_____ ONE ANOTHER
I had a great deal of difficulty deciding what exactly to title this article. I knew the last two words would be staying. For the blank, however, I couldn’t choose between: love, encourage, edify, bear with or care for. So I chose to leave it blank and explain.
You see, each of those words which didn’t get filled in have to do with how believers are to relate to one another. And each one is important. No matter which one is used the point is the same: Christianity is “other people” focused. I have not been able to find anything in Scripture which even remotely points to seeking one’s own needs fulfillment. I have yet to find a command to join a local church “aslong as it meets your needs.” Yet, in my years of ministry the times are too numerous to count when I have been told by disgruntled members that their reason for leaving was because “my needs are not being met.”
I have often wanted to ask the question, “where in the Bible are we told that we are supposed to get something out of church?” I have always been taught that church was a place for giving: giving gifts, talents, offerings, encouragement, counsel, edification, compassion, fellowship and intercessory prayers. Somebody has said, and I agree with them, that the local church is like the neighborhood bank – you get nothing out of it until you put something into it. It seems rather odd to me that the church has become a place for building up the individual instead of a place which helps individuals build up the church. After all, the reason the Holy Spirit gives gifts to individuals is for the building up of the entire body. There is no place for “me”ism in the church. Not even if it is wrapped up in the vernacular of ”evangelical egocentrism.”
The only I way I know of to combat this ever increasing attitude is by filling the blank above with one of the selected words and then doing it. If we were to seriously Philippians 2:3, then we would 1 Peter 1:22 naturally. So would we also John 13:34 and Romans 12:10 and Ephesians 4:2.
In order to receive the dividend of having one’s needs met in church that someone must first make a substantial deposit by _____ing one another.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (NIV)