B – ATTRIBUTES OF A CHRISTIAN – 2
Communication and fellowship with God has been shown to be an important attribute of a Christian for how can we be “of Christ” and be void of either one. Our communication and also our fellowship with God requires both a life of prayer and also a life of hunger to know more of God’s Word. Matt.5:6
The above are attributes of our private life as a Christian although fruit is born of both that should be visible in our lives. Because of this insatiable desire within us, we want to be with those that have that same longing. To be with Christians in church, which is the assembly of the “called out” and not a building, this desire is accomplished. Christians being together is so important to our Christian life that it is commanded. Heb.10:24,25 This “called-out assembly” is the church that Jesus established. Matt.16:18
Since the church is an “assembly”, a group of people (Christians) are involved. Do you remember having assemblies in school? Many classes came together. This assembly for Christians is church. Many examples are given in Scripture to illustrate the togetherness of Christians in church. Ed Werner gives several of these examples in his book, On To Perfection as seen below.
Christ’s church is a family. Heb.2:11 (brothers are of the same family); Gal.6:10(NIV) We sing the song, “Family of God.” Christ’s church is called a “flock.” Acts 20:28; 1 Pet.5:2,3 An army is used to illustrate Christ’s Church. Christians are soldiers in God’s army. 2 Tim.2:2-4 As soldiers we are given our armor. Eph.6:11 The church is called a kingdom. Jhn.3:5; Matt.9:35 Another illustration is the body. Rom.12:4,5; 1 Cor.12:12,13
With the above “Jesus is the head of the family, the Chief Shepherd of the flock, the leader of the army, the King in the kingdom, and the head of the body. Christians are to work together to help one another reach spiritual maturity so the work of Christ can be advanced.”
Two reasons are given for our assembling together in Heb.10:24,25. The first is to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Jhn.13:35 Our need of love for one another is evident; but “Hello” and “Have a good day” for one hour a week does not produce love. Sometimes the above is without even knowing their name. During that hour we take our seat, sing, pray, listen to a sermon. We do not get to know one another in our hopes, dreams, problems, and victories of life. Lives need to be shared with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Rom.12:15 When we spend time with “friends”, is that time spent with those in Christ or those of the world. It is true – we must make friends to win them to Christ but there is a difference. 1 Cor.15:33 In Acts 2:44 the Christians were together
As we join in the assembly, whenever Christians meet together we get to know one another in a closer way. This is especially true if we arrive early enough to visit and don’t rush out at the end. We join in fellowship times. We are stimulated and energized to love one another as true friends in Christ. As part of the family of God, we are brothers and sisters in the faith. 1 Pet.1:22
Because of our love for one another and our knowledge of the needs of each other, we can not only pray for and with them, but we can help supply those needs that are within our power to do so. None of us are an island to ourselves. We all need help at times. We leave our comfort zone for one another and count it joy to do so. Eph.4:12
Not only are we stimulated to love and good deeds for each other, but for those outside of Christ. One of our goals is to bring them into the fold or the church of believers. As we are together, we become aware of needs in the community. Do we have that spirit of compassion that Jesus showed so many times. Mk.6:34; Col.3:12 Together we can become more aware of those needs and learn ways to offer our assistance. Let it always be in the name of the Lord and His church and not ourselves personally for our own glory.
Do we ever have need of encouragement? Our answers come as we meet together. We need encouragement as we face problems and pain. We need input as we face problems in relationships. Heb.3:13 And, yes, we need encouragement to remain faithful as we see the day drawing near. Some day each one of us will face the end of life in one way or another. We encourage one another to be ready. 1 Jhn.1:7 We need that fellowship to encourage.
Do we have temptations? Jesus did, so we could say that we all do. Are we willing for others to approach in help when they see us falling. We need to remain approachable to receive help. 1 Pet.5:8,9 It may be that we are the one to provide help. Scripture tells us how. Gal.6:1 Those who preach and teach the gospel are given responsibilities to be achieved. Much of this happens as we come together. 2 Tim.4:2 Then, as we come together, we must be ready and willing to receive this through the Word.
Meeting together should never be drudgery. May we say with David in Ps.122:1 I was glad when they said to me,” Let us go to the house of the Lord.” If we were made to witness just five minutes of what some Christians in the past and even today go through to worship, we would forever be thankful and our hearts full of joy to have the great privilege we have to worship in Spirit and Truth (Jhn.4:24) with the freedom we enjoy.
Are we one hour a week Christians? That means we spend 52 hours a year out of roughly 5,824 hours to worship together. That is giving us 8 hours of sleep a night. This does not help us grow nor does it help the church as a people to grow; consequently, we don’t win the world as Jesus commissioned us to do. Matt.28:19,20 May we not forsake the assembly!
Generally, the world knows where we should be when the church meets. If they notice that we are home or they see us out shopping during the times of church service or see us at a ballgame or golf course, what kind of influence does that bring? In their mind we are no different in that aspect than they are. Why should they become a Christian. They are hunting for every excuse they can find as to why they are “just as good.”
Following are some astonishing statistics taken from Leadership magazine. When Mom and Dad both attend church, 72% of the children will remain faithful. If just Dad attends church, then 55% of the children will be found faithful. When only Mom attends church, the percentage dwindles to 15% and if neither Dad nor Mom attend, the percentage drops further to only 6%. Does our attendance make a difference? Definitely—not only to us personally but to our children and to the world around us.
“I’ll Tell the World That I’m a Christian” by being faithful in our presence when the saints meet together. This is an important attribute of a Christian. As we come together, let us be thankful and with joy offer our sacrifice of praise Heb.13:15 If we are doing our part, we should not be discouraged with a few in number. Pray for those not present. Matt.18:20 What is “our part”? Matt.6:33