Monday, March 30, 2009

THE LOCAL CHURCH - SOCIAL CLUB OR SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY?
...learning to practice the "one anothers"

What is the local church really to be like and how is it to function each day? Is it just a one hour a week performance for God led by a few professionals or is it something quite different then what contemporary evangelicalism has made it into? During this Easter season where we rightly refocus on the salvific ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, may we also take time to rethink what genuine ministry in the local church should be. In part one of this important "conversation of faith" I have compiled all of the "one anothers" found in Scripture. May they encourage you in your fellowship and service in the body of Christ. In taking these first steps, consider the words of the Apostle Paul instructing the church at Ephesus, "from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" -Ephesians 4:16

MARK 9:50 "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

JOHN 13:14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet..”

JOHN 13:34 “A new commandment I give to your, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

ACTS 7:26 "And on the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

ROMANS 12:5 “so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

ROMANS 12:10 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

ROMANS 12:16 “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

ROMANS 14:13 “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

ROMANS 14:19 "So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another."

ROMANS 15:5,7 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

ROMANS 15:14 “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”

ROMANS 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.”

1 CORINTHIANS 7:5 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

1 CORINTHIANS 11:33 “Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.”

1 CORINTHIANS 12:25 “…that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”

GALATIANS 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

GALATIANS 5:15 “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.”

GALATIANS 5:26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

GALATIANS 6:2b “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

EPHESIANS 4:2 “…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,”

EPHESIANS 4:25 “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘LET EACH ONE OF YOU SPEAK TRUTH WITH HIS NEIGHBOR,’ for we are members of one another.”

EPHESIANS 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

EPHESIANS 5:19 “…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,”

EPHESIANS 5:21 “…submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

COLOSSIANS 3:9 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,”

COLOSSIANS 3:13 "bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."

COLOSSIANS 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

1 THESSALONIANS 3:12 "and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;"

1 THESSALONIANS 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 THESSALONIANS 5:11 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

TITUS 3:3 “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts, pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”

HEBREWS 3:13 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘TODAY,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

HEBREWS 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

JAMES 4:11 “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

JAMES 5:9,16 “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

1 PETER 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;”

1 PETER 4:9-10 “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

1 JOHN 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

18 comments:

ambiance-five said...

Amen!

ACTS 7:26 "And on the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

I am afraid I have seen way too much of this lately. Of course God does allow it so hopefully we can learn from it all.

Paul said...

It was nice to have as part of our community this past Sunday morning. Thank you for minstering to us.

Paul S.
Grace Bible Church of Brandon, FL

Ray said...

Steve - I would like to print this out and hand it out to my congregation this weekend... Are you OK with that?

Just to set them thinking, not that we have any more problems than the usual church... I have been stressing community within the church for a number of years now, and you have captured everything in this nice succinct post...

Chris Pixley said...

Our congregation has had the privilege of studying through all of the "one-another's" together on Sunday nights for the past few months. We've seen real fruit coming out of these studies as the Body is eagerly seeking out ways to minister to each other, helping to cultivate a wonderfully warm fellowship with one another. Thanks for this good reminder of what the church is to be and do.

Chris Pixley said...

err...I meant Wednesday nights. Sorry to those in my congregation who thought you'd been missing out on something;-)

SJ Camp said...

Ray wrote: "Steve - I would like to print this out and hand it out to my congregation this weekend... Are you OK with that?"

Yes brother. This is the Lord's work and anything on this blog and the A1M site is for His glory and the good of His people. You have my permission to reprint and use anything, without charge to others, for the work of the gospel and the building of His kingdom.

Grace and peace,
SJ Camp

Shawn L said...

Steve I loved the post.

Here's a little comment for those who have been hurt in a church and how to view this. It seems like many of us at times. I believe God puts those commands you have written in the scriptures because the body many times is hurtful and needs prayer in their sanctification.



Here's some thoughts for those who have been hurt in a church.

1) We shouldn't demand to be treated a certain way, we should bless those who curse us and pray for those who hate us (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).

2) We should always consider others better than ourselves and look to the interests of others.(Philippians 2:3-4). We should be forgiving others, as God in Christ has forgiven us a much greater sin than those who have sinned against us. This applies to the body.

3) Sometimes this means suffering which God has intended to produce in use a faith that is greater than gold (1 Peter 1:3-12).

4) Our primary goal in the body shouldn't be that others love us, but that we love God with everything we got and love others (Matthew 22:37-38). Our love for Christ we should be compelled to love others by encouraging one another daily and provoking one another to good works (Hebrews 3:13 ; Hebrews 10:24-25).

5) There are two ways too look at this.
a) How we are to live as believers toward others in the body and around us with brotherly affection

b) How we are to expect to be treated in the body of Christ.

6) Usually our frustration over these things of not being treated well in the body is because we don't find Christ our greatest pleasure and delight, but pursue this delight in someone else. I'm not trying to negate the scriptures that tell the body to have brotherly affection for one another, but we should be aware that people will hurt us and we forgive.



