Love is the Basis of God's Relationship

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Love is the Basis of God's Relationship

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The apostle John tells us: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:8-9 1 John 4:8-9 8 He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
American King James Version×
; compare John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×
; Titus 3:4-7 Titus 3:4-7 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
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).

As we have previously discussed in this lesson, God demonstrates His love through His many promises that relate to our receiving salvation and eternal life. God the Father personally desires to be involved in our daily lives. As Paul said, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 Philippians 2:13For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
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). Paul explains that Jesus Christ, our elder Brother, lives in us if we are converted Christians (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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).

What assurance do we have that the Father and Jesus Christ will assist us when we need spiritual help?

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16 Hebrews 4:15-16 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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).

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 1 John 5:14-15 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 7:7-8 Matthew 7:7-8 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: 8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
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; Philippians 4:6 Philippians 4:6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
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).

Relationships are built on good communication. God’s Word reveals that He listens to us and answers our requests according to His will and our best interests. He wants us to respond to His love. We speak to God in our thoughts and prayers, and He speaks to us through His Word, His Spirit and His servants.

How should we express our love towards God?

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6 1 John 2:3-6 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
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; compare 1 John 3:22 1 John 3:22And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
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).

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3 1 John 5:2-3 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
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).

As John explains, God expects us to demonstrate our love to Him and others by keeping His commandments. We have the life of Jesus Christ as a model of how we should live. Jesus kept the commandments of God (John 15:10 John 15:10If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
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). He pleased God because of His obedience and His desire to do the will of God. (For more information on this subject, please be sure to request your free copy of the booklet The Ten Commandments .)

As we are recipients of God’s love, He expects us to share that love with others. That love, Christ said, would characterize His disciples through the ages. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
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; compare 1 John 4:11 1 John 4:11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
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).

What other spiritual qualities should be evident in our lives as we strive to live according to God’s will?

“For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: for yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:36-38 Hebrews 10:36-38 36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
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).

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24 Colossians 3:23-24 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.
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).

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12-13 Revelation 22:12-13 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
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).

The life of a Christian is not easy (Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:13-14 13 Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
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; 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:12Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
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). We are expected to endure, wholeheartedly seeking God while we patiently wait for the fulfillment of His promises.

As we consistently follow God and respond to His will, we enjoy the spiritual blessings He promises. But many of the most important promises and blessings become a reality only when Jesus Christ returns. Jesus tells us that “in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
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). One of the great blessings we receive is the strength, patience and ability to endure the problems we encounter in “this present evil age” (Matthew 10:31-38 Matthew 10:31-38 31 Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me.
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; Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
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).

Is it important that we live according to God’s will to inherit His promises?

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven’ ” (Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
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; compare Luke 6:46 Luke 6:46And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
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).

Our living according to the will of the Father is important to Christ. He considers those who do the will of God to be His close family members. “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50 Matthew 12:50For whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
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).

Those who only appear to serve God—but in reality practice lawlessness, willfully breaking God’s spiritual law—will not be included in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 7:22-23 Matthew 7:22-23 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
American King James Version×
). They will not be a part of His eternal spiritual family.

Who are members of God’s household, His family, in this age?

“. . . I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
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).

The Church is the house, or household, of God. It is those who respond to His call and follow the divine will. Paul wrote to the Christians in his day: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22 Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
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).

But what is the Church of God? In any discussion about the Church, we should first define its meaning. In the Bible the word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia . In essence it means “called-out ones.” This term is used to describe the believers whom God has called out of this world to follow Him.

The word church in the Bible never means a building, as some incorrectly believe. “It always represents either a group of committed Christians in any given locality [who] met to practice their religion, or the totality of these groups scattered throughout the world” (Translator’s New Testament, glossary, pp. 557-558).

Paul defines the Church as “the Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 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. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 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? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
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). Among its members, it has elders who lead and teach the congregation.

“And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them” (Acts 15:4 Acts 15:4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
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). Here the “church” is identified as those apostles, elders and other members in Jerusalem. Other scriptures refer to “the church” in other locations (Acts 13:1 Acts 13:1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
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, Romans 16:1 Romans 16:1I commend to you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
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; 1 Corinthians 1:2 1 Corinthians 1:2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:
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).

Who founded the Church of God?

“. . . On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 Matthew 16:18And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
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).

Jesus Christ is the founder of the Church of God. He promised the Church would always continue to exist after its founding during the first century. It remains to this day.

