Sunday, April 17, 2016 am                                                Others 2016 Index

Be an Example (6)
The Christian and His Brethren


We are in the midst of a study emphasizing how we are to be examples in every aspect of our lives.  Thus far we have noticed how we are to be an example in the work place, in affairs with our government, within society, including our online influence.  Today we want to focus on our example toward our brethren.

In this lesson, I will probably say nothing new to most of you.  But this is a crucial factor in our lives as Christians – that we need to be reminded of continually.  So let’s talk about our example as brethren.  

 I.                     Your example at all times affects the Lord’s body. 

a.       Since you represent Christ at all times, whether you are acting as the Lord’s church collectively, or simply as a Christian, you must realize that your behavior reflects on His church that you profess to be a part of. 

b.       Remember that we are the body of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and He is head (Eph. 1:22-23).  Our conduct reflects on His body at all times.

c.        Many are turned off by hypocrisy – right or wrong, it is a fact.  And hypocrisy is condemned – for this among other reasons.

d.       Romans 2:24 (cf. 2 Samuel 12:13-14) – is His name blasphemed by our behavior?

e.       Realize that at no time should our responsibilities as Christians conflict with our responsibilities to the Lord’s church, including the local congregation we are part of.    The point is that the various areas of our example are not contradictory to one another.   They can complement each other if that is our desire.

f.         And you SHOULD be part of a local church!  You need it and we need it.

 II.                   Be an example to believers

a.       We are to function as a body – this requires that we be working together.  Our example toward each other is crucial in this.  1 Cor. 12:12-27.  When we think about functioning as a body, we are working together – we are seeking to build each other up (the idea of edification is about building up the body -  Ephesians 4:16).  Working together without schism (12:25) implies that we are proper examples to one another as we function.  1 Thess. 5:11 – we are called to comfort and edify one another, as we are doing.  When you are not seeking to be a proper example to your brethren – that task becomes virtually impossible to accomplish.

b.       Philippians 2:3-4 – our theme text for the year – esteem others better than yourself, AND looking out for the interest of others, BOTH include being a proper example. 

c.        1 Timothy 4:12 – Timothy as a preacher was to be an example to the believers in every aspect of his life (we addressed the areas in our introductory lesson to being an example).

d.       The apostles were examples to the brethren – 2 Thess. 3:9, Phil. 3:17.  We are to follow their examples (even in the matter of being examples).

e.       Elders are to be examples – 1 Peter 5:3

f.         Rom. 12:10 – in honor giving preference to one another (ESV, “Outdo one another in showing honor”).  Whatever the proper rendition of this passage, it calls for us to consider our brethren and how our conduct affects them as we act.

g.       1 Thess. 1:7 – they became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe, not just to unbelievers.

h.       Paul’s example caused brethren in Philippi to be bold.  Philippians 1:12-14, most brethren became confident in his chains.

i.         Peter played the hypocrite – Galatians 2:11-14 – Peter was to be blamed as he carried away others in his sinful behavior.

j.         1 Corinthians 5:6 – a little leaven leavens the whole lump.   Paul’s emphasis is that our influence (i.e. example) can affect others.  More on the specifics of this in a moment.

 III.                 Examples to one another

a.       The importance of the church to us

                                                   i.      We have established in this lesson that we are the body of Christ and we ought to function as a body.  What are you doing to be an example?

                                                 ii.      What do I contribute to her? 1 Cor. 16:1-2 – we are to give as we have prospered.  2 Cor. 9:6-7 notes that we ought to give cheerfully. 
Yet this is interesting because our giving ought not to be to draw attention to ourselves (cf. Matt. 6:1-4).  But your example WILL be evident in what the church is able to do. 

                                                iii.      And it’s not just money – our giving involves our time, support and resources.  These matters ARE visible to others (at least as a whole and over time).

