The main focus of verses 10-13 is on how we are to express love to other Christians - those who are described in Scripture as our "brothers and sisters" in Christ. Some of these instructions may also have application to our interaction with unsaved people (though that is not the emphasis here).
We should also encourage each other to do these things. After all, these instructions are given to the group as a whole, not to individuals living isolated from each other!
Love and honor (v. 10)
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love."
A description of this "family love." (Note that this does not describe the type of love we are to have toward the unsaved.)
"Honor one another above yourselves."
One of the ways we show love to our Christian brothers and sisters is by valuing them above ourselves... and by being eager to do so!
Though this is not the focus of verse 10, it is important to remember our duty to value all people, even if they are unsaved.
Eager to be Jesus' servant (or slave) (v. 11)
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, ..."
We have an obligation to eagerly give ourselves to the Lord (Jesus Christ) as his slaves. After all, that's part of what it means to "follow" him!
If we claim to be "following Jesus," we need a "hot-spirited" zeal. It's not only important... it's mandatory!
"... serving the Lord."
The word translated in v. 11 as "serving" refers to the duties of a slave - and this concept is found throughout the New Testament! There is no reason for us to be offended by the word "slave," unless we accept the world's definition of "slavery" and reject what the Bible says.
If we accept what the Bible says about the concept of "slavery," we will quickly discover that there are many principles that can be applied to modern-day work situations - even though we don't normally use the word "slave" to describe them.
Living with the right attitude (v. 12)
"Be joyful in hope, ..."
Jesus Christ and what he did is our only basis for hope. But we really can't appreciate all that he has done, until we realize the hopelessness of our situation without him.
There is a radical difference between the fake "hope" that the world offers, and the genuine hope that comes from God. Here, we look at the nature of genuine hope. It is something we can rejoice in!
"Be ... patient in affliction, ..."
All people experience trials, sorrow and pain; and we don't have to live in denial about it. Scripture tells us that we must be patient in such situations. It also gives us many reasons why we should be patient.
Many people seem to think that they "deserve" a trouble-free life. Such people need an "attitude adjustment"! Here, we look at the attitude we should have toward trials, and some of the reasons for that attitude.
A few more comments about our response toward suffering, followed by a look at the nature of "patience" and what it accomplishes in our lives.
"Be ... faithful in prayer."
Prayer is the foundation that makes it possible for us to have the hope and patience mentioned previously in this verse. But we need to understand the nature of prayer, and how our prayer reflects our values (whether those values are God-honoring or corrupt).
In this context, "faithful" means that our prayer is to be an ongoing activity - a part of "daily life." Here, we look at this obligation.
"Share with God's people who are in need."
Most translations use the word "saints." But this word "saint" has become so misused and distorted, that it is nearly impossible to use it without first defining what the word really means!
"Needs" are not the same as "desires"; and Scripture treats them differently. Also, when sharing is involved, there are obligations for both giver and receiver.
A look at how the early church shared, under the guidance of the apostles. These instructions are normally ignored in modern-day churches, who focus on "free handouts," rather than the type of "sharing" endorsed by the New Testamant.
Some types of sharing are an expression of love and doing good; other types encourage sin! This article looks at some of the principles that guide us into God-honoring sharing. (There are qualifications and obligations for both giver and receiver.)
The New Testament Greek word "koinonia" is used to describe a special type of fellowship and sharing that is available only to God's people. Here in Part 1, we look at fellowship with God, the foundation that makes possible fellowship with each other. We note some of the blessings, obligations and prohibitions related to having fellowship with God.
God brings us together for "koinonia" fellowship; he makes it possible. Here in Part 2, we look at some of the blessings, obligations and goals that are related to this fellowship with each other.
Here in Part 3, we correct four misperceptions of what "koinonia" fellowship is about. These can easily distort our views and influence (wrongly) how we interact with other Christians.
Though it is not necessarily a wrong thing to do, the modern concept of "hospitality" is not the same as what the word meant in the New Testament! Here, we look at the New Testament concept and how it might relate to modern-day situations.
[Guidelines for determining when and how to share]
There are times when obligations seem to conflict with each other. In such situations, Scripture gives us guidelines and priorities for knowing which obligation to fulfil. Though these guidelines are relevant for all issues in life, we include them here, because they are so often needed when tryng to determine how to share (or not share) with others.