Christians Need One Another
“We are members belonging to one another.”—EPHESIANS 4:25.
1. What does one encyclopedia say about the human body?
THE human body is a marvel of creation! Says The World Book Encyclopedia: “People sometimes call the human body a machine—the most wonderful one ever built. Of course, the human body is not a machine. But it can be compared to one in many ways. Like a machine, the body is made up of many parts. Each part of the body, like each part of a machine, does special jobs. But all the parts work together and so make the body or the machine run smoothly.”
2. In what way is the human body and the Christian congregation similar?
2 Yes, the human body has many parts, or members, and each one supplies something needed. Not a single vein, muscle, or other body member is purposeless. Similarly, each member of the Christian congregation can contribute something to its spiritual health and beauty. (1 Corinthians 12:14-26) Although one member of the congregation should not feel superior to others, neither should anyone consider himself unimportant.—Romans 12:3.
3. How does Ephesians 4:25 indicate that Christians need one another?
3 Like the interdependent members of the human body, Christians need one another. The apostle Paul told spirit-anointed fellow believers: “Now that you have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another.” (Ephesians 4:25) Since they ‘belong to one another,’ there is truthful communication and full cooperation among members of spiritual Israel—“the body of the Christ.” Yes, each one of them belongs to all the others. (Ephesians 4:11-13) Happily united with them are truthful, cooperative Christians having an earthly hope.
4. In what ways may new ones be helped?
4 Every year, thousands hoping to live in an earthly paradise are baptized. Other members of the congregation gladly help them to “press on to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1-3) This aid may involve answering Scriptural questions or providing practical assistance in the ministry. We can help new ones by setting a fine example through regular participation in Christian meetings. In times of distress, we can also offer encouragement or perhaps consolation. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15) We should look for ways to assist others to “go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) Whether we are young or old, have just begun walking in the truth or have walked in it for years, we can promote the spiritual welfare of fellow believers—and they do need us.
They Offered Needed Help
5. How did Aquila and Priscilla prove helpful to Paul?
5 Christian married couples are among those who find satisfaction in helping fellow believers. For instance, Aquila and his wife, Priscilla (Prisca), helped Paul. They received him into their home, worked with him as tentmakers, and helped him to build up the new congregation in Corinth. (Acts 18:1-4) In some undisclosed way, they even put their lives in jeopardy in Paul’s behalf. They were living in Rome when Paul told Christians there: “Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who have risked their own necks for my soul, to whom not only I but also all the congregations of the nations render thanks.” (Romans 16:3, 4) Like Aquila and Priscilla, some modern-day Christians build up congregations and help fellow worshipers in various ways, sometimes even risking their own lives to avoid exposing other servants of God to brutality or death at the hands of persecutors.
6. What help did Apollos receive?
6 Aquila and Priscilla also helped the eloquent Christian Apollos, who was teaching residents of Ephesus about Jesus Christ. At that time, Apollos knew only of the baptism performed by John in symbol of repentance for sins against the Law covenant. Discerning that Apollos needed some help, Aquila and Priscilla “expounded the way of God more correctly to him.” Very likely they explained that Christian baptism included undergoing water immersion and receiving the outpouring of holy spirit. Apollos learned well. Later in Achaia “he greatly helped those who had believed on account of God’s undeserved kindness; for with intensity he thoroughly proved the Jews to be wrong publicly, while he demonstrated by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:24-28) Comments made by fellow worshipers can often help to enhance our understanding of God’s Word. In this respect too, we need one another.
Providing Material Assistance
7. How did the Philippians react when fellow Christians needed material help?
7 Members of the Christian congregation in Philippi dearly loved Paul and sent him material provisions during his stay in Thessalonica. (Philippians 4:15, 16) When the brothers in Jerusalem needed material help, the Philippians demonstrated readiness to contribute even beyond their means. So much did Paul appreciate the fine spirit of his brothers and sisters in Philippi that he cited them as an example to other believers.—2 Corinthians 8:1-6.