What clearly distinguishes people who are a part of God’s Church?

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9 Romans 8:9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
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).

Those who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them are God’s true disciples and form the true Church of God. The Body of Christ is those who have the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13 1 Corinthians 12:13For 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.
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).

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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). God’s Spirit distinguishes people who are His sons and daughters from people who are not yet called.

Who leads the Church of God?

“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:23-24 Ephesians 5:23-24 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
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, compare Colossians 1:18 Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
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).

Jesus Christ, as its Head, leads the Church of God. Christ loves the Church and constantly nurtures and works with the Church to prepare it as His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27 Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
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).

What role do the elders of the Church serve?

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13 Ephesians 4:11-13 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
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).

Jesus Christ chooses some to serve the Body of Christ and help members to grow spiritually. The word minister means “servant.” Pastors and other elders are called by God to serve the spiritual needs of His called-out ones. Sound teaching is one of their important responsibilities (Ephesians 4:12-15 Ephesians 4:12-15 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
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).

The elders are to instruct in doctrine as well as helping Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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). Paul told the elders he had personally taught: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28 Acts 20:28Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.
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).

On another occasion he explained the approach he and the other apostles took in serving the Church. “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy ; for by faith you stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24 2 Corinthians 1:24Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith you stand.
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).

The responsibility of the elders of the Church includes overseeing the flock of God, gently leading and caring for them as a good shepherd does his sheep (1 Peter 5:1-3 1 Peter 5:1-3 1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
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).

What is the mission of the Church?

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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).

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you . . .” (Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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).

God calls people for several reasons, one of which is to help fulfill the commission given the Church to spread the gospel and instruct those God calls so they can understand and live His way of life. It is through the combined efforts of God’s called-out ones that this commission is fulfilled.

Paul says the church should always endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 Ephesians 4:3Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
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). Paul encourages members of the Church to work for unity and to build on that unity as they spread the true gospel and make disciples.

Paul describes the kind of humble attitude that leads to true spiritual unity within the Church: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:1-5 Philippians 2:1-5 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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).

Members of the Church are admonished to love and care for one another as Christ loved His disciples and cared for them. This involves a collective as well as individual effort.

Are members of the Church expected to assemble together regularly?

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25 Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
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; compare Leviticus 23:3 Leviticus 23:3Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
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).

Members of the Church are to work together to fulfill the commission Christ gave it, assembling together to encourage one another and be instructed in God’s truth as they show love and support for one another.

What else do those in the Church do?

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24 John 4:23-24 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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).

The Church also meets together to worship God. Notice that Christ said His followers would worship the Father in “spirit and truth.”

What is the “truth” Jesus Christ mentioned?

“They [Christians] are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:16-17 John 17:16-17 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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).

Christ indicated that His disciples would be those who were sanctified—set apart—by the truth of God. For centuries mankind has debated what truth is. Adlai Stevenson, 20th-century American statesman, noted that “you will find that the truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal.”

So many have accepted fanciful traditions and customs as part of their religion that God’s truth is obscured. The truth of God is in the entirety of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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; Luke 4:4 Luke 4:4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
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; 2 Timothy 3:15-17 2 Timothy 3:15-17 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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).

The Word of God must stand as the basis for our beliefs, rather than the traditions and customs of men (Mark 7:9-13 Mark 7:9-13 9 And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever curses father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatever you might be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And you suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you.
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). Jesus said: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8 Mark 7:7-8 7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do.
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).

Did Christ say His Church would be a large, influential body?

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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; compare Deuteronomy 7:7 Deuteronomy 7:7The LORD did not set his love on you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people:
American King James Version×
).

Christ indicates the body of true believers would be a “little flock,” a relatively small group.

Where is that Church today? The Church is not a building. It is the people called by God to enjoy a special relationship with Him. It is the called-out ones who have responded to the invitation to receive God’s Spirit. The Church is a relatively small number of believers who follow the truth of God and the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. These people also emulate the examples of the apostles of the first-century Church.

The Church is a spiritual organism that includes elders to help with the edification and spiritual growth of its other members. Members of the Church work together toward the goal of spiritual maturity. Working toward a common goal, members of the Church are dedicated to accomplishing the mission Jesus Christ gave them almost 2,000 years ago. (For a better understanding of the Church, be sure to request your free copy of the booklet The Church Jesus Built .)