Sunday, January 3, 2016 am                                            Others 2016 Index



Last year, we spent extensive time addressing the subject of going on to perfection.  As Christians it is imperative that we not think all is fine to remain where we are at.  God expects us to be moving forward.  That is why we spent time addressing the need to move forward (Heb. 5:12-6:1), the mindset and attitudes that will promote growth, as well as various actions that will help us to grow (dealing with temptation & sin, prayer, Bible study and worship).  Our primary purpose was to address how YOU AND I develop as Christians. 

This year we want to take that theme a step further as we notice the life of a Christian involves others.   Some of the topics we will address include:

·         The various relations we have as Christians –

o    What is our duty to society – how are we to treat others within our community?   

o    Our duty to our government

o    Our work responsibilities

o    We will also address, in great detail our spiritual and family relationships

·         The Power of a godly example – our example clearly affects others.  So we will address aspects of our example – such as moral issues, compromise within the church, etc.

·         We are brethren – what does that mean? We want to address what it means that we are the church belonging to Christ Jesus. 

·         One another – the New Testament uses the expression, “one another” some 87 times.  We will examine many of topics as we learn how we are to treat each other as brethren.  This will be one or our MAIN areas of focus.

·         Our duty within the family – The family unit as described in the Bible is under attack on every front.  We will remind ourselves of what God expects the family to be and various roles we have.

·         The problems we face as Christians – while not always directly related to others, the problems we face as Christians have a bearing on the church, one another as brethren and our influence within society.  So we want to take some time and address such problems as – guilt, discouragement, doubt, disappointments, apathy, ruts, addictions and the burdens of life, etc.

·         Evangelism - Addressing error – we want to continue to emphasize how to answer doctrinal error so that we can win OTHER souls and to keep ourselves pure (we sometimes have internal issues we need to address as well).

These are a few areas we intend to study.  So let’s get started addressing the subject of “others”.

 I.                    Others

a.        Other, a simple term that means someone or something that is different than you or the thing being mentioned.  When speak of others, we are addressing how our faith impacts others.

b.       Passages that speak of others

                                                   i.      Phil. 2:3-4 – let each esteem others better than himself.  This will be our theme verse.

                                                  ii.      2 Timothy 2:2 – commit to others – we share God’s word with others.

                                                iii.      Jude 23 – but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…

                                                iv.      Matthew 23:23 – a thing – in this case keeping ALL of God’s word. “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

c.        Other descriptions of others

                                                   i.      “One another” – this is an expression that implies mutual edification – where we are building each other up.  You cannot have “one another” without others. 

                                                  ii.      Fellowship – the idea of fellowship is sharing something spiritual with our brethren.  The term clearly implies a relationship.  Philippians 2:1 speaks of our fellowship of the Spirit, etc.

                                                iii.      Fellow – the word means, one who works together with someone else (Romans 16:3 – “fellow workers” – our English word, “synergy” is a derivative of this Greek word); Ephesians 2:19 speaks of us being “fellow citizens”;

                                                iv.      Brethren  (brotherhood) – a description of how we are a family.  1 Peter 2:17 calls for us to love the brotherhood.

                                                  v.      Many other words will be added to these as we progress in this study.

 II.                  The Christian life and others

a.        “It’s not about me!”  As you study the New Testament it becomes clear that the life of a Christian is not one of selfishness.  While your ultimate goal is for YOU to get to heaven, it is a path that impacts others in virtually all that we do.

b.       We do not live in a bubble.  Monasticism is not the lifestyle of a Christian.  Whether we are speaking the monastic lifestyle of monasteries or isolationist communities (such as Amish or communes) we must realize we have a responsibility to live in the world. 
 While there is something to be said about not letting the world live in us (be separate), but that is different from isolating ourselves from the world.  Perhaps for a short time it might be good to get away and be with other Christians, but we need to live in the world.
As Jesus prayed for His apostles in John 17:14-17, He noted that they are in the world but not of the world.  He even requested “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”  How can we be an impact in the world if we totally isolate ourselves from OTHERS?

