As we continue to study 2 Corinthians 1, we will see what Paul's ministry meant to interdependent relationships within the church. All the promises of God for personal relationships in the church are presented, received, and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christian relationships can and should thrive in Him. This does not mean there will be no struggle; but healing and progress can always be found in the Gospel. The unwavering nature of the Gospel message helps us regain spiritual confidence after conflict.
Unity in Christ's body is maintained by more than individual behavior and relationships. It is maintained by having a unified mission.
At first reading, Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 seems to advocate being a little bit wicked. But this interpretation would not fit with the rest of Scripture. Instead, Solomon is showing that excessively applying righteousness and piling on wickedness are both dangerous. We should not come to conclusions about a person's character too quickly.
The next section of Ecclesiastes we will preach illustrates the importance of companionship where isolation reigns.
Looking for Jesus Christ's return motivates us to live in a proper manner. Faithful living is personal and characterized by a loving disposition and moral behavior. God is faithful to enable you to grow on your own, but He also wants you to be helped by others in a local church family. This interdependence will have a supernatural influence inside and outside the church.
Paul talks about two categories of Christians in Romans 14, the strong and the weak. Every believer falls under one category or the other. Both are assumed to be reverent and growing. Both are instructed to keep themselves in the love of God.
We are studying the third section of Romans 12. When people are transformed by grace (Romans 12:1-2) and functioning well in the body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8), we are able to love each other as God intends.
Knowing our history and considering the future both bring us closer to each other and the Lord.
The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8, is God's assignment for the church. The task of reaching the world with the name of Christ is bigger than any individual. It is even bigger than the collective group of believers. This task requires the power of God. Thankfully, that which God calls us to, He also empowers us to do. As we continue to grow spiritually, God does the work to accomplish His eternal mission.
The local church is characterized by believers who love one another and are excited to serve together. This delights God's heart. We serve not merely to be busy but to build each other up and be light in the culture. Our influence in the community is only as strong as our relationships with one another in the local church.
"Many a little makes a mickle." This Scottish proverb illustrates how many small things can add up. The local church is made up of many people with Spirit-given special abilities. The combination of these gifts working together is one of the most significant influences in the world.
God has ordained that the Christian life is to be lived not in isolation, but in conjunction with the community of saints. So how is it that Christians, particularly here in America, have become used to amputating limbs off of the body of Christ (which is the local church)? In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, the Apostle Paul refers to the Corinthian believers as being eyes and ears and noses—body parts. This is the same kind of language that Paul uses in Romans 12:5 when he writes that we are members one of another.
The Bible teaches that Christians are to be mutually reliant upon each other. This doctrine is incredibly important and should be a major heading in our ecclesiology (doctrine of the church). However, it has been almost entirely lost in American evangelicalism. Possible reasons include the American way of life that emphasizes independence and the rejection of denominationalism. American Christianity has become a complex collection of isolated congregations and an even more divided and isolated collection of Christians.
Carbon fiber is ten times as strong as steel and one third the weight. Because of these properties, the airplane industry is using it to make more lightweight, durable jets. Likewise, the church is much stronger and can move forward with much less burden when it is well-taught and holds to proper doctrine. The Christian life can be hard, but it would be much more difficult if we didn't preach a proper Gospel.
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