The Bond of Christian Fellowship
Chris' Corner - Sunday, April 26, 2020
Members together in the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23; 1 Corinthians 12:13), have a real closeness, a fellowship, and a bond among us.
"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:4-5).
In many ways, the relationship we have with Christ is to be characteristic of our relationship with each other. He loves us. Therefore, we love one another. Love among brothers and sisters in the family of God becomes one of the unique characteristics seen by the world. Jesus told His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
There is also peace with God through the Lord, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 1:20). Peace is another characteristic evident in our relationship with our fellow Christians. It's something we always need to work on.
"Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another" (Romans 14:19). In part, Paul said, “...pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). And, "...walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Peter expands on this in 1 Peter 3:8-1 1. "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing, For 'I He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it."
Jesus put Himself before others. He came to this earth to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28). He demonstrated this by offering up His own life for ours.
In Philippians 2, Paul leads us into this thought by starting with us and our attitude toward others. "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:1-5, 8).
An integral part of our Lord's mindset, life, and very being, was forgiveness. He came to seek and to save the lost—to forgive sinners, which includes all of us (Romans 3:23). In turn we must forgive.
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do (Colossians 3:12-13).
How many words did you see in this command for us, that fit the description of Christ? How about all of them—tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. This is the way Christians will treat their brethren.
Again, in Ephesians 4:31-32. "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you."
To be a Christian is to be like Christ—to be like our Teacher, our Master, our Savior. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).