Romans 12:1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
I Corinthians 14:26, "What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up."
Galatians 6:1, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Colossians 4:15, "Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house."
The use of this particular language shows us that Paul expects us to act as Christian siblings toward one another in the church. But how do siblings treat one another (or how should they treat one another)?
Siblings love each other.
Siblings talk with each other.
Siblings spend time together.
Siblings depend on one another.
Siblings sacrifice for each other.
Siblings treat each other as equals.
Siblings challenge one another.
Siblings share their hopes and dreams with one another.
Siblings watch out for each other.
Siblings serve each other.
This is a short list of how siblings ought to treat one another. Surely these are things Paul had in mind when he thought about how Christian brothers and sisters should treat each other.
We also see that Paul's key choice of words indicates a care for the priesthood of believers. If Christians truly act as siblings toward one another, this encourages the priesthood of all believers in Christ. For example, siblings serve one another and depend on each other. If this occurs in the church, then all members are acting out their responsibilities as priests of God. Siblings also challenge each other and spend time together. When the church functions in this way, the full priesthood is living in a God-honoring manner.
Paul had a picture of a family in mind when he thought of the church. God is our Father. We are all siblings in Christ. If we remember this and live according to it, we will be blessed. We will also bless others. Why? Because we will all actively pursue Jesus together.
An added bonus to all this is that an active priesthood of all believers is attractive to the lost world. The world is an ugly place with little support, sympathy, encouragement, and love. The church offers all these in Christ. In this manner, the priesthood has a sort of missions function for the world.
Brothers and sisters in Christ. What a wonderful thought.