By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Amos 3:3 asks, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Paul desires that the Ephesians walk worthy of their calling, together. So many of the New Testament commands are relational, showing how we are to have healthy relationships with each other because of our right relationship with Jesus.
Thank God, the Christian life isn’t meant to be lived alone. I shudder to think what I might be without the faithful love, prayers, accountability, and even discipline of the people of God. We walk together in agreement. Agreement of what? Paul tells us in the text about our one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one Father God who gives sufficient grace to each one of us.
When I think of all that we have in common, it’s hard to believe there could be any division in the church. But there is, isn’t there? We are broken people living in a broken world where we continue to break each other and ourselves through sin and selfishness.
Have you ever been hurt by a church? Maybe they did or didn’t do something that cut you deeply. I’ve been hurt before, more than once. It’s hard doing life together as the people of God. I’ve wondered before if it were better just to read my Bible, pray and live for Jesus without the church. After all, you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, right? On the contrary, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian because I am the Church and I need the Church because I am a Christian.
Since so much of the New Testament is full of relational commands like this, I can’t be a faithful Christian if I’m not faithfully engaged with a local faith family. We were made to do life together. I know it’s hard but that’s why the Christian life is so radical!
“A new command I give you, that you love one another: As I have loved you, love one another. By this all people will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35). Not by our singing, our services, how relevant we are, or how intentionally irrelevant we are but by our love for each other. Why is that? I’m convinced it takes Holy Spirit power to love each other as Jesus loves us: intentionally, unconditionally and unreservedly.
I’m hard to love and I know lots of Christians who are hard to love as well. It’s easy to love people who always agree with you, like what you like, and think what you think. That’s not church.
We are a family that fights, bickers and squabbles over big and small things alike but we are fiercely devoted to one another because we share a King who is fiercely devoted to us. Shouldn’t He that unites us be greater than all that divides, after all?