In God's Kingdom it’s not just about me, it’s about us.
Here in the South, there are still a lot of church folk who refer to each other as “Brother” or “Sister.” Maybe this is seen as a quaint—and fading—cultural practice today, but the roots are Biblical.
The Temple in the Old Testament was a physical building where God chose to manifest His presence. The dwelling place of God’s choosing. Holy Spirit’s home, you might say. After Jesus lived, died, and rose again, God’s presence in the Holy Spirit moved. Changed location. We are taught:
We are God’s home now, individually and corporately.
This makes us brothers and sisters, Children of the Father
God wants us to edify, edify.
You need your brothers and sisters, and they need you. One stone does not a Temple make.
We are God’s Home
It’s a New Testament thing, the mystery of the Church, God dwelling in us, that they didn’t see coming in Old Testament times. Turns out the big stone Temple in Jerusalem was just a picture of what God really had in mind—a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit made of living stones, each stone unique but the same in kind, joined together by the mortar of love for Jesus and for one another. You are a stone and I am a stone—I have my place in the Temple and you have yours.
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…” (2 Peter 2:5)
Brothers and Sisters
Hard, cold stones do not much care about each other. But living stones do. God has many children in His Family, and that makes us truly brothers and sisters to each other. In a functional family, siblings love and support one another.
I am one of five children in my family. We siblings are all unique and very different from each other. If we weren’t related, we might or might not be friends who hang out together. But we share our parents’ DNA. We share a love for our parents. We love each other and want the best for each other.
If you could do a spiritual DNA test on the followers of Jesus, there would be a DNA match. As siblings (in a functional family), we spiritual siblings share a love for the Father and a love for each other. Greeting each other as “Brother Bill” or “Sister Sarah” reminded us of the genuine connection.
Let me go all Greek on you for a sec. To edify is a construction word (oikodomeo) meaning to build a house up from a firm foundation.
“Therefore encourage and build one another up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
This explains all of the “one anothers” in the Bible. For example,
Love one another, John 13:34
Forgive one another, Colossians 3:13
Be kind to one another, Ephesians 4:32
Be devoted to one another, Romans 12:10
So it’s not about being all nicey-nice to each other, all high fives and pats on the back. It’s about pushing each other to be who we were born to be—like Jesus Christ.
“Spur one another to love and good deeds…” (Hebrews 10:24)
Ouch. Spurs hurt. But we’ll forgive each other for the spurs and thank each other for the edification. We are, after all, being built into a glorious Temple for the Holy Spirit!
Read all of the Kingdom Assignment blog series to date!