I encourage you to rejoice in our common blessings in Christ
The Church is God’s place of common blessing for the redeemed in Christ. While there is great diversity within the church, there is even greater commonality in Christ. The testimony of the early church was that “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). What was true of those early believers is also true of us today; “each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
All who place faith in Christ Jesus as Lord belong to the same Heavenly Father, through the same Son of God, and are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul reminded Titus, he was a “true child in a common faith” (Titus 1:4). The Church is not simply a club to which we apply for membership, and as long as we pay the subscription fees, we get to participate. As believers in Christ, “you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Those born again by the Holy Spirit form the Church, which is Christ’s present day body in the world through human flesh (Jn 3:1-21; 1Pe 1:23). The apostle Paul explained to the Corinthian believers how “…God has so composed the body… that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26).
Membership is not optional, nor is it by some natural selection process. Rather, membership has been purchased by Christ’s death in your place for your sin. In fact, the Church has no power to initiate people into itself or to secure existing members. It is Christ alone who qualifies and secures. Our part is simply to place dependant faith in Christ.
God’s ingenious design for His Church surpasses anything mankind could have thought up. Christ himself “is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour” (Ephesians 5:23). As head, He has gifted the Church with leaders “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Nothing has been left to chance. Oneness in Christ in belief and in loving service are the accurate expressions of Christ in His body.
Amongst Church members “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally engage their Church to secure, affirm, and grow her. Our part is to recognise His work in each other and praise Him for it while encouraging one another to grow mature and selfless in Christ.
Today, if you recognise these truths, “arm yourselves with the same way of thinking” (1 Peter 4:1). This takes humility, sacrifice, time and patience. I encourage you to rejoice with the same Spirit, in the same Lord, for the glory of our same Heavenly Father.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz