Five years ago, this month, I published this article. Since then 44,000 people have read it. Therefore, I thought it may make a good Flashback Friday post. I trust it will encourage your growth in grace.
A local church is not built by one man, or even a few men, but by every believer being actively involved in ministry through evangelizing the lost people in their lives and serving their fellow Christians. A quick glance at the practice of the New Testament church reveals that they thought very little about programs and very much about relationships.
Consider the disciple-making that would naturally take place in the life of a local church if every believer would practice the loving, one-another ministry that the early churches first read about in the instructions they received from the apostles:
- Be devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10).
- Give preference to one another (Rom. 12:10).
- Be of the same mind toward one another (Rom. 12:16).
- Accept one another by withholding judgment (Rom. 14:1).
- Accept one another by showing deference (Rom. 14:1–5; 15:7).
- Esteem [highly regard] one another in love (Rom. 14:5; Phil. 2:3).
- Build up one another (Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11).
- Counsel one another (Rom. 15:14).
- Serve one another by showing deference in matters of liberty (Gal. 5:13).
- Bear one another’s sin burdens (Gal. 6:2).
- Be gentle with one another (Eph. 4:2).
- Be kind to one another so as to preserve unity (Eph. 4:32).
- Speak truth to one another (Eph. 4:25; Col 3:9).
- Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).
- Show compassion to one another (Col. 3:12).
- Bear with the inherent sinfulness of one another (Col. 3:13).
- Forgive one another (Col. 3:13).
- Use Spirit-filled, Word-saturated music to teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19).
- Comfort one another with the hope of Christ’s return (1 Thes. 4:18).
- Encourage one another (1 Thes. 5:11).
- Live in peace with one another (1 Thes. 5:13).
- Seek good for one another (1 Thes. 5:15).
- Encourage one another to forsake unbelief and hardness of heart (Heb. 3:13).
- Stimulate one another to spiritual growth (Heb. 10:24).
- Encourage one another by faithful participation in your local church (Heb. 10:25).
- Confess sins to one another (James 5:16).
- Pray for one another’s spiritual and physical healing (James 5:16).
- Be long-suffering and patient toward one another (1 Peter 4:8; Eph. 4:2).
- Be hospitable to one another without complaint (1 Peter 4:9).
- Serve one another (1 Peter 4:10; Gal. 5:13).
- Act in humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5).
- Show holy affection to one another (1 Peter 5:14).
- Participate in the holy walk with one another (1 John 1:7).
- Refuse to become resentful toward one another (1 John 3:11–12).
- Give sacrificially to meet one another’s needs (1 John 3:16–17).
- Fight fear together by growing in love (1 John 4:18).
- Walk in truth together (1 John 3:18; 2 John 1:5).
The Christian life is all about relationships. It’s God’s design for our personal growth, which then translates into church growth—the real kind. Loving one another is a powerful evangelistic tool, as Jesus says: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
[The above list makes a great personal Bible study or the basis for small group discussion.]
Recommended Resource: Counseling One Another: A Theology of Inter-Personal Discipleship