- To understand God’s intent for the church and how each of us can contribute to its overall impact
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Q. How would you describe the church was like from this passage?
- The first disciples were devoted to God and to one another.
- They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
- They spent time in each other’s homes and worshiped together.
- They were sincere and looked to meet each other’s needs.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
- Jesus is supreme in the universe.
- Jesus is supreme in the church—he is the head and the church is his body.
Q. What is the function of the head and how does it relate to the rest of the body?
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
- The church is the family of God.
- The church is God’s household and its members are fellow citizens.
- The church is founded on the apostles and the prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
Q. How does a family describe the kind of relationships we should have in the church?
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- In the church, we strive to maintain unity.
- The Bible teaches that there is one body or one church.
- All believers are bound together and share one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and one Father.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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.
14 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. 15 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. 16 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.
- God gives gifts and puts people in roles to build up and strengthen his church.
- God’s aim is unity, maturity, and protection from false teaching.
- Through honest and loving conversation, and each part doing its work, the church grows
and is built up in love.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with youra] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
- Each member of the body is given a function by God, and each is essential.
- The members of the church are connected just like the parts of the body.
- God calls us to use our gifts.
Q. What do you think your gifts are and how do you think you can use them to glorify God and build up his church?
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-27
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
- You are baptized into the body of Christ.
- We need the body and the body needs us.
- Members of the body share in each other’s joy and suffering.
- Every member of the body is significant.
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
- In the church, we give generously from our finances to meet the needs of the church and to help spread the gospel.
- When we give sacrificially, as this widow did, we store up treasures in heaven— treasures that last! Giving is a heart matter. Our giving reflects where our hearts are invested.
- Giving is a faith matter. As we give to meet the needs of the church, we trust that God is able to meet our needs.
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
- We are responsible for one another.
- We all need to give and receive daily encouragement to protect us from the deceitfulness of sin.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- The fellowship helps us to be unswerving in our commitment to Christ.
- Do not give up meeting together—church services need to be a priority in our lives.
Q. What will you need to change in your schedule to make the body (the church) a top priority in your life?
Philippians 2:1-4 We are called to be one in spirit and purpose
Galatians 6:10 The church is a family of believers
Acts 4:32-35 Members of the church help to meet one another’s needs
Matthew 22:34-40 Loving your neighbor can be displayed in the church
2 Corinthians 9:6-9 We give to meet needs and spread the gospel globally
John 13:34-45 This is the standard for the relationships that Jesus wants us to have with one another. After he goes back to Heaven, he leaves us with each other. And by this, all men will know that we are disciples of Jesus.