Summary: How should believers relate to one another within the chruch? Relational answers are found in C.H.U.R.C.H.
Imagine that we are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. In turn we each put pieces into place; slowly the beauty of the picture begins to take shape. As we continue putting the puzzle together we talk about what it would be like to be a part of the scene before us. As the final pieces are being put into place we are suddenly confronted with the fact that our picture is incomplete; 4 pieces are missing. How do you feel about all our work together knowing that it will forever remain incomplete?
Now imagine that instead of missing pieces, the puzzle is alive. As the final pieces are being put into place they change shape and refuse to be joined together with the adjoining pieces. Or worse yet we watch as parts of the puzzle we have put together suddenly separate and pieces leave the table. How do you feel knowing that the beauty of the image being put together will never be finished, because the pieces won’t cooperate with each other?
I wonder if that is sometimes how God feels about His church? He fits people together only to find that some are missing, or individuals which He has purposed to join together refuse to be connected or deliberately separate from each other. I know that there have been times when I have had those kind of feelings.
God’s desire is that we be joined together to fulfill His purpose in the world. As a local body of believers we have been uniquely designed by God to reach our community for Christ.
What is the church? The word church comes from the Greek word “ ekklhsia ” which literally means “a calling out;” it is a meeting of people who have been “called out” or “summoned togther.” In the New Testament “ ekklhsia ” refers to the congregation of God’s people who have been called out or separated from the world into His kingdom; the church is made up of those God has joined together into the body of Christ.
The word “church” can refer to a local assembly of believers, or the universal church as a whole. For our purpose today when I refer to the church, I mean the local church, specifically Praise A/G. But let me be quick to point out two things. First, what is true for relationships within our church is also true for the relationships between believers in other local churches. Second, collectively and individually local churches or body of believers should share in the same type of relationships with other churches as are found within the individual local church.
What should our relationships within the CHURCH be like? Let’s discover God’s plan for relationships within the C.H.U.R.C.H.
Relationships within the church should be Christlike.
Putting it simply, because we are individually connected to Christ, our relationships with one another should be the same as Christ relates to us.
1 John 1:6-7 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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.
Let’s unpack what John says. Verse 6 tells us that if we claim to be in relationship with Jesus our lifestyle will validate our friendship with Jesus. You can’t say you are a Christian and then live like the devil; the way you live will be transformed because you are in relationship with Jesus.
Verse 7 then builds upon that truth. If we are walking in the light–that is if we are in relationship with Jesus, then we will share fellowship with one another. The word fellowship comes from the Greek word “ koinonia ” which is to literally be in partnership with another, it is a mutual relationship which benefits one another. In other words, if I am connected to Jesus, then I am also connected to you!
Furthermore, because I share fellowship with Jesus–walking in the light as He is in the light, then my relationship with you should be like Christ’s relationship with me. Putting it simply, relationships within the church should be loving.
Now if we are not getting along with one another within the church–if our fellowship or partnership together is broken, then we should know that there is a sin problem. And before we are quick to point the finger at our brother or sister, let’s look in the mirror. John put it this way:
1 John 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.