Our Church needs to be a community united in our faith in following Jesus as the only Way, Truth and Life. Being a united community means we all need to be involved with our people.
To Be a Family
Some secular organizations claim to be “families” when clearly their business is not based on relationships. Companies often promote a family workplace atmosphere, but in reality the job has to be the focus. Colleges might claim to be an extended family, but if someone can’t pay the tuition they are quickly shown the door.
The Church, on the other hand, isn’t a business or a school. Despite the many illustrations comparing them, the church is not a hospital or a sports team. The Church is a group of people who choose to live the Christian life with one another. Relationships aren’t a nice add-on or an option in the Christian life. They are a responsibility in the Family of God, the Body of Christ.
The New Testament has dozens of commands telling believers to relate to “one another”. Depending on how you count them, there are around 40-60 “one another” directions. Obviously, “another” means “an other”. We often need that other person to be in relationship with us in order to follow the Lord completely.
10 Ways to Practice the One Another's
Here are ten quick examples of things that can’t be done alone:
- Love one another - John 13:34; Romans 13:8, 1 John 4:7
- Accept one another Romans 15:7
- Serve one another - Galatians 5:13
- Bear one another’s burdens - Galatians 6:2
- Forgive one another - Ephesians 4:32
- Teach and admonish one another - Colossians 3:16
- Encourage and build up one another - 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13
- Stir up one another to love and good deeds - Hebrews 10:24
- Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other - James 5:16
- Show hospitality to one another - 1 Peter 4:9
Again, these are not suggestions but commands. If we aren’t regularly fulfilling these and many more ‘one another’ actions, then we are failing in the Christian life.
IT TAKES A WHOLE BODY
It’s very sad that many believers do not participate in this relational and fulfilling lifestyle that God has designed for us. The cost to their spiritual lives is massive. Instead of experiencing a deep Christian community, they step in and out of church making only shallow acquaintances. It’s not only a personal loss but also a loss to our church community. The Lord gives us gifts so we can serve others, and if we don’t use our gifts then the community of faith misses out.
Listen to how Paul paints the picture of a healthy, active Christian community:
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
“Instead, speaking the truth in love.” This speech is from one person to another. It’s not about someone speaking to themselves or praying to the Lord. It is about relationships.
“...we will grow…” The result of speaking truth to each other is growth, maturity, change, and development. The church should be a healthy, loving, growing community following Jesus.
“...the head, that is, Christ.” There are many great non-profit organizations that help people in various ways. The Church can work with these groups at times, but it should be clear that Jesus Christ is the ultimate leader of the Church. Worship, the Word of God, Baptism, and Communion are all vital practices that keep the church grounded. Churches that let go of the gospel and pursue political power and social progress typically have little to no worship, do not view the Bible as an authority, only baptize as a ceremony for infants, and do not emphasize the message of the cross in Communion.
“...as each part does its work”. Every one of us has the privilege of doing something significant to build up the community of faith. It is work, but it is a labor of love that satisfies us.
Every believer is a part of the body and every believer has a work assigned to them by the Lord.
Stop and think about it. A Sunday service gathering should not be a time where a few people onstage and another group offstage ‘do the ministry’ while the rest ‘sit and soak’. We should all be doing something for the Lord.
There may be times when someone is going through a deep season of grief or trial and needs to primarily receive and not be burdened with ministry expectations and responsibilities. Hopefully, in a Church gathering there are also some ‘not yet Christians’ on their way to making a commitment to Christ. These people shouldn’t be expected to minister (although they could get involved in some areas) and certainly not to lead. They should be loved, included, and encouraged to follow the Lord.
The commands in the Bible still stand in the midst of these situations. “As each part does its work” implies that everyone should be involved. Look again earlier in Ephesians 2:10 where we see that we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works”.
Leaders should not simply run services and programs. Leaders should point people to Jesus (‘make disciples’) and help them discover and pursue their God-given calling. This is true for Pastors and for Life Group Leaders.
A Life Group leader doesn’t just run a weekly meeting. The leader helps people find and fulfill God’s direction for their life.