8. What spirit did Epaphroditus display?
8 When Paul was in prison bonds, the Philippians not only sent him material gifts but also dispatched their personal envoy Epaphroditus. “On account of the Lord’s work [Epaphroditus] came quite near to death, exposing his soul to danger,” said Paul, “that he might fully make up for your not being here to render private service to me.” (Philippians 2:25-30; 4:18) We are not told whether Epaphroditus was an elder or a ministerial servant. Nevertheless, he was a self-sacrificing and helpful Christian, and Paul really needed him. Is there someone like Epaphroditus in your congregation?
They Were ‘Strengthening Aids’
9. What example do we have in Aristarchus?
9 Loving brothers and sisters, such as Aquila, Priscilla, and Epaphroditus, are greatly appreciated in any congregation. Some of our fellow worshipers may be much like the first-century Christian Aristarchus. He and others were “a strengthening aid,” perhaps a source of solace or assistance in basic, practical matters. (Colossians 4:10, 11) By assisting Paul, Aristarchus proved to be a real friend in times of need. He was the kind of person mentioned at Proverbs 17:17: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” Should not all of us endeavor to be ‘strengthening aids’ to fellow Christians? Especially should we extend a helping hand to those suffering adversity.
10. Peter provided what example for Christian elders?
10 Christian elders in particular must be strengthening aids to their spiritual brothers and sisters. Christ told the apostle Peter: “Strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32) Peter was able to do that because he manifested strong, rocklike qualities, especially after Jesus’ resurrection. Elders, by all means strive to do the same thing willingly and tenderly, for your fellow believers need you.—Acts 20:28-30; 1 Peter 5:2, 3.
11. How can we benefit from considering Timothy’s spirit?
11 Paul’s traveling companion Timothy was an elder who was deeply concerned about other Christians. Though he had certain health problems, Timothy displayed wholehearted faith and ‘slaved with Paul in furtherance of the good news.’ The apostle could therefore tell the Philippians: “I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for the things pertaining to you.” (Philippians 2:20, 22; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:5) We can be a blessing to fellow worshipers of Jehovah by manifesting a spirit like that of Timothy. True, we must contend with our own human frailties and various trials, but we too can and should display strong faith and loving concern for our spiritual brothers and sisters. We should always remember that they need us.
Women Who Cared About Others
12. What can we learn from the example of Dorcas?
12 Among the godly women who cared about others was Dorcas. When she died, the disciples summoned Peter and led him into an upper chamber. There “all the widows presented themselves to him weeping and exhibiting many inner garments and outer garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them.” Dorcas was brought back to life and doubtless continued to ‘abound in good deeds and gifts of mercy.’ In the present-day Christian congregation, there are women like Dorcas who may make garments or do other loving things for those in need. Of course, their good works primarily have to do with promoting Kingdom interests and sharing in the disciple-making work.—Acts 9:36-42; Matthew 6:33; 28:19, 20.
13. How did Lydia show concern for fellow Christians?
13 A God-fearing woman named Lydia cared about others. A native of Thyatira, she was living in Philippi when Paul preached there in about 50 C.E. Lydia was probably a Jewish proselyte, but there may have been few Jews and no synagogue in Philippi. She and other devout women had assembled for worship by a river when the apostle proclaimed the good news to them. The account says: “Jehovah opened [Lydia’s] heart wide to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul. Now when she and her household got baptized, she said with entreaty: ‘If you men have judged me to be faithful to Jehovah, enter into my house and stay.’ And she just made us come.” (Acts 16:12-15) Because Lydia wanted to do good things for others, she prevailed upon Paul and his associates to stay with her. How we appreciate it when similar hospitality is shown by kind and loving Christians today!—Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9.
We Need You Young Ones Too
14. How did Jesus Christ treat young people?
14 The Christian congregation got its start with the kind, warmhearted Son of God, Jesus Christ. People were comfortable around him because he was loving and compassionate. When some began to bring their young children to Jesus on one occasion, his disciples tried to send them away. But Jesus said: “Let the young children come to me; do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to suchlike ones. Truly I say to you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a young child will by no means enter into it.” (Mark 10:13-15) To receive Kingdom blessings, we must be as humble and teachable as young children. Jesus showed his love for little ones by taking them into his arms and blessing them. (Mark 10:16) What about you young ones today? Be assured that you are loved and needed in the congregation.
