Philippians 2:1–4 “1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
What does it mean to be part of a local church? Is it attending frequently enough that you feel comfortable with the people of a congregation and they feel comfortable with you? Does it mean going through the steps of becoming a member to formalize your association with a church? Is there a sense of being part of a church that is more significant to you if you regularly contribute financially?
Any and all these things are involved in being a part of a local church. In the passage above, the Apostle Paul describes meaningful involvement that should apply to anyone who is part of a church. The presence of gospel grace transforms lives. The hearts of believers are encouraged by their relationship with Jesus. God’s people experience the comforting love of God and they fellowship with the Lord through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Knowing that God cares and understands His people should stimulate a desire to promote unity with others who have the same experiences of gospel grace.
Promoting unity with brothers and sisters in Christ requires a mindset that is others-oriented. Being part of a church means finding joy and delight in seeking the welfare and godliness of others. We need to be looking for ways to connect with others in meaningful ways that yield openness. We should nurture openness in fellowship, so that what is important to others and what others need not only becomes known. When these desires and deficiencies are understood, then they are taken to God in prayer. Prayerful contemplation of the burdens and struggles of others should press them and us into the teachings of Scripture for guidance, correction, and encouragement. In reality, that is what this passage teaches us about being a part of a local church.
In light of this truth, what needs to change in your life to help you to be a part of your local church? Ask God to help you and help your fellow church members to grow in this grace and knowledge. Your church needs the revitalizing flow of God grace through you to others.