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'Christ in You...'

    by Dale Krebbs

The Opened Circle
Date Posted: December 4, 2022

A small group of young men in a country far removed from the Western world had gathered to visit and discuss events of the day in their lives. They were sitting in a circle, so that one might not seem of more importance than another, they said. Looking on was an American who was struck by the scene as the meeting progressed, and more so as he realized how rare to see and hear such a spectacle occurring before his eyes. As the meeting progressed in a joyful tone, peppered with gentle humor and chuckling, he began to realize the secret they shared that seemed to enable such joy and mutual goodwill. If one seemed reluctant or of a withdrawn temperament, the others would cease their talk, and politely draw this one into the discussion, respectfully listening to his comments. There was never an interruption by another, and all were equally accepted, respected, and drawn into the group. There was no confrontation, no hostile demeanor, no “one-up-man-ship”, no competitive spirit. There was no accusations or manipulations. No one was ignored, no one played favorites, no one was ostracized, there were no “putdowns”, veiled as a “joke” (Ephesians 5:4). Sensitivities were respected, allowed for, and accepted. All without political correctness gone amuck. They finally mutually agreed to discontinue their visit, each going their own way...

I know, this sound like fiction - but it actually happened. The observer left, a stunned and much more enlightened person., and began to realize what should be - and could be.

This group of young men were not Christians. But Christians should be like them. If non-Christians can live as Christians should, then why do Christians not live as Christians should? We, as Christians, are then without excuse. Jesus warned emphatically about those who are righteous in name only. Others who do not wear the label may enter the Kingdom before us (Matthew 21:31). All too often the relationships between many who call themselves by Christ’s name are laced with competitiveness, exclusiveness, and snobbishness. The unspoken MO is often “include them out”! They forget that Jesus visited with, fellowshipped with, and ate with publicans and sinners - and much more with His own even though He was their Boss, Lord, Creator, Friend, Brother and Savior.

This is the time and season of the year when most Christians become mindful of what is termed “Easter”, generally observed as a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a time that roughly coincides with the Passover season - the Passover supper, followed by seven days of the eating of unleavened bread, which has it roots in God’s Word in Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, etc., of the Old Testament. At that last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His disciples, after the establishment of the new symbols, another ordinance was instituted which is not emphasized - at least not emphasized enough. If this symbol was emphasized, and lived out as the other symbols are, as Jesus intended, the body of Christ would be very different - perhaps even approaching the ideal of the group of men described above. After the supper, Jesus began to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13:3-4). This was one of the lowliest of all acts performed by a servant. Peter strongly objected, to which Jesus replied that if Peter did not allow Him to wash his feet, he would have no part in Christ! Peter quickly acquiesced. This changed Peter's perspective completely. After being cleansed of our past sins by His shed blood (v. 9-10), we must then be continually washed by the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Additionally, as we are continually being washed by every word of God (Luke 4:4), we are commanded to serve each other by becoming each others slave (John 13:14-15). Seldom it seems do we even get close enough to "wash" someones feet. As Jesus asked the disciples that night, do we really know what this means (v. 12)...? I am afraid many do not. Upon complimenting a server at a restaurant for very good service, I expressed appreciation to which I was curtly informed “I’m nobody’s servant!!” In the body of Christ, there is often too many little circles serving themselves, and too far away from others to "wash their feet", or for the others to wash theirs...

All that Jesus said to His disciples that night long ago actuates the principle of inclusion into the circle of Christ. We are not separate little pockets of lofty “holier than thou” societies. We must have the same love for one and all. We are all different. What an amazing God we have who can create billions upon billions of individuals and never need to save a mold for the next one. That last Passover night was a very small circle of community, intimacy and communion then. But it was destined to become the largest of all (Matthew 13:31-32).

Who is in your "circle" - your circle of close friends, and people whom you like and who like you? Is it a circle closed tightly, or is it open? Could you break open your circle and make it larger? Could you allow some who are not as socially astute as you, or more reticent, or not as prosperous, or not as educated and polished (kind of "rough around the edges"), or more timid than you to enter the inner sanctum of your circle? Would it not be nice to be known as the builder of a very large circle - all of whom are equally loved, value, and served. Could you open your circle and serve Christ by "washing" their feet (Matthew 25:40-45)? If someone is excluded, Jesus has been effectively excluded also. But just imagine how many could be served - because of you, when you begin to say "include them in"! No one - not even His critics - accused Jesus of being exclusive. Quiet the contrary! Or - perhaps you, who feel you are on the outside looking in, as a “circle of one” could help solve the problem by building or expanding your own circle - and include the exclusive circles. Then you would all be one circle - one in Christ.

The opened circle can then become larger, and larger, and larger, and... (John 17:20-23).

“As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” - 1 Corinthians 12:20-27 (ESV)

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Biography Information:
Dale Krebbs served as an Elder, preaching, counseling, and conducting Bible studies for over 25 years in Texas, California, and Arizona. He is now retired, lives in Arizona, and continues the study and research of Gods Word.
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