Summary: It is incumbent upon Christians to build up the body of Christ! Being devoted to one another is a good place to start!
January 7, 2001
Central Church of Christ
BODY BUILDERS: DEVOTION
1. We are beginning a new series of messages from the New Testament called "Body Builders". Descriptive term: church is the ‘Body of Christ’. Christian people are called to belong to each other in a unified body that works for the good of the members and under the direction of the head! More than 30 times Paul talked about the functioning of the church using the illustration of the body. The most extensive use of that analogy appears in 1 Corinthians 12:14-26.
2. We are to be body builders! (Ephesians 4:11-12, 15-16) There are qualities that each of us can have that will build the body up! That’s what this series of lessons is about: helping us to build the body of Christ up here at Central. The first quality that we want to look at in this series is DEVOTION! (Read text.)
NIV "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
KJV "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"
3. Philadelphia is a family relationship word. Paul uses it to refer to the love brothers and sisters in Christ should have for one another. Used 220 times by N T writers to refer to the Christian family. Ephesians 2:19 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,"
4. When baptized, you were made a part of God’s family! We were ‘born again’ into the family. We were adopted through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5)God has accepted us into his family! The result: devotion for each member. Devotion = warmth, tenderness, concern, loyalty. The Scriptures teach the qualities of devotion that will build the body!
A. It should be More and More. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 "Now about brotherly love we Do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more." We are taught by God to love this way. God’s love is constant, even when we are not. We have been loved this way, and God calls us to love this way. 2 Peter 1:5-7 – ‘in increasing measure!’
B. Like our salvation, living and enduring! 1 Peter 1:22-23 "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." Our love is to be from the heart, genuine. Our love is to be deep – not fickle. Our love is rooted in our eternal destiny! Ephesians 4:31 – 5:1 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…" Not only should our devotion be constant, it should also be…
A. This is the caring element – in a cold world, compassion is a rare quality! In the church it should be abundant! 1 Peter 3:8-9 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." It takes humility to be compassionate! Jesus humbled himself to serve humanity. Pride keeps us from compassion. Compassion brings us to bless those who hurt us, understanding the will of God for every human.
B. The church should be an association of caring and blessing. We are to rejoice and weep with those who rejoice and weep! (Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."). We are to pray for one another. (Colossians 1:9-10 "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…") Doesn’t that tell us that the church isn’t for perfect people, but for those who have struggles? In need of compassion?
III. HOW TO GROW IN YOUR DEVOTION!
A. Overcome the obstacles. This is more difficult for some than others. Some fear rejection due to bad experiences with relationships. Some are not expressive with their devotion. Some have anger and resentfulness – which block them from loving others. Recognizing these things is an important step in growing beyond them. Being a part of God’s family doesn’t lead us to deny these things, but to seek for healing and the joy that God wants to bring us.