God's Plan In the Church:

Study Guide
by David Chadwell

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Lesson Seven

Christians existing as a community was a fundamental necessity of basic importance. By God's design, Christians must (a) form a genuine community, (b) function as a real community, and (c) assume personal responsibility within this community. This emphasis is clearly, frequently seen in the writings to Christians in the New Testament.

A brief review of the emphasis of lesson four.

We noted the "body" illustration to the Christians in Rome and in Corinth. Paul used this illustration to affirm the basic principles of community.

My understanding of the historical context of Romans: the Christian Jews who had been expelled from Rome by emperor Claudius (Acts 18:2) returned to Rome when his death rescinded the edict. Returning Jewish Christians and "in place" Gentile Christians experienced difficulties in functioning again as Christ's community.

My understanding of the context of 1 Corinthians: the Christian community was in serious jeopardy because of these acts: rivaling factions; a man living with his father's wife; Christian-Christian lawsuits in pagan courts; etc.

In the past a community existed when individuals functioned in ways that served and benefited all. For example, consider communities in earlier America: black smith, doctor, barber, grocer, stable owner, seamstress, hotel owner, restaurant owner, etc. They did not exist as independents in competition, but as community members who provided services for the community. That was true in the ancient world. Paul's "body" illustration naturally emphasized the nature of the Christian community. Romans 12:3-6: many members; diversity of function; members of each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-30: many members; interdependence of differing parts; each member is to benefit the whole community; and the experiences of the individual affects the whole. Obviously, God designed diversity, not duplication.

Paul's emphasis focused on a functioning community, not institutional organization.

Read the following scriptures and note the continuation of this emphasis by noting the natural responsibilities of Christians to each other. Carefully note the repeated emphasis on "one another." Note that we do not and cannot fulfill "one another" responsibilities merely by "being in a worship assembly."

1. Romans 12:5--Christians individually are what?

2. Romans 14:1 and 15:1--How do Christians respond to weak Christians?

3. Romans 14:13--Christians do not do what in matters of judgment? Instead, they refuse to be what?

4. Romans 15:7--In what manner do Christians accept each other? What does that mean?

5. 1 Corinthians 12:25, 26--Explain the "care bond" Christians should have for each other.

6. Ephesians 4:25--Why are Christians truthful?

7. Philippians 2:1,2--How should Christians interact with each other?

In the following scriptures, how did Christians treat each other? Explain the meaning of the word that describes Christian/Christian interaction in the verse.

1. Galatians 6:1--What do Christians do for the Christian who has seriously sinned?

2. Galatians 6:2--What is the law of Christ?

3. Ephesians 4:1,2--Christians show ______________ to each other in _______.

4. Ephesians 4:31,32--From what are Christians to separate themselves (verse 31)? Notice that each of these involve relationships.

5. Colossians 3:12,13--What relationship attitudes are stressed in verse 12?

6. 1 Thessalonians 4:18--How are Christians to help distressed Christians?

7. 1 Thessalonians 5:11--What behavior is to be common among Christians?

8. James 5:16--What do Christians do with Christians? What do Christians do for Christians?

9. 1 Peter 4:9--What do Christians do without complaint?

Can these things happen in the context of a worship assembly or in the context of a functioning community?

David Chadwell

Christians Nurturing Christians Study Guide (lesson 7)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Summer Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
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