Medical experts can evaluate a person’s physical condition by reliable observation and testing. In the spiritual dimension, a biblical diagnosis can also reveal the spiritual health of the church (ekklesia) when key aspects of Body Life are examined.
THE BODY LIFE OF WHICH CHURCH?
The results of a biblical diagnosis of Body Life can vary considerably according to the church (ekklesia) being examined. Scripture indicates that the church can be two or three believers who come together in any location to honor Christ. Church can be a group of believers who meet in a house. The church also describes believers in a specific area, such as a village, community, or city. In addition, church can refer to believers in a large territory or country as well as believers in the worldwide Body of Christ.
DIAGNOSING BODY LIFE
No matter the size of a church (ekklesia) or its location, the foundation for a biblical diagnosis of its Body Life is love—love for God and love for others, especially those in the family of God.
Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
1 John 5:3, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
2 John 1:6, And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have
heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
1 John 4:10-11, In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” See The Two Greatest Priorities of Life
As Scripture indicates, loving God is measured by obedience to His words set forth in Scripture. This obedience leads to spiritual health, because God’s Word is totally sufficient for every aspect of life and relationships.
2 Peter 1:3-4, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
God’s divine wisdom is perfect (inerrant) and applicable (totally sufficient) for life. When believers look elsewhere than the Bible for “answers to life,” they reveal that their love for the Lord is not as great as they think. They also reveal where they really place their trust. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” It is easy for believers in Christ to say, “We trust in the Lord with all our heart” but fail to recognize a lack of trust and love when they choose to go elsewhere for supposed “guidance” for life’s challenges.
When a church (ekklesia) relies on the broken cisterns of man’s wisdom instead of the proven truth of God’s Word, Body Life will inevitably suffer. On the other hand, a church’s Body Life will be biblically authentic, Christ-centered, and spiritually vibrant when the natural wisdom of man is rejected and God’s Word is spiritually embraced and faithfully obeyed.
Dozens of “one another” expressions in the New Testament indicate how believers are to relate to fellow believers. God’s Word also describes many other ways that love can be demonstrated to those within the church (ekklesia) as well as to those outside the household of faith.
The following compilation was originally listed in Self-Confrontation, a discipleship and biblical counseling manual produced by the Biblical Counseling Foundation.1
I. Expressions of biblical love in the Gospels
- Be gentle with one another (Matthew 5:5).
- Make peace with one another, that you may be called the sons of God (Matthew 5:9).
- Reconcile with one another, that you may be fit to worship and serve the Lord (Matthew 5:23-24).
- Give to him who asks of you (Matthew 5:42a).
- Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
- Forgive others that God may forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15).
- Do not judge others that you may not be judged (Matthew 7:1-2).
- Treat others the same way that you want them to treat you (Matthew 7:12).
- Reprove your brother so that he may be reconciled with you and with the Lord (Matthew 18:15-17).
- Serve one another, following the example of Christ (Matthew 20:26-28; John 13:13-17).
- Love others as you do yourself so they may know that you are one of Christ’s disciples (Matthew 22:39; John 13:34).
- Meet one another’s needs by sharing God’s provisions that He has placed under your care (Acts 4:32-37).
- Minister to others, according to your spiritual giftedness, as a functioning and mutually edifying member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8).
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love since you are a member of God’s family through Christ(Romans 12:10).
- Give preference to one another and thus demonstrate honor to a fellow believer (Romans 12:10).
- Be of the same mind with one another that you may not be wise in your own estimation but instead that you may glorify the Lord through your unity (Romans 12:16, 15:5-6).
- Love one another that you may fulfill the law of God in its sum: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Romans 13:8-10).
- Do not judge one another [for purposes of punishment or retribution as opposed to correction and restoration] and thus acknowledge God’s sovereignty in each believer’s life (Romans 14:1-13).
- Pursue things that make for peace and the building up of one another that you may not lead others to stumble(Romans 14:14-19).
