How to be Especially Good unto the Household of Faith
God tells us to do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. We have already seen from the scriptures that the household is the Saints (sanctified ones, ones that are set apart--us) and faithful in Christ Jesus and we are to take care of one another, distribute our plurality, be of one accord/purpose, have grace toward each other and be lovingly sensitive and aware of others with genuine interest. Let us continue:
Magnify the best in one another.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
:9 Those things,
which ye have both learned,
and seen in me,
and the God of peace shall be with you.
These two verses are blanketed with figures of speech screaming for attention. The repetition of the words "whatsoever things" in verse 8 is the figure Anaphora-repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive clauses--drawing attention to each and every item on the list combined with Asyndeton (no 'ands') also drawing attention to the conclusion of "think on these things."
In verse 9 the word 'and' is used repeatedly-the figure Polysyndeton (many 'ands')-to have us pay attention to each and every item, instead of rushing through the list.
In verse 9 we also have Synonymia-a repetition of words different in sound and origin, but similar in shades of meaning (synonymous) with the intent of attracting attention to the words collectively and impress the mind. We see this in the words 'learned', 'received', 'heard' and 'seen'.
The usage of the Genitive Case is also employed to draw our attention to "the God of peace" i.e. the God who has made peace and gives peace.*
These two verses give us specific instructions for our thoughts. When thoughts enter our minds we line them up with the Word. Is it true? Think on it. Is it honest? Think on it. Is it just? Think on it. Is it pure? Think on it. Is it lovely Think on it. Is it of good report? Think on it. Is there any virtue in it? Think on it. Is there any praise in it? Think on it. All the things that Paul has taught to us, every jot and tittle, we are to do and the end result is that God, the maker of peace and the one who gives peace will be with us.
Knowing the figures of speech give this verse the proper emphasis without the expansion which makes it quite wordy. Read these verses in light of the figures of speech (mark them in your bible so that you can remember them and stop and consider each and every item (vs. 8) and the impression that is intended (vs.9). And by the way-it must be available to think on those things.
Serve one another.
Serve one another; not because we are slaves to the gospel of Christ but because Christ has made us free.
:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty;
only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,
but by love [agape] serve one another.
:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this;
Thou shalt love [agapao] thy neighbour as thyself.
To serve one another is the opposite of serving one's self. When we have a mind set to serve the household we must cultivate the Word in our heart so that we can agape-love people with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This cannot happen unless we love ourselves first. We cannot love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves. This will stem from realizing that God has forgiven us for our trespasses, loved us enough to send His only son to live and be an example of love, fulfill the law and be crucified--sacrificed for us. When we realize how much God loves us we can reciprocate that love of God to others. We can serve each other the bread of life, be there when we are needed and know God will have others there for us.
Love one another.
:34 A new commandment I give unto you,
That ye love [agapao] one another;
as I have loved [agapao] you,
that ye also love [agapao] one another. [repeated-it is established]
:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love [agape] one to another.
This love is distinguished from phileo love--brotherly love. Agape (noun) / agapao (verb) is love of God in our renewed minds as we put on the Word of God in manifestation. Our heart, with or without the love of God, will manifest itself in our actions and speech. It will then be evident that we are the disciples--disciplined ones-of Christ Jesus.
Help one another.
If one has a problem we don't put our heads in the sand, serve up the bread of life for one another--reprove, rebuke, exhort--with meekness.
:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault,
ye which are spiritual,
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness;
lest thou also be tempted.
:2 Bear ye one another's burdens,
and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Jesus Christ bore the cross-the spiritual cross-of us. He was the greatest example for all time. We are not required to die for one another, Christ died for us but we are to be there for people to help them get back on their feet and bring them back to the rightly divided Word of God.
Bless one another, be kind, be tenderhearted.
:31 Let all bitterness,
and evil speaking,
be put away from you,
with all malice:
:32 And be ye kind one to another,
forgiving one another,
even as God
for Christ's sake
hath forgiven you.
Polysyndeton is used here in verse 31 to draw our attention to each item: wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking so that we may put each and every behavior away. And the opposite of that-verse 32? Be ye kind and tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. When we really realize what God through Christ has done for us, loving each other and being kind and tenderhearted will come naturally. Now I am not saying be a doormat for Jesus. We are to bring each other up, build each other up and not let the adversary beat us up.
Build each other up.
Hold each other up within the household,
:1 I therefore,
the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
:2 With all lowliness
forbearing [hold up] one another in love;
This must be available; and to not do it begrudgingly for that would not be with love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation.
Let me ask you a few questions:
If we are acting this way towards each other are you being loved and taken care of?
Would you like people to treat you the way the Word says we should treat each other?
Will your needs be met in the Body of Christ-in the household-if you are being helped and edified?
If you are kind and tenderhearted towards others would people be the same to you?
Are you more apt to graduate toward people who are kind or towards those that are selfish and self-serving?
When we do what God would have us do--be especially good unto them who are of the household of faith--our needs are met as God in Christ in us works within the Body of Christ.
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Continued Next Week . . .