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Helping people help others in the name of Jesus Christ

Isam Itson | Practically Holy | Working together part 2

by, Isam Itson III

When I was eight years old I spent my summer vacation taking orders and running the cash register at a lunch counter run by my parents. I had to stand on a step stool to look our customers in the eye, and some of our customers liked to tease me, but I took my job very seriously. I was helping my family pay our bills and put food on the table. As a family we were in this together.

We also have a family business as members of the family of God. Also known as the body of Christ or the Church. Our job is making disciples.

Matthew 28:19, 20 – Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. 

Baptism is how the Church formally acknowledges that someone has joined our fellowship. A fellowship is just another term for a family. Baptism is an expression of worship that signifies someone has made a confession of faith in the love and authority of Jesus Christ revealed in his crucifixion and resurrection. In baptism we acknowledge that another person has become a member of God’s family. In John 3:3, Jesus used the term”born again” when speaking about the way in which someone enters the kingdom of God. Baptism represents our birth into the kingdom of God.

So how do the members of the Church, the body of Christ, grow and mature as children of God and citizens of God’s kingdom? 

Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

They in Acts 2:42 refers to the members of the local church in Jerusalem that formed soon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are the people who embraced the testimony of Jesus’ earliest disciples. Together, they committed themselves wholeheartedly to learning about Jesus from the men who had followed Jesus during his life on earth. These first disciples became the apostles, or authoritative teachers, of the early church at large.

The members of the church also committed themselves to the fellowship. That means they committed themselves to helping one another love God and honor God’s love for others. They also committed themselves to breaking bread, or making sure that everyone had what they needed to survive and thrive. They treated each other like close members of the family. 

Finally, they committed themselves to prayer. They committed themselves to relating to God as the source of their individual and collective provision, wisdom, and strength. Their lives were defined by the time they spent with God and with each other. All of these expressions of their faith in God and their relationships with each other  helped the members of the church grow and mature in their faithful relationship with God and with each other as members of God’s family.

The main thing that stands out to me in this description of the people who chose to follow Jesus Christ in response to the testimony of the apostles, is that none of the pronouns are singular. Every reference to the members of the church is plural. This use of the plural paints the picture of a collective or unified whole. 

The members of the church helped each other. They encouraged each other. The members of the church took account for each others practical needs as well as their spiritual needs. Their whole lives were committed to loving God and honoring God’s love for each other. 

Together, with the help of the Holy Spirit  and the wisdom of God’s word, the members of the church embraced more and more people with the love of Jesus Christ and welcomed them into the family of God. The members of the early church were active and involved in each others lives. They treated each other like members of the family. And they dedicated themselves to the success of the family business.

In response

1. Are you close to the members of your local church?  Why or why not?

2. Do you regularly spend time serving the other members of your local church? Why or why not?

3. Do you dedicate time with members of your local church to honor God’s love for the members of your local community? If yes, how? If not, why not?

4. Discuss this article and your response to these questions with one of the mature leaders or pastors within your local church. 


Isam Itson

Practically Holy is a mentoring community dedicated to empowering people to help each other as a practical and sustainable expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Practically Holy is all about. Pursuing our common humanity in Jesus Christ by honoring our God-given purpose and boundaries, as we follow Jesus Christ together, and help others do the same, as dedicated members of our communities, from generation to generation.

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Isam Itson | Practically Holy | Working together part 2

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