A Case of Mistaken Identity –5

This is the fifth article in this series on the church. I’m responding to the trend of those who call themselves Christians yet distance themselves from the church.

In the New Testament, one cannot miss the pattern that the immediate work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a new follower was to bring him/her together into deep fellowship with other followers of Christ. Acts 2:41-47 represents a classic passage on the account of the fledgling church in Jerusalem:

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

What an amazing example of God’s ideal for a community of Christ-followers! Their lives were totally entwined with each other as they actively and intentionally pursued Jesus Christ. And lest someone argue that this was their experience, but not necessarily God’s design for the church, check out the one-another passages in the New Testament. These passages underscore God’s desire for us to establish and grow in our relationships with each other as Christ-followers:

  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love –Romans 12:10
  • Honor one another above yourselves—Romans 12:10
  • Live in harmony with one another— Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8
  • Love one another— Romans 13:8; 1 Peter 1:22
  • Stop passing judgment on one another— Romans 14:13
  • Accept one another— Romans 15:7
  • Greet one another warmly— Romans 16:16
  • Agree with one another—1 Corinthians 1:10
  • Serve one another—Galatians 5:13
  • Be patient, bearing with one another in love— Ephesians 4:2
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other—Ephesians 4:32
  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ—Ephesians 5:21
  • Bear with each other and forgive one another—Colossians 3:13
  • Teach and admonish one another—Colossians 3:16
  • Encourage one another—1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • Spur one another on toward love and good deeds—Hebrews 10:24
  • Do not slander one another— James 4:11
  • Offer hospitality to one another—1 Peter 4:9
  • Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another—1 Peter 5:5

Obviously we cannot obey our heavenly Father in these noble ways apart from direct, consistent interaction with each other. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. Clearly, we cannot practice these one-another commands by ourselves! Once again, if we have errantly abandoned the community of Christ-followers (our church) then it must be a case of mistaken identity—we’d forgotten who we are.

©2010 Rob Fischer