The Church: Help for Greater Growth

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Help for Greater Growth

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The Church: Help for Greater Growth

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“We … [are to be] growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:15-16 Ephesians 4:15-16 [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

Jesus Christ loves His Bride—the Church! He “nourishes and cherishes it”! Jesus has a close relationship with the members of His Church, describing them as “members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:25-30 Ephesians 5:25-30 [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. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
American King James Version×
). “Also Christ is head of the church,” providing loving care and leadership (Ephesians 5:23 Ephesians 5:23For 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.
American King James Version×
).

The Bible describes the Church as a loving and zealous community of believers—those who commune and communicate with each other and strive for unity.

The members of His Church, while still human, are far from perfect or sinless. But for those who are submitting and committing themselves to the Master’s rule over their lives, Jesus is very busy “washing” them to spiritually transform them into “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . that [it] should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27 Ephesians 5:26-27 [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.
American King James Version×
). Nothing is more miraculous or awe-inspiring!

Defining the Church and its mission

Jesus said that part of His earthly mission was to “build My church,” and He began by training 12 principal disciples and other followers (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.
American King James Version×
). The Greek word here translated “church” is ekklesia. This explains why the English word ecclesiastical means “relating to the church.”

This Greek word means essentially “those called out to an assembly” —which indicates that someone has authority over them to summon them to the assembly. Church services are called “holy convocations” in the Bible (Leviticus 23:2 Leviticus 23:2Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
American King James Version×
). The word “convocations” means commanded assemblies, and they are “holy” because it is God who has commanded or convoked them. This means that God expects His people, whenever possible, to be in attendance when He convokes an assembly.

Jesus gave orders to His disciples (and those who would come after them in the future) regarding their mission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 Mark 16:15And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
American King James Version×
, NIV; see also Matthew 10:7 Matthew 10:7And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
American King James Version×
; 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.
American King James Version×
; Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
; Luke 9:2 Luke 9:2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
American King James Version×
; Luke 9:60 Luke 9:60Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
; Acts 28:30-31 Acts 28:30-31 [30] And Paul dwelled two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in to him, [31] Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
American King James Version×
).

And He further commanded them: “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; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (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.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus summarized this aspect of the mission another way when He told Peter to “feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17 John 21:15-17 [15] So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs. [16] He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my sheep. [17] He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.
American King James Version×
). Later, Paul reminded the elders to “shepherd the church of God” (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.
American King James Version×
). This primarily means to teach and preach the Word of God, stressing the practical application in our daily lives (2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
American King James Version×
; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 2 Timothy 3:14-17 [14] But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; [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.
American King James Version×
; 2 Timothy 4:2 2 Timothy 4:2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.
American King James Version×
).

It also means attending to the spiritual needs and sometimes the physical needs of God’s people with comfort, encouragement and a helping hand (Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46 [31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. [34] Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: [36] Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? [38] When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? [39] Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you? [40] And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. [41] Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [42] For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 3:16-18 1 John 3:16-18 [16] Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. [17] But whoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? [18] My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
American King James Version×
).

But beyond proclaiming and teaching Jesus’ message, the Church was also intended to be a body in which members would help one another in growing in godly character.

A community of love and encouragement

The Bible describes the Church as a loving and zealous community of believers—those who commune and communicate with each other and strive for unity! God wants cooperative coworkers to work together in the gargantuan task He has given His Church.

Consider the circumstances of the early New Testament Church: “Now all who believed were together, and had all things incommon”(Acts 2:44 Acts 2:44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
American King James Version×
). In the King James Version of the Bible, the English word together appears 484 times. God likes togetherness!

What did Jesus say would be a primary identifying sign of His followers? “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 John 13:35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×
).

In the Bible, love includes unselfish actions of service, not only emotions. How can Christ’s disciples serve one another if they don’t know each other and aren’t together? Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not 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.
American King James Version×
emphasizes the need of the “assembling of ourselves together … and so much the more as you see the Day [of Christ’s return] approaching.”

