“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Family solidarity is the least experienced of the five God-designed purposes for his church, at least in American congregations. Of the six or seven churches I have belonged to in all parts of America, not one had a program to monitor, let alone proactively care for members’ spiritual, emotional, physical, and material welfare. And that’s sad because what’s a family for? And family was God’s design – the blood ties of Calvary binding us closer than human blood ties.
One exciting way to get an overview of what he had in mind is to review this chart for reciprocal commands of the New Testament. Reciprocal living refers to the mutual obligations and relationships which believers have as a result of their common relationship to Christ as members of His body. It may be defined as the outward manifestation of fellowship, in which each believer puts all that they are and all that they have, at the disposal of all other believers and that others do the same for them in order to enable one another in Christian living.
- Be humble with one another (Romans 12:16)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Belong to one another (Romans 12:5)
- Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)
- Have equal concern for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
- Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
- Love one another (John 13:34)
- Confess sins and pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Forbear one another (Ephesians 4:2)
- Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
- Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
- Wait for one another (1Corinthians 11:33)
- Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)
- Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
- Carry burdens for one another (Galatians 6:2)
- Instruct one another (Romans 15:14)
- Offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Speak truthfully to one another (Ephesians 4:25)
- Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
- Stop grumbling with one another (John 6:43)
- Stop passing judgment on one another (Romans14:13)
“Spur one another toward love” (Hebrews 10:24) When something is edified, it is built up, strengthened or fortified. The New Testament uses this term of building up and strengthening of believers in their faith so that they live lives that are pleasing to God in every way. One of the ways that God has chosen to edify His people is through the ministry of believers themselves. Christians are to edify one another. Mutual relationships of love form the basis for this ministry of edification. In fact, Paul tells us that love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:2). The Christian life is more than relationships. It is obedience to all of God’s will which He has revealed in His Word. This mutual edification begins, but does not stop, with love. To edify one another in the biblical sense of the term, believers must also help one another to learn and apply the Word of God in their daily lives. And this task is not meant only for pastors and teachers. All Christians are to be involved. Mutual edification commands tell Christians how they can help one another, out of love for one another, learn and apply the Word of God in daily living.
The thought of being a servant is not appealing to most people. Serving is a hard and sometimes thankless job. And servants must continually put the needs and interests of others before their own. But this is just what Christians are supposed to be; servants to one another, not grudgingly, but out of love for one another. Because Christ loved us He made Himself a servant to us throughout His life and finally in His atoning death on the cross. Because we love Him and His people, we are to make ourselves servants to Him, but also to one another.
Just as Christians who truly love one another will seek to edify one another, they will also seek to serve one another. These mutual service commands deal with ways that Christians can express their love to one another in practical and down-to-earth service.
The reciprocal commands form a biblical foundation for the whole life responsibility of the congregation for each of its members: spiritual, emotional, physical, and material/financial.
So, in the flow of God’s grace-filled provision in the body of Christ, He provides the giver (and the gifts), the receiver, and the “asker”. For us to mature, God may give the congregation opportunity to practice multiple ministries. Admitting need and receiving help can be the very classroom where God equips you with deep understanding of what people in need really feel and the level of humility it often requires to graciously receive. Furthermore, it won’t do simply to leave the financial needs to the haphazard provision of benevolent members of the congregation. A structured program such as the “roll” for widows in the early church should be provided. Crisis intervention, job placement, retraining for employment – azwhatever the need, if family should provide, so with God’s family.
Now ask yourself, “Does my care for my brothers and sisters reach beyond spiritual care to full-service emotional, physical, and material responsibility for all members? What do you do well? How can you love better and meet someone’s needs?
 See: John 13:34,35; 15:12-13; Romans 14;17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 13:4-8; Galatians 5:13-15, 5:25-6:10; Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 2:1-4; Colossians 3:12-15
 Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:12,13; Romans 15:14; Ephesians 5:18-20