Vol.III No.XI Pg.4
December 1966

Christians Are "Together"

Robert F. Turner

Luke said of early Christians, "All that believed were together, and had all things common." (Acts 2:44) I believe "togetherness" is an essential characteristic of Christians, to be acquired and cultivated. We must, however, distinguish between business association and true "oneness." Some congregations maintain organic oneness (through pride or a strong executive board) while lacking the essence of God-inspired unity.

1 Thes.5: 10 says we should live together with Christ -- which produces self-edification and comfort. And on this basis (oneness in Christ) we are to esteem highly our overseers "in the Lord."

Then in vs. 14, Paul gives four practical instructions by which togetherness among brethren may be maintained. You warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted (rv), support the weak, and be patient to all, weak or strong. These instructions, followed, will weave an unbreakable bond among brethren. (Re-read, and meditate.)

In 1 Cor. 12: Paul seeks to correct strife among saints by comparing the church to a physical body, with the same need for correlation of parts. Again, oneness in Christ is, of course, the basic consideration. But Paul elaborates upon the essence of unity by suggesting certain essentials.

First, the UNITY OF NECESSITY -- realizing that all parts of the body have need of one-another. We can no more do without loyal brethren -- even those which seem the most feeble -- than the eye can say to the hand, I have no need of thee. (Vs. 21-22)

Second, THE UNITY OF APPRECIATION. The recognition of value (for this is the basic meaning in "honor") would cause us to work more closely and fully with fellow-saints. This togetherness is, as already stated, within the framework of God's plan; and does not warrant the forming of organizational structures larger or smaller than the local church." (Vs. 23-24)

Third, THE UNITY OF CONCERN. When brethren really "care" for one-another there can be "no schism in the body" for bickering and strife will not grow in an atmosphere of genuine love. Differences?? Oh, yes!! But brethren who care will warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, support the weak, and be patient toward all. If discipline is necessary, it will be done because of "care" for the soul -- a final effort to save the lost. (V.25)

Fourth, THE UNITY OF SYMPATHY. We feel with our brethren; so that if one suffers all suffer, and if one be honored, all rejoice. (Vs. 26)

There are many members, yet but one body; and that body enjoys a special kind of "togetherness." It is not the oneness of organic ties to a Pope or council; nor the oneness of orthodoxy in a man-made creed; nor the oneness of sectarian pride. It is the result of our feeling of NEED for one another, appreciating the VALUES of our brethren, genuine CONCERN and SYMPATHY; all within the framework of our common desire to serve the Lord.

Nothing Short Of This Is "Of Christ."