The preceding verse (Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×
) stresses the need to “stir up love and good works” among one another. Through Christian fellowship with other believers, we do just that—encourage, strengthen, comfort and help one another. God knows that it’s difficult to survive spiritually on our own—that we need the support and encouragement we get from being with others of like mind.

The focus of church services should be about worshipping God and learning more about His Word and how He wants us to live. Paul describes the Church as “the pillar and foundation 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.
American King James Version×
, NIV). The Church is the primary source through which God’s truth is taught and learned.

But another focus of the Church is on giving of ourselves to one another. Notice this essential evidence of spiritual conversion: “We know that we have passed from [spiritual] death to life, because we love the brethren . . . By this we know love, because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:14 1 John 3:14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers. He that loves not his brother stays in death.
American King James Version×
, 1 John 3:16 1 John 3:16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
American King James Version×
).

The most common fulfillment of “laying down our lives” is that we give of our time for our brethren.

Members of God’s Church should be striving to become like Jesus Christ, but are far from that perfection. Each member is a “work in progress,” endeavoring to be “transformed” by God and gradually “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
American King James Version×
; Romans 8:29 Romans 8:29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
American King James Version×
).

Every member is at a different point in his or her spiritual progress. Sometimes problems arise just like those we read about in the Bible. But we know that God expects the people He has called to His Church to not only work on themselves, but also to love, forgive and encourage others as well.

Contact with God’s people vital

Let’s expand on this oft-neglected factor that’s critically important for our spiritual growth. Using this tool, I have seen people undergo remarkable spiritual growth and transformation in their lives. I’ve seen them faithfully grow from spiritual and biblical novices into mature, converted Christians who have increasingly become more like God.

On the other hand, I’ve also seen many well-intentioned people start off with great zeal for learning the Bible and imitating the life of Jesus Christ. But they eventually lost their spiritual enthusiasm and vitality. They effectively withered and died, like an uprooted plant, falling far short of fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.

What was the difference? It was this: Those in the first category fully committed themselves to using the spiritual tool of Christian fellowship—interacting and communicating with other members of God’s Church. They recognized the Church as priceless and eagerly sought to be an active part of it. They knew the people in the Church are far from perfect. In fact, that is partly why we all need God’s “workshop”—to learn God’s ways and practice them together! Miraculous change and growth can take place when God is at work in and among us.

Meanwhile, those in the second category never fully appreciated or eventually lost their appreciation for the wonderful blessings and benefits of membership and active participation in the Church of God, and their spiritual growth stopped.

The Church is a major part of God’s plan for mankind. His Church is a spiritual organism headed by Jesus Christ (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.
American King James Version×
). If we are called to Christ, we are called to His Church because His Church is His “body” (Colossians 1:24 Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
American King James Version×
; Romans 12:5 Romans 12:5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
American King James Version×
).

Paul described how every Church member is important to God, and how every member should appreciate, love and function with other members as individual parts of that one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 [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. [28] And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? [30] Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? [31] But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
). We do this through spending time together with one another—again, fellowship. This fellowship with one another is actually an essential part of our fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9-10 1 Corinthians 1:9-10 [9] God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. [10] Now I beseech you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 1:3 1 John 1:3That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
, 1 John 1:6-7 1 John 1:6-7 [6] If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
American King James Version×
)—as the Father and Christ dwell within all the members of the Church through the Holy Spirit.

Some, due to such factors as health, age, geographical isolation or even the culture in which they live, are simply unable to meet regularly with other believers. But whenever and wherever we are able to attend Church services, we should not neglect this God-given opportunity.

We need each other

Let’s delve deeper into a passage we just touched on, 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.
American King James Version×
: “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.”

These two verses reveal several crucial truths.

First, God knows that we need one another. He didn’t design us to be alone; that’s why we naturally crave relationships with others. Some have to give up friends and family for God’s truth. But Jesus promises He will give us far more friends and family (Mark 10:29-30 Mark 10:29-30 [29] And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, [30] But he shall receive an hundred times now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
American King James Version×
) through His Church.

