First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

Gateway to all our WebPages

  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
Guidelines For Our Relationship With Other Believers

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 10/22/00


Romans 12:9-16 focuses on our relationship with other believers. In a coming message, covering Romans 12:17-21, we will be looking at our relationship with our enemies and finally, we will consider what our relationship with the government is to be (Romans 13).

Guidelines For Our Relationship With Other Believers (9-16)

  • Treat You Brothers & Sisters In Christ Like Cherished Family Members (10a)

Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"

In a previous message I pointed out that there were several different kinds of love spoken of in the New Testament. There is agaph/agape (ag-ah'-pay; 26). Agape love indicates a choice of the will to find one’s joy in something. Further, it includes a genuine, unselfish love and concern that demonstrates itself in action . This kind of love is found in Romans 12:2 Let love be without dissimulation. We went to great lengths talking about "genuine" love.

In verse 10, Paul begins by telling us who this genuine love is primarily to be shown to and how to show it.

Who Is Agape Love To Be Shown To?

The context of chapter 12 it the "brethren." We see this in verse 1.

The objects of this agape-love are "brethren", but this is not referring to the "brotherhood of man or all the descendants of Adam. Neither is it referring to men of the same country, or those who are born of the same parents in a natural sense. But has a spiritual focus. "Brethren" refers to those who are born of God, are of his household, belong to his family, are the brethren of Christ, and one another; and are either members of the same church, incorporated together in the same church fellowship, or at least members of Christ, and of the church universal. This context is affirmed verses 4-5.

Therefore, Paul is teaching that agape-love is to be show to our brother and sisters in Christ, particularly those of our own church.

How Can Agape-love Be Shown?

You will recall that I mentioned another kind of love; the love of family. The Greek word for family love is storgov/storgos (stor-gos). And the third kind of love is filew/phileo, (fil-eh'-o; 5368; which indicates a strong friendship.

Here is why that is important. In verse 10 it says, "Be kindly affectionate one to another…" The Greek word underlying "kindly affectionate" is a compound word made up to family love and strong friendship love. The word is -- filostorgov philostorgos (fil-os'-tor-gos; 5387). Also in verse 10 we see the phrase "brotherly love." The verse reads, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;" The Greek word translated "brotherly love" is literally filadelfia philadelphia (5360) from the love that indicates a strong friendship.

I have explained all that to say, as believers we can show agape-love to our brothers and sisters in Christ by treating them like cherished family members. Christians should love each other with the same sincerity and tenderness as if they were beloved family members. We should be kind, appropriately affectionate, supportive, encouraging. This love should demonstrate itself by bearing one another's burdens, bearing with, and forbearing each other, forgiving one another, and by edifying (building up) one another in their most holy faith, and praying with, and for one another.

Also note, that verse 10 says "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" Note the phrase one to another and one another. This love is to be reciprocal and mutual. There should be no love wanting on either side; and it ought to be universal, and reach to all the believers.

There is another phrase in verse 10 that need to be looked at as well. It gives us a second guideline for our relationship with other believers. As believers we are to…

  • Lead The Way In Showing Respect For Other Believers

Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"

The phrase "in honour preferring one another" is an interesting one, although it meaning is a bit obscure until you look at the underlying meaning of the words of the phrase. But, even the casual reader can see that it is an exhortation to humility. Again, this fits into the context of Romans 12 quite well in light of what we have read in verse 3, that we are "not to think of [ourselves] more highly than we ought to think."

But, what is the specific instruction of the verse? Understanding the explicit intent of the verse hinges on knowing what the word preferring means. The Greek word translated preferring is prohgeomai proegeomai (pro-ay-geh'-om-ahee; 4285), which means, to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, or to go before as a leader. Used figuratively the word means to set an example. Therefore, the instruction is to "set the example" or lead the way in something. In this context, the something is showing honor.

