Connected To Other Christians is the seventh in a series of lessons on, "The Significance of Being A Christian." I found the outlines for this series of lessons at:
Connected To Other Christians is the seventh in a series of lessons on, "The Significance of Being A Christian." I found the outlines for this series of lessons at: http://executableoutlines.com/sig.htm
It is this last thought that we expand upon as we conclude this series...Christianity involves activity. Some of that activity involves "working together" with other Christians. Each Christian needs to understand the importance of our collective work
The consequences of "solo Christianity" are dangerous... Such as inactivity, unhappiness, spiritual stagnation, etc. Recent studies suggest that people without active involvement in a church are more likely to have weakened immune systems, therefore more likely to get sick.
The bottom line is that Christians rarely survive spiritually apart from their proper relationship with other Christians. Like a glowing ember removed from the fire of which it is a part...it soon cools and dies (while the other embers remain hot)
ILLUSTRATIONS OF TOGETHERNESS ... One illustration is that of “fellowship” . Acts 2:42 NET They were devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
We work together as we extend "the right hand of fellowship". Galatians 2:9 NET and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me,
Mark 3:31 NET Then Jesus' mother and his brothers came. Standing outside, they sent word to him, to summon him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you."
33 He answered them and said, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 And looking at those who were sitting around him in a circle, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."
1 Timothy 3:15 NET in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves in the household of God, because it is the church of the living God, the support and bulwark of the truth.
The church is Christ's "body" Ephesians 1:22 NET And God put all things under Christ's feet, and he gave him to the church as head over all things. 23 Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. 6 And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.
7 If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; 8 if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness.
If the body (and its members) is to grow, each member must contribute Ephesians 4:16 NET From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love.
One is "added" by the Lord Himself to the "universal" church upon obedience to the gospel. Acts 2:41 NET So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.
One then should "join" himself to a "local" church. Acts 9:26 NET When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
Christians are obligated to participate in the life of a faithful congregation, whenever possible. The command to withdraw from certain ones implies that participation in the fellowship with other Christians is not optional.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NET But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us.
1 Corinthians 12:25 NET so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.
Humility, lowliness of mind Philippians 2:3 NET Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.
Appreciation for others and their work. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 NET We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, 3 because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gentleness, meekness Galatians 6:1 NET Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.
Love John 13:34 NET "I give you a new commandment — to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples — if you have love for one another."
Identify yourself as a member of a faithful congregation. Acts 9:26 NET When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple.
Drifters, "floating members", "members at large", etc., are missing an important aspect of Christianity. The same goes for passive "spectators", those "just along for the ride", "permanent visitors", etc.
One places membership with the intent of being an actual, functioning member - not a mere appendage to the body. It involves making real commitments to the group. Pray for other Christians, especially those of one's own Congregation
Philippians 1:9 NET And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight 10 so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Submit to the congregation's elders Hebrews 13:17 NET Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.
“ Singing” Colossians 3:16 NET Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.
Participation in the assembly, to the extent of one's ability. Worship is not a "spectator" activity. The crucial question is not "How did the preacher do?", but "How did I do?"
Assembling together is not merely a routine to perform, but a God-given provision for our spiritual good. Quibbles and questions about whether we have to, complaints, neglects, etc., reveal an attitude of taking lightly the opportunity for Christians to be together.
God wants to give us something in our assemblies - our involvement or non-involvement reveals much of whether we desire to accept what God has for us! -- To minimize this aspect of Christianity jeopardizes not only one's own soul, but the souls of others!
Help maintain unity in the congregation. 1 Corinthians 1:10 NET I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.
3 John 1:3 NET For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, just as you are living according to the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth.
Paul had joy when he remembered his fellowship with others. Philippians 1:3 NET I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you 5 because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
we have certainly not exhausted what it means to be a Christian. But I pray that in some way I have both encouraged and exhorted you to greater faithfulness and fruitfulness in the service of our Lord!