I encourage you to grow together in Christ and for Christ
As God’s children we recognise that we are made “alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). Christians have been “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2). This was God’s eternal intention, for all Christian relationships to begin with and continue in the Christ centred grace of salvation. It’s a treasure to have friendships continually growing together in there value, appreciation of each other, and sweetness because of Christ.
The Lord’s intent and design for His church is that “the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19). Unfortunately, people who are influenced by sin work against God’s purposes for the rich blessings of togetherness.
Sadly, it’s mankind who separates and isolates relationships. Sin motivates people to promote self to be their highest priority. Once self is the supreme ruler of the heart, everything and everyone is able to be sacrificed in order to satisfy its cravings. Selfishness destroys the togetherness of God’s people. It has no concern for the damage it causes, just as long as it gets what it wants. But not so for the children of God!
Praise God, He has given the gift of love, planted within us (Romans 5:5) to be used for His purposes and glory. Therefore, “above all… we are to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14). Love enhances and advances Christian togetherness. Love never works to separate or isolate. Rather, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” (Hebrews 10:25), love pulls together in fellowship at the expense of selfishness, for the benefit of others.
Our completeness in Christ is experienced more intimately as “one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). We are so intertwined in Christ that as we engage with each other in ‘agape’ love, we experience the reality of the risen Christ. Therefore Paul prayed; “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6). Togetherness glorifies God by displaying His character, while individuality dishonours our Heavenly Father through selfishness.
It is our privilege to watch with understanding as the Lord builds His Church (Mat 16:18). In Christ, His Church is “being joined together, [and] grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22). We have the joy of engaging with fellow believers in cooperation with the Lord who is actively synchronised with our Christian relationships.
As unbelievers view and interact with the Church, they taste the character of the Lord Jesus Christ through the relationships of God’s children. They experience the “bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) which they don’t experience in the world. This is body evangelism. “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).
I encourage you to live Christ through enriching your togetherness with fellow believers. In this our Saviour is glorified, our fellow saints are blessed, and the world will see God’s gospel love through you.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz