Paul And The Body


Working Together

For all practical purposes, the church at Antioch was Paul’s home church. The first to receive his leadership after his conversion, the church at Antioch commissioned Paul and sent him out on his first missionary journey. When he came back for visits, they did not make him feel bad for being gone, but like a seasoned pit crew, used their time wisely, filling Paul up and being filled by him. 

It wasn’t always easy for Paul to make it back to Antioch to see his church family, but he made the effort, even when doing so put his life in danger. He knew they needed to see him and know he was okay so they could rest easy and draw on his example when they faced stresses of their own (Acts 14:19-23). He also knew he needed their friendship and support. 

Although Paul most identified with the church at Antioch, his commitment to the Church, or all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, extended beyond that local church body. Throughout his ministry, he encouraged local churches to cooperate with and support one another, working just as hard to keep promises to other congregations as he did to keep promises to his own (Acts 18:20-21, 20:17, 32-38). 

Paul may have been the one on the road doing what some probably considered the “real work,” but he understood that much of what it seemed he had accomplished had actually been accomplished through the prayers of his brothers and sisters (Philippians 1:19, 2 Corinthians 1:10-11). In return, he prayed for them (Ephesians 1:16) and passed along everything God had taught him about what it meant to live out the truth of the Gospel. In this way, Paul glorified God by showing his support of God’s plan to reach the world through His Church. 

How about you? Do you pass on to your brothers and sisters what you’ve learned about living truth, or do you delay the growth of God’s Kingdom by forcing them to reinvent the wheel? 

Do you go out of your way to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ? Whom have you encouraged lately? 

If your brothers and sisters all followed your example, would your local church draw people in and keep them or repel people and lose them? 

What, if anything, needs to change? What would that look like?