Christian vs. Christian: Hebrews 10:24-25 Part I
This week I am continuing with my series of posts on Christian behavior toward other Christians (please read my introductory post for why I am doing this).
This week I hit the jackpot! In doing research for this post I checked out Robert Dean’s online notes and I discovered that he has developed the “Doctrine of One Another.” I guess that I have been looking for this but I just didn’t realize it until now. Unfortunately the complete doctrine is spread out between seven lessons pastor Dean taught on this topic (see lessons 162 to 168). However I am more than happy to spend the time digging it out one lesson at a time and posting excerpts. Please go read, or listen to Dr. Dean’s teaching on this topic.
Here is Hebrews 10:24-25 using the Holman Christian standard translation:
24 And let us be concerned about one another [allēlōn] in order to promote love and good works,
25 not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
I believe that the information I am after is contained within Dr. Dean’s Doctrine of One Another. It is easy to treat someone I like well (any unbeliever can do that) but what about all believers? What about the ones that I don’t like or have doctrinal disagreements with? According to Dr. Dean we do have a higher standard, this is a quote from the end of point 2 below:
So there is a certain behavior code that goes along with being a member of God’s family in treating others who are in that family even if they’re like the prodigal son and they’re out wallowing in a pig trough and throwing the garbage at us. We have to handle them in a certain way.
I am really hoping he provides a lot of detail on this as I continue to study his sermons.
Here is a quote from lesson 162 of Pastor Dean’s series on Hebrews:
Doctrine of One Another
- The Greek word that’s used here is allelon [Strong’s G240]. Allelon is in a genitival form the way it appears with the omega and nu ending. It indicates the idea “of each other” or “of one another” indicating a certain connectiveness even in the grammar – a belongingness. The genitive often has that idea of possession or ownership or relationship. So that is part of the format of this word that we are of each other, of one another, belonging to one another. So the word indicates one person’s relationship to others within a group. Now most of the New Testament context where this word is used, it’s related to congregations. Now there are places where you have the Pharisees conspiring with one another and other contexts like that. But within the epistles the word is used numerous times to express the relationship of one believer to another so that the idea is how believers within a congregation, as the local representation of the body of Christ, how believers within a local body should treat other believers in that congregation. So it describes that dynamic that should take place within a group of believers as a result of their spiritual growth. So it applies to how one believer relates to another believer. That’s the context, believer to believer – not believer to unbeliever, not talking about how you relate to those at work – not that these principles can’t apply, but that’s not what the context is in the New Testament. The New Testament is talking about how individuals within the body of Christ relate to one another specifically within a local congregation, a local manifestation of the universal body of Christ.
- The most frequent command related to “one another” that we find in the Scripture is to love one another. In fact as we look at these, what we’ll see is that most of the other commands simply describe different facets of what it means to love one another. So 15 times in the New Testament we have a command to love one another. It’s repeated over and over again by three different writers. So, you’d think the Holy Spirit wanted us to pay attention to this. John emphasizes it both from the teaching of Christ in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13 through 16); but also in his epistles in 1 John and 3 John I believe. Paul also reiterates this several times as does Peter. So it is a primary focus of the writers of the New Testament in the epistles which are designed to teach Church Age believers how to live, how to operate, how to handle every circumstance in life during the Church Age. So we also see that the last point there is that the 18 “one another’s” are all just manifestation of this one command. It involves humility. We can’t be narcissistic. We can’t be focusing on ourselves. We can’t be self-absorbed and love others. Love drives us to think about other people, not just to think about what’s going on in our own lives. It involves forgiveness because there are always going to be times whenever we’re working with other people because other people are sinners just like we are that whenever we’re dealing with other people there are going to be times we get on each other’s nerves, when we irritate each other, when we make each other angry. Yet we have to come back and recognize that none of us has offended anyone else in life to the degree that we all offended the Lord’s righteousness. Let me say that again. You have not offended anybody in life and no one in life has offended you – that makes it a little more personal. No matter how you’ve been hurt, no matter how you’ve been betrayed, no matter how you’ve been mistreated or abused – no human being has offended you to the degree that each of us as fallen sinners had offended the righteousness of God. Yet God because of the payment that Christ made on the cross for sin has forgiven us. So that then becomes the basis for the fact that we in turn can and are to forgive others. So this is part of what it means to love one another.It involves being kind. This is just an application of grace orientation – good manners, being kind, being nice to other people, being gentle even if they’re a customer service person on the phone, putting up with each other in various situations because we know that we all face different challenges, different problems, and different frustrations in life. So we are willing to put up with each other because we understand the broader picture of our spiritual lives.Then in terms of negative commands we’re not to judge which means to malign one another mentally based on assuming we know other people’s motives, gossiping about one another, and these kinds of things. So we are to have a certain mentality towards one another because we’re all members of the royal family of God. So there is a certain behavior code that goes along with being a member of God’s family in treating others who are in that family even if they’re like the prodigal son and they’re out wallowing in a pig trough and throwing the garbage at us. We have to handle them in a certain way.
- The third point in our Doctrine of One Another is that we are to encourage one another. We are to encourage one another. We find this in three passages in Romans 1:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11. In each of these passages we have a slightly different word in Romans 1:12; but it is a form of the other word. The 1 Thess 4:18 and 5:11 we have the word parakaleo which is the same word we have in our passage in Hebrews 10, to comfort, to encourage, to come alongside, to strengthen, to exhort or challenge. Then the intensified form sumparakaleo is used in Romans 1:12.
[to be continued…]