The Epistolic Thought Flow and Church Relationships

reynaldo reynoso (admin)

Refering to IreneQ’s post once more::

?church is all about relationships (something my previous pastor has always said) and that in cell groups you get to build those relationships — and it’s those relationships which will keep you in the church and help you to feel a part of it.

I am forced to examine this idea of basing the local gathering completely on relationships. It is something that many Christians have been falling into as of late, both the churched and the unchurched.

The following overviews reflect the writings of Paul to local gatherings, or churches if you will.

These churches are receiving fundamental instruction so that they may be edified for a given purpose. If the presupposed statement is true, it would be expected to see Relationships as being a major thought flow to several epistles. Therefore,

Romans
I won’t go into too much detail because we are studying this book in another section, but the Letter to the Romans starts off speaking doctrinally and judicially about the righteousness of God right up till chapter 12. It is not until Romans 12:3 that Paul starts addressing the matter of using certain gifts for others and not until 12:9 that he is actually touching on relationships in the gathering. Yet, even in this portion, when we arrive at chapter 15, verses 7 through 13, Paul reemphasizes the idea of glorifying God together for His putting us together in a relationship? Not at all, but for (it says in verse 9) for His Mercy! For what purpose does the passage say (verse 11) so that he is Praised and (verse 13) so that we may abound in hope by the very power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians
Galatians chapter one immediately delves into the subject of the gospel and Paul’s apostleship defended . For the next 4 chapters he deals specifically with foundational issues of the gospel, justification by faith and sanctification by faith. Chapter 5 starts touching on the issue of how Christian liberty is to be used and then it starts going into relationships in the local gathering from 5:26 onwards.

Ephesians
The Letter to the Ephesians starts off talking about being redeemed in Christ and the tremendous wealth we as believers have in Him. Paul expounds the benefits of grace and the blood and Christ being the cornerstone of the household of God being built together. He doesn’t start going into relationships with other believers, touching lightly on it by means of the use of gifts in chapter 4 and finally addressing it directly in chapters 5 and 6.

Philippians
Philippians starts off talking about what it is to live and suffer as the humbled servent the Lord Jesus Christ. The letter also goes through the idea of counting all things loss for Christ, pressing towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and our citizenship in Heaven. Finally in chapter 4, Paul addresses the resultant relationship aspect of being given over to God in such a manner.

Colossians
The letter to the Colossians starts off with the preeminence of Christ pointing out the fact that all things were created through Him and for Him (a point that will later be used to re-emphasize the true purpose of any local gathering). The letter goes on to illustrate how we are to walk in Christ Jesus the same way we received him, not by some empty lies or philosophies or according to the basic principles of the world. We are also to walk in Christ not in legalistic format and falling under the rules of men instead of the headship of Christ, but walking with the understanding that we died to the basic principles of the world so we are no longer to live under such regulations. Paul proceeds to point out how our life is hidden with Christ in God and we are to put to death our members for we are a New Man. It is not until Colossians 3:18 that Paul starts to deal with relationships and how such a thing is carried out in our Christian graces to each other.

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