Saturday, November 29, 2014

Church Simply: One Anothering

What is the most important part of church life? Is is preaching? Is is giving? Is is teaching? Is it eating? Is it fasting? Is it praying?

I believe the most important part of church life is one anothering.

When we read through the New Testament we see exhortation after exhortation to mutually do certain things for "one another" or "each other." Some related exhortations are to not do certain things within the body. All of this has the purpose of the edification, or building up, of the entire body in Christ.

In order to show just how important this is, I'm listing several here:

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight." Romans 12:16

"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother." Romans 14:13

"Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." Romans 15:7

"Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you." Romans 16:16

"So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another." I Cor. 11:33

"But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another." I Cor. 12:24-25

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." II Cor. 13:11

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13

"Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:26

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." Ephesians 4:25

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:18-21

"Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices." Colossians 3:9

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Colossians 3:12-13

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

"Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you." I Thess. 3:11-12

"Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another." I Thess. 4:9

"Therefore encourage one another with these words." I Thess. 4:18

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." I Thess. 5:11

"See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone." I Thess. 5:15

"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing." II Thess. 1:3

"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25

"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door." James 5:9

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16

"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart." I Peter 1:22

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." I Peter 4:8-10

"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" I Peter 5:5

"Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ." I Peter 5:14

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." I John 1:7

"For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." I John 3:11

"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us." I John 3:23

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." I John 4:7

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:11


The length alone of the above list should give us pause. Are we really striving to carry out what we see here? Our Lord clearly has an expectation for his church that we will care for each other and strive to edify each other. I Thessalonians 5:11 sums it up well, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

I do not believe that what we read above is a sort of grocery list or laundry list. It's certainly not a to-do list. Rather, as we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, these are activities that we should enjoy. As the body comes together, the Spirit gives us the desire and ability to help others mature in Christ. Since these are reciprocal in nature, we also must accept edification.

When the church does these things, it becomes more and more of what Christ wants it to be: a healthy, mature body.

2 comments:

family man said...

I am a member of Simple Church website and one of the people commented on your blog and I am thankful that he directed me to your site. Pete

Eric said...

Pete,

Thank you for commenting. I'm glad that you like this blog. Please feel welcome to join in on any of the conversations. We can all learn much from one another as we try to figure out this wonderful thing called the church.