At our most recent church council meeting, I posted three statements that I was hoping our leaders would absorb. They are:
- We’re all in this together.
- Whatever it takes.
- Till Christ be formed in us (from Galatians 4:19).
It’s this first phrase that caught my attention. Unwittingly, as I was preaching from Acts 4:23-31, I read this verse:
“Now when they [Peter and John] were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them” (4:23).
“Friends.” What a beautiful word to describe the community of believers! It comes from the Greek word ἰδίους which means “own,” as in their own. The KJV translates this as “their own company,” while other translations put forth “companions.” Either way, they were all in it together.
The third phrase is what they were ultimately in it for: Christ being formed in them. This purpose caused the apostle Paul to be in anguish, wishing to see this happen in the Galatian church (and no wonder he was in anguish, given the trajectory the Galatian church took).
Sadly, churches develop rivalries and camps. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, we see where the Corinthians had favorite preachers. In Philippians 4:2-3, Paul sought to resolve an issue between Euodia and Syntyche. In 3 John 9, we encounter a man named Diotrophes “who likes to put himself first, [who] does not acknowledge our authority.” And should we list off all the issues regarding false teachers, we could read on these for a good while.
The point is, Jesus is enough to bring us all together under one banner of the gospel. Why? Because the goal is for “Christ [to] be formed” in us. In Romans 8:29, Christians are “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Christ in us, we in Christ!
We are all together because we are one in Jesus! Let’s do whatever it takes to see others know this life-saving, life-giving truth!