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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

One Another

Listen Here!

    I knew a kid once in school who used to say that he loved God, but didn’t go to church. I asked him why one day, and he told me that he didn’t feel like it was necessary to go to church to have a relationship with God. This is a common sentiment, maybe even some of us gathered here today believe.
    There’s a popular saying going around that I’ve seen that sort of echoes this idea. It says, “I believe churches are meant for praising God. But so are 2am car rides, showers, coffee shops, the gym, conversations with friends, strangers, etc. Don’t let a building confine your faith because we will never change the world by just going to church.”
    It’s partly true, this idea. We can and never will change the world for Christ just by going to church on Sundays. It’s not possible. And I do certainly and sincerely hope that we are all using any opportunity we can throughout the week to praise God, and to talk to others about our faith. But, what this idea gets wrong is the idea that the building is the church, and that you must come to a building to church in order to have faith. What is even more untrue about this idea, is that you don’t need the church to be a Christian.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    The building is not the church. You do not need to come to a building to have a church service. That’s because the church isn’t a building or an idea. The church is people. If you believe in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are part of the church. You are part of the body of Christ.
    And while you don’t need the church to come to a relationship with Christ, you do need the church to maintain a solid relationship with Christ, because the church is people. The New Testament makes it very clear that the church plays a vital role in the life of the Christian. The church is mentioned 114 times in the New Testament. At least 90 of these times is in reference to the local gathering of believers, the local church, and the importance of the local church to the Christian life. There is a very heavy emphasis in the New Testament on the role of the body of Christ in the Christian life.
    Consider this: “The New Testament is full of commands to do this or that for ‘one another.’ Love one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, etc. So how can we teach people to ‘observe all that I have commanded’ if they have no one to love, pray for, or encourage? It’s impossible to ‘one another’ yourself.”
    Here’s the point I’m going to come back to over and over again this morning, WE CAN’T FOLLOW JESUS ALONE!
    We can’t and we shouldn’t!
    Today I want us to look at the importance of the church, us, the people, to the Christian walk. Why can’t we follow Jesus alone? Why do we need each other? Why do we need the church?
    Let’s start by looking at Galatians 6:1-5.
    “Brothers, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.”
    We need accountability. We need people in our lives who care enough about us to gently tell us that when we’ve gotten caught up in our sin, it’s time to repent of our sin and seek to be reconciled to Christ. We need people in our lives who will help us bear our temptations so they don’t turn into sin. God calls the church to act in this way in the life of each believer.
    The writer of Hebrews tells us that it is important to not give up on meeting with one another, but rather we should use the time that we have when we gather to encourage one another so we don’t sin. We need each other to hold us accountable for the choices we make in life.
    James 5:16 tells us this, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
    James makes the point that the prayers of a righteous man are effective and can accomplish much, but the New Testament makes it clear over and over again that righteousness is only possible through the forgiveness of our sins in Christ Jesus. Accountability is so important because it encourages us to seek the forgiveness of our sins. James tells us that we must confess our sins to one another so we can be healed. We can’t follow Jesus alone. We need one another for accountability.
    We need one another to hear and learn the Word of God. 1 Timothy 5:17 says that it is the responsibility of leaders in the church to preach and teach the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that all scripture is useful for teaching. In Acts 2, we’re told that when the early church, the body of believers first started meeting, they were devoted to the teachings of the apostles.
    We can and should read and learn the Word of God individually. That is an important part of our walk with Christ, but it is equally important to do this with other people. Those who are more mature in their faith than we are have important insight into God’s Word that often only comes from the experience of walking with Him for many years.
    Paul spoke many times in his letters to Timothy about the importance of mature Christians teaching younger Christians about faith and living the Christian life. We need these lessons to help us move toward maturity in Christ, so we need to hear the Word of God preached and we need to learn the Word of God with others and from others.
    Acts 2 gives the earliest example of what it looked like when the earliest body of believers, the earliest church, would gather. One of the most important things that they did when they gathered was to take communion with one another, to take the Lord’s supper together. It was something that Jesus commanded us to do, to remember His sacrifice, His resurrection, and to remember the fact that He was coming again.
    In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Paul criticized the Corinthian church for not taking communion together, but rather using their gatherings as an opportunity to leave people out and neglect the members of the body who were in need. He urged them to take communion together, and pointed out how important it was that they take communion any time they gathered because it promoted unity in the church.
    We can’t follow Jesus alone, and we can’t take communion alone. We need to do this with the body of believers to encourage unity in the church, to remind us all that we serve one God, one Savior, have one faith, and are empowered by one Spirit.
    We need one another for prayer and encouragement. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
    The body of believers has the responsibility of encouraging one another on to love and good deeds.
    Acts 2:42 tells us that the early church gatherings were times of prayer. They laid hands on one another and people were healed. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,”
    We’ve seen before through our prayer services that the early church body did nothing without praying first.
    Prayer and encouragement were both vital parts of the early church. But we can’t do these things alone. We can’t follow Jesus alone.
    Finally, Acts 2:43-47 details how we are to care for other believers and share the gospel.
    “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
    We need the church to care for us.
    I know, I know. We’re a society of individuals, we’re lone rangers, we don’t need anyone to care for us. Except for one day when we do. One day when life doesn’t go the way we think it should, one day when we lose someone close to us, one day when we lose a job, one day when the future is unknown and scary. Then we need people to care for us.
    That is the responsibility of the church, to care for one another. We fill in the gaps. We help one another when a need arises.
    And then, we share the gospel with others, not alone, as we talked about last week, but with others. We share the gospel not from a place of brokenness, but from a place of unity and wholeness, being prayed for, encouraged by, and held accountable to one another.
    We can’t follow Jesus alone. We need each other to live the Christian life the way that Christ intended us to. We need one another.
    In a minute, we’re going to take communion together, which we’ve seen is one of the important things that happens when the church gathers. Before we do that though, I want to challenge you again with a few questions. They’re in your bulletin, read them, think them over, take them home, answer them, and let the Spirit work in you to change areas that need to be changed.

1. Why do you think the New Testament places such a priority on Christians being committed members (or parts) of local churches? Is being a part of your church a priority for you? Why or why not?

2. Read Ephesians 4:1-16. How should this passage affect the way you view your responsibility to other Christians in the church?

3. Think about your life and church and identify a few opportunities that God has given you to minister to the people around you. Have you taken advantage of these opportunities? Why or why not?

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