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Sunday, November 6, 2016 am                                                Others 2016 Index

 

OTHERS 2016
How We are NOT To Treat One Another

 

Today we conclude our study of the “one another” passages as they relate to how we are to conduct ourselves as brethren.  We have noted many of these.  In this final lesson, (also the final thoughts on our theme for the year), we want to notice some “one another” passages that tell us how we are not to treat each other.   You will notice in this study how many of these are related to one another. 

 I.                     Going to law against one another - 1 Corinthians 6:7

a.       The Bible is straightforward in declaring this point.   As Christians, we should not seek to sue each other.

b.       The context, 1 Cor. 6:1-7 explains why we should not do this.  

                                                   i.      We are to be livings lives that magnify God and His work.  This depends upon us acting like we are the brethren we are supposed to be. 
Possibly, knowing that we will judge angels and the world (vs. 2-3) means that by our godly examples, we convict the ungodly – removing their excuses for their sinful behavior.

                                                 ii.      Putting the fate of your relationship with your brethren in the hands of the ungodly can do severe damage to your relationship with them, not to mention the body of Christ as a whole (think of an ungodly judge making a ruling that is imposed on everyone in the congregation).  Why?  Because they don’t about God’s word and ways.

c.        As brethren, we ought to be able to resolve such issues internally.  We ought to be able to appeal to godly and seasoned brethren to help us resolve such conflicts.  And we need to do it with humility and a willingness to accept their decisions EVEN if you don’t like it. 

d.       BUT this will only work IF we treat “one another” as the brethren we have been discussing both in attitude and action.

e.       Thought: In this text, we are reminded that the way we deal with one another has a bearing on the world around us.   The world is watching, and with critical eyes.  This is very true today where standing for what is right is viewed with increasing hostility.  Remember Philippians 2:14-15 – we are to shine as lights in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.
We are to act so when they revile you, they may be put to shame – 1 Peter 3:16.

f.         We are also reminded about priorities – we should not be so caught up with worldly pursuits that they hinder our fellowship with one another and with God.   As Paul said in vs. 7, why not rather let yourselves be cheated (If it causes God to be glorified in the end, or preserves the church)? 

g.       Finally, let God handle it – Romans 12:18-21.

 II.                   Biting and devouring one another – Galatians 5:15

a.       We have addressed a number of godly attitudes in our studies – love, kindness, bearing with one another, considering and edifying one another.  But a part of being godly toward one another involves knowing what attitudes we should NOT have. 
Our text notes that through love we are to serve one another (Gal. 5:13).  Then Paul notes, BUT if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed.   This is a description of brethren behaving badly toward each other. 
Biting means to cause harm or discomfort.  The word is only found here and can describe a snake bite or a sting.  This text is its only usage and describes doing and saying things that cause hurt to your brethren. 
Devouring means to eat up ravenously, to consume (BDAG).  As used in this text it describes one who set out to destroy his brother/sister in Christ.  This is the “win at any cost” mentality.    This is the, “I’m going to get you for what you said/did to me” disposition.  This is the ungodly attitude of the devil (cf. James 3:14-16).
A good WORLDLY illustration of this attitude is our current political election.  Look at the way our candidates are absolutely DESTROYING each other with hateful words.  And look at how it has harmed us as a nation and society.
NOW: Imagine this attitude in the Lord’s body.  This text is descriptive of an ugly spirit that is poisonous to the body and to the cause of Christ.  NOTHING good comes out of brethren who are behaving in this ungodly manner.
NOTE: Let us keep these thoughts in mind as we engage in our current political process!  DON’T let your politics drive a wedge between you and your brethren! 

b.       Several negative “one another” passages are related to this.

                                                   i.      Hateful and hating one another - Titus 3:3 -
Hateful is a word that means loathsome or despicable.  Here Paul is talking about this is the way one is behaving toward others.  This is one’s actions.
Hating is a word that means to detest or to hold in strong aversion.  This is the ATTITUDE that leads to our hateful behavior.
This is in a context where Paul reminds us of our former conduct (before we were Christians).  Often times those of the world act in hatred or with a hateful disposition (perhaps these are slightly different in meaning, but they are clearly related).  As Christians we just don’t act that way anymore. 

                                                 ii.      Provoking and envying – Galatians 5:26
Shortly after Paul warns us not to bite and devour one another, he reminds us to walk in the Spirit meaning let the Spirit rule us (fulfilling His word – cf. Galatians 5:22-23 – the “fruit of the Spirit” is what we manifest).
When the Spirit governs us we will not provoke each other – a word meaning to challenge someone (here it is in a hostile sense), to defy.  Think of someone who is looking to cause trouble, trying to get someone to react in a bad way. 
It should not be our goal as brethren to push each other’s buttons.

                                                iii.      Envying is the sin of jealousy of another’s success.  It is a sin resulting from discontent, pride, materialism and bitterness.  As Christians, rather than being envious, we should rejoice for the good fortune of our brethren (Romans 12:15). 
Good never comes from such an attitude.  This attitude is also described as demonic and worldly (James 3:14-15).  It is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:21).  It is the product of one obsessed with disputes and arguments over words (knowing nothing) – 1 Tim. 6:3-4.

 III.                 Speaking evil of one another - James 4:11

a.       This is one of the ways we bite and devour one another.   This is one of the ways we are hateful toward each other.  Often the product of envy is evil speaking.
The word means to speak degradingly of, to defame or slander (BDAG). 
This is the word found in 1 Peter 2:12, 3:16 when the world speaks against us as evil doers. 
Friends, in simple terms, we need to guard what we say!  Our text tells us to NOT speak evil of each other.  In fact, the text notes that to do so is in essence speaking against the law of God.
Obviously, this is NOT saying we don’t address error (as some would have you to believe), but rather it is the slandering, criticizing another, etc.  It is speaking in such a way as to belittle another in your own eyes, or the eyes of others.  It is simply not productive and only destroys!

b.       Grumbling against one another – James 5:9 notes we are not to grumble (complain, groan against, express discontent with another).  This word is used to describe how we are NOT to cause grief in obeying those who rule over us (i.e. our elders) – Hebrews 13:17.

c.        Do not lie to one another - Colossians 3:9 – another sin of the tongue is lying.  As Christians we need to be truthful with each other.   The word for lie here means to lie as we think of it, or to deceive or mislead.  Ephesians 4:25 tells us rather than lying, let each of us speak truth with his neighbor.
Truth is what brings us together as brethren. 
The CHALLNEGE is to be truthful while maintaining a proper attitude by avoiding the other sinful behaviors we have addressed.   Be reminded that being truthful is NOT license to be hateful!

 IV.                 Do not judge one another – Romans 14:13

a.       Our final thought is to revisit a passage we addressed last week.  Last week we noted that we are to receive one another (Romans 14:1, 15:7).  Here in our text, Paul is dealing with the matters of liberty (about which God is indifferent – thus not objective doctrinal matters) and calls for us to not judge one another anymore (in these matters).

b.       When we genuinely care about each other as brethren, we are not going to be looking for faults and things to criticize and attack.  We WANT our brethren to be our loving family.  We will assume the best whenever we can (that is what love does – 1 Corinthians 13:5-7).

c.        As Paul noted in our text, we resolve not to put a stumbling block or cause to fall in our brother’s way.  That is really what this family is about.

 

Image what the church would be like if we all perfected all of these qualities.   Truly the world would see that we have love for one another.  And as we have noted on several occasions, Jesus tells us that the world has a right to judge us on that criteria (John 13:34-35).

And thus we can see how our lives as Christians are not just about us.  Yes, our ultimate goal is to make it to heaven, and we can only do that for ourselves (Philippians 2:12).  But we CANNOT do that without thinking of others – whether it be our brethren, or those before whom we are seeking to let our light shine.  We conclude with the text we began this study with – Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  So, when it comes to others, how are you doing?  Think about it!