Dr. Ed Romine has been a preacher since 2007, and holds a BA in Music from Henderson State University, MDiv in Biblical Languages and ThM from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as a ThM and PhD from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is currently the director of education at First Baptist Church of Provo, Utah.
In the New Testament, there is a group of 94 verses that are called the “one another” commands and the mass majority of them are about your fellow Christians in your local church. A few of them are about non-Christians, a few of them are about husbands and wives, but the at least 47 of these 94 verses are explicitly about the church and for most of the other verses, it’s implied that the “one another” are your fellow church members as well.
For instance, we’re told to “bear one another’s burdens,” “forgive one another as I have forgiven you,” “serve one another,” “confront one another with truth,” heard Jesus command His disciples to wash one another’s feet, and in John 13:34, we find (maybe) the most famous “one another”: “love one another: just as I have love you, you also are to love one another.” After Jesus leaves, He’s going to create a new people: the church. He commissions His disciples to make disciples and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit and the book of Acts that’s exactly what we see. Peter gets up to preach the Gospel and that day 3,000 people were baptized and added to the number of the church and immediately the church puts this command into practice. In Acts 2 we’re told that the church had everything in common and we even sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Of course, we’re supposed to love everyone. We’re commanded to love our neighbors, to love the outcasts, to even love our enemies, but we are called to prioritize our love for one another over and above our love for non-Christians. I strive to love all women but let me tell you: I do not all women the same way I love my bride. You may love families, but it’s only natural that you prioritize your love for your family over and above other families. In the same way, as Christians, we’re called to love all people, but we’re commanded to love our brothers and sisters in Christ with a special kind of love. We’re called to prioritize our love for one another.
The reason I point that out is because it needs to be said: unless you are committed to a local church, you cannot obey the commands of the New Testament. Do you know why (as a Christian) you’re supposed to commit yourself to a church? Do you know why you’re supposed to go to church? Number 1, because God tells you to; Number 2, because it’s good for your personal relationship with Christ; but there’s a third reason that most people forget about. Number 3, so that you can love, serve, build up, forgive, and encourage one another. Hebrews 10 says, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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.”
Listen to me Christian: this church desperately needs your love. We desperately need the gifts God has given you and the service that you can offer this church. We desperately need your encouragement. When you come to church, it’s not primarily about you. It’s not even secondarily about you. It’s primarily about the glory of God, secondarily it’s about the other Christians in the church, and lastly it’s about you. I have never realized how true this was until Covid. A global pandemic is a perfectly reasonable excuse not to gather with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but in that time, I know pastors who have told me that they’ve never seen their churches experience more depression, more discourage, more division than when the church was not able to “one another” one another.
When you come to this church and invest your life in the people you see around you, not only are you obeying the many “one another” passages, but you’re also making a powerful statement to the world. John 13:35 doesn’t say, “All people will know you are my disciples by the way you love them.” Instead, it says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The way non-Christians will recognize that we belong to Jesus is by the way we love our fellow Christians.
If you want to know more about committing to HBC through membership, please contact us at HoriconBaptist@gmail.com.
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