The Church of One Another
by Keith Giles
As I've studied the New Testament Church one thing that overwhelms me is the fact that the Body itself was always encouraged to minister and serve everyone else within the Body.
In the book of Romans Paul exhorts the community of believers to:
"be devoted to one another" - Romans 12:10
"honor one another" - Romans 12:10
"live in harmony with one another" - Romans 12:16)
"love one another" - Romans 13:8
"edify one another" - Romans 14:19
"accept one another" - Romans 15:7
"instruct one another" - Romans 15:14
"greet one another" - Romans 16:16
What is also amazing is that Paul never instructs Pastors to do these things.
In the New Testament Church the ministry to the Body was done by and through the Body, and in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Todd Hunter recently said that "In the early church the Holy Spirit was not a controversial subject. It was simply the continued ministry of Jesus being released to the Church."
As we, the people of God, begin to embrace the notion of being a priesthood of believers, we can start to use our God-given gifts to bless and serve and instruct and edify "one another" for the Glory of God.
Perhaps part of what's wrong with our churches today is that we've shifted the "one another" aspect of Church life into a system where one man, or one team of people, is expected to perform all of these various functions alone. Clearly, this isn't the way God intended His Church to operate, and yet we've become complacent with a man-made system of church that allows many to opt out of ministry and sit back to be fed by the chosen few.
If we look through first and second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and all the other new testament epistles we'll see a continuing list of "one anothers" where the Apostles spurred the people of God onward to be the Church that God always dreamed of.
I would echo that same encouragement to all of us today.
Let's become the Church that actively and enthusiastically embraces our calling to be the people who minister to, and love, one another.
"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth" - 1 John 3:18.