My 10yo grandson has discovered the 1990s sitcom Family Matters. In every episode I hear him laughing his head off at some funny statement or situation of neighbors being neighbors and family being family.
I love the Christian family. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and savior, we get family. We get brothers and sisters, spiritual mothers and fathers, and lots of little people who make up the local Body of Christ we are constantly delighted by their joy and wonder in Christ all around the world.
What do we do with this new family? How are we to relate to one another as Christians?
- Brothers & Sisters – All humans are image-bearers of our great and creative God, but only those who trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only son, are our brothers and sisters in the faith according to Romans 8:29; Romans 9:8; 1 John 3:1-3; and Hebrews 2:9-13, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 12:13b)
- Co-workers for Jesus – 1 Corinthians 3:5-10 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (vs 9)
How are we responsible to one another as Christians?
- We are to pray for one another – 2 Timothy 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” (vs 1)
- We are to minister to each other physically – Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:13 “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
- We are to minister to each other spiritually – Galatians 6:1-2; Hebrews 13:3; Romans 15:1-2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good; to build them up.” (vs 1)
- We are to encourage and edify one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage one another and build each other up.
- We are to serve one another with humility – Matthew 20:25-28; Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (vs 3)
What is my attitude to be toward other Christians?
- Love them – John 3:14-16; 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all love each other deeply.”
- Be patient with them – Romans 15:5-7, “Accept one another as Christ accepted you.”
- Be sensitive to their needs – James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17-18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (vs 18)
- Be forgiving of each other – Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13, Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
How do Christians share life in biblical fellowship with one another?
- In prayer – 2 Corinthians 1:11, favor is granted to us in answer to the prayers of many.
- In faith – Romans 1:12, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
- In ministry – 2 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 2:9 the privilege of sharing in service.
- In suffering – Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13, 5:1 “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. One who will share in the glory to be revealed.”
- True biblical fellowship is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost – 1 John 1:3-7; 1 Corinthians 1:9-10 “God who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord is faithful.” (vs 9)
When we choose to follow Jesus, we’re related to others all around the world who follow Jesus. Personalities can still clash and wrongs will still happen. As Christians we have to respond differently though not all offenses can be resolved this side of Heaven.
The above teachings were part of a lesson about other Christians in Biblical Discipleship I participated in in 1996 in New England. I’d give credit if the documents I’ve kept on my shelf were marked with copyright or anything else. What I do know is that I’ve gone to these scriptures and these discipleship teachings almost monthly, if not weekly, to remind me that I am part of a family: the family of God. This is how we are to live together as the Body of Christ.
The church is an historical organization which has endured more than 2,000 years of chaos, strife, conflict, and the horrors of evil openly hostile to the things and people of Jesus. Yet the Bride of Christ still stands as a critical means of growth for the health of all Christians. Theologian Krista Bontrager shares, “When you are born (accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior) into the family of God, the local church is your family. You have a weird uncle, a crazy aunt, and brothers and sisters you didn’t ask for. But these are your people!” Thank you, Theology Mom.
“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26b