Donâ€™t Just Make Noise with These Commands1
There are approximately 30 distinct one-anothers spread throughout over 50 separate scriptural commands in the New Testament. I want to make two points about the often-discussed one-anothers. First, they are commands. These are not optional suggestions that we get to pick and choose our way through, ignoring the ones that make us uncomfortable. These are commands from God’s Word given to you and me as means of grace within the church. These are for the building up of the Body and ultimately the glory of God.
Second, it should come as no surprise that the most common command by a landslide is to “love one another.” Second is “greet one another with a holy kiss.” (In our culture a warm greeting such as a handshake or hug would convey this same meaning.) Third most common is to “encourage one another.” Fourth is a four-way tie of “live as members of,” “live in harmony with,” “lovingly serve,” and “lovingly bear with.” Several other commands are mentioned only once.
First-place “loving one another” is there by God’s inspiration and the frequency of its mention is significant. Loving one another is mentioned at least twelve times. The significance is further explained in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. Love is foundational. The less frequent commands--such as instruct, comfort, bear burdens, lovingly bear with, forgive, submit to, teach and admonish, stir up, and confess sins to--must be built upon the foundation of love. If I admonish out of frustration rather than love, I’m making noise and not honoring God. If any of my Christian activities of service, discipleship, evangelism, teaching, or even the one-anothers are not founded upon love, then I’m making noise. I am nothing; I gain nothing.
I can accomplish this only by God’s grace through faith, motivated by His love for me. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and remind yourself of God’s love for you and how to approach the one-anothers: love first, for God’s glory, not just a bunch of noise.