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The Home Missionary, vol. 2

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    1890

    November 1890

    “The Relation of Church-members One to Another” The Home Missionary Extra 2, 11, pp. 24, 25.

    ATJ

    THE subject for our consideration to-day is the relation of church-members one to another. In order to understand this, it is necessary first to understand what the church is. If we realize what the church is, we can better understand what it is to be a church-member, and then we can better understand what relation these members bear to one another. First, then,—HOMI November 1890, par. 1

    THE CHURCH IS THE HOUSE OF GOD

    For saith the scripture, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Timothy 3:14, 15. And again: Christ [was faithful] as a son over his own house; whose house are we, If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3:6. The church being the house of God, those who are members of the church are members of the household of God; for “ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19.HOMI November 1890, par. 2

    Well then, brethren, the church being the house of God, and the members being of the household of God, it ought not to be difficult to discover what is the relation of the members of this house to one another. When a person who owns a beautiful house invites us into it, and we go into it, in the very nature of things we expect to act circumspectly, to move carefully, and to treat with deference and courtesy all those within the house. We seek to know the wishes of him who owns the house, and who has so kindly invited us into it, and all endeavor to conform to his wishes; and, if not for their own sakes, out of respect to the owner of the house, we treat all within it with deference and courtesy. Thus it is with men among men, in the houses of men. Then how much more should it be so in the house of God, which is the church of the living God. wherefore, brethren, “be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” 1 Peter 3:8.HOMI November 1890, par. 3

    THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST

    Paul says that in the sufferings which he endured he was filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh “for his body’s sake, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24. The church being the body of Christ, the members of the church are members of the body of Christ. Therefore, says the scripture, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:27. This idea of the church as the body of Christ is presented under the figure of the human body, and the members of the human body are spoken of as figures of membership in the church. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-18.HOMI November 1890, par. 4

    The members of the human body, as God hath set them in the body, are also members one of another; so also is the body of Christ, the church. “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:4, 5. Now in the natural body, when one of the members suffers, all the other members suffer with it. If a hand or a foot gets crushed, or if there be a felon on a thumb or a finger, all the other members suffer with it, and rally to the relief of the suffering member. So, also, it is in the body of Christ, the church. “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25, 26. Therefore, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3.HOMI November 1890, par. 5

    CHRIST “IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, the church.” Colossians 1:18; 2:19; Ephesians 4:15.HOMI November 1890, par. 6

    When any member of our natural body is affected, or in pain in any way, it is the head which is first and most conscious of the pain. So, also, it is with the body of Christ, the church. When any member of Christ, of the church, is afflicted, it is Christ who is first and most conscious of the affliction. “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” Isaiah 63:9. “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Ephesians 5:30. When you or I cause grief or pain to any member of Christ, it is Christ to whom we first and most cause the grief or pain. Therefore, as certainly as we love Christ, so certainly we will never willingly or intentionally cause grief or pain to one of the members of Christ—one of these little ones who believe in him. So surely as we love Christ, so surely will we love those whom Christ loves.HOMI November 1890, par. 7

    The relation of church-members, one to another, therefore, is the relation of these same members to Christ.HOMI November 1890, par. 8

    If the relation of church-members one to another is one of hatred, the relation of those same members to Christ is one of hatred. If the relation of church-members one to another is one of variance, then the relation of those same members to Christ is one of variance. If the relation of church-members one to another is one of envy or bitterness or strife, then the relation of those same church-members to Christ is also one of envy or bitterness or strife. It matters not what they may say, or profess that it is, that is what it actually is. For from every consideration which the Scriptures present, we repeat, The relation of church-members one to another, is the relation of those same church-members to Christ.HOMI November 1890, par. 9

    It is clearly evident, therefore, that the only true relation of church-members one to another is the relation of the love of Jesus Christ—a relation created and sustained by the love of Christ. This is so plainly manifest from all the Scriptures, that it is not necessary to multiply references. One quotation is enough: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” John 15:12.HOMI November 1890, par. 10

    Some of you will say in your hearts, “Well, how can we love one another as Christ has loved us?”—Easy enough, if we go about it in the right way. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever, and everywhere; and his love is the same. And if the love of Christ be in our hearts, we shall love one another as he loves us. That love will manifest itself in that way, and that is the only thing that it can do, because it is the love of God, who is love.HOMI November 1890, par. 11

    How can we have this love?—We can have it by the Holy Spirit, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5. Mark, this does not say that love for God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. But it is the love of God. That is God’s love itself is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. God’s love is the same wherever found. God’s love in his own heart loves his enemies; that love in our hearts will love our enemies, nor will we have to try to do it, either. If the love of God be there, it will manifest itself in love to all whom God loves. If the love of God be in our hearts, we can love one another as he loves us.HOMI November 1890, par. 12

    Then, brethren, henceforth let this be the relation of church-members one to another. Let the love of God be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. In this our week of prayer, and in these the last days of our week of prayer, let us cry mightily unto God, that we may receive such a baptism of the Holy Ghost, as shall seal forever upon our hearts the love of Jesus Christ. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: ... that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13, 14. Then as we plead for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, let faith ascend and claim the precious promise of the Spirit, “for the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39. And if we know how to give good gifts unto our own children, how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. (See Luke 11:13).HOMI November 1890, par. 13

    “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:10, 11. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Verse 7.HOMI November 1890, par. 14

    Finally, brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. Let brotherly love continue. And, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Amen.HOMI November 1890, par. 15

    A. T. JONES.

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