In my prior post (Jesus Don’t You Care?) I related how Scripture declares the intimate relationship each Christian can have with God directly through faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit God sends into every believer’s heart. In this post, I want to explain briefly what we all seem to know instinctively–we need each other!
So, why should Christians gather with each other? Isn’t a direct relationship with God enough?
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
I. We have physical bodies and God does not.
- Our physical bodies with all their material and emotional needs are often best served by others like us.
- We have arms and legs to carry and provide, which God does not.
- Seeing God’s love in others helps us to see beyond the physical to see God himself.
II. We are family.
- Although the three-in-one being of God is impossible for our limited minds to grasp, we can grasp that God is a God of communication. He communicates among himself, and we are modeled to be like him. Communication is basic to the life God created in us.
- Families meet often to share each other–to be family together. Family by definition means more than one.
- God created us to be family–both with him and with each other.
III. We encourage each other in Christ when we meet together.
- Together, we balance out and correct false or incomplete doctrine.
- Alone, we are easy targets for our spiritual enemies, Satan and his demons.
- Speaking for myself, we forget. I sometimes forget to pray, I forget God loves me, I forget my Christian duties, I forget how to worship. My sisters and brothers in Christ remind me of these things.
- Again, speaking for myself, I am not always in close fellowship with God. I go off track, I might get strange ideas, I am tempted in various ways and may fall prey. Hearing the testimonies of others and witnessing the movement of God in their lives encourages me to keep on keeping on. My family in Christ animates me to worship and adore the Lord.
IV. It’s often lots of fun!
V. We live out the love of Christ for us by loving others. When I lay down my life in love for another, I understand experientially what it cost Christ to lay down his life for me. No amount of words can give me such an understanding. The result is worship.
I. As a Christian, I have a direct and intimate relationship through the Holy Spirit by faith in Christ with God the Father. I must do what I can to nurture this relationship.
- give priority to making time to be alone and quiet with God
- learn to hear and recognize his voice when he speaks
- cry out to him regularly and truthfully in prayer
- obey when he acts the parent and gives me a task to do
- fellowship with him through his word
- love, adore, worship, and submit to him in private time alone and together with him
- remember and take advantage of the fact that he is always present
II. As a Christian, I have a direct and spiritually intimate relationship with other Christians through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with those who share my faith in Christ.
- Christians are all spiritually one
John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
- God’s purpose for each of us and for Christ’s body as a single whole is fulfilled as we meet and serve one another in love. This love and service becomes visible to the world as a testimony to the truth of the Gospel message of life in Jesus Christ.
III. Christ is the source of all, the center of all, and the purpose of all, whether we fellowship alone with God through the Holy Spirit or in groups together. As Christians, we need both. As we individually drink from the source, may we share our living water with others, so that all may grow to maturity in one body and in love.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”