I’m not a fan of the word “Christian” to describe me or others in the Church. It’s too passive. It should describe what we do, like “disciple” or “follower of Christ.”
“Christian” appears only 3 times in the Bible. “Disciple?” 260!
It means “learner” or “pupil.” So we are to learn and obey Jesus. So a disciple is always growing; transformation should be the norm.
Disciples don’t just believe differently; they behave differently.
“Fellowship” is not mere casual conversation, socializing, food, and fun. Fellowship is experiencing life together.
Fellowship isn’t automatic. It is more than superficial chit-chat. It is genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. True fellowship is achieved when people trust each other enough to share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, and ask for help and prayer.
This takes risk. But it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy.
Of course all of this is mutual giving and receiving. It’s reciprocal. We must encourage, help, and pray for others.
This can’t happen overnight between two people. Trust takes time.
People can begin by sharing, continue by studying, grow through serving together, to a point where they can suffer together when times are tough.
The person who says, “I believe in Jesus but I don’t need the church” is either arrogant or ignorant. The Church is significant that Jesus died on a cross for it. See Ephesians 5:25.
2 Corinthians 11:2 compares the Church to Christ’s bride. I can’t imagine saying to Jesus, “I love you but dislike your wife.” But that’s exactly what we do when we dismiss or demean the Church.
Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans.
To be fair, I realize that some church environments are toxic. People HAVE HAD BAD church experiences. Not every church fits every person. But rather than giving up on the Church, they need to look for another church family to which they can receive and give of their time and talent. Just because I don’t like a certain restaurant doesn’t mean I will skip eating out all together!
Jesus was all about love. That’s why He came, died, and rose. So we are to love too.
But what is love? It seems like our culture agrees with this value but first we have to know what is and isn’t.
What LOVE IS:
1) PUTTING OTHERS FIRST.
1) Allowing people or telling people it’s OK to do what ever they want.
Because ultimately LOVE IS:
2) Putting God first, which means obeying His commands.
But LOVE ISN’T:
2) Verbally or physically harming those we think are in disobedience.
3) Telling others about the gospel and its implications for daily living and joy.
Yes and no. Yes, every person is made “in the image of God” and therefore deserves respect, kindness, grace. That’s why teaches us to do unto others as you would have them do to you.
At the same time, the Bible is clear that while every human being is created by God, not everyone is a “child of God.” The only way to get into God’s family is by being born again into it. You become part of the human family by your first (natural) birth, but you become a member of God’s family by your second (spiritual) birth.
1 Peter 1:3b, “It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Romans 8:15-16, “ So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”
The good news is that the invitation to be a part of God’s family is universal. Mark 8:34, “Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.'” Acts 2:21, “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13, “ For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
But there is one condition: faith in Jesus. Galatians 3:26, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”