So what is entailed in showing honor? The word honor is a translation of the Greek word 5092 timh time, pronounced tee-may' (5092) and means, valuable because of the price paid. It is exactly the same word translated "bought with a price" in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

In fact, we are to show kindness, respect, and deference to other believers, because they, like we have been bought with a price and all believers are a valuable part of the family of God! In fact, the secondary meaning of the "timh time" is honor which belings to or is shown to another by reason of the rank and state of the position he holds. Those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior are a valuable part of the family…the family of God. In fact, Romans 8:17 reminds us -- "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

I like what the old Baptist commentator Dr. John Gill had to say about this passage. In honour preferring one another means saints should think honourably of one another, and entertain an honourable esteem of each other; yea, should esteem each other better thou themselves; and not indulge evil surmises, and groundless jealousies of one another, which is contrary to that love that thinks no evil. They should speak honourably of each other in Christian company, and discourage that evil practice of whisperings, backbitings, and innuendos; they should treat each other with honour and respect in their common conversation, and especially when met together as a church of Christ."

Clearly, "in honor preferring one another"is not only an injunction of politeness, but that in all acts of respect and kindness we should take the lead. Instead of waiting for others to honor us, we should be beforehand with them in the manifestation of respect.

Let’s move on.

Romans 12:11 "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;"

  • Be An Example To Other Believers In Serving The Lord (11)

Verse 11 reveals three characteristics of how believers are to serve the Lord.

Serve The Lord Diligently

First, we are to serve the Lord diligently. Romans 12:11a reads, "Not slothful in business…" There is more to this statement than meets the eye. The golden nugget of truth become clear when you find out that the word translated "business" is the Greek word spoudh spoude (spoo-day'; 4710). This is the only place where this word is translated "business" in the King James Bible. It is most often translated diligence. The word means "earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything." It means, "to give all diligence."

When we think of the "business" we think of our occupations. This is NOT what the "business" the King James translators had in mind. They were thinking of the spiritual business of living for and serving Christ. We are to be diligent in our Christian life in public and private. We should be reading the Word, living the Word, attending to the preaching of the Word, praying, witnessing, exhorting others and ministering the Word. As Paul wrote to the Colossians in Colossians 1:10 "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"

Simply stated, believers are to be examples to others by diligently serving the Lord.

But, there is a second way to be an example to others mentioned in this verse. We are to…

Be An Example To Other Believers By Not Being Lazy or Inactive In Serving The Lord (11b)

It is the other side of the coin of diligence. This is revealed in the phrase "not slothful." The Greek word translated slothful is oknerov okneros (ok-nay-ros'; 3636), which means to be tardy, indolent, lazy, inactive, sluggish or apathetic. Verse 11 urges us not to be slothful about serving the Lord.

Friends there is an urgent need to serve the Lord! Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

I must tell you something. If you are a Christian, your were saved to serve, not saved to sit, soak and sour. Far too many people who profess to be Christians are apathetic about serving Christ. They are content to show up on Sunday morning, flip a Ten note in the offering, yawn through the service and then leave Christ in the dust as they speed out of the parking lot until next week.

That’s not Christianity! That’s like the slothful sluggard spoken of in Proverbs 26:15-16 "The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason."

Are you living a diligent Christian life? If not, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:" Proverbs 6:6. Listen friends, Christianity is an ACTION WORD! Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;" Colossians 3:23

Lazy, apathetic Christians give Christ a bad name. Luther translated the verse this way – "In regard to zeal, be not lazy." Be an example to other believers by not being lazy. But be the right kind of example by diligently serving the Lord!

There is a third way to be an example to others mentioned in this verse. We are to…

Be Enthusiastic About Serving The Lord

"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;" Romans 12:11

The phrase "fervent in spirit" indicates an eagerness and enthusiasm in serving the Lord. This should be our mindset in serving the Lord! There is a good reason for serving the Lord eagerly. Serving the Lord counts for time and eternity. As I have said so often, "Only one life t’will soon be past and only what’s done for Christ will last."

