“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 4:1-4 (NKJV)
Paul ends verse two with the essential teaching for believers to bring their thinking into line with one another (unity in purpose). This new covenant community placed a priority on the coming together (corporate vision) where each person utilizes their God-given gifts (spirit-revealed) for the benefit of the wider community (rugged individualism versus other-centeredness).
This idea of rugged individualism versus selflessness is the central theme of scriptures; flesh versus the Spirit, independence versus interdependence, individual interests versus the more significant importance of the community as a whole.
These communities based relationships on selflessness in becoming vulnerable, accountable, and responsible in treating one another in a way that cherished what was in the best interest of the entire gathering, fellowship, or ‘church.’
The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ was these early believers had as their core central position a total reliance on a God-spirit-love expressed in relationships in the community.
This way of being shifted cultural, societal, familial, and religious structures and mindsets, prioritizing corporate interests.
A new faith community derived its source of relating from divine power and not from human methods. This community exemplified valuing each one and their spiritual gifts as necessary - needed and wanted.
Living from the integrity of the Christ-spirit, selfless serving, a genuine attitude motivated in sincerely wanting what was best for the entire group, marked these communities.
This unified thought vision motivated their activity of other-being displayed in a faith community that based its interrelationships on the source of a Christ-love whose power radically transformed individuals, communities, and the world.