I love movies with legal talk and a court scene. When things get chaotic, the judge may say “order in the court” to restore relative order. When it comes to the church, whose “order” do we follow when things get out of order?
There are a variety of churches with different patterns: There’s the sensational model, where things appear well tuned on the outside; the techno based model, with media being at the center. There’s even the “program” based model, one for every age or group of people.
But what did Jesus mean when He said He would build His church? What type of church and whose order is to be followed? “What order?” you might ask.
The New Testament church does give us the sense that church was a gathering of believers for the purpose of fellowship with the Lord and each other. Jesus did not die for a building or to create an organization. Church is meant to be a living, breathing organism that allows its members to grow, thrive and experience the reality of the presence of God.
After God created the earth and everything living in it, He created man and woman, placed them in the garden and from the very start, we see a God who interacts with His created beings.
In Genesis 3:18 – after they sinned and ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil – they heard God walking and hid because they realized their nakedness. I am not going to get into the theological discussions whether God actually walked (a theophany – a physical appearance of God in fleshly form) or if it was a metaphorical expression. The point doesn’t really matters because God does live in us and calls us to walk with Him.
For example, Enoch (Genesis 5:22, 24) and Noah (Genesis 6:9) were men who “walked with God.” In Genesis 18, God appeared to Abraham (in a theophany), they walked together and discussed the fate of Lot his nephew and his family who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. Also, in Galatians 5:16 we are all commanded to “walk in the spirit.” So yes, we can and should “walk” with God.
Therefore, from the very beginning, we can conclude that God’s order was and still remains RELATIONSHIP based, because God is all about relationship! (Somewhat of a spoiler alert…but keep reading please)
In the book of Acts, we see a church who met to share a meal, broke bread and fellowshipped with one another. The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia“ which has the element of joint participation, intimate relationship and sharing. Koinonia is more than just getting together, reading scriptures and sharing a coffee. It’s about moving from surface relationship into intimacy. Koinonia is fellowship with a purpose. (Acts 2:42-47)
My desire is not to devalue any specific church model. I believe the church is God’s agent for change in society. Many have, however, moved away from the simplicity and beauty of true relationships and attached their interest to the other stuff they do at church. My desire is to provide a biblical pattern for what I believe is God’s order when it comes to fellowship and relationship.
A healthy relationship is honest
I’ve been married for over 30 years, and after all this time, we are still learning what it means to be truly honest in our relationship. Honesty speaks of integrity, respectability and honor.
Psalm 51:6: “You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh give me this wisdom.” (TLB) And Philippians 4:8: “Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”
We have much to learn about honesty. It can make us uncomfortable and create tension. We at times default to the superficial–like the quintessential question “how are you?” which we usually answer with “great” even when we are going through hell.
We need honesty – God desires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6) and when we are honest, with grace and truth, we will reap the benefits of honesty. Let’s also not forget that the spirit of the truth is equally important as the truth itself, so be nice when being honest!
There is much more to say on the topic of relationships in the church, so stay tuned for part 2. We all have much to learn about developing right relationships. Like not giving up on the people I may disagree with or not relate to perfectly, etc. We may be different but we are still part of the same body and we do well to practice this now.
I will close with this: “No relationship is a waste of time. The wrong ones teach you the lessons that prepare you for the right ones.” (Author Unknown)
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.