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Belong: Members One of Another

Becoming Who We Aim To Be  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:08
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Membership in the body of Christ means that we are responsible to and for one another.

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Good morning again… glad you’re here.
We’re in a series going through the vision and direction of our church family - Our vision is to stay faithful to what God has called us to be as a local representation of the Bride of Christ.
We’ll be in Rom. 12:4-5 and a lot in Phil and 1 Cor… but before we go any further let’s pray together again to seek God’s intervention as we study His Word:

You can’t do this alone… no, literally.

Have you ever tried doing something by yourself that literally can only be done with another person?
Seesaw, good conversation, love (can’t love in isolation, not bc supposedly that love is a two-way street, but bc love isn’t a feeling so it requires someone present for you to enact love toward.
Can’t do what alone? - Faithfully follow Jesus. Be the Church.
Great Commandment (John 13:34-35):
As I have loved you, so you should love one another. - How can this be possible without ministry to and with one another?
Great Commission (Matt 28:19-21):
Make disciples as you go. - How can this be done without engaging others?
Now I bring this up bc we are in a series reminding ourselves that a church family needs to keep a clear focus an who we are in Christ and what the church does.
Let’s review briefly the way we have been describing Paul’s overall message to the Colossian church we began with a couple weeks ago:
We Are His. (Col. 1:13-14) Him We Proclaim. (Col. 1:28, 2:3)
So that’s who we should aim to be. What do we need to always be working on so that we can become who we aim to be?
Our description to help us stay focused in ministry: We are calling ourselves and others to… Believe in Christ, Belong to his body, Be Trained in truth, Be Strong in ministry
We must stay grounded in what, or more appropriately who, we Believe: Our faith does “not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5) - So too we emphasized of course the foundational importance of God’s word, not only for all of our lives but particularly in our regular gatherings as I whole team. We want the teaching to come from God’s word bc he is the one we believe and so we want to have God speak to us, not men.
In our series, that brings us today to… Belong - understand how you can and should play a role to be partners in the body of Christ.
Romans 12:4-5
Romans 12:4–5 ESV
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
How serious, how diligent are you about your privilege and responsibility to and for other members in the Church?

BELONG: Members One of Another

Church Membership isn’t what we think it is… not if we compare it to what we normally think of as membership in other contexts. - sign here, pay your dues, show up for meetings if you want… but we’ll give you a card to carry and little perks/benefits of being a member with us.
Membership in the body of Christ means that we are responsible to and for one another.
Now this sermon organization is gonna be weird, if not for you than at least for me. We usually have some application interspersed through the points and then if we are able to break it down to being super practical, we normally do that at the end. Well, today I’m gonna put the practical application to you first and then go on to hopefully inundate you with God’s truth so that you know that you should and can do this.

Plain as the nose on your face: We must be doing life and ministry TOGETHER.

Easy 135 of One-Anothering
Being a disciple is a relationship in which we know and grow in Jesus. So too "doing discipleship" with someone else is to have a relationship with them to help them know and grow in Jesus.
So simple and so natural for Christians that you're already doing it… but you might need a little help in being intentional, so here's the "EASY 135" of One Anothering.
ONE Goal - To Know and Grow in Jesus
THREE Statements that capture a vision for multiplying Christ's disciples:
(not original to me, but I don't know who to blame…)
Think Big - God’s glory, among all the nations. His church flourishing among every people group.
Start Small - Focus on a few, like Jesus did.
Go Deep - Invest at depth in those few, so they will be equipped to do the same in the lives of others.
FIVE Simple Steps to Follow:
Be a Friend. - Find a person to invest in and nurture the relationship.
Make a Plan. - Choose content and context. - time, frequency, book/topic/passage
Serve Together. - Include them in ministry you do to both observe and do.
Evaluate Progress. (and the process) - spiritual development, adjusting system, etc.
Reproduce. - (Expand, duplicate, or whatever you want to call it) Press into other relationships to widen the circle and form new circles.
Let’s go now to (bc that’s just practical suggestion, and if it helps you it helps you… I hope it does)… to the more important and explicit evidence in God’s Word for… Should we do this, can we do this, and what happens if we don’t do this.
Quick survey of two church letters by Paul (besides Colossians), one positive example and one negative. - Philippians: what true partnership in the gospel looks like. 1st letter to Corinth: the chaos of divisive self-promotion and “going it alone… doing our own thing”

