7th Aug 2016
We Need Each Other
By Steve Bones
Problem playing the audio? Try this link instead.
What sort of relationship do we want with each other? In this talk Steve explores this question, and how that impacts our actions and attitudes.
The video below was shown at the end of Steve's talk, so listen first, then take a look at the video.
Steve's full notes are below.
Sunday morning service - we need each other!
I want to start by asking a few questions that I last raised at our weekend away in November 2015, which was on the theme 'building relationships' - firstly with God but also with one another, being the 1st and 2nd commandments in the Bible (Matt 22:37-39)
Question: What sort of relationship do you want with one another?
1. A club where we are friends and meet once a week? No dependency, and only join/stay if it meets your needs, otherwise join another club that does. A consumer's viewpoint.
2. A community where we help one another? Some dependency but on my terms when I want to give it, enjoy each other's company sometimes. Definition included 'distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists'.
3. A family, where we support one another? More dependency, especially when things are not going well!
4. A body, where we are prepared to die for one another and need one another!
Question: Where are you on that spectrum? Let's be honest with ourselves.
Question: Where does God want us to be on that spectrum?
1 Cor 12:21-27 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!" ……But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (NIV)
We are the body of Christ, but are we looking like it? Do we act like it, or are we more like a club/community? What if we don't all want the same - does the lowest common dominant factor win?
The question is: do we want it as it is not free? Consider the phrase 'an Englishman's home is his castle' - is this biblical?
Now let's turn to the passage that I have been asked to talk on this morning concerning our need for each other.
Eph 3:14-19 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV)
Eph 4:15-16 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV)
I recognise that to be the body of Christ we need God's help! And he also recognises that, which is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and empower us. But we need one another as well - see Ephesians 3 & 4 above and Jesus prayer below which he prayed just before he was crucified:
John 17:20-23 " My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (NIV)
What would we look like if we were living like the body of Christ, as Jesus prayed?
Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together withglad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)
SHOW THE CLIP 'THE GREAT COMMISSION' (1:58)
Ask everyone to close their eyes. I ask those who desire to see the church operating as in Acts 2:42 and the video clip, but who need their hearts changed for this to happen, to please stand. After all, we are commanded to love each other as Christ loves us (John 13:34). You will not be the first as I am already standing! I then want to pray for us.
John 13:34-35 " A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. " (NIV)
We have had two 'seeking God' meetings since house groups have been stopped, so we can do 2 Chronicles 7:14 together, a passage that God has regularly brought to our attention over the last 3-4 years, including a prophecy in February 2015. (They are incorrectly billed in the monthly newsletter as 'combined house groups at church'.) God has already been speaking to us on:
· our need for His presence (Exodus 33), and
· that we need to 'present our bodies as living sacrifices & not conform to the pattern of this world' (Romans 12) and
· give all to Jesus in faith (the widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17),
· as demonstrated by Jesus (Isaiah 53),
· to stop holding back (Elijah's challenge to Israel in 1 Kings 18).
· We were encouraged to persevere (Daniel 10),
· as God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11).
· We ended the last meeting by praying for boldness to share the Gospel, especially given the recent threat to Christians issued by IS.
I would encourage all who are attend this church regularly to come on the alternating Wednesdays/Thursdays (Thursday this week). I/we need you! But we should come together not because we need to, but that we love one another and so want to.