House Rules for God’s Family

by Lee Buford on March 15, 2011

It’s both staggering and sad to see how many Christians attempt to live in solitude, apart from the local church and other believers. Of late I’ve noticed it to be more of a trend or issue than I’d previously thought. Maybe you’ve seen it for some time, or perhaps you’re noticing it now as well.

For various reasons, some have mistakenly gone down the path of isolation, convinced that the only thing that really matters is their personal relationship with Christ. And, while there’s no doubt that a personal relationship with Christ is first and foremost, the Bible is very clear that we are to live in community with other believers and in fellowship with the saints. It is for our own good…for our own growth and sanctification as we mature in our faith.

There are many reasons some believers choose not to connect on a deeper level with other believers, and that’s a much more in-depth conversation for another day. But the point, to me, is this: God created and designed us, His Church, and His kingdom that we would fellowship, worship, live, and work together, all for the purposes of growing in our sanctification, becoming increasingly more like Him, serving others, and blessing and honoring Him in all that we say and do.

And to that end, He’s given us some things to do relative to our interaction with other members of the family of God. I’ve been reading a great book edited by C.J. Mahaney, titled, Why Small Groups?. On page 23, the following “house rules” are included to help us better understand God’s plan for how we are to interact with, engage, and spur one another on in our daily lives and relationships with one another:


  1. Be at peace with each other (Mark 9:50)
  2. Love one another (John 13:34)
  3. Be joined to one another (Romans 12:5)
  4. Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
  5. Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
  6. Rejoice with one another (Romans 12:15)
  7. Weep with one another (Romans 12:15)
  8. Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
  9. Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
  10. Counsel one another (Romans 15:4)
  11. Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
  12. Agree with each other (1 Corinthians 1:10)
  13. Wait for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33)
  14. Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  15. Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  16. Carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  17. Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  18. Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  19. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
  20. Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)
  21. Teach, admonish each other (Colossians 3:16)
  22. Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  23. Build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  24. Spur one another on (Hebrews 10:24)
  25. Offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  26. Minister gifts to one another (1 Peter 4:10)
  27. Be humble toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
  28. Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
  29. Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  30. Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)

If you’ve been avoiding true fellowship with other believers, for whatever reason, it’s time to connect and engage. It’s time to get involved with a local church and a small group of some sort. It’s time to leverage the work God’s doing in the lives of others for the purposes He wants to accomplish in you.

We are each at different places in the sanctification process, if you will. And we each have a responsibility to ourselves and other believers to be involved in each other’s lives and in God’s mission therein. It’s not possible to accomplish this if we relegate ourselves to our own little worlds, isolated from other believers. No, we must be willing to roll up our sleeves, commit to being and doing what God’s asked of us in His Word, and taking others with us.

We must be committed to lives of genuine fellowship and community, for the purpose of God’s glory. To this we are called.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve240 March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

They tell another side. Hope this helps.


Lee Buford March 17, 2011 at 3:13 am

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. While I don’t attend a SGM church and an only familiar with the ministry from afar, I have benefited from several of the books written by CJ, as well as various videos and teachings to which I have been exposed.

Certainly there are varying opinions about many churches and/or pastors, just as there are always multiple sides of any debate. I will review the sites you suggested in more detail, but at the current time I’m not personally aware of any conflicts of a close-handed nature that would prevent or discourage me from continuing to look to Mahaney and his ministry for biblical teaching and guidance.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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