This post is part one of a two part article I've been working on for awhile, and is doubling as chain blog #7 in a series of posts entitled "One Another", started by Alan Knox. Part two is posted separately below part one on our blog " Living Daily with One Another in Christ". I will not post part two in the chain blog as together, both parts are longer than usual.
One Another-ing: A meta-narrative for the church.
Presented in two parts.
If each of the major themes in the bible could be turned into full length movies, then one of the block buster’s of all time would be ‘One Another’. Please allow me some metaphorical license to explain it.
Imagine the show beginning with the credits where the author God is three persons in One (another), and He based the script of earthly time on His own never ending triune life imparted to all creation.
The sublime subtext of the entire story is that the medium is the message. In other words, one another-ing is both how we relate to each other in Christ as well as who we are in Him, and with Him.
Like the best authors, God carefully camouflaged the main plot line and lead character until well into the story. In the story of one another, He finally reveals (Eph 4) his intriguingly veiled plan to have a family thru His only begotten Son, who gathers ungrateful and selfish people into one another-ing communities, loves them into voluntary submission and then proposes marriage to them!
Wisely, He’s hidden the simplicity of this simple love story from the proud, and many leaders and knowledge worshippers but He will reveal it in the person of His Son to anyone with a child’s attitude. And for those of us who are already tainted by our own pride, He can miraculously transform us to become like little children again, so we can share in the love of one another.
Many have accepted this gracious offer, but it requires vigorous discipleship, self discipline and looooonnnngggg suffering from one another.
Our one another-ing on earth are really mirror reflections of God’s one another-ing toward us from heaven and this short journey in time we have with one another is the first draft in the unedited script of life together forever. The Premiere showing of this story actually opens sometime in the (near?) future, after the cast are fully trained and ready, but meanwhile, we have some hard work to do. I’ll come back to that in a minute. So, consider the main plot line of ‘One Another’ as you are thinking about your part is in this action/drama/tragedy/love story.
The key verse is 13: Till WE ALL come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
Whew!, that sentence alone has enough material for a trilogy or even a series production. Later in Paul’s letter, (Ephesians 5) he hints at how to understand this grand purpose by succinctly stating that the marriage of a man and woman is the clearest earthly picture, although mysterious, and practical means of learning one another-ing. A family is a one another community, similar to the trinity in ability to produce Godly fruit, and I believe this is why Gods requirement for elders in the church are Godly marriages.
Naturally then, we should resist Satan’s darts, aimed at one another-ing in all its forms. Satan knows better than we obviously do that if the gates of hell are going to be stormed to set the captives free and build them into a house for God, it’s going to require all of us together, and it’s his job to distract or stop us. Daily one another-ing is where this spiritual warfare is waged and one would not expect a knowledgeable church to suffer high divorce rates, visionless youth, rampant pornography addiction or permanent divisions in the church.
Jesus classifies the whole body of damage hierarchy has caused as ‘offending even one of these little ones” and blames it squarely on poor one another-ing, as we will see. In contrast, we blame it underhandedly on poor leadership, church models, heresy, government encroachment blah, blah, blah……anything except the entire one another community’s failure to do as we are clearly told.
Earlier, I mentioned that we have some hard work to do if we are to fulfill our part in the present scene of the blockbuster ‘One Another’.
This hard work is to carry around a pinch of salt every day.
Now, how hard can that be?
In Mk 9:33-50, Jesus detects the disciples secretly arguing who will be leader after He’s gone. Taking a small child as an example in his arms, he patiently teaches us that choosing to be open hearted without guile, and embrace one another in His name, is to embrace God Himself.
Children are the most successful group of one another’s on earth because they trust, rather than try to accomplish things. But two thousand years of carelessly eating the leaven from Pharisees, Sadducees and Herod have bamboozled us into thinking that Jesus wants leadership is to be sought after, and today it’s done openly, to our shame. And like good soldiers, we aren’t letting the mountains of evidence against us stop us from building ever higher on this shaky foundation. Many little ones have been offended by servants seeking leadership, and this issue must be openly discussed before we can kill it, as Jesus commanded.
Twice recorded in scripture, Jesus forbade us to seek leadership with these words: “It shall not be so among you”. To achieve this requires vigorous generational discipleship and once in awhile a Phineas or a Josiah are needed to demonstrate how serious God is about directing his own story.
Following this command, Jesus launched into a rare and rather long, visceral rant, employing some very scary images of what our future looks like if we offend anyone with a child like heart for God.
Millstones will be tied to our bodies, dragging us to the bottom of the sea, hands and feet cut off, eyes poked out, never ending fires of judgment and worms eating us forever. These are just about the strongest language ever used in scripture, and it all came straight from the mouth of our loving Jesus. I think it’s instructive that Jesus saved this for his close disciples, who knew him better than the Pharisees, who he warned with less vitriol.
It’s pretty clear that God will put up with a lot of nonsense from His children, but this game of thrones we have been playing, that offends His little ones, is the one thing He really gets upset about.
And I think it’s about time we did too.
If you would like to read part two of this post, please look below part one.
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This post is the seventh link in a chain blog, started by Alan Knox, on the topic 'One Another'. Please have a look back through the other links and comments to join in the topic. You can even join in the chain – read the rules below to participate.
Links in the 'One Another' Chain Blog
Links in the 'One Another' Chain Blog
- Chain Blog: One Another - Alan Knox
- Linking One Another - Swanny
- What Does It Mean to Love One Another? - Chuck McKnight
- The treasure of 'One Another' - Jim Puntney
- This is how the world shall recognise you... - Kathleen Ward
- Accepting one another in love - Chris Jefferies
- One Another: A meta-narrative for the church- Greg Gamble
- Who will write the eighth link in the chain?
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