What Does It Mean to Belong? 1 Corinthians
A. It means that we have been called, or summoned, by God, to participate in a new fellowship, centered in Christ, which will re-shape our intellectual framework (2:5); our relationships, both with others in the fellowship, and with those in the world; and our practices and our behaviors. (See list of verses on “call”).
B. It means that we have been set in spiritual relationship with one another as a brotherhood, with responsibility to and for one another, and with the shared privilege of one day enjoying the inheritance (6:9; 15:50). (See list of verses).
C. It means that a drastic change has happened (is happening) in our lives (6:11), containing both an inward and outward dimension. The church is pleased to accept, on the basis of a sincere outward expression, the reality of a spiritual inner operation (see chart below).
D. It means that we participate together in fellowship activity for the edification of the assembly and for cooperative service and witness. This is to be done in ways that honors Christ as opposed to other individuals, and that upholds Christ’s character as opposed to accomodating conduct which is dishonoring to Christ’s name (reputation). (See list of verses on “come together” and just a few other instances of “together”-type words).
E. The church has both a universal aspect (throughout the world and a local aspect. While being mindful of and active in our partnership with the universal church (16:1), our practical exercises and disciplines take place in a local setting (see list of verses on “church” and “churches”).