Six Ways to Grow Closer to Other Christians

Six Ways to Grow Closer to Other Christians

Many professing Christians will walk into church this Sunday, smile at a few people, shake a hand or two, talk about the weather a bit, listen to a sermon, sing a few songs, and walk away believing that they have just fulfilled what it means to live in Christian community. Is this all there is, or should we be looking for more? 

The Apostle Peter addressed the Christians of his day, and us, to go far beyond merely being in the same room as one another for one hour per week. He calls believers to be deeply involved in one another’s lives. 

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9).

In this passage, Peter gives six back-to-back instructions that we all should be striving to possesses personally, and as a local church.

  1. Unity of mind: Sometimes translated, “harmony.” It has been said, that people can only live in harmony by themselves.
    Put any two people in a room for a long enough time, and very soon they will not be in harmony. For Christians, this should not be. We must always let our unity in Christ supersede our differences. The world is a hostile place full of people who are dividing, and fighting, over all kinds of issues. Believers are to strive to live in unity, peace, and harmony with one another. As Paul writes, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
  2. Sympathy: To sympathize with another Christian is not to just be aware of other’s needs, but a deep desire that also results in taking action to help. As believers, we should make sure that no Christian is suffering alone.
    Look at the high level of sympathy which Paul exhorts the Corinthians to express, “but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
    If you are the one suffering, let others know about it. If people don’t know, then they cannot help. 
  3. Brotherly love: While we are to honor all people, there is extra special love that we are to have with those who are in the family of God. We are commanded by God to love one another. Other Christians need the love that only other Christians can provide, and loving others is a vital part of fulfilling your purpose in life. Brotherly love cannot, and should not be confined to a building referred to as a “church.” It is a love that should be active all week long.
  4. Tender-hearted: Be sensitive to the needs of others. This is the opposite of having a hard, calloused heart. There is a dire need among Christians to open our hearts and to be sensitive towards one another.
    Is your heart tender towards Christians in your local church? Do you seek to know them and understand their hurts, pains, trials, and sufferings? As a Christian living in community with other Christians, be on the lookout for those who are needing sympathy. Those who hurt the most often hide it the best.
  5. Humble mind: Humility is considering others more important than yourself. This is the polar opposite to the way the unsaved world thinks. They put themselves first; however, you are commanded to put others first.
    Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
  6. Do not repay evil for evil: Sadly, it appears that this command was given to those within the church. Is it possible for Christians to say bad things about a fellow Christian? Of course, and anyone reading this knows that such a thing can and does happen, but how are you to respond? Peter is very clear. We are not to repay them with evil. He had just instructed the believers to not repay non-believers with evil, and how much more forgiving, patient, and long-suffering should we be with our fellow Christians. 

Summary:

These exhortations by Peter are a punch in the gut to modern Christianity, and maybe even to you personally. Are you striving to live in Christian community with unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, a humble mind, and not returning evil for evil? 

If you have been thinking that attending church is the extent of your involvement with your fellow believers, repent and start incorporating Peter’s instructions immediately. 

Do you want to have a stronger, heathier, more intimate church? Well, it starts with you. 
~ Trey Talley


Should You Choose a Church Based Upon Your Race?

Should you choose a church based upon your race?

The Apostle Peter, writing to a racially diverse group of people from different regions, cultures, ancestries, said of them, “But you are a chosen race…” (1 Peter 2:9). Why was Peter calling people of many races “a” race?

Race, or ethnicity, has to do with common ancestry. For instance, the Jewish leaders relied heavily on their ancestry lineage to Abraham. They believed the genetic link to Abraham made them right with God. However, Jesus infuriated the Pharisees by letting them know that, even though Abraham was their genetic father, Satan was their spiritual father.

They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.You are doing the works your father did.”They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (John 8:39-44)

These particular Jews were related to Abraham by blood, but not by belief. As the New Testament progresses, we see a new race of people becoming increasingly revealed that transcends earthly ancestry and traditional views of race. The new race is created by God Himself. And it is a race that is not made up of one particular skin tone. In fact, this new race of people cannot be determined by outward appearance. It is a race of people who look incredibly diverse, yet have all been born-again into thesame family of God.

In the book of Acts, we see that salvation come first to thousands of Jews (a people racially connected to Abraham)1 . Later, the same gospel that saved the Jews on Pentecost was proclaimed to the Samaritans (a racially mixed group of people, part Jew and part other)2 .If this wasn’t shocking enough, Peter was commanded to go and preach the gospel to even the Gentiles (a people with absolutely no ancestral affiliation to Abraham)3 . As Peter was preaching the gospel to them, a whole household of Gentiles is saved. This was so shocking to the Jewish leadership that Peter was called back to Jerusalem to give an account for what he had done. After Peter’s eyewitness account, the Christian Jewish leaders finally realized that salvation through Christ was for people of all races. “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18).

It took years to convince the Jews, and even the Apostles, that all races were saved in exactly the same way and that unity in Christ was far more important than unity in a race. As Christians, they now had ancestry that superseded any other. God was their Father, Christ their Savior, and the Holy Spirit indwelt all of them. Racial reconciliation was more and more realized as the Christians understood mankind’s universal need to be reconciled to God by Jesus Christ.

The new race of people was utterly mixed from the human perspective: Jew, Ethiopian, Samaritan, Gentile, Roman, Asian, and etc.…  All different shades of skin, but one shade of soul; forgiven by the same sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. These believers had different blood, but the same belief in Jesus Christ. They had different earthly fathers, but one Heavenly Father.

By the time Peter writes 1 Peter, we see that he has fully realized that the body of Christ is a beautiful gathering of people from all different ancestries into one new race in Jesus Christ.

So, should you choose a church based upon your race?

Of course not! To do so is a radical slip backward in our understanding of the work of God in redemption to create a new race. To emphasize our skin tones or genetic differences is to return to the racial discrimination that Jesus abolished. Such ethnic emphasis divides and disregards the unity that we all have in Jesus Christ.

Remember, the Apostle Peter was writing to a racially diverse group of people, yet he did not emphasize their differences at all. Instead, the first two chapters were spent emphasizing their sameness, same: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, mercy, grace, regeneration, inheritance, etc.

So, as you look for a local gathering of believers to be a part of, don’t look for a group that represents your skin tone the best, look for a group of people that reflect God’s glory the best.
 
~ Trey Talley

References

1. Acts 2:22, 41

2. Acts 8:4-12

3. Acts 13:34-48



Our New Location

The Church at Pecan Creek started as a small group of people meeting Sunday nights at Northview Baptist Church in Lewisville, TX. As our congregation grew, we moved to the Pecan Creek Elementary School in Corinth, TX. We enjoyed two wonderful years there and are very thankful for the hospitality we were shown by the school and the staff. 
 
On November 12, we moved into our very own building at 1811 Shady Oaks Drive, Suite 105, Denton, Texas. We are so excited to have our own place. Lots of work was done in the two weeks before we moved in. We painted, put in new floors, fixed and painted ceiling tiles, bought and cleaned chairs, had several construction projects going on, among many other projects. 
After two weeks of intense work, our first Sunday was such a blessing. We had a full house and a wonderful fellowship. 
We would love for you to join us for worship and to check out our new facility.
 
Over the next few months and years, we will be making improvements to the facility. If you would like to donate to help us make these needed updates, you can donate here: https://www.thechurchatpecancreek.com/give/