c.        You are a servant of Christ – one of the first things we realize is that our life is about serving Him (Galatians 2:20).  A servant by its very definition involves others. 
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

d.       Christians also serve others
God is a God of others – He cares about us – John 3:16, 1 Peter 5:7 notes that “He cares for you.  Jesus came to serve – Mark 10:45  – Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.  See also Philippians 2:7 & John 13:1-15, Jesus washed the feet of His apostles.   Vs. 12-15 shows why.  It was not so much a ritual, as teaching us that we are to serve one another. 
We strive to imitate Christ – 1 Corinthians 11:1, John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you…”
Galatians 5:13, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
IN Mark 10:42-44 which leads us to what Jesus did.   Galatians 6:2 calls for us to bear one another’s burdens.

e.       What is the church?  Universally, it is the body of ALL who are saved. 
Locally, it is a body of saints joined together for the purpose of work and worship.  The emphasis of a body is seen in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, where we find that each part has a function.  Together we are the body and when we are functioning with consideration of OTHERS, it will cause growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)   You cannot have a local church without others. 
Furthermore, when one within a congregation seeks to dominate without the others there will be problems.  The Bible deals with this as well – cf. 3 John 9-11 – Diotrephes loved preeminence.

f.         The greatest commands involve others – God and man – Matthew 22:37-39. 
The word love (agape) is defined as, “Caring enough to sacrifice for what is best.”  That affects every relationship we are in as Christians – God’s love toward us and our love toward God, our neighbors, our brethren and even our enemies. 
1) Love God (another) with all your heart
2) Love your neighbor as yourself.  This phrase is from Leviticus 19:18.  But it is also mentioned in the New Testament several times – Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8. 
In Luke 10:27 where Jesus is asked by a lawyer what is the greatest commandment, He asks the lawyer to answer it.  He correctly answers with this command.     The lawyer then, “seeking to justify himself said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus then tells the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).   Again the emphasis is one of thinking about others. 

g.        Caring about others – along with the Good Samaritan, there are numerous passages that call for us as Christians to care about the needy, both within and without the Lord’s body - The continual teaching in scriptures about being generous is about others.  James 1:27, Galatians 2:10 -  they desires only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I was also eager to do.”
1 Timothy 6:18 – the rich ought to be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…
Luke 14:12-14 – when you give a feast invite those who cannot repay you.  One of many parables dealing with the needy. 

h.       The idea of example is about others
Matthew 5:13-16 – you are salt and light.  Let is shine so that God is glorified.
Romans 13:10 – “Love does no harm to a neighbor.   Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
 Live with conduct honorable among unbelievers – 1 Peter 2:11-12., 3:15-16 – living in such a way that those who revile you may be ashamed (when disproven). 

i.         Attitudes – both good and bad demonstrate our concern for others.  
Love, humility, longsuffering, brotherly love, kindness, assuming the best, etc – these all are related to others.
Similarly, ungodly attitudes such as selfishness, pride, arrogance, wrath, bitterness, grumpiness, envy, gossip, etc. will negatively affect others.  That is why the Bible give clear direction on attitudes and our conversation.

j.         In everything we do, we need to consider how it affects others.  Romans 14:7-8, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
In a text that addresses matters of liberty (things about which God is indifferent – whether or not we observe a day, what we eat, etc.) Paul notes that what we do, even if it is not wrong in itself, needs to be done thinking about how it impacts others.
He also addressed this in 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 where he speaks of considering the conscience of a weaker brother.  This is also addressed in 1 Corinthians 10:32-33.

k.        Evangelism is about others – Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20 – when Jesus gave the “great commission” to His apostles (and disciples) He implied that the gospel is not something to keep to ourselves.  IF there is to be a church in the next generation, we are expected to try to reach others. 
2 Timothy 2:2 – 4 generations.  1 Peter 3:15 – be ready to give a defense.  Etc.  We will continue to address reaching the lost this year. 

These are a handful of principles in scripture that remind us that we must be thinking about others.  We will not reach perfection in faith by ourselves.  That is why we must give serious consideration to others.  And this we will do this year!  Think about it!