MOne Anothering (OAN)
An Important Ministry of The Church

Introduction: This short series: One Anothering: A Ministry of the Whole Church addresses the function of the Church as a body of believers ministering to one another. There is a parallel between one’s experience of God’s love, comfort, and forgiveness (none of which are merited) and one’s relationship with another (see Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 7:36-50; 10:25-37; 17:11-19). The unmerciful servant failed to grasp the height and depth of God’s love and forgiveness, the enormity of his debt, the magnitude of his position as a debtor, and the greatness of God and His love. There is a connection between being loved and forgiven, and one’s willingness to OAN including to love, forgive, and minister to others. If a person is not willing to OAN his brother and sister in Christ, then he must ask if he is a true believer. John addresses this issue in the physical realm (1 John 3:16-18). Growth in Christ is for the individual believer and the Church as a body. One Anothering: A ministry of the Church is a must if the Church is to grow itself. The Church grows as individual believers grow!

I. What is meant by One Anothering (OAN)?

A. One Anothering: A ministry of the Church is that ministry of fellowship within the body of Christ whereby believing members help one another to change and grow in Christlikeness.

1. OAN fulfills two ministry functions of the Church: love (John 13:34-35) and maturing of each other (Ephesians 4:11-15).
2. OAN depends on godly pulpit work which facilitates the congregation at home and in the church to love God and to love neighbor.
B. It is the ministry of the Word for and to those in God’s family
C. Ministering the Word: it means to present God’s truth so that it is understood and applied in order to solve problems God’s way and live in a manner that pleases Him.

1. Discipleship: what is a disciple?
2. A disciple is a learner.
3. All believers are learners.
4. All believers are disciples and they are called to disciple as well as to be discipled.
5. Discipleship starts with self-discipline – are you as good as a student as you may be as a teacher?
6. But OAN but can’t end with simply other-focus – no one has arrived as a discipler or disciplee!

D. Evangelism is the ministry of the Word to unbelievers.

II. What is its importance?

A. OAN is a shepherding ministry by and of the members of the body.
B. God has called the elders to a special ministry of shepherding that is distinctive, official, and exemplary.
C. The elders are not called to do all the praying, Bible studying, or evangelism for the congregation.
D. In the same sense, the elders should not do all the shepherding.
E. Indeed the elders’ shepherding is most effective when each member watches out for other members of the flock.
F. Without one anothering, there will be a lack of growth in Christlikeness for each person and the body.
G. The bedrock of church life (all of life is relational) is truth (it must be defined) that is applied daily for the good of the body and the individual.
H. Truth is for godly life and for ministry and is ministry.

III. More than fifty New Testament passages command various sorts of OAN thus emphasizing its importance to vital church life.

A. These various verses use the expression “one another” to illustrate and even detail biblical fellowship. Their purposes and means are varied and include:

1. Support
2. Confront
3. Prevent
4. Exhort
5. One purpose: that the fruits of OAN will be in evidence!

B. Sometimes OAN will be done correctly or wrongly. Either way, these are times to OAN!
C. Brothers and sisters need to develop an instinct for OAN shepherding which should be as instinctive as it was for Jesus and for the apostles post-Pentecost.
D. Shepherding, both by the elders and members (we call this OAN), is to be modeled after that of the great Shepherd (John 6 and 10). Jesus was willing to please His Father and give His life as a ransom for many: John 4:31-34; Matthew 28:20-28; Mark 10:35-45
E. Some specific passages include:

1. Romans 14:1-15:6
2. 1 Corinthians 12:22-27;
3. Galatians 5:13-15; 6:1-5
4. Ephesians 4:1-3, 4-7, 11-15, 25-32;
5. Philippians 2:3-5, 6-11;
6. 1 John 1:3-7