Bible Truths for Coming Alongside of One Another

Coming Alongside of One AnotherAs noted in the post, Can anybody be a lay counselor?, we’re all called to come alongside of one another. God’s Word provides truths for us to remember that will guide us in the process.

In addition to all the one another commands in the New Testament, we can also find many other applicable truths to apply when coming alongside of one another like the following.

Remember these Truths from the Bible When Coming Alongside of One Another

  • Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Prov. 15:22)

We are called to come along side of one another to help each other succeed in their ways, even more specifically to walk according to God’s ways. Let’s remember, however, that the ultimate counselor in a person’s life is the Spirit of God (Jn. 14:16, 26). While God will use us in one another’s lives, we should never presume to be the “fixer”, taking on a role not intended for us.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov. 9:10)

If we’re truly going to make a difference in people’s lives, we need to steer them toward God and His ways. Let’s remember the ultimate Source of wisdom, God Himself. While other sources, like the field of psychology, might offer some help, we need to run it all through the grid of Scripture.

  • And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thess. 5:14)

In coming alongside of one another, we must guard against using a one size fits all approach. What helped one person may not be the solution for the next. People encountering the same issue might need a different approach due to background, personality, level of spiritual growth, etc. We might even need to approach the same person one way one time and another the next. Let’s remember to meet people where they are.

  • Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3:12)

Coming alongside of others can be discouraging if you lack realistic expectations. No one is perfect or will ever fully arrive. We are all a work in progress. We serve others with humility when we remember that about ourselves. We extend grace when we remember this truth about others.

Fellowship Defined

Fellowship is sharing in our common life in Christ.

For More on what we share in common: True Body Life Results in Fellowship

We engage in fellowship by relating to one another in oneness of heart through various means of serving each other in love.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:1-7)

Consequently, to define Christian fellowship in the Church we must acknowledge that …

Fellowship is not:

  • standing around talking with a cup of coffee in your hand
  • a one way street wherein one believer gives to or helps another

Fellowship is:

  • the mutual, reciprocal sharing of our life in Christ
  • the fulfillment of the one another commands of Scripture

For more on the reciprocal nature of fellowship, it’s important to understand the nature of the One Another Commands of Scripture.

Body Life Ministry ManualThe Body Life Ministry Manual contains this information in addition to the content in the Body Life Training section of the site. You’ll also find a complete list of the one another commands and an acrostic using the word FELLOWSHIP that pulls together how the one another commands tie into fellowship.

Let All Be Harmonious – What’s Stopping You?

What's Stopping You from Living in Harmony?God commands us to live in harmony with one another  —  Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another. (1 Pet. 3:8)  — so it must be possible. He provides all the power we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3) which means He will equip and empower us to live in unity despite all of our differences.

Yet, for many, our experience in the Church fails to consistently reflect such harmony. Why? What’s stopping it from happening?

“Self” gets in the way of living harmoniously.

1) Self-promotion

Needing to look better than the next person, to always come out on top, blocks harmonious life together, whereas humility promotes unity.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Rom. 12:16)

… be compassionate and humble. (1 Pet. 3:8)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Phil. 2:3)

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:16)

We can come together on an equal plain when we acknowledge that we are who we are and do what we do because of God’s grace (Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 15:10).

2) Self-perpetuation

Looking out for ourselves, having that sense of entitlement, prevents harmony, whereas seeking the good of others brings us together.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:17-18)

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. (Rom. 15:2)

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Cor. 10:24)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Cor. 12:7)

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thess. 5:15)

We can come together for the good of the whole when we acknowledge that it isn’t all about our own interests and needs.

3) Self-protection

Holding on to our hurts and disappointments, putting up defensive walls around us, tears down harmony whereas forgiving one another, even doing good to those who have done wrong, opens the door to reconciliation and unity.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:19-21)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32)

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Pet. 3:9)

We can come together, breaking down those defensive walls and letting people in, when we trust the Lord to take care of us.

Love One Another

Love One Another
(Click to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)

 

Jesus said,

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Jn. 13:34)

The time frame? — none given suggesting always

The means? — as Jesus has loved us

The extent? — as Jesus has loved us

The reason? — because Jesus has loved us (1 Jn. 4:19)

Not to love is to disobey the greatest commandment. (Matt. 22:37-40)

Not to love is to deny people the reality of the greatest evidence of Christ in us. (Jn. 13:35)

Not to love is to settle for less than who we can be for love is the greatest characteristic. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Keys to Unity

How wonderful when the Church lives in unity! The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians that they would make his “joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Phil. 2:2). But, what unlocks the door to unity in the Church?

