Eph 4:32; 5:21; Col. 3:13; 1 Thes. 5:11; Heb. 10:25; James. 5:16; 1 Peter. 3:8; 1 John. 1:7. Most of us are not aware of our responsibility to other Christians.
“One another” means mutual help in applying truth to experience. We have a responsibility to one another (Gal. 6:10; Heb. 6:10). Most of us know of our obligation to get the gospel out to the non-Christian. Few of us know of our obligation to the saint. Are you involved in encouraging a Christian? Who gave you the authority to retire from this? There is no honorable discharge in this work. God has given us a ministry to one another.
God has designed the Christian life in a way that we need others to help us apply Scripture to our experience.
God wants us to saturate our minds with the Word of God. We have so many rough edges. Many of these areas we inherited from our parents. We cannot get rid of our sharp tongue in our own strength. We are ornery, possess a critical attitude, and a bad temper. We wonder why we are not more saintly or why we have such a short fuse. Why is it that we explode so quickly? We do not avail ourselves of the Word of God. The Word of God will operate upon us (Heb. 4:12).
No wonder our minds are corrupt after watching a night of television. After an evening of T.V., we feel as if we need an internal bath. We watch ghastly murders and rapes. We wonder why our Christian lives are so ineffective. We are clean through the Word of God (John 15:3; Psalm 119:9). The Word of God is a spiritual spot remover. We become defiled by day to day life. We need the Word of God to remove the sin in our lives (1 John. 2:14).
The Lord defeated Satan by the Word of God (Matt. 4:4,7,10). He did not have a scroll of Deuteronomy to read to the devil. He quoted Scripture. When the devil attacks you, you cannot say, “Wait a minute, Devil till I find a verse for you. Wait till I go home for my Bible.” He will not wait; he will clobber you. It would be best if you had a verse right now. We must say like the Lord, “It is written…”
We will find that we will have the right verse for the right situation when Satan tempts us. At a time when he tempts us to say something we shouldn’t, a verse comes up on the television screen of our soul, and we are saved from that sin. We will find that the more of the Word of God we have in our souls, the less room there is for unworthy things. Do foul birds make nests in your mind? Saturate your mind with the Word of God.
We need others to encourage us in the application of truth to experience. When I became a Christian, a Christian kept challenging me to memorize a verse a day. That did more for my spiritual life than anything else in my Christian life.