Philippian Partnership: One Mind

Philippians 1:3–5 ESV
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
That word in v. 5 is koinonia, which means oneness, unity of active participation because of a common purpose and passion.
So Paul will go on being a sappy pastor and say:
Philippians 1:7–8 ESV
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
But then he turns his attention in this letter to reminding them what this partnership can and should mean among them: One way to conduct themselves... based on one unified mindset with one supreme example—Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:27 ESV
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Philippians 2:1–5 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
What mind? The humble servant sacrifice of Jesus for the sake of others. - THINK OF OTHERS!!!
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Does Paul mean for them to tackle this individually or corporately? (“lightbulb” says Mr. Gru)
He continues this plural instruction:
Philippians 2:14–16 ESV
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Shining together
(rest of ch. 2) Paul then gives examples of men from his own team (Timothy and Epaphroditus) who don’t just look out for their own interests but are fully investing in the cause of Christ by spending themselves for the sake of others.
In ch. 3 Paul says that we are those who put confidence only in Christ and not in the flesh (v. 3), and then gives himself as an example to follow of right focus of what we have gained in Christ:
Philippians 3:7–9 ESV
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
He goes on to talk about himself not having “arrived” at some special spiritual state but to be passionately pursuing Christ to be like Him (vv. 12-14). And THEN he says,
Philippians 3:15 ESV
Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
Philippians 3:17 ESV
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
If you think you’re not somebody to follow, then you’re not following the right person and right people. Who is Paul’s confidence? Christ. Paul sends Timothy because Tim is copying who? Paul. - You’re not following the right examples, who are following Christ with humility like Paul, if you think you can’t be of any benefit to someone else who is either outside of Christ
Examples to follow in our family? *** Seriously. I could probably do this all day.
In chapter 4 Paul gets practical and personal with one-anothering, speaking directly to Euodia and Syntache to be reconciled and calling in another true companion to help these women. (vv. 2-3) Before Paul rounds out the end of the letter thanking them for sharing in his ministry by helping to monetarily provide for his need, He launches into a rapid-fire summary of the kind of church they should BE… not that they will succeed at this as isolated individuals, but that they can do it together:
Philippians 4:1 ESV
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Philippians 4:4–9 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
How can we have this kind of “oneness” without investing in the ups and downs, the doubts and dreams, the dangers, disasters, and deliverance of God in one another’s lives? We can’t!
So it’s incredibly important that we be truly unified in purpose and in practice, building up and holding each other accountable to true partnership in the body. — Here’s what happens with a lack of clear leadership direction and a lack of commitment on the part of all members to be responsible to and for one another:
(If Philippians was a trot, Paul’s first letter to Corinth overview will be a sprint. - more cursory, more summarizing content chunks)

Corinthian Chaos: Division, Worldliness, Disorder, and Self-promotion

1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 3:3 ESV
for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
Fake unity isn’t unity at all. True unity comes at a cost—confrontation and conflict resolution. (What is the apostle Paul doing in this very letter? Confronting them. Is he creating division or moving them towards true unity?)
PLURAL YOU in these next verses:
1 Corinthians 3:16–17 ESV
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
*Worldliness and disorder in chapters 5-11, and confusion in using spiritual gifts due to selfish ambition in chapters 12-14.
All of their nonsense (due to lack true unity) erodes even foundational belief and practice. So in ch. 15 Paul comes full circle to define and defend the basic truth of the gospel and the critical importance of the resurrection:
1 Corinthians 15:3–8 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Conclusion Review: responsible to and for one another
So one final push today:

Christian Membership (Belonging & Behavior) REQUIRES Relational Investment in Others

These are things you literally cannot do alone! Back to...
Colossians 3:12-17
Colossians 3:12–17 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We’re committed to be set apart to God and sharing the life and love of Christ with the world… TOGETHER! - The mission of Christ’s church is accomplished through the cooperative effort of His people!
How serious, how diligent are you about your privilege and responsibility to and for other members in the Church?
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