One Another

Church Family,

One the most challenging/inspiring/frustrating things that words of Jesus and the New Testament letters insist on is that, as Christians, we are supposed to stick together in this thing called the “ekklesia”; literally, the “called out ones.” Ekklesia gets translated as church in our English Bibles, but “ekklesia” goes as far beyond “church” as a 747 goes beyond a paper airplane.

The word church, you may know, comes from a German word that means “place of assembly”. Somehow, in English, our word for church has become associated more with a location than the people! And, to a point, it’s understandable. The place where Christians gather is important, just like the home your family gathers in is important. And yet, at the same time, your family is not the place you live and the “church” is not the place we gather.

But, somehow beyond all of that, neither is the church just “the people” alone. If a church were merely “the people”, then a collective of handsome humans at a concert or a sunbathing crowd on the beach would be “the church.”

“Ekklesia”, the church, though, is different. “Ekklesia”the called out ones, acknowledges two crucial things (I promise I’m heading towards a point, just stay with me!):

1) Ekklesia acknowledges that we are the called out ones, as in plural.

That is, we are more like grapes—we come in bunches.

That is, we are more like grits—we don’t come alone (have you ever ordered a “grit”?)

Though his thought can be used beyond where it should go, Cyprian, the early African church leader, put it succinctly:

“God is not your Father, if the church is not your mother.”

That may rub against our American individualism, but I think his thought is closer to the truth than the thought that being a Christian is just “me and Jesus”.

2) Ekklesia also acknowledges that we are the called out ones.

In other words, we are, as Paul put it, “not our own”. We did not call ourselves out of darkness into light, we did not escape the grasp of Satan and a future of judgment because of our own merit, power or brilliance.

Someone else had to call us out of where we were. Like Abraham, we have been called out of a life of selfishness and the pursuit of cultural idols into the family of God and the mission of God.

All that to say—if He is the one who calls us out, He is the one who gets to tell us where to go.

This is uncomfortable, but it is true. And the moment we let go of God’s Kingship over our lives, we also let go of the King’s power to save us through the King’s resources: one another.

Which…brings me to what I really want to say and what I hope you’ll hear:

This week, for the next six weeks, we will be looking at all the “one anothers” in the Bible, all the places we are called to “fill in the blank” with one another:

“Serve” one another.

“Sharpen” one another.

“Encourage” one another.

…and on and on and on.

This isn’t by accident in the Bible! God had something in mind when He gave us this consistent, multifaceted directive to “one another” one another:

He had in mind a glorious group of people, called out by Him, bearing not just His image but His name—you and me and him and her and them and us.

Kinda like grapes and grits, only better.

I hope you’ll join me this Sunday as we begin a look at something Satan hates, Jesus loves and something we sometimes go back and forth between, if we were honest:

One Another.

I’ll “see” you then.


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