Your faithful service to the Lord is one thing that will yield eternal benefits! We know this from what we read in Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I think the Psalmist might have realized this fact when we wrote, "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." Psalms 100:2

God will reward our service, done with the right motive. I suggest you ponder 1 Corinthians 3, especially verses 9 to 15. We need to be enthusiastically serving the Lord!

Romans 12:12-13 reveals some additional guidelines as well. "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Let’s begin by looking at…

  • Focus On Your Heavenly Home & Encourage Other Believers To Do That Too!

One of the most important things that we must remember as believers is that this world is only our temporary home! Christ warned us, " In the world ye shall have tribulation…" in John 16:33. Yet, he continued, "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Why did he say that? The answer is found in 1 Peter 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you."

Christian friends. We can "rejoice in hope" because we have the confident expectation of a glorious future! Remember what Paul said earlier? Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

We can rejoice because we have a future hope. And the hope that I am referring to is a SURE thing! Biblically hope is "the confident expectation of eternal salvation." A careful study of 1 Corinthians 15 will help you to understand our wonderful hope.

I am looking for our "blessed hope." That’s what gives believers the courage to keep on keeping on! Titus 2:13-14 "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

Beloved, Jesus Christ is coming again and He’s coming to Rapture us, give us glorified bodies and take us to be with Him in Heaven. Praise the Lord!!! That’s why we should be "rejoicing in hope…" I am reminded what the Apostle John said -- 1 John 3:2-3 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

In light of the fact that we will one day be with Jesus for all of eternity, we should also…

  • Be Patient In Tribulation

"patient in tribulation;"

The word translated patient is the Greek word upomenw hupomeno (hoop-om-en'-o; 5278) which means to preserve under misfortunes and trials; to endure or bear bravely and calmly.

It is clear that suffering is a part of our lot as human beings. Job put it his way -- "Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward." Job 5:7

The Apostle Peter gives us a glimpse into God’s purpose in trials. He wrote, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10

Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with how we relate to other believers? Simply this. Since trials and suffering are the lot of all believers we need to affirm and encourage others to affirm that God knows what he is doing and that his grace is sufficient to see us through (1 Cor. 12:9; 1 Cor. 10:13). And in a real sense, I thing suffering and trials make us ready let go of this world and yearn for our eternal home in Heaven! Remember Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

  • Persevere In Prayer

"continuing instant in prayer;"

Prayer is the backbone of the Christian’s life. Now, when I talk about prayer I am not referring to prayers that you read or little ditties that you have memorized. I am talking about thoughtful, heartfelt communication with God. The English phrase translated "continuing instant" is a translation of the Greek word proskarterew proskartereo (pros-kar-ter-eh'-o – 4342). It means persevere in something, to persist or to continue constantly.

No Christian will have a victorious Christian life if prayer does not play a key part! Too often our prayers are shallow and insincere. This ought not to be!

I was looking at some of the prayers in the Bible. One that is a good example for us is found in Psalm 86.

As believers, we need to encourage one another to pray. When we gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ, prayer is ALWAYS in order.

Let’s review what we have learned. These are the guidelines that instruct us how we are to relate to other believers.

Treat You Brothers & Sisters In Christ Like Cherished Family Members (10a)

Lead The Way In Showing Respect For Other Believers (10b)

Be An Example To Other Believers In Serving The Lord In The Following 3 Ways (11)

Serve The Lord Diligently

Don’t Be Lazy or Inactive

Be Enthusiastic About Serving The Lord

Focus On Your Heavenly Home & Encourage Other Believers To Do That Too!

Be Patient In Tribulation

Persevere In Prayer

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I would urge you to trust Him as your personal Savior today!

See one of more of these articles on receiving Christ as Savior –'s_plan.htm

Playing Russian Roulette With Your Soul

If you are a believer, then be sure you are following the "guidelines" we have been studying.


Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

Free Literature Packet
Click here for a free literature packet about God's way to eternal life by providing your name and complete mailing address.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

WebSite PageViews
Track visitors of website


Copyright © 2012 - 2015 First Baptist Church of Oak Creek - All Rights Reserved Worldwide.