“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:”
The early church had to be close to each other because they were often ostracized from their family and society. Like many today who leave cultish religions, the early church only had each other as family. It was important for the health of the church that the members of the early church family to be close. The Apostle Paul shows the health of the church in his closing salutations as he referenced many people and what they did for him and the church. If a church is to be healthy, they will embrace and emulate all of these characteristics that the Apostle Paul pointed out about these Christians. Let me share with you the traits that a church needs to be healthy.
First, a healthy church is willing to serve each other. The verse above says about Phebe that she was “a servant of the church.” No church will ever thrive without its members embracing the servant’s attitude. A church filled with self-interests is a church that is filled with strife. You must be willing to serve others if you want to be a help to your church. A healthy church is a church filled with members who are not concerned with what their church can do for them, but a healthy church is filled with members who are concerned with what they can do for their church.
Second, a healthy church has members who desire to help people. Verse 2 talks about Phebe being a “succourer of many.” You will always find that the healthy church is always running to the aid of hurting believers. When someone is hurting in your church, you should be the first one to be there to help them in their time of need. If you make it your ambition to help the needs of the hurting, you will never fail to have a task to fulfill.
Third, a healthy church has members who help their preacher. Verse 3 talks about Priscilla and Aquila being Paul’s “helpers.” Every pastor needs people who he can depend on to help him in his daily task. Not only were they helpers of Paul, but they were also his defenders. You should resolve to meet whatever needs your preacher encounters. Like the men who battled the armies to get David a drink of water from the well, you should do whatever you can to help your preacher and meet his needs.
Fourth, a healthy church has members who are willing to sacrifice for the sake of Christ. Verse 5 talks about the people being willing to have church “in their house.” This was a sacrifice that inconvenienced some family, but they were willing for the health of their church to be inconvenienced. If the only time you will do something for your church is when it is convenient, you will contribute to the demise of your church. A healthy church is filled with members who are faithful to their church and its activities even when it takes sacrifice and is inconvenient.
Fifth, a healthy church has members who love each other. Verse 16 talks about these members saluting each other “with an holy kiss.” These members treated each other like family. Healthy churches are churches where there is a family atmosphere with each other. Healthy churches will want to spend time together.
These things I mentioned are only five of several things mentioned in this chapter, but your church must have these things if it is going to be healthy. My question for you is this; are you detracting or contributing to your church’s health?