What is Christian Community? It sounds like a gated community with club house, golf course, gym, swimming pool, yacht club and marina… and you get the picture. Or maybe the Amish, they have the total community package and they are completely separated from all the world. Actually we could learn a lot from the Amish, because those of us blessed enough to participate on Earth under the Beasts will find ourselves out on a rail. Knowing all those old fashioned skills will come in really handy.
Aside from these images we see the Church. We look at our steepled or modernized buildings and think , “yeh that’s Christian Community.” Is it really? Maybe in some churches but in lots of churches today it’s more the social club scene than oneanothering.
It’s considering the needs of your brethren as more important than your own. It’s placing more value on others than on yourself. Having a preference for another above ourselves is laudable but how does the Bible make that appear? Is it really a “thing” with God?
Below are a series of scriptures on the subject of how to treat oneanother.
“Be at peace with each other.” Mark 9.50
“Love one another.” John 13.34
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Romans 12.10, 11
“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12.16
“Stop passing judgment on one another.” Romans 14.13
“Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Romans 15.7
“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15.14
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” 1 Corinthians 12.25
“For brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.” Galatians 5.13-15
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6.2
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Ephesians 4.2
“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4.32
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5.19, 20
“Submit to one another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5.21
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2.3, 4
“Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds.” Colossians 3.9
“Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3.16
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3.12, 13
“But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write unto you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” 1 Thessalonians 4.9
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4.18
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.” 1 Thessalonians 5.11
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 3.15
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3.13
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10.24, 25
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.” James 4.11
“Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door.” James 5.9
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5.16
“See you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 1 Peter 1.22
“Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing: knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3.8, 9
“And above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love covers a multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4.8-10
“Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5.5
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1.7
“For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John 3.11
“And this is the commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1 John 3.23
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God and knows God. ” 1 John 4.7
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4.11
“And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.” 2 John 5
It has been said that this oneanothering is not a co-dependence, or an independence but rather an interdependence. However in my humble estimation that can become dependence or living off the kindness of… No I think the better term is an interdepending. Let me explain. Teams inter-depend on the give and receive of team members so the weakest member is the “failpoint”. But if each member is dependent on one source and that source is greater than all the “team” and “failproof” then the “source” is the supply strengthening each member so the give and take works optimally and there is no “weak link” to cause a “failpoint”. That Source for us is the Living God through the Holy Spirit. He becomes the agent of grace to cause us to be able to give and receive from oneanother. It is the inter-depending that makes oneanothering work. As we each grow in our relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit we begin to fulfill every scripture above.
This inter-depending is the basis of Christian Community. The foundry of oneaothering is to love oneanother. If we have love for each other in the Body of Christ, we will:Be at peace, Be kindly affectioned, prefer one another, be of the same mind one toward another, not passing judgment on one another, having the same care one for another, bearing one another’s burdens, forbearing one another in love, being kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, Submitting to one another in the fear of God, each one esteeming the other better than themselves, looking not on his own things only, but also on the things of others, not lie one to another, comfort ourselves together, and edify one another, and exhort one another daily, considering one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, not speaking evil one of another, Confessing our faults one to another, and praying one for another, having compassion one of another.
One has to wonder what the World would be like if men just lived this way. But they don’t. It all goers back to what in my day was called the “Golden Rule” to treat other as we would be treated or in some cases better than we would be treated.
To have this active “love” one must not be depending on one another but on God alone in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. If we look to one another for this type of long suffering love we will not find it. But if God loves through us the World will see a different kind of people, a God People demonstrating the Love of God before the world on oneanother.
This is the Foundation for Christian community and it comes from being like Jesus.
Phil 2 tells us that Jesus being Divine in nature and living in Glory had no problem leaving the place of Glory and setting aside the rights and privileges fo Deity. He took on human form and the human condition and subjected Himself voluntarily to Human limitation, not viewing His status rank and privileges of being Creator as something needing to held onto. He never stopped being God with all the power but He did play the role of the suffering servant and bound Himself voluntarily to the limitations that entailed. As sin-bearer He did not let Himself move outside the confines of the human condition. Yet because He is God He does truly stupendous things from within the confines of Humanity. He even allows men to manhandle Him to a crucifixion. But He is back in three days and if there had ever been a doubt as to who He was it evaporated upon the moment of resurrection. He divests Himself of nothing more than the place of Heaven for a while and the position of Creator on High for the position of of Redeemer on Earth. We get confused in that He is found or discovered to be a man. But not by Himself, no surprise for Him there. No He knows all along, its fellow humans and demons and such that are shocked to find the Living God in the appearance of a mere Jewish man. (ever wonder why the only reply He ever had to demons was to shut them up?)
If He felt He could be a man for a while without losing His identity as God then perhaps we can: “mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate, not being wise in our own conceits.” Oh now you would have us “hang” with the homeless? Can we find a lower estate in civilized countries? Well consider this Christians, there may come a time when you are jobless and outside of the social economy, no bank account, no identity, no status among others, outcast, hunted, unable to pay taxes or rent or mortgage and then you ARE the Homeless! Now you can hang with them.
Ironically, and I can speak here because I have been homeless, there is even prejudice among homeless. Street Homeless versus Sheltered or Housed Homeless is a big distinction and there is more thieving thatn sharing in the ranks. SO then outside of Christ the lowest of me are as petty and caste driven as the upper crust. It takes Christ’s mental ascent to live the glorious fulfillment of “agape love”.