FOLLOW-UP STUDIES

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Relationships in the body
 

When one enters the community of the redeemed, relationships are radically transformed! Instead of having ourselves as the centre of our focus, we are to "consider others better than ourselves"

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

However, implementation of these biblical principles will never occur as long as we retain a denominational concept of fellowship and the body. Church is not something we attend; it is an opportunity to tend to needs. And there are many needs to be tended to! If young Christians are not grafted into the body in a functional way, they will most likely be reclaimed by the world. And if that is what is happening in our ministries, we are failing the following scripture. 

1 Corinthians 12:12-15
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.


The most crucial time for integrating the young convert into the local congregation is the first few weeks and even days.

1. Why different from the world's relationships?

  • John 13:34-35
    34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
    35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


    Jesus commands us to love each other as he has loved us. This quality of love is what makes us distinct as Christians.
  • Mark 3:35
    Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

    We are Jesus' brothers and sisters if we do God's will. Because of this common purpose, Christian relationships transcend even blood relations.
2. How are they different?
  • 1 Peter 1:22
    Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

    Our love for each other must be sincere and from the heart.
  • 1 John 3:16
    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

    Jesus is our example. Our love for others can be measured by how much we are willing to sacrifice for them.
3. What does this mean in practice?
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:12
    Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.

    Different people have different needs.
  • 1 John 3:17
    If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

    Look after each other's material needs.
  • Colossians 1:28
    We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

    Let's be concerned about each other's spiritual well-being.
Conclusion
  • Ephesians 4:29
    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    Be edifying.
  • Ephesians 5:21
    Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Hebrews 13:17
    Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    Be submissive not only to leaders but also to each other.
  • Suggested

    a. Acts 2:42-47
    42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
    43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
    44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
    45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
    46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
    47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


    b. Acts 4:32-35
    32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
    33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
    34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
    35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.


    c. Romans 12:5
    so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

    d. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
    12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
    13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
    14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
    15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
    16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
    17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
    18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
    19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
    20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
    21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
    22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
    23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
    24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
    25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
    26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
    27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


    e. Hebrews 10:24-25
    24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
    25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


    f. Hebrews 13:1-2
    1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.
    2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.


    g. James 1:19
    My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

    h. 3 John 5
    Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.
Practicals
  • Make it a point to phone other disciples.
  • Hebrews 3:12-14
    12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
    13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
    14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.


    Spend time with other Christians in order to build relationships (Hebrews 3:12-14).
  • Pray for each other daily.
  • Introduce yourself to at least one new person in each service for next month.
  • Write notes and cards to your brothers and sisters. Write also to leaders in your congregation to encourage them.