Scripture gives us a lot (around 100) “one another” instructions; things we should all do on behalf of our family in Christ. About a third of these instructions deal with Christians getting along while another third are specifically about the church getting along. Our “connectedness” in Christ is clearly something of significance. Paul writing to the church in Rome puts it this way - “Christ makes us one body, and individuals who are connected, to each other” (Romans 12:5).
In Luke 5:17 some men carry their paralysed friend and lower him through the roof in the middle of a meeting that Jesus is conducting. Jesus’ response is one that is amazing and transforming. There are four things found in this story that we should always hold onto.
One of our life’s purposes is to become like Jesus; to grow in character and to grow spiritually. Paul, writing to the church in Rome said it this way – “From the very beginning, God decided that those who came to Him … should become like His son.”
But, we can’t grow on our own. We have to have other people in our lives who will help us to grow; other people who will encourage us and build us up. It’s another reason why, as a church community we’re “better together”.
The Bible gives us many tools for helping us grow together. They include:
• affirming each other’s worth (with acceptance, attention, affection and appreciation)
• praying for one another
• admitting our own mistakes, and
• encouraging each other’s commitment
The Bible says we’re “better together” and often speaks about how we relate with “one another”. So, it’s important for us to build stronger relationships. Stronger relationships within the church and with the community around us.
One purpose of our Christian life is to build relationships by sharing God’s love with other people - with our friends and family, the people we regularly connect with and those who don’t know Jesus yet; those who aren’t in God’s family. Paul writing to the Philippians says - “You are standing together, side by side with one strong purpose – to tell the Good News” (Philippians 1:27b)
We can partner with one another to share that “good news”. We can faithfully pray together, reach out in love, nurture friendships and represent Christ with our lives.
"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it " (Matthew 10:39).
We can often find ourselves holding onto to all kinds of interesting things in this life, and we often take control of our own ship. But Jesus is asking us to trust Him.
This week we will be reading from John 8. It is a familiar story about the woman caught in adultery. By the end of the passage all the accusers have dropped their stones and walk away one by one, until it is only Jesus left with the woman. In light of this passage we will be looking at what it means to let go.
Though we intuitively know it’s not true, we often buy into the “independence myth”. It’s the idea that we’ll be happy if we have independence in our lives; if we don’t let others get too close to us and if we’re “self-sufficient”.
Paul, writing to the church in Rome, turns that idea on its head. He says - “Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others” (Romans 12:5).
God says community isn’t optional. We need each other, and we belong to each other in the body of Christ. We have to have other people in our lives if we’re going to be all God wants us to be.
Scripture reminds us we need others to walk with us, work with us, watch out for us, wait and weep with us, and witness with us.
Have you ever been in an environment where you have felt like a “fish out of water”? Perhaps in a group setting where people are acting in ways which offend your Christian sensibilities, morals & beliefs.
Have people ever tried to entice you to go along with the crowd because “everyone else is doing it”?
Have you ever been criticized because of your Christian stance?