Christian vs. Christian: Hebrews 10:24-25 Part II
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).
I am continuing this week to post on Pastor Robert Dean’s doctrine of one another. This doctrine contains a lot of the information on how we Christians are to treat each other that I have been looking for. It took Pastor Dean seven lessons in his study of the Book of Hebrews to lay this doctrine out and, in turn, it is taking me some time to dig it out of his online transcripts. That is fine by me since this teaching is so pertinent to me and the “Christian blogosphere.”
I have been really busy this week so I haven’t had time to add much to what Dr. Dean has written here. I think that’s alright and I’ll bet that Dr. Dean would agree.
4. Members of one another (Romans 12:5, Ephesians 4:26)
Romans 12:5, “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another”
Now if you stop and think about that – that is an important concept that we lost – that we are member of one another. We do not exist as individual Christians existing in isolated islands totally separated from other believers. Now that runs counter to the kind of thinking that characterizes American individualism. I’m not saying that there’s not a place, a role for thinking in terms of people’s individual abilities and their own self reliance. But in the body of Christ that is not the pattern. The pattern is that we are members of one another and there is interdependency in the body of Christ from one member to another because we’re designed as a team. That’s probably the best analogy that most of us can comprehend.
We’re like a super bowl Dallas Cowboys team back in the 60’s and 70’s where every player worked well with every other player. It was like a well-oiled machine. Every part was important and every part functioned individually; but the whole team was successful only when everybody worked together as a whole. You see the same kind of thing in any sort of team operation. You can’t have one person, one element exerting himself or elevating himself as being more important than others. They all work together.
Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another”
Conclusion: putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
So neighbor there isn’t the unbeliever living next door to you. Neighbor there he’s using that as a term for other believers in the body of Christ. We are to speak truth with other believers because we are members of one another. There is this interdependency, interrelationship that every believer has with every other believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. So we are to exercise in terms of that relationship. So we are to live out our lives on that basis.
Now the next point we’re going to get to next time (I just covered one point tonight.) … Next time we’ll get to the 5th point which is – give preference to one another in honor. Now we’re going to go back to Romans 12 for that. That’s why I spent so much time on the context because we have three verses in Romans 12 that deal with the behavior that we’re to have toward one another. This of course will flow out of what he said about humility and not thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think and this will lead to the application of the principle that we are to give preference to one another in honor.
5. Give preference to one another in honor
Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another”
So that’s really the phrase that I’m looking at on this fifth point is the second half. In honor we are to give preference to one another. That means that you should put other people first, not be self-absorbed basically. There are some people who are so concerned about their own problems, their own difficulties, their own circumstances in life. It’s very hard for them to pull their head up and look around and actually notice that there are other people who have other problems that might even be worse than theirs. So we are to focus on others and not just have this self-oriented focus that’s the product of arrogance and pride. This relates to the concept of honor, honoring other people, respecting them and caring for them. So it’s a focus on other people and putting them first over our own needs.
Years ago I had several people in my congregation that started the formulation of a doctrine I always refer to as the Doctrine of the Vampire Christian – one of my favorite doctrines. Every congregation has a vampire Christian. Now I don’t think that ours does, not that I’ve noticed. But I have had them in the past.
Now think about what a vampire – y’all have seen Bram Stoker Dracula movies. A vampire only operates at night, right? He can’t function during the day time, during the light. So the first characteristic of the vampire Christian is he walks in darkness not in light. He doesn’t walk in the light of God’s Word. He walks in darkness, lives in carnality. The second aspect about a vampire is when a vampire looks in the mirror, it can’t see its own reflection. So when a vampire Christian looks in the mirror of God’s Word, he can’t see he own reflection. It always applies to somebody else. It never applies “to me” because “I’m perfect.” So a vampire Christian always thinks that the Bible always relates to somebody else. Then a third characteristic is that in order for the vampire to survive he has to suck all of his nourishment out of some host. That’s what these kinds of Christian do. They come to a congregation wanting to know how that congregation is going to take care of them, how that congregation is going to solve their emotional needs, how that congregation is going to minister to them. Then after two or three weeks and nobody says hello, nobody says hi; they say, “That’s just a cold stuck up…they don’t really care.” That may not be true at all.
What I’ve often found as a pastor over the years is that the people who scream the most about a church not being caring are the people who…It’s like they walk into a congregation and they expect everybody to notice them and to immediately walk up to them and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry that you’re hurting. You’ve got this problem.”
They expect to get all that attention because they are walking through life completely and totally self-absorbed. The issue in the spiritual life is to that we are to take our attention and focus completely off of self and put it onto Christ. Because of that, we put it onto others who are also in Christ. So Romans 12:10 we are to give preference to one another.