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FIRST STEPS (4)
New Family - The Church
A pastor went to visit one of his members who had not attended any of the church meetings for a few weeks. It was a bitterly cold day and when the pastor arrived at the home of the member, he was sitting around a fire warming himself. The pastor sat in a chair opposite the man, the other side of the fire.
The absent member knew why his pastor had called, yet the minister did not say a word. The man felt a little uncomfortable by the silence.
Eventually, without saying a word, the pastor picked up the fire tongs and took a burning ember from the fire and placed it on the hearth in front of the fire. He then sat back in his chair, still saying nothing.
After a few minutes the ember had stopped glowing. It lay cold and dead on the hearth. The pastor looked at the ember, then looked at the man, rose to his feet and said, "Thanks for your time. Goodbye". As he walked to the door the man said to him, "Thank you for your visit, particularly for your fiery sermon! I will be back at church this Sunday."
Without even speaking a word the pastor had preached the best message he could about the importance of Christian fellowship. As long as the log was in the fire with the other logs, it burned brightly. Each burning log fueled the others, and also fed off the others. Once the log was taken out of the fire and was alone, however, it went out.
Christianity is like that. It was never meant to be a life of isolation. Christians need regular fellowship with other believers. Some think that they can be effective Christians without fellowship with others, but there is usually a serious deficiency in their lives.
In this study we are going to look at some of the benefits and blessings of being a part of the family of God, the church.
Read Hebrews 10:24&25.
According to 10:24a who are we to consider?
What two things are we to try to stir up in one another (see 10:24b)?
According to 10:25a what must we never give up?
What is the main purpose in our gathering together, in 10:25b?
What incentive is given in 10:25b for regularly meeting with other Christians?
Notice that both these verses, Hebrews 10:24&25, teach us that we are to fellowship with others for their benefit, as much as ours. We must not just think of what we can get out of our fellowship with others, but also look for ways of blessing the ones we meet with. The phrase "one another" occurs many times in the New Testament.
Look up the following "one another" references and write down some of the ways we can minister to others:
1 Peter 1:22
1 Peter 5:5
Read Ephesians 4:1-16. List the seven things, mentioned in verses 4-6, which unite all Christians (each beginning with the word "one"):
Verse 11 describes five different kinds of leadership ministries Jesus has given to His Church. What are they?
According to verse 12 what is their role in the Church?
As we receive their ministry what things will result in our lives, according to 4:12-16?
The Bible refers to the Church as the Body of Christ. It never says the Church is
a body, but that it
the Body of Christ.
There are two factors that provide and maintain the unity of our physical bodies, which also depict the unity of the Body of Christ, the Church. First, in the physical body it is the same blood that travels to every cell, providing cleansing and nourishment. If the life-giving blood is cut off from any member it soon perishes. Likewise, every member of Christ's Body is cleansed through His blood. Secondly, to a degree, the human spirit or soul is present in all parts of the body. It cannot be localized in any one organ, limb or gland. Similarly, the Spirit of Christ in-dwells every member of His Body.
Always remember that you are joined to your brothers and sisters in Christ by the blood of Jesus and by the Spirit of God.
The unity of the body of Christ is not a goal but a reality.
According to Ephesians 4:3 how are we to maintain our unity?
The Church – getting bigger and smaller at the same time
As the church continues to grow larger with new people added all the time, it runs the risk of people becoming disconnected and distant from each other. This can begin to challenge the close-knit nature of the Body of Christ – one of the most important things that Jesus accomplished in redemption.
That’s why it’s important for believers in Christ to have ways to connect with each other no matter how large the church grows. One of the best ways the church does this is through Life Groups. These are small groups of people (usually less than 10), that meet regularly in homes, cafes etc to build
for one another. In fact this is the primary place where believers can truly give and receive genuine and appropriate care.
Be encouraged to join a Life Group as soon as possible, and watch how God will develop you in ways that would never happen in isolation.
Set out to actively make and build friendships in the church.
Stay for church meals, retreats, camps, get-togethers etc.
The Father’s heart is for you to love your new family (your brothers and sisters in Christ). Nothing thrills His heart more than to see His children getting along with each other, building
, embracing and welcoming new people as they come in to the church, praying for each other, loving each other, serving each other,
honouring and valuing one another
, and contributing to the needs of each other.
One of the reasons we give financially in to the church is to bless and build up His family – the church.
It’s the same for our time and talents. What we have no longer belongs to just us, but for the benefit of others also.
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