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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Relationships in the Church

The Church is the covenant community of love.

The Heart of God: Covenant Life (3)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Romans 12 and 14, and 1 John 4.
The Church is the community of God’s covenant people. Local churches forge community life by encouraging strong relationships. But churches should also be in relationship with one another, as part of the larger Body of Christ, as well as with the Church elsewhere. By our oneness – maintained through Spirit-filled relationships (Eph. 4.3) – we convince the world that Jesus has come with salvation (Jn. 17.21).

For reflection
1.  Read the assigned chapters in a single sitting. It’s clear that love is the foundation for all relationships within the covenant community. What is love? How can we know when we are loving as the Lord intends? Can we say that love is the currency of the divine economy within the Kingdom of God? Explain.
2.  What are the great obstacles to sustaining loving relationships in a local church? Paul says we have to work hard at maintaining love in the community (Eph. 4.3). What does that require of you?

3.  Is it obvious to the people in your community that all the churches in your community are part of one Body, one loving new covenant communion? Why or why not?

4.  Give some examples from your own church showing how the gifts of the Spirit work together for the health of the church. Can you see any areas where this could be improved?

5.  What are some ways your church might work harder to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17.21? What might you do locally? Denominationally? With a worldwide focus? Should your church be working for unity like this?

The Church, being the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, should naturally express the love of Christ in all its relations – within the local church, between churches in a community, and with the Church worldwide. Why don’t we see more evidence that the Church is the one Body of Christ, knitted together by the Spirit in bonds of peace and love?

Closing Prayer
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Psalm 133

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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