Christian vs. Christian: Hebrews 10:24-25 Part VI
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 posting on this topic).
This week I have reconstructed points fifteen and sixteen of Robert Dean’s Doctrine of One Another:
15. Submit to one another (Eph 5:21).
16. Think about one another to stir up to love and good deeds [application of doctrine in thought, word, actions] (Heb 10:24).
If you read the exposition on Ephesians 5:21 that I quote below, you will note that the topic of authority comes up. Authority in several areas is mentioned but I want to focus on authority within marriage. This is really a hot button issue in this day and age. I believe a lot of the consternation regarding husbands having authority over wives is due to the simple fact that this authority has been abused. To give any reader a proper understanding of how authority in marriage is supposed to work I encourage you to read the Doctrine of Marriage by Robert Dean. There is a lot of great information in there but I want to turn your attention in particular to the Doctrine of the Dance which begins at the very bottom of page 5. Anyone who is interested in what Christian marriage should look like needs to read and think about what is written there. The husband is never given permission to mistreat his wife!
Now back to the main topic, Robert Dean deals extensively with Ephesians 5:21 in the transcript for Hebrews lesson 167 (link here) but he doesn’t talk much about that verse itself. Rather, he spends a lot of time dealing with the extended context starting in Ephesians chapter 4. That is all good stuff but it doesn’t really work very well for my blog post. So, instead of quoting Pastor Dean I am going to quote Jeremy Thomas (Pastor of Fredericksburg Bible Church) from his study of the Epistle to the Ephesians. It is quite good and I hope you read it all:
Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in fear of Christ.
Verse 21 is the fitting conclusion to verses 15-21. It is not the beginning of the next section but it is the transition verse for understanding what follows. It is the fourth fruit of being filled by the Spirit; 1) Speaking to one another…2) singing and making melody…3) always giving thanks…and 4) submitting to one another in fear of Christ. These are all results of being filled by the Spirit. You cannot ever manifest these characteristics unless filled by the Spirit. Being filled by the Spirit means yielding your will to the Lord’s will, which if you are wise you will understand. [Ed.: I am not sure if my understanding of the filling of the Holy Spirit is the same as Pastor Thomas’. Please see R.B. Thieme, Jr.’s Doctrine of the Filling of the Holy Spirit.]
Let’s look at the fourth result of being filled by the Spirit; submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. The word here for subject or submit is hupotasso [Strong’s G5293]. It is a military term meaning “to rank yourself under a leader”. When you are under the control of the Holy Spirit you will rank yourself under others because you yield your will to the Lord’s will. And the Lord’s will is for you to submit. You are to do this in fear of Christ. Believers are not to act like unbelievers. Unbelievers take great pride in “independence” and “individualism”. Believers are instructed to act otherwise. We are commanded to “give preference to one another in honor” (Rom 12:10). We are to be humble regarding “one another as more important than” ourselves (Phil 2:3) and it is impossible to consider others as more important than ourselves unless we are filled by the Spirit. If you are a self-centered brat, always concerned about yourself and your needs then this is a sign that you are rarely, if ever filled by the Holy Spirit. You are full of yourself and need to learn the doctrine of kenosis (Phil 2:5-8). Christ gave up the independent use of His divine attributes. He yielded His will to the Father’s will (Matt 26:39). Later tonight I’m going to show you important it is to follow Christ’s example of yielding your will. You cannot live the Christian life if you don’t train yourself to yield your will to the Lord’s will. Jesus Christ did not walk independently. Jesus Christ walked dependently, being filled by the Spirit, in submission to the Father. As believers in Jesus Christ who desire to be Christ-like we must also be filled by the Holy Spirit in order to submit ourselves to one another. This subordination, as we’ll demonstrate, is not contrary to equality. There is both submission and equality in the body of Christ
Who are we to submit to? The reciprocal pronoun one another indicates that this is mutual submission. I submit to you and you submit to me. The problem however, is “HOW DOES MUTUAL SUBMISSION WORK?” For example, if believer A submits to believer B then B is not submitting himself to A, but ruling. Only one person can rule at a time. So, how do we solve this dilemma? The solution lies in the way Paul applies this principle in the relationships described in 5:22-6:9: wives-husbands, children-fathers, and slaves-masters. So, the way mutual submission works is like this, “let each of you submit yourself to the ones who you should be submissive to” (e.g. wives should submit to husbands, children should obey their fathers, slaves should obey their masters, etc…). The bottom line is that you must be willing to submit to those who have authority, whether it is in the church, home, workplace, or society at large.
Once again I am having problems pulling together a good quote from Pastor Dean regarding point sixteen above. He touches briefly on Hebrews 10:24 in lesson transcript 168 and then he goes into a study of James 5 in order to provide background. So, I have the option of providing a short quote or a long one that rambles. Since the quote from Pastor Thomas was a long one I am going to provide a short quote here and if you want more please go to the lesson transcript (or listen to the lesson).
So we’re studying the Doctrine of One Another as we’re coming out of our study in Hebrews – Hebrews 10 which actually relates to the seventeenth point in our study. Because we’ve spent such a good bit of time on this, I didn’t labor on it much last time. But the 17th point [Ed.: this is my 16th point] was by way of review – think about one another to stir them up to love and good deeds. This is brought about by that word that’s translated “let us consider one another.”
The root word there in Greek means to give it thought, to meditate on it, to reflect upon it, to take conscientious actions. So we’re to consider one another in order to stir up love. That means to stimulate – the Greek word from which we get our English word paroxysm. It means to stimulate activity, to encourage people.
I talked about when we went over this. I talked about a couple of illustrations we could use. Dan and I were out on the road together. We were talking about this. We came up with different illustrations. But if you’ve got a background in any sort of competitive activity whether it’s sports, whether it’s military, whether it’s in some sort of a team activity; you can reflect on that. When you would get together with a group of others and you’re all trying to achieve something and to go through a course of action together that what you do is instead of trying to put each other down and compete against each other in that sense, you try to encourage each other and say, “Come on everybody. Let’s go.” You cheer each other on so that encourages and strengthens one another, coming up with ideas to help those who aren’t quite as adept or quite a strong to also do that. You have gone through boot camp. You go through various kinds of challenging activities. This is a good thing to do. It’s the same thing. It emphasizes that teamwork attitude that should be present in the body of Christ.
So that scene in Hebrews 10:24:
NKJ Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Now that idea of “one another”… I said… Don’t take that. I think some people tend to look at that and say that means equally every believer. It’s almost a socialist idea. We’re going to handle everybody equally the same way. This has to do with the people in whose presence or whose sphere of influence you are: your friends, the other believers that you know – just to encourage and help one another.