As the Body without Spirit is Dead, so Faith without Deeds is Dead

(James 2:26)

Why do we gather each week as Christians?  Couldn’t we easily just wake up late on Sunday morning, stay in our pajamas, download this week’s most amazing sermon from anywhere in the world, and be on our way?  Better yet, how about searching for a sermon that matches up with your specific needs for this week…a la carte biblical teaching!

Hold on just a minute…that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.  Jesus commands us to “love one another” (John 13:34). I don’t think sitting home in my pajamas loves anyone.  The “one another” here is referring to disciples loving other disciples (i.e., those who believe loving others who believe).  That can only happen in relationship, and vulnerable relationship at that!  This mutual love doesn’t happen by accidental meetings during the week, but rather by consistent, intentional gathering as believers.

So how can we “love one another” unless we get to know one another?  How can we “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) unless we know what the burdens are?  Hebrews 10:24-25 gives us a clear picture:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…

Since Grace Redeemer Church is a church of scattered people from all over northern New Jersey, how can we know each other well enough to love?  The best way is to gather together in service to others.  Galatians 5:13 calls us to “serve one another humbly in love.”  The answer to all these questions is the fellowship of believers in service.  The wonderful thing about service is that it requires no special talent, no amazing insights, no degree in theology, no pedigree…simply a heart that desires to serve and to be physically present.

What does that look like?  It looks like Donald Thampy pulling out rose bushes at the new building and meeting Peter Chin (listen to Jan 14th sermon).  A friendship developed, as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 1:12, “that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”  It looks like painting hallways in the new building; serving as an usher or a Kids Club volunteer on Sundays; driving the church van; moving boxes to the new building; joining a growth group; and regular attendance on Sundays.  It looks like Jesus washing Peter’s feet and saying, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15). It looks like a Savior dying for your sins, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).

The biblical picture throughout is that Christians should meet together regularly in service to one another.  You may attend church on Sunday, but if you’re not engaged in service within the church you are missing out on a significant percentage of the Christian life. Would you prayerfully consider involving yourself in a church ministry, church need, or event?

So who wants to paint on Saturday?

Mike Mitchell and his wife, Lynn, have been members of GRC since 2006.  If he’s not in costume for a Children’s Ministry play, he serves in the Diaconate.