July 14, 2017
I John 3:16-18
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
We’re heading into the home stretch of One Anothering! We’ve already covered in the first eight blogs of this series 28 of the 32 words associated with the phrase one another in the New King James New Testament. All these words together show us how we, as Christians, should be relating to one another! The Scripture chosen for today’s study is I John 3:16 through 18:
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s
goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how
does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in
word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
We are not to just say we love each other as Christians! We are to show that love by practical caring and giving, especially in time of their need!
The final four words are as follows:
• “…all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another…” (I Peter 3:8). The phrase, having compassion for one another, is translated from just one Greek word, συμπαθής (pronounced soom-path-ace’). Strong, in his Greek Dictionary gives this meaning: “having a fellow feeling (sympathetic), that is, (by implication) mutually commiserative….” In A Popular Commentary on the New Testament, we are told that a better word for compassion would be sympathetic. I think an even better word would be empathetic. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary…
✞ …to have sympathy is to “…share…another person’s mental state, emotions, etc.: especially pity or compassion for another’s troubles, suffering, etc.”
✞ …to have empathy is “…the projection of one’s own personality into that of another…: intellectual or emotional identification with another.”
To be empathetic rather than sympathetic puts more of yourself into the other person’s situation! And this is the idea behind having compassion for one another! For, as Paul tells us in Romans 12:15 and 16: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another.” (See I Corinthians 12:25, 26).
• “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9). The Greek word for hospitable is φιλόξενος (pronounced fil-ox’-en-os). It means “fond of guests, that is, hospitable….” Back in New Testament times, there were few public places to stay when one traveled. So often travelers depended upon the hospitality of other private citizens. Paul and company, having traveled to Philippi in Macedonia on the second missionary journey, found such a characteristic of being hospitable in Lydia, a new convert to Christianity, who “…begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she constrained us.” (Acts 16:15). In Romans 12:13, the apostle encourages believers to be “…given to hospitality.” And this is what John wrote about the subject in III John 1:5 through 10 (Good News Bible):
My dear friend, you are so faithful in the work you do for other Christians,
even when they are strangers. They have spoken to the church here about
your love. Please help them to continue their trip in a way that will please
God. For they set out on their trip in the service of Christ without accept-
ing any help from unbelievers. We Christians, then, must help these people,
so that we may share in their work for the truth. I wrote a short letter to the
church; but Diotrephes, who likes to be their leader, will not pay any atten-
tion to what I say. When I come, then, I will bring up everything he has
done: the terrible things he says about us and the lies he tells! But that is
not enough for him; he will not receive the Christians when they come, and
even stops those who want to receive them and tries to drive them out of the
Don’t be a Diotrephes! Be hospitable to one another without grumbling!
• “Yes, all of you be submissive to one anothery…” (I Peter 5:5). This is the same word that is used in Ephesians 5:21: “…submitting to one another in the fear of God.” So as not to be redundant, please see the first word we covered in the June 30th blog, One Anothering – VI.
• “…if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7). The Greek word for fellowship is κοινωνία (pronounced koy-nohn-ee’-ah). It means “partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction….” There are two ‘directions’ of κοινωνία that we need to discuss here, and both are found in I John 1:3: “…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
✞ The first direction we will discuss is the second one mentioned – “…our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Such fellowship between God and us was initiated by Him through Jesus paying the price for our sins on the cross! (See II Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:11-13; Colossians 1:21). “…now…[we] who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13).
✞ And so, as “…the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanses us from all sin…we have fellowship with one another…” (I John 1:7). We have that fellowship with one another as long as we maintain that fellowship with the Father and His Son by walking in the light (following our Lord in close obedience)! We enter into close partnership and interaction with our Creator and with believing brothers and sisters! But if we do not “…walk in the light as He is in the light…” (I John 1:7), we will not love one another and be in fellowship with either God or man! (See I John 2:9-11; 3:10-16; 4:7-11; 4:20, 21; 5:1, 2).
So let us be careful to practice One Anothering – in all 32 related ways!