So my next point is: What is my role when I get together with other believers wherever and whenever that may be.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.and all the more as you see the Day approaching. "This passage is often used to encourage people to 'go to church'. But if we look again we also see instructions as to what we should be doing when we meet with other believers. Why do we get together as church? To encourage one another, and spur one another on towards love and good deeds.
This means more to me than having one or a few people at the front encouraging the others. I believe each member of the body can and should play a role in building up one another when we get together.
1 Corinthians 14:26 (NIV)
"What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up."Again, building each other up when we get together.
There are many 'one another' commands that we should pay attention to as well. Of course these are best done when we get together.
- Offering hospitality to one another
- Show humility to one another
- Be at harmony with one another
- Not slandering one another
- Encouraging one another
- Teaching one another
- Admonishing (giving advice) one another
- Forgiving one another
- Submitting to one another
- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
- Be kind and compassionate to one another
- bearing with one another in love
- serve one another
- Accept one another
- Agree with one another
- kissing one another (ew)
- and the repeated call to love one another.
Consider one more passage Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)
So Christ himself gave the apostles [messengers who are sent out], the prophets [those who speak a message of God], the evangelists [those who shares the good news], the pastors [shepherds - those who care for other believers] and teachers [those who teach], to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
One may think this passage supports the idea that it is the job of a few select people to build up the body. I'd like to push you to consider that God is calling most of us to do these tasks. To be messengers sent out into the world, to share the good news, to care for others, and teach each other. Some may be more gifted in different areas than others, but I don't believe anyone is exempt from considering their role in each of these areas.
And to the point of this passage. That the whole body works together, to build up the body to become mature and more like Christ. So that we can be Christ's living body in our world today.
And I think that is the role for each of us as we get together with other believers (the church - whenever and wherever).