Bound Together in Christ

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-8

Colossians 2:1-2, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

Note the four-fold occurrence of the phrase “if any” in verse 1.  The Greek grammar is such that it could be translated: “if, and it is so,” or “since.” Paul was inviting his readers to take spiritual inventory, directing their thoughts to Christ and the benefits they mutually enjoy in their common identity in Him.

Positionally speaking, God has made us one in Christ. The practical implications of this are a call to do everything necessary and possible to maintain that unity. This unity of spirit is an incredibly important thing. So much so that Paul elsewhere spoke of the need to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We do that, as we are all commonly led by the Spirit and forthrightly pursue those attitudes and actions that work to resolve differences and promote unity.

Now, if these two verses are to be fulfilled in us, we are going to have to change some things.  By faith, we need to understand and appreciate how truly blessed we are!  We need to praise God and thank Him for all that He has done for us.  But beyond that we need to value our community.  We need to invest ourselves in it.  We need to be fully enjoined in it, realizing that church is not just something we go to, but something we are.  We need to value that unity that reflects that which exists within the Triune God.  We need to love one another according to Christ’s example, actively pursuing opportunities to show love and practice forbearance and forgiveness.  Such love means exercising our spiritual gifts for the building up of the body in the common pursuit of Christ-like maturity.  It means doing your part, pulling your weight, and being a team player.

The book “The Boys in the Boat,” by author Daniel James Brown, tells the story of the University of Washington eight-oared crew team which represented the US in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  Team members came from lower middle-class families and had to earn their way through school through the depths of the Depression.  In those days, the competition between schools was fierce and the spectators were many.  Coaches were relentless in preparing their teams to compete and win. 

In the book, you read about the importance of the synchronization of the eight rowers as they responded to the commands of the coxswain.  The coxswain was in the back of the boat, yelling out the command.  The rowers sat one behind another on either side of the boat.  They each needed to listen carefully to the coxswain.  They needed to row according to his command, keeping in sync with their fellow oar men. 

This is a wonderful analogy of what God intends for a local church.  Jesus is the Lord of His church.  He speaks to us by the Spirit through the Word.  And the Spirit leads us on a Christ-ward course.  He yells out the commands.  And he bids us to work in harmony with one another.  It will do the boat no good at all, if one oar man decides that he won’t listen to the coxswain.  It will do the church no good at all, if one of its members heads off in the flesh to cause division and strife.  No, they all need to be pulling together.  They all need to “keep in step with the Spirit.”  They all need to be actively working together by doing their part in using their own spiritual gifts in serving the body of Christ.


Our God has made us one —
In Him our hearts unite.
When we, His children, share His love,
Our joy is His delight.

Our God has made us one —
His glory is displayed.
For as we build each other up
Our love becomes His praise.

Our God has made us one —
In sorrow and in joy;
We share the cross of Christ, our Lord,
In Him we now rejoice.

Our God has made us one —
One Church to bear His name;
One body and one Bride of Christ,
And with Him we shall reign

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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