Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Supernatural Power that flows through a church devoted to one another

Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor"

I like how the NASB above renders this command of being "devoted" to one another. The word translated "devoted" occurs only once in the entire New Testament. As Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, this particular word lept into his mind, through his heart and out through his pen. The word in question is a powerful word. In referencing other Jewish literature written at the time of the New Testament, we often see the word referring to extraordinary compassion, affection or strong intense love of a parent towards a child. I am sure readers of this blog know the type of strong emotions you have towards your own children - you would do anything for them, would you not? 

The manner of devotion being advocated by Paul here in Romans 12:10 is a supernatural intensity of loyalty and devotion to someone who may not be part of your family. It goes beyond friendship and acquaintance. How often do we see such expressions of devotion and love among church members in the American church today? Would we be willing to lay down our lives for those in the churches which we attend or preside over as pastors? To whit, this is the type of devotion being commanded here by the Apostle to every Christian. 

What supernatural empowered devotion can look like in a church
Other reciprocal commands (i.e "one-another commands"), further detail for us the type of devotion we as Christians ought to have towards fellow believers. Take notice of the underlined phrases where we see expressions of deep devotion commanded of one another in the church. Notice too how in some of the verses, God is the Sovereignly

1. Romans 12:16 "Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation."

2. Romans 15:5 "Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus."

3. 1 Corinthians 12:25 "so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another."

4. Galatians 5:13 "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

5. Ephesians 4:25 "Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."

6. Ephesians 5:2 "and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

7. Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."

I don't believe for a moment these are ideals never to be experienced in churches. When Paul wrote his letters to the churches in the New Testament, they were churches that were going through challenges and triumphs much like today. For instance: Corinth was experience majors schisms and immorality issues; Galatia was dealing with the threat of false teaching; Ephesus would eventually be chastised for having a love grown cold and Philippi had two prominent church members at odds with one another.

In some cases, these same churches were commended for the times they attained the level of devotion spoken of in the verses we just explored. Only the Holy Spirit, combined with the scriptures and willing hearts, can result in the level of supernatural devotion commended by the Apostle Paul. 

I believe the church today can experience the same type of supernatural, God-infused phenomena, where everybody in the church is willing to put each other ahead of themselves. I recall experiences as a young boy and in times throughout my own ministry of either being in churches or witnessing churches where the power of God's presence was atmospheric. The devotion I saw among Christians and do see on occassion even today is not a contrived nor forced devotion. Truly when a church comes together, lays down the agendas and yields to the leading of the Holy Spirit, the most beautiful, other-worldly type of unity occurs. 

My prayer for churches, pastors and Christian everywhere in America and around the world would be for God's supernatural power to flow unabated to the result of Christ-like devotion to one another.  

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