Now that we’re a Simple Church, free to worship and serve Jesus outside the constraints of the traditions that have defined us, what next? Where do we go from here? How then will we live in Jesus’ new life, a life led by the Spirit and not just by the habits we have learned from our church lives?
What is the Way of Jesus? What Is Not?
This new life we have received is not a life of idle indulgence, ease and pleasure. Rather it is a life of sacrifice, of praise, of worship, of joy, of deep sorrow over sin, of intercession on behalf of those who stray, of warfare against an insidious, vengeful enemy who would rob us of the pure thought and sincere affection that is the hallmark of the follower of the Way of Jesus. The life of Christ produces holy fruit.
Following Jesus’ Way is both easier and more difficult than just doing one’s duty in a religious system; simpler and more profound than moralizing and practicing a program. It involves death to self to the degree that our decisions become subject to His will, our attitudes to His attitude and our perspective to His Perspective. And we must hear His voice.
We must know Him intimately through His Word by means of His Spirit. We must reject every other voice which would shout and whisper and coax and cajole us away from the path that lies in the shadow of the cross. Victorious, yes; victorious over self-interest, over self-gratification, over self-glorification in a world which exalts the base and abases the exalted. Ours is a lasting, eternal victory over the temporary, futile world we now inhabit. Ours is a Way of peace that seems foolish to the wise and fulfills the deep longings of those who seek peace.
What does the Way of Jesus look like?
Our walk with Him progresses along three planes which intersect in the heart of the believer; an upward plane toward Father God, an outward plane toward our fellow man, and a uniting plane among fellow believers. Freedom or bondage in any of these spheres will hinder our witness, damage our credibility, and hamstring our expression of faith.
Worship is our upward devotion, our intimate connection with a Father who created us for the praise of His glory. We have been made “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” to fulfill this purpose. If this is all we do in our lifetime, we will have pleased God and fulfilled His will.
Worship is both individual and corporate, both private and public, both quiet and expressed vocally. Each one of us must worship in our daily lives. Waking, sleeping, eating, drinking, walking, sitting down, we are to meditate on His ways and rejoice in His love. We are to remember and communicate to everyone around us in word and with actions that He is good, that He is faithful, that He is Lord. Worship is more than a song; it is a life that makes music to God in praise.
Worship like this when joined in like worship with others whose life-song sings to Jesus is a refreshing river! (Casting Crowns, 2005) It becomes a force which draws others into communion with the Object of worship. It saves both our lives and the lives of those who hear us. The joy and power of praise is limitless, but there is more fulfillment and joy than just this pleasure which emanates from the heart of worship.
What is Fellowship?
Fellowship, that unity and peace which both encircles and upholds the believers as one Body in Christ, is also our work in the Father’s family. Jesus so closely identifies Himself with his people that when he arrested Saul, blinding and incapacitating this warrior of the Jews, He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me.” (Acts 9:4) Life in Christ along this plane can only be expressed and experienced as we are in connected community with other believers. We cannot do any of the blessings of fellowship in isolation, nor can we begin to experience the soul-healing joy of love expressed in the family of God until we die to the willful independence our culture exalts.
Here is a list of the 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament, taken From Carl F. George, Prepare Your Church for the Future (Tarrytown: Revell, 1991), 129-131.
1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)
6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)
7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17)
8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)
12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16)
16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)
17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)
19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12)
20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.”
22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)
23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)
37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)
39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)
41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)
46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)
49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)
50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)
53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)
54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)
55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)
56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)
57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11)
58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)
59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5)
How is your fellowship, your communion with His people? How can we live out these commandments together in everyday life?
(More to come…)
Casting Crowns. Lifesong. Club Zoo Music, 2005. Web.
Nored, James. Missional Outreach Network for the Missional Church. 2012. Web.