This blog series, Church on the Move, has been going for about eighteen months now. I thought this would be a good time to remind myself and all of you why we’re doing the blog in the first place. Also, I think it is fitting, given Jay’s video message this week, to remind us all of our commitment to who God has called us to be as His Body in this place.
When Ryan asked me to promote hospitality in November 2018, the intent was to connect us within the church body, sometimes highlighting different people and their practice of hospitality, so that we could know one another better and so that we could get ideas for how to practice hospitality in our own neighborhoods. So the intent was twofold:
- Grow deeper in our appreciation of one another across the church body;
- Encourage one another as we carry our faith in Jesus Christ into our neighborhoods.
This week, I would like to focus on the first of the two goals….to grow deeper in our appreciation of one another across the church body. I’d like to draw from the ‘one another’ commendations in scripture to encourage us all in our relationships. I’d like to start with the big picture first, who are we and who are we to be? From Ephesians 4:1-6,
So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior – a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation] – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all.
If this is our call, how do we become who God calls us to be, through the power of the Holy Spirit? As we gather, as we think about one another, as we relate to one another, we should do so with these scriptures in mind:
- Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing. – I Thessalonians 5:11
- Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; – Romans 12:10
- Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
- Be hospitable to one another without complaint. – I Peter 4:9
- Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a sincere love of the believers, [see that you] love one another from the heart [always unselfishly seeking the best for one another]. – 1 Peter 1:22
- And let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, – Hebrews 10:24
- So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]. – Romans 14:19
- Therefore, [continue to] accept and welcome one another, just as Christ has accepted and welcomed us to the glory of [our great] God. – Romans 15:7
- Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. – Galatians 6:2
- Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; – Ephesians 5:19
Finally to what end are we given the call that we have been given? We see in Ephesians 2:22 that “in Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
May God continue to be at work in us, to knit us together as His Body in this place to His glory and to the further spread of His Story in our community.
How can we get to know one another better?