“…which communion according to the rule of the Gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relations wherein they stand, whether in families, or Churches; yet, as God offereth opportunity is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as Saints, doth not take away or infringe, the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.”
1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Everything we own has been given to us by God. We are to share with the other saints the blessings we have been given. But it seems that there are so many needs – how do we know where to begin? How do we determine with whom our resources are shared?
When deciding how to share our goods among the saints, the pattern is like the ripples created by a stone thrown into a pond. Those saints nearest to us, those of our families, are the first priority in our giving. Then those we fellowship with – our local assembly of saints – should receive great consideration to receive our gifts. Our interests should not stop there, though. Saints throughout the world have needs, and if we have the means, we should be generous in relieving them of their burdens.
If we are honest with ourselves, we could probably give more to those in need than we do. While we are to be generous with what God has given us, how much we give is a matter for us to decide. Our possessions are not to be taken by force from us for the benefit of others. Through our free generosity are the saints ministered, and the Lord is glorified.
Questions to Consider
How are you distributing the gifts God has given you?
“Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services, as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities;…”
Hebrews 10:24,25, 3:12,13
Christians are not to go solo. Being part of the fellowship of saints means that we have to actually be around other saints. It means that we show up to worship services and other meetings of the church, unless providentially hindered. How many profess to know Christ but have no interest in knowing His bride?
Attending the services of your church is vital to your spiritual health. But to fellowship with the saints entails more than just showing up to church and then going home again. It means that those you fellowship with will be in your prayers throughout the week. It means that you will get to know them. When they have a need, you will know because you are concerned for their well-being. It means you will give them aid as you are able.
It is easy to sit back and let someone else take care of the needs of those in our midst. Some might think that is the elders and deacons’ job, not something regular churchgoers need to be concerned about. But the church is not made up of only elders and deacons, with the members merely spectators. Christian, you are a part of the church. Make sure you care for her.
Questions to Consider
Do you treat church as nice, but not necessary? Are you caring for those in your fellowship?
“..and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11,14
1 John 3:17,18
Ever want to become a hermit?
I know there are times when I do! Avoiding everyone and living by yourself can appear to be the most peaceful and stress-free option. Studying and praying with no interruptions, no strife, no disagreements, no annoying people. You’ve got to admit, even being part of a church can be frustrating. Some of your brothers and sisters in Christ can get on your nerves, and living among them and loving them is a lot of work!
While isolation can be attractive at times, its appeal presumes that the church has nothing to offer you. That is wholly untrue. All those who have been called by Christ are given gifts to be used on behalf of others. Each one of your brothers and sisters in your congregation have something to contribute. They are sovereignly placed in your life for your benefit and good, even if you may not see it at times.
Perhaps the life of a hermit does not appeal to you. But there may be times when you wonder if you have anything to offer the church. When a church doesn’t have strife, and everyone is getting along and encouraging one another, it may seem that your place in the church isn’t necessary. Again, that is not true. As a Christian, you are given gifts to be used for the betterment of others. Find a need, and fill it. Sometimes just showing up to service is an encouragement to others. The Lord has placed you there to bring Him glory. Do not hide away from your church.
Questions to Consider
Do you view your relationship with your church as necessary for your mutual good?
” All Saints that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by his Spirit, and Faith; although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his Graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory;and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts, and graces;…”
1 John 1:3
1 Corinthians 12:7; 3:21-23
Christian, you are never alone.
You may feel lonely at times. But the fact is that when you are in Christ, you are united to Him inseparably. Through His mediatorial work, we have His Spirit with us always. “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NASB). We never have to fear that He will remove us from His presence. He has given us every spiritual blessing through Him.
You may feel friendless at times. Yet Christians are united to each other because they are united to Christ. The union we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ is inseparable because our own union with Him will never end.
If Christians are all united in Christ, then there is no place for exclusion or favoritism. Every Christian has spiritual gifts and graces bestowed upon them by the Lord. We all have that in common. No believer is too insignificant to have a place in the body of Christ. Every spiritual blessing given to us is also given to them.
Questions to Consider
Do you overlook the gifts and graces in some of your fellow believers?
2. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion, according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches, yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
( Hebrews 10:24, 25; Hebrews 3:12, 13; Acts 11:29, 30; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Corinthians 12:14-27; Acts 5:4; Ephesians 4:28 )