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Church is for teams. We serve Jesus together, not separately. There are no lone rangers in the Kingdom of God. There aren’t any rock stars either. We are all God’s sons and daughters and we work together.
A Personal Relationship with Jesus is critical to a growing faith. Nothing is better than knowing Jesus Christ individually, personally, and UP CLOSE. Christianity was never meant to be a religion.
A Community Relationship with Jesus is our focus today. Let’s consider the Assembly, the Ekklesia, or the Community. There is a reason the New Testament holds so many of those “love one another” commands.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NLT) Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Humility. Jesus is the one who made humility a thing. You wouldn’t think Jesus was without merit or honor because he was humble. You wouldn’t think of Him without power or skill because he was gentle. He possessed all merit, honor, skill, power, and authority. Yet, He never got stuck on what He deserved. He never seemed to care about how He should have been treated. He never used it as an excuse to overlook anyone. He never reminded his friends of it as a way to control them; He only used it to comfort them. Jesus’ status and power were non-issues for Him. That’s humility.
Humility is when we give people respect. Their God-given worth is enough for us. And, when all the stuff that we take pride in becomes a non-issue for us, our relationships are much easier.
Patience. Relationships take time. Knowledge, understanding, and trust are a process. Oh sure, sometimes we meet someone who we feel like we have known forever. And, occasionally, those relationships will endure, but most of them don’t. Eventually, you discover, “oh, you are not who I thought you were.”
Unity. We are united in God, in Christ, and in Holy Spirit. Unity is part of who we are. Disagreements are par for the course, but divisions are an assault. We are the body of Christ on earth. We can not only learn to get along, we can also accomplish mighty things together.
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT) He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
What’s Your Function – The Five Fold Ministry. This is Jesus’ structure of functional ministry for His Ekklesia, or assembly. Paul makes it clear that these are gifts to the body and they are what makes it a healthy body.
Apostles – Trailblazing. They have received orders. They have a mission, usually to go or do what hasn’t been done before (at least where they are supposed to do it is new). Remember, Jesus borrowed language from the Greeks that Disciples adopted. Imagine Greece sending out assemblies to establish Greek culture. That practice changed the world. Technically, it Hellenized it. It infected the world with Greek culture. So, Apostles were the sent ones, the trailblazers, the first to establish beachheads, if you will, of culture in a foreign place.
Prophets – Navigation. The prophets share the map and keep us on course. The map is truth, love, and prophecy. Or, another way to say it is that they keep us aware of what God HAS revealed and what God IS revealing. The prophet holds us to the past and the developing revelation of God.
Evangelists – Morale. They keep us in the loop on the Good News of what God is doing and they keep us connected to each other. That’s why I say morale. Do they share the Gospel and evangelize? Sure, but it may not look like how the evangelistic movement you are familiar with says it should look. I know evangelists who would have great anxiety at sharing a commonly accepted gospel presentation. But, they are responsible for many coming to faith and actually connecting with a body of believers.
Pastors – Support. Shepherd is the word Paul’s readers would have understood. They give care, nurture, guide, and provide support, almost everything that no one sees. In short, they heal and bind broken people.
Teachers – Academics. If you are to advance culture, someone has to teach you that culture. The teacher takes difficult things and helps them make sense.
All of these functions still exist. From them, you could find a primary and secondary supporting function. When you learn to use them, you become one of Jesus’ many gifts to His church.
Ephesians 6:10-13 (NLT) A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
This isn’t a Game, it’s a War. This is why church, family, and marriage divisions are so serious. This is why you can’t just throw away relationships. But, it’s also why you can’t just allow them to be toxic either.
People are not Your Problem. If your problem has a person’s name attached to it, you haven’t found the root of that problem yet. Most relationship conflict is over symptoms, not root causes. It is often about the feelings bubbling under the surface that never get verbalized, and those feelings often come from darker and more sinister places.
That’s why we need the Team. We can’t just go it alone. We need each other, and it is relationships that bind us together. Is there a relationship in your life that you could get to the root of this week?