7) The primary reason we love others is because we love Christ so much, that's where it springs from. Our love for others should be genuine as well and should grow for them as we pray and meet with them and as we encourage and provoke them to keep from sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

8) If we say we love God but hate our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ we are a liar and we don't really love God. (1 John 4:20; Matthew 22:39) In a word 1 John.

Unchained Slave said...

Thank you Steve,
This was a major topic of discussion Sunday afternoon.

We came back to the question what is a Church commUNITY?

DOGpreacher said...

First:
I just received (yesterday) your 'Desiring God' CD, and the 'David' project, and I listened to them straight through! I have not done that very often. They are wonderful, and ministered to me greatly. Thanks for blessing a brother!

Now...I preached through 1John (with doses of 1Cor. 13, & Eph.4 & 5), for the first few months of my pastorate. I came to a church with very few members still attending. Some of the ones left were guilty of running the others off.

I told them, that the one who loves the brethren evidences that they know God. Conversely, the one who has not love for the brethren, knows not God (1John 4:8).

There is now a Church fitly joined together, a family, that truly loves each other. The few that couldn't love, eventually were born again, or left. One of these newly born might have said, "All this loving everybody, when I didn't, was like coals of fire on my head".

Much needed piece, Steve. I do thank God for your ministry... through which you show great "love for the brethren"!...I am...

grateful for grace

pilgrim said...

Well Amen!

I'd love to see this played out in my congregation, and others throughut the world.

In some ways we do quite well, in others we don't.

This is partly because some people take these things seriously, and other don't.

So why do those who don't take it seriously believe as they do?
Is it because they have never been taught?
Their hearts are elsewhere?
They have differing views of what "Church" means?
Have they been mistreated by someone or some people in the churhc?

Good and timely reflection.

Dan Edelen said...

Steve,

Thanks for the great list. At a time when Christian families are increasingly retreating into little island fortresses of their own making, we need to know that God created us as a community to ensure we care for each other rather than let each island fall one by one to the Enemy.

SJ Camp said...

When the church has become a club rather than a community, then we are left with the condition of 21st century evangelicalism.

It's so easy for any of us to fall into the trap, isn't it? But a functioning body of believers really applying the one anothers of the faith is not only biblical, but essential to the health of the church.

Listen to these powerful words of Paul when he says, "from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." Now that is a functioning community--not a click; not a club; not a clone of the pomo-driven-culture.

It is time for the church to be the church once again. This is the passion behind the Emergent Church movement isn't it... I don't support Bryan McLaren and his skewed theology; but they are asking the right questions and we need to provide the biblical answers.

Grace and peace,
Steve

Shawn L said...

Again I have read these again tonight as I am continually drawn to these. Wow what words, thank the Lord for them tonight.

Shawn L said...

I was referring directly to the scriptures as God keeps bringing me back to them. ...but I love each of the comments as well.

Oh to have a crucified love for the saints and those around us the way the Lord has called us so His name would be glorified.... I pray for real revival in this area.

The Blainemonster said...

One of the hardest "one anothers" is that from James: do not grumble against one another . . .

Christine said...

Good to read through these,thank you Steve.

SJ Camp said...

Blainemonster
I fully agree my brother. And to do so without any hidden motive for personal malice, revenge, or retribution against another takes grace.

When believers in the Lord grumble against one another - literally speak evil of or defame another - is dishonoring to the Lord and reveals a lack of distrust in His watch care to deal with others and bring about conviction and conformation to Christ in sanctification. IOW, none of us make good substitutes for the sovereign ministry of the Holy Spirit in trying to "fix" others... amen?

Listen to what John Calvin in his commentary of james 4:11 says, "11 Speak not evil, or, defame not. We see how much labor James takes in correcting the lust for slandering. For hypocrisy is always presumptuous, and we are by nature hypocrites, fondly exalting ourselves by calumniating others. There is also another disease innate in human nature, that every one would have all others to live according to his own will or fancy. This presumption James suitably condemns in this passage, that is, because we dare to impose on our brethren our rule of life. He then takes detraction as including all the calumnies and suspicious works which flow from a malignant and perverted judgment. The evil of slandering takes a wide range; but here he properly refers to that kind of slandering which I have mentioned, that is, when we superciliously determine respecting the deeds and sayings of others, as though our own morosity were the law, when we confidently condemn whatever does not please us.

That such presumption is here reproved is evident from the reason that is immediately added, He that speaketh evil of, or defames his brother, speaketh evil of, or defames the law. He intimates, that so much is taken away from the law as one claims of authority over his brethren. Detraction, then, against the law is opposed to that reverence with which it behooves us to regard it."


Convicting words for us all...

Thank you for pinpointing this one another.

SJ Camp said...

Christine
Well said.

It is good just to read the Word through on a subject and let its truth wash over our hearts and minds. We are blessed for meditating on His Word (Psalm 1).

To echo the words of the Psalmist: "Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors..."

Grace and peace.