ESSENTIAL CHURCH

 “One Another”: The New Testament Speaks to Our Responsibility

 

This is the transcript of Pastor Chuck’s message on January 15, which is the first of a series on The Essential Church; Doing What Really Matters.

 

We have gathered together to worship. The format of today’s worship experience will be very different from our usual worship format.  There are more than fifty verses in the New Testament that mention our responsibilities to “one another.” With musical interludes and narration we will read those verses to hear the Word of God speak to our need.

 

Pastor’s Narration 1:

We—the children of God—have been saved by His grace. We have confessed our sin. We have given up trying to impress God by our good deeds. We have surrendered our whole life to Jesus who died on a cross in our place and because of our sin. We have been delivered out of the family of Satan and into the family of God.

 We grow up in Christ together. Nearly every Bible verse about becoming a mature follower of Jesus was written in the context of a group of believers…the body of Christ…the church. The Apostle John wrote, “We know we have passed out of death and into life because we love the brothers.” (1 John 3:14)

Jesus formed the church. Jesus loves the church. Jesus died for the church. You cannot neglect or ignore the assembly of believers-the church- and still claim to follow Jesus.

Peter wrote of the assembly of believers, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession so that you (together) may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Each of these descriptive words refers to a group: race, priesthood, nation, or people. There are no “Lone-Ranger” Christians. If you neglect or ignore the assembly of believers, you are sinning. You show by your actions that you do not understand God’s purpose for the church; that you do not understand God’s purpose in saving you; that you do not understand what it means to surrender your whole life to Jesus as Lord. Your profession of faith-your claim to be a follower of Jesus-is questionable.

 

Belonging

Pastor's Narration 2

If you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been made a member of God's family. You are no longer isolated and alone. You Belong. You have brothers and sisters who care about you. Sure. We have our squabbles like any family. But in the end, we stick together because we are family. 

CONGREGATION: “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25 

Peace – Unity – Fellowship

Pastor's Narration 3

We have all heard military veterans speak of the bond they formed with their comrades in arms. In a similar way, we Christians are engaged in a war. We are engaged in a war that has eternal consequences. Our enemy is clearly identified. We must cultivate a sense of unity in order to present a unified front against the attacks of the Evil One. We must provide protection and support for each other. Peace and unity prevail in an environment where we feel safe....safe to be vulnerable...safe to admit sin...safe to try something for God even if we fail. We are safe within this bond of fellowship. We seek unbroken fellowship with God and with one another. We devote ourselves single mindedly and whole heartedly to the purposes of God. 

READER 1: "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." Mark 9:50 

READER 2: “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus” Romans 15:5 

READER 3: “And that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another” I Thess. 5:13 

CONGREGATION: “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:7 

Quit That!

Pastor's Narration 4

Every family has rules that must be enforced in order to preserve peace, prevent abuses, and provide a safe environment for weaker members. After He had redeemed them from Egyptian bondage, God formed a covenant with His people Israel. The Ten Commandments form the framework of rules for His new family. Eight of them are worded in the negative. They represent the “Quit That” of God the Father. Similar admonitions are given for the benefit of our Christian family. Loving relationships are not only about affirmation. They are also about discipline and prohibition. Real Christians are members of a church not just because their name is on the roll, but because they are involved in the lives of others. They build each other up. They avoid sin. And, like loving parents, sometimes they say, “Quit that.” 

READER 1: “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Gal. 5:15 

READER 2: “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” Col. 3:9 

READER 3: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” Titus 3:3 

CONGREGATION: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.” Romans 14:13 

READER 1: “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:26 

READER 2: “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.”  James 4:11 

READER 3: “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” James 5:9 

LOVE

Pastor's Narration 5

God our Father loves us. He loves us in spite of our sin. He loves us in spite of our rotten attitude. He loves us unconditionally. You cannot cause God to stop loving you. God IS love. It is part of His nature to love. He loves because it is who He is. Now, if only WE could become like Him. If only we could become loving. If love could become part of our character...part of who we are...so that we really do love each other without conditions. Paul wrote that “the fruit of the Spirit is Love....” and that “the love of God is poured out within our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

READER 1: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 

CONGREGATION: "This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12

"This I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:17 

READER 2: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Rom. 12:10a 

READER 3: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Rom. 13:8 

CONGREGATION: “And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you.” I Thess. 3:12 

READER 1: “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” I Thess. 4:9 

READER 2: “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.” II Thess. 1:3 

READER 3: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.” I Peter 1:22 

READER 1: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8

READER 2: “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” I John 3:11 

READER 3: “This is His commandment that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” I John 3:23 

CONGREGATION: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I John 4:7 

READER 1: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  I John 4:11 

READER 2: “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”  I John 4:12 

READER 3: “Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.”  II John 1:5 

Encouragement – Acceptance – Kind-hearted Service

Pastor's Narration 6

No one has the right to be a discourager. We are ALL sinners. We are ALL weak and vulnerable to temptations and the attacks of the Evil One. We need the support of others. We need to know that we are cared for by those who share our human frailty and who strive with us to do what is pleasing in God's sight. We need to know that when we stumble and fall (and every one of us has, or will) there are some kind souls who love us and who are standing nearby to pick us up and make it better.

Someone said, “A friend is one with whom you can pour out all the contents of your heart...the good and the bad...the grain and the chaff...knowing that they will accept what is given without criticism and judgment, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” 

READER 1: “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Rom. 14:19 

READER 2:“Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Rom. 15:7 

READER3: “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” Rom. 15:14 

CONGREGATION: “So that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” I Cor. 12:25 

Encouragement—Acceptance—Kind-hearted Service 

READER 1: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Gal. 5:13 

READER 2: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Eph. 4:32 

READER 3: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:19 

READER 1: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Col. 3:16 

READER 2: “The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” I Thess. 4:16b-18 

READER 3: “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” I Thess. 5:11 

CONGREGATION: “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb. 3:13 

READER 1: “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Heb. 10:24 

READER 2: “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Heb. 10:25

CONGREGATION: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”    James 5:16

READER 3: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” I Peter 4:9

READER 1: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”  I Peter 4:10 

Yield – Submit

Pastor's Narration 7

Jesus set for us the example of submission and humility (that unselfish strength that grows out of one's confident relationship with God). Jesus' confident trust in His Father set Him free to yield His own will to the will of the Father and to obey Him without reservation. He said that He had “not come to be served but to serve, and to give HIS life as a ransom....” He died for us so that we who live should no longer live just for ourselves but for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

To demand our rights is a contradiction of everything that it means to be Christian. It is an embarrassment to Jesus. We defer to one another in brotherly love considering others more important than ourselves. We submit to one another. Our worship services are designed to celebrate the variety of styles God has created and to say to a world characterized by divisions and demands of entitlement – “we are one.” 

CONGREGATION: “...give preference to one another in honor” Rom. 12:10b -“Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” Rom. 12:16


READER 2: “So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” 1 Cor. 11:33

READER 3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.” Eph. 4:2

READER 1: “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Eph. 5:21

READER 2: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Phil. 2:3

CONGREGATION: “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Col. 3:13

READER 3: “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” I Thess. 5:15

READER 1: “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” I Peter 5:5

 

CONCLUSION: Jesus is Lord of Lords. He is King of Kings. He gave His life for us. He is worthy of our allegiance. He is worthy of our obedience.