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (Phil. 2:1-2, NASB)

The “if” in verse one leads to the “then” in verse two. Unity is conditioned upon certain realities. It’s like opening a door with multiple locks. You cannot fully open the door to unity without all the right keys.

4 Keys to Church Unity Based on Philippians 2:1-2

Position in Christ1) Function from your position “in Christ.”

“if there is any encouragement in Christ”

According to Ephesians 2:6, God has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” When we look at life from that position, we see things differently than when we are right in the fray of it all. We see the big picture, not merely the piece that affects me.

And, we no longer see a Church with all of its flaws but rather how God sees her “in Christ” — dearly loved, His precious Bride. Then we can be encouraged despite its blemishes. We can come alongside (paraklesis) of others because we see them, and ourselves, as we are in Christ.

God's Love Key to Unity2) Know and rely on God’s love.

“if there is any consolation of love”

We need unconditional love if we are going to remain united through the failings of one another and strong differences of opinions. We need a love that perseveres, that will not fail … the love described in 1 Corinthians 13, agape — God’s love. Human love, that which we can muster up within ourselves, will be insufficient. Only God’s love will enable us to break through the walls and address the feelings of one another without attacking the person.

Spirit is Key to Unity3) Walk together in the Spirit.

“if there is any fellowship of the Spirit”

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1) The solution? — “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16) When we are more concerned about not grieving or quenching the Spirit among us than getting our way, we come together for the good of the whole. It’s not just about me!

The Heart is Key in Unity4) Guard your heart.

“if any affection and compassion”

The original Greek words for affection (splagchnon) and compassion (oiktirmos) both relate to our inwards parts (bowels, heart, etc.). These two words seem to be interchanged in their various uses, both signifying the seat of our strong emotions — what we metaphorically call our heart. We are to respond to one another from the core of our being. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 6:45 — “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Is it little wonder we are commanded to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23)?

These four keys enable us to demonstrate the Christ-like selflessness and humility needed to experience unity.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil. 2:3-8)

Also Read:  True Body Life Results in Church Unity

Both Different and the Same

In the Body of Christ we are all different by design. God has apportioned to each of us a manifestation, or visible, knowable part, to contribute to the health and growth of the Body. Yet, despite all these differences, we are one Body, with the same God who intends for us to use our varying spiritual gifts for the same purpose … for the common good. (See 1 Cor. 12:7.)

Diversity of Gifts & Ministry

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Let’s break down 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 to see what enables us to be both different and the same in the Body of Christ.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:4)

Diversity of Spiritual Gifts: The word for gifts is charisma, the root word being charis, meaning “grace.” The gifts are not only distributed on the basis of grace (Rom. 12:6) but enable us to dispense His grace in its various forms (1 Pet. 4:10). We call them “spiritual gifts” because they are given by the Spirit.

Same Spirit: The different gifts are given to each person by the same source, the Holy Spirit, as He deems best (1 Cor. 12:11), not on the basis of merit so we have no grounds for comparing or competing with one another.

— Hence, we have different gifts received on the same basis (grace) with the same purpose (to dispense His grace) by the same Spirit.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (1 Cor. 12:5)

Different Ways of Serving: Even people with the same spiritual gift could find themselves serving in different ways from each other.

Same Lord:  Kyrios means master, the one who decides, often used of Jesus (i.e., the Lord Jesus). He is the Head of the church from whom we get our instructions. We are not the ones who should be determining how we serve but rather the Lord.

— Hence, we have different ways of serving all coming under the direction and coordination of the same Lord so we serve the same Master.

There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (1 Cor. 12:6)

Distinct Effects: The word for working is energema suggesting what has been wrought. The word “works” is energeo from which we get the word energy, putting forth power. Consequently as we use our different spiritual gifts, serving in different ways, God is the One who will bring about distinct effects by His power for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7), not us, so we have no basis for one part elevating itself above the other.

Same God: This references the One True God (theos) who by His very character is sovereign and powerful, a creative God who has every right to use vessels for whatever purpose He chooses (Rom. 9:20-21).

— Hence, though we serve in our differing ways using varying gifts, we are all beholden to the same God to bring the growth as we submit to Him (1 Cor. 3:7-9; Eph. 4:16).

Yes, we are different but notice that we serve in accordance with, because of, and by the same Spirit, Lord, and God.  Could the use of these three different names, if kyrios references the Lord Jesus, be the Trinity at work in the Church? If so, it provides us with a good illustration. Just as they are three distinct, or different, Beings, yet One and the Same, so in the Body of Christ we have different kinds of gifts to serve in different ways to bring about different effects but are united by that same Spirit, Lord, and God working in and through us for the common good. As such, we can be both different and the same in the Body of Christ.