                                                iv.      How is my attendance in worship? – Heb. 10:24-25 – considering and exhorting one

                                                  v.      Making our participation and leading about others – 1 Corinthians 14:12 – let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. 14:20 – do not be children in understanding, but in malice be babes (context shows this dealing with our participating in worship)
14:26 – use your gifts for edification.

b.       Maintaining doctrinal purity – Galatians 5:9 – a little leaven influences the whole lump.  Paul has been dealing with false teaching and warns about its influence (see. 1:6-9).   We need to be examples in standing up for truth (remember again the rebuke of Peter in Gal. 2:11-14). 
We need to be examples in resisting and exposing error - In Gal. 2:4-5 dealing with false teachers, Paul noted they did not yield even for an hour!
Rev. 2:13-16 – the church at Pergamos had those holding to false teachings in their midst (we are not they were teaching these things, but they believed and practiced error).
Rev. 2:19-22 – the church at Thyatria had good works, but they allowed false teachers to teach and were called upon to repent.
Peter’s warning about false teachers – 2 Peter 3:17.  2:1-2 speaks of false teachers brining in their error and how many will FOLLOW their destructive ways.
Eph. 5:11 – have no fellowship with their unfruitful works, rather expose them!

c.        Moral purity – here we are emphasizing moral purity within the body itself.  Are we tolerating immorality in our midst?
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – we are reminded that the congregation is the temple of God where the Spirit of God dwells.  We are to NOT defile it.   Paul in this epistle will note several examples of how it is defiled.
1 Cor. 5:6 – a little leaven – your conduct affects your brethren, for good or bad.  The church was tolerating impurity (i.e. adultery) and no one was challenging it (vs. 1-2).

d.       In dealing with discipline – Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus gave us a pattern to deal with a brother overtaken in sin.   Sadly, this could involve reaching a point where we must withdraw from one.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 & 14 tell us to withdraw from the brother who walks disorderly.  We are not to keep company with such. 
WHY was there the leaven if impurity in Corinth?  1 Cor. 5:6 – one of the causes was their failure to properly discipline.  This is why Paul warns them to deal with the sin in their midst (1 Cor. 5:4-7). 
1 Cor. 5:11 notes that we are to sever ties with those caught in ungodliness.

e.       Even in dealing with differences about which I might have the right to act, I must think of my brother -  

                                                   i.      In Romans 14:19 Paul challenged these brethren to pursue those things that make for peace and lead to edification.  Romans 15:1-2.  In this text, we are to consider our “neighbor” which includes our brethren who are struggling with differences (in matters of liberty -Romans 14).  It is imperative that we conduct ourselves properly in such things.   It is equally imperative that our conduct does not provoke others toward sin.    Rom. 14:13 calls for us to resolve that we will not put a stumbling block in our brother’s way.  Also note vs. 15 & 20 – we do not destroy our brother for self-serving reasons.

                                                 ii.      Concerning the Corinthians, Paul addresses the way they treated each other and how he acted.
1) Notice how he dealt with them by being completely transparent and an example lest they have cause to accuse him.  2 Corinthians 1:12 – they conducted themselves in simplicity and godly sincerity, not only for the world, but more abundantly toward them.  2 Corinthians 11:9 – he was a burden to no one – vs. 12 He would continue to be that way to cut off opportunity for critics.
(2 Thess. 3:7-8 – similarly, in Thessalonica they conducted themselves so as not to be accused.)

                                                iii.      Furthermore…Thinking about how my conduct affects my brother – 1 Cor. 8:9-13, will I cause my brother to stumble?

f.          “One another”

                                                   i.      Later this year we are going to focus in great detail on how we are to treat each other.    The expression “one another” is used in more than 80 passages in the NT.  While some are simply describing interaction between people, more than 50 of these passages describe the way we are to treat (or not to treat) and think about each other.    MOST of the usages in the   epistles are directed toward our interaction with one another.  In all of these, we find the importance of how we conduct ourselves in the presence of our brethren. 

                                                 ii.      Romans 12: 5 – we are “members of one another”
Romans 12:10 - We are to be affectionate and prefer one another
Romans 12:16 – we are to be of the same mind toward one another
Ephesians 4:2 -bearing with one another in love  
Galatians 5:13 – through love we are to be serving one another
1 Peter 3:8 – having compassion
Hebrews 10:24 – consider “one another”, etc.  (Later this year we are going to engage in an extensive study of the phrase “one another”.

                                                iii.      In all of these expressions, we see the importance of being a godly example to our brethren.    They cannot be fully executed without thinking about how our conduct affects others.

 Truly, the church is important to us.   We are to strive to be godly examples therein.  We need it as brethren and the world needs to see us being a proper example to one another – cf. John 13:35.   How is your example?