1 CORINTHIANS 16:5-7 – I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.”
THEME OF THE DAY: DON’T LIVE ON THE FRINGE. The Apostle Paul loved Christians. It was seen through his desires to be with them, invest in them, encourage them, teach them, correct them, and sacrifice for them. In writing to the Christians in Rome, a group of believers he had yet to meet, he freely and transparently shared these desires in the opening of his letter to them – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles (Romans 1:8-13).
The desires of the Apostle Paul are the desires in every true Christian. No believer, unless physically hindered, lives on the fringe of body life in a local church. What that means is we cannot be satisfied or content with Sunday only Christianity, hit and miss in church attendance, and willfully absenting ourselves in the life of the local church in Word, prayer, and Gospel service. Such isolation is contrary to the Christian life defined by the Bible and modeled by healthy Christians throughout church history. Again, Christians cannot be comfortable living on the fringe. In fact, they will be spiritually miserable if they attempt to do so for the Holy Spirit within the believer fuels desire for community. And His work in Christians must be either obeyed or quenched.
When it comes to the whole of the Christian life, we become Christians individually, but we grow as Christians corporately. The Christian life is lived in community with other Christians. It is simply impossible to be an isolated Christian and spiritually mature. God has ordained all Christians are to be in sacrificial life-on-life relationships with other believers for mutual investments and encouragement toward spiritual growth.
So, don’t live on the fringe. It displeases the Lord, weakens the testimony of the Gospel through the local church, and only brings painful discipline upon us from the Lord. And besides those consequences, we miss out on the joy of the Lord that only comes from living in community with other believers.
PRAYER: “Father, reinforce to me my salvation is individual and private but growth in Your Son is corporate and public.”
QUOTE: “Spend time, much time, with Christians in the things of God. It is a command to obey and a privilege to exercise.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,