1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Eph. 4:1-7 – NASB95)
Last week in our study of John 15:12-17, we noted that Jesus commands us to love one another the way He loves us. And He said that He treats us not as slaves, but as friends. Therefore, in the body of Christ, the relationships between believers should be characterized as loving friendships. Now, most of us choose our closest friends because we have something in common with them (age, station in life, occupation, neighborhood, hobbies, sports, the Dodgers…). Since most of their friendships have been based on commonalities, they might protest that they can’t be true friends with other people in their church because they have “nothing in common with them.” They might even feel that they have more in common with their “unsaved friends” than they do with fellow church members. But is that true?
I want to argue that if you are a born-again follower of Jesus, you have more in common with another born-again follower of Jesus than you do with any unsaved member of your own family. The text above in Eph. 4 is one of many texts of Scripture that tell us how much we have in common with one another in the body of Christ. Let me list just a few things we have in common with other true
believers to get your mind started. Please take the time to add many, many more to the list, and then celebrate those commonalities with other followers of Jesus the next time you are with them.
We were chosen by God in eternity past. We have Jesus as our Lord and Savior; God as our Father; and the Holy Spirit indwelling us. We worship and serve the only true God. We have the Scriptures as our inerrant, infallible, authoritative truth, and the Holy Spirit opening our eyes to understand and apply the truth to our lives. We have the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We all share one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. We have been saved entirely by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. We who were once spiritually dead are now alive in Jesus. We have been adopted into God’s eternal family and will be brothers and sisters forever. We have a new purpose, new marching orders for our remaining time here on earth. We are heading to the same kingdom. We are fellow citizens with other saints. We have the same eternal future. We have been set free from the penalty and the power of sin, and we will one day be set free from the presence of sin. Until that day, we all struggle with sin and need each other to grow stronger in God’s grace and truth. We do our work heartily for the Lord, not for men. We have received spiritual gifts to be used for the glory of God and benefit of others in the body of Christ. We can pray to the only living and true God and know that He hears and answers us. We have the freedom to be open and transparent with one another because our relationships are based on grace, not merit. We walk in the light as He is in the light. Someday we will all be just like Jesus!
That’s just a small sample of the things we have in common. No wonder the early church was known for gathering together with gladness and sincerity of heart. They shared their time, talents, and treasures with one another. They shared their very lives. They confessed their sins, studied the Word, prayed fervently, and practiced the one anothers of Scripture. They knew the truth about one another and loved one another anyway. Like one of my dearest friends often says to me, “I love you and there’s not a thing you can do about it!”
Our church should be characterized by intimate, loving friendships. For that to happen we will need to abide in Jesus, have His Word abide in us, and take the initiative to develop deeper relationships with one another. It starts by making the gathering of the saints a priority (Heb. 10:23-25). Come together to worship the Lord and hear His Word proclaimed. Reach out to those around you with words of encouragement. Invite people over or out for a meal where you can hear each other’s testimonies and revel in God’s amazing grace. AND join a LIFE Group where you can grow closer to a specific group of people.
Everything that truly matters in life we have in common because of Jesus. Let’s build our friendships on those things and honor our risen King who commanded us to love one another the way He first loved us.
“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.”
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly
“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”
“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” (Woodrow Wilson)
“A friend is someone who helps you when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” (Winnie the Pooh)