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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

March 8, 2019

Being of one mind about the church's mission

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

How many members of the early church did the apostle Paul know personally? We do not know the exact number, but there were certainly many, even thousands. God blessed his work on his journeys, such as in the city of Corinth, where God told him: "I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:10).

How many elders did Paul know? Here too the answer would have been: certainly many. After his conversion he had met the apostles in Jerusalem. Before becoming an apostle he was part of the "teaching team" in Antioch (Acts 13:1-2), and on his first trip to Galatia he and Barnabas ordained elders where God had planted churches because of their work (Acts 14:23).

Paul wrote the "elder qualification list" about suitability for eldership in 1 Timothy 3 verses 1-7 and Titus 1 verses 6-9. He instructed Titus to appoint elders according to these qualifications (verse 5).

And Paul was accompanied on his travels by co-workers such as Silas and Timothy.

Of all the brethren Paul knew, how many could he count on knowing that they were thinking like him about the mission of the church?

Apparently only one, Timothy:

"But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel" (Philippians 2:19-22).

These verses clearly express the mission Jesus gave the church: to make people disciples of Christ. This requires the preaching of the gospel and the care of those called by God via that preaching. Timothy followed the example of Paul, who in turn followed the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

What can we learn from this? Being of one mind about the mission Jesus gave the church does not come naturally. This is why Paul wrote: "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Philippians 2:2).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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