I had a unique opportunity this morning to conference call with several ministers from Nairobi, Kenya. It was humbling! We encouraged one another in the word, and prayed for one another and our ministries. I found it amazing. Paul wrote letters which took weeks or months to deliver, and here I am speaking to and encouraging and receiving encouragement from brothers in Christ in Kenya! Praise God! Though distance divides us, and culture and language differs, we are unified as the body in Christ! I've discovered that as I move across country, as I post my blogs, videos, and other things, I communicate to people from all over the US and the World. Why do I do it? Because the Bible constantly reminds us to encourage one another. I looked in a topical index of scriptures, and found 26 different scriptures about encouraging one another. It is THAT important! The church does not exist as a status symbol, it doesn't exist to be on our check mark, it is who we are as believers, and we exist for one another. SO let us encourage one another! Let us rightly divide the word of God, and encourage one another! Let us be unified in Christ Jesus, and seek the welfare of all believers, praying in Spirit and in Truth that the Lord of God may strengthen His church! Ephesians 4
Unity in the Body of Christ
1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”a
9(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?b 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdsc and teachers,d 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,e to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The New Life
17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self,f which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Footnotes: a 8 The Greek word anthropoi can refer to both men and women b 9 Or the lower parts of the earth? c 11 Or pastors d 11 Or the shepherd-teachers e 13 Greek to a full-grown man f 22 Greek man; also verse 24