As we continue through this 50-day spiritual journey, we are discovering what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ through understanding our identity and being connected to a disciple-making small group.
Let’s review the four components of a disciple-making small group and how being connected to one will help us in our growth.
- Knows and obeys the Word of God
- Shares life together by practicing the “one another’s”
- Tells the Gospel by living as a missionary
- Reproduces other disciples
I hope by now you have come to understand and appreciate the importance of knowing and obeying the Word of God not just for information, but also for transformation. We are not to just be hearers of the Word but doers.
Today, we begin our exploration of the second component: Sharing life together by practicing the “one another’s”.
As we grow to become more like Jesus and we do this in community as a church family, we find that one of the most important ways we can obey Jesus is through practicing what the Bible calls the gospel “one-another’s”.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9
This is a key verse in understanding what it means to share life together in community.
Paul actually uses a word that only shows up here in the New Testament to describe being so affectionate for these believers in this church. This is a strong affection often used of a parent for a child.
He was affectionately desirous of these believers. At the end of verse 8 he says that they had become very dear to them. This word “dear” means that he loved them deeply. Paul has this uncommon unique loving bond with this church where he desired to share “souls” or do “life” together.
The gospel actually creates a dynamic, loving, unique community we call the church where we are called out by God to live together as a family.
Read 1 John 4:7-11
This is the first “one another” and serves as the basis for the all the other ones. We are commanded to love one another. To not only love with say we love others, but to demonstrate it with concrete action.
Over the next few days, we will explore what it means to love another more deeply, but for today I am just laying a foundation from the Scriptures to our Christian mandate to love one another.
Read John 13:34
Read Romans 13:8-10
We don’t really have a choice whether we are going to obey this or not. We are obligated to love one another. This is what we ought to do. This is our Christian duty.
Now we need to be very careful here. We don’t love one another in order to earn God’s favor in salvation. Salvation is a free gift of grace from first to last. But once we’ve been saved by grace and experienced God’s love firsthand in Christ, we obey His commandments out of joy and pleasure in pleasing Him—not SO THAT He will love us, but BECAUSE He already loves us.
The chief duty—and don’t be scared by that word—it’s Biblical here—our chief duty as believers is to love one another. We are under obligation to do it. We have no choice in the matter. It’s non-negotiable. We owe a debt to love one another.
So one of the most important ways you can live out your new identity in Christ and obedience to Christ is to love other believers with the love that Christ has loved us with.
Spend some time right now praying and asking the Lord to expose any areas in your life where you are lacking love. Ask Him to give you insight over the next few days into what it truly means to practice the gospel “one another’s”
You first loved me with a powerful and extensive love in the cross. I don’t deserve this love but You showed it to me with concrete action in Your sacrifice. You have called me to love others and I want to be obedient in this area of my life. Help me to understand what it truly means to love others. Give me a passion in my heart to not only love with words, but with action and truth.
In Your Name I pray,