"No Life Outside the Body”
1. Begin today by reading Matthew 28:18-20 concentrating on verse 18 and verse 20. What do these two verses say to you? 2. Jesus Christ, who has all the authority, taught us that the church is very, very important. In Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus hears Peter confess him to be the Christ, the Son of God; and immediately Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." Jesus saw the church at the center of his plan. He wanted to build it and He intended to make it so strong that the forces of Satan could not stand against it. What Jesus counted as so important, we too must count as so important. 3. For a true picture of what the church should be striving to become every day, look at Acts 2:40-47. 4. What can you do today and the rest of this week to contribute to this kind of life among God’s people (the church)? 5. If the church you are part of is not like this at all, what should you do? Complain vigorously? Leave the church and go it alone? Or is there a better option, a more Biblical option?
1. Paul describes the church as "the Body of Christ." Read Romans 12:1-8, and see how giving yourself first to God leads to giving yourself to other people in the Body of Christ. 2. Notice particularly verse 5 which says, "each member belongs to all the others," or "we are all members one of another." How does this fit with or conflict with the American ideal of individualism? 3. List three things that you know already that you can do for other members of the Body of Christ. Share these with a prayer partner or someone who is close to you and get their reaction. 4. List at least three things that you know you need from the Body of Christ in order to grow in Christ. Share these also with another person.
1. Read Ephesians 4:1-5. Why does it seem to you that God is so very concerned about the Body of Christ being in unity and peace? 2. Turn to Romans 14:13-15:3 and read how far we should go and how much we should bend to keep the Body of Christ together. 3. Is there anything in your life that is so important to you that you could not give it up even if it was keeping people from coming to Jesus Christ or growing in him? If there is, look back to verse 21 and seek help in dealing with this area of your life.
1. God is greatly concerned about the UNITY of the church, but he is also greatly concerned about the PURITY of the Body of Christ. We are called to a holy life and a pure life, and sin in the Body that is being hidden or ignored will destroy the power of the church. 2. Read Ephesians 5:1-14. List those things which are described here as improper for God’s holy people. 3. How would living as "children of light" be totally different from these things you have just listed? What is the basic difference? 4. You are a young Christian, but what should you do if you see brothers or sisters falling into some sin? Read Galatians 6:1-2.
1. What is the one thing that must be in the church and in our relationships above all else? Read the following passages: John 13:34-35, I Corinthians 13:1-3, Galatians 5:6 and 13-14, Ephesians 5:1-2, Colossians 3:14, & I Peter 4:8 2. For a more precise definition of love, compare John 13:34-35 with I John 3:16. List all the things you can think of that describe the way Jesus Christ loved us. 3. How are you progressing in your relationships with your new brothers and sisters in Christ? Are they seeing your love for them? Many new Christians just want to be loved and to be served. Break this pattern and reach out to others because Jesus Christ has reached out to you.
1. One of the things we can all do for one another in the Body is give encouragement. Read a powerful statement about this in Hebrews 3:12-14. 2. According to this passage, what is to be the specific purpose of our encouragement? What do you think will be involved in giving this kind of specific encouragement? (If this is not clear, be sure and discuss it with an older brother or sister). 3. Look at II Timothy 4:2. Notice that we can encourage people by bringing the Word to them (not just by complimenting them). In your new relationships try to share with someone every day something that you have found in God’s Truth that is inspiring and encouraging to you.
1. When problems develop in the Body between brothers and sisters, they must be dealt with so that Satan is given no opportunity to enter in. Read Matthew 18:15-20 which gives us the right way to deal with such situations. 2. Determine early in your Christian life that you will not complain or grumble behind someone’s back about what they have done. Determine that you will always go to them and resolve the problem with God’s help (verse 20).