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Sunday, 10/23/16 am                                                                    Others 2016 Index

“ONE ANOTHER” IN SPIRITUAL MATTERS

We have been addressing a number of “one another” passages.  These have dealt primarily with our relationship toward one another as brethren – attitudes and actions that just need to have in dealing with each other.  In our lesson today, I want to focus on several passages that describe our interaction with God as it relates to each other as brethren.  These are passages dealing with our worship and private prayers to God.  So let’s get started.

 I.                     Wait for one another – 1 Corinthians 11:33

a.       This text comes at the conclusion of a lengthy discourse on the proper way to partake of the Lord’s Supper and how it was being abused (cf. 1 Cor. 11:17-34).

b.       The context shows that the Lord’s supper is something to be done when we come together.  That is a lesson within itself.

c.        In this lesson, I want to emphasize our need to assemble together.   Implied in our verse. 
God has prescribed certain acts of worship we are to participate in together.  This necessitates coming together.  Also within scripture we have certain limitations as to the time we participate in certain activities -  the Lord’s Supper - Acts 20:7 – they came together to partake of the Lord’s Supper
Giving – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

d.       We also have the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together - Hebrews 10:25.
AND when we do this, we are exhorting one another (as we have previously studied).

 II.                   Teaching and admonishing one another – Colossians 3:16

a.       As we have frequently noted, our acts of worship are designed to build us up. 
Yes, we are reminded that our focus is in worshipping God, with “reverence and godly fear.”   We worship God “In spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)

b.       But we come together to do this and to build each other up.

c.        Much of our worship involves gaining a better appreciation of God’s word -
We study together to learn what to do (2 Tim. 4:2, 2:15, 2 Timothy 4:6, if you instruct the brethren in these things, 4:11 – these things command and teach…; 1 Corinthians 14:15-19 – sing with the spirit and understanding, emphasis on understanding – Paul would rather teach 5 words with understanding…)

d.       In our text we are addressing singing – and in this we are to be “teaching and admonishing one another.”  
The word “teaching” is the typical word for instructing or imparting knowledge.  Used some 97 times in the New Testament in this form alone – 2 Thessalonians 2:15 – hold the traditions which you were taught.

The word “admonishing” means to warn and instruct, especially with a view toward avoiding or ceasing from improper conduct. (see BDAG) – see 1 Corinthians 4:14, Paul wrote to his “beloved children I warn you”; Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every many and teaching every man in all wisdom…”
Both imply that our singing is to be instructive.  That is why we emphasize the truthfulness of the message of our songs.  We should not be singing error anymore that we teach it from the pulpit.
But notice also as we teach one another it is “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” meaning that we are joyful.  Be reminded that we are COMMANDED to sing!  Which is more wrong? Adding to God’s command in instruments that are unauthorized, or not participating in a command we are instructed to do?  NOTE: It is not about the quality of our voices, but the “grace in your hearts”.
When we are all singing as we ought to, it WILL build us up!

e.       Ephesians 5:19 – speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  A parallel passage to Colossians 3:16. again it calls for us TOGETHER to worship God in our singing.    This time we notice that speaking means we are audibly sounding to one another.  Again it calls for participation.

 III.                 Pray for one another – James 5:16

a.       Prayer is the way that God has prescribed for us to communicate to Him.  It is a privilege Christians enjoy and something that is dealt with extensively in scripture, both in the Old and New testaments.  Its implementation in our lives is a “spiritual indicator.”
Without prayer, we will not be as strong as we ought to be. 
That is why Paul said to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).  Our “armor” includes “praying always with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18).  Jesus stressed how we ought to pray always and not loose heart in Luke 18:1. This was followed by a parable about persistence in prayer.

b.       When we pray, we not only pray for ourselves (Phil. 4:6), but for others.

c.        As brethren we need to be praying for one another. 
This is continually emphasized in scripture – Romans 15:30, Ephesians 6:18-19 – supplications for all the saints, Hebrews 13:18 – “Pray for us”, Colossians 4:12 – Epaphras, labored fervently for them in prayers, etc. 

d.       James 5:13-17 emphasizes the importance of prayer and how we need to be praying for each other.    It is something that we all can do, no matter our circumstances in life – our health, our wealth, our status, etc.
One of the things elders can, and are called upon to do, is pray for those sick and suffering.

