Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Commission of Community

The sharing of the Love of Jesus through fellowship in the spirit is one of the most sublime experiences on earth. There are individual experiences that equal or surpass what one may find in this community...the day of revelation that Jesus Christ is Messiah, the day of marriage, the birth of children come to my mind; but while walking on earth as a Christian and being assaulted every day with the pain and upheaval of human society, those moments spent with others in Christian fellowship fill with a breeze from heaven itself. If this cannot be said or agreed upon, whatever the reason, the exploration of that lack is a separate discussion. This post touches on the wonder of God's provision through the corporate experience.

Drawing from reader's comments about the topic of Christian community as the Body of Christ:

Life shared within the Body is
  • the fulfillment of the Crucifixion and Resurrection
  • the venue for spiritual growth
  • participants are contributors to the life it contains
  • the vessel of Jesus' omnipresence with a global and local reach
  • the place in which the believer may partake of the character of the Lord
  • the expression of God's authority
Each of these thoughts from my brothers is significant. I would agree with each completely. I offer additionally for your consideration this list of New Testament instruction and beauty about life in the Body.

Mr 9:50 - ...Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
Ro 12:5 - ...so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Ro 12:10 - Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Ro 12:16 - Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly
Ro 13:8 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Ro 14:13 - Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Ro 14:19 - So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Ro 15:5 - Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Ro 15:7 - Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Ro 15:14 - And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Ro 16:16 - Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1Co 12:25 - so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another

Ga 5:13 - For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ga 6:2 - Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Eph 4:2 - with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Eph 4:25 - Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Eph 4:32 - Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Eph 5:19 - speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Eph 5:21 - and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Php 2:3 - Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Col 3:9 - Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Col 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.

Col 3:16 - Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
1Th 3:12 -and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;
1Th 4:18 - Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1Th 5:11 -Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1Th 5:15 -See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

Heb 3:13 -But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb 10:24 -and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Heb 10:25 -not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Jas 4:11 -Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

Jas 5:9 -Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

Jas 5:16 -Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1Pe 1:22 -Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1Pe 4:8 -Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1Pe 4:9 -Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1Pe 4:10 -As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1Pe 5:5 -You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

1Jo 1:7 -but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1Jo 3:11 -For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1Jo 3:23 -This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1Jo 4:7 -Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1Jo 4:11 -Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another

1Jo 4:12 -No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2Jo 1:5 -Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.


Craig V. said...

I love the Scripture references. It's edifying just to read them slowly. I think it's difficult for us to really understand what we are as a body because we're so accustomed to judging our lives in terms of the richness of our experiences as individuals. For example, we might describe the wonderful event of becoming a father as an overwhelming joy. Is that really what makes it great? What if there was an overwhelming joy pill? Would that be a viable substitute to being a part of the birth of a son or daughter? What we don't seem to see is how such an event is integrally related to our being a part of a community. A new life arrives which forever changes family and community. Joy is being overwhelmed by the meaning of that new life. So too, what makes our life in Christ's body great isn't our experience of that life but the wonderful reality of a community created by Jesus in his death and resurrection by the work of the Holy Spirit. The result of being overwhelmed by the meaning of that event is love.

ded said...

craig v.

You said, I think it's difficult for us to really understand what we are as a body because we're so accustomed to judging our lives in terms of the richness of our experiences as individuals.

This is such a important observation!! I couldn't agree more.

Our independent thinking as Americans is in complete opposition to what the Scriptures clearly illustrate was the thinking/feeling of the NT writers.