15. What facts about Jesus’ life are recorded at Luke 2:40-52, and what example did he set for young ones?
15 While Jesus was still a young person, he showed love for God and the Scriptures. When he was 12 years old, he and his parents, Joseph and Mary, traveled from their hometown of Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. On the return trip, Jesus’ parents discovered that Jesus was not in the group traveling together. They eventually found him sitting in one of the temple’s halls, listening to the Jewish teachers and asking them questions. Surprised that Joseph and Mary did not know where to find him, Jesus asked: “Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?” He returned home with his parents, remained subject to them, and continued to progress in wisdom and physical growth. (Luke 2:40-52) What a fine example Jesus set for our young ones! Surely they should obey their parents and be interested in learning about spiritual things.—Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:1-3.
16. (a) What did some boys cry out when Jesus was witnessing at the temple? (b) What privilege do young Christians have today?
16 As a young person, you may be witnessing about Jehovah at school and from house to house with your parents. (Isaiah 43:10-12; Acts 20:20, 21) When Jesus was witnessing and healing people at the temple shortly before his death, some boys cried out: “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” Angered by this, the chief priests and the scribes protested: “Do you hear what these are saying?” “Yes,” replied Jesus. “Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?” (Matthew 21:15-17) Like those children, you young people in the congregation have the grand privilege of praising God and his Son. We want and need you at our side as Kingdom proclaimers.
When Adversity Strikes
17, 18. (a) Why did Paul organize the collection for Christians in Judea? (b) What effect did the voluntary donations for Judean believers have on Jewish and Gentile Christians?
17 Whatever our circumstances, love prompts us to help fellow Christians in need. (John 13:34, 35; James 2:14-17) It was love for his brothers and sisters in Judea that moved Paul to organize the collection for them among congregations in Achaia, Galatia, Macedonia, and the district of Asia. The persecution, civil unrest, and famine experienced by the disciples in Jerusalem may have resulted in what Paul called “sufferings,” “tribulations,” and “the plundering of [their] belongings.” (Hebrews 10:32-34; Acts 11:27–12:1) He therefore supervised a fund for poor Christians in Judea.—1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 13-15; 9:1, 2, 7.
18 Voluntary donations for the holy ones in Judea proved that a bond of brotherhood existed between Jewish and Gentile worshipers of Jehovah. Delivery of the contributions also enabled Gentile Christians to show their Judean fellow worshipers gratitude for spiritual riches received from them. Hence, there was a sharing that was both material and spiritual in nature. (Romans 15:26, 27) Contributions for needy fellow believers today are also voluntary and are motivated by love. (Mark 12:28-31) We need one another in this regard too so that there is an equalizing ‘and the one with little does not have too little.’—2 Corinthians 8:15.
19, 20. Give an example to show how Jehovah’s people provide help when disasters occur.
19 Aware that Christians need one another, we are quick to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in the faith. For instance, consider what happened when devastating earthquakes and landslides struck El Salvador early in 2001. Said one report: “Relief efforts were undertaken by brothers in all parts of El Salvador. Groups of brothers from Guatemala, the United States, and Canada came to give us a hand. . . . Over 500 houses and 3 attractive Kingdom Halls were erected in short order. A great witness has been given by the hard work and cooperation of these self-sacrificing brothers.”
20 A report from South Africa said: “The terrible floods that ravaged large parts of Mozambique also affected many of our Christian brothers. The branch in Mozambique arranged to care for most of their needs. But they requested that we send good used clothing to needy brothers. We gathered enough clothes to send a 40-foot [12 m] container full of clothes to our brothers in Mozambique.” Yes, in these ways too, we need one another.
21. What will be considered in the next article?
21 As noted earlier, all parts of the human body are important. The same thing certainly is true of the Christian congregation. All its members need one another. They also need to keep on serving unitedly. The next article will consider some factors that make this possible.
How Would You Answer?
• What similarity is there between the human body and the Christian congregation?
• How did the early Christians react when fellow believers needed help?
• What are some Scriptural examples showing that Christians need and help one another?
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Aquila and Priscilla cared about others
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Jehovah’s people help one another and others when adversity strikes