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It Takes Getting Togetherby Duane Mabee on June 23, 2022
The Board and Elders have begun discussing the book, Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential by Hansen and Leeman. Free copies are available on the foyer table if you would like to read along. I’ve heard good feedback already.
One of the reasons gathering together with the Church Body is important is that church is about a lot more than obtaining spiritual information and inspiration. If those were the only, or even primary, purpose of church a very passive ministry model would suffice and gathering would be optional. But the New Testament teaches that church is about so much more. It’s about worshiping God together and growing in faith and Christlikeness. That only happens in the context of messy relationships that rub off our rough edges and cause us to change. Without the context of relationships – you might even add “difficult” relationships – sanctification usually degenerates into self-righteousness.
Think of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, (Gal. 5:22-24 ESV). How many of those characteristics can you develop in isolation? How many of them can you know you have if they are not tested in the context of relationships? Can you develop patience if you never have to put up with anyone? Can you know that you have the ability to exercise self-control or gentleness if no one ever pushes your buttons tempting you to lose it?
That’s one of the reasons the Bible says, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near, (Heb. 10:24-25 ESV). When we meet together, we can have a very positive impact on each other – a Christ forming impact. We can encourage and motivate each other. We can challenge each other in areas of weakness and non-conformity to the image of Christ. We can affirm areas of growth and progress. We can join together to work on things that are too much to tackle alone. All of that assumes we are together enough, open enough, and know each other well enough to engage in ways that will encourage each other to grow up in Christ.
Brothers and sisters, let us consider how we can stir each other up to love and good works. To do that, we have to get together regularly and create an environment that encourages it. That’s a key part of what church is all about.