With ONE caveat:  We need to be in relationship with God so that our prayers can be heard.

e.       Not limited to public prayers.  In fact, the context is that we are praying for each other continually.

f.         There are many things we can pray for concerning one another – sickness, safe travels, brethren struggling with problems – both physical and spiritual, those laboring for the Lord and their opportunities, pray for the body of Christ – that we be united as God desires, for your elders, a brother with whom you have a problem, etc. 

g.       This is something that if diligently and properly practiced WILL draw us closer to one another.

 IV.                 Confess your trespasses to one another – James 5:16

a.       In the same text where we are to pray for one another, we are called upon to confess our trespasses to one another.

b.       This is a difficult command to fulfill for many reasons.  But it is something we are told to do.

c.        Confession means to admit or acknowledge something.

d.       Confession of our sins (trespasses – KJV, NKJV – different words in the different mss.), is a part of receiving forgiveness.   It is a part of genuine repentance as one seeks to make right that which he has wronged (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 – clearing of yourselves).

                                                   i.      First, confession must be directed toward God - 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins (in prayer to God), He will forgive us our sins. Friends, most sins we commit are of this nature and can be taken care of between us and God alone.

                                                 ii.      However, our text also teaches that we as brethren need to confess to one another –
When there is sin involving a brother we need to confess it - Matthew 5:23-24 – to be able to approach God, you need to make things right with one who has something against you.  Matthew 18:15-17, this is also part of the process when your brother sins (against you) – you go to him so that it can be addressed. 
NOTE: In these passages, there is confession to a brother, but not necessarily a public confession.  It is taking care of your sin with those involved or who know about it.  This is a form of confessing to one another – and perhaps what James actually has in mind.

                                                iii.      A condition of our being forgiven is our willingness to forgive one another – Matthew 6:14 – as you forgive, you will be forgiven (this process involves confession).

                                                iv.      Sometimes, a sin is public knowledge and needs to be confessed that way – i.e. one who has been withdrawn from to be restored needs to make it known to the brethren he has repented.
One openly sinning – e.g. forsaking the assembly, sowing discord among brethren, publicly known sins – should let his brethren know of his sins.

                                                  v.      SOMETIMES, we are struggling and want our brethren to pray with us and for us.  Thus we confess and ask them to help us.  This also could be the intent of our text.

                                                vi.      One asks how public a confession needs to be.  We do not have a direct answer to that in scripture – but in studying scripture, we learn that confession of sins needs to be at least as public as the sin.  That is a part of seeking to resolve it.

e.       What are we doing to make this possible?

                                                   i.      Confessing sin is not an easy thing to do.  It takes courage and humility to admit your faults to another.  But it has been proven to be a part of the process that leads to healing – both spiritually and physically. 

                                                 ii.      Confessing one’s sin is the first step in acknowledging you have a problem.
Yet, many out of pride and shame (and perhaps consequences) will not do this openly. 

                                                iii.      BUT, confession is often avoided because of fear of the way they will be perceived.  Sometimes, we as brethren are not as forgiving as we ought to be.  Our demeanor shows that we are not really interested in truly forgiving a brother (Which is in violation of another “one another” passage – Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, cf.  Matthew 6:14-15, etc.).

                                                iv.      Sometimes, we want to exact harsh consequences or judgments that make it unbearable.  That is something Paul had to address in 2 Corinthians 2:1-11.

                                                  v.      Let us remember that confession to one another is not about us exalting ourselves over our “weaker” brethren, but about being a support system as one struggles with sin and weaknesses.

                                                vi.      We need to ACT in such a way that brethren CAN with confidence know they can come to us with their struggles.  Do we.

 

Thus we can see, our concern for “one another” includes spiritual matters.  In reality, that is at the foundation of our faith in God and our spiritual family.  The way we treat each other in all that we have discussed in this series reflects this.  Think about it.

Two more lessons and our “one another” study will be concluded.