The Church, the church doesn’t have an address, it is made up of individual Christians coming together. In our individualistic society it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Christians are bonded together in a relationship of unity as members of one another.
Romans 12:5 (NIV)
..so in Christ we (Christians), though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
In fact, so critical is this relationship that our horizontal fellowship with the family of God even influences our vertical fellowship with the Father. We are a church, Riverside, and each one of you belong to this church, belong to each other. We are not meant for isolation, like a coal taken from a fire and set aside, it’s flame and heat diminish and eventually it smolders out. We need each other.
Today is the last in our Relationship series, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly –Christians, our relationship with other Christians.
The church has been referred to as
The church is all of these and more, much more. In fact for all of us here to participate together as a real authentic church, to experience what the Bible outlines for us as people in a church is unbelievable, extraordinary and a life changing dynamic we can have as a group of people.
Acts 4:32 a (NIV)
All the believers were one in heart and mind.
‘One in heart and mind.’ That’s deep connect, being ONE, that is soul satisfying, that is what we want everybody to experience and have, a deep connect to each other at Riverside. But you have to join in, you have to connect and connect deeply. We’ll talk later about the practical way of HOW to connect deeply but first let’s talk about what do we need to do to start this deep connect.
There is a strange phenomenon in the Bible when it comes how Christians should interact with each other in order to have this deep connect, this oneness together. There are 2 words used over and over again to describe how we should interact with each other, the words are one another.
There are 21 ‘one another’s in the Bible so allow me to read these Bible verses to you and as I do ask yourself, do I do this, am I willing to do this in order to have an authentic Christian relationship with others, to connect deeply?
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
[ Paul the Minister to the Gentiles ] I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
[ Final Greetings ] Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Galatians 5:13
[ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
[ Instructions for Christian Households ] Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Application -the practical way of joining in
Two more verses for you first:
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, purifies us from all sin.
First of all Christian, you need to talk, you need to walk the Christian way, that’s walking in the light.
Secondly: Hebrews 10:25
… not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We need to be together to have this fellowship, this deep connect, be together to encourage, love, admonish to bear with one another. We have to be together, that’s church.
SO, here are some practical ways of joining in
Come to church on Sunday
Come join us attend a Class in May called an Introduction to Riverside, after church then a meal together and then a class, a class on how to join in.
Join a cell group, (we’re starting a new one this Thursday, 7pm @ Riverside)
Serve, pick up something you can do here, use your spiritual gifting, all God’s children sing in the choir, there is a place for you to serve at Riverside.
Bring your friends, your neighbors and your family and help them connect deeply to God and to the church family.