One-Anothering and Biblical Counseling: A Church Ministry

Introduction: One mission of the Church is given in Ephesians 4:11-14: ..reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. Fulfillment of this mission falls under the category of one-on-one ministry outside the pulpit. One-anothering and counseling is a church ministry that flourishes under and accentuates a viable pulpit ministry. This series: One Anothering and counseling: a church ministry explains the meaning of one-anothering and counseling as a church ministry.

I. Definition:

A. Several from web:

1. The provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, especially by a professional
2. Professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes
3. Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
4. The dictionary describes counseling as provision of advice or guidance in decision-making, in particularly in emotionally significant situations.

a. Counselors help their clients by counseling them.
b. Counselors also help clients explore and understand their worlds and so discover better ways of thinking and living.

B. All counseling builds on the answers to the questions:

1. Why do you do what you do? What drives you: motivation?
2. What and who should you think, desire, and act like: standard?
3. What is wrong? What is the standard for your answer?
4. Change: What is it and how do you change?
5. What will change look like?
6. Who can help you and how?
7. How can you help others?

C. The issues: What standard do depend upon and use AND why? A one-anothering and counseling as a church ministry filss out the pulpit ministry such that people are encouraged to and are excited about growth. 

1. Everyone is a counselor and counselee, a wooer and woo-ee, an influencer and influence-ee.
2. There are many competing voices who offer their own brand of solutions.
3. Everyone must and does answer what is the source/standard in determining the answers to the above questions?
4. The Bible: It is God’s personal, powerful self-expression: John 8:31-32; 14:6; 17:17: 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 P 1:3-4.

a. God created man and His world. He knows what is best. He sets the goal for life and how best to reach it.
b. Is all truth God’s truth? Yes
c. All lies are Satan’s lies.
d. Now what?

5. We move – run – to the Word! What does the Bible say: Isaiah 5:20; 8:20?
6. Why the Bible?

a. It is God’s word about Himself, people, and circumstances.
b. It is His powerful, purposeful, self-revelation – a personal Word by the Creator, Controller Triune God who is involved with his Church and His people.
c. They are all kinds of standards.
d. Every person born of ordinary generation begins life with another standard that competes with the Bible.
e. The standard includes self, feelings, reasoning divorced from biblical truth, and experience.
f. God commands His people – actually the world – to take notice that he is God and He speaks.
g. The world ignores God.

7. The Church is to counsel (disciple: from the pulpit and in one-on-one ministry) as a unit and as individual believers beginning with the leaders and others who are appointed and trained by them to assist in the change process of the Church and its people (Ephesians 4:11-14; Galatians 6:1-5 = Matthew 22:37-40).

a. There is the increasing threat and the present reality of a medicalized and psychologized approach to man, problems, and solutions.
b. Standard: absolute and relative and its source: biblical truth and its application via precepts/commands and personal application.
c. What is the goal in presenting truth?

II. Biblical Counseling: a function of the one-anothering ministry of the Church 

A. Ii is Intratrinitarian at it is core: John 6:37-43; Ephesians 1:3-11; 2:18; 3:12

1. It is relational: unity, harmony, and love within the Godhead. Relationships matter. God is a relational Being and so too are His image bearers.
2. It is divine: the origin is God’s word which is divine and supernatural: God speaks and acts.
3. It is eternal: God is the forever, self-revealing God who is the Communicator, first to Himself and then to the world and His creatures. .

B. God is the Speaker, the Revealer – God speaks to Himself within the Godhead and to His creatures.

C. Man, God’s image bearer, is a revelation hearer/receiver, interrupter, and implementer.
1. Every person is a counselor and a counselee
2. Every person is a hearer and a doer – he acts for or against God and truth.
3. Every person is a thinking and desiring/emotive being.
4. Every person is faith-based.
5. Post fall, every person is a truth resistor/suppressor, truth exchanger, self -worshipper via idol- maker and idol-worshiper: he is arrogant ignorant, and ungrateful. Romans1:18-23.

III. Biblical truth: comes from and is in the Bible. Psalm 19:7-11; 119:9-11; Proverbs 2:1-6

A. The goal of Word ministry: imparting of biblical truth (is there other truth?) in word and deed that is most appropriate and relevant for the particular person in his situation given his level of willingness and his degree of spiritual maturity (they are bunnies and giraffes).
1. This requires love: trust and obey.
2. This requires knowledge.
3. This requires wisdom.
4. This requires separating light and darkness, truth and falsehood, life and death, reality and make-believe.
5. This requires separation and discriminating: set out the ways the person is attempting to create his world thus compete with God: Romans 1:18-23; 11.36.

B. Content: biblical truth – but which one(s)?

C. Method: biblical truth – but how? The spoken Word both from the pulpit and in a one-anothering, counseling ministry of the Church. 
1. You know (hearing the person and the facts), you speak/teach, and you do (apply)
2. You listen (to the person), to learn (to understand him and the problem), to love (relationships matter), to lead (bring biblical truth to bear in order to glorify God and thus solve problems)

D. The goal is change: Christlikeness – Christian oyster.
1. Becoming more like Christ in thoughts, desires, and actions with the motivation of pleasing God simply for the joy of doing so.
2. Christlikeness can be described in many different terms because the Bible is robust.
3. Bottom line: it is denying self by putting in its place pleasing God. Jesus had one goal: to please His Father and that was not a burden (1 John 5:3).
4. Pleasing the Father motivated Jesus to the cross and beyond.

IV. Fundamental truths and facts: these are true for every person, believer and unbeliever, 24/7.

A. God:

1. God is God and you are not: Psalm 46:10: the greatest good is God’s glory. Believers are to be satisfied with and enjoy God and His glory. This may be a theological mountain that seems too high or not relevant for the person in his situation.

a. God and His glory: known, obeyed, trusted, enjoyed.
b. Reasons you do not view God, self, others, and God’s providence in this context?

2. God is present – He is real; He has plans and makes promises and is uses His power to keep them; He is purposeful always for his glory and the believer’s good; and He provides what every believer in the problem not necessarily out of it.
3. When the tunnel seems so long, the mountain so high, and the hole so deep, the problem is us and not God. He is for the believer. See Job.

B. Man, the image of God, thinks, desires, and acts from the inside out: Proverbs 4:23.

1. Post-fall self is on the throne – always for the unbeliever and often for the believer.
2. He is a reactor according to feelings, experience, and or logic divorced from biblical truth rather than as a responder according to biblical truth.
3. Man thinks, desires, and acts according to truth or lies/falsehood.
4. Fruit and root (the heart, man’s motivational center) are both vertically (to God) and horizontally (to others) oriented.
4. Beliefs and motives/ruling desires are present in the heart and the brain:

a. Everyone interprets events and people (God’s providence) according to a grid (feelings, experience, and reason)
b. They conclude.
c. They respond in terms of thoughts, desires and actions in both the inner and outer man.
d. Their response is either God-pleasing or self pleasing or mixed.

C. There are four factors in every aspect and situation of life: A response to a person or situation is a response to God.

1. God: He does not change and acts only for His glory and your good.
2. You: you respond so that your response in thoughts, desires, and actions are a response to God and His providence – how He runs his world.
3. The other person
4. The situation which is God’s providence.

D. Romans 8:28-29 and Genesis 50:15-21 are monumental in terms of biblical truth and their humbling capacity.

E. Humility and humiliation are not the same.

1. Humility is an inner-man response and is an accurate assessment of who and what a person is in relation to God with a resultant response to others.
2. Humiliation is the context and events that are a person is in due to God’s providence.
3. Events don’t change a person. There are God’s providence and the context for change.

V. The believer is the most changed person (John 3) and is to be the most changing person.

A. Two keys to the Christian life are change and changing: into what, into whom, and how?

B. Change will be in the image of God or the image of Satan.

C. Only the truth will set a person free:

1. The person must understand his bondage
2. Bondage involves thoughts, desires, and actions in both the inner and man and answer the question: who will you serve now?
3. The question focuses on the moral drama played out in every person’s daily.
4. The drama involves so-called little as well as big things.

a. In the mundane or even garden-variety moments of life the heart is active and a previously controlling principle of I want, I deserve, and I must have springs forth.
b. It is easy to blame the situation and the person for my response.
c. Actually I am blaming God – the women you gave me – for my sin.
d. Pattern sinfulness still remains in me – my whole person – such that it is easy for the believer to return to the vomit of self pleasing (Proverbs 26:11).
e. Every believer has been taken apart and exposed by the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
f. But the depth of my sinfulness, the effect and legacy of previous membership in Satan’s kingdom, and my previous patterned lifestyle and mindset, means I am not home yet.
g. Like Paul in Romans 7:25: I know I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will saved! The battle is not over but I am a victor in Christ (Romans 8:35-37).