Of course, we avail ourselves of this wonderful blessing of companionship only through getting to know others in this extended family God has provided.

Christians who are sincerely involved, engaged, immersed and active in a congregation are spiritually healthy and growing.

Second, God knows that the right kinds of friends will encourage and strengthen one another in the right way, spurring each other to “love and good works.” On our own, it’s all too easy to neglect these Christian responsibilities and make excuses. But true friends—and who could be truer friends than others whom God has called to be part of His Church alongside us?—will encourage one another in Christian growth, providing positive peer pressure to help us succeed.

The ministry of the Church plays an important role in teaching and encouraging. Yet those among the general membership also instruct and motivate one another, helping to keep each other on the right track (compare Galatians 6:1-2 Galatians 6:1-2 [1] Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. [2] Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
American King James Version×
; Galatians 6:9-10 Galatians 6:9-10 [9] And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. [10] As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.
American King James Version×
; Proverbs 27:17 Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
American King James Version×
).

Third, God knows that we need “the assembling of ourselves together”—or, as the New Living Translation puts it, “let us not neglect our meeting together.” Sad to say, those who willingly choose to go it alone place themselves in serious danger. A lone believer is a much easier target for Satan’s attacks. And being isolated from others, he or she lacks the encouragement and support Jesus Christ provides through other believers.

Coming together on a regular basis enables the companionship, instruction and exhortation already mentioned. Besides spiritual learning, weekly Sabbath services provide a regular venue for praise and worship of God. This helps participants to face the coming week with a renewed spiritual zeal and focus.

Fourth, God knows that we all need encouragement and support—and His Church is intended to be a powerful support group in hard times. It’s a miserable feeling to go through trials and difficulties all on our own, with no one there to help, offer encouragement or sometimes simply listen. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 [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.
American King James Version×
: “The members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

At times we all need encouragement to hang in there, to “endure to the end.” As Paul said in Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus Himself described this way of life as narrow and difficult (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.
American King James Version×
). Satan would like nothing more than to discourage and distract us from Christ’s coming Kingdom, and all the more so as it draws ever nearer. Encouraging and supporting one another are absolutely crucial for our spiritual health.

God, through Jesus Christ, gives much of His spiritual nourishment, guidance and encouragement through His Church, “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.
American King James Version×
). Much of this comes in the form of sermons and Bible studies on Christian growth and living, emphasizing how to apply God’s Word to all aspects of our lives.

Don’t choose life on the edge!

God does not call people to be independent of contact with other believers. An animal that has strayed from its herd is at much greater risk. That’s why a “good shepherd” searches for the sheep that has strayed (Matthew 18:10-14 Matthew 18:10-14 [10] Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. [11] For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. [12] How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? [13] And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. [14] Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
American King James Version×
). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
American King James Version×
). We need each other!

Generally, even crops growing at the edge of a field do not survive and thrive as well. The plants are apt to get less fertilizer and irrigation, and they are more exposed to wind, foraging animals and infestations of pests. All of nature teaches this truth: Being alone or on the fringe can make one vulnerable to many dangers.

Spiritually, this is especially true. Christians who are sincerely involved, engaged, immersed and active in a congregation are spiritually healthy and growing (Ephesians 4:11-16 Ephesians 4:11-16 [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: [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: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×
). Together they have the joy not only of continually growing to become more like Jesus Christ, but also of doing the work of God as they help prepare the way for Christ’s second coming!

In a prophecy in Malachi 3:16-17 Malachi 3:16-17 [16] Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name. [17] And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
American King James Version×
, God takes special note of those who practice Christian fellowship and the other spiritual tools covered in this booklet, promising them future protection and reward: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son, who serves him.’”

Be sure to seek out and maintain fellowship with God’s people. You can learn more about God’s Church in our free Bible study aid The Church Jesus Built. And for more information about the Church organization that publishes this booklet, see “The Church Behind This Publication”.

The next and final chapter in this booklet will show how to use all the biblical tools to continue your spiritual progress—so that, as Paul said in Ephesians 4:15 Ephesians 4:15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
American King James Version×
, we “may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”

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