Love, Serve and Stay United in Church
Life with Jesus
...we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
The Church Jesus built has an enemy. That was clear from the time He introduced it: “…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) In less than 300 years the Roman Empire went from being its most vicious persecutor to acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Preaching “Christ crucified” – which was called “foolishness” by the gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23) – ended up being victorious over the “wisdom” sought by Greco-Roman culture. (1 Corinthians 1:22-30) But that’s in the past. What about today? Do the “wise” and “strong” still search for “the wisdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 1:27, 30) Yes! Here are a few examples:
- Facebook’s founder admitted that he wants to imitate the church’s ability to make strong and unified groups.
- Guy Kawasaki, an American author and “Chief Evangelist” for an important computer company, attended the Billy Graham school of evangelism.
After so many centuries, the Church is still effective and influential. How does it operate? What kind of organization, (or, as it has also been called, organism), is the Church of Christ?
How are we to love one another?
Romans 12:9 urges, “Let love be genuine.” How are we to do this? “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9) Impostors seek honor for themselves, taking advantage of others and tearing down the integrity of the group in the process. (As the problems in the Church of Corinth show.) True Christian love puts the other person’s best interests first. If you’re part of a group you can really trust, where you can be yourself, it works to build you into the person God means for you to be.
How are we to serve one another?
In Romans 12:11-13 goes on to explain, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit.” Have you ever volunteered for something without really wanting to do it? Probably not if you were helping a really close friend. With our church family, God wants us to be energetic and passionate: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Prayer is necessary because Jesus Himself promised us we’d have trouble. “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” The longer you’re part of a church, the more likely it is you’ll have opportunity to help someone in a profound way: it may be giving them something they need, serving in place of someone missing in their life, or making space for them in your home or routine. In fact, it might end up being you who has the need, who experiences the loss or who needs a place to stay. You should turn to your church family before your government or unsaved friends. It makes a great witness to the world! (John 13:35)
How do we stay united?
The Church is called an “organism” - Paul compares it to a human body in 1 Corinthians 12. Each member has a unique function, but they all serve in unity. The word used in Romans 12:16 is “harmony.” “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.” Harmony is a better word, since it makes it clear we’re not all the same. We’ll sometimes feel sadness and joy at different times - this gives us opportunity to support one another and to celebrate with one another. “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
God wants us to always remember that our righteousness, our wisdom, all comes from Him, not ourselves. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:15–18) In saying this, Paul is not telling us to be peaceful until we’ve reached the limits of our patience. He’s telling us that a relationship with another person requires both to be peaceable, and that it’s not always possible to have a harmonious relationship with a disagreeable person. Don’t forget that Jesus taught us not to put a limit on our forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Reminding ourselves of Jesus’ commandments should be a central part of what we do together as a church. As 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” We serve as His body “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18) The life of the Body is Jesus’ life: His continued ministry on earth. It’s by His direction and in His power. Living this way is how we, like the early church, will be victorious over the world, and show them Christ is their only hope of salvation: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)
Pray this week:
Lord, give me the opportunity to serve with a joyful spirit. Amen.
Do you want to know what it’s like to be in unity? Connect with us today!