- Accept one another and thus follow Christ’s example of acceptance to the glory of God (Romans 15:7).
- Admonish one another because you are enabled by the Lord to do so (Romans 15:14).
III. Expressions of biblical love in 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians
- Be of the same mind with one another to preserve the unity in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).
- Do not be greedy but instead wait for one another when you come to eat and thus express the unity of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 33).
- There should be no divisions in the body but the members should have the same care for one another(1 Corinthians 12:25).
- Give yourself first to the Lord and then to one another that you may demonstrate participation in the support of other believers (2 Corinthians 8:4-5).
IV. Expressions of biblical love in Galatians and Ephesians
- Through love, serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
- In living by the Spirit, do not become boastful, challenging one another, or envying one another(Galatians 5:24-26).
- Gently restore those who are caught in any sin (Galatians 6:1).
- Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
- Bear with one another in love and thus preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).
- Be truthful because you are a member with others in the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:25).
- Forgive one another just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
- Be kind and tenderhearted toward one another, putting off bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and malice(Ephesians 4:31-32).
- In thankfulness, speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-20).
- In living a life controlled by the Spirit, be subject to one another in the fear (reverence) of Christ(Ephesians 5:18-21).
V. Expressions of biblical love in Philippians and Colossians
- Be of the same mind with one another to maintain the fellowship of the Spirit in affection and compassion(Philippians 2:1-2).
- Regard one another as more important than yourself, not dealing with anyone out of selfishness or empty conceit(Philippians 2:3).
- Bear with one another in love since you have been chosen by God (Colossians 3:12-13).
- Forgive one another just as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
- With all wisdom teach and admonish one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
VI. Expressions of biblical love in 1 Thessalonians
- Love one another since the Lord causes you to increase and abound in His love (1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9).
- Comfort one another with the promise of our Lord’s return that you may not sorrow without hope(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- Encourage one another while you await the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
- Greatly appreciate and highly esteem those who have charge over you and live in peace with one another(1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
- Seek after that which is good for one another and do not repay evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
VII. Expressions of biblical love in Hebrews and James
- Encourage one another lest you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13, 10:25).
- Stimulate one another to love and good deeds and hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering(Hebrews 10:23-24).
- Assemble with one another so that you may encourage one another as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ draws near (Hebrews 10:25).
- Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so you may be made whole (James 5:16).
VIII. Expressions of biblical love in 1 Peter
- Love one another out of your obedience to the truth and thus cover many sins (1 Peter 1:22, 4:8).
- Be a blessing to one another out of your calling in Christ to inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
- Be hospitable to one another without complaint (1 Peter 4:9).
- Through love, serve one another since you have been gifted to do so (1 Peter 4:10).
- Clothe yourself with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble(1 Peter 5:5).
IX. Expressions of biblical love in 1 John and 2 John
- Fellowship with one another through Christ because you are walking in His light (1 John 1:7).
- Love one another and be obedient to God in response to His love for you (1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11; 2 John 1:5).
- Meet the needs of your brother because of God’s abiding love in you (1 John 3:17).
LET’S WRAP IT UP
Body Life brings honor to the Lord and creates many and varied blessings for those inside and outside the church (ekklesia). Body Life cannot be programmed but, instead, is the supernatural outgrowth of believers in Christ who obey God’s Word and together celebrate the reality of Jesus Christ by sharing His love with others. May God’s children in each home, community, territory, state, and country live to express His love and, together, joyfully celebrate Body Life for the glory of God.
1 The compilation of “Expressions of Biblical Love” is excerpted from the Biblical Counseling Foundation’s 480 page in-depth discipleship manual entitled, Self‐Confrontation (1991 edition). For further information on this and other biblical counseling/in‐depth discipleship training materials, please write or call: Biblical Counseling Foundation, 42-600 Cook Street, Suite 100, Palm Desert, California, USA 92211-5143.
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Body Life: Healthy or Sick? © 2011 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers