Since Jesus Christ has called his people to be his Body, the church, all believers should team up with other believers in a community of mutual edification and sharing their lives. As believers in Christ and imitators of Him, we should:
- Gather together regularly to worship, sing, preach, learn, serve, give, pray and break bread.
- Love each other as Christ has loved us.
- By faith, utilize our spiritual gifts for the building up of the body.
- Encourage one another daily in the faith, considering how to spur one another on to love and good deeds.
- Call one another to walk in daily holiness, including reproving one another. In extreme cases if a brother is unrepentant even after multiple warnings and witnesses, that brother should be put out of fellowship as a stark warning to him and for the protection of the Body.
- Join together in mission to bring the light of Christ to a dark and dying world, reaching out to our community and multiplying churches in other communities.
- Support the work of the church and the advancement of the kingdom through regular and sacrificial giving.
- Strive for unity, seek to avoid division, refuse to slander or gossip, and seek to believe the best of each other.
- Accept one another as Christ has accepted us. Our interaction should be characterized by grace, vulnerability, and honesty concerning our struggles. We should welcome those who are struggling and broken and demonstrate patience to those who are weak.
- Work hard and creatively through our various vocations to provide for ourselves, to serve the world around us, and to be salt and light to those in darkness.
- Remember His great love and the greatness of His New Covenant salvation by regularly breaking bread as the Lord instructed His disciples to do during the last supper.
Since the covenant of law that God made with Moses and the Israelites has been fulfilled in Christ and since justification and membership in the people of God are now by faith in Christ, not adherence to the Mosaic law, we need not follow the Law of Moses. Those who are part of God’s new covenant people, the church, are not under the law at all, including dietary rules, the sacrificial system, Mosaic governmental laws, and the Saturday Sabbath.
Since we have been adopted into God’s family, we should regularly and boldly, yet respectfully, approach God as our Father in prayer—thanking, adoring, asking, confessing, and imploring.
Since our salvation is so awesome and glorious, yet totally a free gift of grace and undeserved, and since God is the initiator and primary mover in salvation and redemption, we must respond to His great salvation by giving Him our lives as living sacrifices. What he has done deserves our full devotion, not a half-hearted or occasional response. If we aren’t worshiping Him as Lord, then He is not our lord; we are worshiping a false god.
Since the church is the family of God, we should make our relationships with fellow believers our primary relationships. We should not allow our relationships with those who do not know Christ to become so close and influential that they lead us into unrighteousness. Since light does not mix with darkness we must, to a degree, be separate from the world. Believers should not marry unbelievers. However, we must not totally isolate ourselves from the world, but must fulfill Jesus’ commission to reach the world.
Since the church consists of people of all ages and both genders, the church must honor all, male and female, married or single. Those who are single adults should find the church to be a spiritual family. Also, the church should honor those who are married and God’s structure for the family should be recognized. The church should respect the responsibility and authority of husbands and parents to lead and care for their wives and children. In many ways, the church should be a family or adult singles and families.
While God’s plan for most is to be married and have a family, we acknowledge that God’s ways are often not followed and that divorce has become common in our culture. The church should work to redeem this brokenness and support those who are divorced and are single moms or dads. We can’t mend all the brokenness, but we can seek to make it better than it was.
Since Jesus appointed leaders for the church and those leaders appointed others, the church should develop and recognize servant leaders, pastor/elders, who are models and examples in the pattern of Jesus’s life and love. Although themselves still beset by weakness and temptation, elders must be men of character and blameless before all. In light of God’s complementary design and plan for men and women in the family and church, elder leadership within the church should be reserved to men.
Back to: The Story of the Church