A lot of Christians are just waiting to die.
Those are the ones whose gospel consists entirely of believing in Jesus as a means of obtaining admission into heaven.
But the gospel of Christ is more than that. It’s a gospel of the kingdom of God. The path of faith should be an exciting adventure to learn to live as God’s new creation, to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.
I’ve been thinking about all this lately after deciding to take up the small group ministry at my church.
At the same time, I’ve come to a renewed understanding of Ephesians 4:1, which says:
“… 行 事 為 人 就 當 與 蒙 召 的 恩 相 稱 …” (“… walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called …”)
What does this mean? I have heard of all kinds of interpretations for this phrase. Does it tell us we need to do more good things? Pray more? Spread the gospel more?
If you read carefully, you will see that it is a part of a full sentence that continues with:
“… 謙 虛 、 溫 柔 、 忍 耐 、 用 愛 心 互 相 寬 容 、 用 和 平 彼 此 聯 絡 …” (“… humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love …”) (4:2)
And it goes on to talk about preserving the unity of the Spirit. The list of things have to do with how we live with “one another” (The phrase “one another” is a phrase that Paul likes to use). If we explore the context further, you’d find, in the previous chapter:
“… 和 眾 聖 徒 一 同 明 白 基 督 的 愛 、 是 何 等 長 闊 高 深 …” (“… to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of the love of Christ] …”) (3:18)
And you’d find the goal of all this a little bit further down:
“… 彼 此 相 助 、 便 叫 身 體 漸 漸 增 長 、 在 愛 中 建 立 …” (“… according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love …”) (4:16)
It is not only natural to walk this path of faith with fellow believers, but we are “called” to do so, as we challenge each other and encourage one another along the way.
Although small group ministry is a good model to achieve a deeper kind of community of faith, I always tell myself to keep in mind that it is just a model. My ultimate hope is to contribute my time and effort to help the church to better live out this kind of faith adventure together every day.