Maybe its the fast pace of twentieth century living; maybe its too much TV, or it may be just plain indifference, but whatever the reason, it occurs to me that most Christians are not having enough personal contact with each other. Many rarely see their brethren except at Bible classes or worship. Surely we owe one another something more in this area–something more than our customary vestibule visiting and exchanging of parking-lot pleasantries; something more than a sort of in-passing relationship that is mainly church-building oriented. Must we become old, infirmed or unfaithful to warrant a visit from our brethren? Man is a social creature, ever subject to the influence of those about him. As evil companionships corrupt (1 Cor. 15:33), keeping good company can be profitable for all (1 Pet. 2:l2; 3:1; Matt. 5:6) — especially for Christians who will be what they ought to be to each other. And that simply means, In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another… (Rom. 12:10)
Such love involves more than passive and partisan feelings toward other Christians. Christ alludes to deeper dimensions when he says, even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (Jn. 13:34) His love for the disciples was made apparent it could be seen in what He did! So must ours. Such love is the mark of discipleship; its presence is observable and influential (Jn. 13:35). Therefore, the fullest expression of sincere and fervent love (1 Pet. 1:22) is impossible apart from some form of personal contact and association.
Consider, for instance, the admonition to bear ye one another s burdens (Gal. 6:2). How does one bear who is not there? We may pray and sympathize from afar, but fulfilling the law of Christ in this area usually requires both heart and hand. Keeping in touch helps brethren to know when a helping hand is needed. But more than that, being together more means better communication between us; the kind in which we can confess our sins to one another (Jas. 5:16); the kind in which we can admonish, edify and exhort each other (Rom. 15:14; 14:19; Heb. 3:13). When the weak need to be encouraged (1 Thss. 5:14); when the sorrowed need to be comforted (1 Thss. 4:18), we need to be there. And even when there is no particular need evident, our being there may mean more than we know. We see the need for the elders to keep in close touch with the flock of their oversight. Without it they could not watch in behalf of the souls for which they shall give account (Heb. 13:17). But we also must see our personal opportunities to serve the King by serving even the least among our brethren (Matt. 25:40) for we too must give account. Others cannot represent us in such service, we must be there.
Even if we cannot have the day by day association enjoyed by many of the early disciples, we can and ought to have more time for each other. So, lets get together!— for a home Bible study, for a meal, for a pot-luck, for coffee or for just an old-fashion visit. For the sake of every benefit and blessing that can be given or received by kin in Christ being together, lets get together! <Dan Shipley>
The article by Brother Shipley was written in 1974 and appeared in the April issue of Plain Talk, a religious publication edited by Robert F. Turner. The needs we have and the problems we face are as old as the Lord’s Church itself. Some 48 years ago a gospel preacher saw the need to write about Christians getting together inside and outside public worship.
I was a senior in high school when this article was written and in just two months I will go on Medicare. Things have not changed. We need to grow together as a spiritual family. The local church was designed by God to provide Christians in a particular town or area a means for personal encouragement and support.
The same needs existed in the earliest church of our Lord and Savior. Acts 2:46-47 ESV “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, (47) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Things had been turned up-side-down in Jerusalem by the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of the church. Many of the converts were from other places, having traveled to Jerusalem for Pentecost. With a wholesale change in their faith and in a place not their home, they needed each other. Not much has changed. Today’s Christians must possess the same heart and faith, and come to realize that this world is not our home. Hebrews 13:14 ESV “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” We need each other now so that we may enjoy the home that is to come.
As Brother Shipley said, “Lets get together!” <Terry Starling>