What Am I Going To Do With You?


How many of you have ever muttered the phrase, "What am I going to do with you"? I can hear it coming from a mother who has just walked in on her child coloring on the walls. I can hear it from an exasperated couple arguing with each other. I can hear it from friends who have come into sharp disagreement. I can hear it coming from church members who have yet to find agreement on an issue they consider important. In almost every circumstance it is uttered not merely with bewilderment but also because the true desire of the heart is to love the other person.

In preparation for the study of deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 I was struck by the requirement we have to serve one another. So I started looking through the scriptures and I arrived at 65 verses which explicitly give direction for how we as Christians are supposed to treat one another. It seemed an excellent opportunity for a truly applicational study. With so many verses we could easily get bogged down in detail but let's move quickly through this and I'll provide a complete listing1 of verses for you to reference for your own study.

If we start at the beginning we turn to the most important commandment for dealing with anyone else on the planet…

Love One Another

This is the beginning of all that follows and therefore deserves to be in first place. Every other application comes out of this one and merely serves as commentary explaining it's meaning. Loving one another stuck permanently in the apostle John's mind and vocabulary. He is the one who recorded Jesus' words in John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Remember that John is known throughout his gospel as "The disciple whom Jesus loved." It was love more than anything else that seemed to impact John's identity. So moved was he by the command to love that he recorded it two more times in his gospel (John 15:12, 17) as well as embedding it as the proof of our salvation in two of his letters (1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11-12; 2 John 1:3,5).

Of course God is able to take even our failures on this point and use them to bring glory to himself: In Acts 15:39 Paul and Barnabas came to such a sharp disagreement over John-Mark that split up and went in two different directions on their missionary journey. Of course Paul learned from his error and later asked specifically for Mark to come to him.

Paul's letter to the Romans is filled with the command to love:
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love… Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Peter also And later the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians exhort us strongly to loving one another. Perhaps the greatest is the prayer of 1 Thessalonians 3:12 "…may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people…"

And so we must love one another. Among other things, loving one another means that we start by treating each other with righteousness.

Treat One Another With Righteousness

Leviticus 19:11 and 25:17 provide an excellent summary of several verses all declaring the same things
"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another….So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God."

Accept One Another

Multiple times (Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 1 Peter 5:14) we are given the rather uncomfortable command to greet one another with a holy kiss. Honestly I'll settle for a hug or a handshake. But culturally in that time and place, as in france today a reasonable greeting might include a kiss. It's far more appropriate in America to greet one another with a hug or a handshake. It's not the form but the function in view here.

The whole idea is that we welcome each other with open arms which of course means that we're not busy attacking each other. Sometimes you just can't help but disagree with somebody but if you love them in the name of Jesus you're not going to viciously attack them.

We're warned in Galatians 5:15 as well as in James 4:11;5:9 neither to attack nor to maliciously accuse one another. Speaking against a brother effectively makes you a judge of the law, with the effect that God will judge you with your own words of attack!

We may not always agree in everything but we are told to live at peace with one another (Mark 9:50; Romans 15:5,7); even if it costs us to do so. Remember the problem of lawsuits in Corinth? Paul tells them then that Christians taking Christians to court has already caused them to lose: 1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

As Christians we are called to accept one another. That means tolerating (Ephesians 4:2) respecting (1 Corinthians 11:33) and caring for one another: 1 Corinthians 12:25 "so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another."

This is what is required for us to have fellowship: 1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Forgive One another

Even as Christ forgives us, Colossians 3:13 tells us that we also must forgive one another. bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you…" Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Build One Another Up

Building one another up means everything from not causing another brother to stumble (Romans 14:13 ) to actively pointing One Another Towards God (John 5:44). Sometimes we may need to correct each other (Romans 15:14) or comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18). And other times we just need encouragement (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11,15; Hebrews 3:13).

Two of my favorite verses regarding encouraging one another are Hebrews 10:24-25
"and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Finally we are called to serve one another.

Serve One another

These verses are powerful enough in themselves:

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Serve with prayer: James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Conclusion

Looking back on all of this it is clear and simple that we must love one another.

If I was going to look for one verse that would encapsulate all that has been said it would be the verse on your bulletin today, Philippians 2:3
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…"

Please my brothers and sisters, join with me in prayer both with as well as for one another.

1Lev. 19:11; 25:14, 17, 46; Neh. 4:19; Zech. 7:10; 8:16; Mk. 9:50; Jn. 5:44; 13:34f; 15:12, 17; Acts 15:39; Rom. 12:10, 16; 13:8; 14:13, 19; 15:5, 7, 14; 16:16; 1 Co. 6:7; 11:33; 12:25; 16:20; 2 Co. 13:12; Gal. 5:13, 15, 26; Eph. 4:2, 25, 32; 5:19, 21; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:9, 13, 16; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:9, 18; 5:11, 13, 15; 2 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 3:13; 10:24f; Jas. 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1 Pet. 1:22; 4:8ff; 5:5, 14; 1 Jn. 1:7; 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11f; 2 Jn. 1:5