Dale Johnson: I am excited to welcome one of our own from ACBC to the podcast, Dr. Stuart Scott. Stuart has been a member of ACBC for 30 years or more and he is also a Fellow with our organization. Stuart also serves as our Director of Membership Services, and he is a professor at The Master’s University. I’m so excited that you are here with us today to discuss this very important topic on how to be a one another Christian.
Stuart Scott: Thank you, Dale. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be here and join you on this podcast.
Dale Johnson: Stuart has written a new book called, 31 Ways to Be a “One-Another” Christian: Loving Others with the Love of Jesus. It’s important work to compile what the Scripture says on a subject such as this, and it’s important for us to consider as well. Why is it needed at this particular time? We see the effects of the church in the modern era not doing some of the one anothers. What are some of those effects? What’s the scene in the church because we’re not doing what God commanded us relative to the one anothers?
Stuart Scott: Statistics and surveys about relationships and relationship breakdown show more and more isolation, not only in society, but in the church as well. People are reducing their conversations to texting. There’s more individualism and even a focus on one’s own family to the exclusion of reaching out beyond the family, and we see that in the church as well.
Dale Johnson: Sometimes we see such superficial expressions in our churches of what the Scriptures call Koinonia fellowship. What’s the breakdown that we see happening in our fellowship, where these one anothers are necessary for us to consider?
Stuart Scott: If you mentioned the word “fellowship” at church, it typically means a meal, or donuts, coffee, and orange juice. Unfortunately, that is the most common definition or thinking among people when you mention that we’re going to get together and have “fellowship.” In Scripture, there are at least thirty-five one anothers. If we read these, we can see that there is a lot more to fellowship than just a meal together.
- Be devoted to one another with brotherly love
- Outdo one another in showing honor
- Live in harmony with one another
- Do not judge, but build up one another
- Welcome one another
- Instruct one another
- Don’t sue one another
- Care for one another
- Don’t provoke or envy one another
- Bear one another’s burdens
- Speak truthfully to one another
- Be kind to one another
- Forgive one another
- Be in submission to one another
- Bear with one another’s burdens
- Teach and admonish one another
- Increase and abound in love for one another
- Comfort one another
- Encourage and build up one another
- Be at peace with one another
- Seek good for one another
- Pray for one another
- Stir one another up
- Do not speak against one another
- Don’t grumble against one another
- Confess your sins to one another
- Be hospitable to one another
- Serve one another
- Be humble toward one another
- Greet one another
- Have fellowship with one another
- Don’t deprive one another in a marriage relationship
- Wait for one another
- Consider one another
- Don’t lie to one another
Dale Johnson: You can’t accomplish that level of relationship in the way we often interact today in the church. We stand and greet one another for two minutes, or we pass each other in the hallways. Throughout the rest of the week, we may not be seeing one another. How in the world can we engage at this level with each other and accomplish what God is commanding us to do when we have such superficial relationships in the churches?
Stuart Scott: It has to go beyond our corporate gathering on Sunday. There’s so much happening on that particular morning. It’s going to come down to small group meetings and intentionally and aggressively connecting with others throughout the week, not just at small group meeting or corporate gathering on a Sunday. That’s going to take intentional thought with aggressive application. One of the purposes of the book is that we explain each of the one anothers and illustrate it. What does it look like and what does the person need to personally apply? What steps should they take, dependent on the Spirit of God, to become more Christ-like in their love for one another?
Dale Johnson: One of the things that’s really interesting to me is the way that you present this in the book, emphasizing that they are not suggestions from God like we often take some things that the Word says. We tend to think of them as if they’re suggestions for a better life and ways to make relationships go better, ten steps to do this or that. You demonstrate that in the Word of God, most of these one anothers are actually commands that God gives. They are for our betterment, but He’s commanding, not suggesting, that we do something.
Stuart Scott: Yes, not all, but most of them are the imperatives—we have to do them. It’s not a buffet line where you can say, “I like a little of that one and I like that one, but I’m going to keep away from those.” The Lord wants us to love God and love our neighbor, and here’s thirty-five ways that can demonstrate that love for your neighbor. Even though we have grown cold or weak in this area, with the Spirit’s help we can increase and grow in our faith. It says in 2 Thessalonians 1, “Your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” As our love for the Lord increases, our love for one another increases, probably at the same rate.
Dale Johnson: When we begin to see God’s method unfold for how we are to be in relationship with one another, beautiful things begin to happen. We are challenged to be sanctified, love each other, and care for each other well. We’re so individualistic, but humility is also necessary for us to engage in relationship as there are times where we need help, or we need to be “one anothered.” That interaction builds us in sanctification as we have the compassion of Christ to care for others, but also have humility to receive that same care when we’re the person who’s in need, which is not infrequent. What’s an example of a personal application of one of these one anothers that you’ve written about? How would we flesh this out if we were talking about a specific one another, how we obey this command from God and love each other well?
Stuart Scott: One uses a unique use of the word, to “stir up” one another. We find in Hebrews 10 that when we gather together, we’re to “stir one another up to love and good deeds.” The word can be translated, “provoked,” or almost irritate one another to get people away from their complacency. Encourage one another to consider other people more than just themselves. When we hear needs presented and people sharing prayer requests, we ought to be thinking, “What can I do? Is there someone I can talk with who could possibly help them?” When we see one another at church, there is a provoking, irritating effect to increase our love for one another rather than becoming complacent and self-focused.
Dale Johnson: Which one did you find the most eye-opening relative to our culture or from a personal standpoint? A challenge that you see from the Word that was convicting for us to engage in? Was there one that stood out a little more than some of the others?
Stuart Scott: All of them had an effect and still do. There’s so many to follow through in obeying our Lord. He exemplified them all and we see the New Testament writers reflecting them in their relationships. For me, I become more task-oriented and less people-focused, and I’m not unique in that. There’s a lot to be done and we can look past people. In all of these one anothers, what’s more important is people in our lives, rather than tasks only. The command to greet one anther made me more aware when I come into church and there are people all over that I don’t know. I’m more comfortable with going up to people I know than to people I don’t, which is the heart issue and sin issue of the fear of man. I ask the Lord for grace and go over to them. It’s more important to get to know them than for me to be comfortable and at ease.
Dale Johnson: Intentionality is necessary for us to be aware. We get self-fulfilled often in the task-orientation. This is a call, a command, in the one anothers to die to self. Jesus stated that the way the world knows that we are His disciples is that we love one another, we’re self-sacrificial, and we prefer our brother.